All Briefings

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

By J. Berkshire Miller
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

Turkey’s Schizophrenic Opposition Unlikely to Defeat Erdogan and Unified AKP

By Aaron Stein
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As Turkey prepares for its first direct presidential election, its two main secular opposition parties have jointly nominated Ekmelledin Ihsanoglu, a religious conservative candidate, to run against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the heavy favorite. However, the parties’ political schizophrenia have prevented them from agreeing to a coherent political platform that could unseat the unified AKP. more

Climate Refugee Threat in Tropics Rises, but International Action Lags

By Roxane Horton
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The Tropics will have to deal with increasing numbers of climate refugees as states disappear or become unlivable due to climate change, according to a recent report on the region. More droughts, rising sea levels and flooding could cause large migrations and destabilize fragile states in the region. The warning signs are already there, yet the international community has failed to respond with urgency. more

Regional Security Role Shields Mauritania’s Aziz From Pressure to Reform

By Kal Ben Khalid
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Western governments welcomed the re-election of Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, last month. Yet they should not confuse Aziz, a vital counterterrorism partner, with the entire Mauritanian regime. His power has limits and depends on the backing of the military. Strengthening the military without monitoring delicate internal politics risks destabilizing an important regional security ally. more

In Latin America Tour, China’s Xi Shows Maturing Approach to Region

By Margaret Myers
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On July 14, Xi Jinping began his second official visit to Latin America as president of China. The visit corresponds with a new phase in China-Latin America relations. It is one that is still largely based on China’s interests in the region’s raw materials and markets, and in which Beijing retains the upper hand. But as China expands its global presence, its relationships have also matured considerably. more

Climate Change Driving Farmer-Herder Conflict in Niger River Basin

By Owen McAleer
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West Africa’s Niger River Basin has been the location of many high-profile conflicts in recent years. However, another form of conflict has also gripped the region: violence between farmers and herders. The two have long coexisted through traditional social arrangements for land and water use. But mounting environmental stress and institutional confusion have strained these ties and sparked violence. more