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North America Security

Violence in Paradise: Mexico’s Cartel Wars Reach Tourist Playgrounds in Quintana Roo

Mexico’s vacation paradise of Cancun and the surrounding areas have recently found themselves in the news for the wrong reasons: a spike in cartel violence has victimized tourists and provoked a Mexican military deployment. The causes of this violence stem from multiple factors, the most complex of which is the weakening of Mexico’s entrenched organized crime syndicates and the near-meteoric rise of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. Regrettably, the addition of military force to the region is unlikely to solve the root causes of the violence and may actually make the situation more dangerous.

Europe Security

Russia: Next Moves?

There are growing concerns that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine, with satellite imagery confirming the build-up of the Russian military on the eastern border of Ukraine and Russia. Fears have been raised about the potential escalation of conflict by senior officials in both the United States and the EU. Would Russia invade Ukraine?

Politics Security Special Reports Under The Radar

Top 11 Geopolitical Risks for 2022

Let’s take a butchers at some of the obvious risks – after which we’ll explore some of those that might not be on your risk radar. In total there are 11 – enough for a questionable football team.

Asia Pacific China Security

Opinion: Deliberate Ambiguity: A Geostrategic Risk

Chinese military aircraft have dramatically increased their offshore aviation activity near Taiwan since late last year. This tendency has expanded over time to encompass a variety of various kinds of military aircraft, which are often sortied in ever-increasing numbers, mostly to the island’s west and southwest. However, several planes pass via the Taiwan Strait’s midline, which connects the island to mainland China, and almost all of them enter Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). This dramatic surge in Chinese military activity near Taiwan is cause for concern, since it marks an unprecedented combination of activities heightening tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

North America Security

Opinion: Jihadists and the Far-Right: Allies in Extremism?

After the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan in August 2021, it found itself praised by an unlikely group: far-right extremists. While on paper these two movements seem diametrically opposed, there is actually a great deal of overlap between jihadism and the far-right. Multiple cases have already demonstrated the fluidity of extremist beliefs, and it is highly likely that “fringe fluidity” will continue to drive adherents from one extremist group to the other.

Europe Security

Ukraine: In the Middle of Great Power Politics

Under pro-Western President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine has made substantial progress in its drive for EU and NATO membership. However, domestic successes have been overshadowed by the increasingly difficult international position Kiev finds itself in. Russia remains a security threat as the frozen conflict in the Donbass persists; yet the US appears to be pulling support, most notably by lifting sanctions concerning Nord Stream 2. China, a major trading partner and vital vaccine supplier, is offering a hand to Ukraine. But at what cost?  

Security South and Central Asia

Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan: The World’s Next Narco-State?

Shortly after capturing Kabul, the Taliban announced that it would crack down on opium production in Afghanistan, threatening a blow to one of the country’s most profitable industries. While the group was somewhat successful at drug interdiction during its previous stint in power two decades ago, a number of factors, including the need for popular support, international pariah-hood, and ongoing economic collapse, render it unlikely that the Taliban will truly follow through on its promise.

Africa Security

Will France withdraw from Mali?

The internal affairs of Mali have been closely watched by France since the Malian government requested defence from armed groups in the North, leading to the 2013 French intervention.  France has since invested large amounts of aid in developing the Malian army and state infrastructures to regain the trust of a large segment of the alienated rural population. Yet, the state-building element of the mission, as has often been the case during the 21st century, seems to not be producing the necessary effects, perhaps – along with the more recent actions of the Malian government – opening the door for a complete French withdrawal.

Middle East/North Africa Security

The Future of Afghanistan: Social Media Companies and the Taliban

Many political figures and analysts have made statements regarding their skeptical eye towards the progressive sentiments being shared on social media platforms by the Taliban. Yet, the terrorist group is still able to post freely facing barely any difficulties. The mass amounts of Taliban propaganda being spread online may increase the group’s political popularity, expand their member-base as well as international support, and ultimately, solidify their control in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s utilization of media platforms could potentially ignite a revitalized global Islamist militant movement and must be taken more seriously by social media companies.

Africa Security

Is Climate Change Fuelling Al-Shabaab’s Resurgence in Somalia?

Somalia has long struggled with the dual challenges of armed conflict and climate change, as observers of the fragile state suggest that the two phenomena are inextricably interlinked. Somalia’s experience illustrates how these complex linkages are indirect and contextual as shifting migration patterns, internal displacement and increased resource pressures exacerbate communal tensions and place unprecedented strain upon traditional modes of conflict management. Al-Shabaab has proved adept at exploiting such natural resource pressures and interclan tensions to fuel their jihadist insurgency in a manner which ominously foreshadows the future climate wars of the twenty-first century.