Afghanistan: Does the Road to Peace Run Through the Gulf?
While the 2008 Presidential Election was arguably a referendum on the Iraq War, it would appear that eleven years later ending American involvement in Afghanistan has become a mainstream issue within the current iteration of the Presidential primaries. Similarly to the election that produced President Obama, the sprawling field of 2020 candidates looking to take on President Trump frequently tout their desire to end the longest war in American history. This comes despite President Trump’s own penchant for anti-interventionism and past campaign promises. Regardless, recent weeks have seen promising signs that the U.S. could set in motion an Afghani draw-down, one that allows Washington D.C. to save face amidst a conflict that failed to quash its primary target: the Taliban. Emphasizing this ever-evolving situation were peace talks, hosted in Qatar with participation by officials from Doha, Berlin, Washington D.C., and of course, participation from the Afghani government and the Taliban in order to determine what a post-U.S. Afghanistan might look like. Perhaps, however, the location of the talks will prove just as impactful as the negotiated outcomes, as their presence in Doha is symbolic of the desire of many Gulf states to become international players. This comes after the UAE and Saudi Arabia also recently met with delegations from the Afghani government and showed support for peace talks. Why is the Gulf region willing to host or engage in these talks? In what ways do the current talks build on past negotiations that have taken place? What could make these peace talks different from past failures? How can negotiators continue to build-upon this recent progress? While none of these questions have easy answers GIF is pleased to invite you to attend this panel where our assembled experts will discuss these and other pressing questions.
John Fredericks (moderator), Ms. Palwasha Kakar, Dr. Marvin G. Weinbaum, Congressman James P. Moran, and Ms. Rebecca Zimmerman.
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- Seating Capacity is Limited
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- Lunch will be served at 12 PM with an expected 11:30 panel start time
John Fredericks (moderator)
John Fredericks Radio
John Fredericks is a senior media executive with over 35 years experience. Fredericks has served as a major market newspaper publisher, advertising director, editor, editorial page editor, TV host, syndicated radio host, commentator and newspaper columnist. He has covered national news events that include government, business, economics, and politics. Fredericks was the first media personality in America to endorse Donald J. Trump for President in June 2015 and correctly predict both his nomination and his general election victory. He was elected National Delegate to the 2016 Republican convention from Virginia’s 4th Congressional District. John Fredericks served as Co-Chair and then Chairman of the Trump for President Virginia Campaign in 2015-16. Fredericks serves as an AL Jazeera International News Analyst reporting on U.S. & Middle Eastern Politics. He is also a White House Correspondent and CNN Contributor.
The Honorable Congressman James P. Moran
The Honorable James Moran served in the U.S. Congress for 24 years, retiring in January 2015. He currently is the Senior Legislative Advisor in the Washington, DC offices of McDermott Will & Emery. In Congress, he represented the Northern Virginia parts of the Washington, DC metropolitan area which includes the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church and the counties of Fairfax and Arlington. The Congressman was Mayor of Alexandria prior to his election in 1990. Congressman Moran is currently the Chair of the World Affairs Council-Washington DC and served on the Board of Sister Cities International.
Ms. Palwasha Kakar
Senior Program Officer – Religion & Inclusive Societies, United States Institute of Peace
Palwasha L. Kakar is the senior program officer for religion and inclusive societies at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Kakar joined USIP after four years with The Asia Foundation where she was the Afghanistan director for Women’s Empowerment and Development. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kakar led the Gender Mainstreaming and Civil Society Unit in the United Nation Development Program’s Afghanistan Subnational Governance Program managing a small grants program for Afghanistan’s civil society initiatives. Kakar also served as program manager for The Gender Studies Institute at Kabul University. She has experience working with the World Bank Group on gender, social justice and environmental issues surrounding their various projects in the region. Kakar moved to Afghanistan 2004 to work with the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), an independent research organization, on women’s participation at the local levels in the National Solidarity Programme (NSP).
Dr. Marvin G. Weinbaum
Director – Afghanistan & Pakistan Studies, Middle East Institute
Dr. Weinbaum is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and served as analyst for Pakistan and Afghanistan in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 1999 to 2003. He is currently a scholar-in-residence and Director of Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC. Professor Weinbaum has his doctorate from Columbia University in 1965, his MA from the University of Michigan in 1958, and his BA from Brooklyn College in 1957. In 1965 he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At Illinois, Dr. Weinbaum served for fifteen years as the director of the Program in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.
Researcher, RAND Corporation
Rebecca Zimmerman is a researcher at the RAND Corporation. She has over fifteen years of experience in foreign policy and national security, specializing in institutional culture and design, and operations overseas. She has spent years working in Afghanistan supporting U.S. efforts to develop Afghan governance, especially security sector governance, and has conducted research in Mali, the Philippines, and other conflict-affected areas where the U.S. is engaged. Her field experience has included supporting the standup of Village Stability Operations in Afghanistan, and interviewing members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines. She has led teams researching policy for special operations, security cooperation, and military organizational culture. Zimmerman is currently pursuing her doctorate at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, studying U.S. institutional bureaucracy in Afghanistan, and she is the author of a Stanford University Press book chapter on the development of Afghan state administration between 2001 and 2014. Her commentary has appeared in the New York Times’ At War Blog, Newsweek, and on Al Jazeera America, BBC Radio, and CCTV, among others. She holds a B.A. in international relations with honors from Stanford University and an M.A. in strategic studies from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.