The Syrian conflict that began as a revolution has descended into a major international humanitarian disaster. The country is faced with a gloomy reality on the ground and there is little evidence to suggest any breakthrough in the near future. Although much has been said about the administration’s approach to the crisis, systematic analyses of the U.S. policy on Syria have been few. Our Research Director Kilic Kanat’s latest book, “A Tale of Four Augusts: Obama’s Syria Policy,” attempts to present a coherent perspective on the U.S. policy over the past four years. Join us for a panel discussion on the findings of the book and the Obama administration’s policy towards Syria.
***A light lunch will be provided.
Kadir Ustun, Executive Director, the SETA Foundation at Washington D.C.
Ambassador Frederic Hof, Resident Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council
Nicholas A. Heras, Research Associate, Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security
Kilic B. Kanat, Research Director, the SETA Foundation at Washington D.C.
Ambassador Frederic C. Hof is a senior fellow in the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. He came to the Atlantic Council after a career as a US Army officer, a private sector CEO, and a Department of State diplomat. He is a Vietnam veteran and much of his professional life has centered on the Middle East. As a military officer he served on the commission that investigated the 1983 bombing of the US Marine Corps headquarters at Beirut International Airport and drafted key parts of the commission’s report. While in the private sector he took a leave of absence in 2001 to serve as chief of staff of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact Finding Commission, headed by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, and was the principal drafter of the Commission’s report. In the Department of State from 2009 to 2012 he took the lead in an effort to mediate Syrian-Israeli peace and was given the rank of ambassador in his capacity as special advisor to the secretary of state for transition in Syria. Ambassador Hof also oversaw efforts to reconcile conflicting Israeli and Lebanese exclusive economic zone claims. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and the Naval Postgraduate School. Ambassador Hof is the author of two works on Middle Eastern boundary issues. Among his military decorations is the Purple Heart.
Nicholas A. Heras is the Research Associate in the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security and an Associate Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation. Nicholas has presented widely on the topic of the Syrian civil war and its impact on the greater Middle East region, including to U.S. CENTCOM, SOCOM, and the Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff. He has extensive, in-depth field research experience in all regions of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, and has also conducted substantive research in Turkey. Nicholas is the author of the monograph, Policy Focus #132, The Potential for an Assad Statelet in Syria, through the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)’s Soref Fellowship program, and is a prolific author of timely, relevant, and actionable analysis on developments in the Syrian civil war for the Jamestown Foundation’s Militant Leadership Monitor and Terrorism Monitor.
Kilic Bugra Kanat is the Research Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington DC. He is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Erie. Dr. Kanat received his PhD in Political Science from Syracuse University; a Master’s in Political Science from Syracuse University; a Master’s in International Affairs from Marquette University. He was awarded the Outstanding Research Award and Council of Fellows Faculty Research Award at Penn State, Erie. He participated in Future Leaders Program of Foreign Policy Initiative. Dr. Kanat’s writings have appeared in Foreign Policy, Insight Turkey, The Diplomat, Middle East Policy, Arab Studies Quarterly, Mediterranean Quarterly, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, and Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. He is a columnist at Daily Sabah. He is the author of A Tale of Four Augusts: Obama’s Syria Policy.
Kadir Ustun is the Executive Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington, D.C. He also serves as an Assistant Editor of Insight Turkey, an academic journal published by the SETA Foundation. Dr. Ustun holds a PhD in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies from Columbia University and a Master’s degree in History from Bilkent University. He has contributed to various SETA reports and his writings have appeared in various publications such as Insight Turkey, Al Jazeera English, Hurriyet Daily News, Daily Sabah, Mediterranean Quarterly, and Cairo Review of Global Affairs among others. He is also co-editor of edited volumes History, Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey, Change and Adaptation in Turkish Foreign Policy, and Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.