Who we are

Alastair Crooke
Director and Founder of Conflicts Forum based in Beirut. He was formerly advisor on Middle East issues to Javier Solana, the EU Foreign Policy Chief. He also was a staff member of Senator George Mitchell’s Fact Finding Committee that inquired into the causes of the Intifada (2000-2001) and was adviser to the International Quartet. He facilitated various ceasefires in the Occupied Territories and the withdrawal of occupying forces on 2 occasions. Alastair has had 20 years’ experience working with Islamist movements, and has extensive experience working with movements such as Hamas, Hezbollah and other Islamist movements in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East. He is a member of the UN’s Alliance of Civilization’s Global Experts. His book, Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution was published in February 2009 and he is a frequent contributor in the international press, both writing articles and TV and radio commentary.

Policy Associate (Sabbatical Position)
Sayyed Mohamed Marandi

Projects Co-ordinator
Aisling Byrne

Projects Officer
Yousra Samaha

Board of Advisers

Tom Clark is a political activist in the UK and is involved in various projects related to Palestine/Israel. Tom Clark is CF’s Treasurer.

Faisal Devji is Reader in Indian History at St Antony’s College, the University of Oxford. He has held faculty positions at the New School in New York, Yale University and the University of Chicago, from where he also received his PhD in Intellectual History. Devji was Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University, and is an Institute of Public Knowledge Scholar at New York University. He sits on the editorial board of the journals Modern Intellectual History, Humanity and South Asian History and Culture. Devji is the author of two books, Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity (2005), and The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics (2008), and one forthcoming called The Impossible Indian: Gandhi and the Temptation of Violence.

Graham Fuller is a former CIA station chief in Kabul and former vice-chair of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council. He is author of numerous books on the Middle East, including The Future of Political Islam. His latest book is A World without Islam (2011).

Ronnie Kasrils is former South African Minister of Intelligence, a former member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee and the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party. He was a founding member of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and served on the African National Congress’s Politico-Military Council. He also previously served as Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry and Deputy Minister of Defence.

Hillary Mann Leverett is CEO of Strategic Energy and Global Analysis (STRATEGA), a political risk consultancy. She also teaches at the American University in Washington, with a visiting affiliation to Peking University. In the George W Bush Administration, she worked as Director for Iran, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Affairs at the US National Security Council, Middle East expert on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and Political Advisor for Middle East, Central Asian and African issues at the US Mission to the United Nations. From 2001-2003, she was one of a small number of US diplomats authorized to negotiate with the Iranians over Afghanistan, al-Qa’ida and Iraq. In the Clinton Administration, Hillary Mann Leverett also served as Political Advisor for Middle East, Central Asian and African issues for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Associate Director for Near Eastern Affairs at the National Security Council, and Special Assistant to the Ambassador at the US Embassy in Cairo.

Sayyed Mohammad Marandi is Associate Professor of English Literature, University of Tehran, Iran. He is a regular commentator on various news programs and is currently based with Conflicts Forum in Beirut for a 1-year sabbatical.

Ismail Patel is the Director of Friends of Al-Aqsa in Leicester and is a noted commentator on the Palestinian issue and the status of the Muslim community in Great Britain.

Dr Zeinab As-Saffar is a political commentator and has hosted a number of political programmes with various TV channels in the region. She is also a lecturer at the Lebanese State University.

Salma Yaqoub is a leading political and community activist in the UK. She is leader of the national political Respect party and has been an elected councilor in Birmingham for the past 5 years. She is a trained psychotherapist by background. She has been awarded a number of national awards for her community and political activism, including in 2006, the Lloyds TSB Asian Jewel Award for Public Service Excellence; in 2007, Harper’s Bazaar named her in the top thirty list of ‘woman shaping Britain'; in 2009, the Telegraph included her in the ‘Top 100 Left Wingers'; and in 2009 and 2010, the Times, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Emel Magazine named her as one of the “most prominent Muslim women in British public life”.