Bottom Line up Front Iran’s construction of a new, hardened centrifuge assembly plant further undermines the 2015 multilateral Iran nuclear agreement. Iran’s confirmation of the construction in late October is intended to signal that the Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign is failing. Iran rebuilding the facility destroyed in July ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, comprising the United States, India, Japan, and Australia, has reemerged in recent years in response to an increasingly assertive China. Frictions between China and all four Quad countries has created the conditions for the grouping’s reemergence and recently elevated ...

  Bottom Line up Front The Trump administration is pushing to resolve the three-year old rift between Qatar and several of its Gulf neighbors before the November U.S. election. An end to the rift would invigorate the Trump administration's efforts to isolate and pressure Iran. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ...

  Bottom Line up Front The October 2020 expiration of the U.N. ban on arms transfers to and from Iran would have little material impact on the strategic threat posed by Iran. Iran’s economic difficulties hamper its ability to buy major new combat systems. Conventional weapons are marginal to Tehran’s ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Even as Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad appears closer to prevailing in the country’s nearly decade-long civil war, there are new signs of instability amidst a tanking economy, growing protests, and the spread of COVID-19. As Syrians speak out on social media, the regime has cracked ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Boogaloo Movement is comprised of an eclectic mix of individuals unified by a deep disdain for government, especially law enforcement. The Boogaloo Movement has a pro-gun culture that drives its anti-government sentiment, especially when state bodies consider taking anything but a narrow interpretation of ...

  Bottom Line up Front Iran’s apparent drawdown of its military presence in Syria likely reflects Tehran’s calculation that the regime of President Bashar Al Assad is secure. Both Russia and the Assad regime maintain a dedicated interest in limiting Iran’s influence in post-conflict Syria. Israeli defense officials believe that ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Lost within the countless stories about looting, arson, and vandalism, there is a genuine political movement gathering momentum, one which has the potential to affect desperately needed political change in the United States. Extremists have arrived at protests throughout the United States to wreak havoc ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Israeli cyberattacks against Iran are intended to send a signal, as a means of pushing back against Iran’s actions in Syria and Tehran’s own growing cyber activities throughout the region. In terms of cyber, Iran is not ‘big-game hunting,’ at least not yet, but its ...

  Bottom line upfront The northern Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique is experiencing a significant increase in terrorist attacks, which in turn is driving growing humanitarian need among a vulnerable population. The formation of Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah, currently the most active terrorist group in Mozambique, was influenced by a ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In both Syria and Libya, Russia has relied on a combination of mercenaries, weapons sales to proxies and clients, and an aggressive disinformation campaign to grow its influence. While Russia remains frustrated with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, few expect Moscow to abandon Damascus anytime soon, ...

  Bottom Line up Front The April 24, 2020 launch of a satellite by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) indicates that Iran might intend to use space launch capabilities for military purposes. Iran’s missile and space launch technology has advanced significantly in recent years, contributing to Iran’s emergence as ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While much of the world has been struggling to respond to the fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Islamic State has been quietly ramping up attacks in both Iraq and Syria. Coupled with a drawdown of U.S. troops and the repositioning of Iraqi security ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The United States recently announced plans to remove two Patriot anti-missile systems from Saudi Arabia, which could be accompanied by a further drawdown of other U.S. military capabilities in the region. The removal of the Patriot missile batteries is emblematic of the Trump administration’s schizophrenic ...

  Bottom Line up Front Iraq’s new government will struggle to extricate the country from its role as an arena for conflict between Iran and the United States, or necessarily set Iraq on a course for long-term stability. The new Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, faces an immediate economic crisis brought ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In order to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), countries around the world have been moving to implement new technologies capable of monitoring and surveilling their citizens. Even as citizens are willing to trade privacy for a promise of increased security, technologies being offered ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In late April, Emirati-supported separatists in southern Yemen declared self-administration, demonstrating further strains in the Saudi Coalition and a growing divergence of interests between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. The actions of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) stem in part from ongoing delays in the implementation ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Disinformation campaigns can have wide ranging impacts, from altering elections to encouraging acts of violence. Both the public and private sectors, including the U.S. federal government and social media companies, have adopted inchoate strategies to combating disinformation, which have led to piecemeal responses. With COVID-19 ...

  Bottom Line up Front The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated both Iran and the United States, but has not prevented tensions between them from escalating again. Iran’s willingness to undertake provocative actions indicates that the U.S. campaign of ‘maximum pressure’ has not mitigated the threat from Iran. Iranian leaders assess ...

  Bottom Line Up Front COVID-19 has required the U.S. military to shift personnel and materiel to a domestic mandate to augment civilian state and federal agencies' capabilities, leaving U.S. entities overseas more vulnerable than ever. NATO’s cancellation of Defender Europe-20 comes at a time of great uncertainty in Europe ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The United States is looking to consolidate and expand its presence in the eastern provinces of Deir al-Zour and al-Hasakah, yet reconstituting a more robust military posture in Syria will not be without its challenges. In an effort to try to get back into Deir ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Created in 2014, the Wagner Group is a Russian private military company that maintains close ties to the Kremlin and which has reportedly been active in a number of conflict zones, from Ukraine to Libya and beyond. The Wagner Group has diversified its funding streams ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The April agreement among major oil producers to reduce global oil production has failed to stabilize world oil prices. Market stability will depend heavily on the abatement of the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. oil production is falling primarily due to high costs and high debt loads ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While much of modern life remains shut down, domestic violence is a constant plague for far too many throughout the world. On April 10, France 24 reported a 30% increase in domestic violence, with abused partners unable to escape their abusers during quarantine. In the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front With Afghanistan sharing a border with Iran, one of the epicenters of the pandemic, government officials in Kabul have warned that COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan could eventually reach into the tens of millions. The Taliban has been cooperating with Afghan health ministry officials in distributing ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Baghdad’s difficulty in assembling a new government is a result of U.S.-Iran competition for influence in Iraq. The latest choice for Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, appears to be acceptable to both the United States and Iran. Despite its struggles against COVID-19, Iran has unified Iraq’s ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Cases of coronavirus are now reported in most African countries. Several African countries have seen a steadily growing number of cases at the same time that they are struggling to combat terrorist and insurgent groups. COVID-19 can be expected to place pressure on African militaries ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is likely to provide a boost to extremists from across the ideological spectrum. Religious extremists, radical left-wing groups, and white supremacists all see opportunities to promote their ideologies and narratives as an explanation for and way to deal with the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Saudi Arabia announced a unilateral cease-fire in Yemen amidst growing concerns over the spreading coronavirus pandemic. Saudi Arabia’s scorched earth campaign has devastated Yemen’s health infrastructure over the past several years, making Yemen particularly susceptible to a nation-wide coronavirus outbreak among its population. Yemen is ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Authoritarian leaders have used the coronavirus as an opportunity to further consolidate power and crush dissent. Countries including Turkey, Hungary, Israel, and the Philippines have all seen political leaders using the coronavirus as a way to promote their own governments while discrediting opposition figures and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front China’s propaganda efforts to cover-up the true scale of COVID-19’s impact on the health and safety of China’s citizens is part of a larger effort to shield Communist institutions from criticism. The Government of China and wealthy Chinese citizens have tried to rehabilitate China’s image ...

  On April 6, 2020, the U.S. State Department announced the designation of the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) and three of its senior leaders pursuant to Executive Order 13224. RIM’s designation, a precedential action taken by the U.S. Department of State, represents the first white supremacist group to be placed ...

  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 ...