Showing posts from February, 2016
Nuclear Component Must Be Part of NATO’s Deterrence Policy in Europe’s East, says Latvia’s Foreign Minister   NATO’s current presence in Europe’s east is insufficient to provide credible deterrence, must be ramped up, and include a nuclear component, said Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevičs.
Migrant Crisis, Brexit Distracting EU from Enlargement, Says Albania’s Foreign Minister The migrant crisis and the debate over the United Kingdom’s future in the European Union have shifted focus away from the enlargement of the bloc and this could disrupt the process of building democratic future member states, Albania’s Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati said on February 25.
US Airstrikes in Libya May Produce an Anti-Western Backlash  US airstrikes that are neither invited by the Libyan authorities nor coordinated with Libyan armed forces may produce a dangerous backlash against the West, according to the Atlantic Council’s Karim Mezran. US warplanes conducted airstrikes on an Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) base on the outskirts of the western Libyan city of Sabratha on February 19. Noureddine Chouchane, a Tunisian operative linked to two major terrorist attacks in Tunisia last year, was the target of the strikes. More than three-dozen people were killed in the operation. Chouchane is believed to be among the dead. Such foreign intervention “may unleash anti-Western sentiments,” said Mezran, a Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.
Obama’s Cuba Trip Exposes Cruz, Rubio as ‘Outdated’   US President Barack Obama’s decision to make an historic visit to Cuba in March will have a negligible impact on the presidential election in the United States; if anything, it has succeeded in exposing just how out of touch critics of this engagement—particularly Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, both Cuban-Americans—are, according to the Atlantic Council’s two top Latin America analysts. US President Barack Obama met Cuban President Raúl Castro at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 29, 2015. Obama will travel to Cuba on March 21 becoming the first US President to make the trip since Calvin Coolidge visited in 1928. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Saudi-Iran Rivalry Keeps Oil Prices Down  The regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran—the two main producers in a global oil cartel—has become a significant factor behind the sharp decline in oil prices that has also kept rates at historic lows.
Iran, Syria, Russia Seen as Top Challenges in the Middle East   Iran, Syria, and Russia together pose the biggest challenge in the Middle East today, and any notion that there can be an alignment of the interests of Tehran and Washington is unrealistic, three former US officials said at the Atlantic Council on February 16.
A Mosquito Adds to Brazilian President’s Woes   There is never a good time for an epidemic, but Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will agree that the outbreak of mosquito-borne Zika in her country could not have come at a worse time. Rousseff, who is facing impeachment charges, has been the target of massive rallies in Brazil at which protesters have demanded her ouster. Brazil is facing one of its worst recessions ever and Rousseff has been accused of doing too little too late to address this severe economic downturn.
Libya Remains a Weak Link in Effort to Curb Migrant Flow into Europe NATO’s decision to deploy ships to the Aegean Sea in an attempt to deter the smuggling of migrants from Turkey into Greece focuses on just one aspect of the problem; to Europe’s south, in Libya, a well-established human-trafficking network continues to funnel thousands of people across the Mediterranean Sea into Italy.
Saudi Offer to Deploy Troops to Syria ‘Turns the Tables’ on the United States   Saudi Arabia’s offer to deploy ground troops to fight the Islamic State in Syria is seen as putting pressure on the Obama administration—which has been urging its Arab Gulf partners to ramp up their efforts—to itself take on a greater military role in Syria.
Colombia’s President Santos Faces Next Big Challenge—Selling His Peace Deal  Colombia’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, wholeheartedly believes that his attempt to end the Western Hemisphere’s longest-running war will bear fruit, the big challenge, however, will be convincing Colombians that “peace is going to be marvelous.” “Most Colombians have never seen one single day of peace… They think peace might be bad,” Santos said in Washington on February 3. He compared this terrified reaction to that of a prisoner who is to be released after spending decades behind bars. “We have to teach them that...It is much better to have peace than it is to have war,” he added. Colombia’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, seen here accepting the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizenship Award in New York in October of 2015, said in a speech in Washington on February 3 that he is confident that a majority of Colombians will eventually support his peace deal with leftist guerrillas. (imagel
Mind the Gap: Survey Finds Growing Trust Gap Between Elite and Mass Populations  Populist distrust toward government and media have buoyed Donald Trump's political fortunes, but this is not a phenomenon that is unique to the United States, according to a new global survey.
In Nigeria, Boko Haram Casts a Shadow Over President Buhari’s Sunny Victory Claim  A recent spate of deadly attacks by Boko Haram only serve to underscore the fact that despite Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s optimistic proclamations on the war against the Islamist militants, the group is far from finished, said J. Peter Pham, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. “This is a group that has, over the course of the decade and a half that it has been active, shown remarkable resilience and an almost uncanny ability to reinvent itself,” Pham said.