A series of gestures from Caracas suggests that President Nicolás Maduro’s government might be more willing to negotiate with rivals and enact partial reforms. Washington should respond in kind with phased sanctions relief and diplomatic gestures that can be reversed if Venezuela backslides.
Citing Israeli obstruction, President Mahmoud Abbas has put off elections that were slated to begin in May. The decision is disappointing, as Palestinian institutions need refreshing. The polls should be rescheduled, with the full backing of outside powers, including the European Union and United States.
Tension fuelled by Russia’s massing of forces near Ukraine’s borders in recent weeks have been compounded by sanctions, expulsions of diplomats and hostile words between Moscow and Western capitals. Calibrated deterrence paired with dialogue could reopen negotiations regarding Ukraine and help reverse a dangerous escalation.
Tensions are running high following the Somali parliament’s decision to extend the incumbent president’s mandate by two years. External partners should urgently convene – and mediate – talks among the country’s bitterly divided elites, to prevent its worst political crisis in years from escalating.
The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is at grave risk of collapse. Despite the new U.S. administration’s pledge to rejoin it, Trump-era sanctions remain in place as Washington and Tehran go around in circles as to who should move first. The EU should break the deadlock.
A battle looms for Marib in Yemen’s north, home to some three million people as well as major oil and gas facilities. International actors must stave off a humanitarian disaster, as they did in Hodeida in 2018, and then turn toward brokering a wider settlement.
On 1 February, Myanmar’s armed forces overthrew the country’s civilian leaders. International actors should make clear in word and deed that there will be no business as usual until the elected government is restored. If protests break out, the military should act with maximum restraint.
The outgoing Trump administration has designated Yemen’s Huthi rebels a terrorist organisation. Proponents argue the measure will provide leverage with the Huthis, but in reality it will hurt efforts to end the war and could precipitate famine. The incoming Biden administration should rescind it immediately.
The mob incursion into the U.S. Capitol on 6 January proved that the United States’ transfer of power holds dangers without modern precedent. Political leaders of both parties should urgently explore their constitutional options for protecting the country’s people and institutions from their own president.
The Central African Republic is beset with fresh violence days before voting slated for 27 December. If the election is to go forward, and the country to avoid further turmoil, neighbouring heads of state will need to help rival politicians strike a deal.