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AssessmentsMar 8, 2021 | 21:27 GMT
French soldiers monitor an area along Burkina Faso’s border with Mali and Niger on Nov. 10, 2019.
In the Sahel, a French Exit Will Be Easier Said Than Done
France is seeking to reduce its military commitments in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa, but its failure to instill political stability will impede Paris’ ability to do so without worsening the region’s deteriorating security situation. France hopes to shift the military burden to regional countries and other European countries. Any reduction in French operations, however, will risk aiding the geographic expansion of militants in the Sahel by damaging counterterrorism efforts in the region. France’s desire to develop an exit strategy may eventually give Mali and Burkina Faso the political cover that they need to entertain negotiations with certain jihadist and insurgent elements. 
SnapshotsMar 4, 2021 | 22:16 GMT
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele delivers a press conference at a hotel in San Salvador on Feb. 28, 2021.
An Election Brings El Salvador’s President Closer to Complete Control
With Congress now firmly in his corner, Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele will be free to implement sweeping reforms that may strain his relationship with the new U.S. administration. While votes are still being counted, preliminary results from El Salvador’s Feb. 28 elections show Bukele’s New Ideas party and its allies winning a congressional supermajority, with 61 out of 84 seats in the Legislative Assembly. The surprise landslide victory has vastly bolstered the 39-year-old president’s hold on Congress, where New Ideas previously held only five seats. The win also reflects Salvadorians’ widespread support for the president’s first two years in office despite the country’s ongoing COVID-19 and economic crises, and marks the first time a single party has controlled both executive and legislative branches since El Salvador returned to democracy in 1992. 
SnapshotsMar 4, 2021 | 21:32 GMT
Officers man a checkpoint at a harbor in Larne, Northern Ireland, on Feb. 10, 2021.
Northern Ireland Tensions Risk Upending the EU-U.K. Trade Deal
Disputes over customs controls in Northern Ireland threaten the trade and security agreements the European Union and the United Kingdom reached in 2019 and 2020, and risk a reignition of sectarian violence. They will also make it hard for Brussels and London to find deals on issues such as financial services. The U.K. government announced on March 3 that it plans to unilaterally extend a grace period before health certificates and other controls are required for agrifood products moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland from April 1 to October. According to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, this is necessary to secure deliveries to Northern Irish supermarkets and their suppliers. In response, the European Union and the government of the Republic of Ireland warned that London is violating its commitments to the Northern Ireland protocol of the 2019 EU-U.K. Withdrawal Agreement, according to which there should be customs controls at
SnapshotsFeb 25, 2021 | 19:14 GMT
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses his supporters gathered on Republic Square in downtown Yerevan, Armenia, on Feb. 25, 2021. Pashinyan called on the army to fulfill its duty and obey the people after the military called for him to resign.
In Armenia, Anger Over Nagorno-Karabakh Comes to a Head
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is facing the most significant challenge to his beleaguered rule, although the outcome of the current standoff and any subsequent impact is likely to remain contained to the country. On Feb. 25, Pashinyan warned of an “attempted military coup” after military leaders called on him to resign following months of protests over his widely criticized handling of last year’s war with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory. Pashinyan was responding to a letter published earlier in the day signed by Chief of the General Staff Onik Gasparyan and three dozen other military leaders, which stated Pashinyan was “no longer able to make adequate decisions at this current fateful and critical moment” and called on him to resign. Pashinyan also announced that he had dismissed Gasparyan, although that formally requires the approval of the country’s largely ceremonial president, Armen Sargsyan, who reportedly has not endorsed the
AssessmentsFeb 24, 2021 | 22:33 GMT
A picture taken in London on Dec. 18, 2020, shows the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on a mobile phone and laptop screen.
With Democrats in Power, the U.S. Push Against Big Tech Grows
As momentum builds in the United States for landmark antitrust legislation and lawsuits on Big Tech companies, potential changes to U.S. mergers law and limits on growth avenues for large tech firms like Google could impact U.S. dominance in the global tech space, increasing competition with Chinese and European firms. On Feb. 4, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, the new chair of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, introduced a new bill aimed at updating the United States’ antitrust laws. The so-called Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act (CALERA) proposes giving more resources to antitrust investigators, as well as rewriting the way that mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are reviewed over antitrust concerns. Although it has not yet been presented to U.S. President Joe Biden, the draft bill does give hints about how the new Democratic-led government could treat antitrust law reforms and tackle Big Tech.
SnapshotsFeb 23, 2021 | 21:23 GMT
Norwegian army soldiers use snowmobiles for mobility during a military exercise on March 6, 2013, in Skjold, Norway.
Increased Arctic Activity Sets the Stage for U.S.-Russia Competition
The U.S. military is increasing collaboration with Nordic states in response to expanding Russian military and economic activities in the Arctic, pointing to a future of heightened competition with the potential for both strategic and tactical miscommunication or miscalculation. On Feb. 22, four U.S. B-1 bombers arrived for their first-ever deployment to Norway in a move widely seen as a signal to Russia. Five days earlier, the United States agreed with Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden to continue its participation in the biennial Arctic Challenge Exercise, one of Europe’s largest tactical air exercises and widely seen as practice to counter potential Russian belligerence, next scheduled for June 2021. The U.S. Army is also preparing to unveil its Arctic strategy in the coming weeks, as the changing climate turns the previously inaccessible region into an increasingly busy zone of military and economic activity -- particularly along the Russian frontier.
SnapshotsFeb 19, 2021 | 21:36 GMT
A rechargeable Lithium-ion battery for the Volkswagen ID.3 electric car is pictured Feb. 25, 2020, at the Volkswagen car factory in Zwickau, Germany.
A Battery Ruling Complicates Biden's Efforts to Secure the Green Energy Supply Chain
The U.S. International Trade Commission's Feb. 10 ruling that South Korean battery maker SK Innovation had stolen trade secrets from another South Korean battery maker complicates ongoing Biden administration efforts to accelerate the domestic adoption of electric vehicles and U.S. efforts to ensure the accessibility and security of critical resources and technologies like lithium-ion batteries.
On SecurityFeb 12, 2021 | 10:00 GMT
British fine china company Wedgwood on Oct. 14, 2020, in Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire, England.
Understanding Economic Espionage: The Past
For most of the previous two millennia, China was the international commercial center of the world. Products such as silk, porcelain and tea were rare and expensive in previous eras. The only way to get them was through trade with China. Commercial scheming by foreign powers to share in the profits generated by these products motivated trade secret theft that undermined China's monopoly on those products.
SITUATION REPORTFeb 9, 2021 | 21:31 GMT
Colombia: Country Grants Venezuelan Migrants Temporary Protective Status
Colombian President Ivan Duque and U.N. Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi announced that Venezuelan migrants who enter into Colombia will receive a temporary protective status that will allow them to legally work in the country, as well as access Colombia's justice system and public health services, Reuters reported Feb. 8.
SITUATION REPORTFeb 5, 2021 | 20:41 GMT
South China Sea: U.S. Navy Conducts First Freedom of Navigation Operation Under Biden
A U.S. Navy 7th Fleet destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, sailed in the vicinity of the China-claimed Paracel Islands, marking the first Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) under the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, according to a Feb. 5 statement released by the U.S. Navy.
AssessmentsFeb 5, 2021 | 18:16 GMT
A Hezbollah flag flutters on the Lebanese side of the border with Israel on Sept. 2, 2019.
Lebanon’s Crises Force Hezbollah to Turn Inward
Hezbollah will be more internally focused on Lebanon in 2021 as it grapples with a unique confluence of substantial political unrest, an unprecedented financial crisis and a new wave of social and health challenges -- a turn that will intensify political frictions in Lebanon and decrease the extent of the group’s operations elsewhere in the Middle East. A years-long political crisis and wide-scale anti-government protests that have engulfed Lebanon are now commanding much of Hezbollah’s focus. In an unusual dynamic, some of the protests have targeted the group itself in areas of southern Lebanon where it has nearly always enjoyed support. Hezbollah is also grappling with substantial economic setbacks because of Lebanon’s unprecedented financial crisis, a decrease in funding from Iran (its primary external supporter), and recent sanctions implemented by the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Compounding these challenges, Hezbollah is now devoting more resources to the COVID-19
SITUATION REPORTFeb 5, 2021 | 17:23 GMT
Europe, Russia: EU Foreign Policy Chief Says Relations With Moscow at 'Low Point' Over Navalny Jailing 
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the bloc would continue to discuss potential responses to Russia’s recent imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, but that there was no formal proposal for new EU sanctions, Politico reported Feb. 5.
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