Showing posts from 2015
Libya’s Peace Deal Will Need Western Support to Succeed A UN-brokered Libya peace agreement is hamstrung by security challenges, the uncertainty that it may actually end up producing a third power center in a country that already has two rival governments, and questions about whether the envisaged national unity government would even be able to operate from Tripoli. 
Saudi Arabia Must Find Cure for ‘Wahhabi Virus,’ Says Iraqi Lawmaker  Mowaffak al Rubaie is a former National Security Advisor of Iraq who currently serves as a member of parliament in Baghdad. In this interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen, Rubaie discusses the war on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), also known as ISIL and Daesh; the danger posed by Wahhabism; the implications for Iraq of the Iran nuclear deal; and much more.
Ending Syria’s War Will Require All Hands on Deck  Nabil Fahmy served as Egypt’s Foreign Minister from 2013 to 2014. In this interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen, Fahmy makes the point that the United States, Russia, the Arab states, Iran and Turkey will all need to work together to end the conflict in Syria. Here are excerpts from our interview.
What Will Lifting Iran Sanctions Mean for US Firms? Even after US, EU, and UN sanctions have been lifted, Americans thinking of doing business in Iran will be restrained by other US sanctions and prohibited from dealing with blacklisted Iranian officials and entities, a top Obama administration official said at the Atlantic Council on December 17. The possibility of “snapback”—sanctions being re-imposed in the event Iran were not to abide by its obligations under the nuclear deal reached in July—would also be cause for caution for those looking to reap business opportunities in the Islamic Republic.  
Iran’s Swift Compliance with Nuclear Deal’s Terms Seen Creating a Verification Challenge Iran is implementing its commitments under a nuclear agreement at such a swift pace that it is creating a challenge for the verification process to keep up, the State Department’s lead coordinator for implementation of the deal said at the Atlantic Council on December 17.
‘We Need to Keep America Open Even as We Keep America Secure’   The Visa-Waiver Program is an “expression of one of the greatest soft powers” of the United States that is underpinned by significant law enforcement cooperation, and it would be a mistake to amend it without consulting partner countries, said Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council.
British Defense Secretary Calls for Tightening Noose Around ISIS  The US-led coalition that is conducting airstrikes on the Islamic State in Syria should more deliberately target the terrorist group’s infrastructure and “tighten the noose” around its de facto capital Raqqa, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said at the Atlantic Council on Dec. 11.  
Election Victory? Check. Now Can the Opposition in Venezuela Stay United? Venezuela’s opposition has won an absolute majority in Congress that gives it the ability to initiate a recall referendum against President Nicolás Maduro, but it must instead focus on staying united and showing that it has the people’s interests as its number one priority, said Peter Schechter, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.
Is the United States a Less Reliable Ally?   The United States’ friends and allies in the Middle East see Washington as a less reliable partner and are “talking fairly openly about alternatives” such as Russia and China, retired Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., a former US National Security Advisor, said on Dec. 8.
In Venezuela, Maduro’s Fate Hangs in the Balance   The opposition’s historic victory in legislative elections on Dec. 6 has created a two-front challenge for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro — one from an opposition that could try to have him recalled, and the other from within his own United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to which he is “dispensable,” said Jason Marczak, Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.
Putting Brazil on US Department of Labor Blacklist ‘Unfair’   The US Department of Labor’s decision to place Brazil on a list of countries where forced and child labor are practiced is “unfair” and could have an adverse impact on the South American nation’s exports, said an official with Brazil’s textile association.
Here’s What You Need to Know About COP21   Officials from one hundred and ninety-six governments are gathered in Paris with the goal of reaching the first-ever global climate change agreement. The negotiators’ main objective is to agree on legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions intended to keep the global average temperatures below a 2° Celsius increase over pre-industrial levels. Heather Zichal, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center and former advisor to US President Barack Obama on energy and climate change, discussed the expectations from the COP21 summit in an e-mail interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen.
NATO’s Invitation to Montenegro an ‘Important’ Response to Russia’s Bluster   NATO’s invitation to Montenegro to join the military alliance — its first expansion since 2009 — is the right decision, has significant implications, and is an important response to Russia’s actions in Eastern Europe, said Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council.
Clinton to Maduro: Respect Vote’s Outcome  The Venezuelan government must respect the outcome of parliamentary elections scheduled for Dec. 6, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said at the Atlantic Council on Nov. 30. “As the people of Venezuela go the ballot box this weekend, it is really up to all of us in this hemisphere to ensure their will is respected, and that responsibility begins with the Maduro administration,” Clinton said, “which to date has been doing all it can to rig these elections.” The interdependence between the United States and Latin America “is an advantage that needs to be embraced,” Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton said at the Atlantic Council on Nov. 30 while calling for the need to build on “the power of proximity.” Mexican Sen. Ninfa Salinas is on the left. ( Kan)
US Response to Migrant Crisis an ‘Existential Issue’ Americans need to repudiate the “deeply offensive” anti-migrant rhetoric coming from Republican presidential frontrunners Donald Trump and Ben Carson that runs contrary to the founding principles of the United States of America, said R. Nicholas Burns, a former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Carson has compared migrants fleeing the war in Syria to dogs; Trump would support establishing a database to track Muslim Americans; Jeb Bush would prefer it if the United States took in Christian migrants ; and Ted Cruz is adamant that the United States should only accept Christian migrants . Republican Governors, meanwhile, have said they will refuse to let any Syrian migrants into their states. “I think Donald Trump and Ben Carson, in particular, have made statements that go beyond the pale and that should be rejected by the American people,” said Burns, who is the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of
Turkey Shot Down a Russian Jet. Here's Why it Matters.  The downing of a Russian SU-24 fighter jet by Turkey after it violated Turkish airspace and ignored ten warnings exemplifies the danger of Russian military support for Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad. But it will also complicate French President François Hollande’s quest to include Moscow in a unified coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
In Bangladesh, Radical Islam on the Rise as 'Battling Begums' Feud  Radical Islam has taken root in Bangladesh as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League and Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Bangladesh’s main opposition party, have been embroiled in a bitter and long-running feud. 
Transatlantic Relationship ‘Not an Optional Alliance,’ Says German President  On a recent visit to the United States, German President Joachim Gauck delivered an impassioned plea for the revitalization of the transatlantic relationship, describing it as “not an optional alliance,” but rather an “essential strategic alliance.” He also called for far greater US engagement with Europe at a time when the continent is “surrounded by crises.”
‘Please Be Patient’  The international community must be patient and recognize that Tunisia is undergoing a delicate transition instead of applying unrealistic pressure on the North African nation to undertake reforms, Hussein Abassi, the leader of Tunisia’s powerful labor union and the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, said at the Atlantic Council on Nov. 4.
An Opportunity for Peace in Turkey  The victory of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the Nov. 1 election has created an opportunity to restart peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists, said the Atlantic Council’s Aaron Stein.
In Turkey, President Erdoğan Prevails  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) pulled off an unexpected victory in parliamentary elections on Nov. 1 that gives it enough seats to govern by itself.
A ‘Band-Aid’ for Syria  The Obama administration’s decision to deploy less than fifty US Special Operations Forces to Syria is a significant shift in US strategy, but one that is unlikely to tilt the balance on the ground in a war that is now in its fifth year, according to Atlantic Council analysts.
Wanted: A ‘Comprehensive Strategy’ to Deal with Russia  The West needs to develop a “comprehensive strategy” to counter Russian authoritarianism and support Georgia’s aspiration of joining NATO, Georgian Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, said at the Atlantic Council on Oct. 29. 
Turkey Votes: Heading into a Familiar Deadlock? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will not be on the ballot in the Nov. 1 elections, yet the vote is in many ways about him.
US Trade Representative Froman Confident Congress Will Back TPP A trade deal negotiated by the Obama administration and eleven other Pacific Rim countries, while not perfect, will eventually win bipartisan support from members of Congress, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said at the Atlantic Council on Oct. 27.
Guatemala’s New President Faces His Biggest Challenge: Governing   Jimmy Morales, a former comedian, has won a landslide election victory to become the next President of Guatemala. That was the easy part. Now comes the hard part: governing.
In Argentina, a Promise of Change It is little surprise that Argentina’s presidential elections have gone into a second round, but what is startling is the narrow margin between the two leading candidates—both of whom promise change, one more so than the other.
‘We Need a Freakin’ Budget’  The Pentagon needs a long-term budget that is free of caps if it is to address important global threats, including from Islamist militants, Russia, and China, a senior Democratic lawmaker said on Oct. 21.
In Afghanistan, an Opportunity for the United States to Work with China and Iran  Franz-Michael Mellbin is the European Union’s Special Representative in Afghanistan. In a wide-ranging interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen on Oct. 20, Mellbin discussed the need for a sustained US and NATO troop commitment in Afghanistan, the opportunity created by the rise of Islamic State (IS) for Washington to work with Tehran and Beijing in Afghanistan, and the necessity for Pakistan to deliver on its rhetoric to show zero tolerance toward all stripes of terrorists that occupy safe havens in its territory.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Heads to Washington Though US President Barack Obama will meet Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the White House on Oct. 22 in an effort aimed at rekindling a peace process in Afghanistan, it is the military that really calls the shots in the South Asian nation, Vali Nasr, a former Obama administration official said Oct. 16.
Walking a Fine Line in the War Against Boko Haram  As it steps into the war against Boko Haram, the Obama administration will have to balance the need to deal with the regional threat posed by the Islamist militants and the very real limitation of resources, said J. Peter Pham, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.
Obama Should Maintain Current Troop Levels in Afghanistan, says former US Ambassador The United States should not further reduce its military and intelligence presence in Afghanistan. Doing so will undermine Afghan security forces and “vitiate” the US’ counterterrorism mission in an important part of the world, said James B. Cunningham, a former US Ambassador to Afghanistan.
For Libya, ‘the First Step in a Long Journey’  The announcement by the United Nations’ envoy for Libya of a national unity government after months of talks is just the “first step in a long journey” for the North African nation plagued by chaos since the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, says the Atlantic Council’s Karim Mezran.
A Three-Pronged Strategy to Deal with Putin  The United States must develop a three-pronged approach that includes economic, political, and security components to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “retrograde ambitions in favor of the peaceful and progressive order the transatlantic community and the world had envisioned at the opening of the 21 st century,” retired Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., a former National Security Advisor, said October 8.
Berlin Wall to be Displayed at the State Department Swapping stories about their experiences in an East Germany that was shut off from the West by the Berlin Wall, US Secretary of State John Kerry and German President Joachim Gauck on October 7 commemorated the arrival of a section of the barrier at the State Department in Washington.
TPP: Putting the United States in the Driver’s Seat  The United States and eleven other Pacific Rim countries on October 5 reached an agreement on the largest-ever regional trade accord in history.
Colombian President Santos' Quest for Peace The Atlantic Council will honor Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos with its Global Citizen Award in New York on October 1 in recognition of his unwavering commitment to make peace with leftist guerrillas and end Latin America’s longest-running war.
A Failed European Response to Migrant Crisis Will Hurt Transatlantic Ties, says Norwegian Defense Minister A failure to deal appropriately with the migrant crisis will cause rifts within Europe that will have serious implications for transatlantic unity, Norway’s Defense Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, said at the Atlantic Council on September 24.
Will the European Union’s Plan to Distribute Migrants Hurt Europe? European ministers on September 22 approved a plan that would force EU member states to take in their share of 120,000 migrants, a majority of whom are fleeing the war in Syria. 
In Greece, Alexis Tsipras’ Gamble Pays Off. Now What?  Alexis Tsipras has won his third election this year. It's a remarkable achievement for a man who won his first election on an anti-austerity platform, his second after urging voters to support that position, and his third after doing a U-turn and accepting tough bailout conditions demanded by Greece’s creditors.
David Miliband: Europe’s Feeble Response to Migrant Crisis Threatens EU Europe’s “feeble” response to the migrant crisis—the largest displacement of people since World War II—is threatening the European Union, and European countries as well as the United States need to step up to do more to help these refugees, David Miliband, a former British Foreign Secretary, said in Washington September 18.
Is a US-Russia Confrontation Over Syria in the Cards?  The Obama administration will have to confront Russia and Iran—supporters of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—if it wants to win the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Frederic C. Hof, a Resident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center, said September 16.
Energizing Democracy in Benin   A new five-year, $375-million deal to develop the power sector in Benin will be the engine that will "jumpstart" democracy by contributing to stability in the West African nation, Benin’s President, Thomas Boni Yayi, said September 10.
Europe Grapples with the Migrant Question  As the world faces its biggest migrant crisis since World War II, governments across Europe are struggling to find a solution to a situation that is as much about integration and identity as it is about immigration.
Instability in Guatemala Has National Security Implications for the United States  Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina’s surprise resignation on September 3 in the face of corruption allegations will likely plunge the Central American nation into a period of further political as well as economic uncertainty with direct implications for US national security, said the Atlantic Council’s Jason Marczak.
‘Why is Pakistan Playing this Game?’ Shinkai Karokhail, a member of the budget and finance committee of the lower house (Wolesi Jirga) of the Afghan National Assembly and a longtime activist for women’s rights, education, and conflict prevention, sat down with the New Atlanticist's Ashish Kumar Sen for an interview on a recent visit to Washington.
Exiled Russian Lawmaker Ilya Ponomarev: Current US Sanctions Won’t Work  The United States must expand the scope of its sanctions well beyond Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle if this effort—a response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine—is to have any real impact, says a Russian lawmaker.
Yet Another Peace Deal in South Sudan  The international community must keep up its pressure on rival sides in South Sudan if it wants to ensure the success of a peace agreement President Salva Kiir reluctantly signed August 26, says the Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham.
In Greece, It’s Splitsville for Syriza Greek voters will rally behind Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who lost part of his Syriza party August 21 after he was forced by creditors to abandon his anti-austerity stance, says the Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell.
In Greece, It’s the End of Syriza as We Know It  Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ decision to resign and call snap elections in an attempt to shore up support for a harsh bailout package will split his leftist party, says the Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell.
Hacks and Attacks: How Do You React When China Conducts a Cyber Attack? When the news broke earlier this summer that hackers had breached the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and accessed the records of more than twenty million current and former federal employees, it prompted calls to punish China, which was believed to have orchestrated the cyber attacks.  
Of Rights and Wrongs in Cuba The Obama administration must use the new opening in its relationship with Cuba to continue to press the government in Havana to respect human rights, says the Atlantic Council’s Peter Schechter.
Al Qaeda Affiliate Gets Out of the Way in Syria By deciding to quit frontline positions against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in northern Syria, al Qaeda-affiliate Nusra Front has made a US-Turkish agreement on establishing a safe zone in northern Syria more likely, says the Atlantic Council’s Faysal Itani.
Is Turkey’s War on PKK Hurting US Alliance Against ISIS?  The US-Turkish alliance against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) complicates but need not impede, and might even ease,  the United States’ military partnership with a Syria-based Kurdish group that has been instrumental in the war on ISIS, said Francis J. Ricciardone, Vice President and Director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.
Afghan Peace Process: DOA? Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is right, Pakistan can do more to disrupt terrorist networks that plan and carry out attacks across the border in Afghanistan, says Atlantic Council Senior Fellow James B. Cunningham.
Will Europe Continue to Stand with the United States if Congress Rejects Iran Nuclear Deal? A steadfast alliance between United States and Europe—epitomized by a crippling sanctions regime—is widely credited with having brought Iran to the point where it was willing to consider curbs on its nuclear ambitions. But what would happen to that united front if Congress were to reject the deal reached between the so-called P5+1 and Iran in July? That’s a million-dollar question.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban Has a New Leader, But it’s His Deputy Who is Raising Eyebrows The appointment of the head of a Pakistan-based terrorist network as a deputy leader of the Taliban may prove to be an obstacle in Afghan-led efforts to make peace with the Islamic militants.
Will Mullah Omar’s Death Doom Peace Process?  Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s death, if confirmed, could call into question the Taliban’s leadership and undermine the Afghan government’s efforts to jumpstart a peace process with the militant group, says the Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham.
Senators Make Case for Lifting Crude Oil Ban A top Republican Senator, making the case that energy must be a significant tool in the US diplomatic toolkit, said July 30 that the United States will be “effectively sanctioning” domestic oil producers if it does not lift its ban on the export of US crude oil but lifts sanctions on Iran as a result of a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.
Courting Chaos in Libya  The decision by a Tripoli court to sentence a son of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to death by firing squad is the latest in a series of “self-defeating maneuvers” by authorities in Libya’s capital, says the Atlantic Council’s Karim Mezran.
Turkey's War in Syria: Of Kurds and Ways A landmark agreement between the United States and Turkey—that allows US jets to use a Turkish air base to launch strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants and envisages the creation of a “safe zone” in war-ravaged Syria—is a step in the right direction, but also raises some important questions.
Obama’s 'Most Strategic Itinerary' in Africa  US President Barack Obama’s decision to visit Kenya and Ethiopia this week underscores the strategic significance of these two sub-Saharan nations to the United States, says the Atlantic Council’s top Africa analyst.
Nigerian President Slams US Law Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari—at war with Boko Haram militants at home—in a July 22 address in Washington lashed out at US laws that ban the sale of weapons to foreign militaries accused of human rights violations saying such restrictions have only aided the insurgency.
President Buhari Comes to Washington  Nigeria’s war on Boko Haram will be at the top of the agenda when US President Barack Obama meets his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari at the White House July 20, says the Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham.
United States, Cuba Reopen Embassies After Fifty-Four Years. Here's Why it Matters  The United States and Cuba reopened embassies in each other’s capitals July 20 taking the biggest step toward ending half a century of animosity between the two countries.
Libya Needs a Little Help from its Friends Even if a Tripoli-based faction were to set aside its grievances and sign a UN-brokered peace deal that would not be enough to rescue Libya. What the North African nation needs is an international peacekeeping force with a clear mandate to fight terrorists, says the Atlantic Council’s Karim Mezran.
Defending the Iran Nuclear Deal  Iran is not permitted to build a nuclear weapon after the duration of the agreement reached in Vienna this week, nor does the deal give the Islamic Republic a “signing bonus” in terms of immediate sanctions relief, a senior Obama administration official said July 15.
Greek Crisis ‘Diverts Attention’ from Kyiv  The Greek financial crisis has diverted global attention away from Ukraine, but it also "sheds a positive light" on the Kyiv government's achievements, Ukrainian Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius said in a July 14 interview.
Assessing the Iran Deal The nuclear deal reached July 14 that limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief will have a significant impact on the United States’ alliances in the Middle East, says retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
Not Yet a Done Deal with Greece A deal that paves the way to negotiations on a third bailout for Greece imposes tough limitations on Greek sovereignty that could endanger Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ government, says the Atlantic Council’s Andrea Montanino.
Deal will 'Weaken' Greece's Tsipras The terms of an agreement between Greece and its Eurozone creditors are tough, but there is an implicit recognition that austerity alone is not the answer, says the Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell.
Don’t Fall for Putin’s Game, Warn European Officials  Russian President Vladimir Putin has a strategy clearly aimed at dividing the Western alliance arrayed against him and this must not be allowed to succeed, two European officials said June 12.
#CounteringISISpropaganda  Web-savvy extremists belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and their online cohort of supporters dominate the conversation on Twitter leaving little hope for the success of US efforts to counter that propaganda, according to a former State Department official.
Every Effort Being Made to Avoid Grexit, says European Commission’s Dombrovskis  Every effort is being made to keep Greece in the Eurozone, but the Greek government has to show that it can be a genuine partner by presenting a credible reform proposal in its bid to secure a bailout, a senior European Commission official said July 9.
At Four Years Old, South Sudan is the ‘World’s Most Failed State’  Four years after it won independence from Sudan following decades of war, South Sudan is once again trapped in a vicious cycle of conflict that has turned the world’s youngest nation into a failed state, says the Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Lindsey Graham’s Foreign Policy Agenda Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham laid out an interventionist foreign policy in a July 8 address that was peppered with blistering critiques of President Barack Obama as well as some fellow Republicans and tough talk on radical Islam.  
Bridging the Gulf  Many of the United States’ Gulf allies are anxious about Iran’s activities in part because of the high levels of mistrust in their own relationships with Washington, the Atlantic Council’s Bilal Y. Saab said July 7.  
Dealing with Greece Europe will be weakened by a financial aid deal with Greece that is seen to be solely on Athens’ terms, says the Atlantic Council’s Andrea Montanino.
Narendra Modi govt’s crackdown on NGOs triggers chills on US campuses At universities across the US, students invent and innovate as part of projects often intended to benefit humanity. Pilot projects are implemented in sectors ranging from health and sanitation to education, in partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in regions of the world where the need is greatest. India has long been a top destination for many of these projects. 
Polish Leaders Urge Solidarity for Ukraine Top Polish officials June 12 exhorted the transatlantic community to show solidarity with countries bearing the brunt of Russia’s aggression, but stressed that they do not seek a confrontation with Moscow.
With World Focused on Ukraine, Russia Makes Moves on Georgia  While the world focuses its attention on the Ukraine crisis, Russia has been quietly grabbing territory from another neighbor—Georgia. The Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine is just the latest provocation by Russia in its neighborhood, Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Tamar Beruchashvili, reminded an audience June 12, pointing out that Russian forces invaded her country in the summer of 2008.
IMF: Ghani has Shown Afghanistan is ‘Open for Business’  Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has shown the world that his administration is “open for business,” but Afghanistan still faces “a lot of bottlenecks” that need to be addressed, the International Monetary Fund’s top official in Kabul said June 11.
At Last, Some Good News for Mexico’s Peña Nieto  Mexico’s June 7 mid-term elections, which unexpectedly strengthened the ruling coalition’s majority in the lower house of Congress, will boost President Enrique Peña Nieto’s efforts to reform the Mexican economy, predicts the Atlantic Council’s Peter Schechter.  
Putin Has No Desire for Peace, Says Ukraine's Prime Minister Russian President Vladimir Putin has no desire to end the war in eastern Ukraine, said Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at a June 9 meeting at the Atlantic Council.  
A Win for Democracy in Turkey Turkish elections that eroded the ruling Justice and Development Party’s parliamentary majority for the first time in thirteen years and put the country on the path to coalition politics represent a big win for Turkey’s democracy, says the Atlantic Council’s Francis J. Ricciardone.
A ‘Disaster’ if China was Behind OPM Cyber Attack If the Chinese government is in fact behind the cyber attack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) it would be a “disaster” in terms of counterespionage, says the Atlantic Council’s Jason Healey.
Pakistani Taliban’s Core ‘Dismantled’ The Pakistani military has dismantled the Taliban’s core in a successful operation that is now in a “critical phase,” Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said June 4 at the Atlantic Council.
‘We Are Not Freaks of Nature’ Few people would be surprised to learn that people in the Middle East—just like Americans—care first and foremost about bread-and-butter issues, their lives, and the lives of their families.
Mr. Putin's Lies Hiding in Plain Sight Russian President Vladimir Putin is violating a February 2015 ceasefire agreement by continuing to send troops and weapons into Ukraine in a blatant attempt to destabilize the country, according to an Atlantic Council report issued May 28.
Western Failure on Iran Deal May Cause Sanctions to Unravel Failure to secure a deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program in return for phased sanctions relief could unravel a crippling sanctions regime on the Islamic Republic if that outcome is perceived to be the West’s fault, two European diplomats said May 26.
Optimism over Cuba talks tempered with realism US President Barack Obama’s decision to normalise relations with Cuba has put the Cold War foes on the verge of reopening embassies in their respective capitals. As a five-decade-old US policy frozen into place during the Cold War starts to thaw, analysts are optimistic about the future of the relationship between Washington and Havana, yet that optimism is tempered with realism. 
US Drug Habit Deadly for Latin America  A demand in the United States for drugs—specifically cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines—is devastating communities across Latin America, says Marine Corps Gen John F. Kelly, Commander of US Southern Command.
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Libya? The chaos in Libya that has prevailed since the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 has placed both a humanitarian as well as a security crisis on Europe’s doorstep.
Will Greece Go Bankrupt this Summer? The Greek government and its creditors—the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund—have made mistakes over the course of three months of negotiations aimed at securing a commitment from Greece to undertake economic reforms before the latest €7.2 billion ($8.15 billion) tranche of the country’s bailout fund is released, says the Atlantic Council’s Andrea Montanino.
A United Kingdom Outside the EU is Just Not as Special to the United States  The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union would have negative consequences for its “special relationship” with the United States, says the Atlantic Council’s Frances G. Burwell.
A Coup in Burundi?  While details of a reported coup against Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza, by his former intelligence chief are fuzzy, it is clear that the Central African nation with a long history of civil war and political unrest risks descending into chaos once again.
Is this the Solution to Europe's Migrant Problem?  The European Union wants the United Nations to support its plan to destroy human traffickers’ ships in Libyan territorial waters before smugglers use them to ferry migrants across the Mediterranean Sea. Can it work? No, said Karim Mezran, Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. He argued that it’s “counterproductive” to publicize such operations.
In Britain, it’s Cameron… Again  British Prime Minister David Cameron defied political pundits and pollsters May 8 by winning a second five-year term in office. With the results of all 650 seats declared, Cameron’s Conservative Party (the Tories) had won 331. A party needs 326 Members of Parliament to achieve a majority in the 650-seat House of Commons. Ed Miliband’s Labour Party came in a distant second with 229 seats.
With an Eye on Iran, Gulf Countries Seek US ‘Security Guarantee’  The United Arab Emirates and its five partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—worried about Iran’s hegemonic ambitions in their neighborhood—want a US “security guarantee,” Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s Ambassador in Washington, said May 7 at the Atlantic Council.
Barzani: ‘An Independent Kurdistan is Coming’  Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will hold a referendum on Kurdish independence once Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) extremists have been defeated, KRG President Masoud Barzani said May 6 at the Atlantic Council. Barzani couldn’t predict when an independent Kurdistan would be born, but added: “Certainly an independent Kurdistan is coming.”
Standing Up to a ‘Revanchist Russia’ A "revanchist Russia" would use violence to alter international norms, boundaries, and institutions and poses a threat to the United States' transatlantic allies and partners, NATO's top military commander US Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove said April 30.
Is this France's Own Patriot Act?   Controversial surveillance rules passed May 5 by France’s lower house of Parliament are quite unlike the “knee-jerk” US Patriot Act that followed al-Qaeda’s terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, said Atlantic Council analyst Nicholas Dungan.
The British are Voting: Here’s What You Need to Know If one thing is nearly certain about Britain’s general elections May 7, it is that they will produce no clear victor and, as a result, could lead to another coalition government—or even a hung Parliament.
A Night to Remember What do Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, Ashraf Ghani, Marillyn A. Hewson, and Toby Keith have in common? The answer to that question is probably: not much. That was until all four were honored with the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Award at a glittering ceremony April 30 at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Washington.
Is the United States Really Indispensable? President Bill Clinton, speaking in 1996 on the US-backed NATO military intervention in Bosnia, described the United States as an “ indispensable nation .”
Would You Care More About Climate Change if You Knew it Would Change Your Life?  Do you care much about climate change? How about the fate of polar bears gingerly making their way across thinning Arctic ice? Most people would probably care a lot more if they heard how dramatic temperature spikes and rising sea levels would disrupt their own lives, panelists said April 29 at the Atlantic Council.
Is Assad Losing Control?  Iran has fueled the war in Syria by providing a steady stream of assistance to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but his regime is gradually losing control, says Robert S. Ford, a former US Ambassador to Syria.
Dying to Get to Europe  A European commitment to save lives is “backfiring” as human traffickers continue to pack boats full of migrants fleeing desperate situations in Africa and the Middle East, says Atlantic Council analyst Karim Mezran.
A ‘Window of Opportunity’ for TPP, TTIP  Two free-trade agreements currently being negotiated by the Obama administration will ensure a level playing field and benefit American workers, a senior White House official said April 23 at the Atlantic Council.
Asian Bank not Intended to ‘Overthrow’ World Bank, says Chinese Official  China’s proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will have a constructive and complementary relationship with both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and is not intended to “overthrow” either institution, Zhu Guangyao, China’s Vice Minister of Finance, said April 17 at the Atlantic Council.