MENASourceJan 11, 2021
Experts react: The United States designates Houthi rebels as a Foreign Terrorist Organization
By Atlantic Council
On January 11, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States is designating Yemen’s Houthi rebel group Ansar Allah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Atlantic Council experts react to the designation and what it means for the wider region.
New AtlanticistDec 9, 2020
Working hand-in-glove: A first-hand account of Lloyd Austin’s leadership in Iraq
By Marc J. Sievers
Lloyd Austin was a great soldier, an inspiring commander to his troops, and a down-to-earth, approachable colleague who we civilians were privileged to work alongside.
Fast ThinkingDec 8, 2020
FAST THINKING: Biden’s surprise pick for defense secretary
By Atlantic Council
The biggest surprise of the Biden transition so far is here: The president-elect has picked retired general Lloyd Austin as his nominee for secretary of defense. Is he the right person for the job? And what does the historic selection mean?
Marc J. Sievers is a former nonresident senior fellow for Middle East Programs at the Atlantic Council. Sievers retired in December 2019 a career member of the US Senior Foreign Service with the rank of minister-counselor. His last position was as US ambassador to Oman from January 2016 to November 2019. Prior to his appointment he was a diplomatic fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy from September 2014 to July 2015. Sievers is the first person to be appointed to this position, which is a collaborative program with the US Department of State.
A Foreign Service Officer since 1981, Sievers served as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires in Cairo from September 2011 to August 2014. He previously held a range of posts in Washington and across the Middle East including political minister-counselor in Baghdad from 2010 to 2011, counselor for political affairs in Tel Aviv from 2006 to 2010, and deputy chief of mission in Algiers from 2003 to 2006. In 2004, he volunteered as senior adviser to Iraq’s transitional Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad. He also served as political counselor in Riyadh, deputy political counselor in Ankara, and political officer in Rabat and Cairo.
Sievers received a BA in history from the University of Utah in 1978 and an MA in international affairs from Columbia University in 1980. He has received numerous awards over his career, including three State Department Superior Honor Awards and four Meritorious Honor Awards, and the American Foreign Service Association’s Sinclaire Language Award for his achievements in the study of the Arabic language and culture.