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A new Atlantic Council report—Breaking Aleppo—uses satellite images, TV footage, social media, and security camera videos to debunk Russia’s claims that no civilians were killed in its airstrikes on the city of Aleppo in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“In an era where we’re facing a mixture of falsehoods and truths, the report is incontrovertible evidence,” said Fred Kempe, Atlantic Council president and chief executive officer, adding, “it exposes the deliberate and systematic destruction of Aleppo.” Kempe delivered opening remarks at the report’s launch at the Atlantic Council in Washington on February 13. He described how the report’s findings prove that the Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran, targeted civilians and noncombatants “in a bid to break the will and spirit of the city.”
US President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) on January 27, barring refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries—Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Iran, and Iraq—from entering the United States for at least 90 days, leaving refugee and immigrant communities in limbo. Trump’s Executive Order also suspends the US refugee resettlement program for 120 days, indefinitely suspends Syrian refugee resettlement to the United States, and caps the number of all refugees admitted at 50,000 per year. On February 3, a Seattle federal judge temporarily blocked the travel ban, after which Cairo Airport issued a statement saying it will allow travelers from the seven countries to board flights to the United States. As the case makes its way through the courts, the future of Iraqi, Syrian, and Sudanese refugees in Cairo expecting to resettle in the United States, has now been called into question.
Six years ago today, the Yemeni people erupted in a Day of Rage against a corrupt regime to demand equal rights, but the transitional process faltered leading to the now nearly two-year-old conflict between Houthi rebels allied with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the government-in-exile led by President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi backed by Saudi Arabia. Continuing clashes have delivered a brutal humanitarian crisis, an economy on the verge of collapse, and over 10,000 Yemeni deaths according to UN figures. It may seem antithetical to discuss issues of transitional justice while Yemen struggles with an ongoing war, but the conflict is slowly creeping toward an inevitable stalemate.
On January 27, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order on immigration, titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” The order places a ban on the entry of foreign nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days; suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days; and blocks the entry of Syrian nationals indefinitely.  
US President Donald Trump’s executive order that prevents refugees from around the world and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States has triggered warning calls from critics about the damage it could inflict on US interests, values, and national security.

“The ban not only provides fuel for the radicals, but it also undermines American diplomacy, American business, and the ability of our military to operate abroad,” said Lawrence Pintak, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, where he focuses on the US relationship with the Muslim world and the media’s role in shaping global perceptions and policies.

“Trump just handed [the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham] a gift. Anwar al-Awlaki, the late American-born al Qaeda propagandist, predicted that one day the United States would turn against its Muslim citizens. In extremist social media chatrooms today, his followers are calling this a ‘blessed ban,’” he added.
Tailors understand the necessity of measuring at least twice before cutting.  Good leaders and managers customarily apply the same procedure to decision-making.  “Act in haste, repent at leisure” is not just an aphorism.  It is a lesson often learned the hard way by those who cut carelessly.  Although White House reactions to the confusion and fear propagated by an executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” has been both defiant and defensive, the betting here is that a lesson is being learned and that regular order will, before long, return to the executive branch of the United States government.
Regardless of whether it stands up in court, President Trump’s executive order banning the entry of refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries into the United States has done enormous harm to Muslim students who are studying or aspire to study here. American colleges and universities must react quickly and effectively to limit the damage, which reverberates well beyond the seven countries and the 15,000-plus students affected directly by the order.
The ceasefire agreement recently negotiated by Russia, Turkey, and Iran preserves Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power, but the deal itself is significant because for the first time the key players, with the exception of the United States, have come to the table with an understanding that a political solution to the conflict is no longer a viable option, according to two Middle East analysts at the Atlantic Council.

“The idea of political transition in Syria is done,” said Faysal Itani, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “The opposition can no longer achieve political change through military action, or indeed through the negotiation process,” he said.

“There was never any way that that was going to happen unless there was military leverage used against the regime, because the regime was never going to agree to a political transition, nor has it ever pretended that it would,” he added.
The Syrian peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, consecrate Russia’s primacy in Syria, launched with its entrance into the conflict in 2015, and extended with its ability now to convene peace talks and dictate terms.

The outcome of the talks on January 23 also put on display the ascendant axis of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Lebanese Islamist militant group Hezbollah, and Iran, backed by Russia and now facilitated by Turkey.
As it enters its sixth year, the crisis in Libya shows no signs of abating. The UN-backed unity government seems to be teetering on the edge of collapse, and clashes threaten to escalate between eastern and western forces. Withdrawal from Libya could have negative consequences for western interests, and the United States—under the Trump administration—could take the lead in engaging with Libya to achieve stability. This engagement is key, not only for Libya’s stability, but for the stability of neighboring Egypt and Tunisia as well as US and European interests in the region.


    

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