Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River is creating serious tension among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. There is a fear in Egypt that the large storage capability of the dam will put control of valuable Nile water in the hands of upstream Ethiopia. Egyptian leaders have regularly issued threats to deter Ethiopia from completing the project, without much success. Meanwhile, Sudan, which has had a water-sharing agreement with Egypt on the Nile since 1959, has sided with Ethiopia, heightening uncertainty in Cairo over the future of Nile water sharing. The Renaissance Dam project has been […]

For all the focus on contemporary Iran, relatively little attention is paid to its trilateral ties with Afghanistan and Tajikistan, the geolinguistic remnants of an eclectic series of empires collectively denominated Persian. Since 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made it a point to revive Persian nationalism, contrasting it with the clerical elite’s claim to Islam as the exclusive basis of Iranian identity. Significantly, Ahmadinejad’s nationalist rhetoric was accompanied by a raft of summits, forums and agreements among the three countries, which he called “limbs of the same body,” echoing the 13th-century Persian poet Saadi. Despite the historical echoes, however, […]

article card

During a visit to Myanmar late last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended new aid to the country and canceled Myanmar’s debt with Japan. In an email interview, Sean Turnell, an associate professor in the economics department at Australia’s Macquarie University specializing in Myanmar, explained the recent trajectory of Japan’s ties with the country. WPR: What has Japan’s approach been to Myanmar over the past decade, and how has that changed since the end of military rule in Myanmar? Sean Turnell: For most of the past decade, Japan’s strategy toward Myanmar has been one of “watching and waiting.” Responding […]