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With: Dr. Mordechai Kedar and Dr. Walid Phares
Civil war continues to rage in Syria, with approximately 115,000 people killed and another 2 million refugees forced to flee. On the one side is the Assad regime, backed by the terrorist organization Hezbollah, and Iranian forces, especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and supported by Russia. The opposition, on the other hand, consists of a disparite collection of rebel groups, including some secular forces but also large and growing numbers of jihadist groups, including two Al Qaeda affiliates, Al Qaeda in Iraq, and Jabhat Al-Nusra, and Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist-associated groups and receives arms and funds from the Gulf States, most especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
This combination of opponents has made formulating a coherent policy difficult for the United States. While the U.S. has formally announced that Assad must go, its efforts to coordinate with Gulf allies on supporting the rebels has seen numerous failures, and met much resistance from both American legislators and an American public deeply concerned with the spread of Al Qaeda in Syria.
The question which EMET’s panel of experts will attempt to answer is, “Is there a third way forward in Syria?” Can Assad be ousted, handing a major defeat to the Islamic Republic of Iran, while not turning over control of Syria to the Global Jihad?
To speak on these topics, EMET is proud to host two great Middle East Specialists, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, and Dr. Walid Phares. Panelists will also weigh in on recent Iranian nuclear negotiations, and how Syria, Hezbollah and nuclear weapons factor into Iran’s strategic view.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, is a professor of Arabic for Bar Ilan University, Director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam, and a specialist in Islam, Islamic Movements, gender issues in Islam, Arabic Mass Media, popular culture in the Arab world, and the state and society in the Arab World. Dr. Kedar served as a Lieutenant Colonel with IDF Military Intelligence. He serves as a weekly columnist for the Israeli newspapers Makor Rishon and Yom le-Yom. He is the author of numerous works on Syria, Islam and the Middle East, including: Assad In Search of Legitimacy: Messages and Rhetoric in the Syrian Press under Hafiz and Bashar (2005), and Clash of Values: Gender and Family Issues as Sources of Tension between Islam and the West (2007).
Dr. Walid Phares, serves as an Advisor to the Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the US House of Representatives and is a Co-Secretary General of the Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counter Terrorism, a Euro-American Caucus, since 2009. Dr Phares briefs and testify to the US Congress, the European Parliament and the United Nations Security Council on matters related to international security and Middle East conflict. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Task Force on Future Terrorism of the Department of Homeland Security and the Advisory Task force on Nuclear Terrorism. Dr Phares teaches Global Strategies at the National Defense University. He has published several books in English, Arabic and French including the latest three post-9/11 volumes: Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against the West; The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy and The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad.