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.
Security challenges threaten to undermine Libya’s political transition as well as its relations with other countries, according to a new issue brief released by the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council. The September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, resulting in the death of four American diplomats, makes more urgent the report’s identification of serious internal security deficiencies. Problems include the resurgence of Qaddafi loyalists seeking to undermine any progress made in the transition; tribal and inter-militia clashes resulting in violent competition over territory, power and influence; and weak and disjointed national security forces with an unclear hierarchy or authority. All of these challenges, as well as the proliferation of weapons into neighboring countries, create an ideal environment for al-Qaeda forces and threaten to instigate regional instability.
Report authors Karim Mezran, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center, and Fadel Lamen, president of the American Libyan Council, present recommendations for the United States and the international community for moving forward in Libya. Mezran and Lamen argue that the United States and the international community must devote significant attention and resources to ensure the process of democratization succeeds in Libya.
To prevent this descent into anarchy and allow for a successful democratization, Mezran and Lamen suggest the United States should:
- Encourage and support a reconciliation process in Libya, and should involve prominent regional figures to give the process a sense of neutrality.
- Endeavor to convince the Libyan government that an international peacekeeping presence or police force would help reassure the security situation.
- Incentivize militia disarmament by offering education or vocational training to Libyans involved in militias, or, in collaboration with international institutions, formulate and implement a security reconstruction plan to remove the need for militias to protect.
- Increase support for securing and destroying weapons caches, assisting with border security, and enter into a military assistance agreement.
The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East seeks to produce original analysis of the forces transforming the region, as well as policy recommendations for the United States and Europe about how to promote closer and more productive relations with the region. The Hariri Center recognizes the substantial linkages between political and economic affairs, and will develop policy initiatives to promote successful democratic transitions and greater convergence among the Middle East, the United States, and Europe.
- In Libya, militias pose security threat - Abigail Hauslohner and Craig Whitlock, The Washington Post
Photo credit: KeystoneUSA-Zuma/Rex Features
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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.