Hariri Center Director Michele Dunne and Senior Fellow Amy Hawthorne reflect on US policy toward the Middle East and North Africa in the two years since President Barack Obama promised to make it a top priority to support democracy and human rights in the region.
J. Peter Pham, director the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, was one of four experts invited to address a high-level international conference on the crisis in the Sahel region convened today in The Hague.
Rudolph Atallah, senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, testified at a House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on “The Growing Crisis in Africa’s Sahel Region.”
On the heels of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to the United States, Energy & Environment Program Associate Director Mihaela Carstei joins CTV to discuss the Keystone Pipeline project that would transport tar sands oil from Canada and the northern United States to refineries in the Gulf coast of Texas.
The authors Danya Greenfield, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, and Rosa Balfour, head of the Europe in the World Program, European Policy Center, analyze the progress made to date, but conclude that despite ambitious rhetoric by policymakers, the response of the United States and the EU has not yet captured the potential of the moment or lived up to the high expectations that were set in the early days of these transitions.
As the 2011 wave of uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa prompted policymakers to rethink their approaches to this rapidly changing region, the United States and EU made pledges of financial assistance and political support for the Arab countries in transition. Many of these pledges were meant to stem economic collapse, capitalize on democratic openings and opportunities for growth, and provide incentives to guard against backsliding on reforms.
This report argues that while some specific initiatives are a step in the right direction, and some diplomatic changes deserve to be applauded, the response has fallen short of the high expectations that were set in the early days of these transitions.
To better capitalize on this historic opportunity, the authors present several concrete recommendations for policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic. Among the suggestions, Greenfield and Balfour suggest: more strategic, long-term coordination between US and EU policymakers, followed by more robust dialogues with Gulf Countries and international financial institutions; offering free trade agreements and further trade liberalization to incentivize reforms; enhancing US and EU public diplomacy strategies with the Arab publics to demonstrate a commitment to supporting democratic development; and visibly continuing robust support for democratic institution-building.
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On May 23, the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Peace and Security Initiative at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security is hosting a panel discussion on new developments in security cooperation among the United States, its European allies, and the Gulf states, and how they are likely to evolve in the coming years.
On May 30, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center will release a new issue brief, The Kaleidoscope Turns Again in a Crisis-Challenged Iran, a discussion of Iran’s upcoming presidential elections.
From June 13-14, the 2013 Wrocław Global Forum will bring together over 350 top policy-makers and business leaders to explore the region’s impact as an actor in Europe, as well as its crucial role in the transatlantic partnership and on the global stage.