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Liz.Wagner@francona.net | (541) 366-8015



Rick's excerpts at a press conference after a recent trip to Egypt:


Rick presenting an argument at an Intelligence Squared-US debate:


with Egyptian President
'Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi

with Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu

Combat operations, covert action, clandestine intelligence missions, diplomatic assignments...

Rick Francona brings over twenty-five years of political-military experience in the Middle East to his analysis of the challenges for American foreign policy in this volatile yet critical region.

Presentation Topics

1 – Intelligence 101
Covert action, clandestine operations, running spies! A primer on the US intelligence community from a career intelligence officer - who does what, and what they don't/can’t do, culminating in an audience-participation case study. Facts punctuated with on-the-ground personal experience. Come play spy!

2 – "Drawing Lines on Maps" – Dismantling of the Ottoman Empire
Created after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the modern countries of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Israel have been in the news ever since. Created and shaped by outside powers with geopolitical intrigue and back-room deals, these states continue to have a direct impact on the geopolitics of the day.

3 – Middle East - Understanding Cultures and Religions
This region is a very diverse collection of cultures, ethnic groups, and languages, as well as home to three of the world's great religions.  Christianity and Islam comprise over half of the world's population.  At times, these disparate groups coexist peacefully if not amicably, and at times confront each other politically, economically, and even militarily.

4 – Chasing Demons: My Hunt for War Criminals in the Balkans
Dissatisfied with the Bosnian Serb government’s refusal to arrest war criminals, the US deployed special operations teams to Bosnia to hunt down a group of dangerous men accused of crimes against humanity. The orders were simple: find them and detain them - carrying out the orders was not. Colonel Francona led one of those teams.

5 – The Other Tap – Water in the Middle East
We all studied the Nile, Jordan, Tigris, and Euphrates rivers in geography class and learned about the "cradle of civilization" around them. Just as access to oil is a political and foreign policy issue for the West, access to water resources in the Middle East is a major national security concern for countries in the region.