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Behnam Ben Taleblu – Senior fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Johnnie Moore – Founder and CEO of The KAIROS Company
Aykan Erdemir – Senior director of Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Turkey program
About this webinar: The new peace accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates has brought to the forefront the flowering of some relationships that Israel and some of the Gulf nations have been nurturing under the table for years. Unfortunately, however, it has also brought out the emergence of new threats, as well as of new partnerships, particularly between Turkey and Iran.
Turkey and Iran had been the two regional powers that had been the first Muslim majority, non-Arab governments to establish relations with Israel, Ankara in 1949, and Tehran in 1950. Ironically, however, the enmity between Israel and the Sunni Muslim nations in the Gulf seems to be gradually eroding, while new threats are emerging. What are the dynamics at play as we watch old friends become adversaries, and old adversaries becoming friends?
What possible role should Washington play to cement the momentum towards peace, and to push back on the reactionary forces?
Behnam Ben Taleblu is a senior fellow at FDD where he focuses on Iranian security and political issues. Behnam previously served as a research fellow and senior Iran analyst at FDD. Prior to his time at FDD, Behnam worked on non-proliferation issues at an arms control think-tank in Washington. Leveraging his subject-matter expertise and native Farsi skills, Behnam has closely tracked a wide range of Iran-related topics including: nuclear non-proliferation, ballistic missiles, sanctions, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the foreign and security policy of the Islamic Republic, and internal Iranian politics. Frequently called upon to brief journalists, congressional staff, and other Washington-audiences, Behnam has also testified before the U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament. Learn more here.
Rev. Johnnie Moore is founder and CEO of The KAIROS Company and President of The Congress of Christian Leaders. He is best known for his work at the intersection of faith and foreign policy and is a Presidential appointee as a Commissioner for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Moore has advocated relentlessly for religious freedom in the Middle East, meeting on multiple occasions with regional leaders including most heads of state across the Arab world and, in 2017, he participated in the drafting of the landmark Bahrain Declaration on Religious Freedom and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East. He is a recipient of the prestigious Medal of Valor from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Learn more here.
Dr. Aykan Erdemir, senior director of FDD’s Turkey program, is a former member of the Turkish Parliament (2011 to 2015) who served in the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, EU Harmonization Committee, and the Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on the IT Sector and the Internet. As an outspoken defender of pluralism, minority rights, and religious freedoms in the Middle East, Aykan has been at the forefront of the struggle against religious persecution, hate crimes, and hate speech in Turkey. He is a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a drafter of and signatory to the Oslo Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief (2014), as well as a signatory legislator to the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism. Learn more here.