The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is pleased to announce it will convene the inaugural meeting of the Congressionally mandated bipartisan Syria Study Group (SSG) on February 28. The distinguished members of this 12-person study group and its co-chairs, Michael Singh and Dana Stroul, as nominated by members of Congress, include:

  • Mr. Michael Singh, Co-Chair
    Managing Director, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Ms. Dana Stroul, Co-Chair
    Senior Fellow, Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • LTG Charles Cleveland (U.S. Army, Ret.)
    Adjunct, RAND Corporation
  • Ms. Melissa Dalton
    Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Ambassador Frederic Hof
    Diplomat in Residence, Bard College
  • Dr. Kimberly Kagan
    Founder and President, Institute for the Study of War
  • Dr. Mara Karlin
    Director of Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
    Nonresident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
  • The Honorable Mark Kirk
    Senior Advisor, United Against a Nuclear Iran
  • Ambassador Anne Patterson
    Kissinger Senior Fellow, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale
  • Dr. Dafna Rand
    Vice President for Policy and Research, Mercy Corps
  • Mr. Vance Serchuk
    Executive Director, KKR Global Institute
  • Mr. Christopher Tuttle
    Managing Director of the Washington program and the Task Force program, Council on Foreign Relations

“We are honored to facilitate the work of the Syria Study Group at the request of Congress,” said USIP President Nancy Lindborg. “As the Syrian conflict marks the end of its eighth year, it continues to be a devastating humanitarian tragedy and a source of regional instability. The group will aim to deepen our understanding of this deeply complex conflict and identify U.S. policy options for the way forward.”

“For too long, the United States has lacked an overarching strategy to respond to the tragic civil war in Syria, which is why I’m very pleased that the Syria Study Group will soon begin its critical work,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “Now more than ever, we need a thorough and independent top-to-bottom review of U.S. policy in Syria. I’m very grateful for the willingness of the distinguished experts to serve on this panel and for the help of bipartisan congressional leadership, including the late Senator John McCain, who helped shepherd this provision through the Senate. I believe that having a strategy at long last will be a great testament to Senator McCain’s legacy, and I look forward to reviewing the group’s recommendations.”

The SSG was created to make recommendations on the military and diplomatic strategy of the United States regarding the conflict in Syria. The deliberations of the group will include extensive consultations from key experts and stakeholders.

Mona Yacoubian, senior advisor for Syria, the Middle East and North Africa at USIP, will serve as the executive director of the Syria Study Group. USIP was named as the facilitator of the SSG because of its recognized expertise in facilitating congressionally mandated bipartisan studies. The Institute is also currently serving as facilitator of the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States. USIP previously facilitated the 2010 and 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) panels, the 2018 National Defense Strategy Commission, and the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, in addition to serving as the lead facilitator of the 2006 Iraq Study Group.

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