Bottom Line Up Front Just this week, members of Ukrainian far-right groups were photographed attending protests in Hong Kong against the Chinese government. White supremacy extremists likely traveled to Hong Kong to learn from and study the anti-government protests, riots, and resistance, even though they were not invited to ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 1, the Iraqi Parliament approved the announced resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. The courage of the protesters was on display even as the Iraqi security forces killed more than 400 protesters through a brutal countrywide crackdown. Protesters are demanding wholesale change ...

Bottom Line Up Front NATO countries gathered this week to celebrate the alliance’s 70th anniversary amidst growing uncertainty over the institution’s future. In a recent interview, French President Emmanuel Macron lamented that ‘what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO.’ NATO has been criticized as an anachronism, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The top commander for U.S. forces in the Middle East warned that the growing U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf might not be enough to deter Iran from attacking Gulf states. The comments by CENTCOM commander Gen. McKenzie followed publication of a Defense Intelligence ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The release of a trove of Chinese government documents offers close insight into a vast campaign of incarceration, intimidation, and abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province. China has relied heavily on emerging technology and artificial intelligence to track, monitor, and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The protests in Colombia are driven by myriad issues—corruption, stagnant wages, grievances related to human rights, and a stalled peace process. The government has reacted with a show of force, with troops remaining on the streets of the capital and a curfew in effect for ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Senior U.S. officials have inexplicably parroted statements echoing the Kremlin’s talking points that Russia was a victim of a Ukrainian smear campaign. In a display of remarkably careless operations security, American government officials regularly communicated on unsecured lines in heavily-monitored counter-intelligence environments with little concern ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The United Kingdom recently announced that it had taken back several children who were living in territory formerly held by the Islamic State. Britain has consistently argued against bringing home its citizens who traveled to join the Islamic State and has stripped citizens of citizenship. ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Protests in Haiti continue for a second straight month, though they have begun to lose momentum more recently. The protesters are demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse, who has vowed to stay in office despite widespread demonstrations. The massive protests have exacerbated the already ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Turkey recently sent a dozen Islamic State prisoners back to their respective home countries, while Erdogan has promised to send more home over the next weeks and months. Most countries, particularly in the European Union (EU), have refused to repatriate captured foreign fighters, stripping them ...

  Bottom Line Up Front According to the U.S. State Department, global terrorism clustered in three regions in 2018, with South Asia, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for nearly 85 percent of global attacks. The Islamic State is seeking to plot a resurgence, attempting to revive its logistics ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The recent unrest in Iran is unlikely to bring about political change or extract significant government concessions to popular demands. Despite the protests, the government is unlikely to alter its stance on talks with the Trump administration or retrench any of its regional interventions. The ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Jihadist attacks in the Sahel are increasing in intensity against both military targets and Western economic interests. Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) continues to demonstrate its strong and growing capabilities in the Sahel, especially Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is now a full-fledged operational area ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Following weeks of protests, longtime Bolivian leader Evo Morales fled the country in mid-November and was granted asylum by Mexico’s government, in what some are calling an illegitimate ouster. On November 12, deputy senate leader Jeanine Áñez announced that she would assume the presidency of ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Saudi Arabia cultivated ties with Twitter employees and persuaded them to spy on various user accounts and report back to Saudi leadership. The Saudi government seems unable and unwilling to tolerate any criticism, no matter how benign. The Saudis command a legion of virtual bots ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Last week 15 people were killed and five others wounded in an insurgent attack on a checkpoint in southern Thailand, home to a long-simmering low-intensity conflict. The ethnic Malay Muslim insurgency against the Buddhist Thai majority in the southernmost reaches of the country is among ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Since the protests began in October, security forces have killed more than 319 and injured as many as 15,000 civilians. In a tactic common to governments attempting to attenuate the momentum of the protests, the internet and access to social media has been shut down ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In 2019, it is easier than ever for nation-states or wealthy individuals to pay virtual mercenaries to conduct a range of illicit activities including espionage, data theft, and cyber intimidation and harassment. Companies require permits from their respective governments to export surveillance software, but government ...

   Bottom Line Up Front Russia has extended its global disinformation campaign to Africa, where it seeks to promote pro-Russian and anti-Western attitudes through propaganda. After each disinformation campaign, Moscow assesses its efforts and then tweaks tactics accordingly, adapting to new countermeasures as necessary. This campaign was centered in and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran is working with key allies in Iraq and Lebanon to forestall political change in the face of significant protests in both countries. Protesters in Lebanon and Iraq are primarily opposing governmental corruption, but are also angered by Iran’s support for key Shi’a factions in ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Last week, Twitter announced it would no longer accept political ads. Meanwhile, Facebook officials have lamented that it would be a bad thing for democracy if social media companies were left to discern fact versus fiction. Even with world-class programmers and sophisticated algorithms, Facebook has ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Following the recent death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the so-called Islamic State announced its new leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi. The selection of al-Qurayshi is intended to ensure continuity, signaling that the new leader will carry on the legacy of the caliphate. One of the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi continues his crackdown on any dissent, real or imagined. Since anti-corruption demonstrations began in late September, the government has arrested thousands. There are widespread and credible reports of torture and indefinite detention. Meanwhile, the United States is openly supporting its ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Deeply dissatisfied with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposal, disgruntled Unionists in Northern Ireland have gathered to loudly voice their opposition. Paramilitary activity throughout Northern Ireland has been on the rise, calling into question for the first time since the late 1990s, the stability ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On October 29, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced he and his government would resign, amid massive protests. Although the protests initially cut across sectarian divides, more recently, there have been hints of disunity within the country-wide protest movement. Government officials from both France and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Dozens of protesters were killed in Iraq late last week, as anti-government demonstrations continued throughout the country. Iraqis have demonstrated civic solidarity in the protests, with older people joining younger protesters and a broader cross-section of society putting aside sectarianism and identity politics to join ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Earlier in the week, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russia, where the two leaders negotiated the contours of a post-American Syria. While Moscow is one of the clear winners of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria, there ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In Chile, one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations, anger and resentment over corruption and economic inequality reached a boiling point over the weekend. Protests in Chile continue, with the government declaring a state of emergency and deploying the military into the streets to quell growing ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Facebook recently announced that it identified and disabled Russian and Iranian disinformation campaigns operating on its platform. The proliferation of bots, fake accounts, and malign disinformation campaigns by state and non-state actors alike is expected to increase significantly in the run up to the 2020 ...

  Bottom Line Up Front As the United States continues its hasty withdrawal from Syria, Russia has consolidated immense leverage in the country. Acting as Assad’s air force, Russia has helped to reverse the regime’s territorial losses, committing war crimes by targeting civilians and hospitals. Given the recent U.S. withdrawal ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Late last week, Lebanon erupted in protests in response to the government’s attempt to impose a tax on the popular messaging app WhatsApp. The protests have focused on a range of topics, including corruption, austerity measures, failing infrastructure, and pervasive economic mismanagement. The protests have ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Al-Qaeda maintains a stronger position in the Sahel than Islamic State-affiliated groups. Although Western targets have been struck in recent years, the vast majority of jihadist attacks and resources have been focused on local-level operations in the Sahel. Besides jihadist groups, there are various vigilante, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Beijing is hyper-sensitive to public criticism and does not hesitate to use its economic power for leverage in silencing companies, universities, and governments. In early October, the general manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets tweeted support for protesters in Hong Kong, leading to an immediate ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The increasing proficiency of Iran’s missile and drone technology is key to Iran’s regional influence and deterrent capability. The September 14 Iranian strike on critical Saudi energy infrastructure demonstrated that Iran’s military technology has been underestimated by U.S. and other Western officials. Iran’s transfers of ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While much of the discussion around disinformation focuses on the role of nation-states, violent non-state actors have also developed fairly sophisticated disinformation capabilities. Disinformation can take many forms, including the use of manipulated images and videos, digital engineering attacks, ‘truthing,’ and ‘social proofing.’ In 2017, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front An anti-Semitic attack in Germany resulted in two dead as a white supremacy extremist symbolically chose Yom Kippur as a day to target Jewish worshipers as they attended religious services. In Germany and throughout Europe, individuals and groups have sought to normalize extremist ideologies, seeking ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On October 9, Turkey launched a cross-border offensive into northern Syria using airstrikes, artillery bombardments, and a ground invasion against Kurdish positions. The United States and Turkey have never agreed on Washington’s strategy of fighting the Islamic State by arming the Kurds. The abrupt decision ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On September 20, the Trump administration sought to completely shut Iran out of the international financial system by imposing new sanctions on its Central Bank. The Central Bank sanctions are complicating Iran’s efforts to import food and medicine, producing effects comparable to a blockade of ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On Sunday evening, the Trump administration released a statement from the White House press secretary that signals a major shift in U.S. policy toward Syria. The decision to pull back and allow a Turkish military incursion means that Washington has betrayed its truest allies in ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In late September, protests erupted throughout Egypt in response to the widespread and systemic corruption of the regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The go-to strategy for repressive regimes throughout the region—quelling demonstrations through force while offering vague promises to assuage a litany of legitimate grievances—could ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iraq has been convulsed by growing protests this week over corruption, widespread unemployment, and the government’s inability to provide basic services. The government shut down access to the Internet, a tactic favored by repressive governments across the region, as recently witnessed during unrest in Algeria ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Assad regime again demanded the immediate withdrawal of U.S. and Turkish troops from Syria, labeling them ‘occupying forces.’ Meanwhile, the United States and Turkey are finalizing a so-called safe zone along Turkey’s eastern border with Syria, which will introduce ancillary issues. The U.S. continues ...

  Bottom Line Up Front It has been one year since the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, killed by a team of assassins with ties to the highest levels of the Saudi government. Despite his denials, the C.I.A. has assessed with medium to high confidence that Saudi ...

  Bottom Line Up Front It is probable that Islamic State core transferred its technological know-how to its West African province (ISWAP) through direct exchanges between fighters in Libya or Nigeria, or through encrypted online communications. Although ISWAP has used drones for intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance, the group has so ...

  Bottom Line Up Front As outlined in a new report by The Soufan Center on the nature of transnational white supremacy extremism, the U.S. military has struggled to root out violent white supremacy extremists from its ranks. The F.B.I. recently arrested an American soldier based at Fort Riley in ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Britain’s Parliament descended into angry shouting on September 25 as the country remains in turmoil over Brexit. Even for normally boisterous British politics, recent sessions have revealed a deep-seated dysfunction. The U.K.’s highest court had earlier declared the prorogation of Parliament to be unlawful. There ...

  Bottom Line Up Front White supremacy extremism (WSE) is a transnational challenge, with tentacles stretching from Canada to Australia, and the United States to Ukraine; it has evolved at a different pace in different parts of the world. The rapid expanse of social media facilitates radicalization and recruitment within ...

  Bottom Line Up Front At the 2019 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which kicked off this week, topics including Iran’s attack on Saudi Arabia and global climate change are dominating the headlines. A recent report concluded that without a significant effort to reduce carbon emissions, the next two decades ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On September 20, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled a revised counterterrorism strategy which focuses as much on domestic hate groups as it does foreign jihadist terrorist groups. In the United States, more attacks have been committed by those motivated by racism, anti-Semitism, and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Exceedingly rare and courageous protests erupted throughout Egyptian cities this past weekend, with demonstrations against corruption. Corruption allegations claim that Sisi has misappropriated public funds for private use, building presidential palaces, high-end properties, and even a tomb for his deceased mother, while ordinary Egyptians struggle ...