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  • Author: Mirette F. Mabrouk, Stefanie A. Hausheer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Three years after the citizens of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen took to the streets demanding freedom, dignity, and greater economic opportunity, they are struggling with a harsh reality: political change is a slow, painful process. In many cases, the goals of the revolutions are far from being realized. Yet despite the lack of momentum—and in some cases, notable setbacks—there is a recognition that the wall of fear has been broken. This profound shift means that citizens in these countries will continue to demand basic freedoms and more accountable governments that deliver for their people.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Blythe Lyons
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: US national security is enhanced by energy security. The United States is enjoying a unique opportunity to bolster its energy security by increasing domestic production of oil and gas resources. The recent explosion in domestic unconventional production will allow an expanded bandwidth of US responses to the turmoil in the Middle East and Europe. If further exploited, the move toward energy self-sufficiency also gives the United States a cushion to reassess its global strategic policies. Expanding the domestic resource base further provides the United States with an industrial advantage in global commerce.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, National Security, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Bilal Y. Saab
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Because of their sizeable financial resources, close relations with Washington, and privileged access to the top transatlantic defense companies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are in a unique position to explore opportunities and make important strides in the military-industrial domain that other countries can simply ill-afford to make. Moreover, over the past decade, globalization and the information technology (IT) revolution in military affairs (RMA) have opened up the international defense market and made it less exclusive, allowing Saudi Arabia and the UAE to overcome some of the key scientific and technological challenges that accompany the building and sustaining of indigenous defense industries.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Magnus Nordenman
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As NATO winds down its long combat operation in Afghanistan, the Alliance is facing a new and dynamic security environment that is more strategically constraining and competitive than at any time since the end of the Cold War. This is spurred by a set of long-term trends that are driving a transformation of global arrangements and power relationships and is further reinforced by fiscal austerity and uncertain political leadership on both sides of the Atlantic. Furthermore, along with these long-term challenges, increasing turbulence in the Middle East and the Ukraine crisis mean that NATO today has serious security concerns to tend to on the immediate periphery of Alliance territory.
  • Topic: NATO, Demographics, Science and Technology, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Ukraine, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Mathew J. Burrows
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: With new crises sprouting almost on a daily basis in the Middle East, there is increasing interest in knowing the possible medium- and long-term consequences of the cascading developments in the region. This report attempts to think about the alternative futures possible in the Middle East over the next five to ten years. This is a shorter-term forecast than usual, but in the Middle East more deep-seated and structural factors are in flux than in most other regions. A longer-term forecast would allow for more optimism, but would be less useful for decision-makers who not only need a bird's eye view of where developments are headed but also a notion of the pressure points to effect positive change now.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Regime Change, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Robert A. Manning
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The shale revolution, the combination of computer-aided horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing known as “fracking,” already has had a profound multidimensional impact. After the breakthroughs in information technology (IT) and biotechnology, shale may be the most transformational technological change so far in the twenty-first century. This report argues that shale gas and tight oil has: begun to radically shift global energy markets and redraw the global energy map, forty years after the Arab oil embargo; dramatically shifted the outlook for US energy security and our national strategic calculus; altered geopolitics, making the Western Hemisphere—Canada, the United States, Mexico, Brazil—the new center of gravity for oil and gas production; turned the future of oil debate on its head; debate about whether or not “peak oil” has been reached is over. Now the issue is whether or not we are approaching “peak demand;” has altered market economics to slow the deployment of wind, solar, and nuclear energy and a transition to a post-petroleum economy; yet also reduced US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by displacing coal as a source of electricity; strengthened the US economy with cheap gas prices triggering a resurgence in US manufacturing and; potentially repositioned the United States vis-à-vis the Middle East and Asia.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Canada, Asia, Brazil, Mexico
  • Author: Peter Engelke
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report explores how the relationships between food, water, and energy resources shape our world and its future, with emphasis on Africa and the transatlantic region. Called the food-water-energy “nexus,” the interdependencies between these resources are fundamental to all human endeavor on Earth. Understanding this nexus and managing it effectively is a critical challenge for policymakers and thought leaders in the transatlantic arena. Solving the challenges found on the African continent might present both the greatest task and the greatest reward. The potential pitfalls of failing to tackle Africa's foodwater- energy challenges are enormous, for Africans themselves and for all countries sharing the Atlantic Ocean space. But the potential downside is more than matched by the potential upside, and the gains to be had from solving nexus problems in Africa might prove as profound as any set of goals in the world.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Water, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North Africa
  • 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: Peter Engelke
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Humankind recently crossed a historic threshold: over half of all human beings now live in cities. In contrast to most of human history, cities have become the default condition for human habitation almost everywhere on earth. Urbanization is proceeding rapidly and at unprecedented scales in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. These regions are poised to join Latin America, Europe, North America, and Australia as having more people living in cities than in rural areas. Between 2010 and 2050, the world's urban population is expected to grow by 3 billion people—a figure roughly equal to the world's total population in 1950—with the great majority living in developing-world cities.3 Our species, in other words, is already an urban one and will become even more so throughout this century.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Environment, Natural Resources, Urbanization, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Australia, North America
  • Author: Amy Hawthorne, Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The United States and Europe have yet to show the requisite political will or to develop sustainable strategies to help Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen in their democratic transitions more than two years after a wave of popular revolutions toppled decades-old autocracies. To be sure, deepening political, economic, and security challenges in these countries from June 2012 to August 2013, the period analyzed in this report, complicated efforts to provide support. Yet the United States and the European Union (EU) missed important opportunities to capitalize on openings where they existed or to send consistent and sustained diplomatic messages where needed. Faced with the vast amounts of cash the Gulf countries could provide rapidly to the transition countries, especially to Egypt, some in Washington and Brussels wondered if the United States and the EU even had much to offer. In the past year, fatigue and frustration more than energy and hope have characterized US and European engagement with these countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Rosa Balfour, Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The 2011 wave of uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa has prompted policymakers to rethink their approach and bring outdated policies up to speed with a rapidly changing region. To respond to short-term, immediate needs, the United States and EU have made pledges of financial assistance and political support for the Arab countries in transition to stem economic collapse, capitalize on democratic openings and opportunities for growth, and provide incentives to guard against backsliding on reforms.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: If the democratic transition in Egypt fails and the country adopts a repressive, authoritarian, or theocratic form of government, the consequences could be profound. Failure in Egypt could lead other countries in the region to turn away from the very idea of democratic reform. Of course, democracy in other countries will rise and fall due to local conditions. Nevertheless, if the transition in Egypt succeeds, and the country acquires a democratic, accountable, and efficient form of government, it is likely to become a powerful example and, ultimately, a stabilizing force in a turbulent region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Obama administration's “responsible redeployment” from Iraq is made even more urgent by the requirements resulting from worsening conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For redeployment to occur on scale and on schedule, the United States seeks an end-state in Iraq that is stable and at peace with its neighbors. Simmering sectarian violence is inevitable, but it will not break Iraq. However, ethnic conflict between Arabs and Kurds could escalate into a major conflagration with regional implications.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Bilateral Relations, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East