Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he arrives at parliament, Ankara, Turkey, July 22, 2016 (Press Presidency Press Service via AP, pool).

The attempted coup d’état earlier this month in Turkey has drawn attention to the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his increasingly authoritarian tendencies. The ensuing crackdown has been replete with widespread purges of major institutions and mass arrests, deepening domestic instability and complicating Turkey’s regional and international outlook. World Politics Review has compiled 10 articles to help contextualize the sources and implications of the current upheaval. The following 10 articles are free for non-subscribers until Aug. 11. The Aftermath of the Failed Coup Failed Coup Is a Victory for Erdogan, but Not for Turkey’s Democracy By triumphing over […]

A Somali soldier after a bomb attack by al-Shabab on a hotel frequented by government officials and business executives, Mogadishu, June 2, 2016 (AP photo by Farah Abdi Warsameh).

Earlier this month, al-Shabab militants targeted a Somali army base near Mogadishu, killing at least five soldiers. It was the latest in a string of attacks going back to December 2014, when about 25 attackers disguised in Somali army uniforms penetrated the heavily fortified airport of Mogadishu, the main base for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), wounding four. The attacks highlight how, despite being pushed out of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 and having suffered a steady loss of territorial control since, al-Shabab continues to be the main obstacle to Somalia’s political transition. It has also emerged as […]

Afghan men carry the coffin of a relative who died in a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 25, 2016 (AP photos by Rahmat Gul).

The most recent suicide bombing in Kabul over the weekend, claimed by the so-called Islamic State, contrasts with the near absence of debate over Afghanistan in the U.S. presidential campaign to date. President Barack Obama’s decision to slow down the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country may be enough to delay a difficult debate about abandoning the Afghans. But as the bombing highlights, the presence of U.S. and coalition forces is clearly not sufficient to prevent the violence that plagues Afghanistan. The next president will have a chance to revalidate or reposition U.S. engagement there. The larger challenge is […]

Relatives and comrades pray as they surround the Hezbollah flag-draped coffins of Shiite fighters who were killed in Syria, Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, Oct. 27, 2015 (AP photo by Mohammed Zaatari).

As Hezbollah prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of a month-long war with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the militant, Iran-backed Shiite organization is facing some of the toughest challenges in its three decades of existence. Hezbollah is mired in a protracted war in neighboring Syria, where its fighters are battling to defend the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The conflict is estimated to have taken the lives of more Hezbollah fighters in four years than in the entire period of resisting Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon between 1982 and 2000. Hezbollah is struggling to maintain morale among its […]

A Russian SU-24 jet making a close-range, low altitude pass near the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, April 12, 2016 (U.S. Navy photo via AP).

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles inviting authors to identify the biggest priority—whether a threat, risk, opportunity or challenge—facing the international order and U.S. foreign policy today. A war between Russia and the United States is more likely today than at any time since the worst years of the Cold War. This may sound implausible or exaggerated to policymakers, journalists and the wider public. Yet the fact remains that increasing deployments by both sides, coupled with severely constrained direct dialogue, mean that dangerous incidents will become far more likely and will be far harder to […]

The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft rocket launches from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Jiuquan, China, June 16, 2012 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on a range of countries’ space priorities and programs. Last month, China successfully recovered an experimental probe that landed in Mongolia after being launched from a next-generation rocket, the Long March 7. The launch keeps China on target to put its second space station into orbit later this year. In an email interview, Vincent Sabathier, president of Sabathier Consulting, discusses China’s space program. WPR: What are China’s space capabilities, in terms of its space-industrial complex, and who are its major international partners, in terms of space diplomacy and commercial […]

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, third left, visits the Hemeimeem air base, Syria, June 18, 2016 (Russian Defense Ministry photo by Vadim Savitsky via AP).

While the world focuses on the so-called Islamic State, the other main jihadi group in Syria—the one still affiliated with al-Qaida—has been biding its time. The Nusra Front has extended its footprint in northwestern Syria as the civil war has dragged on, embedding itself in the patchwork of rebel groups there and, more recently, dreaming of a statelet of its own. The Obama administration, apparently alarmed at those prospects, is now moving to work more closely with Russia to attack the Nusra Front. In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama discussed […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with U.S. President Barack Obama during a session of the G-20 Summit, Antalya, Turkey, Nov. 15, 2015 (AP photo via Anadolu Agency).

A military coup against a democratically elected government constitutes a blatant affront against democracy. And yet, as Ellen Laipson pointed out in her WPR column earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s defeat of an attempted coup on July 15 does not herald a strengthening of Turkey’s democracy. In fact, all signs point to an acceleration of his push toward autocratic rule. Given Erdogan’s countercoup moves—which so far appear to include demolishing limitations on his growing, if still not constitutionally sanctioned, executive power—one increasingly important question looms: What does the future hold for the pivotal relationship between the United […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a TV interview at his party headquarters, Tokyo, July 10, 2016 (AP photo by Shizuo Kambayashi).

Earlier this month, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) marched to an unsurprising, if not significant, election victory in the upper house of Japan’s parliament, the Diet. The LDP and its coalition partner, the Komeito Party, scored 70 of the House of Councilors’ 121 contested seats and now control a combined 146 of its 242 seats overall. Their victory, coupled with the LDP-Komeito coalition’s significant majority in the Diet’s lower house, ensures that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have firm legislative control at least until the fall of 2018, when his term as president of the LDP is set […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters gathered in front of his residence, Istanbul, July 19, 2016 (AP photo by Kayhan Ozer).

ISTANBUL—Turkey’s elected government survived last weekend’s failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but there’s no reason to think that Turkey’s democracy will be strengthened by the outcome. Erdogan is responding to the threat by rounding up all his enemies, real and imagined, and pushing for new powers that will set back Turkey’s reputation, its economy and its capacity to be a constructive leader in the region. Erdogan has won, but Turkey has lost. For some time, tensions in Turkey have been rising over Erdogan’s ambitious plans to expand the powers of the presidency. As I discussed in last […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Thail Prime Minister and junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha before their meeting, New Delhi, June 17, 2016 (AP photo by Saurabh Das)

Last month, the head of the Thai junta, Prayut Chan-o-cha, visited India for the first time since he seized power in a military coup in May 2014. Though India and Thailand have long been diplomatic partners, the visit saw an uptick in their cooperation as they prepare to commemorate the 70th anniversary of their relationship next year. India and Thailand have long made a commitment to enhancing their bilateral ties, recognizing the value of the relationship both for its own sake as well as part of their regional strategies, whether India’s current “Look East” policy or its corollary, Thailand’s “Look […]

Personal belongings of slain Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni, March 24, 2016 (Photo released by Egyptian Interior Ministry).

In late June, Italy’s Senate voted to suspend the export of spare F-16 parts to Egypt, in the sharpest rebuke yet to Cairo over its poor handling of an investigation into the killing of an Italian student in Egypt earlier this year. Nicola Latorre, a senator from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party, called the move a way to pressure Egyptian authorities to help “the truth emerge more quickly” over the brutal murder of Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old researcher from Cambridge University who disappeared in Cairo on Jan. 25, the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that ousted former President […]

Chinese soldiers board a U.S. Coast Guard boat as part of a Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, Pacific Ocean, July 16, 2014 (U.S Coast Guard photo by Manda M. Emery).

While America’s conflict with the so-called Islamic State draws the most attention these days, no security issue is more important than the difficult relationship between the United States and China. The Islamic State is a strategic nuisance that will eventually flame out and fade, but serious conflict between the U.S. and China could alter the course of history. Since Richard Nixon’s opening to China in the 1970s, the relationship between the two sides has been complex, with cooperation on economic concerns and persistent tension in the political realm. More recently, security issues have become particularly difficult, as China has used […]

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Council President Donald Tusk, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO summit, Warsaw, Poland, July 8, 2016 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

Leaders from NATO, its partner countries, the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank met in Warsaw last week for the alliance’s largest-ever summit. Among the key outcomes from the gathering, NATO leaders agreed to deploy four battalions to the Baltic countries and Poland in order to counter the growing threat from Russia; resolved to continue funding Afghan security forces and keep NATO forces in Afghanistan beyond 2016 for training purposes; and offered continued support for Ukraine’s military modernization efforts. Perhaps the most overlooked agreement to emerge from the Warsaw summit was the joint declaration between the EU […]

Iraqi security forces advance during the fight against Islamic State militants, Fallujah, Iraq, June 15, 2016 (AP photo by Anmar Khalil).

In the summer of 2014, the Obama administration found itself between a rock and a hard place. The Islamic State had just swept through northern Iraq, decimating the American-trained Iraqi army left to keep the peace after the U.S. withdrawal. Islamic State foot soldiers executed Iraqi troops and commandeered their American weapons, growing stronger and better equipped as they passed through each town. The U.S. had few options to counter the Islamic State’s rise. Having just vacated Iraq in 2010, any thoughts of a massive military deployment returning to the Middle East to win back Sunni “hearts and minds” would […]

President Barack Obama making a statement on Afghanistan from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Washington, July 6, 2016 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

Last week, President Barack Obama announced his intention to slow the final stages of the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Combined with new rules of engagement that allow U.S. forces to engage more easily with the Taliban, the move ensures that the longest war in American history will continue after his presidency comes to an end in 6 months. Obama’s announcement that the U.S. would leave 8,400 troops stationed in Afghanistan through the end of his presidency, rather than the previously planned 5,500, was hardly unexpected. The military has been pushing to extend the mission for several months now, […]

Myanmar's foreign minister and state counselor, Aung San Suu Kyi, with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha during a ceremony, Bangkok, Thailand, June 24, 2016 (AP photo by Jorge Silva).

Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was in Thailand in late June for talks with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on developing economic ties and cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In an email interview, Mely Caballero-Anthony, an associate professor the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, discusses Myanmar’s relations with its ASEAN neighbors. WPR: What efforts has Myanmar taken since its political opening to build ties with its ASEAN neighbors, and how effective has its outreach been? Mely Caballero-Anthony: One of Myanmar’s most significant achievements since the start of its political reforms […]

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