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 ...

  Bottom Line Up Front S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, labeling the recent attack on Saudi oil infrastructure as an 'act of war.' Though Saudi leaders have suggested Iranian involvement, they have stopped short of more definitive statements, leaving many in the region ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Over the past decade, there has been a proliferation of terrorist propaganda on the Internet aimed at attracting potential recruits while striking fear in terrorists’ adversaries. The aftermath of the Christchurch attack demonstrates how democracies have struggled with the implications—legal, moral, social—of removing and banning ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The September 14 strike on Saudi critical energy infrastructure by Iran or one of its allies directly challenges U.S. regional and global interests. The attack demonstrates Iran’s ability to cause severe damage through precision strikes. The incident illustrates that U.S. sanctions are not succeeding in ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Drones have become a trusted tool in the arsenal of non-state actors seeking to engage in asymmetric attacks against a more powerful adversary. Besides Hezbollah, a range of terrorist groups deploy drones in their operations, including the so-called Islamic State, Palestinian Hamas, Boko Haram in ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Over the weekend, Houthi rebels launched a drone attack against Saudi Arabia, targeting the Saudi Aramco crude stabilization facility in Abqaiq and an oil field at Hijra Khurais with ten drones. Despite Saudi Arabia spending untold sums on missile defense, Houthi-operated drones have been able ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Trump administration is using all available tools to try to prevent Iran from exporting oil. The administration is leveraging terrorism-related laws and programs against Iran, even though such tools were not designed to apply to foreign governments and their economies. The basis of the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Eighteen years after the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the group has evolved and looks much different today than it did nearly two decades ago. The influence of al-Qaeda core and its senior leadership hiding in Pakistan has been reduced, while franchise groups ...

  Bottom Line Up Front One of the most significant challenges facing countries seeking to prosecute foreign fighters is the difficulty of obtaining evidence of crimes committed on the battlefield. By creating a common database for all 28 members to work with, the EU has taken a meaningful step to ...

  Bottom Line Up Front To date, despite years of reported war crimes by nearly all sides involved in the Yemen conflict, there has been a complete lack of accountability and no consequences for collateral damage or rampant human rights violations. The Saudi-led coalition is unraveling, and for the past ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On the heels of its suspension from the U.S. F-35 fighter jet program, Turkey is now reportedly considering joint development of its own fighter jet with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin seized the suspension as an opportunity for Russia to capitalize on Turkey’s rift with ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Upcoming Russian-Iranian naval drills put Moscow clearly on the side of Tehran in the crisis unfolding between the United States and Iran. The Trump administration’s policy of 'maximum pressure’ will continue to drive Iran closer to U.S. adversaries and critics, particularly Russia. The emerging Iranian-Russian ...

  Bottom Line Up Front America’s longest war - soon approaching its 18th year in Afghanistan - is not over although it may be entering a new phase. The potential U.S.-Taliban deal comes at a time of maximum leverage for the Taliban, which controls more territory in 2019 than at ...

  Bottom Line Up Front After Israel launched attacks in three different countries across the Middle East last week, Hezbollah responded by firing missiles at several Israeli military targets. Netanyahu is attempting to strike a difficult balance—appearing steadfast and resolute while avoiding a new round of fighting against Hezbollah. Perhaps ...

  Bottom Line Up Front UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s August 28 request to suspend Parliament has spurred political anxiety as the UK’s scheduled October 31 exit from the European Union approaches. Johnson’s request, approved by the Queen, limits the British Parliament’s time to debate and potentially block a deal ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Israel claimed responsibility for a recent airstrike in Syria last weekend, signaling that the long-simmering shadow war between Israel and Iran could escalate further. Iran has used the war in Syria to grow its proxy forces, which now include a Shia foreign fighter army that ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s visit to the G-7 meeting on Sunday signals European resistance to the Trump administration’s Iran policy. Despite provocative Iranian actions, G-7 European countries continue to seek ways to preserve the 2015 multilateral Iran nuclear agreement. President Donald Trump’s refusal ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Early this week, the G7 countries concluded several days of meetings in Biarritz, France. U.S. President Donald Trump has been clear about his desire that Russia be readmitted into the group, although European leaders have taken a harder line. Europe has continued to demonstrate crucial ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Increasing sectarian violence has destabilized once peaceful Burkina Faso, transforming the country into a hotbedof militant jihadist activity. Fighters linked to AQIM and the so-called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara have been fighting for supremacy throughout West Africa. Jihadists have long viewed West Africa ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Turkey’s Defense Ministry claims that earlier this week, a Turkish convoy was bombed in Idlib province in northwest Syria. There have been ongoing clashes between Assad’s regime and fighters from the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA). Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in Syria, is a ...

  Bottom Line Up Front China has taken a page from Russia’s playbook as Beijing systematically wages an online disinformation campaign aimed at inflating support for Hong Kong's ruling authorities. Beijing has deployed a relentless disinformation campaign on Twitter and Facebook powered by unknown numbers of bots, trolls, and so-called ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The latest attack by Houthi rebels against Saudi oil and gas infrastructure involved ten drones equipped with improvised explosives. The Saudis have achieved none of their goals in Yemen, while Iranian influence in the conflict, including Tehran’s support of the Houthis, has increased over time. ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In a region where popular democratic revolutions have repeatedly been marginalized or crushed through force, Sudan appears to be on the brink of achieving something remarkable. The new agreement still leaves the military with too much power but the deal sets into motion a move ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Following months of negotiations between U.S. officials and Taliban leaders, an agreement on bringing the war in Afghanistan to a formally recognized end now seems imminent. The most important elements of the negotiations are the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the Taliban’s relationship with transnational ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On August 8, the United Nations released a new report that details accelerating climate change and its negative impact on global food supplies. A major second-order effect of climate change is an increase in migration, as individuals seek to relocate in hopes of escaping poverty, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Amidst escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf, officials from the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) recently met with their counterparts in Iran to discuss maritime security. Both the United States and the United Kingdom are exploring potential options to increase maritime security in the Gulf. Unlike ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The situation in Yemen continues to devolve into anarchy, with Emirati-trained forces battling troops from the Saudi-supported internationally recognized government. Fighters from the Southern Transitional Council (STC), whose objective is to secede from Yemen, seized control of military bases and government installations in Aden, one ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Several high-level reports published over the past few weeks reiterate what most terrorism and security analysts have been saying for months—the so-called Islamic State (IS) is alive and well in Iraq and Syria. Over the past several months, IS has waged a campaign of assassinations, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On August 7, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic relations with India and ended bilateral trade between the two countries. The moves come after India's August 5 announcement that it was revoking Kashmir's semi-autonomous status and splitting the disputed area into two parts more firmly under Indian control. ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Persian Gulf remains a potential flashpoint as the United States and its allies increase their deployments and Iran strengthens its defense posture. Iran's seizure of another Gulf oil tanker in early August demonstrates Tehran's confidence in its strategic position throughout the region. The muted ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Given Russia's relentless disinformation campaigns, several European countries have accelerated efforts to prepare their populations for this threat. While successful examples of promoting resilience to disinformation are rare, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark have made strides to help inoculate their populations. Given Russian meddling in the ...