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Showing posts from December, 2014
Nigeria’s Finance Minister on How Falling Oil Prices Impact on Africa’s Biggest Economy Nigeria is surprised by a US decision to slash oil imports from Africa's top petroleum producer, but is eager to deepen its economic relationship with the US in other areas, according to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's finance and economy minister.
South Sudan Peace Talks 'Going Nowhere,' Says Atlantic Council ExpertPeace talks aimed at ending South Sudan's civil war are 'going nowhere' because the process is mostly led by countries that are party to the conflict, according to Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council's Africa Center.
Senate confirms Murthy as US Surgeon GeneralThe US Senate has confirmed Dr Vivek Hallegere Murthy as the next Surgeon General of the United States of America, despite stiff opposition from the Republican Party and gun-rights advocates.
Isolated from the West, President Putin Visits India The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on December 11 sought to re-energize a relationship between two nations which had its peak during the Cold War.
If Ukraine’s Violence Is Not Addressed, Transformation Will Be Slow, Says Top IMF OfficialViolence in southeastern Ukraine could adversely impact the country's economic transformation, Aasim M. Husain, deputy director of the International Monetary Fund's European Department, told the Atlantic Council.
Taliban School Assault Seen Likely to Build Consensus on Fighting Terrorism in Pakistan The killing by Pakistan’s Taliban of more than 140 people, mostly children, at a school is likely to “provide some glue for a consensus [in Pakistan] that you cannot negotiate with terrorist groups,” according to Atlantic Council South Asia specialist Shuja Nawaz. The assault, in northwestern Pakistan, shocked the South Asian nation and drew international condemnation.

In Libya, Push for War Is Stronger Than Push for Peace Meddling by international actors in Libya has undermined a United Nations effort to broker peace in the North African nation, according to Karim Mezran, resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. 
US Cuba Shift Was Presaged by Poll Showing Americans Were Ready for Change President Barack Obama’s sweeping changes to US-Cuba policy were at least in part influenced by an understanding that this was widely favored among the American people. The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center released a poll in February that found support on both sides of the aisle for normalization with Cuba, and this poll has served as a crucial piece of the Cuba policy dialogue.
US Cuba Shift Was Presaged by Poll Showing Americans Were Ready for Change President Barack Obama’s sweeping changes to US-Cuba policy were at least in part influenced by an understanding that this was widely favored among the American people. The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center released a poll in February that found support on both sides of the aisle for normalization with Cuba, and this poll has served as a crucial piece of the Cuba policy dialogue.
Coming together for the Syrians Another year draws to a close, but Syria’s civil war — on the brink of entering its fourth year — shows no sign of ending.  Since the start of the conflict in 2011, the war has claimed more than 191,000 lives, according to a United Nations figure that covers the period from March 2011 to April 2014.
While this death toll is staggering, the refugee crisis created by the war is unimaginable.
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.
Echoes of the past Three years since the Arab Spring protests swept through Egypt ending Hosni Mubarak’s 29-year grip on power, the revolution has come full circle after a court dropped criminal charges against the former president over the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising.  In a case dubbed by the Egyptian media as the “trial of the century,” Mubarak stood accused of ordering police to kill protesters. Human rights groups say more than 800 people died during the 18-day uprising that eventually led to Mubarak’s ouster on Feb. 11, 2011.
'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.
Obama’s India envoy nominee Verma faces SenateIndian 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.
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."