New Atlanticist

Chaos in North African nation creates ‘natural environment’ for jihadist groups, Atlantic Council’s Mezran says


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.

On Tuesday, an affiliate of ISIS in Libya claimed responsibility for an attack on a luxury hotel in the capital Tripoli in which five people were killed.

“In the vacuum that has been created in Libya since the beginning of last year we have a natural environment for jihadi organizations, whether they are affiliated to ISIS or not, to proliferate and prosper,” said Karim Mezran, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

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Ukrainian Officer-Pilot Reaches 45 Days on Hunger Strike Against Her Abduction and Politicized Trial


Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian army officer and pilot who was captured in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and spirited to prison in Moscow, may die in captivity there on the hunger strike she has pursued for 45 days, her lawyer wrote yesterday. As attorney Mark Feygin urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter to release Savchenko, her supporters mounted a global campaign of rallies and Twitter messages, and the European parliament members voted a resolution in her defense.

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Backing Kyiv’s Independence Will Contain Russian Expansionism—And Damage From the Next Russian Revolution


Although “regime change” has become a dirty phrase, the best thing that could happen to Russia, its neighbors, and the world would be a change from Vladimir Putin’s brand of strongman authoritarianism to some form of democracy.

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Late January has seen two important, highly-anticipated events unfold in Europe: the announcement by the European Central Bank of a large-scale Quantitative Easing program and the results of the Greek general election.

In the first — and by far the more important of the two — the ECB, faced with disinflation bordering on deflation, finally announced a large expansion of its asset purchases to include securities issued by central governments. It was the last to do so amongst the central banks of the developed world.

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Leftist Syriza’s victory likely to roil debate over austerity, fiscal discipline, Montanino says


The 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.

Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Greece’s new prime minister on January 26 after his far-left Syriza party swept to victory in elections held over the weekend. Syriza’s victory is seen as a repudiation of the tough austerity measures imposed to deal with Greece’s debt. Syriza has vowed to renegotiate bailouts worth $268 billion.

“What this election in Greece may create is more tension about how to create inclusive growth in Europe, what is the right timing for doing reforms, for making investments, and do this with fiscal discipline,” Montanino, director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program, said in an interview.

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Of 2 Million Refugees in Kurdish Zone, Most Languish Outside Camps, With Little or No Aid


Amid the world attention focused on 3.8 million Syrians uprooted by the violent spread of the ISIS Islamist army, a little-noted part of that crisis is the flood of perhaps 2 million refugees from both Syria and Iraq into Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

As of November, Kurdistan had received more than 250,000 Syrians and 1.5 million Iraqis fleeing the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The office in the Kurdish regional capital that tracks displaced persons estimated 2 million of them in the region as of the end of the year. For the Kurdish region’s own population, estimated at 5-6 million, this is a crushing tsunami of human misery. It’s analogous to the United States suddenly absorbing between 90 million and 120 million people—the total population of, say, the Philippines or Mexico.

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While US Articulates a Defined Role for India in Asia, the Reverse Is Not True


President 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 Bharath Gopalaswamy, a South Asia analyst at the Atlantic Council.

“I don’t think we have seen a clear Indian articulation of how they conceptualize the world and where America fits into their conceptualization,” said Gopalaswamy, acting director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center.

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Atlantic Council’s Bilal Y. Saab Sees ‘Profound and Generational Problems’


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.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who ascended to the throne following the death of his half-brother Abdullah on Friday, was quick to indicate his intention to continue his predecessor’s policies.

“Saudi Arabia has profound and generational problems that go beyond Abdullah, his successor, or any leader for that matter who will preside over the kingdom,” Saab, a resident senior fellow for Middle East security at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, said in an interview.

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‘Continuity, Cohesion, and Consolidation Will Be the Watchwords,’ Says LeBaron

 
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.

“Continuity, cohesion, and consolidation will be the watchwords,” LeBaron, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said in an interview.

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Pro-Europe Parties Won a Narrow Victory at the Polls, But Can’t Agree on a Government


Eight weeks after voters in Moldova gave a narrow victory to the three main parties inclined toward greater democracy and ties with Europe, those groups are locked in a political battle that has prevented the formation of a government. The three-party coalition, called the Alliance for European Integration, which broke the Communists’ eight-year hold on power in 2009, is at an impasse over the distribution of government posts, writes Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Brian Mefford.

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