Bogotá and Caracas are back on cordial terms after a period of rancour. Their interests may not always align precisely in the years ahead. But with deft diplomacy, and help from neighbours, the two countries can nonetheless keep repairing their links to mutual benefit.
Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, and Strategic Interests
The U.S. constitution divides war powers between the executive and legislative branches, so as to ensure that decisions about using force are collective and deliberative. Lawmakers’ role has receded, however, particularly in recent decades. Small steps would help them start reclaiming their prerogatives.
Military Strategy, Legislation, Civil-Military Relations, and Strategic Interests
Following a spate of murders, the Salvadoran government ordered mass roundups of suspected criminal gang members, throwing more than 53,000 in jail. The clampdown is popular but unsustainable. Authorities should develop a path out of gang life that members can choose.
Colombia’s new president, Gustavo Petro, says he will work to bring “total peace” to the countryside, including areas roiled by violent competition among criminal and other armed groups. This task will require significant changes to military approaches devised for fighting the insurgencies of the past.
Crime, Governance, Leadership, Conflict, Peace, and Gangs
A local jihadist group and a violent protest movement are driving renewed sectarian strife in Pakistan. To prevent a slide back into violence, Islamabad should ensure those inciting or perpetrating violent acts are prosecuted while denying hardliners the civic space to propagate their hatred.
Events in 2021 – particularly the Gaza war – put in sharp relief how much Europe’s policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs a refresh. The European Union and its member states should use the levers they have to push for their stated goal of a peaceful resolution.
Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Peace, and Strategic Interests
One year after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, fighting has decreased considerably. Yet serious security problems remain, not least the foreign militants still in the country. External actors should press the new authorities to fulfil their commitments and avoid any steps that could reignite large-scale violence.
In recent years, Venezuelans have streamed into Colombia looking for work and respite from their country’s socio-economic meltdown. But dangers also await them, including the clutches of organised crime. Bogotá’s change of government is a chance to reset policy to keep the migrants safer.
Humanitarian Aid, Migration, Socioeconomics, and Migrants
Its self-declared caliphate is gone, but ISIS continues to stage attacks and intimidate the public in much of its former domain. The forces fighting the group need to hinder the militants’ movement between Syria’s regions – and, above all, to avoid debilitating conflicts with one another.
Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, ISIS, War on Terror, and Resilience
The Western Balkan six – five of the former Yugoslavia’s successor states plus Albania – remain outside the EU as war wounds fester and reform efforts stumble. Brussels should find means short of promising accession to help guide these countries back onto the right track.
Political stability, State Building, Strategic Stability, and Instability
The war with Al-Shabaab’s Islamist insurgency has dragged on for fifteen years. As it reviews its options, Somalia’s new government should look into what room there might be for dialogue with the group. The alternative is more fighting with no end in sight.
An unofficial ceasefire has kept Rakhine State quiet compared to much of Myanmar following the 2021 coup. But friction is building between the military and ethnic Rakhine fighters. The parties should strike a formal deal to avert a return to war.
Sinjar has yet to recover from the ravages of 2014, when ISIS subjected the population to unrelenting terror. Thousands remain displaced. To persuade them to return, the Iraqi federal and Kurdish regional governments will need help from the current residents in improving governance and security.
As their strategic rivalry grows, China and the U.S. are increasingly operating in close proximity in the Asia Pacific. An accident or misinterpreted signal could set off a wider confrontation. The danger level is low, but dialogue is needed to dial it down further.
Conflict, Crisis Management, Rivalry, and Competition
China, Asia, North America, and United States of America
Aleppo was devastated by bombing and shelling during the Syrian war. It remains unsafe, with residents subject to shakedowns by the regime’s security forces and various militias. Damascus and its outside backers should curb this predation as a crucial first step toward the city’s recovery.
Security, Military Strategy, Conflict, and Recovery
Adversaries of Yemen’s Huthi rebels say they will never negotiate in good faith. Others think they might, given the right mix of incentives. With a nationwide truce in place, diplomats should give the latter hypothesis a shot.
Diplomacy, Peace, Strategic Interests, and Narrative
Vigilantes have become so important to protecting the Nigerian public that for now the country has little choice but to rely on them. Yet there are dangers. Authorities should better regulate these groups, while working to restore citizens’ trust in the police.
Political tensions fuelled by President Saïed’s power grab and subsequent policies risk sending a crisis-ridden Tunisia over the edge. Saïed should organise a national dialogue and return to a negotiated constitutional order. In response, international partners should offer new economic perspectives for the country.
Security, Diplomacy, Peace, Strategic Interests, and Dialogue
The transition to self-rule in the Bangsamoro, the majority-Muslim region in the southern Philippines, is proceeding apace. Militants outside the associated peace process are losing strength but could recover. Regional and national authorities should do all in their power to keep that from happening.
Years of fighting between separatists and the state in Cameroon have hit women hard, uprooting hundreds of thousands. The government and external partners should step up aid for the displaced. Donors should start planning now for including women activists in future peace talks.
Women, Conflict, Peace, Victims, and Peacebuilding