At the same time as new geopolitical realities have drawn the West’s focus away from state-building and stabilization efforts overseas, nonstate armed actors stay more and more highly effective actors with the worldwide system. In 2021, felony and militant teams skilled main successes, increasing of their territorial management and political and financial affect in locations reminiscent of Yemen, Mexico, Nigeria, and Somalia, whereas persevering with to pose main challenges in locations reminiscent of Syria, Mali, Central America, Colombia, and Italy. Essentially the most dramatic success for nonstate armed actors was in Afghanistan the place the Taliban crushed the Afghan authorities and swept to energy in August. In the meantime, right-wing armed teams in the US and Europe have been much less violent, however their networks are removed from dismantled and intense home political polarization supplies a breeding floor for them. Regardless of the affect of COVID-19, poaching, wildlife trafficking, and unlawful logging stay sturdy, whereas counternarcotics efforts are experiencing main challenges as artificial medicine sweep drug markets in numerous elements of the world. And Russia and China are more and more delivering their very own, usually problematic, stabilization help and diplomacy in international locations reminiscent of Mozambique, the Central African Republic, and Ethiopia.
This yearly sequence, a part of Brookings’s Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors, supplies a complete “briefing e-book” on a few of the key points, traits, and precedence areas, and coverage toolbox the Biden administration and others ought to take into account in devising responses to conflicts, nonstate armed actors, and illicit economies around the globe — and in the US.