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Showing posts from January, 2015
Ukraine Needs Support Now, Latvian Foreign Minister SaysUkraine requires strong support for its territorial integrity and economy well before an Eastern Partnership summit in Riga in May, according to Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.
New ‘Formula’ Needed to Deal with PutinThe United States and Europe need to take a more forceful stand against Russian President Vladimir Putin to convince him that his strategy of fomenting unrest in Ukraine is not going to succeed, Stephen J. Hadley, who served as National Security Advisor in the George W. Bush administration, said on January 30.
Taliban ‘Far from Being a Spent Force’ The death of three US contractors in a shooting incident at Kabul's airport on Thursday and attacks on a checkpoint and funeral in other parts of Afghanistan prove that the Taliban is “far from being a spent force,” according to Atlantic Council analyst Claude Rakisits.
Momentum Seen Toward Global Climate Deal in Paris A landmark US-China climate change deal, EU pledges to cut emissions, and a new commitment from India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, to expand the use of renewable energy as a way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution are all encouraging signs of “momentum” toward a global climate agreement at a United Nations summit in Paris in December, according to a US climate policy official.
Conditions Ripe for Electoral Violence in Nigeria The fact that the militant group Boko Haram controls vast swaths of territory in northeastern Nigeria will likely disenfranchise voters and has elevated the danger of post-election violence, according to Atlantic Council analysts.
ISIS Puts Down Roots in Libya Fighters loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are taking advantage of the chaos in Libya to expand their presence in the North African nation.
Greek Election Outcome May Stoke Tensions in EuropeThe victory of an anti-austerity leftist party in Greece’s elections may roil the debate in Europe over questions of austerity and fiscal discipline, says Atlantic Council analyst Andrea Montanino.
Mr. Obama Goes to New Delhi; India Keeps US GuessingPresident Barack Obama’s visit to India shows the importance he places on that relationship, but New Delhi has yet to spell out where the US fits into its plans, says Bharat Gopalaswamy, a South Asia analyst at the Atlantic Council.
How US views ‘surprise honour’ by ModiOfficials and experts in Washington view Barack Obama’s visit as setting a different tone for a reinvigorated partnership with India.
A New King: Salman Will Keep Saudi Arabia on Course Saudi Arabia’s new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz, is unlikely to depart sharply from the policies of his half-brother and predecessor, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who died on Friday, according to Atlantic Council analyst Richard LeBaron.
New Saudi King Has A Lot on His Plate Saudi Arabia’s new king will have his hands full dealing with multiple challenges, both at home and abroad, says Atlantic Council analyst Bilal Y. Saab.
Rousseff Version 2.0: A New Chapter in US-Brazil Ties?Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s second term in office may present an opportunity for Washington and Brasilia to improve relations.

Despite recent bumps in the road in the US-Brazil relationship, Anthony S. Harrington, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Brazil from 1999 to 2001, said he was “cautiously optimistic that we can turn the page again in 2015 and begin to regain the momentum that we saw at the beginning of President Rousseff’s administration.”
As US, Cuba Open Talks, Congress Is Likely to Favor a Gradual ‘Chipping Away’ at Embargo As US and Cuban officials meet in Havana this week for their first talks on normalizing relations, Congress is likely to favor moving slowly on President Obama's request for the lifting of the United States’ five-decade-old trade embargo on Cuba, says Atlantic Council analyst Rachel DeLevie-Orey.
‘Heightened Risk’ of Terrorist Attack in West, Top Pentagon Official Says There is a “heightened risk” of terrorist attacks in the West by groups that have proliferated as a result of the war in Syria and the influence of social media, according to the Pentagon’s top intelligence policy official.
In Yemen, a US Policy Focused on Drones Missed the Roots of Instability and TerrorThe chaos in Yemen underscores that the United States and its allies need a comprehensive security and economic strategy for that country, says Atlantic Council analyst Danya Greenfield. Yemen’s decline, marked yesterday as Shiite tribesmen besieged the presidential offices, has given new room for growth to the Yemen-based Islamist militant group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Obama’s Passage to India: A Chance to 'Revitalize' Bilateral Relations President Barack Obama’s visit to New Delhi this month presents an opportunity to “regenerate, restart, and revitalize” the bilateral relationship with India, according to Senator Mark R. Warner, co-chairman of the bipartisan Senate India Caucus. 
An opportunity to improve India-US tiesUS President Barack Obama’s historic decision to visit India in January provides an opportunity to focus attention on an important bilateral relationship and, some members of the US Congress hope, address some obstacles in its path.
The Other MassacreWhile the world’s media has been focused on the terrorist attacks in Paris, Boko Haram, the deadliest militant group in Africa today, reportedly massacred more than 2,000 people in northeastern Nigeria. The massacre was carried out in Baga near the border with Chad, where the militants seized a key military base on January 3. Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International, said the killings “could be Boko Haram’s deadliest act.” And yet news coverage in the Western media in the days after the massacre was dominated by the terrorist attacks in Paris where two brothers who trained with al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, killing 12 people. A friend of the brothers’ who claimed ties to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in a separate attack killed five more people.
Will Belgian, French Violence Tilt Europe’s Balance of Security and Liberties?Today’s arrests and gun-battles in Belgium, as police intervened to prevent what they said were Islamist terrorist attacks in the making, underscore that last week’s Islamist violence in Paris may signal what Atlantic Council analyst Barry Pavel then called “a new normal.”
France Is Not Disturbed by ‘Storm in a D.C. Teacup,’ Dungan Says French officials on Tuesday hunted for the accomplices of three terrorists who killed 16 people in Paris last week, while some of the victims of the attacks were laid to rest at tearful funerals.
Yemen-Based Group’s Claim of Paris Attack May Boost Its Ability to Strike the West The claim by al Qaeda’s franchise in Yemen that it was behind the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, if true, would boost the group’s ability to plan similar attacks in the West, according to Atlantic Council analyst Barry Pavel.
In a video posted on its Twitter account on Wednesday, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said it carried out the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris to avenge the publication by the satirical magazine of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The group vowed even more attacks in the West.
Congress Should Reverse Strictures on US Defense Spending, Stackley SaysThe Congress must roll back limits on US defense spending, particularly in light of the heavy investments countries such as China and Russia are making in their navies, according to Sean J. Stackley, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, and acquisition.
US Energy Policy: Seek Diversification for EuropeEurope must diversify its energy sources to avoid the threat of Russia again shutting off its gas supply, said Amos Hochstein, the State Department’s Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs.
The Killings in Paris: A Shocking ‘New Normal’ The killing by masked gunmen of at least a dozen journalists and others in Paris is an “unfortunate new normal” in an era marked by Islamist extremism's Generation 3.0—a strain more virulent than that of al Qaeda, according to the Atlantic Council’s Barry Pavel.
Massacre in Nigeria: Boko Haram Once Again Bigger, More Brutal As world attention fixes on the terrorist attacks in Paris, Africa’s most prominent Islamist militant group has massacred as many as 2,000 people in northeastern Nigeria. This new violence by Boko Haram—a movement described as “Africa’s ISIS”—is the latest in its campaign to undermine governments’ authority and create what it calls an Islamic caliphate across a wide swath of the Sahel, one of Africa’s poorest and least-governed regions.
Congress Should Reverse Strictures on US Defense Spending, Stackley Says The Congress must roll back limits on US defense spending, particularly in light of the heavy investments countries such as China and Russia are making in their navies, according to Sean J. Stackley, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, and acquisition.
US Energy Policy: Seek Diversification for Europe Europe must diversify its energy sources to avoid the threat of Russia again shutting off its gas supply, said Amos Hochstein, the State Department’s Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs.
Massacre in Nigeria: Boko Haram Once Again Bigger, More Brutal As world attention fixes on the terrorist attacks in Paris, Africa’s most prominent Islamist militant group has massacred as many as 2,000 people in northeastern Nigeria. This new violence by Boko Haram—a movement described as “Africa’s ISIS”—is the latest in its campaign to undermine governments’ authority and create what it calls an Islamic caliphate across a wide swath of the Sahel, one of Africa’s poorest and least-governed regions.
Sri Lanka Election: A 'Win for Democracy'The defeat of Sri Lanka’s long-serving president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, presents an opportunity for the United States to deepen its ties with the South Asian island nation, which has grown closer to China over the past decade, says Atlantic Council analyst Bharath Gopalaswamy. Rajapaksa, who was in office since 2005, amended Sri Lanka’s Constitution to expand the powers of the presidency and was seeking an unprecedented third term in office.
Sri Lanka Election: A 'Win for Democracy' The defeat of Sri Lanka’s long-serving president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, presents an opportunity for the United States to deepen its ties with the South Asian island nation, which has grown closer to China over the past decade, says Atlantic Council analyst Bharath Gopalaswamy. Rajapaksa, who was in office since 2005, amended Sri Lanka’s Constitution to expand the powers of the presidency and was seeking an unprecedented third term in office.
France Responds to Paris Attack by Stressing 'Fraternité' A restrained response by France's political mainstream to yesterday's killings in Paris—peaceful street vigils and the ringing of church bells—may reduce the risk of an anti-foreigner backlash, says Atlantic Council analyst Nicholas Dungan. That in turn will limit the assault's impact in strengthening radicals both on the far right and in the Islamist community.
France Responds to Paris Attack by Stressing 'Fraternité'A restrained response by France's political mainstream to yesterday's killings in Paris—peaceful street vigils and the ringing of church bells—may reduce the risk of an anti-foreigner backlash, says Atlantic Council analyst Nicholas Dungan. That in turn will limit the assault's impact in strengthening radicals both on the far right and in the Islamist community.
A Troubling New Obstacle for Syrians Fleeing WarThis week’s decision by the Lebanese government to impose visa restrictions on Syrians fleeing a bloody civil war is “quite dramatic” and sets a “significant precedent” for Syria’s neighbors, which are struggling to care for masses of refugees, according to Faysal Itani, resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.
Mexico’s President Visits Washington; He and US Hope He Can Regain Initiative at HomeMexican President Enrique Peña Nieto visits the United States in the midst of the toughest moment of his presidency. He will hope to use his meeting with President Barack Obama today to advance his domestic agenda, according to the Atlantic Council’s top Latin America analysts.
Cuba: check. Venezuela next?It is hard to find a good news story on which to end 2014.
Everywhere one looks there seems to be grim news: the war in Syria that drags mercilessly toward its fourth year, the reign of terror unleashed by ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, a new civil war in South Sudan, warring militias in Libya, a string of heartbreaking plane crashes in Asia, and the Ebola crisis in West Africa. The new year should be about hope. One story that inspires such hope is Cuba. More specifically, the island’s relationship with its longtime adversary: the United States of America.