The Middle East Institute is pleased to host Rob Malley, Ghaith al-Omari and Mark Perry for a discussion about Hamas and the impact of shifting regional dynamics on the organization's domestic political and foreign policy calculations. Panelists will examine how the reverberations from last year's Arab Awakening, including the resulting unrest in Syria and the rise to power in Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood, are re-shaping Hamas' relations with its patrons Iran and Syria, its rival, Fatah, and even the dynamics inside the organization itself.
Robert Malley is an American lawyer, political scientist and specialist in conflict resolution. He is currently the program director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group in Washington, DC, and directs a group of analysts in a number of Arab cities covering events from Iran to Morocco, with a particular focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the situation in Iraq, and Islamist movements throughout the region. He was director for Democracy, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Affairs before serving as assistant to national security advisor Sandy Berger from 1996-1998. He served as a special assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs from 1998-2001, and helped to organize the 2000 Camp David Summit. He is also the author of The Call From Algeria, Third Worldism, Revolution, and the Turn to Islam, which charts Algeria's political history.
Ghaith al-Omari is executive director at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP). Prior, he served in various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and as advisor to former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. In these capacities, he provided advice on foreign policy and security, especially regarding the U.S. and Israel. He was an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the permanent status negotiations from 1999-2001, participating in various negotiating rounds, most notably the Camp David summit and the Taba talks. After the breakdown of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, he was the lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial model peace agreement negotiated between leading Palestinian and Israeli public figures.
Mark Perry is a military, intelligence and foreign affairs analyst and writer and currently a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center. He was formerly the co-director of the Conflicts Forum, a Washington, D.C., London, and Beirut-based organization that engages the leadership of political Islam in a dialogue with the West, and Perry continues to meet regularly with the leadership of Hamas, Hezbollah and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. His articles have appeared in publications such as The Nation, The Washington Post, Newsday, and The Los Angeles Times, and he has authored eight books, including A Fire In Zion, Inside the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process (William Morrow & Company, 1995), Partners in Command (Penguin Press, 2007) and Talking To Terrorists (Basic Books, 2010).