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AssessmentsMay 29, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A group of demonstrators wave the Palestinian flag on Dec. 31, 2009.
The Palestinians Move to Cut Security Ties With Israel: A Bluff or Something Bigger?
To protest Israel's aggressive annexation push, the Palestinian Authority is beginning to act on longstanding threats to cease coordination with Israeli authorities in the West Bank. On May 19, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared an end to decades of security and intelligence cooperation with Israel and its main ally, the United States. The timing puts pressure on the Israeli government just before it's slated to begin annexing portions of the West Bank in July, and will raise the risk of violence and unrest in the area. 
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AssessmentsApr 23, 2020 | 17:09 GMT
Security forces loyal to Hamas wear face masks while they guard the entrance to the seaport in Gaza City on March 25, 2020. The Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip has been on lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19.
In Gaza, COVID-19 Creates Space for Israeli-Hamas Cooperation
In Gaza, the COVID-19 pandemic has granted Israel and Hamas, the Islamist militant group that governs the coastal enclave, a temporary impetus to cooperate, which has the potential to turn into a longer-lasting, if unstable, detente. That isn’t to say that there isn’t plenty of room for disruption and violence between the two longtime enemies, as the core ideological imperatives undermining their conflict remain at odds. But as long as the pandemic continues to cripple Israel’s economy and that of Hamas’ major sponsor, Qatar, both sides will be compelled to find new ways to work with one another.
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SnapshotsFeb 24, 2020 | 20:52 GMT
Malaysia's Prime Minister Resigns Amid Political Turmoil
Malaysia's government is in turmoil, putting into question top-level political stability at a time when the country is already facing economic headwinds. On Feb. 24, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made the surprise move of tendering his resignation from both his post and from his chairmanship of the Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Bersatu). His exit came just after Bersatu's decision to leave the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition and the subsequent resignation of 11 allied members of the People's Justice Party (PKR). Pakatan Harapan now stands at 102 seats, falling short of the 112 needed to form a government. The country's lawmakers, factions and parties will now be left to form a new coalition or risk a snap election.
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SnapshotsJan 13, 2020 | 22:14 GMT
What a Cease-Fire in Tripoli Could Mean for Libya
Despite scattered reports of violations, a cease-fire in Tripoli brokered by Turkey and Russia between the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) that took effect Jan. 12 appears to be holding. GNA leader Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalid al-Mishri, head of Libya's State Council, a governmental body that supports the GNA, traveled to Moscow and quickly signed the deal. Meanwhile, LNA Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter and Aguila Saleh, head of Libya's House of Representatives, a rival government to the GNA, were considering signing off on the deal on Jan. 14. If the truce becomes official and is respected by all sides in the conflict, it would mark the first significant pause in hostilities that began when the LNA began its offensive to capture Tripoli in April 2019.
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AssessmentsJan 3, 2020 | 10:30 GMT
Members of Turkey's parliament pass legislation approving a deployment of Turkish troops to Libya on Jan. 2, 2020.
The Regional Ambitions Impelling Turkey to Send Troops to Libya
Turkey faces the risk of mission creep as it increases its involvement and investment in Libya. For the second time in four months, Turkey is planning a controversial military deployment in an Arab country now that Libya's internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) has requested air, land and sea support from Ankara to help defend Tripoli against an offensive by the Libyan National Army backed by Russian mercenaries and Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Why Turkey would even consider deploying forces to Tripoli to protect the feeble GNA might perplex some outsiders, but Ankara must protect the government in Tripoli if it wants to fulfill its regional ambitions.
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SnapshotsDec 19, 2019 | 19:51 GMT
Turkey Is Poised to Expand Its Military Role in Libya's Conflict
An already complicated civil war in Libya could become more convoluted as the internationally recognized government in Libya requests increased military and security assistance from Turkey. Increased support from Turkey could give it a much-needed lifeline in the face of a continued offensive on Libya's capital.
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Contributor PerspectivesNov 25, 2019 | 11:00 GMT
This photo shows protesters in Santiago, Chile, running from riot police on Nov. 19, 2019.
A Rebellious World Is Taking It to the Streets
Demonstrators were out on the streets when I returned to France last week, most of them peacefully protesting but enough burning cars and smashing windows in central Paris for the police to deploy water cannons and tear gas. The latest outbreak marked the first anniversary of a movement, les gilets jaunes or yellow vests, outraged by President Emmanuel Macron's attempt to increase the tax on diesel that fuels most vehicles in rural areas. Although Macron swiftly withdrew the tax, protests have continued in Paris and elsewhere every Saturday since. Participation dwindled, but the anniversary riot showed that the yellow vests are not going away. In this, France is part of a growing tally of countries witnessing mass protests as government after government defends a status quo that many people reject.
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AssessmentsNov 5, 2019 | 17:19 GMT
Armed men gather to protest against the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.
Southern Yemen Inches Toward Independence. But at What Cost?
Since 2015, the southern Yemeni city of Aden has been the site of several major clashes between the U.N.-recognized government of President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council (STC). But the latest bout of fighting between the nominal anti-Houthi partners has, for the first time, left the port city largely under STC control -- demonstrating the separatist group's ability to take, and retain, ground from the Yemeni government.  Bolstered by years of military, economic and political support from the United Arab Emirates, the STC now has the opportunity to build up shadow institutions and governing capabilities in Aden that will bring the group closer to achieving its ultimate goal of an independent South Yemen. But doing so will mean drawing resources from the Saudi-led coalition's broader fights against Houthi rebels and jihadist groups -- and potentially inviting backlash from other southerners seeking to stake their own claim in
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On SecurityOct 29, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
This July 5, 2014, photo shows an image grab taken from a propaganda video released by al-Furqan Media showing Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as he declares himself caliph in Mosul.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's True Legacy
When al-Baghdadi declared himself caliph following his Islamic State group's stunning battlefield successes in Syria and Iraq, he envisioned a legacy in which all Muslims would fall in line and help him establish sovereignty over all the Earth. Al-Baghdadi saw himself as the one to "Make Islam great again" (to borrow a phrase) and expected to achieve the same success that the Prophet Mohammed's followers enjoyed when they greatly expanded the original caliphate in the late seventh century A.D. But as we now look back at the life -- and death -- of al-Baghdadi, it becomes clear that he was a failure. Not only did he fail to unify all Muslims and lead them on a global conquest, his only lasting legacies might be his group's deep split with others in the jihadist movement, depraved violence (against believer and nonbeliever alike), and rape on an epic scale.
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AssessmentsOct 9, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (2L) is joined by his wife (L), economist Muna Abdalla, and French President Emmanuel Macron (C) and his spouse, Brigitte Macron (2R) in Paris on Sept. 30, 2019.
The West Woos Sudan With Pledges of Support
With a new government finally in place, Sudan's suitors are starting to call. In August, the country's military and civilian leaders formed a transitional government, winning plaudits from the international community. For Khartoum, however, one issue continues to cloud its path forward: the United States' designation of Sudan as a sponsor of terrorism. Until Washington removes Khartoum from the list, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's government won't be able to access much debt relief or financial support that would help right Sudan's poor economy. And as many lobby the United States to remove Sudan from the list, Western actors are looking to make inroads in the country. French President Emmanuel Macron, for one, has offered to organize an international conference to restructure the country's debt as soon as the United States removes the country from its terrorism list. The French proposal illustrates the possible rewards available to Sudan, as well as
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