November 21, 2017 — New York
An AJC leadership delegation concluded nine days of consultations with senior government officials, policy analysts, business leaders, high-ranking military officers, U.S. diplomats, journalists and other interlocutors in several Arabian Gulf states. The group’s talks continued a quarter-century-plus tradition of information-gathering and advocacy across the Middle East.
AJC’s discussions in the region were generally off the record – but the Kingdom of Bahrain released photos and information on the delegation’s meetings with the Deputy Prime Minister, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, and the Interior Minister, Lt. Gen. Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, to the local press and posted descriptions of the meetings on government websites.
“With Iranian aggression mounting across the Middle East, Gulf unity unraveling, the battle against ISIS and other jihadists entering a new phase, perceptions of U.S. understanding of Gulf concerns on the upswing, and bold new leadership emerging in Saudi Arabia, AJC is committed to working together with partners in the region in pursuit of common objectives and against common threats,” said Jason Isaacson, AJC Associate Executive Director for Policy, who led the 18-member delegation.
“Ten months into a new U.S. administration, and as Israel increasingly reaches out to its neighbors, it was important for AJC to return to the strategically vital and dynamic Gulf this month to exchange views with longtime contacts and seek ways to jointly combat extremism, confront hostile states, encourage stability and advance peace.” High on the delegation’s agenda were the urgency of maintaining close U.S. diplomatic, strategic and economic links with Gulf partners, the future of the Iran nuclear deal and means to counter Tehran’s destabilizing efforts from the Levant to North Africa and on the Arabian Peninsula; effective strategies to thwart Islamist recruitment and diminish extremists’ popular appeal; and the promotion of Arab-Israeli and Muslim-Jewish understanding and cooperation.
As it does continuously with leaders in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, AJC engages in ongoing dialogue with key figures in Middle Eastern and North African states on matters of regional security and stability, and ways to advance regional and global peace, defeat extremist and other threats, and affirm U.S. leadership to advance American and allied interests and values.