National Security Center Symposium Will Examine Conflict in the Middle East

From Syria to Afghanistan, Experts Will Offer Insights on Law of War From a Legal and Policy Perspective

Among the military and diplomatic experts who will speak at the conference, Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, will deliver a lunchtime keynote address.

February 15, 2017

The University of Virginia School of Law will host legal experts from academia, the diplomatic community and the defense community at a conference March 2 as they assess ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

The Center for National Security Law event, “A Region in Turmoil: Conflicts in the Middle East — Law and Policy,” will cover conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria — including hostilities underway with ISIS — from both a legal and policy perspective.

The conference agenda includes an overview of the religious and political factors contributing to these conflicts and a comprehensive brief by U.S. CENTCOM representatives on the U.S./coalition presence and activities in the region. Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, will deliver the keynote address during a lunch at 11:45 a.m. in Caplin Pavilion, focusing on the strategic aspects of these hostilities.

The conference will also feature two panels, one dealing with the legal characterization of the conflicts at issue and the legal bases for U.S./coalition involvement, and a second panel discussing the numerous law of armed conflict matters to which these conflicts have given rise. 

To attend, register by Friday, Feb. 24. More information can be found on the Center for National Security Law website

A Region in Turmoil: Conflicts in the Middle East — Law and Policy

Thursday, March 2

Events are in Caplin Auditorium except where noted.

7:45 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast
Caplin Auditorium Lobby

8:30 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Risa Goluboff, Dean, University of Virginia School of Law
John Norton Moore, University of Virginia School of Law

8:45 a.m.

Strategic Overview of the Conflict States: Friends, Foes and Bystanders
Jessica Lewis McFate, Institute for the Study of War

10:15 a.m.

Overview of U.S./Coalition Presence/Activity in the Conflict States
Col. Pat Huston, Staff Judge Advocate, U.S. Central Command

11:45 a.m.

Lunch | U.S. Conflict State Policy Considerations
Ambassador Ryan Crocker
Caplin Pavilion

1:15 p.m.

The Middle East Conflicts: Conflict Characterization and the Domestic/International Legal Bases for U.S./Coalition Involvement

  • Moderator: Sean Watts, Creighton University School of Law
  • Eric Jensen, Brigham Young University School of Law
  • Deborah Pearlstein, Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University
  • Ryan Goodman, New York University Law School

3 p.m.

The Middle East Conflicts and the Law of Armed Conflict

  • Moderator: Professor Geoff Corn, South Texas College of Law
  • Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Ken Watkin, Former Judge Advocate General, Canadian Armed Forces
  • Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Rich Gross, Former Legal Counsel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Michael Meier, Office of the Judge Advocate General, Department of the Army

4:30 p.m.

Summary and Concluding Remarks
John Norton Moore, University of Virginia School of Law

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

News Highlights