Sterile Politics Leaves Algeria’s Problems Unaddressed

Returning the ailing Abdelaziz Bouteflika to the presidency for a fourth term, Algeria’s April 17 elections delivered few surprises. Meanwhile, Algerians questioned the legitimacy of the electoral process by staying home in large numbers. Algeria’s competing political platforms—stability versus institutional reform—had surprisingly little to say to most Algerians about the concrete challenges facing the country.

more

With Elections Nearing, Iraq’s Maliki Confronts His Shiite Challengers

As Iraq gears up for general elections, the political constellation that has allowed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stay in power for two terms is realigning in unexpected ways. The country’s more fragmented political landscape and heightened intracommunal competition should make the post-electoral bargaining even more challenging and difficult than in 2010, and the impact of the results harder to predict.

more

Syrian Chemical Weapons Destruction Proceeding Slowly

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

One of the Obama administration’s biggest foreign policy gambles, the agreement to rid Syria of its chemical weapons in the midst of that country’s civil war, is behind schedule but still making progress. Despite tensions over Ukraine and the outcome of the Syrian civil war itself, the United States, Russia and others appear to be maintaining cooperation on the issue. more

Turkey’s Rule of Law Eroding as Erdogan, Courts Clash

By Maria Savel
, on , Trend Lines

At a parliamentary group meeting today, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed his country’s courts for acting as part of a parallel state undermining his government. With the dispute showing no signs of flagging, WPR spoke with Michael Koplow, a Turkey analyst who blogs at Ottomans and Zionists, via email to review the latest developments and what they mean for the rule of law in Turkey. more

Global Insider: Iran-Pakistan Border a Major Concern in Bilateral Relationship

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

This month, four Iranian border guards were freed two months after being kidnapped and allegedly taken into Pakistan by an Iran-based Sunni militant group. In an email interview, Isaac Kfir, a senior researcher at Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and a visiting assistant professor of law and international relations, explained the state of Iran-Pakistan relations. more

World Citizen: For Israel-Palestine, a Weak Peace Process is Better Than None

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

From the start of John Kerry’s push for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for success were dim. Kerry declared confidently he expected a comprehensive deal within nine months. Everyone else responded to his optimism with little more than a benign smile. Eight months later, what the parties have reached instead of an agreement is a deep impasse. The inevitable question arises: What’s next? more

Strategic Horizons: Amid Debate, U.S. Shares Drone Approach With Partners

By Steven Metz
, on , Briefing

While Americans debate when and where the U.S. should use drones to strike at insurgents and terrorists who cannot be reached by other means, they may be overlooking an important trend: the move to supply a targeted killing capability to allied nations. The decision to provide technology and advice to Colombia and Yemen is only the beginning, as more states will field drones with or without American help. more

Erdogan’s Kurdish Electoral Gamble Will Reverberate in Turkey and Iraq

By Hannes Cerny
, on , Briefing

Turkey’s ruling AKP under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan racked up an astounding victory in municipal elections last Sunday, despite last year’s civil unrest and an ongoing corruption scandal. The AKP’s dominance has many political and socioeconomic causes, but in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast, Erdogan could count on one unexpected campaigner: the president of Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region, Massoud Barzani. more

World Citizen: Obama Visit Offers Glimpse Into Saudi Arabia’s Future

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

When President Barack Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia last Friday, he briefly opened a window into the closest circles of power in Riyadh. One of the most striking images was that of Saudi King Abdullah breathing with the aid of an oxygen tank. Although the king appeared animated and energetic, the image of ill health betrayed the urgency of a royal succession process that has already gone into overdrive. more

In Unstable Middle East, Obama Moves to Reassure GCC States

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

The Obama administration faces many severe challenges in the Middle East, ranging from preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon to brokering peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But President Barack Obama’s trip to the region last week was partly aimed at addressing a lower-profile problem—the emerging fissures in the traditional partnership between the U.S. and the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council. more

Global Insider: Saudi Shiite Protesters Face Long Odds Against Repression

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

U.S. President Barack Obama visited Saudi Arabia last week, where simmering dissent and repression in the Shiite-majority areas of the Sunni-dominated country continue to claim the lives of protesters and police three years after the Arab Spring. In an email interview, Stephane Lacroix, an associate professor at Sciences Po who studies authoritarianism and Islamic social movements, explained the status of Shiites in Saudi Arabia. more

Aid Under Fire: Health Care and the Costs of Conflict

By Hannah Vaughan-Lee
, on , Feature

In recent years, the security threats facing humanitarian aid workers have been the subject of headlines and debates. The humanitarian advocacy community has also been filled with discussions of a perceived increase in the politicization of humanitarian aid. But the debate over violence and politicization in turn raises another important and complex question that requires greater attention: Are the costs of conflict now greater for affected populations, particularly when it comes to health? more