Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is using energy policy in his latest efforts to resist growing Russian pressure to integrate into Russia-dominated structures. Lukashenko’s efforts to diversify Belarusian oil imports will likely provide him with sufficient leverage to secure higher payments from Russia on Russian oil transiting Belarus. However, Lukashenko lacks leverage on the issue of Russian gas subsidies to Belarus. Lukashenko will not, in the long run, be able to prevent further integration with Russia.
Iraq’s President Barham Salih asked Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi to attempt to form a government and serve as prime minister. Allawi holds no parliamentary, popular, or military leverage and is unlikely to gain the necessary political capital to address the demands of protesters or challenge parliamentary powerbrokers. Allawi will not immediately take office – his cabinet must still be formed and approved.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a new phase in his campaign to retain power after 2024 when his current term expires. Putin offered Russians a revised social contract. Putin is reconfiguring the balance of power within the Russian government as he seeks to carve out an optimal spot for himself. Putin is in uncharted territory, trying to create a new transition model for Russia.
Davison traveled to Iraq with a team of experts organized by the United Nations High Commissoner for Refugees to assess the security and humanitarian situation on the ground. Listen to the ISW Overwatch podcast episode for her firsthand perspective.
Iran is attempting to coalesce its lethal Iraqi proxy militias, and potentially Moqtada al-Sadr and his supporters, into a more unified military force to target U.S. forces in the region.
Popular protests against the Iraqi government have surged again in the lead-up to anti-U.S. protests planned for Friday, January 24 by Moqtada al-Sadr and Iran's proxy militias.
Iran is preparing to increase political pressure against the U.S. presence in Iraq by generating significant anti-American protests on Friday, January 24 with support from Moqtada al-Sadr.
Nataliya Bugayova and George Barros discuss their recently released assessment of Russia's attempt to expand its global media presence and deepen the Kremlin's influence.
Iraqi leaders of Iranian proxy groups met in Iran with the newly appointed IRGC-QF and, separately, Moqtada al-Sadr on January 10 after reportedly traveling to Lebanon to meet with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.