Greater Middle East Diplomacy Update for September 12th, 2011
Greater Middle East Diplomacy Update for September 12, 2011
“Wars make poor chisels for carving peaceful tomorrows.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
10 Years Later
This week, we at FCNL are reflecting on the decade since the events of 9/11/2001. After a decade of war, escalated global conflict, and increased worldwide instability, we find ourselves reflecting on what should have been done differently. “In times of fear and confusion, revenge feels like a simple answer” writes program assistant Kathy Zager. When recounting where he was on 9/11, former Executive Secretary Joe Volk writes that FCNL will continue to send the message to “the U.S. foreign policy establishment in Washington: War is not the answer, and peace is possible through peaceful means.”
Read more staff perspectives here.
Afghanistan Trip Report Back
Matt Southworth traveled to Afghanistan this summer with a delegation of eight, including congressional staff, media and representatives of non-governmental organizations. The trip, which Matt organized, was enlightening in many ways; I returned with a true sense of urgency conveyed by those he spoke with regarding the need for a policy change in Afghanistan. “Without swift, decisive action by the Obama administration and Congress, it’s hard to imagine a peaceful transition in Afghanistan at anytime, be it 2014 or 2024." A policy change must refocus on the political and economic elements of the over all Afghanistan strategy.
Mideast Nonviolence Offers Lessons for Washington
With the protests in Syria continuing in the face of brutal repression and the upcoming Palestinian initiative to seek U.N. recognition for an independent state, Washington has a lot to learn from the Middle East about the power of nonviolence. The Syrian Local Coordinating Committees (LCC), the umbrella grassroots network of young opposition activists in Syria, has issued a powerful statement against international military intervention and armed revolt that clearly has the Washington audience in mind.
The Palestinian political leadership is again preparing to make their case for independence to the world—this time not only in street demonstrations, but also at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly meeting, in a bid for U.N. membership.
For more on the nonviolent approach employed by Syrian protesters and the Palestinian political leadership, see this blog post from FCNL’s Kate Gould.
Program and Staffing Transition
FCNL’s Foreign Policy team has undergone some exciting changes this summer. We are pleased to welcome Kate Gould back to FCNL as a Foreign Policy Legislative Associate. Kate Gould, Matt Southworth, and Program Assistant Kathy Zager now make up the Greater Middle East Diplomacy portion of the Foreign Policy Team, under the supervision of Bridget Moix. Kate will be working primarily on matters relating to Israel/Palestine, Iran, and other Middle East issues, and Matt will continue working on policy issues relating to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. This arrangement represents a broadening of FCNL’s program area capacity.