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SITUATION REPORTJan 22, 2021 | 22:58 GMT
Japan: Tokyo Olympics May Be Called off
The Japanese government has reportedly reached an internal consensus that it will need to cancel the Tokyo summer Olympic Games, which had already been rescheduled from 2020, and will look to secure the 2032 slot, The Times reported Jan. 21, citing an unidentified senior member of Japan’s ruling coalition.
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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 22, 2021 | 19:33 GMT
An intercontinental ballistic missile launcher and an armored vehicle are displayed during a military parade in Moscow, Russia, on June 24, 2020, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Russia’s victory in World War II.
Biden’s Proposed New START Extension Won’t Restart U.S.-Russia Relations
The White House’s push to extend the New START nuclear treaty with Russia will give it space to impose penalties on Moscow’s antagonistic behavior without worrying about the collapse of the two countries’ last remaining major arms control agreement. On Jan. 21, U.S. Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed previous media reporting when she formally announced that President Joe Biden would seek a five-year extension of New START, which limits the two sides’ nuclear arsenals and is due to expire on Feb. 5. 
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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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PodcastsJan 19, 2021 | 15:54 GMT
Essential Geopolitics: Biden, Tech and Antitrust
In this podcast, we discuss what happens to tech companies now they have banned President Trump either temporarily or indefinitely on several social media sites. Meanwhile, Parler, a popular social media platform for right-wing groups and Trump supporters, was blocked from Google, Apple and Amazon's app stores.
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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 15, 2021 | 18:53 GMT
A Turkish-backed fighter guards the rebel-held province of Aleppo in northern Syria on Nov. 17, 2020.
Turkey Tests the Limits of the Cease-Fire in Northeastern Syria
Turkey’s gambit to undermine the U.S.-brokered 2019 cease-fire in northeastern Syria could strengthen its position on the battlefield, while increasing the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)’s reliance on Russia and the Syrian government. For weeks, the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) has been shelling the SDF-held strategic town of Ain Issa in northeastern Syria. Some nearby villages have fallen to Turkish-backed forces -- paving the way for a possible full offensive to take control of Ain Issa. The U.S.-backed SDF has called on Russia to set up observation posts west of Ain Issa to deter further Turkish-backed attacks, while the United States has stepped up diplomatic activity to negotiate a settlement between the SDF and Turkey to avoid further escalation in the area.
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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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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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AssessmentsJan 8, 2021 | 22:31 GMT
A large group of pro-Trump protesters stands on the steps of the U.S. Capitol after storming the building’s grounds on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington D.C.
For U.S. Rivals, the Capitol Siege Offers a Window of Opportunity
U.S. adversaries are likely to see the recent Capitol siege as an opportunity to quickly take action against U.S. interests ahead of Inauguration Day, calculating that a distracted Washington will be ill-equipped to respond to provocations that may strengthen their negotiating leverage with President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration. Since Jan. 6, multiple key national security officials have announced their resignations, reducing the cadre of security experts who have longstanding relationships with President Donald Trump. To avoid anything close to a repeat of the Jan. 6 siege, national security officials in Washington will be laser-focused on guaranteeing the safety of the events surrounding Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, though doing so will risk diverting resources and attention from potential foreign threats. 
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