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Annie Gugliotta

World Cup politics go way beyond Qatar

The 2022 World Cup now underway in Qatar is the most political edition of the tournament in decades. But it's also playing out politically far away from the host country in parts of the globe where fans often pay more attention to the sport than to their elected officials.

For instance, in Brazil, supporters of left-wing President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva want to reclaim the yellow jersey from the fans of outgoing far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Brazilian progressives say Bolsonaro’s supporters co-opted the color of their five-time winning national side during the recent presidential election campaign.

Let’s find more examples from a few Eurasia Group soccer nuts, ahem, experts.

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Ukraine’s Kherson Victory Is a Turning Point in the War | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Ukraine’s Kherson victory is a turning point in the war

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics.

What's the importance of Putin losing the city of Kherson?

Major, I would say. I mean he lost, first, the battle for Kyiv immediately after launching his invasion. Then he lost the battle for Kharkiv, the second largest Ukrainian city. And now he lost the absolutely key city of Kherson, where he had said even that it's an exit to Russia. He is totally absent from the issue in the Russian media, blaming it all on the military, but it's a turning point in the war. Very big. More to come.

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US Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) during a Jan. 6 committee hearing.

USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

What We're Watching: The outgoing Liz Cheney, trouble in Kosovo, France out of Mali

Liz Cheney’s next move

Liz Cheney, a three-term Republican US congresswoman from Wyoming, suffered a stinging defeat Tuesday night at the hands of well-funded primary opponent Harriet Hageman, enthusiastically backed by former president Donald Trump. Sarah Palin — the former vice presidential candidate and governor, also supported by Trump — won the Alaska primary to run for Congress. Cheney’s defeat marks a remarkable political fall for a nationally known conservative politician who is the daughter of former VP Dick Cheney, the previous generation of Republicans’ best-known Washington powerbroker. Her political future and her potential impact on American politics will be defined by her central role on the congressional committee investigating the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and Trump’s role in it. Trump, according to Cheney, is “guilty of the most serious dereliction of duty of any president in our nation’s history.” Cheney raised some $13 million for her now-failed House campaign. She can still spend that money on a future race. Next up: speculation that Cheney will run for president in 2024 in a campaign defined by opposition to Trump, who is still the Republican presidential frontrunner.

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Osama bin Laden sits with his successor Ayman al-Zawahri.

REUTERS/Hamid Mir

What We’re Watching: US kills Al-Qaida leader, Pelosi's Taiwan pit stop, Yemen holds its breath, tensions rise between Kosovo and Serbs

US kills al-Qaida leader

President Joe Biden addressed the nation Monday night to make an announcement 21 years in the making: the US killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a drone strike in Kabul over the weekend. Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man and key architect in the 9/11 terror attacks was killed in the first US attack in Afghanistan since the American withdrawal last August. The operation – a major counterterrorism coup for Biden – reportedly saw al-Zawahri killed at the home of a staffer to senior Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani. A CIA ground team, with the help of aerial reconnaissance, has confirmed the death. “My hope is that this decisive action will bring one more measure of closure,” Biden told loved ones of 9/11 victims. He also warned that the US “will always remain vigilant … to ensure the safety and security of Americans at home and around the globe.” With al-Qaida franchises having cropped up globally over the past decade, the death of Zawahri – who was wary of the brand’s localization and its effect on his authority – will present a challenge for control of the militant group.

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Albright addresses the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008.

Douliery Olivier/ABACA via Reuters Connect

The day I protested Madeleine

Within a few minutes of one another, my mother in Belgrade and my NYC-based boss at Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer, sent me notes saying former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had passed away at the age of 84. Soon after, many friends, colleagues, professors, and social media connections shared the news.

The speed with which this information spread across the globe is not surprising, given Albright's rich political and academic credentials, but also the polarizing attitudes toward her legacy. On one of my recent visits last month to my alma mater, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where Albright taught, I shared a story with one of the school’s chaplains about my first (and last) encounter with Albright.

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Who Still Welcomes American Tourists? | International Travel in the Era of Coronavirus | GZERO World

Who still welcomes American tourists? International travel in the era of coronavirus

Ian Bremmer offers a quick a survey of nations currently welcoming American tourists, in case your cabin fever has you longing to fly away. Think Caribbean, the Balkans, or even the U.K.—but as they say in the fine print of any offer, "Some restrictions may apply."

Protests in Serbia; Polish Runoff Election | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Protests in Serbia turn violent; Europe awaits Polish runoff election

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with this week's Europe In 60 Seconds (from the Adriatic Sea):

What's going on in Belgrade and what's going to be the consequence of that?

Well, a wave of protests partly met by fairly substantial police violence. It's partly against new COVID restrictions, there's an outbreak of COVID. But partly the general political situation in the country with a sort of very harsh regime in the effect, or a very dominant regime to be precise. We'll see what happens.

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What We’re Watching: Brits arm Saudis, Belgrade riots, Chinese nukes

UK ends ban on Saudi arms sales: The UK is ready to resume weapons exports to Saudi Arabia after a one-year moratorium. In June 2019, a British court ruled that those sales were unlawful if the arms would later be used against civilians in Yemen, where the Saudi military has been fighting Houthi rebel forces since 2015. The UK government said it is now confident that the Saudis will not use British-made weapons in Yemen in any way that violates international humanitarian law. The decision to end the ban has raised ethical concerns about the UK's involvement in this war, where thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed by Saudi strikes. Prior to the ban, the UK was the second top arms seller to Saudi Arabia after the US. Meanwhile, the war in Yemen — considered the world's worst humanitarian crisis right now — continues this week with a fresh Saudi campaign against the Houthis, following a short-lived ceasefire due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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