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Analysis

Anti-Muslim Hate Groups in the U.S. Resurge Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict

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Hate Groups Reinvigorated by Geopolitical Tensions, Return to Core Anti-Muslim Agendas

In the United States, anti-Muslim hate groups, once receding into the background, have resurfaced prominently due to the recent Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. This resurgence highlights the volatile nature of hate group activities, which are often fueled by geopolitical events.

Historical Context and Recent Developments

Post-9/11 America saw the emergence of several anti-Muslim groups like Jihad Watch and ACT for America. These groups capitalized on widespread fears of terrorism. However, their influence waned in recent years, with the number of active groups dropping from a peak of 114 in 2017 to 34 in 2022 .

This decline seemed to plateau early in 2023, with SPLC senior research analyst Caleb Kieffer noting a significant drop in Islamophobic activities. However, the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel, which resulted in about 1,200 deaths, rekindled these groups’ agendas, pushing them back into the spotlight .

Revitalization of Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

Anti-Muslim groups quickly reverted to their foundational messages post-October 7. Organizations like ACT for America, which had shifted focus to issues such as critical race theory and LGBTQ-inclusive policies, returned to anti-Muslim rhetoric. The group, founded by Brigitte Gabriel, launched petitions to prevent Palestinian refugees from entering the U.S. and circulated fearmongering content about domestic jihadi cells .

Similarly, Jihad Watch, led by Robert Spencer, intensified its anti-Muslim messaging. The group, along with affiliated platforms like FrontPage Magazine, emphasized narratives portraying Islam as fundamentally violent, thus re-igniting anti-Muslim sentiments among their followers .

Organizational Roles and Dynamics

These groups function within a well-funded, interconnected network, each playing distinct roles. ACT for America provides grassroots mobilization, while the Center for Security Policy acts as a think tank. The David Horowitz Freedom Center, which runs Jihad Watch, supports these efforts through ideological and financial means .

Responses to Designation and Methodologies

Groups like ACT for America and Jihad Watch have contested their designation as hate groups by the SPLC, arguing that their activities are misrepresented and unfairly labeled. They claim their efforts are patriotic and necessary for national security. However, the SPLC maintains that their designations are based on clear criteria, including the vilification and demonization of Islam and Muslims .

Implications and Future Outlook

The resurgence of anti-Muslim hate groups is intertwined with broader social and political dynamics. With the Israel-Hamas conflict ongoing, these groups are likely to maintain heightened activities. However, as the presidential election approaches, it is anticipated that these groups might shift focus again to other polarizing issues.

Criminologist Brian Levin points out that despite the decrease in the number of organized hate groups, anti-Muslim hate crimes have increased. This suggests that mainstream platforms and social media have become new venues for spreading xenophobic and conspiratorial content, making traditional hate groups somewhat redundant .

Conclusion

The Israel-Hamas conflict has catalyzed a notable resurgence of anti-Muslim hate groups in the U.S. Their renewed activities reflect the enduring impact of geopolitical events on domestic hate group dynamics. As these groups continue to adapt and evolve, their influence on public discourse and hate crime patterns warrants close monitoring and proactive countermeasures.

Analysis

Historic Decision: US Presidents Who Chose Not to Seek Reelection

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Analyzing the Rare Choices of American Leaders to Step Down Voluntarily

The announcement from President Joe Biden that he would not seek reelection in 2024 has added him to a rare list of American leaders who chose to step aside. This decision, made just weeks before the Democratic National Convention, comes amidst growing concerns over his age and performance. Let’s delve into the history of other presidents who made similar choices and the reasons behind their decisions.

James K. Polk, inaugurated in 1845, entered the presidency with a clear set of goals, such as the annexation of Texas and acquiring the Oregon Territory. Back then, pledging to serve only one term was seen as a mark of personal humility. Polk, having achieved his objectives, honored his commitment and did not run for reelection in 1848.

James Buchanan, elected in 1856, also pledged to serve only one term. By the end of his presidency, the nation was deeply divided over slavery, a situation Buchanan failed to manage effectively. His unpopularity and the fractured state of the Democratic Party likely influenced his decision not to run again in 1860.

Rutherford B. Hayes, after a controversial election in 1876, also pledged to serve a single term. Disputed electoral votes and claims of fraud marred his victory. True to his word, he did not seek reelection in 1880, partly due to the lingering legitimacy issues from his initial election.

Calvin Coolidge took office in 1923 after Warren G. Harding’s death and won the 1924 election. Despite his popularity and a booming economy, Coolidge declared in 1927, “I do not choose to run for president in 1928,” expressing his disinterest in power and desire to leave public life.

Harry S. Truman, having completed nearly two full terms, decided not to run for reelection in 1952. His presidency faced low approval ratings due to the Korean War and corruption scandals. Truman chose to step aside, giving the Democratic Party a chance to nominate a new candidate.

In 1968, amidst the Vietnam War and internal party challenges, Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would not seek reelection. Despite winning a full term in 1964 after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson’s declining approval and anti-war sentiment pushed him to withdraw from the race.

Joe Biden’s decision in 2024 mirrors these historical precedents. Initially positioning himself as a “transitional candidate,” Biden sought to address multiple national challenges. Running unopposed in Democratic primaries, he eventually bowed to concerns about his age and performance. By stepping aside and endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden joined a unique group of presidents who chose to forgo a second term.

While running for reelection has become the norm in modern politics, these historical instances show that stepping down can sometimes be seen as a responsible move, allowing new leadership to emerge. Presidents who opted not to run again often did so due to personal commitments, political challenges, or to pave the way for their party’s future success. Biden’s choice, though extraordinary in today’s context, aligns with a tradition of prioritizing the nation’s needs over personal ambition.

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Analysis

Secret Service Director Resigns Amid Trump Assassination Attempt Scandal

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Kimberly Cheatle Steps Down After Unprecedented Security Breach at Trump Rally Sparks Outrage and Investigations

Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle announced her resignation following the shocking assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump at a Pennsylvania rally. This incident has triggered a fierce outcry over the agency’s glaring security lapses, leading to an unprecedented scrutiny of its ability to fulfill its core mission.

Cheatle, who took the helm in August 2022, faced mounting pressure to step down as investigations revealed how the assailant, Thomas Matthew Crooks, managed to get dangerously close to Trump. In a candid email to her staff, Cheatle admitted, “I take full responsibility for the security lapse,” and expressed the heavy heart with which she decided to resign.

The fallout from the July 13 debacle is unlikely to die down soon, with critical events such as the Democratic National Convention and the presidential campaign season looming. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have vowed to continue their probes, with President Joe Biden himself calling for an independent and bipartisan investigation to ensure accountability.

“The scrutiny over the last week has been intense and will continue as our operational tempo increases,” Cheatle wrote, acknowledging the relentless pressure on the agency.

Cheatle’s resignation came just a day after a grueling congressional hearing where she was lambasted by both sides of the aisle for the security failures. She branded the assassination attempt as the Secret Service’s “most significant operational failure” in decades, taking full responsibility yet frustrating lawmakers by dodging specific inquiries about the incident.

Despite her defiant stance at the hearing, claiming she was still the “right person” to lead the agency, her position became untenable. When Republican Rep. Nancy Mace suggested she start drafting her resignation letter, Cheatle curtly replied, “No, thank you.”

The chilling details of the incident revealed Crooks managed to get within 135 meters of the stage before opening fire, despite warnings about a suspicious person and the roof’s vulnerability. Cheatle admitted to Congress that the Secret Service had received multiple alerts about Crooks but failed to act decisively, a damning revelation that only fueled the outrage.

A bloodied Trump was swiftly whisked offstage by Secret Service agents as snipers neutralized the shooter. The former president later revealed the bullet had pierced the upper part of his right ear, with the attack also resulting in one fatality and two critical injuries among the rallygoers.

Cheatle, who had a storied 27-year career in the Secret Service before a brief stint at PepsiCo, was appointed by Biden in 2022 amid controversies surrounding the agency, including missing texts from the January 6 Capitol riot. Her tenure saw her becoming the first woman to head the protective operations division and later the second female director of the Secret Service.

Despite Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s initial support, bipartisan calls for Cheatle’s resignation became deafening. Congressional committees swiftly moved to investigate, with subpoenas issued and top leaders from both parties demanding her departure. Biden’s order for an independent review and the Secret Service’s own inspector general probe underscore the gravity of the situation.

In a stark interview with ABC News days after the shooting, Cheatle described the incident as “unacceptable,” reiterating that the ultimate responsibility lay with her. Yet, the mounting evidence of systemic failures made her position increasingly indefensible.

As the dust settles, the resignation of Kimberly Cheatle marks a critical juncture for the Secret Service. The agency now faces an uphill battle to restore its reputation and reassure the public of its capability to protect national leaders in these perilous times. The coming weeks promise more revelations and intense scrutiny as investigations delve deeper into the failures that allowed an assassination attempt on a former president to come so perilously close to success.

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Analysis

Kamala Harris Secures Democratic Nomination Amid Political Turmoil

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VP Kamala Harris Poised to Lead Democrats in 2024 Election After Biden’s Shocking Withdrawal

Vice President Kamala Harris has unofficially secured enough support to become the Democratic Party’s candidate in the upcoming November presidential election. This pivotal development follows President Joe Biden’s unexpected withdrawal from the race, an announcement that has further roiled U.S. political waters at a crucial juncture in the Gaza conflict.

The Associated Press revealed that Harris now commands the backing of over 2,200 delegates, easily surpassing the 1,976 required to clinch the nomination. This tally, derived from public statements by state parties and delegate interviews, underscores Harris’s growing momentum within the Democratic ranks.

As Biden’s exit reverberated through political circles, Democratic leaders swiftly moved to finalize the nomination process. Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison confirmed that the party will officially choose its nominee by August 7, ahead of the August 19-22 Democratic National Convention.

Harris, who has been a steadfast ally to Biden, expressed her readiness to take on the mantle. “I look forward to formally accepting the nomination soon,” she stated on Monday. This declaration comes on the heels of a remarkable fundraising surge, with Harris amassing over $80 million shortly after Biden’s announcement.

Support for Harris has coalesced rapidly, with numerous Democratic officials and influential figures endorsing her candidacy. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a significant force within the party, publicly threw her weight behind Harris, praising her leadership and vision for America’s future.

“Today, it is with immense pride and limitless optimism for our country’s future that I endorse Vice President Kamala Harris for president of the United States,” Pelosi declared, reflecting a broader consensus among Democratic stalwarts.

Several prominent Democratic governors have also rallied around Harris, including J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, and Gavin Newsom of California. Speculation is rife about potential vice-presidential picks from this cohort, though Harris has yet to comment on her preferences.

Harris’s political journey, from a California senator to the vice-presidential nominee in 2020, has been marked by resilience and ambition. Despite facing a challenging reelection campaign alongside Biden, she now stands as the party’s presumptive leader in the face-off against former President Donald Trump.

The Trump campaign has wasted no time in targeting Harris, with a provocative ad accusing her of concealing Biden’s alleged mental decline. “Kamala was in on it,” the ad asserts, suggesting she knowingly supported Biden despite his perceived weaknesses. Harris, however, remains undeterred, confidently championing her record and contrasting it sharply with Trump’s controversial tenure.

“Donald Trump wants to take our country backwards to a time before many of our fellow Americans had full freedoms and rights. But we believe in a brighter future that makes room for all Americans,” Harris proclaimed at a campaign event, signaling her readiness for the intense battle ahead.

Trump, having accepted the Republican nomination at a recent convention, is set to revive his combative campaign style. As the political landscape shifts dramatically, Harris’s emergence as the Democratic candidate heralds a fiercely contested election, with profound implications for the future of U.S.-Israel relations and global diplomacy.

The stakes could not be higher as Harris prepares to solidify her nomination, navigate complex international issues, and confront a relentless opponent in Donald Trump. The upcoming months promise a riveting and high-stakes political saga, capturing the attention of a nation on the brink of profound change.

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Analysis

Netanyahu’s Critical DC Visit Amidst US Political Turmoil and Gaza War Escalation

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Biden’s Withdrawal Adds Uncertainty to US-Israel Relations at a Pivotal Moment

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrival in Washington on Monday night coincided with a bombshell announcement from President Joe Biden: he’s stepping out of the 2024 presidential race. This unexpected turn of events injects a fresh dose of uncertainty into the already tense US-Israel relationship, particularly as the Gaza conflict rages on without a cease-fire in sight.

Netanyahu’s visit, announced back in June, raised eyebrows given the ongoing violence. But now, with American politics in flux, the Israeli leader’s mission is clear: lay the groundwork for strong ties with the next US administration, whoever leads it.

A senior US official confirmed that Biden and Netanyahu are slated to meet at the White House on Thursday. “I will seek to anchor the bipartisan support that is so important for Israel,” Netanyahu stated as he left Israel, underscoring his intent to maintain robust ties regardless of the upcoming presidential outcome.

Though Netanyahu publicly maintains a stance of neutrality between the likely candidates—Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Donald Trump—insiders suggest his true preference is clear. Jonathan Rynhold, head of Political Studies at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, notes, “Republicans generally align more with Israel’s security agenda and show greater leniency towards its right-wing policies.”

Trump’s administration set a high bar with its pro-Israel moves: the groundbreaking Abraham Accords, relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Netanyahu is reportedly eager to meet with Trump to quash rumors of tension following Netanyahu’s congratulations to Biden in 2020, which soured their relationship. Trump’s blunt warning to Israel to “get back to peace and stop killing people” hasn’t helped matters.

Meanwhile, Vice President Harris, set to meet Netanyahu separately from Biden, has emphasized her commitment to Israel’s security. Her Jewish connections—her husband, Doug Emhoff, is Jewish—have been instrumental in combating antisemitism. Yet, Harris will skip Netanyahu’s congressional speech, heading instead to Indianapolis to address a historically Black sorority, a move likely influenced by progressive and Muslim voters’ discontent over Gaza.

Despite Harris’ expected alignment with Biden’s Middle East policies, she may adopt a tougher rhetoric on Israeli settlements and show greater empathy towards Palestinian issues. Aaron David Miller of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace predicts her administration would remain “mainstream” in supporting US-Israel relations but with sharper critiques of certain Israeli actions.

Domestically, Netanyahu is navigating a critical period as the Israeli Knesset nears recess. He aims to advance his political agenda, potentially leveraging a cease-fire deal. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted at a possible agreement, though analysts are skeptical it will last beyond an initial six-week pause.

In essence, Netanyahu’s DC visit is a high-stakes maneuver amid a rapidly changing political landscape. As he seeks to cement bipartisan support and prepare for potential shifts in US leadership, the outcomes of his discussions in Washington could have far-reaching implications for Israel and the broader Middle East.

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Analysis

Potential Democratic Replacements for Joe Biden in the 2024 Presidential Race

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Who’s likely to replace Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential race?
Biden’s withdrawal from the election has left an opening for a new Democrat to claim the party nod. Who will it be? It was the culmination of weeks of pressure, closed-door negotiations and public gaffes: President Joe Biden announced on Sunday that he would no longer be seeking the Democratic nomination for a second term in the White House.

But Biden’s decision has left the Democratic Party in an unprecedented position. Who will fill his shoes and face off against Republican nominee Donald Trump in November’s presidential race? Delegates for the party are scheduled to come together on August 19 for the Democratic National Convention, where they will cast their votes for Biden’s successor.

Here, WARYATV breaks down some of the most likely options, their strengths and weaknesses — and identifies former contenders who have now endorsed another candidate. Vice President Kamala Harris
Harris is Biden’s most likely heir, having served as his running mate and vice president for nearly four years.

On Sunday, Biden also formally endorsed Harris for the nomination.

But Harris has struggled to make an impact during her time at the White House. Her role, like that of many vice presidents, has been low profile, and she struggled with dismal approval ratings early in her tenure.

In 2021, for instance, a poll from USA Today and Suffolk University found that she only had 28 percent support rate- a figure that showed her ranking lower than previous vice presidents, like Dick Cheney.

But as Biden prepared to exit the race in 2024, Harris found her star rising. A poll last week from The Associated Press news agency and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 74 percent of Democrats found her performance “favourable”. The vice president also enjoys the support of several members of Congress, including Representative Jim Clyburn, a former Biden stalwart. “I’m going to be for Harris if Biden ain’t there,” he told USA Today earlier this month.

Originally from Oakland, California, Harris previously served as attorney general of the state and a US senator. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Unlike Newsom, Whitmer represents a coveted swing state in this year’s presidential election: Michigan, part of the industrial Rust Belt region.

She too has campaigned for Biden and reaffirmed her support for the beleaguered president as pressures mounted for him to end his re-election campaign.

“I am an enthusiastic supporter of President Biden, and I’m going to work my tail off to make sure he gets a second term,” she told NPR in early July after Biden’s flop debate performance. Born and raised in the state capital of Lansing, Whitmer was elected to the state legislature multiple times and served on the Democratic National Committee before she entered the governor’s mansion.

A self-described progressive, she has also had high-profile public clashes with Trump, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer implemented a stay-at-home order at the start of the pandemic and issued restrictions on large-scale gatherings in her state. That prompted Trump, who opposed certain safety restrictions, to call her a “dictator” and denounce her on social media.

Later that same year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced it had foiled a far-right attempt to kidnap Whitmer over her COVID-19 policies.

But Whitmer has rallied her state’s Democrats, helping to lead the party to a historic victory in 2022: Not only did Whitmer reclaim the governor’s mansion, but Democrats flipped both the state House and Senate. That gave the party a “trifecta” for the first time since 1984.

Nationally, Whitmer in recent days has returned to taking on Trump. Ahead of the former president’s rally on Saturday in Michigan with his VP pick JD Vance, Whitmer put out a cheeky video reminding Trump that the state had strong abortion rights and accusing him of reneging on promises made to autoworkers in Detroit. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker
Like many on the shortlist to replace Biden, Pritzker is not only a governor but also a prominent surrogate for Biden on the campaign trail, working to rally support.

While Pritzker’s home state of Illinois is a traditional Democratic stronghold, it is a key intersection for the Midwest, a region where agriculture and industry collide.

Illinois also is a stone’s throw away from key swing states like Wisconsin. Pritzker has tried to leverage his roots in the region to his – and Biden’s – advantage, pledging to build a “blue wall” across the Midwest.

“Here’s the thing that people from the coasts might not understand about Midwestern Democrats. We will be Midwest nice to you, while we Midwest beat you,” he said on the campaign trail, playing up his regional identity while slamming Trump. A lawyer with decades of political experience, Pritzker previously co-chaired Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

When he set his sights on the governor’s mansion in 2017, he invested more than $42m of his own wealth in his campaign: His family owns Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. He has since won two terms.

Pritzker is no stranger to taking on Trump, calling his far-right movement a “cancer” spreading throughout parts of the Republican Party. This month, he has made campaign stops in Indiana and Ohio, seeking to chip away at Trump’s base of support and rally Democrats.

Former contenders who have now backed Harris:
California Governor Gavin Newsom: After a few hours of silence that sparked speculation over his ambitions, the 56-year-old endorsed Harris on Sunday.

“With our democracy at stake and our future on the line, no one is better to prosecute the case against Donald Trump’s dark vision and guide our country in a healthier direction than America’s Vice President, Kamala Harris,” he said in an X post. While Newsom had been unwavering in his support of Biden previously, political observers noted that he appeared to be teeing up his own future presidential bid.

Last year, for instance, Newsom travelled overseas to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. Then, as the Republican presidential primary race started to heat up, he appeared on Fox News to debate with one of the candidates, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The two-term leader of a solidly blue state, Newsom nevertheless faced a recall effort in 2021 that sought to yank him from California’s governor’s mansion. Proponents of the recall blasted Newsom for high taxes in the state and what they considered a lax attitude towards immigration. Still, Newsom handily defeated the effort, with more than 61 percent of voters rejecting the recall.

The California governor – and former mayor of San Francisco – nevertheless faces consistent criticism for his handling of the state’s homelessness crisis and widening inequality, as the cost of living rises.

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro: In 2022, when Josh Shapiro first ran for the governor’s mansion in the Rust Belt state of Pennsylvania, he received more than three million votes – setting a state record. Even Biden only earned 2.8 million votes in Pennsylvania during the last presidential election, though it was still enough for him to carry the state. On Sunday, Shapiro set aside any presidential dreams he might have — for now — to offer a ringing endorsement of Harris.

“The contrast in this race could not be clearer and the road to victory in November runs right through Pennsylvania – where this collective work began,” he said on X. “I will do everything I can to help elect Kamala Harris as the 47th President of the United States.”

Pennsylvania is a crucial battleground for the Democrats: Like Michigan, it can tilt right or left. And Pennsylvania, the fifth largest state by population, has a whopping 19 Electoral College votes up for grabs.

Prior to winning the governorship, Shapiro served six years as the state’s attorney general, where he tackled gun violence and the opioid crisis, as well as government corruption.

Still, since taking office as governor, Shapiro has raised eyebrows – particularly among progressive Democrats – for denouncing pro-Palestinian student protesters on college campuses. With a nod to his Jewish faith, Shapiro told the publication Politico in April: “I do feel a somewhat unique responsibility to speak out when I see this level of anti-Semitism on our campuses and in our communities.”

 

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Analysis

How Militia Groups Capture States and Ruin Countries: The Case of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces

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Sudan’s descent into chaos, orchestrated by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), reveals the terrifying blueprint of how militias can infiltrate state institutions and wreak havoc on societies. Originally established in 2013 by dictator Omar al-Bashir as a private protection detail, the RSF has morphed into a predatory force vying for control of Sudan, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

In April 2023, Sudan plunged into war as the military attempted to suppress the RSF. This conflict has ravaged the nation, including the capital Khartoum. By June 2024, the carnage had claimed at least 15,500 lives, displaced over 6 million people, and pushed more than 25 million into acute hunger, according to the United Nations.

The RSF’s rise to power mirrors the strategies of other militia groups that infiltrate and co-opt state institutions. This approach is multifaceted, encompassing military, economic, and political dimensions. These groups exploit conflict to expand their influence, armories, and ranks, generating revenue through illicit businesses and forging alliances with foreign states and international smuggling networks. They secure political support by providing jobs and patronage, seeking to embed themselves within institutional roles.

As a political scientist specializing in conflict studies and irregular warfare, I have dedicated over a decade to researching insurgents, paramilitaries, militias, and other armed groups. My recent work delves into the phenomenon of “state capture” – the covert and gradual infiltration of state institutions to influence policy. In addition to examining Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shia militias in Iraq, I scrutinized the RSF in Sudan. Through interviews with academics, political analysts, government officials, and individuals affiliated with armed groups, I uncovered a consistent pattern: militias initially pursue their objectives without openly antagonizing the state, presenting themselves as pro-government while signaling the devastating consequences of any attempt to neutralize them.

Over time, these strategies enable armed groups to gain political influence and formal institutional roles, allowing them to shape public policies to their advantage. When militias achieve state capture, they undermine governmental effectiveness, contributing to institutional breakdown and state failure. In Sudan, the RSF now controls vast swathes of territory, although it hasn’t yet secured total control of the country.

The RSF’s roots trace back to the Janjaweed militias, notorious for their role in al-Bashir’s genocidal campaign in Darfur. In 2013, al-Bashir restructured the Janjaweed into the RSF to counterbalance the army and prevent coups, appointing Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, a former highway robber turned Janjaweed commander, as its leader.

Al-Bashir’s backing allowed Hemedti to deploy thousands of fighters across Sudan to secure strategic locations, including the capital, borderlands, and economic hubs like gold mines. Capitalizing on this positioning, the RSF expanded its involvement in gold mining, smuggling, and trading, even generating income by supplying mercenaries for conflicts in Yemen and Libya. Al-Bashir’s regime tacitly endorsed these activities, likely seeing them as a cost-effective way to maintain the RSF.

Initially collaborating closely with Sudan’s army, the RSF did not oppose the military’s decision to oust al-Bashir in 2019 amidst anti-regime protests. During the political transition, Hemedti became vice-chair of the Sovereign Council, tasked with guiding Sudan towards democratic elections. This institutional role shocked many within Sudanese civil society, though some argued that dismantling the RSF would spark conflict. Both the army and the RSF had established secretive business networks generating billions, sharing a short-term interest in protecting their power and assets from civilian interference. This alignment facilitated the October 2021 military coup, abruptly halting Sudan’s democratization process.

Under the new regime, the RSF grew more powerful, profiting from gold mining, smuggling, and business deals with the, Russia’s Wagner Group, and Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar. Bolstering their arsenal and expanding their ranks, the RSF positioned themselves as champions of ordinary Arabs from Sudan’s rural provinces and borderlands.

The Sudanese Armed Forces, alarmed by the RSF’s growing power, attempted to integrate the militia into the military command. However, by the time the military launched its offensive in April 2023, the RSF had fielded 100,000 fighters equipped for urban warfare. They quickly inflicted heavy losses on the military, seizing control of most of Khartoum, as well as Gezira, Darfur, and Kordofan, fracturing the Sudanese state and society.

In areas under their control, the RSF has committed crimes against humanity, including ethnic cleansing, massacres, rape, torture, and widespread looting. The Sudanese army, which controls Port Sudan, has blocked humanitarian aid to RSF territories, exacerbating an impending famine.

The prospects for a peaceful resolution in Sudan appear bleak. Even a temporary ceasefire to facilitate humanitarian aid seems improbable, given the divided United Nations Security Council and the lack of a viable plan from the African Union. Western powers have squandered their political capital in Sudan, failing to support the 2019-2021 democratic transition or reverse the 2021 coup.

Russia bear significant responsibility for the current situation, their support for opposing sides deepening divisions and thwarting peace efforts.

Local neighborhood committees, once pivotal in grassroots democratization, have been marginalized by armed actors. International actors aiming to help Sudan must recognize that these civil society groups represent the country’s best hope. They possess a deep understanding of Sudan’s most pressing needs, including unimpeded humanitarian aid and the exposure and curtailing of armed groups’ military and financial lifelines. Supporting these efforts could pave the way for a political transition free from the influence of armed actors.

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Africa

The Internal Threats: A Dire Warning for Somaliland

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The Untold Story of Waddani’s Alleged Treachery and the Looming Peril

Somaliland stands at a crossroads, with the potential to become a dominant force in Africa if it secures international recognition. The nation’s vast oil, gas, and mineral reserves promise a prosperous future, but only if the current administration can navigate the treacherous waters of internal betrayal and external aggression.

In the shadowy corridors of power, a silent war is being waged within Somaliland, threatening to unravel the very fabric of the nation. This urgent intelligence report exposes the nefarious activities of the Waddani party, allegedly conspiring with external enemies to destabilize Somaliland. As the nation teeters on the brink of chaos, President Muse Bihi’s government faces an existential crisis, infiltrated by traitors and undermined by clandestine forces.

Somaliland’s strategic importance has never been more apparent, drawing the attention of global powers such as China, the US, and Russia. However, this spotlight has also illuminated internal vulnerabilities that foreign adversaries are eager to exploit. The enemy within has found allies among Somaliland’s political elite, with the Waddani party at the epicenter of this betrayal.

Secret intelligence reports, now declassified, reveal a web of corruption and propaganda meticulously woven by Waddani operatives over the past seven years. The former Speaker of the Somaliland Parliament, Abdirizak Khalif, emerges as a pivotal figure in this conspiracy. Khalif, with deep-rooted ties to the Daarod clan, has publicly renounced Somaliland, inciting unrest in Lasanod and beyond. His actions echo the violent legacy of the former Somali dictator, Siad Barre, who orchestrated the massacre of half a million Somalilanders.

Khalif’s ascent to the highest echelons of power, allegedly facilitated by the Waddani party, raises unsettling questions about Somaliland’s security apparatus. How did an avowed enemy infiltrate the government so effectively? Why has the administration of President Muse Bihi, despite being aware of these threats, failed to act decisively?

The internal threat is exacerbated by media manipulation funded by Waddani’s dirty money. Journalists, compromised by bribes, disseminate fake news designed to erode public trust and fuel anti-government sentiments. This insidious campaign aims to destabilize Somaliland from within, rendering it vulnerable to external aggressors.

President Muse Bihi’s tenure, marked by relentless battles against both visible and invisible enemies, underscores the complexity of his predicament. How can a leader combat adversaries embedded within his own administration? The answer lies in decisive, unprecedented action. The government must investigate Waddani’s treacherous activities, expose their corruption, and bring them to justice. The Secret Waddani Files, containing damning evidence of bribery and propaganda, must be made public. Only then can the nation begin to heal and fortify itself against future threats.

The shocking reality is that individuals complicit in this betrayal are poised to compete in the upcoming elections. The failure to address Waddani’s actions signifies a dangerous complacency within the government.

Somaliland’s geopolitical significance, underscored by its alliance with Taiwan, has made it a target for Chinese interference. China, eager to undermine President Bihi’s administration, has allegedly invested in Waddani and other opposition figures. Berbera, once a lesser-known port, is now recognized as Somaliland’s diamond, a critical asset coveted by international powers.

The stakes are high, and the time for decisive action is now.

The forthcoming elections on November 13, 2024, present a critical juncture for Somaliland. It is imperative to delay the elections to root out internal enemies and cleanse the government of traitorous elements. A minimum one-year period is required to implement these necessary purges, ensuring the safety and integrity of the nation before any electoral process resumes. The election committee must prioritize the security of Somaliland over procedural timelines.

Intelligence reports have uncovered a chilling plot by Darood elites to incite a civil war in the western regions of Somaliland, echoing the unrest in Lasanod. Anti-Somaliland elements from the Awdal region are allegedly conspiring to ignite conflict, a scheme that, if left unchecked, could plunge the nation into chaos.

The government must act swiftly to neutralize these threats, imprison unelected clan leaders, and counter media disinformation.

The unsettling truth is that some of President Bihi’s trusted Politicians are implicated in this conspiracy. These individuals, driven by personal gain, have been working with foreign adversaries to destabilize Somaliland from within. Many lack the educational background and relevant experience for their positions, raising further questions about their loyalties and competence.

Somaliland stands at a crossroads, with the potential to become a dominant force in Africa if it secures international recognition. The nation’s vast oil, gas, and mineral reserves promise a prosperous future, but only if the current administration can navigate the treacherous waters of internal betrayal and external aggression.

In conclusion, Somaliland faces an urgent and existential threat from within. The Waddani party, driven by corruption and aligned with external enemies, poses a significant danger to the nation’s sovereignty. President Muse Bihi’s administration must act decisively to purge these internal threats, delay the elections, and secure Somaliland’s future. The time for complacency is over; the survival of Somaliland hangs in the balance.

This is an updated version of an article originally published March 14, 2023.

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Analysis

The Impact of Trump Assassination Attempt Photos on the U.S. Presidential Campaign

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How a Single Image Could Shape the Political Landscape and Fuel Divisive Narratives

It’s a photo that has reverberated around the world: a bloodied Donald Trump, his fist raised, as Secret Service officers rush the former president from a stage. Captured by Associated Press journalist Evan Vucci, this image freezes the immediate aftermath of the attempted assassination of Trump at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, potentially altering the course of the presidential election.

Described by some U.S. media outlets as iconic, the photos from that day hold significant power. They not only document a moment of intense drama but also serve as a potent symbol in a highly polarized political climate. The enduring legacy of still photography, even in the age of ubiquitous video, remains potent, as it can encapsulate and immortalize pivotal moments in ways that moving images often cannot.

Ron Burnett, former president of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Canada, underscores the powerful impact of such imagery. “The iconic effects of a photograph are not to be underestimated at all,” Burnett told VOA. “Icons actually always are of greater effect than truth, which is a really scary thought, but which is true.” This photograph, in particular, reinforces the Trump campaign’s narrative of a beleaguered leader fighting against formidable odds. “The photo suggests, among many different things, that he’s in a war and already in constant danger,” Burnett added.

This notion plays directly into the hands of Trump’s rhetoric, framing him as a martyr of sorts in a relentless battle. The imagery supports his portrayal of being perpetually under siege, an angle that could energize his base and evoke sympathy among undecided voters. In a political landscape where perception often trumps reality, this photograph could wield considerable influence.

Subramaniam Vincent, the director of Santa Clara University’s journalism and media ethics center, points out that the portrayal of the moment will inevitably become a part of the political discourse. “The real ethics of it, I think, comes in interpreting where the picture is, what it stands for in the narrative about American culture, politics, guns, violence,” Vincent explained. The photo will be dissected and analyzed, each interpretation potentially adding to the already charged political environment.

For Vucci, capturing the shooting and its aftermath was not just about documenting an event, but about fulfilling a crucial journalistic duty. “I knew that this was a moment in American history that had to be documented,” he said. “I mean, it’s our job as journalists to do this work.” This commitment to documenting history, however, also opens the floodgates for various interpretations and misinterpretations.

As the news media work to verify the events surrounding the rally, social media platforms have become breeding grounds for misinformation and conspiracy theories. Claims falsely attributing responsibility for the attack to political parties on both sides are proliferating. Journalists are working tirelessly to debunk these falsehoods, but the polarized and emotional climate complicates these efforts.

David Klepper, a reporter for the AP, highlighted the challenges in this environment. “There’s no evidence for either of these conspiracy theories, but they reflect the kind of claims that are spreading in this very polarized emotional climate in the immediate aftermath of the assassination attempt,” Klepper noted. Despite these efforts, the spread of misinformation remains a significant concern.

Two days after the attack, Trump was back on stage at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a move that signals resilience and a refusal to be cowed by violence. Data from cyber analysts PeakMetrics shows that social media mentions of Trump surged in the hours following the attack. While many posts expressed sympathy, PeakMetrics also found others that sought to seed conspiracy theories or spread false or misleading claims.

In the coming weeks and months, the photograph of Trump’s assassination attempt will likely remain a focal point of discussion and analysis. Its impact on the presidential campaign could be profound, serving as both a rallying point for his supporters and a catalyst for further polarization. As the U.S. navigates this tumultuous political period, the power of a single image to shape narratives and influence public perception stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of photojournalism.

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