On March 14 to 15, the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and the United States Central Command jointly convened for their annual conference on the Middle East. This year’s conference, “The Middle East 2017,” covered a range of issues relating to both near-term events and long-term trends in the region and for U.S. policy. Over the two days of discussion, the participants focused on the civil wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen that are fueling extremism, humanitarian crises, rising sectarianism, and the collapse of socio-political systems, as well as the likely courses of action for the critical competing regional and great powers, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Russia. The conference explored how best the United States can safeguard its interests and its allies in the face of these many challenges in the region.
Former Brookings Expert
Acting Director, <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/saban.aspx">Saban Center for Middle East Policy</a>
The conference featured a range of experts from the United States government and military, academia, think tanks, and the region. The center was honored that General Joseph Votel, Commanding General, United States Central Command, was able to attend and participate for some of the conference. Together, the speakers and conference participants offered insights that went well beyond conventional Washington wisdom, peered into the future, and provided valuable lessons and ideas for the U.S. military and the broader policy community.
The proceedings from this conference include summaries of the sessions and an overarching essay by Kenneth M. Pollack.
[Trump has] given Iran the moral high ground and that is an exceptionally difficult thing to do given the history and reality of Iran's misdeeds at home and in the region. It's just malpractice on the part of an American president.
The way the Trump administration is moving forward [with its Iran policy] is just so hostile to all aspects of Iran that it’s unlikely to produce any traction with the Iranian people or to encourage divisions within the system.
The intent of [any U.S. action] to do with the IRGC is basically to cast a very broad shadow over sectors of the Iranian economy and exacerbate the compliance nightmare for foreign businesses that may be considering trade and investment with Iran.