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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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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 20, 2021 | 23:12 GMT
Houthi supporters hold up firearms as they protest the U.S. decision to designate the Houthi movement as a terrorist organization outside the closed American embassy on Jan. 18, 2021, in Sana'a, Yemen.
The Risks of the U.S. Dash to Declare Houthis Terrorists in Yemen
The former administration of U.S. President Donald Trump’s last-minute move to designate Houthi rebels as terrorists will leave its successor to manage the fallout in Yemen, which will likely include a more severe humanitarian crisis, more complicated intra-Yemeni political negotiations, and ultimately, a more entrenched civil conflict. On  Jan. 19, U.S. State Department designated the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen as a foreign terrorist organization and three of its leaders as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.” The designations will trigger new financial sanctions that are intended to hold the Houthi movement “accountable for its terrorist acts, including cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure and commercial shipping.” The State Department made clear in a Jan. 10 statement that the terrorism designation was also aimed at freeing Yemen from “Iranian interference” as part of the then-Trump administration’s firm anti-Iran strategy. 
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SITUATION REPORTJan 20, 2021 | 21:25 GMT
China, U.S.: Beijing Sanctions Trump Administration Officials After Biden Inauguration
Following the inauguration of U.S. President Joseph Biden, the Chinese government imposed sanctions on 28 Americans for interference with internal Chinese affairs, including former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor John Bolton, the Global Times reported Jan. 20.
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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 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 | 21:50 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 | 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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SITUATION REPORTJan 12, 2021 | 19:45 GMT
Cuba: Country Designated as U.S. State Sponsor of Terrorism
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump declared Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, citing the country’s refusal to extradite 10 guerilla leaders of Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN), as well as an American who fled to Cuba after being convicted of killing a New Jersey State Trooper, Reuters reported Jan. 11.
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