Iranian Hegemony in the Levant and Beyond

March 6, 2015
9:30 am -

Implications for U.S. Policy and the Campaign Against the Islamic State

The Islamic Republic of Iran now has a firm grasp on four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, and Sana‘a. Iran has used its assets—Hezbollah and Iraq’s Shiite militias—to extend its reach and entrench its influence.

How does the Obama administration view Iran’s ambitions? What assumptions are guiding White House policy towards Iran and the broader region?  How should the U.S. view Iran’s military efforts in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State?

Please join us for a conversation with Tony Badran, Michael Doran, and Michael Ledeen to explore these and related questions.

Tony Badran is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. His research focuses on Lebanon, Syria and Hezbollah, including 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. Mr. Badran has testified before the House of Representatives and the European Parliament and speaks frequently at leading policy research institutes. Mr. Badran’s writings appear regularly in a range of publications including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and The Weekly Standard. He also writes a weekly commentary for NOW, a news site that covers the Middle East, with a focus on Lebanese and Syrian affairs.

Michael Doran is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. He was previously a Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. 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. He has been a visiting professor at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and taught at the University of Central Florida.

Dr. Michael Ledeen is a freedom fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is an internationally renowned scholar, whose ideas and insights on the workings of the Iranian government have been a critical part of the policy discussion for decades. He is a highly regarded expert on Iran’s Green Movement and maintains close ties to opposition groups inside Iran. His scholarship on Iraq, terrorism and international security have been sought after by those in and out of government and the intelligence community, the media and policy influencers. He is a contributor to The Hill and a contributing editor at National Review Online. Previously, Dr. Ledeen served as a consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Defense Department.  He has also served as a special adviser to the Secretary of State.

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst, and a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. In 1984, Ms. Charen joined the White House staff, serving first as Nancy Reagan’s speechwriter and later as Associate Director of the Office of Public Liaison. In 1986, she joined Jack Kemp’s presidential campaign as a speechwriter. She launched her syndicated column in 1987. She spent six years as a regular commentator on CNN’s Capital Gang and Capital Gang Sunday, and has served as a judge of the Pulitzer Prizes. In 2010, she received the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism.