Libya’s Latest Push for Peace After Ten Years of Conflict

UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva have led to the formation of an interim government in Libya, known as the Government of National Unity (GNU).
The interim government must navigate complex political divisions while also tackling issues related to Libya’s banking sector and energy industry.
Despite the world watching closely, Libya remains a country where external actors with powerful connections have operated with impunity.
Factional competition within the government will continue to plague Libya, even as recent progress might seem encouraging.

Biden Administration Seeks Out Least Bad Option in Afghanistan

As the Biden administration deliberates on its next step in Afghanistan, the deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw is currently set for this May.
There are legitimate concerns that a full withdrawal of U.S. troops would result in the Taliban seizing control of Afghanistan militarily and politically.
If the U.S. withdraws and Afghanistan devolves into outright civil war, terrorist groups will inevitably take advantage of the collapse of the state.
The Afghanistan Study Group warned that a May withdrawal would “hand a victory to the Taliban.”

Biden Moves Forward on Iran Nuclear Agreement?

The Biden Administration has formally agreed to a diplomatic process to revive U.S. participation in the 2015 multilateral Iran nuclear agreement.
The US Administration’s stance overrules those pushing for a new agreement addressing a broader range of objectionable Iranian behavior.

The US announced a few confidence-building measures to demonstrate Washington’s willingness to resume adhering to the accord.
Still defiant but reeling from the economic pressure of U.S. sanctions, Iranian leaders will likely eventually welcome the diplomatic overtures.

Jihadist Groups in Sub-Saharan Africa: Assessing the Threat

As the Biden administration surveys the litany of foreign policy challenges that exist—Iran, China, Russia, and North Korea, to name a few—counterterrorism in sub-Saharan Africa likely falls outside of its top priorities. Throughout the Trump administration, there were high-level discussions on troop redeployments and how best to transition away from counterterrorism operations in order to prepare for great power competition. Sub-Saharan Africa was expected to be deprioritized more than any other region by these redeployments, despite the area becoming fertile ground for jihadist groups affiliated with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

Funding Syria’s Reconstruction Could Upset China’s Other Ties in the Middle East

As dusk fell in Abu Dhabi on July 20, the LED screen affixed to the face of the 65-story headquarters of the emirate’s national oil company presented a peculiar sight: a photograph of Chinese President Xi Jinping stretching over 1,000 feet high, looming over the Persian Gulf. In nearby Dubai, the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, was lit from top to bottom in the colors of the Chinese flag.

Is Syria’s Assad as Weak as He Appears?

It might seem like an all-too familiar story: With its economy cratered by civil war, and new pockets of anti-regime resistance, Syria is on the verge of state collapse. President Bashar al-Assad isn’t just on the back foot; he is weaker than ever. Is he about to fall?

Syrian Opposition Websites: Iran Establishes New Militia In Eastern Syria

In mid-February 2021, Syrian opposition websites reported that about two months previously Iran had established a new militia called Qamar Bani Hashim in the village of Hatla in eastern Syria. The militia was named after the son of Ali, the fourth caliph, who is one of the central figures in Shia Islam and is considered the only legitimate successor to the prophet Muhammad. According to the reports, the militia is comprised mainly of Iranian and Afghani fighters and Syrian residents who have adopted Shi’ism.

Nigeria’s Internal Security Problem

The Nigerian minister of defense recently enjoined Nigerians to take up arms to defend themselves against marauding bandits in their communities. The minister’s statement aligns with the grim reality that Nigeria has a serious internal security problem—and nobody knows exactly how to solve it.