All Briefings

Cambodia Power-Sharing Deal Could Usher In Wider Democratic Reform

By Kheang Un
, , Briefing

Last week, Cambodia’s ruling and opposition parties agreed to a power-sharing deal, ending a political crisis dating back to last year’s elections. The standoff included an opposition boycott of parliament and mass protests that recently culminated in violent clashes and the arrest of seven opposition lawmakers-elect. Although uncertainty remains, the deal could help move Cambodia toward a more meaningful democracy. more

New Agenda Reflects Growing Energy Role for Lusophone Bloc

By Francisco Galamas
, , Briefing

Last week, the 10th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, held in East Timor, accepted a new member: Equatorial Guinea, the third-largest oil exporter in sub-Saharan Africa. With Equatorial Guinea, the CPLP is collectively now the fourth-largest oil exporter in the world, demonstrating its shifting focus from political and cultural issues to economic ones. more

Bahrain’s Ongoing Political Impasse Imperils U.S. Interests

By Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
, , Briefing

The fallout from Bahrain’s expulsion of a senior U.S. diplomat illustrates the continuing political impasse in this deeply polarized Persian Gulf ally. While the danger to the ruling Al Khalifa family posed by the 2011 uprising has passed, positions on all sides have hardened, with little prospect of any political settlement to Bahrain’s deep-rooted inequalities. That has three troubling implications for the U.S. more

In Need of Investment, Peru Rolls Back Environmental Standards

By Paul Shortell
, , Briefing

President Ollanta Humala recently unveiled reforms intended to stabilize Peru’s slowing economy and shore up investor confidence. Controversially, the new laws will roll back pollution standards and fast-track environmental licensing for new energy and mining projects. Such deregulation threatens to reverse positive environmental protections and will not alleviate broader challenges facing Peru’s economy. more

International Law Solutions Fall Short for Israelis, Palestinians in Gaza Conflict

By Lolita Brayman
, , Briefing

As the death toll in Gaza rises, legal definitions of what is permissible in war have been bitterly contested. International law defines war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute, but in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the classifications are difficult to apply. Through the grey areas of international law, both sides have found new ways to blame each other. more

Japan Deepens Ties With Central Asia, but Still Trails Russia, China

By J. Berkshire Miller
, , Briefing

Last week, Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met with his Central Asian counterparts in Bishkek as part of the fifth Central Asia Plus Japan Dialogue. Initiated in 2004, the dialogue has served as the foundation for recent ties between Tokyo and Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. This year’s meeting focused on economic cooperation and potential security collaboration. more

Sweden No Longer Immune to Rise of Nationalist Populism

By Karl Lallerstedt
, , Briefing

Rising immigration, failed integration and the radicalization of a small minority of young Muslims have fueled the ascent of populist parties across Europe. Sweden is not immune. Of all the Nordic countries, Sweden has the highest proportion of immigrants, and yet it has registered the lowest level of support for nationalist parties. But that has begun to change with the rise of the nationalist Sweden Democrats. more

As Talks Stall, South Sudan Conflict Grinds to Stalemate

By Lesley Anne Warner
, , Briefing

Seven months after fighting broke out between the government of South Sudan and anti-government forces, the civil war is at a stalemate. Unlike its early days, when cities changed hands multiple times, the status quo has largely held since May. Despite several agreements signed by both sides, negotiations in neighboring Ethiopia have not led to a resolution of the conflict or a way out of the crisis. more

Without Chad, Central African Republic Peace Talks Unlikely to Succeed

By Celeste Hicks
, , Briefing

All sides in Central African Republic’s civil war are looking to a peace conference this week in neighboring Republic of Congo to yield a cease-fire agreement. But major questions linger about what the meeting can actually achieve. It’s unclear if the main rebel group Seleka will even attend, and Chad is not playing a leading role in talks. Any lasting peace in CAR is likely only to succeed with Chad’s support. more

Despite U.S. Efforts, Root Causes of Migration Crisis Prevail in Central America

By Michael Allison
, , Briefing

The United States, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are frantically trying to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding on both the U.S. border and in Central America. They have pursued several initiatives to combat violence, strengthen democracy and promote economic opportunity, to stem the sudden increase of young migrants heading north. But such efforts have not delivered their intended benefits. more