Retired Gen. John Abizaid speaks in Jacksonville on American role in fight against ISIS


The former US military commander in the Middle East is appearing in North Florida this week and giving his insights on how world powers should respond to the deadly attacks in Paris from the Islamic State.

John Abizaid, the retired U.S. Army general who served as U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) commander from 2003-2007, will speak Tuesday evening on the UNF campus in a talk entitled “What Should We Be Concerned About?” hosted by the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville. The event is sold out.

That title seems almost comically quaint after the horror of Paris.

Indeed, in an appearance last month at Duke University, Abizaid said stability in the region depends on a more significant role from the United States.

“I don’t want my grandkids to fight in the Middle East. But I don’t see how there will be a better future without an American role.”

However, he added military power will only buy time for a long-term political solution.

Abizaid, a West Point and Harvard graduate of Arab descentalso appeared at a Monday JAX Chamber military appreciation luncheon.

Melissa Ross

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at [email protected]


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