The ICTS at the Potomac Institute hosted a forum on “The Middle East Crisis: Updates on Strategic Challenges and Opportunities” on July 25, 2014. General (Ret.) Alfred Gray (Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the United States Marine Corps; Senior Fellow and Chairman of the Board of Regents, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies) made opening remarks and Professor Yonah Alexander (Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies) moderated the event. The panel includes Brigadier General David Reist, USMC (Ret.) (Operation Iraqi Freedom, Deputy Commanding General for Governance and Economics in Anbar Province from February 2006-February 2007 and Vice President, Strategy and Planning Division, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies), Oren Marmorstein (Counselor for Public and Academic Affairs, Embassy of Israel), and Dr. Judith Yaphe (Former senior analyst on Near East Persian Gulf issues in the Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA, currently, a professor at the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University). This panel of experts provided political and military updated assessments clarifying the complex security situation in the region and beyond.

The controversy over the US-Taliban prisoners deal has once again focused attention on the threat posed by the Taliban in Afghanistan post US and NATO troops withdrawal at the end of the year. Given the security and political realities in South Asia, what are the strategic implications for the region and beyond? Topics to be discussed by a panel of experts will include assessments related to crime, terrorism, insurgency, cyber security and WMD as well as governmental and intergovernmental efforts to reduce future risks.

The alarming upsurge of current regional and global threats to peace are triggered by expanding ideological and national extremism as well as ethnic, racial, religious, and tribal animosities. The latest escalation of violence from Nigeria to Syria, to the Ukraine and elsewhere dramatically underscore the grave strategic challenges facing the international community.

Are the traditional tools of diplomacy and force sufficient to save mankind from the scourge of lingering and new conflicts and to prevent future terrorism, insurgencies, and wars? These and related concerns will be discussed by experts with wide governmental and academic experience in conflict-resolution cases throughout the world.

Africa matters to the United States and to its friends and allies for reasons ranging from its strategic geographic position to the threats posed by radicalization and violence to the vast economic opportunities and resources it offers. While the international community is currently focusing on crises in the Ukraine, Syria, and elsewhere, the security challenges in Africa also deserve much greater attention.  

For almost 40 years Spain has been victimized by domestic ETA violence. In 2004, Al Qa’ida perpetrated a devastating terrorist attack in Madrid.

Ambassador Ramón Gil-Casares, Ambassador of Spain to the United States of America, discussed both the threats and responses, particularly focusing on Spain’s contributions to security concerns nationally and globally.

Video from the Feb. 7 event is available here:


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The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.


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