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Contributor PerspectivesJan 22, 2021 | 22:47 GMT
The steps of the pyramid of Djoser are seen in Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, south of the capital Cairo, on March 5, 2020.
The Ziggurat of Zealotry: Applying Lessons Learned from Fighting al Qaeda to Right-Wing Extremism
A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. The dynamics of radicalization are remarkably similar across ideological, religious, and political lines. Looking at right-wing groups, which pose the biggest threat at the moment, we can apply the same tools we used on Salafi-Jihadist extremism after 9/11. The heyday of left-wing extremism passed a few decades ago, despite the obsessive use of the term “radical left.” There is a structure to extremism apart from its content. My former colleagues and I called it the “Ziggurat of Zealotry.”
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SnapshotsJan 21, 2021 | 22:07 GMT
Spanish newspapers show images of newly sworn-in U.S. President Joe Biden on Jan. 21, 2021, in Madrid, Spain.
The EU Welcomes Biden, But Some Disputes Will Remain
Joe Biden’s presidency portends greater U.S.-EU coordination on areas like climate change, COVID-19 and human rights. But Washington and Brussels will likely still spar over trade, tech policy and defense spending. On the day of Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, European Council President Charles Michel called for a “founding pact” between the United States and the European Union based on five priorities: boosting multilateral cooperation, fighting against COVID-19, tackling climate change, rebuilding the global economy with a digital transformation, and joining forces on security and peace. Also on Jan. 20, the European Union’s chief diplomat, Joseph Borrell, invited Biden’s new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to a meeting with EU foreign ministers in Lisbon, Portugal, on March 4-5 to restart cooperation.
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SnapshotsJan 21, 2021 | 21:59 GMT
A picture taken on Nov. 12, 2020, shows a view of ongoing construction work at a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-annexed eastern sector of Jerusalem.
The Fate of Israeli-Arab Normalization Under Biden
The Biden administration is not signaling a strong interest in normalization, nor is it philosophically as likely to utilize the transactional means that helped its predecessor facilitate deals with countries like Sudan and Morocco. Trump’s uniquely close relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to largely drive U.S. decisions made on Israel's behalf over the past four years. Biden, however, is unlikely to continue Trump’s strong pro-Israel policies. Biden has also shown more interest in other regional affairs that will limit his administration’s bandwidth to address Israel’s normalization status.  
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AssessmentsJan 19, 2021 | 22:45 GMT
Journalists and supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gather near the police station where Navalny was held after being detained at the Moscow airport on Jan. 18, 2021, in Khimki, Russia.
Navalny’s Jailing Will Solidify Russia’s Standoff With the West
Russian authorities’ attempts to silence opposition leader Alexei Navalny affirm their determination to extinguish dissent, which could complicate Moscow’s foreign policy goals by further deteriorating its relations with the West. On Jan. 18, just a day after Navalny returned home for the first time since being poisoned in a suspected assassination attempt by Russian security services in August, a makeshift Russian court ordered that he be jailed for the next 30 days. Navalny faces a potential three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for allegedly breaching the terms of a suspended sentence related to a 2014 fraud conviction, which he says is politically motivated. A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for Feb. 2.
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On GeopoliticsJan 19, 2021 | 22:01 GMT
U.S. President Donald Trump (right) speaks with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 7, 2020.
The Global Allure of Nationalism Won’t End With Trump’s Term
Donald Trump’s presidency has left an indelible mark on global politics. Over the past four years, political leaders around the world have emulated Trump’s rhetoric, government style and policies, ranging from calls to restore some kind of “lost” national greatness and criticism of traditional politicians to hawkish positions on law and order issues and nationalist approaches to immigration and trade. Some did this for electoral purposes, as they saw Trump’s political strategy as a way to win votes, while others supported the U.S. president in order to benefit from having a close relationship with his White House. Many were somewhere in between, combining tactical moves with a genuine ideological affinity with Trump.  But while Trump’s time in office is ending, nationalism and populism will remain influential forces in global politics for the foreseeable future, as the socio-economic forces that fuel such ideologies -- including income inequality, fear of the impact of
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AssessmentsJan 18, 2021 | 10:00 GMT
Supporters of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement chant slogans during a demonstration in Stockholm, Sweden on Aug. 25, 2018.
Russia’s Role in Stoking Right-Wing Extremism in the West
To undermine the West and increase its influence, Russia will continue to promote right-wing extremism in ways that largely stop short of direct support for violence by exploiting existing societal tensions and pro-Russia sentiment in certain circles. The violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 renewed attention on the increasingly prominent activities of right-wing extremists (RWEs) in the West and the role of foreign influence in peddling the ideologies that have fueled a number of lethal terrorist attacks in recent years. U.S. officials have not accused Russia of being behind the U.S. Capitol insurrection, which was fueled largely by election grievances. However, Moscow’s sustained efforts to undermine U.S. democracy -- most notably through its well-documented interference in the 2016 presidential election -- raise questions about its complicity in indirectly strengthening the RWE movement behind the Capitol takeover.
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SnapshotsJan 14, 2021 | 21:50 GMT
Targeting China’s third-largest oil company highlights the South China Sea’s importance to U.S. strategy, which is unlikely to change under Biden.
The U.S. Adds Chinese Oil Giant CNOOC to Its Export Blacklist
The U.S. Commerce Department added the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to its entity list on Jan. 14, effectively cutting off China’s third-largest oil company from U.S. exports. The move highlights the South China Sea’s importance to U.S. strategy, which will likely continue -- though not necessarily expand -- under U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. The Trump administration has significantly increased pressure on CNOOC in recent months, beginning in December when it added CNOOC to a separate U.S. Pentagon list of companies that are either owned by or controlled by the Chinese military, which will force certain U.S. investors to divest from CNOOC’s shares by mid-November. Just hours before the Commerce Department’s announcement, the S&P Dow Jones announced it was removing CNOOC from impacted indices to comply with a Jan. 13 presidential order banning U.S. investment into designated Chinese military-linked companies. As a result, major U.S. exchanges will likely delist
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SnapshotsJan 14, 2021 | 21:32 GMT
Israeli troops are pictured during a military drill in Golan Heights on Jan. 13, 2021.
Amid U.S. Political Uncertainty, Israel and Iran Go Head-to-Head
Israel will escalate pressure on Iran in the final days of the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, increasing the risk of Iranian retaliation -- particularly in proxy theaters like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and potentially Yemen. On Jan. 12, Israel conducted a widespread series of strikes against at least 15 Iranian-linked targets along the Iraqi-Syrian border, reportedly killing at least 23 people and injuring dozens more. A senior U.S. intelligence official said that Israel conducted the strikes based on intelligence provided by the United States. The strikes targeted facilities that stored Iranian weaponry, which the U.S. official claimed served as a pipeline for components of Iran’s nuclear program. The Iranian-linked, Afghan-dominated militia Fatemiyoun was also one of the targets. 
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SITUATION REPORTJan 14, 2021 | 19:03 GMT
Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan: Countries Issue Joint Declaration of Cooperation
Following their second out of trilateral talks in Islamabad, the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan declared their intent to cooperate on combatting global issues such as terrorism, drug trafficking, Islamophobia and the discrimination of Muslim minorities, Dawn reported Jan. 14. 
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SITUATION REPORTJan 14, 2021 | 16:59 GMT
China, U.S.: Washington Adds Major Chinese Energy Company CNOOC to Entities List
The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security has added the state-owned Chinese National Overseas Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to its entities list, citing the company's involvement in China's moves to enforce its sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea by harassing Vietnam and other countries’ offshore energy exploration activities in the region, according to a Jan. 14 press release.
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SnapshotsJan 14, 2021 | 16:39 GMT
Italy’s former prime minister and current leader of the Italy Alive party, Matteo Renzi (center), holds a press conference with outgoing ministers Elena Bonetti (left) and Teresa Bellanova (right) on Jan. 13, 2021.
Italy’s Government Is in Crisis. What’s Next?
Italy is in a political crisis after a junior member of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s coalition exited the government, effectively leaving it without a majority in Parliament. The most disruptive (but least likely) scenario would be an early general election, which would undermine Rome’s efforts to handle the health and economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Jan. 13,  the small Italy Alive political party withdrew its ministers from Conte’s cabinet to protest his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has left the senior members of the coalition -- the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the center-left Democratic Party -- without a majority in Parliament. 
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SnapshotsJan 13, 2021 | 21:35 GMT
Farmers depart on their tractors to New Delhi to participate in ongoing protests against the Indian government's new agricultural reforms in Amritsar, India, on Jan. 12, 2021.
In India, Court-Ordered Mediation Won’t Appease Angry Farmers
The suspension of India’s controversial new farming laws to hear protesters’ grievances will delay, but not derail, the implementation of the much-needed agricultural reforms.  On Jan. 12, India’s Supreme Court indefinitely suspended the implementation of three key agricultural reforms and ordered the formation of a four-man committee to mediate the government’s disagreements with the farmers engaged in ongoing protests. Per the court order, the reforms will remain suspended until the committee is able to find a new way forward. In the meantime, however, farmers’ demands will remain unresolved, which will likely lead to continued protests and demonstrations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and one of the key pillars of his broader reform push.
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