Fighters listen to Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah as he speaks via a video link, Beirut, Lebanon, Nov. 11, 2015 (AP photo by Bilal Hussein).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the potential for conflict between the U.S and Russia, al-Shabab’s resilience, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response to unrest in Kashmir. For the Report, Nicholas Blanford joins us to talk about the effect of the Syria conflict on Hezbollah’s standing in Lebanon and the region. Listen:Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant Articles on WPR: The Real Risk of Unintended U.S.-Russia Conflict Why Territorial Losses Don’t Weaken Somalia’s Al-Shabab Modi’s Kashmir Conundrum: Promising Development as Violence Intensifies Will Syria Be Hezbollah’s Proving Ground, or Its […]

Soldiers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy watch as the USS Blue Ridge arrives at a port in Shanghai, May 6, 2016 (AP photo).

The ruling earlier this month by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in favor of the Philippines in its dispute with China over some of the islands in the South China Sea has spurred a wealth of commentary, forecasts and questions. Three main narratives have emerged. The first centers on the respect of international law that is enshrined in the liberal order. Some observers have stressed that the international tribunal’s ruling strengthens the liberal order, while others see Beijing’s rejection of it as a test or even a threat to the liberal order itself. Many Western policymakers favor […]

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 […]

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention, Cleveland, July 20, 2016. (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

Last week I spent four days in Cleveland listening to speakers at the Republican Party’s national convention describe an America I don’t recognize. According to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and dozens of other convention speakers, the United States is beset by threats from all directions: murderous illegal immigrants crossing the border in droves; Syrian refugees intent on coming to this country to kill Americans; and terrorists hiding in the shadows ready to strike at a moment’s notice, to name just a few. Of course, virtually none of this is true. But to paraphrase an old saw, if the convention […]

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 […]

Indian paramilitary soldiers and Kashmiri protesters during clashes in Srinagar, Kashmir, July 25, 2016 (AP photo by Mukhtar Khan).

This past April, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Jammu and Kashmir, the disputed state administered by India but claimed by Pakistan. He sought to strike a conciliatory tone in the restive, Muslim-majority region, where residents resent the constant presence and heavy-handed actions of Indian security forces, and where some want to become independent or part of Pakistan. In a public address, Modi, echoing the words of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the last Indian prime minister from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), called for an embrace of three essential pillars to help Kashmir overcome its challenges: humanity, democracy and Kashmiriyat, […]

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 […]

More than 100,000 Venezuelans cross the Simon Bolivar bridge to buy basic goods, San Antonio del Tachira, Venezuela, July 17, 2016 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the fallout from the attempted coup in Turkey and political turmoil in Zimbabwe. For the Report, David Smilde discusses Venezuela’s ongoing political and economic crisis and how it could affect Colombia’s peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Listen:Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant articles on WPR: With Friends Like Turkey, the U.S. Needs Russia in Syria Failed Coup Is a Victory for Erdogan, but Not for Turkey’s Democracy Erdogan’s Post-Coup Purge Puts a Chill on U.S.-Turkey Ties As Turmoil Sparks the […]

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 […]

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention, Cleveland, July 21, 2016 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

Despite a historically unprecedented degree of national security, many Americans are worried about defeat at the hands of a motley group of violent extremists, particularly the so-called Islamic State. This climate of fear has been building steadily since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, which taught many political leaders as well as much of the military and intelligence community that it was safer to overinflate threats than to underestimate them. People are rarely ever held accountable for dire warnings that prove to be wrong, but they often are for failing to prevent an attack. The result, as Michael Cohen […]

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC commander Timoleon Jimenez at the signing ceremony of a cease-fire and rebel disarmament deal, Havana, Cuba, June 23, 2016 (AP photo by Desmond Boylan).

On June 23, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States discussed OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro’s report invoking the group’s Democratic Charter against Venezuela. Almagro’s report underlined not only Venezuela’s democratic deficits—including the lack of separation of powers, the jailing of political opponents, and the crackdown on protest—but also scarcities of food and medicine, inflation, and dramatic rates of crime and violence. At the very same time, 1,800 miles to the south, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Leon Echeveri, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signed a historic cease-fire agreement calling for an […]

Family members, colleagues and friends of the victims of the terrorist attack gather for a memorial ceremony at the Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, June 30, 2016 (AP photo by Emrah Gurel).

Over the past several weeks a new theme about America and the world has emerged: Everything, everywhere, is coming apart. Multiple terrorist attacks in France compete for headlines against a daily drumbeat of bombings claimed by the so-called Islamic State in Turkey, Iraq and Bangladesh. A failed military coup has raised questions about Turkey’s democratic credentials and stability. And in the United States, a race-baiting populist has just become the Republican presidential nominee, at a time when it seems to be open season on black men and police officers in the streets of America’s cities. For someone like me, who […]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, at a ceremony marking the national day of nuclear technology, Tehran, April 7, 2016 (Iranian Presidency Office via AP).

July 14 was the first anniversary of the historic nuclear accord between Iran and the group of world powers known as the P5+1—the U.S., China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and Germany. For the first time, the deal put in place significant curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling international sanctions. The deal, and its subsequent implementation so far, have been hailed by a wide number of national security luminaries, nuclear nonproliferation analysts and the vast majority of the global community. But opposition to it, particularly among foreign policy hawks in the United States, Israel and […]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after a news conference, Moscow, Russia, July 15, 2016, (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

Winston Churchill once quipped that the only thing worse than fighting a war with allies is fighting one without them. Looking at the Middle East, U.S. President Barack Obama might wish he could get rid of his regional allies anyway. His efforts to stabilize the region have been persistently weakened or derailed by America’s supposed friends. Israel tried hard to block last year’s Iranian nuclear deal. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have deliberately stirred up the Syrian war, even as Washington has been doing its best to try to end it through diplomacy. Now the turbulence in Turkey threatens […]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry, Jerusalem, July 10, 2016. (AP photo by Dan Balilty).

No reasonable person would predict that a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is in the cards in the foreseeable future. Even forecasting the most limited progress may seem like a fool’s errand. And yet, a series of recent events reveal an unexpected glimmer of hope and suggest that, despite the pessimism of the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians, modest steps forward may be possible in the coming months. This past Sunday, the region witnessed something that had not occurred in nearly a decade: an openly publicized, high-profile visit to Israel by a high-ranking Arab official. It was […]

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