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GuidanceOct 15, 2021 | 21:52 GMT
Lebanese medics help evacuate civilians during clashes in the Tayouneh area of Beirut on Oct. 14, 2021.
After a Bloody Day in Beirut, Lebanon Braces for More Violence
In the Lebanese capital of Beirut, a deadly gun battle between militias has raised the risk of future violence. On Oct. 14, unidentified assailants opened fire on Hezbollah and allied al Amal protesters who were marching to Lebanon's Palace of Justice to demand the removal of the judge investigating the August 2020 Beirut port explosion. The shooting reportedly started when the mostly Muslim demonstrators marched through a largely Christian neighborhood in the Lebanese capital, leaving at least six people dead, including members of al Amal and Hezbollah. The attack then triggered hours of intense sectarian clashes in downtown Beirut, marking the worst day of sectarian violence in the city in more than a decade. The military eventually moved in to make arrests and secure the area. But while it appears this latest round of violence has ended, there are a number of possible triggers that could easily incite the next
SITUATION REPORTOct 15, 2021 | 19:18 GMT
Iran: Vienna Talks Continue to Stall
The EU official who coordinated the last Vienna talks in June visited Iran to discuss the country’s return to those talks, but following the meeting, another official said that Iran is not yet ready to engage in Vienna, Reuters reported Oct. 15.
AssessmentsOct 14, 2021 | 21:28 GMT
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers an address in the East Room of the White House on Oct. 13, 2021.
The Obstacles Facing the U.S.-Led Fight Against Ransomware Attacks
U.S.-led multilateral efforts to counter growing ransomware attacks will likely increase law enforcement coordination, sanctions restrictions and overall threat awareness. But such diplomatic efforts will ultimately struggle to make significant progress on curbing ransomware and other financially motivated cyberattacks. The United States hosted the first meeting of the Counter-Ransomware Initiative on Oct. 13-14, bringing together more than 30 countries (mostly U.S. allies or partners) to discuss their shared ransomware threat and ways to disrupt and prevent future attacks. Neither China nor Russia was invited to attend, with senior U.S. officials specifically noting that they had other mechanisms through which to discuss ransomware threats with Russia. 
SITUATION REPORTOct 14, 2021 | 21:16 GMT
Honduras: Opposition Parties Form Coalition
Honduras’ two strongest-polling political parties -- the Liberty and Refoundation party and the Savior Party of Honduras -- announced their plan to form an alliance to support Xiomara Castro’s presidential bid in the country’s Nov. 28 election, Deutsche Welle reported Oct. 14.
AssessmentsOct 13, 2021 | 21:20 GMT
The logos of the U.S.-based social media platforms WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook (left to right) are seen on a smartphone screen in Moscow, Russia, on Oct. 5, 2021.
What’s Next for Russia’s Crackdown on Big Tech?
With parliamentary elections now behind it, the Russian government will maintain its pressure campaign against Big Tech, threatening companies to coerce them into compliance while diluting their influence with domestic analogs in the coming years. Last year, the Kremlin launched a crackdown on political dissent to prevent the September elections for the Russian State Duma from resulting in opposition victories or mass protests. As the crackdown sought to narrow permitted political speech and information accessible in Russia, one of the focal points of the campaign became U.S.-based “Big Tech” companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, as well as other smaller tech companies. Russian independent media and political activists rely on these platforms to spread their message and demand more democratic governance in Russia, which the regime views as a threat. Moscow envisions sufficiently pliable domestic entities -- such as Russia’s large tech conglomerates like Yandex, VK, and Sber
SnapshotsOct 13, 2021 | 17:48 GMT
India’s national flag waves above a rally in New Delhi.
The Importance of India’s 2022 State Elections
Upcoming state elections in India will be key in gauging whether opposition parties can form a united front to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on a national scale. Seven Indian states are scheduled to hold assembly elections in 2022. The northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where 80 lower house seats will be up for grabs, will be especially instrumental for any party looking to increase their presence in the lower house of India’s national parliament in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.