FOCUS on Growing Protests: Moldova

According to Reuters, global protests aimed at rising inflation and unaffordable gas prices have reached Moldova. Euractiv reports that Russian gas companies have threatened to stop gas supplies due to alleged Moldovan nonpayment, worsening the state of the country’s struggling economy and angering political groups that criticize Moldova’s dependence on Russian energy. Protests have broken out across the country.

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One Year After Afghanistan: A New Terror Landscape Emerges

The Taliban’s quick rise to power sparked “joy” and celebration amongst a variety of militant groups that admired the Taliban’s commitment to their ideological goals. The international community’s concerns that Afghanistan will become a safe haven for terrorist activity, as in the 2000s, remains steadfast. 

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The Compounding Terror and Migration Crises

Violent, Islamic-extremist terrorism has captured headlines around the world for much of the last two decades, with the number of deaths attributable to Islamic terrorism, sharply increasing in both the West and the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. This rise in terrorism across the Middle East has spurred a migration crisis, as desperate people flee to neighboring countries and across the sea to Europe in hopes of escaping violence, economic despair, and civil repression. 

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Ecuador Declares State of Emergency in Response to Drug Violence

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso announced the reimposition of a state of emergency last Friday in three crime-ridden provinces, Guayas, Manabí, and Esmeraldas, Reuters reports. The measure, which went into effect on April 30, will remain in place for 60 days. More than 9,000 members of the police and military are expected to help enforce the government’s curfew from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM and restore law and order in the streets.

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FOCUS on Ukraine: Ukrainian Resistance

Ukrainians have mounted a “stiffer-than-expected” military and civil resistance since Russian troops invaded the country in late February, the New York Times reports. 

The Ukrainian military, one of Europe’s largest with over 370,000 active and reserve troops, has spent billions training its soldiers to counter Russian offenses in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Thus far, it appears that their efforts have paid off – Russia, despite its military and economic advantages, has managed to capture only one major city in 10 days, the southern city of Kherson.

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Afghan Drug Trade Threatens U.S. War on Drugs

Concerns regarding the impact on Afghanistan’s opium trade have been largely elusive from global conversations since the Taliban reclaimed control of Afghanistan last August, despite its prominence as a multi-billion dollar industry. Reuters reports the United States government has spent more than $8 billion in an unsuccessful effort to eradicate it. 

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Biden Administration Re-enacts Remain in Mexico Policy

The Biden administration ‘reluctantly’ reactivated the controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy on December 6, despite efforts taken by United States President Joe Biden to permanently end it on his first day in office, NPR reports. The policy, which was initially implemented under the Trump administration in 2019, targets single men, women, and family units, but will not affect unaccompanied minors.

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FOCUS on Pariah Leaders: Nicolás Maduro

Nicolás Maduro, the simultaneously reviled and celebrated socialist President of Venezuela, is facing another contested vote in November’s upcoming regional elections, according to CNN. The rise and fall of Maduro’s political legitimacy parallel that of other populist leaders in Latin America, but recent events indicate that Maduro may finally achieve the legitimacy he desires. 

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A Call for Accountability at Guantanamo Bay

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 and simultaneous failed withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has renewed American discussion on the War on Terror. Public consensus seems to be that this conflict has ended, as few troops remain stationed in the Middle East, and the Biden administration has pivoted its foreign policy focus to Asia.

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