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. ...

  Bottom Line Up Front A key Iranian response to the U.S. strike that killed Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani will be to try to permanently oust the 6,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Iraq. Iran has already put to use a combination of its military and political levers in ...

  Bottom Line Up Front A U.S. strike that killed the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force, IRGC Major General Qassem Soleimani, and the founder of the pro-Iranian Iraqi militia Kata’ib Hezbollah, represents a major escalation of U.S. conflict with Iran. The strike appeared to represent direct ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The December 29 U.S. strike on the Iran-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah (KAH) militia in Iraq represented the first kinetic U.S. response to Iranian provocations that began in May. The U.S. strike, although provoked by a KAH rocket attack that killed a U.S. defense contractor, has harmed ...

  Bottom Line up Front Iran is pursuing a variety of methods in an effort to preserve its influence in Iraq and Lebanon in the face of protests against existing power structures. Iran’s allies in both countries include technocrats who might satisfy popular demands for competent governance while maintaining ties ...

Bottom Line Up Front Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. envoy for reconciliation in Afghanistan, recently returned to Kabul to jumpstart political negotiations with the Taliban. Talks are currently inching toward a ceasefire, though an agreement on the specifics has yet to be reached. One of the most significant variables impacting the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Protests continue in India over the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, which provides for expedited citizenship but specifically excludes Muslims. The new law applies to people who entered India before 2014 from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh if they belong to six specified religions. The ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Turkish President Erdogan recently suggested that Ankara might intervene militarily in Libya if requested by the government in Tripoli. A Turkish intervention to support the Government of National Accord would put Ankara in direct odds with Russia, as Moscow continues to back strongman Khalifa Haftar. ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On November 4, 2019, nine Americans were killed in a targeted attack - believed to be perpetrated by a drug trafficking cartel - in northwest Mexico. In 2018, drug-related murders in Mexico rose 15% over the previous year and during the first-half of 2019, there ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The NYC Police Department has formed a special unit to combat white supremacy extremists and others motivated by race or ethnicity to commit violence. The announcement came on the heels of a targeted domestic terrorism attack at a Jewish Deli that killed four people, including ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On the heels of the London Bridge terrorist attack and the looming Brexit process, tensions were high as British citizens went to the polls for the December 12, 2019 UK election. The Russian Federation, as well as organizations, individuals and UK-based entities, attempted to influence ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 4, Germany officially declared Russia was suspected in a brazen assassination in Berlin last August. German authorities believe Vadim Krasikov, currently in custody, is the killer of an ethnic Chechen Georgian national known as Zelimkhan Khangoshvili. This would be the first known Moscow-ordered ...

  Bottom Line Up Front U.S.-Iran tensions are escalating again after three months of relative stability. U.S. officials report that Iran is resupplying its allies and proxies in Yemen and in Iraq with increasingly sophisticated short-range missile equipment. U.S. commanders cite the Iranian military movements as evidence that Iran might ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In response to France’s plans to overhaul the country’s pension system, protesters took to the streets last week in growing signs of nationwide unrest. The scale and intensity of the protests pose a challenge to President Emmanuel Macron, who struggled to quell the ‘Yellow Vests’ ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On Friday December 6th, Saudi Air Force Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani murdered three U.S. Navy sailors and injured 8 others at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Pensacola, Florida. This incident raises questions about vetting procedures when it comes to identifying individuals who may be ...

  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 ...