2022’s New Dangers—From the US to Kazakhstan to Sudan

    JANUARY 8, 2021 | If you believe the first week of January is for easing into the new year, the past few days have been a rude awakening. Start with Sudan, where the January 2 resignation of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok may spell the effective end of the country’s democratic transition. Then head over to Eurasia, where deadly unrest in energy-rich Kazakhstan could open another front for potential Kremlin meddling. And while the one-year anniversary of the January 6 US Capitol attack has passed with relative calm, one of our leading democracy experts issues an important reminder: The American political system remains in grave danger. Our weekend reads provide a guide for navigating an already rocky 2022.

    #1.pngKazakh kicker. With dozens dead and Russian forces now on the ground, Kazakhstan appears headed for long-term turmoil—and prone to falling even more under Moscow’s sway. But John Herbst, a former US ambassador to Ukraine and Uzbekistan, says there’s a limit to Vladimir Putin’s designs on what the Kremlin considers its near abroad: Putin could find it difficult to simultaneously squeeze Ukraine, which still faces the threat of a Russian invasion, and maintain a foothold in Central Asia. “Putin is trying to have his cake and eat it too,” John writes. Can he?  Read more.
    #2.pngIncipient insurgency. Just because American democracy narrowly survived a potentially catastrophic challenge last January doesn't mean the country is out of the woods. In this deep dive, Jared Holt, one of the top trackers of domestic extremism in the United States, details how these groups have adapted in the aftermath of the Capitol riots to embrace new online and offline methods of attracting more followers. The sentiments that fueled the attack, Holt writes, “are as public and insidious as ever.” We need fresh strategies to confront them.  Read more.
    #3.pngSupport Sudan. With Hamdok out, “there’s no road map for what comes next,” writes Cameron Hudson, a former chief of staff to the US special envoy to Sudan. While the spirit of the 2019 pro-democracy revolution lives on among the population, Cameron believes it’s now up to Washington to take Sudan’s ruling generals to task and help create the conditions for meaningful political participation. But pressing the putschists requires regional backing—a challenge for the Biden administration, given the United States’ spotty record in the Horn of Africa in recent years. Read more.
    #4.pngWaiting in the wings. Democracy-minded denizens of Venezuela could use a hand too. Suffering under the weight of President Nicolas Maduro’s stifling rule and broken policies, legions of young civil-society leaders are ready to help empower a distrustful nation and unite a fractured opposition, writes Willow Fortunoff, who spoke with several of them. But for these young leaders to succeed, the White House must follow through on its recent Summit for Democracy plans and provide meaningful support. Read more.
    #5.pngBag the bombs. Despite a lot of talk lately of a “military option” against Iran, due largely to slow-going negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, international security researcher Abbas Qaidari argues that such an option is unlikely. For one, the Islamic Republic has beefed up its military in the past two decades (think ballistic missiles, speedboats, and suicide drones). Meanwhile, the Biden administration’s full pot of other simmering tensions—over Ukraine and Taiwan, to name only two—means few in Washington are in the mood for another high-stakes fight. Read more.

    SOURCE: Atlantic Council

    Evarist Chahali

    Evarist Chahali

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