Friday, December 12, 2014

Amid Hong Kong Protests, China Escalates Mainland Crackdown, Too 

The government of President Xi Jinping is conducting “one of the harshest” Chinese campaigns against civil society and peaceful dissent in the past decade, according to a prominent human rights activist. The campaign has come amid the pro-democracy protests that have roiled Hong Kong since September.

Estonia's Prime Minister: NATO Presence Key to Counter Russia's Provocations 

US forces should remain in Estonia for "as long as needed," since tensions between Russia and the West show no sign of abating, Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas told the Atlantic Council.

Coalition Troops Officially End Combat Mission in Afghanistan Amid Growing Security Concerns 

As US and NATO troops depart Afghanistan, they are taking with them their expertise, hardware, dollars, and jobs – and also leaving behind many questions about the fate of that country's security and economy.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

'The U.S. should be finding ways to engage with Boko Haram' 

Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group that has a foothold in northern Nigeria, has begun to consolidate control over large swathes of territory threatening the stability of Nigeria and its neighbors.
The militants have resorted to using female suicide bombers as they ramp up their fight against the Nigerian government ahead of elections in February. 
Bronwyn E. Bruton, deputy director of the Atlantic Council's Africa Center, attributes Boko Haram's rise to the Nigerian government's failure to deliver good governance and the atrocities committed by Nigerian security forces.

Boko Haram Steps Up Offensive as Nigeria Halts US Military Training Program 

Boko Haram, the African militant group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) over the summer, appears to have borrowed a page from the jihadists' playbook as it unleashes a deadly wave of attacks across northern Nigeria in its quest to carve out an Islamic state rooted in Shariah law.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Obama’s India envoy nominee Verma faces Senate

Indian American Richard Rahul Verma, US President Barack Obama’s nominee to serve as the next US Ambassador to India, faced questions from senators on a range of issues, particularly the future of the civilian nuclear deal, the protection of intellectual property rights, counterterrorism cooperation and gender-based violence.

Iran Nuclear Deal Could Come Before July, Analysts Say 

Iran and six Western powers could reach a deal on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program well before the new July 1 deadline, experts told the Atlantic Council on December 2.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

National Intelligence Council Chairman Calls for More Long-Term Intelligence Work 

Russia's aggressive posture in its neighborhood is an "interesting inflection point in global politics," much like the fall of the Soviet Union in December of 1991 and al Qaeda's attack on the US on September 11, 2001, Gregory F. Treverton, chairman of the US National Intelligence Council, told the Atlantic Council.

"The first time around when the Soviet Union fell we so quickly said, 'Well, that's over,'" Treverton said, adding that as a policy person he had believed at the time that the expansion of NATO following the end of the Cold War was a good thing, but "we probably were, in retrospect, pretty dismissive."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Obama Likely to Seek a ‘Wartime’ Defense Secretary 

In the days since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned, two prominent candidates to replace him have said publicly they will not do so. They are former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy and Rhode Island Democratic Senator Jack Reed.

As President Barack Obama seeks a new appointee, the priorities for a defense secretary have changed since he selected Hagel, then chairman of the Atlantic Council, in February 2013, according to Barry Pavel, director of the Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. The president probably will want a “wartime secretary,” Pavel said in an interview with Ashish Kumar Sen earlier this week.

Monday, November 24, 2014

An Iran Nuclear Deal: Better Than Nothing if We Get It, But Not a Resolution 

As Iran and six other nations announced a seven-month extension of their effort to reach a deal to limit the Iranian nuclear program, the Atlantic Council’s Matthew Kroenig said Iran will pose a nonproliferation threat even if a deal is struck.

Kroenig, a nonresident senior fellow with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, said the US and its allies must increase their pressure on Tehran to reach an agreement, but that a deal along the lines of the current negotiation will not be comprehensive.