Iraqi forces have expelled the Islamic State (ISIS) from Fallujah, but difficult work lies ahead to retake the territory still under ISIS control, provide security, and rebuild. Restoring government and the rule of law, returning the displaced, and rebuilding homes and infrastructure will be crucial for sustaining the victory. Who will have the power and legitimacy to manage local resources and services? What will it take for civilians to return? Can the Popular Mobilization Forces that played an important role in the liberation of Fallujah be demobilized or absorbed into the army, or will they remain independent power centers?
The Middle East Institute (MEI) and the Conflict Management Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) are pleased to host Robert S. Ford (MEI), Charles Lister (MEI), Jessica Lewis McFate (Institute for the Study of War), and Douglas Ollivant (New America) for a discussion of these and other questions regarding the aftermath of Fallujah, how ISIS may react in defeat, and the challenges ahead facing the liberation of Mosul.
Paul Salem (MEI) will moderate the discussion with our other expert panelists.
Amb. (ret.) Robert S. Ford
Senior Fellow, MEI and Yale University; Alumnus, Johns Hopkins SAIS; Former U.S. Deputy Ambassador in Iraq
Robert Ford is a senior fellow at The Middle East Institute. He previously served for 30 years in the State Department and Peace Corps, finishing his career as the U.S. ambassador to Syria from 2011 to 2014. He previously served as U.S. ambassador to Algeria (2006-2008), deputy ambassador in Iraq (2008-2010), senior political advisor to the U.S. ambassador to Iraq (2004-2006), and deputy ambassador in Bahrain (2001-2003). Ambassador Ford has also held postings in Egypt, Turkey, and Cameroon, and in Algeria during its civil war. He was awarded the Presidential Honor award for his leadership of the American embassy in Damascus, and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award for his work on Syria, which is the State Department's highest award. In 2012, he received the annual Profile in Courage award from Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library for his defense of human rights in Syria.
Senior Fellow, MEI; Author, The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency
Charles Lister is a resident fellow at the Middle East Institute. He was formerly a visiting fellow at the Brookings Center in Qatar and before that, the head of the Middle East and North Africa division at the London-based IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre. Lister focuses on terrorism, insurgency, and sub-state security threats across the Middle East. He is also a senior consultant to The Shaikh Group’s Track II Syria Initiative, within which he has helped coordinate a two-year process of engagement with the leaderships of over 100 Syrian armed opposition groups. He is the author of The Islamic State: A Brief Introduction (Brookings Institution Press, 2015) and the recently released book, The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency (Oxford University Press, 2016).
Jessica Lewis McFate
Director of Tradecraft and Innovation, Institute for the Study of War
Jessica Lewis McFate is the director of tradecraft and innovation at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). She joined ISW after eight years of service on active duty as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. Her military career includes 34 months deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, where she provided intelligence support to tactical, operational, and theater commands. She has twice been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for her impact upon operations. She is the author of The ISIS Defense in Iraq and Syria: Countering an Adaptive Enemy, The Islamic State of Iraq Returns to Diyala, Al-Qaeda in Iraq Resurgent, and Al-Qaeda in Iraq Resurgent, Part II. She has also authored several of ISW's Iraq Updates including, “The ISIS Battle Plan for Baghdad.” McFate's has made frequent appearances on both television and radio programs, including Fox News, CNN, Al-Jazeera America, BBC, Voice of America, National Public Radio, and Wall Street Journal Live.
Senior Future of War Fellow, New America Foundation
Douglas A. Ollivant is a managing partner and the senior vice president of Mantid International, LLC, a global strategic consulting firm with offices in Washington, Beirut, Baghdad, Hilla, and Basra. He is also a senior fellow at the Future of War project at New America. A retired Army officer, his last assignment in government was as director for Iraq at the National Security Council during both the Bush and Obama administrations. Ollivant spent one year in Afghanistan as the senior counterinsurgency advisor to the commander, Regional Command-East. Prior to his posting at the White House, Ollivant served in Iraq as the chief of plans for Multi-National Division Baghdad in 2006-2007, during which he led the team that designed the U.S. and coalition portion of Baghdad Security Plan, what later became known as the "Surge." He spent an earlier Iraq tour in 2004-2005 in Baghdad, Najaf, and Fallujah. He also taught politics at the United States Military Academy at West Point for three years.
Paul Salem (Moderator)
Vice President for Policy and Research, MEI
Paul Salem is vice president for policy and research at The Middle East Institute. He focuses on issues of political change, transition, and conflict as well as the regional and international relations of the Middle East. He has a particular emphasis on the countries of the Levant and Egypt. Salem writes regularly in the Arab and Western press and has been published in numerous journals and newspapers. Salem is the author of a number of books and reports including Bitter Legacy: Ideology and Politics in the Arab World (1994), Conflict Resolution in the Arab World (ed., 1997), Broken Orders: The Causes and Consequences of the Arab Uprisings (In Arabic, 2013), “The Recurring Rise and Fall of Political Islam” (CSIS, 2015), “The Middle East in 2015 and Beyond: Trends and Drivers” (MEI 2014). Prior to joining MEI, Salem was the founding director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon between 2006 and 2013. From 1999 to 2006, he was director of the Fares Foundation and in 1989-1999 founded and directed the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanon's leading public policy think tank.