As the Lebanese Armed Forces battle al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic militants near Tripoli, and violence between Fatah and Hamas heats up to a level that may force Israel to carry out a ground incursion into Gaza, it is clear that this is going to be a difficult summer in the Middle East. With the status quo shaken and instability spreading, how can the United States adapt its policies to stem the spread of violence and help cool the sweltering tensions in the region?
On June 5, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy hosted a discussion on what the current crises in Lebanon and Gaza mean for U.S policy in the Middle East. Participants included Robert Malley, who had just returned from meetings in Syria and Jordan; Hisham Milhem, an expert on developments in Lebanon and Syria; Bruce Riedel, senior fellow at Brookings and a former administration official who has published a provocative analysis of Al-Qaeda’s resurgence; and Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center, who had just returned from meetings in Israel. Carlos Pascual, vice president and director of the Brookings’s Foreign Policy Studies program, moderated the discussion.