Showing posts from December, 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.