Bottom Line Up Front Iran is continuing its efforts to strengthen its influence in Iraq and drive U.S. military personnel out. Iran’s struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic have not diminished its activities in Iraq. Iran’s strategy involves backing armed attacks on Iraqi bases as well as leveraging its allies ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While news headlines on COVID-19 are focused largely on its spread in the developed world, the virus has reached many countries ravaged by conflict with large populations in need of humanitarian aid. The lack of clean water, sanitary facilities, and space in many locations hosting ...

  Bottom Line Up Front A Saudi effort to regain dominance over world oil production is weakening regional economic powers at a time of crisis over the COVID-19 pandemic. The dramatic drop in oil prices might render the Persian Gulf countries less able to provide funds to poorer regional governments ...

  Bottom Line Up Front President Trump signed a $2 trillion stimulus package into law last week, designed to provide relief for an American economy that many experts suggest is heading for a recession—some even predict a depression. Overall, the bill has been credited for being more transparent than previous ...

Bottom Line Up Front   Threats to national security have not receded as a result of the coronavirus and many have only grown more acute with resources now shifted to respond to the pandemic. ‘Social Distancing,’ while a necessary medical mitigation tactic intended to slow the rate of infection, is ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The spread of coronavirus is compounding the well-known problems faced by Middle East governments and societies. The coronavirus crisis could become particularly acute in conflict-ravaged countries where governance is already weak or absent. The decision by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to try to ...

  Bottom Line Up Front White supremacist groups are touting accelerationist, siege, and Great Replacement theories during the COVID-19 pandemic. White supremacists have taken to mainstream social media platforms and encrypted applications to spread disinformation and conspiracy theories regarding COVID-19. Federal law enforcement agencies have alerted state and local police ...

  Bottom Line Up Front It was only a matter of time before Russia looked to spread disinformation surrounding the coronavirus, a global pandemic that is crippling nations’ health care systems and economies. Russia has been presented with new fault lines to target as a result of the pandemic including ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The relationship between the United States and China continues to deteriorate as fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) fundamentally alters geopolitics, economics, and society writ large. Chinese diplomats have been spreading conspiracy theories, false rumors, and deliberate disinformation that the United States was somehow responsible for ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Lethal attacks on U.S. troops by Iran-backed Iraqi militias in March 2020 demonstrate that Iran continues to retaliate for the January U.S. killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani. The continued attacks suggest that Iran, contrary to Trump administration claims, is not deterred by the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Protests in Colombia, South America’s oldest democracy, have been relatively under reported upon in the international media. The protesters are motivated by a desire to achieve economic and social justice for segments of Colombian society that have long been ignored. There is some evidence that ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In an unprecedented move, the U.S. State Department may formally designate a violent white supremacist group as a foreign terrorist organization according to press sources. The move, if carried out, is another indication of the growing severity of the threat posed by violent white supremacist ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran is the Middle East’s epicenter for the spread of the COVID-19 infection. The failure of Iran’s leaders to contain the virus add to the other ongoing challenges of the regime, including domestic unrest and U.S. economic and military pressure. Iran has become even more ...

  Bottom Line Up Front There are still questions surrounding the recent U.S.-Taliban agreement, including how Washington can pressure the Taliban to fulfill the key tenets of the deal, as well as what the U.S. strategy is for supporting the Afghan government. External actors, including the UAE and elements in ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Following intensified fighting in Syria between Turkey and the Assad regime, thousands of refugees are fleeing the country in an effort to reach Europe. Erdogan threatened, and then followed through on his threat, to open Turkey’s borders to refugees and to provide them with a ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Countries are struggling to counter the spread of the coronavirus respiratory disease, while also trying to figure out how to navigate a range of political, economic, and logistical challenges. High levels of distrust that populations in authoritarian countries have toward their governments will, at least ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran’s intervention in Syria’s civil war has provided Tehran with the ability to support its closest regional allies while simultaneously threatening Israel. Iran’s success in buttressing the Assad regime exemplifies the effectiveness of its regional strategy. Iran’s support for Assad threatens to bring Iranian forces ...

  Bottom Line Up Front China has long engaged in a spying campaign against the United States—from cyber espionage and stealing intellectual property to subtle attempts to infiltrate research laboratories at American universities. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Beijing is quietly at work gaining access to the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Over the weekend, the United States and the Afghan Taliban, also referred to as the Quetta Shura Taliban, reached an agreement to move toward ending the nearly two-decade long conflict. One of the key tenets of the agreement is that the Taliban will prevent Al ...

  Bottom Line Up Front With the world’s attention focused on India for U.S. President Donald Trump’s much ballyhooed visit, clashes between Hindus and Muslims broke out in New Delhi and elsewhere, leaving at least 20 people dead. In addition to roving mobs armed with clubs, bats, and other weapons, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq remain active despite the assassination of their Iranian mentor and the leading Iraqi militia commander. New Iraqi figures are emerging to fill the vacuum left by Kata’ib Hezbollah commander Abdul Mahdi Al Muhandis. The Iraqi militias and their political leaders ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The terrorist attack in Hanau, Germany last week underscores a broader trend of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other extremists operating with increasing impunity both in the United States and in Europe. The far-right continues to mobilize in Europe, with organized marches planned in Budapest, Hungary ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Late Wednesday in Hanau, Germany a lone individual went on a terrorist rampage, shooting patrons at two hookah bars and murdering nine people. The terrorist has been described as motivated by a mix of anti-immigrant beliefs, eugenics, conspiracy theories, and extreme misogyny. German authorities have ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Facing growing criticism for its handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19), China is now working to engineer perhaps the largest quarantine in history. Chinese President Xi Jinping, one of China’s most powerful leaders in recent history, is experiencing limited but notable criticism from China’s domestic population ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran’s hardliners are likely to prevail in February 21, 2020 parliamentary elections. Regime hardliners have used their available levers of power to exclude critics and moderate elements from running. The turnout will be a barometer of the regime’s efforts to shape the election to its ...

  Bottom Line Up Front After a month of on again, off again talks, the United States and the Afghan Taliban seem to have reached an agreement that could lead to a temporary cessation of violence in the near term. The next hurdle will be negotiations between the Taliban and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Since the caliphate collapsed, several European nations of captured foreign fighters and associated women and children have refused to deal with repatriating their citizens and bringing them to justice, instead letting them linger in detention camps in Syria. In early February, the Syrian Democratic Forces ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Iranian regime is using all elements of state power to suppress organized dissent, including widespread arrests and the use of force against demonstrators. The regime’s long record of human rights abuses has been consistently abysmal, while its suppression of political and economic dissent has ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The nine year-long Syrian civil war continues to rage, with most of the intense fighting taking place in northwestern Syria in Idlib Province. Hay’at Tahri al-Sham, one of the most powerful rebel groups still fighting in Syria, released video footage yesterday of what it claims ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) is now seen by France and Sahelian countries as the greatest security threat in West Africa. Reports about a drawdown of U.S. troops in West Africa and ISGS’s growing strength have led France and some countries in the region, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Just last week, France agreed to send war frigates to the eastern Mediterranean, a decision welcomed by Greece and decried by Turkey. The potential for an energy bonanza in the eastern Mediterranean has led to increased tensions in the region, from southern Europe to North ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Virtually every sector of Iran’s civilian economy is now subject to U.S. secondary sanctions, rendering additional sanctions progressively less significant. Most of the economic damage affecting Iran’s economy is a product of the tightening of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s exports of oil imposed in May ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On October 26, 2019, U.S. Special Forces launched a major operation that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Less than one week later, ISIS confirmed the death of al-Baghdadi and announced its new leader, the so-called Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. As ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Sudesh Amman committed a terrorist attack in Streatham, London over the weekend after having served half of a prison sentence of three years and four months. This is the third case of terrorist recidivism in the United Kingdom in recent months, which included an attack ...

  Bottom Line Up Front U.S. officials have expressed confidence that a series of drone strikes in Yemen in January was successful in killing Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Even after losing several high-ranking militants, AQAP remains highly capable of plotting attacks and dedicated ...

  Bottom Line Up Front At the end of 2019, more than 16% of Venezuela’s population have fled the country, an astonishing 4.7 million people. Venezuelans are fleeing at a more rapid rate than Syrians were escaping the civil war at the peak of that conflict, and an estimated 6.5 ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Deep fakes are videos that have been digitally altered or manipulated to produce human bodies and/or faces that look and sound authentic. With the proliferation of social media and accessible software and technologies, there are many options available to anyone seeking to manipulate videos and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Europe’s use of the formal dispute resolution provision of the Iran nuclear deal is a consequence of the Trump administration’s abandonment of the deal in 2018. The Europeans have made clear that invoking the dispute mechanism does not imply that they will join the Trump ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Coronavirus continues to spread from Wuhan, China, as global health authorities work to contain the spread of the disease. In a globalized world with abundant transportation modes and consistent cross-border movements of people, diseases can spread rapidly. Over the past two decades, a number ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Fighting in Libya has dragged on for the past eight years following the ouster of the country’s longtime leader, the dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Access to energy reserves are driving the interest of external actors in Libya, in addition to other issues, including migration and counterterrorism. ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The operations of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF) will continue unabated despite the death of its commander Qasem Soleimani. His successor, Esmail Qaani, has intimate familiarity with all Qods Force operations but lacks Soleimani’s independent channel to Iran’s Supreme Leader. The ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is continuing his ironclad grip on power through newly introduced changes to the Russian constitution. In mid-January, Russia’s Parliament rubber stamped the appointment of Mikhail Mishustin as the next Prime Minister, though he is widely considered to be a puppet ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Over the past few years, the threat posed to the U.S. homeland by white supremacy extremists has eclipsed that of the individuals inspired by groups like al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State. The recent arrest of several individuals in three different states, all associated with ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran has experienced intermittent periods of unrest in the decades since its Islamic Revolution of 1979, but the situation unfolding in early 2020 is exceptional. Dispatches from the protests suggest that Iranians believe that the highest levels of the government are responsible and must be ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group in Somalia, is resurging again and demonstrating the ability to launch attacks with impunity. Since March 2017, al-Shabaab has launched close to 900 attacks on civilians and hundreds more against U.S., Somali, and Kenyan troops.  Al-Shabaab controls vast swaths of ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Early this week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr labeled the December 6 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola as an act of terrorism. The attack, which killed three and injured eight, was conducted by Saudi citizen Mohammed Alshamrani, who was in Pensacola for military training. ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Following the strike that killed Qasem Soleimani and the Iranian response that targeted Iraqi bases, the possibility of a conventional war between the United States and Iran seems to have diminished. Despite the decreasing tensions, both Washington and Tehran are likely to engage in asymmetric ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Turkey has intervened in Libya’s internecine civil war in an effort to prop up the increasingly beleaguered Government of National Accord (GNA). A recent Russian-Turkish initiative seems to have produced a conditional cease-fire, though it remains to be seen how durable the cessation of hostilities ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran responded to the death of IRGC-QF Major General Qassim Soleimani by launching nearly two dozen ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases where American troops are stationed. On January 8, U.S. President Donald Trump announced further sanctions against Iran but also suggested that ‘the United States ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Entering 2020, there are a host of geopolitical trends that will significantly impact global security throughout the coming year and beyond. Many of these challenges overlap and interact with each other and will be impacted by developments in emerging technologies, demographic shifts, and socio-cultural factors. ...