Russian President Vladimir Putin reviews an honor guard during an official welcome ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia, Jan. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

Greece’s parliament held a historic vote last Friday that not only ended a three-decade-old dispute with its neighbor, but handed Russia a bruising defeat. The decision, formally recognizing the newly renamed nation of North Macedonia, sealed a deal reached between Greek and Macedonian leaders last year and removed the main obstacle that has prevented the former Yugoslav republic from joining the European Union and NATO. The resolution of the naming quarrel is a setback to Russia, which had deployed its now-familiar geopolitical tools to try and block it. Yet the dispute is just one of many sources of tension in […]

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a press conference at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Jan. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

If Donald Trump ends up being the catalyst that leads to the fall of the Chavista regime in Venezuela, it would be further proof that history has a sense of humor, if a dark one. Over the past week, the Trump administration has ratcheted up the pressure on Nicolas Maduro’s government, recognizing the opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president, imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company and its assets, and turning over control of the country’s U.S. bank accounts to Guaido. Through it all, the administration has refused to rule out a military intervention, repeating its refrain […]

Malian troops stand with former rebels before a joint patrol in Gao, Mali, Feb. 23, 2017 (AP photo by Baba Ahmed).

Ethnic violence in central Mali is the latest manifestation of the chronic insecurity that has prevailed for the better part of a decade. But even as bullets continue to fly, officials have backed a range of initiatives—from disarmament to criminal trials—to move on from the Malian conflict. BAMAKO—On a Monday morning last June, toward the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Amadou Barry, a 55-year-old cattle herder and member of the Fulani ethnic group, noticed smoke coming out of a nearby village. It wasn’t long before he registered the sound of gunshots—a telltale sign that a militia attack was […]

People stand behind burnt out cars after a suicide bombing in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, Feb. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Hamza Suleiman).

How has Nigeria responded to a resurgent Biafran separatist movement, and how is it dealing with its other security challenges? Learn more with a subscription to World Politics Review. Fifty years after the Biafran war, a new separatist movement has taken shape in the Nigerian province. In response, the Nigerian government has used a repressive approach to snuff out the movement, arresting activists en masse. The movement’s self-declared leader, Nnmadi Kanu, was at home when Nigerian soldiers stormed his compound. More than 20 people were either killed during the attack or disappeared after it. Kanu himself has not been seen […]

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha hold a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2019 (Yomiuri Shimbun photo via AP Images).

Japan and South Korea are mired in a heated military spat over an encounter at sea last month between a South Korean warship and a Japanese maritime patrol plane. Tokyo claims that its aircraft was threatened by the South Korean ship’s targeting radar for surface-to-air weapons, a charge that Seoul flatly denies. Instead, it accuses the Japanese military of provocatively flying its planes at low altitudes. The escalating feud is further straining an already tense bilateral relationship, as the two sides struggle to resolve difficult historical issues over Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea that have resurfaced in recent months. The […]

An Iraqi soldier watches smoke rise after an airstrike by U.S.-led coalition warplanes against ISIS, on the border between Syria and Iraq in Qaim, Anbar province, Iraq, Nov. 13, 2018 (AP photo by Hadi Mizban).

During the 2016 U.S. presidential race, then-candidate Donald Trump didn’t talk much about the specifics of foreign and national security policy, with one exception: a pledge to defeat the Islamic State. Once elected, Trump ramped up the anti-ISIS military campaign that President Barack Obama had begun and increased support to local militias in Syria, including many Syrian Kurds, and security forces in Iraq. Eventually, this paid off. Through a grueling campaign led by the militias and the Iraqis, the Islamic State lost most of the territory it controlled in both Iraq and Syria. A month ago, Trump declared victory. “We […]

Security forces help civilians flee the scene of the attack at the 14 Riverside hotel-office complex in Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 15, 2019 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

NAIROBI, Kenya—Last week, a five-man cell from al-Shabab, al-Qaida’s Somalia-based affiliate, entered the popular 14 Riverside hotel-office complex in an affluent neighborhood of Kenya’s capital, where there were more than 700 workers and hotel guests. One of the men blew himself up with a suicide vest, while the four others threw hand grenades and fired on people having a late lunch and then trying to flee. Al-Shabab has wreaked havoc in East Africa since 2006, proving to be one of the world’s deadliest jihadist groups. Its latest attack in Nairobi was an appalling reminder that, despite historic reforms and rapprochement […]

Pedestrians walk past a campaign poster showing Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa during the ruling party’s launch of its election manifesto, Harare, May 4, 2018 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.A year ago, Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was riding high as he traveled to Davos, Switzerland, to declare at the World Economic Forum that his country was “open for business.” It was a message he had delivered many times since coming to power in November 2017, after longtime President Robert Mugabe was forced out in a military intervention, and would continue to deliver at seemingly every opportunity. As Alex T. Magaisa, a Zimbabwean analyst, put it last year, the new […]

The U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell sails past the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, July 4, 2011 (AP photo by Rob Griffith).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. The United States and the United Kingdom conducted joint naval exercises in the South China Sea last week, their first such drills in the area since 2010. The operations were intended to push back on China’s assertive behavior in the region, including its militarization of nearby artificial islands, but analysts are skeptical that they will have much of an impact. The U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell and the Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll practiced division tactics and […]

Kenyan security forces aim their weapons as they run through a hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 15, 2019 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. On Monday, a court in Kenya ruled that three men must stand trial over their alleged role in the 2013 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi by the Somali extremist group al-Shabab. That attack, which left more than 60 people dead, underscored the risk of blowback in Kenya over its military operations against al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia. The very next day, assailants detonated explosives in the parking lot of a Nairobi hotel and shopping complex before going inside […]

Men loyal to Houthi rebels hold up their weapons as they attend a gathering to show their support for peace talks held in Sweden, Sanaa, Yemen, Dec. 13, 2018 (AP photo by Hani Mohammed).

Given the level of regional tensions, it is no surprise that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recently concluded trip to the Middle East came with a busy itinerary. Amid questions about the abruptly announced U.S. pullout from Syria, an American response to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal al-Khashoggi, the potential of brokering a resolution to the stalemated rift in the Gulf between Qatar and its neighbors, and the Trump administration’s hard-line stance against Iran, an often overshadowed policy dilemma has shifted toward center stage: the war in Yemen. It has been more than four years since the Houthis, a […]

Across Africa, governments are struggling to contain militant groups that have capitalized on widespread anger over problems like corruption, inequality and abusive state security forces. Download your FREE copy of African Insurgencies In Nigeria, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Mozambique and Somalia to learn more today. In some countries, like Nigeria, these groups have already created large-scale humanitarian emergencies, killing thousands and displacing even more. In others, like Mozambique, the worst may still be yet to come. This report provides a survey of these crises and explains why official responses are falling short. Download African Insurgencies today to take a […]

People gather in front of a memorial at the Ovcara farm to pay their respects to victims of a massacre that took place in 1991, Vukovar, Croatia, Nov. 8, 2014 (AP photo by Amel Emric).

Fifteen years ago this past weekend, I lost a friend and mentor in a car crash in Croatia. Steve Degeneve was one of the first people to teach me about how conflicts, and conflict management, play out in real life. He was an idealist and a passionate, sometimes almost obsessive, believer in promoting human rights and the rule of law. He died at the age of 37 on Jan. 12, 2004. I often wonder what he would say about a world in which his ideals are increasingly under threat. I met Steve roughly a year before his death in Vukovar, […]

Supporters of presidential candidate Felix Tshisekedi wait for election results to be released, Kinshasa, Congo, Jan. 9, 2019 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. For the past several years, political debate in the Democratic Republic of Congo has revolved around a simple phrase: “Kabila must go.” Opposition politicians, security analysts, human rights campaigners and rebels all embraced this position, contending that the country would not accept any extension of President Joseph Kabila’s rule, which began in 2001, despite his continued attempts to subvert the constitution. As Mvemba Phezo Dizolele wrote in a piece about a year ago for African Arguments, “The longer he […]

Republic of Congo’s president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, leaves after a conference on Libya at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, May 29, 2018 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

It’s been a tense start to the year in Central Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo appears to be barreling toward an election standoff, with defeated opposition candidate Martin Fayulu on Thursday denouncing “an electoral coup.” Also this week, renegade soldiers in Gabon attempted to oust President Ali Bongo, briefly taking over the state airwaves before they were arrested and two of them were killed. Meanwhile, the Republic of Congo, which is sandwiched between those two countries, is quietly and tepidly moving ahead with a peace-building process designed to stave off just this kind of unrest. While one of the […]

A group of children walk on top of a small hill of dirt in the United Nations protection of civilians site in Bentiu, South Sudan, Dec. 9, 2018 (AP photo by Sam Mednick).

South Sudan’s five-year civil war was supposed to end with the signing of a revitalized peace deal last year, but violence continues and the humanitarian situation remains bleak. The government and opposition now have five months to implement the agreement and form a transitional government, or risk another unraveling. On paper, the peace deal signed by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former Vice President-turned-armed opposition leader Riek Machar on Sept. 12 halted a conflict that has claimed an estimated 383,000 lives and left most of the population facing malnutrition and severe food insecurity. However, a very similar peace deal […]

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres makes remarks congratulating Nobel Peace Prize winners Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad at U.N. headquarters, New York, Oct. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Bebeto Matthews).

Calling someone or something “primitive” is not normally meant as a compliment. But I have just learned that I may be a “primitive multilateralist.” It is a badge that I wear proudly. This weekend, Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper published a smart think piece on the process that led to the 1919 Versailles Treaty and the end of World War I. There will certainly be many more articles in this vein to mark the ill-fated agreement’s 100th anniversary this year. A lot of pundits will note that the Paris Peace Conference gave birth to modern multilateral diplomacy through the creation […]

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