Prime Minister Saad Hariri and other Lebanese officials attend a rally to mark the 14th anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Beirut, Feb. 14, 2019 (DPA photo by Marwan Naamani via AP Images).

The international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri unveiled a new indictment last week further implicating Hezbollah in the destabilization of Lebanon in the mid-2000s. On Sept. 15, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a United Nations-backed court based in The Hague, charged Hezbollah member Salim Jamil Ayyash for two assassination attempts on former ministers, Marwan Hamadeh and Elias Murr, in 2004 and 2005, respectively, and the killing of former Lebanese Communist Party leader George Hawi in a car bombing in 2005. Ayyash is one of four Hezbollah members already charged by the tribunal in 2011 for […]

The aftermath of the twin suicide bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo, the capital of Sulu province in the southern Philippines, Jan. 27, 2019 (AP photo by Nickee Butlangan).

It’s been six months since the Islamic State lost the last slice of its territory in Iraq and Syria, where it once controlled a land mass roughly the size of the United Kingdom. This loss dealt a serious blow to the terrorist group, but not a fatal one. As many different counterterrorism analysts have written, ISIS continues to spread its message and gather adherents who carry out attacks in its name across the globe. One area where a metastasizing ISIS could seek to establish a greater foothold is Southeast Asia. In recent years, a number of countries in this diverse […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, meets with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 18, 2019 (pool photo by Mandel Ngan of AFP via AP Images).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Frederick Deknatel and Laura Weiss talk about the attack on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and what it means for the U.S., Iran and the region. They also discuss a massive data leak in Ecuador and the challenge of securing data in the digital age, as well as the Israeli elections and whether they signal the end of the Netanyahu era. 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 […]

An image provided by the U.S. government shows the damage to Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil processing facility in eastern Saudi Arabia, Sept. 15, 2019 (U.S. government/Digital Globe via AP).

Kelly Knight Craft, America’s new ambassador to the United Nations, is about to have a tough week at work. With the crisis escalating over Saturday’s airstrikes on an oil processing facility and nearby oil field in Saudi Arabia, there’s no telling how things will go between now and the kick-off of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24. There is little doubt though that Craft will play a leading role as the U.S. and Saudi Arabia seek to make a case for the U.N. Security Council to take strong action against Iran, which Washington and Riyadh have […]

The Saudi military displays what it says are an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in a recent attack on its oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 18, 2019 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

If Iran is in fact responsible for the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities, whether directly or through its proxies in Yemen, it suggests that Iranian cruise missiles and drones are getting more sophisticated. Unlike its ballistic missile program, which receives considerable international attention, Iran’s cruise missile capabilities have long stayed under the radar. That may change following the damage done to oil infrastructure in eastern Saudi Arabia. With more accurate strike capabilities, Iran’s cruise missiles have major implications for the military balance of power in the Persian Gulf. Although Iran has one of the largest arsenals of ballistic missiles […]

President Donald Trump walks from the Oval Office as he leaves the White House, in Washington, Sept. 16, 2019 (AP photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta).

It’s still too early to say who is responsible for the attack Saturday on two Saudi oil facilities, or what the U.S. response to the incident will be. President Donald Trump and his administration have so far offered mixed messages on both the attribution of the attack, apparently launched with drones and cruise missiles, and possible repercussions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and intelligence officials have pinned the blame directly on Iran, although so far both the satellite imagery they have provided to the media and the available open source information on the attack are inconclusive. Trump himself first described […]

Hezbollah fighters at a memorial service in Tefahta village, south Lebanon, Feb. 13, 2016 (AP Photo by Mohammed Zaatari).

BEIRUT—In late August, an Israeli airstrike on a compound south of Damascus killed two Hezbollah fighters, who had reportedly been working alongside members of the Quds Force, the elite branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to launch drone attacks on Israeli territory. According to the Israeli army, the airstrike thwarted an imminent attack. Hours later, two mini rotary drones, one fitted with explosives, crashed into the southern suburbs of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, damaging a Hezbollah media office. Details of the incident remain foggy, but reports suggest that Israel had dispatched the drones to target a machine used to […]

Delegates gather at a four-day assembly meeting to discuss opening up peace talks with the Taliban, in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 3, 2019 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).

Although President Donald Trump declared talks with the Taliban “dead” this week, the reality is that even as calls for a settlement in Afghanistan gained momentum, negotiations for a deal to end America’s longest war were bound to falter. Trump’s clumsy attempt to grab the spotlight by arranging for a last-minute summit at Camp David between the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11 rightly rankled both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. But the White House obsession with striking a grand bargain in Afghanistan in time for the next U.S. presidential election is […]

Pedestrians walk past an election campaign billboard of Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, at Mokolo Market in Yaounde, Cameroon, Oct. 11, 2018 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. President Paul Biya delivered a rare speech this week announcing the launch of a national dialogue process to resolve Cameroon’s separatist crisis. Biya named Prime Minister Joseph Ngute to lead the talks, which are set to begin before the end of the month. But is Biya actually committed to peace? His government has exacerbated the separatist crisis in the past, and during his address this week, Biya appeared to undercut his message of peace when he called on separatists to surrender or […]

Cote d’Ivoire’s president, Alassane Ouattara, following his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2019 (SIPA photo via AP Images).

As Cote d’Ivoire prepares for elections next year, the peace and progress of the past eight years could be at risk. Despite an attempt at security sector reforms, the same failures of governance that caused months of post-election violence in 2010, just three years after the end of the Ivorian civil war, could lead to another crisis in 2020. Just three years after the end of its civil war in 2007, Cote d’Ivoire fell back into conflict when President Laurent Gbagbo rejected the internationally recognized electoral victory of his opponent, Alassane Ouattara, and refused to cede power. Within a span […]

A mass funeral after more than 70 people were killed in a series of attacks blamed on Fulani herders who opposed a new anti-grazing law, in Makurdi, Nigeria, Jan. 11, 2018 (AP photo).

After surrounding the villages at dawn, the militias stormed in, armed with machetes and firearms. As Reuters later reported, the “gunmen left the charred bodies of women and children smoldering in their homes.” The attack on two villages in central Mali in March, in which 170 people were reportedly killed, was shocking enough to generate international headlines. But beyond the grisly details were its seemingly stark ethnic dimensions. The militias were made up of members of the Dogon ethnic group, which is primarily pastoralist. The victims in the two villages were mostly members of the Fulani ethnic group, semi-nomadic herders […]

Smoke rises as angry residents set fire to part of the Green Village compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 3, 2019 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).

After 18 years, it is hard for most Americans to picture the forever wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan actually coming to an end. Yet over the past week, there were growing signs that what seemed unimaginable could really happen soon. First, on Sunday, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, revealed in an Afghan television news interview the partial details of a deal for a U.S. withdrawal of 5,400 troops in exchange for a pledge from the Taliban to cut ties with terrorist groups like al-Qaida and reduce violence. Then, on Tuesday, members of Congress once again […]

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).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Frederick Deknatel and Laura Weiss talk about the tentative deal for a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan announced this week. They also discuss the latest setback for Colombia’s peace process with the FARC insurgency and Boris Johnson’s bruising Brexit humiliation in the U.K. 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 article every day of the week, plus three […]

Former FARC chief Rodrigo Londono, now the head of its political party, speaking at a press conference the day after a cadre of hard-line FARC leaders announced they will take up arms again, Bogota, Colombia, Aug. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

A week ago, Colombians faced a sudden, unwelcome reminder of the bad old days. In a video message that spread rapidly throughout the country, well-known former guerrilla leaders announced their rejection of the 2016 peace agreement between the state and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC. The men, dressed in the olive-green fatigues they had worn for decades waging a self-proclaimed Marxist revolution, blamed the government, which they accused of betraying them and the deal they reached in Havana three years ago. That hard-fought peace accord, the result of four years of negotiations, had won then-Colombian […]

FARC leader Seuxis Hernandez, more widely known as Jesus Santrich, at a press conference at the FARC party headquarters in Bogota, Colombia, May 30, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

The announcement that a group of senior commanders from the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, are taking up arms again is a heavy blow to Colombia’s already fragile peace process. The declaration, made in a video posted on Aug. 29, represents the most significant break to date with the 2016 peace accord that was supposed to end the longest-running conflict in Latin America. In the video posted on social media, the FARC’s former second-in-command, Luciano Marin—better known by his nom de guerre, Ivan Marquez—declared a “new chapter” in the Marxist guerrillas’ armed struggle. One of the key […]