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GCC

Is the GCC ready to embrace sustainable finance? (Dominik Treeck, Mustafa Domanic, and Hendrik Wittrock, Atlantic Council)

As representatives from across the financial services sector returned home from the October 31-November 12 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26), many felt they had witnessed a significant milestone. Finance Day put the industry at the top of a COP agenda for the first time. The message at the conference was clear: the ambition is there, the money is available, and the plumbing is being built at pace to enable the growth of net-zero carbon dioxide investments. This includes all public and private sector investments to achieve the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Is the GCC ready to embrace sustainable finance? – Atlantic Council

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Russia

Don’t believe Putin’s propaganda. Sanctions are hurting Russia (Harley Balzer, Atlantic Council)

The Putin regime has long sought to convince Russians that international sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine are actually beneficial for the country. Russia’s propaganda machine has also succeeded in persuading many Western analysts that sanctions measures have been a failure. However, a range of Russian sources tell a different story and reveal the broad extent of the impact.

Don’t believe Putin’s propaganda. Sanctions are hurting Russia. – Atlantic Council

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NATO

No consensus? No problem. Why NATO is still effective (Christopher Skaluba and Conor Rodihan, Atlantic Council)

As the crisis over Ukraine intensifies, key stakeholders are looking to Brussels for signs of Western resolve. At the NATO-Russia Council meeting on January 12, the Alliance delivered: In a vivid expression of solidarity, it categorically (and unanimously) rejected Russian demands to forgo future expansion or withdraw forces from member countries.

No consensus? No problem. Why NATO is still effective. – Atlantic Council

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Germany

Germany has sentenced a Syrian colonel to life for crimes against humanity. Will others face the same fate? (Atlantic Council)

Human-rights activists are applauding a German court’s sentencing of a former Syrian intelligence officer to life in prison for crimes against humanity that were committed at the outset of the Syrian conflict.

A onetime colonel in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army, Anwar Raslan, 58, was found guilty of murder, sexual violence, and torturing prisoners—the first-ever conviction of a high-ranking regime official for atrocities during that war.

Now activists are hoping that Raslan’s conviction paves the way for other bad actors associated with the Assad regime to be similarly punished. Our experts weighed in on what Thursday’s sentencing means for that effort.

Germany has sentenced a Syrian colonel to life for crimes against humanity. Will others face the same fate? – Atlantic Council

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Russia Ukraine USA

Top Ukrainian official: Get the presidents of Ukraine, Russia, and the US together (Dan Peleschuk, Atlantic Council)

With tens of thousands of Russian troops still massed along his country’s borders—and following a week of tense diplomacy between Russia and the West—Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has a new plan to address the crisis: Sit down with his Russian and American counterparts for a trilateral summit.

Top Ukrainian official: Get the presidents of Ukraine, Russia, and the US together – Atlantic Council

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Russia

Russia Crisis: War fears mount as West rejects Putin’s ultimatum (Peter Dickinson, Atlantic Council)

A week of high-stakes diplomatic meetings has failed to defuse tensions in Eastern Europe or reduce the threat of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin officials sat down with their US counterparts in Geneva on Monday and held subsequent meetings with NATO and OSCE representatives to address a list of security demands issued by Moscow in December 2021 in the form of two draft agreements. The flurry of diplomatic activity ended on a pessimistic note, with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov declaring that talks had reached a “dead end” and questioning the purpose of further negotiations.

Russia Crisis: War fears mount as West rejects Putin’s ultimatum – Atlantic Council

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OSCE

Strengthening the OSCE’s role in strategic stability (Marina Favaro, Atlantic Council)

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—an organization born at the height of the Cold War—might yet again prove instrumental in strengthening strategic stability in the twenty-first century. Shifts in global polarity, a growing role for non-traditional actors, and the unique properties of emerging technologies are all conspiring to undermine strategic stability. Meanwhile, the OSCE’s instruments for upholding strategic stability—including common norms, values, and principles of strategic restraint—are eroding in now-defunct treaties. Today, there are a range of material roadblocks to arms control, but the most significant impediment is the current lack of political will to sustain and improve it. At the OSCE, Russian obstructionism is perhaps the clearest manifestation of this trend. The categorical failure of great and middle powers to expend the time, expertise, and political capital necessary to create meaningful regimes of control is stark. It is also, fortunately, something that the OSCE can address and improve. We cannot give up on the OSCE vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.

Strengthening the OSCE’s role in strategic stability – Atlantic Council

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Russia

This year, Russia’s internet crackdown will be even worse (Justin Sherman, Atlantic Council)

When Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law in 2019 allowing the state to isolate the internet within Russia in the event of a security incident, international media outlets extensively covered the development, with many (incorrectly) likening it to China’s Great Firewall. The spotlight quickly swiveled back to Beijing’s grip on online content and data—even though a Kremlin campaign continues to ratchet up pressure on US technology giants, and could soon create a disruptive playbook for other states.

This year, Russia’s internet crackdown will be even worse – Atlantic Council

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Russia

A big week of diplomacy with Russia is over. What’s Putin’s next move? (Atlantic Council)

They’re all talked out. From Geneva to Brussels to Vienna, high-stakes meetings between Russian officials and their Western counterparts this week failed to produce any meaningful breakthroughs. Western allies made it clear that they won’t give into Kremlin demands for Europe to rewrite its security architecture. Now, with Russian troops still poised to invade, it’s up to Vladimir Putin to make the next move. As the diplomats disperse, our experts weigh in on whether the Russian president got the message, what might happen if he refuses to accept it, and whether war in Europe is now more or less likely.

FAST THINKING: A big week of diplomacy with Russia is over. What’s Putin’s next move? – Atlantic Council

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