Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, Director, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council
Title: War and Peace in the Middle East: Challenges and Options for the Next President
Location: Tipton Hall, Santa Fe University of Art & Design, 1600 St. Michael’s Drive
Cost: $15 CIR Members and $20 Nonmembers & Guests
The next President of the United States will inevitably spend quality time dealing with a growing international crisis rooted in the Middle East. Chronic political illegitimacy – the absence of internal consensus on the rules of the political game – in Syria and Iraq is at the core of the crisis. In both places political illegitimacy verging on state failure has enabled ISIS (Daesh, ISIL, Islamic State) to take root and to offer a horrific alternative with dire international security implications. The situation in Syria has even produced a humanitarian catastrophe and a migrant crisis that has rocked European politics and contributed to the Brexit phenomenon. In the broader Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region, however, the legitimacy challenge is not limited to only Iraq and Syria; indeed, it is not limited to other countries (Libya, Yemen) experiencing violent breakdowns. How might the new President work with allies and MENA partners to mitigate this crisis and contribute to the growth of effective, legitimate governance in the states of the region? Is disengagement from the region and its problems a practical option? Why – if at all – should Americans care about this troubled part of the world and its problems?
From 2009 to 2012, Ambassador Frederic C. Hof took the lead in an effort to mediate Syrian-Israeli peace and was given the rank of ambassador in his capacity as Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Transition in Syria.