Event Recaps

On June 20, 2017, the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East launched a new report, The Origins and Evolution of ISIS in Libya. The report is authored by Jason Pack, Rhiannon Smith, and Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Karim Mezran.

Jason Pack is the Founder and Director of Eye on ISIS in Libya and Rhiannon Smith is the Managing Director of Eye on ISIS in Libya. Mezran moderated a discussion between Pack, Smith, and Associate Director at the RAND Corporation Christopher Chivvis. Hariri Center Deputy Director and Director for Research & Programs Mirette F. Mabrouk introduced the event. 

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On June 15, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosted BP’s Group Chief Economist, Spencer Dale, for the US launch of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017. The BP Statistical Review is looked to as the gold standard by policymakers, industry analysts, and energy stakeholders for yearly analysis of the changing energy market.

During his presentation, Dale highlighted the key global developments in each energy sector. Drawing from these developments, Dale concluded that in 2016 the global market was subject to two separate forces: short-run, cyclical adjustments and long-run, structural shifts. Short-run adjustments like weak energy supply growth and increasing demand growth have occurred in response to a period of excess supply, particularly in the oil market. On the other hand, a structural transition is also underway, as demand growth is increasingly being driven by developing economies, and has manifested predominately in the form of robust renewable power development.

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Ahead of President Donald Trump’s anticipated announcement on a change to US-Cuba policy, the United States’ bilateral relationship with the island nation has once again come under scrutiny. To discuss the implications of a potential rollback of US-Cuba relations, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center held a conference call with Brigadier General David L. McGinnis, member of the American Security Project’s Consensus for American Security, José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas Vision of the Human Rights Watch, and Emily Morris, associate fellow at the Institute of the Americas at the University College London. Jason Marczak, Director the Latin America Economic Growth Initiative at the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, delivered opening remarks and moderated the conversation.

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The volatile and mostly hostile relationship between the United States and Iran is heading into new and unpredictable waters as the Trump administration and the US Congress increase pressure on the Islamic Republic.

That was the conclusion of Suzanne Maloney, deputy director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, Amir Handjani, an Atlantic Council board member and senior fellow with the Council’s South Asia Center, and Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council. The three spoke at an event at the Atlantic Council on June 13 on the current status of US-Iran relations and ways to bolster the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark nuclear deal reached with Iran in 2015. The panel was moderated by Ladane Nasseri, senior Iran correspondent for Bloomberg News.

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On Monday, June 12, the Global Energy Center hosted Meg Gentle, President & CEO of Tellurian Inc. as part of its CEO Series. Gentle discussed the future of US natural gas production, the outlook for US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, and Tellurian’s forecast of global LNG markets. Richard Morningstar, founding director and chairman of the Global Energy Center, delivered welcome remarks and moderated the discussion.

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The Trump administration is said to be drafting a new arms package for Taiwan that could include advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles. The package is expected to be significantly larger than one that was shelved at the end of the Obama administration, US officials told Reuters on the eve of a visit to Beijing by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson two months ago. The United States has long committed itself to providing Taiwan with the means to defend itself and have engaged in unofficial diplomatic relations since the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. American presidents have engaged in robust arms sales to Taiwan since the Carter administration and have sold Taiwan more than $30 billion in weapons since then. Current cross-strait relations are strained, and Beijing is likely to react to any arms sale to Taiwan. How will this arms sale affect Taiwan’s defense and security, how will Beijing respond, and how will the arms sales package fit into the Trump administration’s broader strategy in the Asia-Pacific?

On June 9, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s Asia Security Initiative hosted a Cross-Straits Series event on the next US-Taiwan arms sale. The discussion brings together Mr. Abraham Denmark, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia of the US Department of Defense; Mr. Ian Easton, Research Fellow of Project 2049 Institute; and Ms. Susan Lawrence, Specialist, Asian Affairs of the Congressional Research Service. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Shannon Tiezzi, Editor at The Diplomat.

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On June 7th, the Energy Diplomacy Initiative within the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center held a half-day conference on Energy Security in Central & Eastern Europe: New Challenges and Opportunities, which brought together government officials, business leaders, and experts to discuss the implications of the changing global LNG market, progression of the European Energy Union concept, and the priorities of the new US administration for Central and Eastern European energy security.

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On May 12, 2017, the world was shaken by a ransomware cyberattack called Wanna Crypt (also known as WannaCry) that spread like a network worm. The attack impacted over 45 National Health System (NHS) organizations across England and Scotland, forcing hospitals to cancel appointments and loose critical patient records, as well as the German S-Bahn.

The impacts did not stop there. In less than ten days, WannaCry affected approximately 200,000 systems in 150 countries, swiftly becoming one of the most impactful malware outbreaks in recent history, and dominating the news cycle for the next several days.

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On May 31st, the Atlantic Council’s Eurogrowth Initiative and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted Pieter De Crem, Belgium’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

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On May 25, 2017, on the occasion of the fifty-fourth celebration of Africa Day, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center launched its newest report, “Why Africa Matters to US National Security.” The author, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council Grant Harris, argues that a re-assessment of Africa’s strategic importance to US national security is overdue.

Atlantic Council Vice President and Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham welcomed attendees, and Africa Center Director for Programs and Studies and Deputy Director Bronwyn Bruton set the stage for Harris’s remarks, which she noted were especially timely given that a new administration has settled into Washington.

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