Announcement of no new sanctions may indicate US desire to keep nuclear diplomacy with DPRK alive
Analysis

Announcement of no new sanctions may indicate US desire to keep nuclear diplomacy with DPRK alive

Following the inability of North Korea and the United States to sign a nuclear deal at the Hanoi summit in February, and recent threats made by North Korea to halt nuclear talks, US president Donald Trump stated on March 22 that the US would not be imposing any additional sanctions on North Korea. Although this may help keep nuclear diplomacy with North Korea alive, it could be stated with high confidence that this decision will not contribute to a nuclear deal being signed between the US and North Korea in 2019. Continue reading

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Increasing attacks in Colombia’s northeast highlight ELN growth
Analysis

Increasing attacks in Colombia’s northeast highlight ELN growth

The Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) carried out numerous low-scale operations against primarily government targets in the past week, showcasing the relative freedom the ELN has to operate in certain regions of Colombia. Since the ELN continues to carry out operations relatively uninhibited, our assessment is reinforced, with high confidence, that the organization is growing in power in 2019. Continue reading

Attacks on Pakistani police indicate increased coordination among Taliban
Analysis

Attacks on Pakistani police indicate increased coordination among Taliban

By: Morgan Clasgens, Analyst, Asia Section Analytical Question: Current and projected state of the Pakistani Taliban The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on March 20, 2019, which killed six Pakistani police officers in the Balochistan region of Pakistan. This attack, along with the multiple other attacks carried out by the Pakistani Taliban this … Continue reading

Discovery of human remains indicates continuation of cartel violence in Mexico
Analysis

Discovery of human remains indicates continuation of cartel violence in Mexico

Recently, prosecutors in Mexico announced the discovery of 19 plastic bags containing human remains in the western state of Jalisco, an area already embroiled in cartel violence due to the dominant presence of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). This development indicates a probable continuation of the surging levels of violence that has gripped Mexico for more than a decade. Continue reading

Threats by warring sides indicate potential failure to reach peace in Yemen
Analysis

Threats by warring sides indicate potential failure to reach peace in Yemen

The Houthi rebels, a contender in the Yemeni civil war, have reportedly threatened to increase their use of violence against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) if the Stockholm Agreement, a ceasefire that is in place at the port of Hudaydah, is breached by their adversaries. This threat could indicate a potential failure of the Stockholm Agreement in the port of Hudaydah due to rising escalations between the Houthi rebels and Saudi Arabia, as well as the provision of weaponry to the Houthi rebels by Iran. Continue reading

Conviction of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman signals uncertain future for Sinaloa cartel
Analysis

Conviction of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman signals uncertain future for Sinaloa cartel

Following his third and most recent arrest by Mexican authorities and his subsequent extradition to the United States, guilty verdicts were recently announced in the trial of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera. While this individual conviction is significant for US and Mexican authorities, it is unclear whether the removal of Guzmán from the leadership of the Sinaloa cartel will significantly impact the group’s operational capacity or stability in the near term. Continue reading

Preparations underway for second summit between Trump and Kim
Analysis

Preparations underway for second summit between Trump and Kim

Despite a drastic reduction in tensions and increased dialogue between North Korea and the United States, North Korea has not taken any major steps in dismantling its nuclear weapons program since the leaders of both countries first met back in June of 2018. Now a second summit between US President Donald Trump and the Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un is scheduled to take place between February 27 and 28. It could be stated with moderate confidence that this summit will not result in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Continue reading

Pending US Congress resolution may impact proxy war in Yemen
Analysis

Pending US Congress resolution may impact proxy war in Yemen

A War Powers Resolution limiting the United States’ aid in Saudi Arabia, a major contender in the Yemeni proxy war, has reportedly passed through the United States House of Representatives and is currently making its way through the Senate. If this resolution were to pass, it would indicate a possible deceleration for the proxy war in Yemen due to the degree of involvement that Saudi Arabia has in the war, with American assistance. Continue reading

Sinaloa Kingpin Dámaso Núñes strikes deal with US federal prosecutors
Analysis

Sinaloa Kingpin Dámaso Núñes strikes deal with US federal prosecutors

Sinaloa cartel kingpin Dámaso López Núñes has struck a deal with United States federal officials and might agree to testify against Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán in his upcoming trial. This important development adds to our assessment with high confidence that the Sinaloa Cartel is in decline because of the arrest of head kingpin El Chapo’, whose trial is about to begin. Continue reading

Trump proposes meeting Putin despite tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions
Analysis

Trump proposes meeting Putin despite tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions

United States President Donald Trump has extended an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet in Washington in the near future, despite the mutual expulsion of diplomats between the two countries. The possibility of a summit may point to alleviating tensions caused by the poisoning of Russian former spy Sergei Skripal in Britain, which prompted the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the US. While the outcome of a potential summit remains uncertain, we believe with high confidence that the US economic sanctions on Russia will stay in place throughout 2018. Continue reading

Rising violence in Mexico prompts US travel restrictions
Analysis

Rising violence in Mexico prompts US travel restrictions

Intensifying violence along Mexico’s Caribbean coast has led the United States to prohibit government personnel from traveling to Playa del Carmen4. The increase in violence is supportive of the concept that Mexican drug cartels are battling for territory, and while it would be premature to attribute the most recent security threat to a particular cartel, it is with high confidence we believe the Jalisco New Generation Cartel to be the most powerful drug cartel in Mexico. Continue reading

Al-Shabaab uses international aid money to fund its operations
Analysis

Al-Shabaab uses international aid money to fund its operations

A United Nations investigation has revealed that portions of aid money from international partners, including the United States, given by the UN to people displaced by conflict and famine in Somalia, are ending up in the hands of al-Shabaab. This reinforces our belief, with high confidence, that al-Shabaab is in a general state of resurgence in southern Somalia due to the declining influence of international aid in the Horn of Africa. Continue reading

US-Cuba relations remain tense amid release of new medical study
Analysis

US-Cuba relations remain tense amid release of new medical study

he United States Department of State recently released a medical study concerning US government personnel stationed at the American Embassy in Havana, who experienced a wide array of neurological ailments in 2016 and 2017. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reinforces our belief that relations between the US and Cuba will not improve in 2018. This is largely due to the decreasing level of trust between Washington and Havana regarding the health and safety of US diplomatic personnel stationed in the Cuban capital. Continue reading

Relations between Poland and the EU worsen over migrant plan
Analysis

Relations between Poland and the EU worsen over migrant plan

The European Union’s executive branch, the European Commission, is threatening legal action against Poland if it continues to refuse to accommodate asylum seekers under the European Union’s migration plan (European Commission 2017). Poland is unlikely to change its position on accepting more migrants. Warsaw’s stance may prompt legal action from the European Union, which will only worsen an already declining relationship between the two. Continue reading

Al-Nusrah Front rebrands itself again, merges with other groups
Analysis

Al-Nusrah Front rebrands itself again, merges with other groups

The militant group formerly known as the al-Nusrah Front has rebranded itself and merged with four other factions to create a group now formally known as Tahrir al-Sham (BBC Monitoring). This rebranding could possibly allow the group to introduce new tactics and capabilities, which were unavailable to it prior to the merger. I assess with high confidence that Tahrir al-Sham will not be defeated in 2017, due to the merger that has occurred. Continue reading