Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on the outlook for Mali after the initial phase of the military intervention. Part I looks at the military challenges ahead. Part II will examine the political and economic challenges ahead. The initial phase of the French-led military intervention in Mali is over. The various fundamentalist groups that recently menaced the capital have been chased out of all major cities, and operations are now in full swing in the more-remote regions in the north where the militants have fled. But recent events have made clear that the conflict in Mali […]

CARACAS, Venezuela — Despite an increase in violence and kidnappings in recent weeks, the latest round of peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government kicked off on Feb. 18 with a rare display of common ground when both sides wished an ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez a speedy recovery. Their sympathies provide a subtle reminder of the integral role the 58-year-old firebrand has played in the peace process, even if he is now confined to a hospital bed. While Venezuelan governments have been involved in seeking a solution to the Colombian conflict in […]

A bomb blast in a Shiite district of Karachi, Pakistan, killed at least 45 people Sunday in the latest example of escalating sectarian and ethnic violence in the country. Hassan Abbas, a former Pakistani government official who is now an academic and a senior adviser to the Asia Society, told Trend Lines that relations between South Asia’s Sunni and Shiite Muslim communities have historically been cordial, but that the recent uptick in sectarian attacks is linked to growing tension and violence in the region more generally. “Religious bigotry, ignorance, ethnic tensions and regional tensions are driving this trend,” Abbas said […]