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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 | 22:03 GMT
A photo taken on Oct. 21, 2020, shows the logos (left to right) of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok on a computer screen.
Australia’s Proposed Media Code Turns Up the Heat on Google and Facebook
Australia’s pursuit of a media code that would force Facebook and Google to pay for sharing content from local media companies risks pushing the U.S. tech giants to pull some of their services from the country. During a Jan. 22 Australian Senate hearing, Google’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand Mel Silva said that if the country’s News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code is implemented in its current form, Google would have no choice but to remove Google Search from Australia. Later in the day, Facebook representatives echoed these remarks, threatening to pull Facebook News from Australia. In response to Google’s ultimatum, Prime Minister Morrison said that his country does not respond to threats.
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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 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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AssessmentsJan 7, 2021 | 23:00 GMT
A pharmacist receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Miramar, Florida, on Dec. 14, 2020.
The Road to Global COVID-19 Vaccination Will Be Rife With Risks and Setbacks
The United States and Europe will overcome the slow and problematic rollout of COVID vaccination campaigns in the coming months, but concerns about new strains of the virus will likely push governments to adjust protocols in order to speed up distribution. Changing the timing of doses, skipping a dose or combining vaccines are all high-risk endeavors in that they would disrupt data collection and analysis of vaccine efficacy in ongoing studies. But such vaccine protocol changes may nonetheless be deemed necessary to increase vaccination rates as policymakers scramble to quickly secure herd immunity and bring an end to the pandemic. Vaccination rates, however, will still likely hit a roadblock once skeptics from broader swaths of the population begin to defer immunization in successive vaccination waves. 
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SITUATION REPORTJan 6, 2021 | 21:37 GMT
North Korea: Kim Highlights Economic Failures in Party Congress Opening Speech
In his opening speech at the eighth congress of the ruling Workers’ Party, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un admitted that his five-year economic plan had fallen far short of its goals, and noted the need to address the country’s many “external and internal challenges,” Reuters reported Jan. 6, citing the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
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AssessmentsDec 30, 2020 | 21:25 GMT
A poster showing six Russian intelligence officers charged with carrying out global cyberattacks is displayed before a news conference at the U.S. Department of Justice on Oct. 19, 2020, in Washington D.C.
SolarWinds Will Spur Biden Into Action on State-Backed Cyber Threats
The recent SolarWinds hack will prompt U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to increase Washington’s cyber resources and, potentially, its offensive capabilities in order to better deter against future cyberattacks by Russia, as well as other state actors. This intensified focus on state-backed cyber threats will likely include more U.S. investments into cyber defense over the next four years. The Biden White House will also continue to deploy sanctions against assailant countries, though such sanctions will likely be narrow in scope for fear of stoking aggressive retaliatory measures against U.S. entities and causing significant economic damage to countries like Russia and China that are essential to the global economy. 
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SITUATION REPORTDec 30, 2020 | 18:59 GMT
EU, U.K.: Brexit Deal Signed by Johnson and EU Leaders, Ratified by U.K. House of Commons 
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and U.K. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson have signed the EU-U.K. trade and cooperation agreement, the Guardian reported Dec. 30. The U.K. House of Commons ratified the agreement by 521 votes to 73 on Dec. 30.  
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On SecurityDec 29, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
FBI and first responders work on the scene after an explosion in Nashville, Tennessee, on Dec. 25, 2020. According to initial reports, a vehicle exploded downtown in the early morning hours of Christmas Day.
The Nashville Bombing and the Risk of Copycat Attacks
Investigations into the Dec. 25 bombing near an AT&T facility in Nashville are exploring the suspect’s potential links to conspiracy theories surrounding 5G wireless technology. Regardless of the assailant’s actual motive, the widespread disruption caused to telecommunications networks in Tennessee and nearby states, as well as growing online speculation of the attack’s connection to 5G conspiracies, will likely contribute to an uptick in threats against other communications infrastructure. Organizations operating in the telecommunications industry are potential targets and should thus prepare for an increase in threat activity. 
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GuidanceDec 24, 2020 | 16:58 GMT
The EU and British flags in front of the European Commission headquarters on Dec. 9, 2020, in Brussels.
The EU and U.K. Reach a Trade Deal, Ending Brexit. What Now?
Five years of economic uncertainty for households and companies that began with the Brexit referendum of 2016 have come to an end. The European Union and the United Kingdom have reached a free trade agreement that covers most goods, but only a limited number of services. This means that manufacturers in the European Union and the United Kingdom will be able to continue trading with each other from Jan. 1, 2021, without any quotas or tariffs, and the heavily disruptive scenario of trade under World Trade Organization tariffs has been avoided. On the contrary, the services sector (which represents around 80% of the British economy) will have limited access to the EU single market.
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SnapshotsDec 22, 2020 | 17:37 GMT
A British fisherman prepares his boat for the first trawl of the day off the southeast coast of England on Oct. 12, 2020.
As Fishing Rights Hold up a Trade Deal, the U.K. and EU Ponder Alternatives to a Hard Exit
EU-U.K. trade negotiations are currently focusing on the future of the EU fishing rights in British waters, the main remaining obstacle to a deal. As Brussels and London run out of time, a technical extension of Britain's membership in the single market, a provisional implementation of the trade deal or a temporary "managed no deal" are possible.
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