The other day one of my friends looked over my shoulder and saw the name “Burkina Faso.” She politely asked me what this “Burkina Faso” was. For those who find themselves in a similar situation: stay tuned. Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa near Mali, Niger, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. It is categorized as a Least Developed Country (LDC), and in recent years, this small country has affected the seething in West Africa.
A hunger crisis now faces the people of Afghanistan, and the United States holds the key to a significant part of resource flow into the country. As the Taliban implement their authoritarian control of the country, human rights abuses have become more widespread and a hunger crisis risks putting millions into famine condition. The United States may be able to leverage access to much need food and medical supplies to ensure that the Taliban do not revert to their horrific rule of the 1990’s.
Libya’s parliamentary committee has postponed the long-awaited Libyan presidential elections. The elections were intended to take place on December 24th, 2021, but were postponed two days prior. A new election date has yet to be set. Entities both within and outside of Libya disagree about Libya’s priorities as it seeks to establish a stable democracy in the wake of two civil wars. This poses important implications for the United States as it tries to encourage democracy in Libya, establish a strategic and friendly partnership with oil-rich Libya, and predict who will come to power once elections are held.
Russia aims to resurrect its geopolitical dominance by amassing troops on the Ukrainian border. Conflict began in 2014 when street protests in Ukraine overthrew Russian-supported President Victor Yanukovych. In retaliation, Russia annexed Crimea sparking violence in eastern Ukraine. Since 2014 Russia has made substantial advances culminating with 175,000 troops on the Ukrainian border. Intelligence reports vary on the exact military capabilities of Russian forces, but unanimously agree that they are sufficient to overpower the Ukrainian military. Reports from intelligence sources indicate increased Russian propaganda in Ukraine, attempting to convince Ukrainians that Russia will benevolently liberate them from their western-controlled leaders. Intelligence officials urge Ukraine to strategically resist Russian aggression, abstaining from provocative actions that Russia could misinterpret for grounds of invasion.
Turkey occupies a highly influential role in multiple regional conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Near East. Each of which have potential to create issues for committed U.S. interests in the region. But Turkish cooperation is far from guaranteed, and in some areas, it is instigating these tensions. The United States must carefully factor in Turkey’s internal and external situations as it attempts to navigate situations with Ukraine, Syria, and even the E.U. 's plans for defense, and yet Turkey has proven difficult to rely on in cooperating with any of these interests. The most likely points of direct conflict remain northern Syria and the Black Sea.
Milorad Dodik, the Bosnian Serb leader, has essentially threatened secession with his statements on October 8th that the Serb Republic will remove itself from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s armed forces, top judiciary body, and tax administration. Dodik has also said that the Serb Republic will recreate its army in the process. Dodik’s announcements violate the U.S.-led Dayton Accords, which ended the Bosnian War in 1995 and stipulated that the once warring groups would be one sovereign country.
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