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  • Author: Kenneth Katzman
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Since the seizure of US hostages in Iran following the 1979 revolution, the US government has imposed a succession of economic penalties against the Islamic Republic. The complexity and severity of these sanctions intensified following Iran's resumption of a uranium enrichment program in 2006. However, there are a variety of ways to provide extensive sanctions relief should there be a deal placing long-term restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Jihadists are steadily capturing territory and resources and establishing a state in Syria and Iraq. The most capable jihadist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), now controls swathes of territory, energy resources, and sophisticated military hardware in both countries. Although the extremists are currently occupied with fighting other nonregime armed groups and the Syrian and Iraqi regimes, these efforts are a means to an end: building a state from which to confront and target the United States, its allies, and its interests in the region. These jihadist groups also bring boundless suffering to the populations they control, and serve as a magnet for and inspiration to jihadists worldwide.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Valerie Stocker
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The fall of Muammar Qaddafi's regime in 2011 after four decades of authoritarian rule gave rise to numerous armed groups competing for territory and influence. More than three years since the uprising began, persistent instability threatens not only Libya's fragile democratic transition but also security in North Africa and the Sahel zone. Tripoli is at the center of a power struggle among competing political factions. Benghazi is the scene of ever more brutal political violence, which now risks drawing the country into a civil war. Then there is the southwestern province of Fezzan, Libya's "Wild West," where human trafficking and smuggling thrive and transnational jihadists hide.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Ricardo Sennes
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Like any other international mega-event, hosting the FIFA World Cup brings the promise of a positive long-term legacy for Brazil. It is a unique opportunity for visibility among more than 3 billion people worldwide who will either attend or watch the games on television. The exposure from the games has the potential to draw national and international investments before, during, and after the thirty-two teams compete for the Cup.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Walter B. Slocombe, Matthew Kroenig
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: NATO's Strategic Concept (SC), adopted at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, includes a number of propositions that define NATO's nuclear policy. Most fundamentally, NATO's most important strategy document declares that "[d]eterrence, based on an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities, remains a core element of" the Alliance's "overall strategy."
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, International Security
  • Author: J. Peter Pham, Ricardo Rene Laremont
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Africa is home to seven of the world's ten fastest-growing economies. By 2050, the continent's population is expected to overtake India's and China's, doubling to two billion people. Moreover, those two billion Africans will be younger than their counterparts in every other region of the world and will account for one in four workers globally by mid-century. Africa's rich endowment of natural resources, including about 30 percent of the world's known reserves of minerals and 60 percent of the planet's uncultivated arable land, is already well-known to investors.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Morocco
  • Author: Danya Greenfield, Barbara K. Bodine
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: With the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the explosion of violent conflicts from Tripoli to Gaza, the Middle East is looking more unstable and unpredictable than ever. While the focus in Washington is centered on jihadist extremists in Iraq and Syria at present, the threat from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) against the United States continues. Top al-Qaeda leadership in Yemen is hailing the territorial gains of ISIS in Iraq, and some al-Qaeda operatives are imitating ISIS' techniques such as public slaughters of those deemed infidels, prompting fears of cooperation between two of the most active Islamist militant networks. Recent aggression by the Houthi movement, a Zaydi Shia rebel militia, against state institutions and tribal opponents has opened a new front of instability and security vacuum that AQAP is all too ready to exploit. Inattention to the interconnected nature of tribal conflict, terrorist activity, poor governance, economic grievances and citizen discontent is proving to be a dangerous combination for both Yemen and the United States. The Yemeni context may seem far from the current focus on Baghdad and Damascus, but getting the US strategy right in Yemen will have consequences for regional stability and core US interests throughout the Arabian Peninsula and beyond.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, Terrorism, Foreign Aid, Labor Issues, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Bassem Bouguerra
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The December 2010 self-immolation of twenty-six-year-old itinerant fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi sparked popular protests in Tunisia that rippled throughout the Arab world. Like so many of Tunisia's youth, Bouazizi felt disenfranchised by the Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali regime. For over twenty-three years, a corrupt security apparatus allowed Ben Ali to rule the country with an iron fist. The public avoided criticizing the regime or even mentioning Ben Ali's name for fear of reprisal. During the Tunisian revolution, protesters demonstrated their anger at the security institutions that perpetuated the regime's hold on power by attacking police stations. With the fall of the regime, Tunisians began to publicly voice their opinions on previously forbidden issues such as politics, corruption, and police abuse.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Reform
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Tunisia
  • Author: Danya Greenfield, Stefanie A. Hausheer
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In a May 2013 speech outlining his counterterrorism policy and addressing the use of drone strikes, President Barack Obama insisted that the United States uses the "highest standard" of criteria when selecting targets. The United States, the president said, only strikes "terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people...and before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured." More than a year later, the administration seems to continue brazenly violating its own standards while also failing to fulfill its pledge to increase transparency and oversight with respect to the use of drone strikes. The administration has yet to explain how strikes such as the December 2013 attack on a wedding convoy in Yemen, which resulted in fourteen deaths and twenty-two injuries, could possibly fall within the guidelines laid out in the president's speech. US drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere raise similar questions.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Peter Engelke, Roxanne Cabral, Katherine Brown, Anne Terman Wedner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Globalization, urbanization, and fragmentation are reshaping the world order by diffusing power throughout the global system. In order to remain relevant, American diplomacy will require a fundamental retooling that includes a more deliberate and serious engagement with novel forces and actors. America's leaders must recognize that these forces and actors not only are buffeting foreign nations but also are at work within the United States itself, strengthening the capabilities of American cities, communities, individuals, and networks to reach beyond US borders. Building a stronger partnership between the federal government's diplomatic community and these nonstate actors will enhance America's leadership and standing around the world.
  • Political Geography: United States, America