Conflict and Convergence:  Toward Common Interests in the Troubled Middle East

Welcome remarks by:
Frederick Kempe
President and CEO
Atlantic Council

A discussion with:
Dr. Salam Fayyad
Former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority
Distinguished Statesman, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security

Atlantic Council

The Hon. Stephen J. Hadley
Founding Partner
RiceHadleyGates LLC
Board Director
Atlantic Council

The Hon. Francis Ricciardone
Vice President and Director, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
Atlantic Council

Moderated by:
Jay Solomon
Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Wall Street Journal  

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The Paris attacks earlier last month were the most recent in a spate of violence connected to the proliferation of extremist groups throughout the Middle East. When coupled with trends like rising sectarianism, the dark side of individual empowerment, the diffusion of power, and demographic shifts, the outlook for the region remains murky: ISIS and other terrorist groups are upending regional security; Iran is moving closer to having a nuclear weapons capability; Libya is disintegrating; and the “promise” of the Arab Spring has clearly been unfulfilled.

While ISIS’s advances have led to the formation of an international coalition led by the United States to counter this virulent extremist group, some of the underlying causes of ISIS’s rise and growth – state failure, political illegitimacy, and economic underdevelopment – remain unaddressed.  Too often, the West attends to the region in reaction to its ills, with a view to containing them. We have asked one of the region’s most visionary thinkers to discuss the positive purposes, which those who must lead the Middle East into its future want the West to understand and to support.  

Please join the Atlantic Council on Wednesday, February 11 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for a discussion on the major strategic issues at stake in the Middle East and a long-term assessment of the opportunities and challenges for 2015 and beyond.