Somalia Elections Again Delayed, Drawing Western Warnings

Somalia’s federal parliamentary elections have been postponed with no planned makeup date, drawing the ire of Western backers that have condemned the delay. 

March 15 was the deadline for each of Somalia’s five states to separately hold elections for the country’s lower house of parliament. By the end of the day, however, the central government failed to announce the completion of the vote nationwide. While voting was completed in the states of South West and Galmudug, the states of Jubaland, Hirshabelle, and Puntland cumulatively still had 40 vacant seats to fill as of the date of the deadline, according to Africanews.

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FOCUS on Ukraine: Global Sanctions

Although the United States and its European allies have so far avoided direct military contact with the Russian armed forces, they have engaged in a different kind of warfare. Economic warfare has been employed to deter further Russian aggression in Ukraine and punish the regime for its illegal territorial expansion.

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Global Reactions to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Across the globe, the world is shunning Russia in a multitude of ways to protest President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. As The New York Times examines, from culture to commerce and sports to travel, many doors have been closed on Russia and its people, in a capacity not seen since the days of the Cold War. Such a worldwide rejection of Russia has been intended to show solidarity with the beleaguered  Ukrainians, while also attempting to force President Putin to pull back Russian forces.

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Sanctions May Not Stop Putin, But They Will Certainly Hurt the Russian People

As the world watched in horror while Vladimir Putin launched his illegal and indefensible invasion of Ukraine, many immediately called for the harshest sanctions possible to be imposed on Putin’s regime. The United States and its allies showed remarkable unity in implementing comprehensive sanctions targeting key sectors of the Russian economy. According to Vox, the U.S. and Europe immediately sanctioned Putin and other Russian oligarchs by freezing their assets and confiscating properties belonging to individuals close to the Russian government. 

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Seven Russian Banks Banned from SWIFT

The crisis in Ukraine has led to multiple European and U.S.-led economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, resulting in profound damage to the Russian economy, reports Al Jazeera. According to ABC News, Russia is facing the sharp devaluation of the ruble, increasing inflation, heightened interest rates, and a frozen stock market. To further disrupt the Russian economy, The Wall Street Journal reports that Western countries have removed several Russian banking entities from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT.

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Iran Puts Hold on ‘Snap’ Nuclear Checks Until Sanctions are Lifted

On Monday, February 15, Iran announced it will block the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) access to its nuclear sites unless all U.S. sanctions were lifted, The Hill reports. Iran gave the United States one week to reverse all 1,600 sanctions before granting the IAEA continued inspection rights.

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President Biden and the Iran Nuclear Deal: Where Does it Go Moving Forward?

Before the United States presidential election, then-candidate Joe Biden promised not only to rejoin the Iran Nuclear Deal but also to “take steps to make sure US sanctions do not hinder Iran’s fight against COVID-19,” CNN reports. Withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, was one Trump administration move that further alienated the U.S. from its close allies in western Europe.

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Rising Tensions Between Greece and Turkey Make Sanctions Likely

Tensions between Greece and Turkey are once again on the rise. CNBC reports that Turkish F-16 jets prevented Greek planes from entering the area where Turkey has recently been engaging in natural gas drilling operations. Sanctions from the European Union on Turkey appear to be on the way as a result.

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