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Dominique de Villepin: “Choose weapons of peace over the rhetoric of war to eliminate Islamist violence”

Writing in the Financial Times, former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Dominique de Villepin argues that the West has to do what it takes to eliminate Islamist violence.

Following the barbaric murder of Alan Henning, Dominique believes there is a fresh call for more efficiency in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). However, with reference to the on-going global war on terror, he points out that there is “confusion over what is said, what is done and what is wished.” He goes on to say that “40 years inconsistent policies, especially in Washington, have fuelled war between nationalist dictatorships and Islamist movements.”

Dominique asserts that “we cannot afford an endless war of fragile truces punctuated by brutal outbursts that leads, little by little, to a clash of civilisations.” In response, he sets out three imperatives as a core strategy to achieve the elimination of Islamist violence:

  1. The key strategy remains political, and requires the unity of the Arab nation states.
  2. The second imperative is responsibility: the regional war can only be solved by the region’s countries.
  3. The third imperative is reconciliation. In the Middle East, the West needs to promote local peace, in one place at a time, to achieve a regional peace tomorrow.

Click here to read the full article.

For more information on how to book Dominique de Villepin as a speaker for your conference or client event, please contact Alex Hickman at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8004.

Containing ISIS: Guidance from expert speaker Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross speakerWriting in the LA Times, Dennis Ross, expert speaker on geopolitics and one of America’s foremost foreign policy experts on the Middle East region, warns that Washington’s actions toward ISIS now must be taken with both Iraq and Syria in mind.

Dennis explains that the calculus that guided the U.S. in Iraq and Syria was fear over the costs of action, which led Washington to ignore the costs of inaction. He argues that sanctions, a political process and humanitarian assistance did not affect reality in Syria, and that today we are seeing the cost in terms of spillover in the region, and the consequences of radical Islamists coming to dominate the opposition.

He goes on to say that “there is no border between Syria and Iraq, and the re-emergence of a terrible sectarian conflict in Iraq is inextricably linked to Syria. There will be no effective or enduring answer to the ISIS threat in Iraq without also taking steps in Syria to deny it a sanctuary and a recruiting base.”

Dennis argues that “there will be risks to acting, but by now we have seen the costs of inaction — and they are only likely to grow over time.” The military and diplomatic steps that President Obama has ordered reflect the U.S. need to prevent ISIS from embedding itself in more of Iraq. Whether they will work, Dennis adds, is another matter.

Click here to read the full article.

To book Dennis as a speaker, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk, at or on 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

John Hulsman on what Syria means for the US-UK relationship

John HulsmanJohn Hulsman, the German-based political risk analyst has an interesting piece in City AM on how the US-UK relationship may be evolving.

Writing in City A.M., John argues that the British Parliament’s refusal to endorse David cameron’s participation in a US-led air strike on Syria might be the beginning of a more sustainable, and fruitful, relationship between the two old allies. “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. Far from being the end, the British “no” over Syria offers a better model, where Britain, by not coming along as expected, forced America to think again. Now that’s influence.”

To read the article in full, click here.

Dennis Ross on Syria’s role in Israeli-Turkish relations

A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, Ambassador Dennis Ross is particularly well-known for his roles as foreign policy advisor to Clinton and Obama. He has recently co-written an interesting article with Moran Stern, a Lecturer on Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University and at American University’s Centre for Israel Studies.

Drawing on their areas of expertise, Dennis and Moran explore how past and current developments in Syria have affected Israeli-Turkish relations and suggest ways in which the two countries could reinstate their deep strategic cooperation.

In the 1990s Turkey and Israel had a particularly close and fruitful relationship, which weakened and fizzled out in the following years. Now Syria’s civil war has “posed a new set of challenges and opportunities for renewed Israeli-Turkish ties.” Dennis and Moran suggest that because the two countries have shared interests on Syria this may well encourage their cooperation on security, economic and humanitarian issues.

Using historical analysis the authors “attempt to explain the evolution of Israeli- Turkish relations through the prism of Syria” with the belief that understanding the background of this situation is key to developing a stable post-war Syria.

Click here to read the article in full

To find out more about Dennis Ross, or to book him as a geopolitical speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

Listen to Dennis Ross on BBC Radio 4’s Today show discussing his fears for Syria

Ambassador Dennis Ross, former foreign policy advisor to Presidents Clinton and Obama, has over 12 years of experience shaping US involvement with Middle East peace processes. He spoke to Sarah Montague on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ news and current affairs show this morning about Palestine and Israel and his fears for Syria.

Following the news that Palestinian leaders are considering restarting a peace treaty with Israel after the EU decision to stop funding to Israeli projects, Dennis gave his opinion on both matters.  He revealed that he thinks the EU decision is a mistake and suggested that the Secretary of State must believe that there is a real possibility of achieving meaningful negotiation with Israel to even contemplate the move.

When questioned on whether the US should be more engaged with Syria, Dennis said he would like to see an approach that aims to change the balance of power on the ground and supports those in the opposition who are committed to a nonsectarian Syria.

Click here to listen to the clip in full (approx. 2 hours 34 minutes in)

To find out more about Dennis Ross, or to book him as a geopolitical speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

Gideon Rachman on the “undoing of Obama’s grand strategy”

Another fascinating article by Gideon Rachman in today’s FT on the potential “undoing of Obama’s grand strategy” with the situation in Syria. It seems Obama cannot win – by being cautious to get actively involved with a Syria conflict Obama faces being portrayed as weak, yet if he does step in “it will be a clear reversal of the grand strategy formed during his first term.”

Discussing the US’s planned “pivot to Asia” and the contest for power and influence between the US and China, Gideon wonders: “perhaps Mr Assad will do China another favour – drawing America ever deeper into the Middle Eastern morass.”

To read the article in full click here.

To find out more about Gideon Rachman, or to book him as a speaker or moderator for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

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