In August 2017, US President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a bill designed in part to sanction countries doing business with Russia’s defense industry. Like some other US partners, India is at risk of CAATSA sanctions because the bulk of its defense inventory is from the former Soviet Union and it maintains substantial defense ties with Russia.

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Today @DFRLab announced that we are partnering with Facebook to expand our #ElectionWatch program to identify, expose, and explain disinformation during elections around the world. The effort is part of a broader initiative to provide independent and credible research about the role of social media in elections, as well as democracy more generally.

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US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal may increase the prospects of instability in the Middle East. However, Russia is likely to interpret this instability through the prism of what many politicians and analysts in Moscow like to call the “approaching global confrontation with the United States.”

In April—just before the United States, France, and the United Kingdom launched airstrikes on Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime—members of the Duma, retired generals, and analysts in Moscow were convinced that the United States and Russia would come to blows over Syria.

Even before the airstrikes, Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Gen. Valery Gerasimov announced in March that Russia would shoot down any US missiles fired at Syrian territory, and would target US aircraft and naval vessels if Russian forces were threatened.

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Amid the uncertainty that has followed the Iraqi parliamentary elections on May 12 one thing is clear: formerly anti-US Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s list is the top vote-getter.

Sadr is trailed by Iran-backed Shia militia leader Hadi al-Amiri in second place and current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in third according to the unofficial results that are subject to change in the upcoming days.

Sadr, who formed the Mahdi Army in response to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, has since disbanded the group and transformed himself into a leading Shia politician.

In an interview with the New Atlanticist, Harith Hasan al-Qarawee, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by the elections.

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One of Europe’s longest terrorist campaigns is finally over.

The dissolution of Basque separatist group ETA puts an end to the use of deadly violence for political goals in Spain, namely, establishing an independent nationalist state in the country’s Basque region.

Like the Good Friday Agreement that sealed the peace process in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, the end of ETA contributes to the long-term decline of violent nationalist movements in Western Europe.  

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North Korea has threatened to cancel the highly anticipated summit between US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in light of what it called “provocative military disturbances with South Korea,” North Korea’s state news agency reported early on May 16 local time. The Trump-Kim summit is set to be held in Singapore on June 12.

In a surprise move, North Korea also suspended talks with South Korea scheduled for May 16 in protest over the latter’s military exercises with the United States.

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Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe reflects on President Trump’s Iran decision and the 2018 Distinguished Leadership Awards

It was a piquant coincidence that we scheduled the Atlantic Council’s annual Distinguished Leadership Awards dinner, saluting former President George W. Bush for his life-saving work against HIV-AIDS, opposite President Trump’s most consequential leadership decision to date, the undoing of the Iran nuclear deal.

Receiving his award on May 10, the date on which Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in 1940, President Bush spoke with a clarity that ensured his meaning was not missed:

“Churchill said in his lifetime two world wars had shown that oceans no longer protected the new world from the problems of the old. The only way for peace was through partnership and engagement. If we are together, nothing is impossible. If we are divided, all will fail. That’s why the Atlantic Council is important today. And I appreciate your good works.”

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The European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal are seeking ways to soften the bite of US sanctions on companies doing business in the Islamic Republic, David O’Sullivan, the European Union’s ambassador to the United States, said at the Atlantic Council on May 14.

Though upset by US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal, the European signatories are committed to the agreement. “The European Union (EU) will maintain its commitment to the nuclear deal, as long as Iran does the same,” said O’Sullivan. “We Europeans believe that we are bound by our commitment if we want Iran to stay in the deal,” he added.

O’Sullivan delivered a rousing endorsement of the deal and expressed his profound dismay at Trump’s May 8 decision to withdraw from it.

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Trump to meet Uzbek president at the White House on May 16

US President Donald J. Trump will meet his Uzbek counterpart, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, at the White House on May 16. This will be the first time since March 2002 that the president of Uzbekistan has made an official visit to the United States.

In general, US foreign policy in Central Asia has been built, developed and, often, stalled in the following areas: political, military, economics, and human rights. Washington found in Tashkent a ready partner for security and intelligence cooperation, but never developed a close, cooperative relationship because of its concerns about political authoritarianism in the country and, in particular, human rights abuses. 

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[Editor's note: This blog post has been updated.]

Massive protests have erupted in the Gaza Strip on May 14 as the United States relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, becoming the world’s first nation to have an embassy in the holy city.

On December 6, US President Donald J. Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to shift the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—the two cities are about an hour’s drive apart.

The decision is a controversial one. Palestinians turned out in large numbers to protest the decision. At least fifty-two Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire at the Gaza border. Health officials said 2,400 Palestinians were wounded, hundreds of them by live bullets. Protests were also reported in the West Bank.

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