Rachel Ansley

  • The War in Yemen: No End in Sight

    US President Donald J. Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s shared animosity toward Iran is apparently getting in the way of ending the war in Yemen that has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and put millions more on the brink of starvation.

    While Yemen was very much on the agenda when Trump met the crown prince at the White House in Washington on March 20, there was scarce mention following their meeting of any productive effort to end the war in that country.

    “I just don’t see between these two men in charge that they’re going to be able to do the right thing [in Yemen,] which is to put diplomacy first,” said Nabeel Khoury, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

    “Saudi Arabia and the United States, the two big powers that can actually make things happen in Yemen, are looking past Yemen,” he added.

    Read More
  • The Battle Over Nord Stream II

    Despite US sanctions, the Kremlin’s pursuit of a free hand to maintain dominance over Europe’s energy market by using Nord Stream II has sparked fierce debate among Western democracies over the importance of the proposed pipeline.

    “This is not about a pipeline,” said Agnia Grigas, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. “This is a Kremlin project, a project by a country that is under sanctions right now for waging war in Europe.”

    According to Grigas, US and European policymakers need only note the actors involved, mainly Russia, to know that “this is not purely a commercial project.” She called on all international stakeholders to “assess this long-term, generational project from its security and political perspective.”

    Read More
  • 7 Things to Know About the Past 7 Years of War in Syria

    When protests erupted against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria in 2011, no one could have anticipated the level of violence, trauma, and devastation that would result from that uprising over the next seven years.

    The Syrian civil war began on March 15, 2011. The conflict has been fought by a constellation of rebel groups and militias arrayed against the Assad regime, and each other. It has expanded to include international actors—namely Russia, Iran, and the United States—propping up opposing sides.

    At the outset of the war, US intelligence services estimated Assad would not last longer than six months.

    Read More
  • Trump’s Tough Approach to Ethiopia

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Ethiopia this week to underscore US support for a crucial partner that finds itself in a crisis.

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned unexpectedly on February 15 in the wake of violent anti-government protests. The government then imposed a nationwide state of emergency that lawmakers endorsed earlier in March.

    While Tillerson urged Ethiopian citizens to be patient with their government and refrain from violence, he also unequivocally condemned the state of emergency.

    Read More
  • Here’s How the United States and Europe Should Counter Disinformation

    Any US or European response to the ongoing issue of disinformation must not exploit the openness of a democratic society, but work within its boundaries to ensure transparency of information, according to the Atlantic Council’s Daniel Fried.

    “We have to fight disinformation within the norms of our government,” said Fried, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center. Though the United States and its European allies must take important steps to counter Russian actors meddling in future elections, according to Fried, “we don’t have to become them in order to fight them.”

    “The solution to this problem is going to look nothing like the problem itself,” said Jonathan Henick, deputy director of the Global Engagement Center at the US Department of State. Rather than turn the Kremlin’s subversive tactics against it, he said: “We are going to need to be much more creative in how to address this problem, and it’s not...

    Read More
  • Are Trump’s Tariffs Aimed at the WTO?

    Does US President Donald J. Trump’s startling and widely panned declaration to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports set the stage for the United States’ exit from the World Trade Organization (WTO)?

    Jennifer Hillman, a fellow at the Institute of International Economic Law, seems to think so. Trump’s maneuvering indicates that he “would like to create a crisis in the WTO, or…lay the groundwork for the United States to withdraw,” she said.

    It is not impossible that, should the WTO level charges against the United States, the Trump administration may respond by saying, “that’s it, we’re leaving,” cautioned Hillman, a former member of the WTO appellate court. She joined a press and members call hosted by the Atlantic Council on March 6.

    Read More
  • ‘They Killed the Strongest One’

    Boris Nemtsov: A life remembered, a legacy celebrated

    Three years have passed since the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, but his legacy continues to inspire those who challenge Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian government in Russia.

    Describing Nemtsov’s life and legacy, his close friend and fellow dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza said: “Every country, every nation has its good sides and its bad sides. Boris represented the best there is of Russia.”

    Nemtsov was a governor, member of the Russian Duma, deputy prime minister, critic of the Kremlin, opposition leader, friend, and “the most decent person I’ve ever known,” said Kara-Murza, chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation.

    Read More
  • Nicolás Maduro is About to Steal Venezuela's Election

    Jorge Quiroga does not believe that the presidential elections scheduled to be held in Venezuela on April 22 will be free or fair. In fact, he contends, “they’re not elections.”

    The former president of Bolivia is not alone in that opinion.

    Read More
  • Boko Haram’s Latest Version Relies on its Old Terror Toolkit in Nigeria

    Terrorist group suspected in disappearance of ninety school girls

    More than ninety missing school girls in Nigeria—thought to have been abducted by Boko Haram—show that while the militants may have largely been defeated militarily, Boko Haram remains alive and well in Nigeria, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

    According to J. Peter Pham, vice president for regional initiatives and director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, the “iteration of Boko Haram the military force was defeated. However, Boko Haram evolved and it has become a more classical terrorist group.” Pham described how Boko Haram has “increased suicide bombings and—if this kidnapping is confirmed—returned to mass kidnappings as well.”

    Read More
  • The United States and Turkey: NATO Allies at an Impasse

    The US military continues to support a Kurdish militia in Syria that Turkey considers a terrorist organization, and Ankara has had enough.

    Now, as the Turkish military threatens to advance on Manbij, a town in northeastern Syria held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces that includes the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Ankara is “going to try to force a showdown to gain concessions from the United States,” said Aaron Stein, a resident fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

    However, he added, “I just don’t see a willingness from the United States to give the types of concessions that Turkey wants.”

    Read More