On July 1, 2016, Bangladeshi militants carried out an attack, targeting mostly foreigners and non-Muslims, at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka. The Bangladeshi government responded to the attack with a concerted and controversial counterterrorism campaign. Although the number of terrorist incidents has been in steady decline since 2016, Islamist groups continue to operate, recruit, and carry out small-scale attacks while aspiring to perpetrate greater violence. This report examines the dynamics, drivers, and manifestations of extremism in Bangladesh and discusses measures to weaken its appeal.
As the Biden administration implements its new Indo-Pacific strategy, Bangladesh’s relationships with neighboring India and China are drawing renewed interest from U.S. policymakers. U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland visited Dhaka in late March and signed a draft defense cooperation agreement; last year, Special President Envoy for Climate John Kerry also went to Dhaka in advance of the Leaders’ Summit on Climate. At the same time, Washington retains concerns over democratic backsliding, human rights abuses and constraints on free and open electoral competition in the country. Experts Anu Anwar, Geoffrey Macdonald, Daniel Markey and Jumaina Siddiqui assess the factors shaping Bangladesh’s relations with its neighbors and the United States.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its sixth report on the state of the earth’s climate in early August — and it paints a dire picture. The report argues that unless governments take appropriate measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions and spur behavioral change, the world is moving toward a climate crisis of rising sea levels, warmer temperatures and more extreme weather. The report’s findings are particularly relevant in Bangladesh, where low elevation, high population density and weak infrastructure make it highly vulnerable to climate change.