Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks during a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Warsaw, April 19, 2018 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

In a special end-of-summer episode this week, we look back at three of our most popular Report interviews so far this year: the veil of secrecy over the U.S. military’s growing presence in West Africa; Bolivia’s controversial coca policy, which has been called both a solution to drug trafficking and part of the problem; and the role historical memory plays in Poland’s contentious politics. 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 straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers […]

Graffiti showing U.S. President Donald Trump with a footprint on his face and Arabic that reads, "For Jerusalem and the right of return, we resist," Gaza City, May 20, 2018 (AP photo by Khalil Hamra).

Despite repeatedly announcing his intention to present a bold, sweeping plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to keep everyone waiting. If he ever does present his plan, it is set to backfire, for several reasons. For one thing, the Trump administration has been shunned by Palestinians since it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December. Palestinians were angered by the move, arguing that the U.S. government violated its role as mediator and sponsor of the peace process by adopting Israel’s position on Jerusalem. Palestinian leaders have taken the unprecedented step of halting all […]

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte poses for a selfie with Muslim lawmakers following the presentation of the signed Bangsamoro Organic Law at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, Aug. 6, 2018 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

On July 26, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law paving the way for the long-awaited creation of a new self-governing region encompassing Muslim-majority areas on the Philippines’ conflict-wracked southern island of Mindanao. Known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law, it had been fiercely debated by lawmakers and rebel leaders amid political wrangling and ongoing violence. It aims to end a bloody separatist conflict that began in the early 1970s and has claimed thousands of civilian lives. The bill’s passage is the culmination of four years of talks between the government and the 30,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has been fighting […]

A black ribbon adorns the portrait of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan at U.N. headquarters, New York, Aug. 18, 2018 (AP photo by Mary Altaffer).

Kofi Annan’s career was inextricably entangled with power politics. The former United Nations secretary-general, who died on Saturday, spent decades grappling with tensions between the organization’s members over crises from the Balkans to Syria. At times, he managed the turbulence masterfully. At others, he had little or no control over events. Win or lose, Annan occupied a very rare place in the international political firmament as a mediator able to parlay with the biggest powers. There have already been many tributes to Annan, emphasizing his commitment to a better world and his personal charisma. He will almost certainly rank as […]

A poster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Arabic that reads “Welcome to victorious Syria,” is displayed on the border between Lebanon and Syria, July 20, 2018 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

The billboards that greet people crossing the border from neighboring Lebanon now read: “Welcome to victorious Syria.” It’s unclear if they’ve replaced the old signs inviting you into “Assad’s Syria,” which have adorned highways near Syria’s land borders and the Damascus airport for years. A decade ago, one of the many other pieces of pro-Assad propaganda lining roads and the sides of buildings across the country was a huge, backlit sign that guarded an entrance to Damascus’ Old City, abutting the medieval Citadel: “I Believe in Syria,” it read, next to a beaming, waving President Bashar al-Assad. The Associated Press […]

Ugandan lawmakers are taken away in a prison truck after appearing in a court in Gulu, northern Uganda, Aug. 16, 2018 (AP photo by Ronald Kabuubi).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Since being elected to Uganda’s parliament last year, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssenatamu has become a major thorn in the side of President Yoweri Museveni. Instantly recognizable in his red beret, Kyagulanyi, an independent politician who first gained fame as a pop star and refers to himself as the “ghetto president,” emerged as the leader of a protest movement in late 2017 against a constitutional amendment to lift Uganda’s presidential age limit. The amendment was apparently designed to enable Museveni, who’s […]

Ancient mosaics, which were damaged by shelling, inside a 17th-century caravanserai, Maaret al-Numan, Idlib province, Syria, Feb. 26, 2013 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the current tensions in U.S.-Turkey ties. For the Report, Amr Al-Azm and Katie A. Paul talk with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about how looters and traffickers of Middle Eastern antiquities are using Facebook to improve and expand their illicit trade in the digital age. 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 straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview […]

A statue depicting a New York City firefighter wiping sweat from his forehead stands at a display honoring first responders to the 9/11 attacks, Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 10, 2018 (AP photo by Julio Cortez).

A car-ramming attack outside the Parliament building in London yesterday highlights the ways in which terrorism and our reactions to it have radically shifted in the almost 20 years since 9/11. If London police end up confirming that the incident was in fact an act of terror, it will be the latest in a series of banal, low-tech attacks that have barely elicited a collective shrug. Of course, part of that has to do with the fact that no lives were lost and no serious injuries reported. And the fact that many aspiring terrorists are reduced to weaponizing cars, trucks […]

Police officers secure the roads around the Houses of Parliament after a vehicle crashed into security barriers, injuring a number of pedestrians, Aug. 14, 2018, London, England (Photo by Alberto Pezzali for Sipa USA via AP Images).

Police have yet to determine exactly why a 29-year-old British citizen of Sudanese origin, identified as Salih Khater, intentionally swerved his car into cyclists and pedestrians outside the Parliament building in London yesterday. For now, the car-ramming, which resulted in no deaths and three minor injuries, is being investigated as a terrorist attack. If that is confirmed, it will be the latest using vehicles as weapons. In March 2017, a similar attack outside Parliament left five people dead and 50 others injured; the attacker, Khalid Masood, was killed by police at the scene. In July 2016, an attacker drove a […]

A bas-relief is displayed at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, Sept. 15, 2014 (AP photo by Hadi Mizban).

The Islamic State’s eagerness to profit from antiquities focused global attention on the illicit trafficking of cultural property. Yet the world’s understanding of how such trafficking unfolds remains limited. Today, thanks to Facebook and other social media tools, it is easier than ever to participate in a booming black market antiquities trade. The instability that followed the Arab uprisings of 2010 and 2011 has given rise to some of the most devastating conflicts the Middle East has ever seen. Syria and Iraq, in particular, have suffered from the dismantling of state infrastructure and the expansion of terrorist and violent extremist […]

A Syrian national flag with the picture of the President Bashar al-Assad hangs at an army checkpoint in the town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, July 15, 2018 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

After seven years of war in Syria, the endgame is here. All major frontlines have been frozen by foreign intervention, and military action now hinges on externally brokered political deals. The result could be a de facto division of the country. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Russian-backed forces spent the past two years taking out isolated rebel strongholds, like Eastern Aleppo and Ghouta. Recently, they recaptured the area along the border with Jordan and territory near the Golan Heights—but at that point, they ran out of low-hanging fruit. The sight of Russian diplomats shuttling between Israelis, Syrians, Iranians and Americans to […]

Georgians stand guard at a monument to victims of the August 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia, Tbilisi, Aug. 8, 2018 (AP photo by Shakh Aivazov).

With the 10th anniversary of the Global Financial Crisis just around the corner, the media will spend much of the rest of 2018 rehashing the story of the 2008 economic meltdown and its implications for the world today. There will be a surge of opinion pieces pegged to the demise of Lehman Brothers, the pivotal moment in the crisis, in the middle of September. Analysts will chart the near collapse of the global economy and speculate about how this paved the way for the rise of Donald Trump, Brexit and a grab-bag of other global ills. Fewer pundits will emphasize […]

Nigerian special forces, Chadian troops and U.S. advisers participate in the Flintlock exercise, Mao, Chad, March 7, 2015 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Reports out of Washington suggest that the Pentagon is considering cutting U.S. counterterrorism operations in West and Central Africa, redirecting the special operations forces there to instead prepare for big wars. In one sense, this is perfectly normal—the Department of Defense constantly adjusts its posture and procedures as security threats evolve. But in this case, downsizing America’s military commitment to Africa may signal something bigger, indicating that President Donald Trump believes it is time to take his administration’s foot off the gas in the global conflict with violent jihadism. Following the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush committed the United […]

Congolese President Joseph Kabila speaks during the state of the nation address to lawmakers, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 19, 2018 (AP photo by John Bompengo).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. After keeping his country in suspense for well over three years, Congolese President Joseph Kabila finally made clear this week that he does not intend to run for a third term. Government spokesman Lambert Mende announced the decision on Wednesday, the last day for candidates to file papers with the election commission. Kabila’s term officially ended in December 2016. But well before that, beginning in January 2015, Congo had been hit with periodic protests organized by government critics who […]

Wearing the presidential sash, Colombian President Ivan Duque speaks during his inauguration ceremony, Bogota, Aug. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Three days before Ivan Duque was sworn in as Colombia’s new president on Tuesday, a scene of cinematic mayhem unfolded in neighboring Venezuela. On Saturday, President Nicolas Maduro was delivering a speech at a military parade in Caracas when the formations suddenly scattered in a flurry of panic. Armed drones reportedly packed with explosives had detonated near the reviewing stand in what looked like an attempt on the president’s life. Barely three hours later, Maduro, who was not hurt, went on television to make a stunning accusation. The attack, he claimed, could be traced to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho as they prepare for a group photo at the 25th ASEAN Regional Forum Retreat, Singapore, Aug. 4, 2018 (AP photo by Joseph Nair).

Ending wars means working with bad people. You cannot forge a cease-fire or hammer out a peace deal without talking to leaders who are directly responsible for death and brutality. Some of these leaders may be genuinely honorable individuals. A lot won’t be. This is a hard truth that professional peacemakers admit in private but tend to avoid mentioning in public. Analysts and officials working on conflict resolution have developed a blandly bloodless technical vocabulary for discussing their field. Political agreements should be “locally owned.” Peace should be “sustainable.” Peace operations should be “people-centered,” and so on. Every profession has […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a joint press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, June 14, 2018 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

As the United States became a superpower in the 20th century, its grand strategy relied on qualitative military strength, economic power and, in the information realm, an appealing narrative about American national interests and foreign policy. This combination—what security experts call the “elements of national power”—was immensely successful, underpinning American hegemony and projecting U.S. influence around the world. But today, America’s preponderance seems in decline. In the military and economic realms, this is relative, largely the result of what Fareed Zakaria calls “the rise of the rest.” America’s diminishing ability to wage information warfare is harder to explain. Leaders in […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 181 2 Last