Publications

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To decrease its heavy reliance on fossil fuels the Turkish government has made ambitious plans to increase its production of nuclear energy. It has reached tentative agreement with Russia and a Japanese-French consortium to build two nuclear power plants near Mersin on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and in the Sinop District on the Black Sea coast. The fate of Turkey’s nuclear projects, however, is dependent on vendor financing, related to adoption of a “Build, Operate, Own” (BOO) model, in addition to political arrangements with the Russian Federation.

 
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The final report of Middle East Strategy Task Force Co-Chairs Madeleine K. Albright and Stephen J. Hadley proposes nothing short of a paradigm shift in how the international community and the Middle East interact. Not only does the report suggest ways forward for the region’s most immediate crises in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. It also puts forward a pragmatic and actionable long-term strategy that emphasizes the talent and aspirations of the people of the Middle East themselves, with an eye toward harnessing the region’s enormous human potential.
This report is the culmination of the Task Force’s nearly two years of efforts which have included the publication of five working group papers, nine public events, forty private roundtables, and extensive consultations in Tunis, Cairo, Amman, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Jerusalem, and Ramallah.

 
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At the outset of the political uprisings that began in North Africa in 2010, the four countries of Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia faced similar economic and political challenges. Over the past almost six years, the countries have adopted different approaches to address these problems, however the overall economic picture today is grim amid varied political environments. In “Aftermath of the Arab Spring in North Africa,” authors Mohsin Khan and Karim Mezran examine whether these four North African countries have been successful in meetings the demands of their populations as expressed in the 2010-11 uprisings and what challenges remain for them in the future. 
 
The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the concurrent war in Syria present serious challenges to European and Middle Eastern security. For many in the West, the direct appeal by ISIS for scores of men and women to travel to Syria and Iraq in order to live in a self-declared caliphate has overwhelmed intelligence organizations. In Tunisia, Iraq, Libya, France, and Belgium, people who had spent time in Syria or Iraq returned home to carry out terror attacks. Turkey has faced a similar spate of large-scale attacks since the start of the Syrian conflict... READ FULL ANALYSIS ONLINE

 


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Executive Summary
In recent decades, Muslims have been debating political and social aspects of their religious teachings in new ways. The religious debates are connected to and sometimes stem in considerable part from underlying political and social trends—demographic shifts; rising education; unaccountable and authoritarian governance; stuttering economic and governmental performance; and corruption. They cannot, however, be wholly reduced to those trends. Religion is not an isolated field, but neither is it simply a mask for other struggles; the terms and outcomes of religious debates matter in their own right.

It is precisely for that reason that the debates are receiving increasing attention not merely from those involved in them but also from non-Muslims in various policy communities. In particular, there is escalating alarm in security-oriented circles that radical individuals and movements, making their arguments in Islamic terms, are threatening global and regional security through terrorism, revolutionary activity, and other forms of political violence.

Five years after the 2011 revolution, Egypt’s economy is floundering and remains far from recovery. Successive Egyptian governments have struggled to develop a vision for a new economic model for Egypt, while simultaneously implementing populist policies to appease the immediate demand of the public. In “The Economic Decline of Egypt after the 2011 Uprising,” authors Mohsin Khan and Elissa Miller examine the trajectory of Egypt’s economy since 2011 and what the current Egyptian government should do to arrest the economy’s downward slide.
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Five years after Tunisia’s revolution, which ousted longtime authoritarian ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and put the country on the path towards nascent democracy, democratic and economic reforms have stalled. Following the revolution, the United States, the European Union (EU), and EU member states—namely France, Germany, and the United Kingdom—substantially boosted assistance to Tunisia. But simply increasing support has not proven to be effective. To help Tunisia as it moves away from the immediate post-revolutionary period, the United States and the EU must develop a joint transatlantic strategy that recognizes Tunisia as a priority for Western engagement with the Arab world.

 
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With the meteoric rise of Islamic political movements in 2011, the issue of Sharia law has come to the forefront of a debate around the role of religion in governance. In his issue brief “Islam and Sharia Law,” Atlantic Council’s Nonresident Fellow Yussef Auf identifies and explains the challenges of incorporating Sharia law into the legal framework of modern governments, using the example of Egypt to enumerate the difficulties of codifying religious doctrine into law. Auf discusses how Sharia law attempts to regulate public life in three different domains: political governance, the Islamic legal system, and the economic system.

 


Turkey has been the most engaged regional player in northern Syria and is the external actor most responsible for the emergence of the opposition to the Syrian regime. In “Turkey’s Syria Predicament,” authors Faysal Itani and Aaron Stein of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East examine Turkey’s involvement, its implications for Turkish domestic politics, its impact on the Syrian insurgency and course of the war, and the implications for US foreign policy.

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The forced displacement of unprecedented numbers of people within and beyond national borders has become an enduring yet fluid phenomenon across the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade. The Middle East Strategy Task Force's Rebuilding Societies: Strategies for Resilience and Recovery in Times of Conflict report, published in cooperation with the United States Institute of Peace, discusses what can be done now to plant the seeds for a full recovery and social cohesion in societies that are in the midst of protracted violent conflicts, and provides more sustainable, coherent, and substantive answers to the ongoing refugee crisis.

The increased risks being taken by refugees and asylum-seekers, including those who are crossing the Mediterranean in very dangerous conditions, and the sharp increased flow through the Balkans and Europe illustrate their level of desperation. They are also a reflection of the failure of both national leaders and the international community to address the violent conflicts as well as the elements of fragility that lead to them in a sustainable way.

 




    

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