Abizaid warns against 'religious-inspired extremism'

9/11/2007 7:00:00 AM

The Northern Nevada International Center kicked off the fall speaker series Friday, September 7, in the Harrah's convention center with General John Abizaid to speak on the "The Global War on Terror." General Abizaid commented on the current situation in the Middle East and what strategies he believes will alleviate the problems in that area.

The NNIC invited General Abizaid, a Gardnerville, Nevada resident, to speak on the war in Iraq, a currently significant issue that will only become more important as the 2008 presidential elections approach. Carrina Black, NNIC project director, believes that General Abizaid will be able to share his expertise on the current circumstances.

"It gives us a chance to hear from an insider what he thinks about the troop surge and the current situation," Black said.

Black hopes that General Abizaid's presentation will help people understand the war in Iraq and cultivate an opinion on the issue.

"I hope the presentation will generate increased discussion about what our role in Iraq is," Black said. "The purpose of the speech is for people to become engaged in foreign policy."

Black also encourages University students to attend the speaker series and become involved in foreign policy. She believes interaction and education in policy, both national and international, is crucial to the student's college careers.

"The college experience should be beyond the classroom and more comprehensive," Black said. "The campus should be a place for energetic and relevant discussions of current issues."

General Abizaid spoke about four main issues that are affecting the Middle East region including Sunni extremism, Shia extremism, the Arab-Israeli conflict and issues regarding the continued alliance of oil-producing countries to keep the global economy booming.

He believes these four issues will dictate that any 2008 presidential contender will not be able to walk away from this situation in the Middle East because of their importance.

"The idea that we can turn our backs on it will make candidates on both sides sharpen their rhetoric in the way that gives them the opportunity, that if elected, they can deal with these things," General Abizaid said.

General Abizaid touched on the fact that even though Bin Laden was successful in killing three thousand United States citizens, it still isn't enough for the U.S. to have 250 thousand Americans fighting the war in that region.

"The United States' most important strategic goal is to prevent religious inspired extremism from gaining ascendancy which strengthens moderate and secular institutions," General Abizaid said.

General Abizaid has an extensive military career. He formerly served as the Commanding General of the United States Central Command. He was responsible for military operations in 27 countries, including Iraq, Ethiopia and Afghanistan. General Abizaid has also served as the Director of Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff, the Commanding General in the 82nd Airborne, the first Infantry Division in Kosovo and the Commandant at West Point.

The Northern Nevada International Center has been fostering knowledge in current international issues by hosting events and presentations for five years. The Center invites world-renown experts on international issues to speak and inform northern Nevada residents on the most significant topics today.


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