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.
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.
• 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.
Rousseff's official US trip comes in a period of domestic uncertainty—recession and corruption scandals are crippling her popularity and power. The rapprochement is a byproduct of Brazil's foreign policy aligning with domestic policy: she needs to change Brazil's—and her—negative narrative to a positive one. While Workers' Party (PT) stalwarts remain skeptical of closer relations with the United States, today it represents one of the most important roads back toward renewed growth of the Brazilian economy. For the United States, this presents a unique opportunity to inject new life into the bilateral relationship. (A full Arsht Center report on the bilateral agenda, US-Brazil Relations: A New Beginning? How to Strengthen the Bilateral Agenda, will be released on June 19.).
But without the participation of the so-called E-3 – Britain, France and Germany – nuclear diplomacy with Iran would probably never have gotten to this point and might not have happened at all.
Helping Tunisia Realize its Democratic Promise
Amid the turmoil that so often dominates the headlines, it can be tempting to think that all of North Africa and the Middle East is gripped by disorder. But in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began, democracy and pluralism are taking root ...
More than four years after a young street vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, set himself on fire to protest the daily humiliations of an oppressive government, sparking the protests that ended decades of dictatorship, Tunisia shows that democracy is not only possible but also necessary in North Africa and the Middle East ...
Our two nations now have an unprecedented opportunity to forge an enduring partnership based on shared interests and values. Indeed, since the revolution, the United States has committed more than $570 million, and supported two major loan guarantees, to help Tunisians pursue critical political, economic and security reforms. Over the past year alone, the United States has worked to double its assistance to Tunisia, with $134 million proposed for next year. This is not charity...