FDD and the Brookings Institution hosted a panel to discuss the new details on Operation Tidal Wave II, which played a disproportionate role in the destruction of the Islamic State’s finances, is former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL and president of the Brookings Institution Gen (ret.) John Allen; former State Department official and FDD Senior Fellow David Asher; and retired three-star general and former commander of the coalition against ISIS in Syria and Iraq LTG (ret.) Sean MacFarland. The conversation was moderated by Nancy Youssef, national security correspondent at The Wall Street Journal.
Gen (ret.) John Allen is the president of the Brookings Institution. He is a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. For 15 months as senior advisor to the secretary of defense on Middle East Security, he led the security dialogue for the Israeli/Palestinian peace process. President Obama then appointed him as special presidential envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. His diplomatic efforts grew the coalition to 65 members, effectively halting the expansion of ISIL. In recognition of this work, he was presented the Department of State Distinguished Honor Award by Secretary John Kerry and the Director of National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Award by Director James Clapper. He has served in a variety of command and staff positions, commanding 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013. During his tenure as ISAF commander, he recovered the 33,000 U.S. surge forces, moved the Afghan National Security Forces into the lead for combat operations, and pivoted NATO forces from being a conventional combat force into an advisory command.
David Asher is a senior fellow at FDD and on the board of advisors of FDD’s Center on Economic and Financial Power. He is well known as one of the most experienced subject matter experts to the U.S. Government on countering money laundering, terrorism financing and sanctions evasion schemes. From 2008-2010 he advised the Deputy Commander, US CENTCOM, General John Allen, on Iran-Hezbollah economic pressure strategy as well as on sensitive counter- proliferation and counter terrorism programs and operations. From 2010-2014, he served as a senior advisor to the US Special Operations Command for counter threat finance and counter network operations. From October 2014-August 2015 he returned to the Department of State where he led the development of the USG and coalition economic Warfare Campaign Strategy against the Islamic State, under the Presidential Special Envoy, General (ret.) John Allen. This interagency and international campaign later became known as Operation Tidal Wave II.
LTG (ret.) Sean MacFarland has served in armor and cavalry units at every echelon from a cavalry platoon of 42 Troopers to an armored corps of over 100,000 Soldiers. He spent 14 years in Germany and has been deployed multiple times to the Balkans, the Middle East and Afghanistan. As the principal architect of the 2015-2016 Operation Inherent Resolve campaign to destroy ISIS, he broke the stalemate and recaptured over 40% of the enemy’s territory. Concurrently, he forged key relationships with the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the Iraqi Prime Minister, and other senior regional military and political leaders. As a brigade commander in Ramadi, Iraq, he is credited with fostering the Sunni Arab “Awakening” movement, which was instrumental turning the tide of the war.
Nancy Youssef is a national security correspondent at the Wall Street Journal. She previously was a national security correspondent with BuzzFeed News, a Senior National Security Correspondent for The Daily Beast, and National Security Correspondent and Middle East Bureau Chief based in Cairo with McClatchy Newspapers. Prior to that, she was McClatchy’s chief Pentagon correspondent, focusing on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before covering the Pentagon, she spent four years covering the Iraq war, including as Baghdad bureau chief. She reported from Iraq and Jordan, covering the Iraq war from the time leading up to it through the post-war period. She has won several awards for her work, including the University of Virginia’s Lawrence Hall Award for Distinguished Journalism covering the Middle East.