The Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative invites you to a virtual panel on Friday, January 19, from 3:00 – 4:30 pm ET. The discussion will provide a firsthand account of the extraordinary rescue operation led by a dedicated group of veterans from the Special Operations Association of America (SOAA) that successfully evacuated the mother and uncle of an active-duty Palestinian-American US Army soldier from Gaza amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Over two weeks, volunteers specialized in humanitarian evacuations from the special operations and intelligence communities meticulously coordinated with various entities, including the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli-Palestinian Affairs, U.S. Embassy Teams in Jerusalem and Cairo, the Office of the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Office of the Secretary of the United States Army, National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, the Government of Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces, and the Government of Egypt.

A conversation with

Alex J Plitsas
Former Army Psychological Operations & Chief of Sensitive Activities at the Office of the Secretary of Defense

Danielle Cosgrove
Former UNHCR officer and distinguished lecturer at Stanford University

Benjamin F Clay
Former Army Special Forces

Brian L Thomsen
Former Army Special Forces

Omer S Rafiq
Former Marine United States Special Operations Command

Moderated by

Hope Hodge Seck
Freelance Journalist for the Washington Post

Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative

The Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative (SMESI) provides policymakers fresh insights into core US national security interests by leveraging its expertise, networks, and on-the-ground programs to develop unique and holistic assessments on the future of the most pressing strategic, political, and security challenges and opportunities in the Middle East. 

Atlantic Council TV

Watch this event and more content on ACTV

Follow the conversations shaping our world.

Available on all major platforms.