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Events

The Levant Unraveling: How the Crisis in Syria is Impacting the Region

7th February 2014 - 12:00 PM

A Conversation with Jonathan Spyer, Tony Badran, Michael Doran, Oubai Shahbandar and John Hannah

How has Assad’s strategy evolved? With various factions and stakeholders pitted against each other, how are the competing endgames and tactics of groups like ISIS and Nusra impacting the dynamic of the conflict? How are the reverberations from the ever-bloodier conflict in Syria being felt far beyond its borders in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and the Palestinian territories? What will the Montreux talks mean for Syria and the path forward for the international community? How are Iran and Hezbollah influencing the conflict and altering the situation on the ground? What is the way forward?

Dr. Jonathan Spyer is a Senior Research Fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center (GLORIA), Inter-Disciplinary Center, Herzliya. Dr. Spyer writes and lectures on Syria, Israel, Lebanon and the broader security issues of regional strategy as well as on modern political ideologies in the Middle East. Formerly, he was an advisor on international affairs at the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, and was an official of the Government Press Office within the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.

Tony Badran is a Research Fellow at FDD. His research includes U.S. policy towards Lebanon and Syria; Syrian foreign policy, with a focus on its regional relations and its ties to militant non-state actors and terrorist groups. Born and raised in Lebanon, Mr. Badran also specializes in Lebanese affairs, including the military history of the Lebanese civil war, and has written extensively on Hezbollah. He has testified on Syria before the House of Representatives and the European Parliament and speaks frequently at leading policy research institutes. His writings appear regularly in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, ForeignPolicy.com, and The Weekly Standard, and he writes a weekly commentary for NOW Lebanon.

Dr. Michael Doran is a Senior Fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in Middle East security issues. He served as Senior Adviser to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the State Department and, in the Pentagon, as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. In the White House, he was the Senior Director for the Near East and North Africa. Dr. Doran was a Visiting Professor at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School for Public Service and is a scholar with the Middle East Strategy at Harvard (MESH) project. He is a frequent book reviewer for The Washington Post.

Oubai Shahbandar is a senior advisor to the Syrian opposition.  With over seven years of experience working for the Department of Defense as a strategic analyst and foreign affairs specialist, Mr. Shahbandar has an extensive and diverse background advancing U.S. national security policy throughout the Middle East and South Asia. He served a one-year tour in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 during General Petraeus's Surge as a strategic analyst supporting counterinsurgency operations and the U.S. military's outreach to the Sons of Iraq program.  From 2010 to 2011, Mr. Shahbandar served as a senior civilian advisor to the Combined Forces Special Operations Command-Afghanistan, working on the critical Village Stability Operations program.

John Hannah is a Senior Fellow at FDD, focusing on U.S. strategy. During the presidency of George W. Bush, he served for eight years on the staff of Vice President Cheney, including as the vice president's national security advisor. Mr. Hannah also served as a senior advisor to Secretary of State Warren Christopher during the administration of President Bill Clinton, and as a member of Secretary of State James A. Baker's policy planning staff in the George H.W. Bush administration.