Publications

Despite the many external players involved, the Syrian war is ultimately a local conflict. In "Seizing Local Opportunities in Syria," authors Faysal Itani of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center and Co-Founder of People Demand Change Bassam Barabandi identify three opportunities on the ground for the United States to develop partnerships with segments of the Syrian population. By taking advantage of these openings, the United States can help further its goals of facilitating a lasting political transition and weakening jihadists in Syria. These opportunities include encouraging a Sunni-Druze coalition in the south and an Arab-Kurdish one in the north, as well as deepening contact with Jaish al-Islam (JAI) in the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta.

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The “green men” who fanned out across Crimea in early 2014, establishing control over key infrastructure and clearing the way for once-marginal political actors to seize the reins of power, were the vanguard of a forced political change that has led to grave human rights abuses across the Crimean peninsula.

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The postponement of parliamentary elections in Egypt, scheduled for March 2015, marked a setback in the country's democratic political process. Electoral politics are effectively on hold. Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood supporters have adopted a violent confrontational strategy toward the state, secular opposition parties are increasingly ineffectual, and voter fatigue remains a serious dilemma.

In "To Vote or Not to Vote: Examining the Disenfranchised in Egypt's Political Landscape," the Atlantic Council's Sarah El Sirgany assesses the electoral environment in Egypt. She examines voter apathy, particularly the sort fueled by marginalization and disenfranchisement, and explains the deterioration of the Islamists' electoral gains and the rising trend within the Muslim Brotherhood of eschewing electoral participation in favor of violent confrontation. She also outlines the challenges that secular parties face.

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Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee, and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), co-chaired the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center's US Energy Boom and National Security task force, which convened foreign policy, defense, and energy experts. The experts assessed how the United States can strengthen American leadership, advance international security, and promote global prosperity by leveraging necessary hydrocarbon export policies and deploying US prowess in energy innovation and technology to others.

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It's no coincidence that Kenya will host this year's Global Entrepreneurship Summit in July, or that President Barack Obama will be there in person, as well as traveling next door to Ethiopia. Home to entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and artists who embody the spirit of innovation, Africa is rapidly commanding more influence on the global stage. The United States, and indeed the world, has taken notice.

A new book, The Next Africa: An Emerging Continent Becomes a Global Powerhouse, by Africa Center Visiting Fellow Aubrey Hruby and coauthor Jake Bright, captures this story.

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Cuba's Economic Reintegration: Begin with the International Financial Institutions is the first major policy publication on Cuba's role in the global economic community since the December announcement of new policies toward Cuba. The team of authors include Cuban economist Pavel Vidal and former Senior IMF Economist Scott Brown, a former mission chief for Albania.

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Russia is at war with Ukraine. Russian citizens and soldiers are fighting and dying in a war of their government's own making. Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to deny Russian involvement in the fighting, but the evidence is overwhelming and indisputable. Drawing upon open source information, Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin's War in Ukraine provides irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine.

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For more than a decade, NATO has been engaged in expeditionary ground-centric operations that have shaped the strategic thinking, capabilities, and planning of the Alliance and its members. But moving forward, NATO must also consider its role in the global maritime domain as it relates to transatlantic security and interests, as well as NATO operations. The maritime domain is increasingly competitive and contested, and the return of geopolitical competition has important maritime dimensions. Russian aggression to the east and Mediterranean turbulence to the south present unique maritime challenges for European security.

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Ukraine's economy is flagging. But a Ukrainian economy, integrated with the rest of Europe and by extension, the world economy, is essential for the country's political stability and its ability to withstand Russian aggression. While the international community is yet to develop a large-scale macro-economic assistance program on the order of the Marshall Plan, the US government can utilize existing programming through its development agencies to provide an immediate positive jolt to the private sector economy in Ukraine.

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The Obama administration and its European allies are confronted by multiple crises in an increasingly turbulent and violent Middle East — the Iran nuclear threat, a strengthening Islamic State and the disintegration of Iraq, Yemen and Libya as functioning nation-states. But no problem is as difficult, grave or pivotal as the brutal, bloody and worsening civil war in Syria.

The situation in this keystone Middle East state is catastrophic. More than 220,000 Syrians have died in its four-year civil war. More than 11 million Syrians — half the population — have fled their homes. Four million have taken refuge in nearby countries. Nearly double that number are displaced within Syria itself. The Islamic State occupies more than a third of Syria's territory and swathes of Iraq. Given this level of deprivation, mass murder and geopolitical risk in Syria, the response of the rest of the world has been woefully inadequate. The U.N. Security Council has been neither a peacemaker nor a pain reliever.

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