Israel-Hamas Conflict and the Abraham Accords: Current Realities and Future Prospects


Hon. Robert Greenway

Ret. Special Forces Officer, Career Public Servant, Director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation

Wednesday, November 15, 2023  |  5:30 - 7:00 PM  |  Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ School of Public Affairs

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On Wednesday, November 15, the Clements Center for National Security, the Alexander Hamilton Society at UT-Austin, the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and the University of Texas Athenaeum hosted “Israel-Hamas Conflict and the Abraham Accords: Current Realities and Future Prospects” with the Honorable Robert Greenway. Dr. Paul Edgar, Interim Executive Director of the Clements Center, served as moderator of the discussion.

Robert Greenway has more than 30 years of experience in public service culminating as the senior U.S. government official responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing U.S. government policy for all the Middle East and North Africa on the National Security Council. Prior to service on the NSC, he served as a Senior Intelligence Officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency and a veteran of the United States Army Special Forces with six combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Following his government service, he established and led the Abraham Accords Peace Institute dedicated to strengthening and expanding the historic agreements. While Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council’s Middle Eastern and North African Affairs Directorate he planned and executed the United States’ most significant economic sanctions since the Cold War as part of a broad strategy for Iran which doubled the sanctions pressure of the previous three administrations in one third the time. He was a principal architect of the historic Abraham Accords. Personally supervised development of a first-ever presidentially approved strategies for Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Israel, and established the first national level efficacy and assessment process to quantify outcomes and measure progress toward strategic objectives. He was instrumental in the removal of the world’s most dangerous terrorist leaders greatly improving regional stability and safety. He coordinated the implementation of a comprehensive strategy with a broad international coalition to defeat ISIS resulting in the liberation of the 20,000 square miles of territory it controlled, and the elimination of its leadership in Syria and Iraq. Before being assigned to the NSC, he served at the Defense Intelligence Agency as a Senior Intelligence Officer in U.S. Central Command. While assigned to USCENTCOM he deployed twice to Afghanistan as the Senior Intelligence Analyst for the Commander, Special Operations Joint Task Force from 2013-2014, and as Senior Intelligence Advisor for the Commander International Security Assistance Forces in 2011 he identified new approaches to mapping bulk financial transactions using big data to identify illicit activity enabling legal action against global illicit trade networks for which he was awarded the David Rist Prize for research contributing to the forfeiture or seizure of hundreds of millions dollars in illicit funds. Greenway retired from active duty prior to joining the DIA having commanded Special Forces units at every level from Team through Battalion. In October 2001 he deployed in support of Operation Relentless Pursuit and Enduring Freedom I while assigned to an Army Special Mission Unit. He deployed again in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in 2003 and 2004 where his duties included establishing the Iraqi Counterterrorism Force. Greenway was selected by the Deputy Secretary of Defense to report on the status of the Iraqi Insurgency before serving as a Counterterrorism Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. Following his service at the Pentagon, he exercised daily control over the Special Forces Assessment, Selection, and Qualification Courses from 2008 until retiring in July 2010 where he realigned the military’s most complex training process allowing unprecedented expansion of high-demand Special Forces without compromise in quality. Greenway holds a bachelor’s degree from the Virginia Military Institute and a master’s degree with honors from Webster University. He has received numerous civilian and military awards and decorations.

Paul Edgar is the Interim Executive Director of the William P. Clements, Jr. Center for National Security at the University of Texas-Austin. He holds a PhD in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of Texas and studies the historical origins of diplomacy, war, and strategy in pre-classical antiquity. He is also a philologist of several ancient languages. As a graduate student, he was a fellow in the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Engaged Scholar Program and also with the Clements Center. Prior to beginning work on his PhD, Paul had been an Olmsted Foundation Scholar at Tel Aviv University where he studied for his master’s degree, focusing on early Israelite and Jewish literature from the Iron Age through the Crusades. Previously, Paul earned his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Saint Mary’s University. His public writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, Task & Purpose, and Capital Commentary. He is currently finishing his first book, an international diplomatic history of the Late Bronze Age. Before entering academia, Paul served more than 22 years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, beginning as a platoon leader in Korea and then in the 75th Ranger Regiment. He commanded an airborne company in Vicenza, Italy, deploying in support of numerous contingency and training operations throughout Europe and North Africa. He first deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom I in the capacity of security advisor to Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Scott Redd in the Coalition Provisional Authority. Paul returned to Iraq during the 2006-2007 surge, serving as an infantry battalion operations and executive officer, conducting counterinsurgency and combat operations in both Fallujah and South Babil Province. In 2008-2009, as an infantry brigade operations officer, he deployed to Afghanistan and conducted counterinsurgency operations in Paktika, Paktia, and Khost provinces.

For more information on this event, contact Elizabeth Doughtie at [email protected].

View photos from the event here.