Female protesters flash the No. 1 sign as part of the “One Billion Rising” global movement to end violence against women and children, Manila, Philippines, Feb. 15, 2016 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

There is evidence that gender inequality around the world is in decline, yet significant obstacles remain to overcoming patriarchal systems in many parts of the world. Find out more about gender inequality and related issues when you subscribe to World Politics Review. Despite progress in reducing gender inequality around the world, great challenges remain, perhaps none more alarming than the persistence of violence against women. When then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted that “the subjugation of women is a threat to the common security of our world and to the national security of our country,” she was not just spouting […]

Demonstrators participate in a rally against terrorism in Bolivar Square, Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Last month, a man linked to the National Liberation Army, or ELN, rammed a truck laden with explosives into a school in Bogota where cadets were training for the Colombian National Police. The blast, which killed at least 21 people and injured 68 more, jolted Colombian society and brought back memories of similar attacks in the early 1990s. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians took to the streets to condemn terrorism. After the ELN claimed responsibility for the attack, President Ivan Duque suspended peace talks with the guerilla group indefinitely. Many observers worried about the prospect of a return to widespread […]

Peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in Bentiu, South Sudan, June 18, 2017 (AP photo by Sam Mednick).

Did the U.N. Security Council squander a chance to strengthen peacekeeping in December? 2018 was meant to be a big year for intergovernmental talks on how to improve U.N. operations. Yet Russia and the U.S. joined forces to torpedo a council resolution on potential reforms as the year ended. Why? Technical issues like reforming peace operations might already appear less pressing, given the council’s torrid start in 2019. Its permanent members are split over how to respond to the escalating crisis in Venezuela. Headaches from Iran to North Korea are likely to dominate the agenda this year. Nonetheless, a new […]

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, a past proponent of striking Iran, speaks at the United Against Nuclear Iran summit, New York, Sept. 25, 2018 (Photo by Michael Brochstein for Sipa via AP Images).

The idea of a pre-emptive American attack on Iran periodically resurfaces in Washington, despite the absence of any strategic logic. After abating following the 2015 agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the war drums are beating again, with the Trump administration ratcheting up the pressure. Is striking Iran an option? Iran is a longstanding and steadfast opponent of the United States. It promotes terrorism, extremism and instability in the Middle East, with brutal allies like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. The Iranian regime continues to develop advanced weaponry while repressing internal dissent. There is no question that the […]

French soldiers at a military outpost on the outskirts of Mosul, Iraq, Jan. 2, 2017 (AP photo by Christophe Ena).

The prospect of an abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, first announced by President Donald Trump last December, sparked fear and uncertainty for the other countries participating in the U.S.-led international coalition fighting the last remnants of the Islamic State there. Trump’s decision has affected France in particular, putting the presence of French forces in Syria, until now somewhat overlooked, in the spotlight. France’s military operations in Syria grew out of its involvement in Iraq, where it initially joined in the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS, at the request of the Iraqi government in September 2014. At […]

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki stands during a military parade after being welcomed by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed upon his arrival at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, Dec. 13, 2018 (AP photo by Farah Abdi Warsameh).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the signs of a fraying trans-Atlantic partnership that emerged from the Munich Security Conference. For the Report, Tanja Müller talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about what a peace deal with Ethiopia means for life on the ground in Eritrea, and whether the initial economic dividends of thawed relations will be followed by a political opening for Eritreans. 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 […]

A man reads a copy of a newspaper leading with the news that the general election was postponed, Kano, northern Nigeria, Feb. 16, 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. The delay came at the last possible moment. On the night of Feb. 15, after many Nigerians had already traveled in order to vote in a general election planned for the following day, officials announced it would be pushed back to Feb. 23 because of logistical problems. Specifically, the election commission cited fires at three of its offices and said it had been unable to transport voting materials to their destinations. While the extra time may help the commission […]

United Nations peacekeepers from Senegal attend the ceremony marking the end of operations in Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Oct. 5, 2017 (AP photo by Dieu Nalio Chery).

With U.N. peacekeeping open to attacks by those who call it “unproductive” and push for further cuts to its already diminished budget, peacekeeping must make a case for its own utility, using data already at its fingertips. Does international peacekeeping protect civilians caught up in civil wars? Do the 16,000 United Nations peacekeepers deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo actually save lives, and if so how many? Did the 9,000 patrols conducted by the U.N. Mission in South Sudan in the past three months protect civilians there? [marketing]blockbuster[/marketing] The answer is a dissatisfying “maybe.” Without a convincing story […]

Members of the Muslim community demonstrate, calling for the disarmament of Anti Balaka factions and for peace in the PK5 district of Bangui, Central African Republic, May 31, 2014 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

After seven years of war, the Central African Republic has taken a shaky step toward peace. The United Nations announced in early February that the Central African government and 14 armed groups had agreed to a draft peace accord after 10 days of negotiations in Khartoum. The deal is a promising first step, but the drivers of conflict in CAR need to be addressed for a lasting peace to take hold, as competition for natural resources, ongoing ethnic disputes and, to some extent, religious cleavages, have all complicated past peace efforts. The agreement, provisionally signed on Feb. 6, calls for […]

Pro-Hamas protesters during a demonstration against a speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that threatened more financial pressure on Gaza, in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Gaza City, March 21, 2018 (AP photo by Adel Hana).

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah resigned last month along with his unity government, dealing a setback to reconciliation efforts between rival Palestinian factions. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, denounced the move as an attempt by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, and his West Bank-based political party, Fatah, to further marginalize Hamas. A round of intra-Palestinian talks in Moscow ended last week without any further progress to bridge the divide. In an interview with WPR, Ghaith al-Omari, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, discusses the deepening Fatah-Hamas split and the internal politicking that […]

A man walks past a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo, Syria, Dec. 24, 2018 (Photo by Mikhail Voskresenskiy for Sputnik via AP).

As the Syrian civil war grinds to an end, the government in Damascus, propped up by Iran and Russia, is regaining its footing, with important implications for the balance of power in the Middle East. Syria’s neighbors and powers outside the region are now attempting to determine the appropriate level of engagement, if any, to have with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. While Assad’s main foreign patrons will no doubt continue to deepen their military, political and economic ties, it is countries that stood against him over the past seven years that now have the most difficult decisions to make. If […]

Eritreans shout slogans during a protest in Brussels, Belgium, Sept. 28, 2018 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

Much has been written about the significance of the peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea for the Horn of Africa. Less attention has been paid to what it means for ordinary Eritreans. So far peace has sparked hope that the Eritrean economy will improve, but there are few signs of the political opening that many citizens dearly hope for. Back in July 2016, I was invited to a gathering late one night at a popular bar in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. The gathering was a traditional and quite elaborate coffee ceremony, the kind typically held in the afternoon in […]

An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter provides security from above while CH-47 Chinooks drop off supplies to U.S. soldiers at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, June 10, 2017 (Photo by Sgt. Justin Updegraff for U.S. Marine Corps via AP Images).

“Great nations do not fight endless wars,” President Donald Trump said in his recent State of the Union address—one of the few lines that may have appealed to both ends of the political spectrum. Debate is raging in the United States over how quickly to disengage from Syria and Afghanistan, as frustration with these seemingly interminable conflicts has grown on the political right and left. Trump grasps this frustration and seems inclined to pull American forces out of both places. But every time Trump mentions military withdrawal, security experts, political leaders and military commanders push back. Trump’s statement about not […]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei listens during a meeting with members of the Iranian government, Tehran, May 23, 2018 (Sipa photo via AP).

Leaving the Iran nuclear deal is meant to put pressure on the Iranian government. But so far, most of the pressure is being felt by Iran’s citizens. Find out more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). Iran’s steeply depreciating currency has plunged the country into a potentially explosive economic crisis, with several waves of public protests since December. The situation was exacerbated by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to violate the terms of the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions. The Trump administration believes that by exerting “maximum pressure,” Iran will inevitably return to the negotiating table, or […]

U.S. soldiers leave Al Faw palace at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 1, 2011 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

The culture of speaking truth to power is alive and well in the United States, despite the toxic environment in which analysts and other truth-tellers in the federal government operate these days. That is the main lesson of an important new history of the Iraq War released last month by the U.S. Army. The study takes on some of the established narratives about the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and its violent aftermath, while offering refreshingly honest assessments of the performances of both civilian and military leaders. America’s tragic engagement in Iraq is well-trodden terrain, with formidable and critical […]

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, Al-Hajj Murad, chair of Moro Islamic Liberation Front, left, and other leaders at a ceremony at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, July 17, 2017 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

In the fragile west of the Philippines’ war-ravaged southern island of Mindanao, voters in recent weeks overwhelmingly approved an historic peace accord aimed at ending five decades of bloody separatist conflict. The vote ratified a new law on expanded autonomy, known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law, paving the way for a new Muslim-majority self-governing region to replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which has been in place since 1989. The public stamp of approval, in a high-turnout, two-stage referendum on Jan. 21 and Feb. 6, marks the culmination of a lengthy peace process between the Philippine government and […]

Maria Gorpynych sits in her home in the government-controlled village of Opytne, in eastern Ukraine, Nov. 25, 2018 (Photo by Natalie Vikhrov).

OPYTNE, Ukraine—One afternoon in January 2015, 78-year-old Maria Gorpynych stood on her porch and anxiously watched her son Victor run the short distance to the home of a neighboring family. At the time, Opytne, located in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, was caught in the middle of heavy fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian soldiers. Victor wanted to help the neighbors wrap a gas pipe in rubber to protect it from shelling. Less than five minutes after he left, Gorpynych saw one of the neighbors running back toward her house. He came bearing bad news: A mine had detonated […]

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