Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Monday, January 10, 2022, 3:06 PM

At least 164 people died and more than 5,000 were detained during violent protests in Kazakhstan last week, according to CNN. The protests, sparked by a spike in fuel prices and expanded into broader discontent with government corruption, are the most serious challenge yet to autocratic Kazakh President Kassym-Joamrt Tokayev’s rule.

On Monday, Putin declared victory in the fight against what he described as a foreign-backed terrorist revolt in Kazakhstan, promising leaders of other ex-Soviet governments that a Russian-led alliance would protect them as well, reports Reuters. Kazakhstan’s largest city Amarty returned to near-normalcy on Monday after nearly a week of what had been the worst violence in the 30-year history of the country. After anti-government protesters ransacked and torched buildings, Putin quickly dispatched paratroopers to protect strategic facilities, underscoring his willingness to use force to protect Russia’s influence in Kazakhstan.

Delegations from the United States and Russia met in Geneva Monday for diplomatic talks amidst Russian aggression along the border of Ukraine, reports the Washington Post. Russian President Vladamir Putin framed the tensions with Ukraine and its Western allies as a security threat to Russia and has demanded assurances from the United States and NATO that the military alliance will not expand eastward or collaborate with former Soviet countries. Putin also wants all NATO military infrastructure installed after 1997 to be removed. Some U.S. officials fear that Russia is stipulating demands that it knows the United States will reject in order to gain domestic support and provide justification for military action against Ukraine. The talks will be followed by a special NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and a summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna on Thursday, both of which provide opportunities for the United States to engage Russia alongside U.S. allies.

Lithuania has paid Abu Zubaydah, a Guantánamo detainee, over $110,000 in compensation for allowing the CIA to imprison him at a secret facility outside Vilnius where he was allegedly tortured, says the Guardian. The payout comes after the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Lithuanian government to pay compensation for violating European laws banning the use of torture. Abu Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan six months after 9/11 and was accused of being a senior figure in al-Qaeda. He was later shown not to be a member of the organization and has never been charged with involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan announced on Sunday that he was refusing to cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to the New York Times. The committee alerted Jordan in a letter in December 2021 that its investigators wanted to question him about his conversations linked to the run-up to the Capitol riot in an effort to learn more about the role members of Congress played in attempting to undermine the 2020 election. Jordan, who told the Rules Committee in November that he had “nothing to hide” regarding the Jan. 6 investigation, denounced the request as “[f]ar outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core constitutional principles and would serve to further erode legislative norms.”

In the latest ruling in a series of cases filed by Myanmar’s military government, a court sentenced the country’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional four years in prison on Monday for allegedly illegally importing and owning walkie-talkies and violating pandemic rules, reports Axios. After Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won Myanmar’s 2020 election, the military overthrew the government and arrested her and other leaders last February.

Researchers at the U.K.’s Imperial College London found that patients with high numbers of protective immune cells called T cells that fight some common colds were also less likely to contract the coronavirus, says Bloomberg. The study adds to the growing body of research on the protective effects of T cells as the pandemic enters its third year and new variants such as omicron undermine vaccine protection.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams allowed legislation that permitted 800,000 noncitizens to vote in municipal elections as early as next year to automatically become law on Sunday, writes AP News. The legislation makes New York City the first major U.S. city to grant widespread municipal voting rights to non-citizens.

ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared the first episode of Lawfare’s new narrative series on the Jan. 6 insurrection, The Aftermath, on the Lawfare Podcast.

Bruce Hoffman and Jacob Ware analyzed the threat landscape and the future of U.S. counterterrorism efforts in light of Jan. 6 and the Afghanistan withdrawal.
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