A Palestinian man and his son warm themselves by a fire during cold, rainy weather in a slum on the outskirts of the Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Jan. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Khalil Hamra).

Earlier this month, representatives of 20 countries sat around a table in the White House to discuss ways to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. That same day, on a road inside Gaza, a bomb exploded, striking a convoy carrying a high-level Palestinian delegation, including the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister. The group was traveling through the Hamas-dominated coastal enclave to inaugurate a new water purification plant. If the roadside bomb, which failed to kill any of its targets, highlighted the deadly rivalries that continue to plague the beleaguered territory, the White House conference put on display the fierce dilemmas that […]

Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, arrive at the commission’s offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 9, 2018 (AP photo by Mulugeta Ayene).

In early March, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov embarked on a five-country tour of sub-Saharan Africa. During his trip, Lavrov signed new trade agreements with Russia’s two long-standing partners in southern Africa, Angola and Mozambique. He also strengthened Moscow’s diplomatic ties to Zimbabwe’s new government and highlighted the role Russia could play providing security to several countries facing political unrest at home. Even though Russia’s power projection capabilities on the continent remain limited, the broad range of deals signed by Lavrov suggests that Russia is actively seeking to expand its economic and security influence in Africa, and perhaps reassert some […]

Thousands of protesting farmers listen to their leader at the end of a six-day march on foot, Mumbai, India, March 12, 2018 (AP photo by Rajanish Kakade).

On March 12, thousands of farmers in the Indian state of Maharashtra marched 112 miles to the state capital, Mumbai, demanding government action to address concerns ranging from land transfers to loans. India’s agricultural sector is the country’s largest source of employment, but it is inefficient and largely reliant on dated equipment and technology, and most farmers struggle to make a living. India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, which is facing mounting pressure from farmers, has been promising to address their concerns for years; Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to double farmers’ income. In an email interview, Surupa […]

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses delegates during an emerging leaders roundtable at the ASEAN special summit, Sydney, Australia, March 16, 2018 (AP photo by Rick Rycroft).

Earlier this month, Australia hosted its first special summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the 10-member regional bloc known as ASEAN. While it is not a member, Australia has developed a close working relationship with the group. Amid discussions in Sydney focused on regional security and trade issues, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hailed ASEAN as a “strategic convener.” The two sides also unveiled a joint infrastructure initiative that looks to provide a potential alternative to China’s huge Belt and Road Initiative. In an email interview, Evan Laksmana, a senior researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International […]

Indian workers install solar panels at the Gujarat Solar Park at Charanka, Patan district, India, April 14, 2012 (AP photo by Ajit Solanki).

On March 11, India and France co-hosted some 40 heads of state in New Delhi at the inaugural meeting of the International Solar Alliance, a treaty-based, intergovernmental organization facilitating solar energy advancement in developing countries in the tropics. The alliance, which was established at the Paris climate summit in November 2015, is aiming to raise $1 trillion in solar investments by 2030. France pledged roughly $860 million at the meeting in New Delhi. As part of the Paris climate pact, India has set its own ambitious green energy target of generating 40 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. […]

Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, center, oversees the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Kuwait City, Dec. 5, 2017 (AP photo by Jon Gambrell).

Kuwait has had a strong start to its two-year term as one of the 10 rotating members of the United Nations Security Council. In February, it organized and hosted an international conference for the reconstruction of Iraq that raised a promised $30 billion in loans and investments. It has also partnered with Sweden to advance several draft resolutions for cease-fires in Syria and to coordinate the Security Council’s humanitarian work there. Long an active player in regional diplomacy, Kuwait is well-placed to act as a bridge connecting Arab and international efforts to find mediated solutions to conflicts and flashpoints in […]

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, center, Jared Kushner, left, and Jason Greenblatt listen as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the U.N. Security Council, New York, Feb. 20, 2018 (AP photo by Mary Altaffer).

The United Nations has weathered the first phase of the Trump era, starting out 2018 in better shape than seemed possible a year ago. But U.S. relations with the U.N. could take a sharp and sudden turn for the worse quite soon. President Donald Trump took office promising to slash the U.N.’s budget and rip up international agreements. But he has often shied away from delivering on his direst threats. His ambassador in New York, Nikki Haley, has shaved significant sums off U.N. budgets but avoided more severe cuts that would halt the organization’s operations. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has […]

A demonstrator checks his smart phone in front of pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Manila, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2017 (AP photo by Aaron Favila).

More than a year into the Trump administration, it is obvious that the White House has little interest in using the bully pulpit or U.S. economic clout to promote democracy and human rights around the world. With a few exceptions, such as Venezuela, Iran, Cambodia and Cuba, the administration rarely speaks about human rights abuses in other countries. As president, Donald Trump has held meetings with autocratic leaders whom the Obama administration refused to invite to the White House, like Thai junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. Trump has also praised some foreign leaders’ abuses of the […]

Workers at a project site that forms part of China’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” Haripur, Pakistan, Dec. 22, 2017 (AP photo by Aqeel Ahmed).

It is revealing of current American political obsessions that a recent book about the Marshall Plan’s relationship to the Cold War might be seen first and foremost as having lessons for today’s troubled ties between the United States and Russia. In that book, Benn Steil, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that with the Marshall Plan’s launch in 1947, the U.S. and the Soviet Union “became irrevocably committed to securing their respective spheres of influence.” Yet despite widespread concern about Russia, the most consequential great power struggle today is the one between the U.S. and China. […]

Former child soldiers stand in line for registration with UNICEF, Yambio, South Sudan, Feb. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Sam Mednick).

Negotiations to bring peace to South Sudan have restarted in earnest, with the parties circulating a power-sharing plan that has failed once before. It is unclear if negotiators have a new strategy to successfully resurrect that agreement or if they are simply out of ideas. What is clear is that there is no end in sight for the current negotiations, even as fighting rages on into a fifth year and aid agencies report that 9,000 people are estimated to be losing access to food every day. Last December, the High-Level Resolution Forum (HLRF) announced a cessation of hostilities agreement between […]

Biafran separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu attends a court hearing, Abuja, Nigeria, Jan. 29, 2016 (AP photo).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and associate editors Robbie Corey-Boulet and Omar H. Rahman discuss the announcement of face-to-face talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. For the Report, Eromo Egbejule talks with Andrew Green about how longstanding grievances and heavy-handed security crackdowns are fueling a revived Biafran separatist movement in Nigeria. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered twice a week straight to your inbox. The […]

Uboha Damia, 75, who fought for the separatists during Nigeria’s civil war, attends an event honoring veterans in Umuahia, Nigeria, May 28, 2017 (AP photo by Lekan Oyekanmi).

UMUAHIA, Nigeria—Six months after the raid, the house still lies in shambles. Its walls are pocked with bullet holes; clothes are strewn about the grounds; and the windshields of the cars on the property are shattered. Located in the city of Umuahia, the capital of Abia state in southeast Nigeria, the house belongs to the family of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, or IPOB, a group that wants this corner of the country to form a breakaway nation dominated by members of the Igbo ethnic group. On the morning of Sept. 14, Kanu and other members […]

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Egyptian Central Military Zone Commander Gen. Ayman Abdel Hamid Amer stand for the U.S. national anthem, Cairo, Egypt, April 20, 2017 (Pool photo by Jonathan Ernst).

Security assistance is a longstanding American tool to build up cooperation with key countries, including regional heavyweights like Egypt, Nigeria and Pakistan, where security deficits have consequences for the United States. But security cooperation often requires bureaucratic agility and a true convergence of interests between the sender and receiver. Both elements have been in short supply recently, and new efforts to reform the enterprise seem unlikely to transform these difficult partnerships. In the past few weeks, Trump administration officials have engaged in several public dialogues about efforts to improve the suite of government-funded programs called security sector assistance. As with […]

A demonstrator kicks a tear gas canister during the swearing-in of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Jan. 27, 2018 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

Eduardo Enrique Urbina Ayala was shocked to see his face and name making the rounds on social media, in posts that framed him as the person responsible for setting fire to a military truck during a protest at the height of Honduras’ post-election crisis in December. The 22-year-old activist had left the country five days before the vehicle went up in flames. “I was already in Costa Rica,” Urbina told me over Skype from an undisclosed Costa Rican city. “I have everything documented in my passport … It’s proof from the state itself.” Nineteen days after Honduras’ contested Nov. 26. […]