“Libya-U.S. Relations 2017: New Vision, Hope, and Opportunities” **Conference Postponed**

and

Invite you to attend a full-day conference:

Libya-U.S. Relations 2017
New Vision, Hope, and Opportunities

Date TBD*

*Due to events and circumstances beyond the organizers’ and sponsors’ control, the conference on “Libya-U.S. Relations 2017: New Vision, Hope, and Opportunities,” originally scheduled for February 16, 2017, has been postponed. A new date for the conference will be announced soon.

Pavilion Room
Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center
Washington, DC

Featured Speakers Include:

“Oil & Gas in Libya: from Trepidations to Exhilaration?” “What Went Wrong in Libya: Reflections from the Top” “What Went Wrong in Libya: Reflections from the Top”
Mr. Mustafa Sanalla
Chairman of the National Oil Corporation (Libya)
H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Jebril
Former Prime Minister of Libya
H.E. Ali Zeidan
Former Prime Minister of Libya

 

“Private-Public Joint Enterprises and Investment in Libya” “Fate of the U.N. Sponsored Agreement in Libya” “The Humanitarian and Health Crisis in Libya: Magnitude and Needed Measures”
Fawzi Farkash
Chairman, Libya Investment Authority
Jonathan Winer
Special Envoy for Libya, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Syed Jaffar Hussain
Representative & Head of Mission, World Health Organization for Libya, U.N. Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator in Libya

 

“The Trump Administration Perspective on Libya: Considerations and Expectations” “Mapping Investments in Libya: Opportunities and Challenges” “The Central Bank of Libya: Walking a Fine Line”
Dr. Walid Phares
Foreign Policy Advisor to the Donald J. Trump Presidential Campaign 2016, author, consultant and commentator on Middle Eastern affairs and global terrorism
Mohamed Mohamed Ben Yousef
General Manager, Libyan Foreign Bank
Ali Hebri
Governor, Central Bank of Libya

 

“Economic and Security Implications of Libyan Instability on its Neighbors” “Social Capital & Nation Building in Libya: A Bottom Up Approach and Role of Women” “Congress and Libya: How Will Future Policy on Libya be Shaped?”
Dr. Gawdat Bahgat
Professor of National Security Affairs, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University
Zahra Langhi
Chairperson, Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace
Mr. Christopher Blanchard
Middle East Analyst, Congressional Research Service

 

“Chasing ISIS and its Allies Across Libya: How to Secure the Country” “Rebuilding the Libyan Economy & Investment Opportunities” (MODERATOR) “How Significant is Libyan Oil & Gas to Loco-regional and Global Security?”
Col. Wolfgang Pusztai
Chairman of the Advisory Board, National Council on U.S. Libya Relations, and Former Defense Attaché, Austrian Ministry of Defense
The Hon. David Mack
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Paul Sullivan
Professor of Economics, National Defense University, and Senior International Affairs Fellow, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations

Along with other distinguished specialists. Full agenda announced soon.

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Listen to the 2016 Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference

Complete audio recordings from the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ 2016 Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference, “The Next U.S. Presidency and U.S.-Arab Relations: Probabilities, Possibilities, Potential Pitfalls,” are now available from the Council. Listen to and download each session below, or visit the National Council’s podcast feed through iTunes or FeedBurner to access recordings from the conference along with other Council programs.

2016 Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference

Visit the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations in iTunes.

Remarks from the Seventh Annual Gulf Research Meeting

The National Council is pleased to share remarks from specialists who participated in the Seventh Annual Gulf Research Meeting in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

For the many who are unaware of the Annual Gulf Research Meetings (GRM) in Cambridge, it is a gold mine of information, insight, knowledge, and understanding regarding the Gulf. Among the many yearly international conferences that focus on Arabia and the Gulf, arguably at once the world’s most strategically vital yet least understood region, few if any come close to this one.

Certainly, no comparably focused international forum is known to match the timeliness and context, or the nature, background, and preparation, that go into the planning and administration of the GRM’s annual three-day event, which is held in one of the loveliest, liveliest, and most intellectually stimulating settings imaginable.

Participants at the Seventh Annual Gulf Research Meeting at Cambridge University. Photo: Gulf Research Center.

Participants at the Seventh Annual Gulf Research Meeting at Cambridge University. Photo: Gulf Research Center.

In this regard, the Seventh Annual GRM was no different. Included were eleven separate and simultaneous workshops. And, as in each of the previous years, 300 participants, among whom again were fewer than 20 Americans, actively engaged in the give and take of the discussion periods and the question and answer sessions integral to the proceedings. 

Each of the presentations at the annual GRMs occurs only after nearly an entire year’s preparation.The brainchild of the GRM is Dr. Abdulaziz Sager, founder of the Gulf Research Center (GRC), with offices in Jeddah, Geneva, and Cambridge (About whom, see more below).

The National Council is proud to be a partner with the GRC as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding entered into in 2015.

The GRM has quickly established itself as an extraordinary example of what can transpire if the visionaries are extraordinary, the topics exceptionally timely and relevant, and the workshops carefully organized to exhibit the best of existing scholarship on the region from scholars from throughout the world, especially younger scholars, analysts, and academics among tomorrow’s emerging leaders. In all, more than two thousand scholars have participated in the seven GRMs to date. Some forty books produced and distributed by some of the world’s most prominent publishers have been but one among others of the remarkable results of the yearly proceedings.

GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani addresses a meeting organized by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and its U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee on September 18, 2015, in Washington, DC. Seated to the right of the Secretary General is H.E. Shaikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Khalifa, Ambassador of Bahrain to the U.S., and seated to the left of the Secretary General is National Council Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony. Photo: National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani addresses a meeting organized by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and its U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee on September 18, 2015, in Washington, DC. Seated to the right of the Secretary General is H.E. Shaikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Khalifa, Ambassador of Bahrain to the U.S., and seated to the left of the Secretary General is National Council Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony. Photo: National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

In order to place the GRC and the GRM in context, three short, incisive pieces follow. The first is extracted from the Council Chronicle, the periodic newsletter of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. The second is the GRM’s introductory address by Stuart Laing, former Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Kuwait and Oman, Cambridge University Deputy Vice Chancellor, and Master of Corpus Christi College. The third, which will follow separately, is the keynote address at the opening session of the Seventh Annual Gulf Research Meeting by H.E. Dr. Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Dr. John Duke Anthony
Founding President and CEO
National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations
Washington, DC

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Dr. John Duke Anthony on “America, Arabia, and the Gulf: At a Crossroads?”

On May 11, 2016, Dr. John Duke Anthony spoke to the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs on the subject “America, Arabia, and the Gulf: At a Crossroads?” A video recording of the program is available below, and a podcast of the program is also available below as well as in iTunes with recordings of other National Council programs: http://bit.ly/itunes-ncusar.

Dr. John Duke Anthony – “America, Arabia, and the Gulf: At a Crossroads?” podcast (.mp3)

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Presents its First-Ever Global Philanthropic and Humanitarian Achievements Award to His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud

Washington, DC: On May 8, 2016, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (National Council) was honored and privileged to present its first-ever Global Philanthropic and Humanitarian Achievements Award to HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud. The award was presented in recognition of his tireless and magnanimous efforts in helping to build a world of greater tolerance, acceptance, respect, equality, opportunity, and justice for all.

National Council Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony, Council Board Member Ms. Paige Peterson, and Council Executive Vice President Mr. Patrick Mancino personally conveyed the award to Prince Alwaleed.

Dr. Anthony noted that Prince Alwaleed, through his charitable organization Alwaleed Philanthropies, has pledged to donate his entire $32 billion fortune to charity. In making this promise, Prince Alwaleed said: “Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, which I embarked upon more than three decades ago and is an intrinsic part of my Islamic faith. With this pledge, I am honoring my lifelong commitment to what matters most – helping to build a more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable world for generations to come.”

Alwaleed Philanthropies serves millions of people across the globe. It collaborates with a range of philanthropic, governmental, and educational organizations to combat poverty, empower women and youth, develop communities, provide disaster relief, and create cultural understanding through education. Prince Alwaleed has already donated $3.5 billion over 35 years to find impactful solutions to some of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time, without regard to gender, race, or religious affiliation.

Information about Alwaleed Philanthropies can be found at alwaleedphilanthropies.org.

Information about the National Council can be found at ncusar.org.

In Memoriam, A Giant Has Fallen: Clovis Maksoud (1926-2016)

This past week, a larger than life figure among us fell physically. Although in our presence his body is no more, as example, as role model, and as inspiration, he is still in front of, beside, and behind us – and will remain so for a very long time to come.

Ambassador Clovis Maksoud’s reputation was legendary as far back as during my studies at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in the 1960s.

Whenever one had the privilege and pleasure to meet and be with as well as briefed by Clovis, regardless of the subject, one could not but revel in his perennially upbeat personality and marvel at the many unrivaled aspects of his professionalism. Among humanity’s orally gifted and silver-tongued orators, Clovis could be, and in numerous instances was, nothing short of spellbinding. Certainly, he earned my awe early on. Never once in my presence did he use notes or even have, for easy recall, a slip of paper tucked away on which he had written something.

Whatever the subject he happened to be addressing, Clovis was invariably not only articulate; he was also frequently eloquent. His delivery and diction were flawless. Indeed, one at times had reason to wonder whether he had switched languages, for his use of English could be inventive – more than a few will acknowledge that, sometimes, it took a bit of getting used to the kinds of words and phrases he used with unsurpassed exactitude to hammer home his points. Even now one can hear him thundering about the cause that remained to the end dearer to him than any other, that of the Palestinians.

Who can forget Clovis’ forever repeating that, among the biggest obstacles to strengthening and expanding the Arab-U.S. relationship were the United States’ history and policies with respect to Palestine? These, he never tired of emphasizing, lay at the heart of what he aptly termed America’s “crisis of conscience.”

H.E. Ambassador Clovis Maksoud (1926-2016).

H.E. Ambassador Clovis Maksoud (1926-2016).

What Clovis was and stood for to the last – in the way of unbridled conviction, steadfast commitment, and unflinching moral courage – are bedrock guidelines by which one can live a purposeful, meaningful, and contributive life. What he epitomized – in his manners and elemental decency, in his unfailing kindness, and in his manifesting the gamut of Arab, Islamic, Middle Eastern Christian, Druze, and other humanistic values, ideals, and principles to which so many aspire – has left an indelible impression not just upon me but many.

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The Establishment of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Office in Washington, D.C.

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony recently returned from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He arrived on the heels of President Obama’s second summit meeting with representatives of the six Gulf Cooperation Council member countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, together with the GCC Secretary General. Following is a special report on a little-noted development that transpired at the meetings.

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At the invitation of King Salman of Saudi Arabia, leaders of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday, April 21 in Riyadh for a U.S.-GCC Summit.

One of Obama’s primary goals for the summit was to reassure these U.S. strategic allies and partners that the United States is committed to countering threats to the GCC.

U.S. Statements of Intentions

The president could not have been clearer in stating that, “I reaffirm the policy of the United States to use all elements of our power to secure our core interests in the Gulf region and to deter and confront external aggression against our allies and our partners.”

In the same vein, Obama was tough on Iran in his rhetoric, noting that the United States, even with its nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, has “serious concerns about Iranian behavior.”

Obama and the GCC leaders also spoke about other issues including ISIS, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, and Lebanon.

President Barack Obama met with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on April 21, 2016. The summit meeting came almost a year after Obama hosted his GCC counterparts in the United States for a summit at Camp David. Photo: The White House.

President Barack Obama met with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on April 21, 2016. The summit meeting came almost a year after Obama hosted his GCC counterparts in the United States for a summit at Camp David. Photo: The White House.

King Salman said the summit was “constructive and fruitful” and thanked Obama for “enhancing the consultation and cooperation between the GCC countries and the U.S.”

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Arabia to Asia: The Myths of an American “Pivot” and Whether or Not There’s a U.S. Strategy Toward the GCC Region

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That the foreign policies of various governments often appear to be confusing or contradictory is because they frequently are. During Barack Obama’s presidency, such inconsistency has seemed to characterize aspects of America’s relations with the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The ambiguity and uncertainty that accompanies it is among the things that Obama has sought to dispel and clarify in the course successively of his March 2014 visit to Saudi Arabia, his May 2015 summit at Camp David with senior leaders of all six GCC countries, and his mid-April 2016 attendance at a similar meeting with leaders of the same countries. As this essay seeks to demonstrate, what he has had to contend with – and what others of late have had to contend with regarding aspects of his administration — in terms of background, context, and perspective has not been easy of resolution, amelioration, or even abatement.

Assumptions, Ambitions, and Abilities

Dating from before and since these high-level GCC-U.S. meetings, Washington has taken steps to strengthen and extend America’s overall position and influence in the GCC region. A principal means for doing so has been through the GCC-U.S. Strategic Dialogue.[1] But one example among several was when former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, along with Secretary of State John Kerry, came with approvals for billions of dollars in sales of U.S.-manufactured defense and security structures, systems, technology, and arms to GCC countries, together with long-term munitions and maintenance contracts.

President Barack Obama attends a U.S.-GCC summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2016. Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

President Barack Obama attends a U.S.-GCC summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2016. Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

Yet, simultaneously, signals from Washington and the mainstream U.S. media before and since Obama’s meetings with his GCC counterparts have not always been as clear as the signalers thought would or should be the case. That said, what specialists have had no doubt about for some time is that the Obama administration is recalibrating the strategic focus of its international priorities in hopes of being able to accomplish two objectives at the same time. One objective has been, and continues to be, a steadfast resolve to remain committed to the security, stability, and prospects for prosperity in the GCC region. The other has been and remains a parallel determination to emphasize the Asia-Pacific regions.

Affecting the need for such a recalibration have been major U.S. budget reductions and their impact on strategic concepts, forces, and operational dynamics. At issue and under examination in this regard, according to the Secretary of Defense in advance of the most recent Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), are, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be, America’s assumptions, ambitions, and abilities.

Understandably, the GCC region’s reaction to these trends and indications was and continues to be mixed.

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