Watchlist: The Aftermath

Week of October 29


Tunisian Terrorism Reignites Fear of Extremism

The capital of Tunisia, Tunis, experienced a terrorist attack on Monday afternoon. A 30 year old woman with no military background blew herself up at the center of the capital. She was the only civilian killed, leaving 9 others injured. Tunisia has been in a state of emergency since 2015 when a series of terrorist attacks occurred, however this attack has been the first that was farther from the borders since the scarring 2015 attacks. Since the Arab Spring revolutions, Tunisia has been in a state of transformation into its new democracy. As one of the only successful results of the movement, Tunisia has been closely supported by allies financially and ideologically. When considering countries bordering Tunisia, there is a threat to safety and security and in a broader context, stability. As Tunisia continues to attempt to strengthen its democracy, it has to fight influences from extremist groups and sentiments present in surrounding regions as well. RACHEL MILNER


Brand-New Boeing Crashes in Indonesia

At 6:20 (Western Indonesian Time) on Monday morning in Jakarta, Indonesia, Lion Air Flight 610 took off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport bound for the city of Pangkal Pinang, but seven minutes after takeoff, the flight crashed into the Java Sea, presumably killing all 189 people on board. Even though debris is just starting to be collected, speculation is starting to build as to the cause of the crash. Indonesia has a very spotty aviation safety record, with all Indonesian airlines (including Lion Air) previously being banned from operating in the EU due to poor maintenance and a bad safety record. Considering the aircraft involved was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a brand-new US-manufactured plane that was barely two months old, the spotlight will be on both Boeing and the Indonesian aviation authorities to find the cause of the crash. SAMUEL ROSENBLUM


Joy, Dread, and Skepticism After Bolsonaro Win

The election of Brazilian right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro has left many speculating about how his campaign promises will translate into the next generation of Brazilian policies. Throughout the election season, Bolsonaro rallied support for the liberalization of gun laws, withdrawal from the Paris climate deal, and revamped rule of law. Despite garnering enough support to win the general elections, Bolsonaro’s PSL party failed to overtake their liberal opponents, PT, in Congress. A fractious Congress, widespread criticism of Bolsonaro’s policies, and international condemnation of his openly homophobic, misogynistic rhetoric give some a reason to doubt the feasibility of Bolsonaro’s proposed policies, believing he’ll soften his stance on many issues upon taking office. However, others fear a return to the dictatorial leadership of Brazil’s past bolstered by a growing conservative base across the country. ANNA HAYNES


Merkel Bows Out Early from 2021 Elections

Following tumultuous elections over the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Monday morning that she will not be running of reelection in 2021. Merkel cited the failure of her party, the CDU, to unite a governing coalition in parliament after 2018 elections as a reason for her withdrawal, stating that the “time has come to open a new chapter”. German voters have been shifting away from parties near the political center since the parliamentary elections, yet Sunday’s polls still demonstrated a startling drop in support for Merkel’s CDU and it’s coalition partners, the SDP and the CSU. As these parties lost their majority hold over regional governments, votes shifted to the Greens on the left and the AfD on the right. In her statement, Merkel made it clear that she was done politicking and will allow the democratic process to select her successor, without giving any endorsement. ANNA HAYNES

Middle East

Suicide Bomber Targets Tunis Shopping Center

Nearly a month after the disappearance and assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish authorities are still waiting on cooperation from the Saudi government. The chief investigator arrived in Istanbul from Saudi Arabia this past weekend, but the public still awaits any information on the outcome of these meetings. Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned the Saudi government not to delay the process any longer. Turkish and international intelligence officials have been reviewing footage and documentation in connection with this case for weeks and are still waiting on the extradition of 18 suspects from Saudi Arabia. ANNA HAYNES

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