The Foundation for Defense of Democracies hosted a conversation on the issue of compliance with regard to Syria and Iran, featuring remarks by Dr. Yleem D.S. Poblete, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. A panel discussion followed with experts Orde Kittrie, Senior Fellow at FDD and a leading expert on nonproliferation law and Iran sanctions policy, Valerie Lincy, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control and Andrew J. Tabler, Martin J. Gross Fellow in the Geduld Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute. The panel was moderated by Mark Dubowitz, Chief Executive at FDD.
Found in noncompliance with international safeguards in 2011 by the IAEA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad succumbed to external pressure to declare his arsenal to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013. However, at least 50 chemical weapons attacks have continued in Syria. How have the United States and other responsible nations responded? Meanwhile, the U.S. has outlined an aggressive policy towards Iran to counter the regime’s destabilizing activities in the region, block its financing of terror, and address its proliferation of missiles and other advanced weapons systems that threaten peace and stability. Present difficulties include noncompliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Iran’s ballistic missile programs. How will the United States and its allies address these ongoing threats?
Dr. Yleem D.S. Poblete was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance on April 30, 2018. Dr. Poblete joins the State Department after a distinguished career in public service that includes several U.S. government posts at the Department of State, the White House as well as over two decades in the U.S. House of Representatives, mostly on the Committee on Foreign Affairs where she rose to the top leadership post of Chief of Staff. During her tenure on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Dr. Poblete worked on virtually every regional and functional issue and spearheaded scores of legislative efforts to advance a range of U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities, including laws designed to counter proliferation, to hold violators accountable, and to compel the disarmament of rogue states such as Iran, North Korea, and Syria. After leaving Congressional service, policymakers on both sides of the aisle continued to seek her advice on current and emerging national security challenges. She is a skillful negotiator with an accomplished record of success in advancing the U.S. agenda at international fora. Dr. Poblete’s diverse, interdisciplinary experience extends into academia, think tank research and analysis, and strategic consulting. She has been a recurring guest lecturer at various institutions, including the National Intelligence University, and a presenter at foreign policy conferences.
Mark Dubowitz is the Chief Executive at FDD and is an expert on Iran’s nuclear program and global threats network, and is widely recognized as one of the key influencers in shaping sanctions policies to counter the threats from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mark has advised the Trump, Obama, and Bush administrations and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on Iran issues and has testified more than twenty times before the U.S. Congress and foreign legislatures. Mark heads FDD’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance and is the author or co-author of over twenty studies on economic sanctions and Iran’s nuclear program.
Orde Kittrie is a Senior Fellow at FDD and a tenured professor of law and Washington, D.C. program director at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He is a leading expert on nonproliferation law and policy with a focus on Iran sanctions, and an expert on international law, particularly as it relates to the Middle East. Orde is the author of Lawfare: Law as a Weapon of War (Oxford University Press, 2016). Prior to entering academia, Orde served for eleven years at the Department of State, where he received the department’s Superior Honor Award and its Meritorious Honor Award. As the department’s lead nuclear affairs attorney, Orde helped negotiate five U.S.-Russia nuclear agreements and a UN treaty to combat nuclear terrorism.
Valerie Lincy is Executive Director of the Wisconsin Project. She oversees the Project’s Risk Report database and Iran Watch website. She provides export control training as head of the Risk Report team that visits foreign countries. As the editor and principal investigator for Iran Watch, she bears the main responsibility for building, populating and maintaining the website, as well as writing articles for publication, organizing and presiding at roundtable discussions, and conducting associated research.
Andrew J. Tabler is the Martin J. Gross Fellow in the Geduld Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute where he focuses on Syria and U.S. Policy in the Levant. Andrew achieved unparalleled long-term access to Bashar al-Assad’s Syria. During fourteen years of residence in the Middle East, Andrew served as co-founder and editor-in-chief of Syria Today, Syria’s first private-sector English-language magazine; as consultant on U.S.-Syria relations for the International Crisis Group (2008); and as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs (2005-2007), writing on Syrian, Lebanese, and Middle Eastern affairs. Following his graduate work in Cairo, Egypt, Andrew held editorships with the Middle East Times and Cairo Times, where he focused on Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, before becoming senior editor and director of editorial for the Oxford Business Group (OBG). In 2011, Andrew personally oversaw with OGB the first comprehensive English-language report on Syria in more than thirty years. Andrew has lived, worked, and studied extensively in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. Andrew has interviewed Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad, the late Israeli president Shimon Peres, the late Palestinian president Tasser Arafat, slain Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, and former Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora and Saad Hariri. His articles and opinion pieces on Middle East affairs and U.S. foreign policy have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Affairs. He has also appeared in interviews with CNN, NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, and the BBC. Andrew is the author of “Syria’s Collapse and How Washington Can Stop It,” (Foreign Affairs, July-August 2013) and the 2011 book, “In the Lion’s Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington’s Battle with Syria” (Lawrence Hill Books).