As events in the Middle East continued to unfold at a rapid pace, the Saban Forum held its second annual U.S.-Israel dialogue November 11–13, 2005. Organized by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies of Tel Aviv University, the Saban Forum brought a high-level bipartisan American delegation of officials and opinion leaders together in Jerusalem with their Israeli counterparts to discuss “Dealing with Twenty-first Century Challenges.” Participants included Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former President William J. Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The Saban Forum provided an opportunity to take a step back to analyze such events as Israeli disengagement in the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, the Iraqi constitution, and political upheaval in Syria, and the role of these events within larger trends in the Middle East.
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[The resignation of assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Wess Mitchell] is surprising news, which seems to have caught everyone off guard. He doesn’t appear to have shared this news with his ambassadors, who were in Washington last week for a global chiefs of mission conference. His deputy is also slated to retire soon, which raises question of near term leadership on European policy at a time of challenges there.
[Wess] Mitchell was a strong supporter of NATO, particularly in Eastern Europe where he will be sorely missed. His departure comes follows the resignation of senior Pentagon officials – Robert Karem and Tom Goffus – working on NATO along with Secretary Mattis. Without this pro-alliance caucus, NATO is now more vulnerable than at any time since the beginning of the Trump administration.