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  • Author: Rafat Al-Akhali
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The 2011 protests against corruption, lack of accountability, limited access to basic services, and the extreme centralization of power transformed Yemen. In November of that year, the main political parties signed a transition plan, brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council, which provided the framework and process to achieve a peaceful transfer of power. Two of the key steps agreed upon in the transition plan were the convening of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), followed by drafting a new constitution based on the outcomes of the National Dialogue.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Mohsin Khan
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The popular uprisings that swept the Arab world in 2011 passed Algeria by. While there were sporadic street demonstrations calling for political change, principally in the country's capital Algiers, they quickly petered out due to lack of support from the general public. Unlike in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, the political power system in Algeria remained intact. The autocratic government of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been the president since 1999, retained complete control, culminating in his reelection on April 17 for a fourth term despite his obviously failing health.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance, Social Movement, Popular Revolt, Reform
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Arabia, North America, Egypt, Tunisia
  • 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: Tobias Ellwood
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's future remains bleak. After a painful decade, all must now admit that Plan A (as outlined in the Bonn Accord1 and confirmed in the Afghan constitution has yet to create the necessary foundations for stability. Much of the international community privately acknowledges the gloomy outlook and now seeks a decent interval of stability after 2014 to distance itself from the responsibility for what might happen next as global attention turns to the jihadist threat in the Sahel region of Africa.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, International Cooperation, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa
  • Author: Garrett Workman, Tyson Barker
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As leaders in the United States and Europe prepare for the formal launch of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks, the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Atlantic Council have conducted a survey of trade policy experts from the public and private sectors on both sides of the Atlantic to gauge their expectations for the results of negotiations. This policy brief examines the results of this survey and analyzes its policy implications in three possible scenarios. The United States and Europe have discussed a transatlantic free trade area in various guises for decades. But as negotiations for a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) begin, this time seems different. Both sides recognize the need to stimulate their stagnant economies in the aftermath of the financial and Eurozone crises. In an age of austerity, as debt and deficit problems have led to a major loss of market confidence in the United States and Europe's ability to recover in a sustainable manner, a deepened trade relationship marks a path forward without adding to national debt levels. Furthermore, the rise of the emerging markets—particularly China—which often subscribe to a different economic model focused on state-owned enterprises and government directed investment decisions, marks a historic decision-point for the transatlantic community.
  • Topic: Debt, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: With Yemen's National Dialogue process approaching completion, the nation is poised to move to the next stage of its transition. Now is the time for the government to address not only demands for more inclusive political participation, but also the economic aspirations of most Yemenis who have not experienced any improvement in their standard of living since the 2011 popular revolution. Without making progress on the economic front a priority, the democratic transition process risks derailment and its leadership a complete loss of credibility, which could result in renewed conflict. For too long, taking tough economic decisions has been postponed because of political uncertainty, but the status quo can no longer continue if the country is to emerge from its near failed-state status.
  • Topic: Government, Governance, Reconstruction, Political Activism, Reform
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Dustin Dehez, Muddassar Ahmed, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Spela Kranjc, Ivo Sobral
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Europe urgently needs to move forward on a number of crucial reforms simultaneously. To face the challenges of the recession, we need better economic integration. The crisis of the Euro zone is not only a debt crisis. What Europe is facing is a multitude of different crises, of which the debt crises in Greece, Cyprus, Spain, and Italy are only a small part. All European countries have accumulated huge debts, their social security models are facing an inevitable demographic challenge of enormous proportions. The conventional crisis management response—austerity—has failed to create a foundation for future economic stability. To survive, Europe needs to rethink the very foundations of its economic policies for a population that is older and a Europe more fractured. Europe needs to open itself up to immigration, foster regulation and integration of financial markets, overhaul social security structures set up decades ago, galvanize productive investment in new post-carbon industries that will create jobs and spur technological innovation, and invest in a security sector that is capable of projecting stability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus
  • Author: C. Boyden Gray
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of World War II, the greatest concern facing the United States and its European allies was restraining the Soviet Union and preventing the spread of communism. Cooperation on military security was paramount, and the United States and Europe rose to the challenge by creating NATO, a new type of multilateral defense agreement. Once again, the transatlantic relationship is at a new and perilous crossroads. But now it is economic, rather than military security that is at risk. Crisis grips the economies of Europe, just as the United States, mired in historic levels of unemployment in the wake of the 2008 recession, is rethinking its strategic priorities and place in the world. As before, fears mount concerning the future of liberal democracy and Western capitalism. The question is whether transatlantic cooperation will again rise to the challenge.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Banning Garrett, Robert A. Manning
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As China's National Party Congress gathered in early March to anoint Xi Jinping and the next generation of Chinese leaders, Beijing's behavior at home and abroad strongly suggested that, while they have strategic goals, they have no strategy for how to achieve them. Beijing seems unable to change course from following a development model it has outgrown and pursuing assertive, zero-sum foreign policies that are counter to its long-term interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Corruption, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: China, Asia