Region in Conflict: The Military and Security Balance in the Middle East

June 21, 2016
9:00 am -

For some years now, the broader Middle East has been the bloodiest region of the world. Multiple and ongoing conflicts throughout much of the region present critical security challenges for the United States, its allies and its partners – as does Russia’s intervention in Syria and Iran’s continuing ballistic missile program. Negotiations on a new 10-year security package to maintain Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge are underway, as are unprecedentedly large weapons sales to the Gulf states. How is the military balance in the Middle East changing? What steps should Washington consider in the face hostile state and non-state actors?

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies hosted breakfast and conversations on these and related questions. The forum discussed the role Washington can play and showcase FDD’s research tool, www.MilitaryEdge.org, which helps policymakers and analysts assess evolving military capabilities and the shifting balance of forces.

The event was divided into two timely panels—the first discussed the current Middle East arms race and the regional balance of power, featuring FDD’s John Cappello, Brookings’ Michael O’Hanlon, FDD’s Michael Waltz, moderated by Michael Gordon.

The second panel dove deep into the issues of how to maintain Israel’s QME. We heard from former administration officials from both sides of the aisle: Derek Chollet, Mary Beth Long, and Andrew Shapiro, as well as FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer. Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber moderated.