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In the wake of mounting violence and unrest in the Palestinian territories and Israel over the past three months, over forty thousand Palestinians have taken to the streets to protest Israel's occupation and its policies in Jerusalem. Reuters recently reported that 24 Israelis and at least 142 Palestinians have been killed in clashes since the beginning of October 2015. The uprising, led by young Palestinians, is taking place against the backdrop of stalled negotiations over a two-state solution and increasing disillusionment with the Palestinian Authority.

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The year ahead promises a number of shifts throughout Latin America. Will we see government changes in Brazil and Venezuela? Is Obama finally visiting Cuba? In short, what will be some of the top issues shaping the region in 2016? The Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center has come up with answers to what may be the top questions for the year ahead. But we also want to hear from you. Vote in the poll to cast your answers and find out what we think about these ten important issues.


With presidential races heating up in key primary states, the Atlantic Council's new US-Cuba poll of voters in America's heartland finds majority support in both parties for further opening trade, travel, and investment with Cuba. Voters in Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa—though they largely consider the United States on the 'wrong track'—strongly favor lifting trade and travel restrictions and endorse the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. Among the 70 percent of voters who do not approve of the country's direction, 58 percent are in favor of President Obama's new Cuba policies. The support in these states—important because of senior congressional delegations or weight in presidential politics—constitutes a major victory for the President's executive actions over the last year.

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Argentines go to the polls on October 25 for what is shaping up to be one of the most important elections in years. Whoever wins — either this Sunday or in a likely November 22 runoff — will end the twelve-year Kirchner era. Who will tango their way into the Casa Rosada?

In this month's spotlight, we ask: what will be the outcome of Argentina's presidential elections?
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Can Latin America maintain the momentum of the past decade's social transformations? The answer will depend on its ability to adopt innovative solutions to advance social progress. Considered the third arm of development by the World Bank, social entrepreneurship in Latin America has expanded dramatically in the past two decades and is today addressing societal problems that governments, civil society, and the private sector cannot effectively tackle.

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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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With the arrival of Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, in Vienna Friday, the climax to nearly two years of intensive negotiations is at hand.

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Faced with a $1.8 billion debt payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday, Greece was unable to reach an agreement with its Eurozone partners and the IMF yesterday in the latest round of talks in Brussels as both sides failed to make progress on key issues such as pension reform and taxation. A final session of negotiations will begin on Saturday, where Greece will have one last chance to strike a deal to unlock $8.06 billion in bailout aid. Absent an agreement, EU leaders are prepared to implement measures such as capital controls and even humanitarian aid to help stem the spread of economic contagion caused by a Greek default. If capital controls do in fact have to be adopted, they will be discussed and finalized over the weekend.

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I "visited" Iran the other day, but didn't need a visa or a plane ticket.

Through the magic of the Internet and sophisticated audiovisual technology, I chatted for 20 minutes with a young man in Tehran about the mood in society in anticipation of a historic nuclear agreement with the U.S. and five other nations.

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Bottom Line Up Front:

• A multinational joint task force consisting of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger has driven Boko Haram from key territorial strongholds in northeastern Nigeria; on June 18, the Chadian military conducted airstrikes against six Boko Haram bases in Nigeria

• But the terror group continues to launch deadly, near-daily attacks throughout the region—including on June 15 with twin suicide bombings in Chad—using guerrilla tactics rather than conventional warfare• Nigeria’s newly-inaugurated president, Muhammadu Buhari, has moved quickly to support regional counter-Boko Haram efforts, insisting on Nigerian leadership in the task force and pledging $100 million in financial support

• Despite the nascent successes of the joint task force, Islamic State gains in North Africa and, in particular, Libya, could impact the flow of weapons and fighters into Nigeria; Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in March of this year.

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