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Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been arrested, triggering riots in the Ugandan capital of Kampala. This is the second time Besigye has been arrested. He was taken into custody this time not long after being released on bail. He recently has been leading a ‘walk to work’ protest, to draw attention to rising fuel prices in Uganda.

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Predictably, Israel and the U.S. have reacted to the news of a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal using an outdated lens, whereby the inclusion of Hamas in any Palestinian government rules out the possibility of a negotiated two-state solution. That is most likely true, but it is also irrelevant. The real impact for Israel of the Hamas-Fatah deal, assuming it holds up, is not in its effect on the short-term possibilities, where no peace deal was forthcoming regardless. The impact is on the long-term choices Israel faces. Before the deal, the alternative to a two-state solution was a one-state apartheid system that […]

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Fierce fighting between rebel groups in South Sudan has prompted some to wonder whether the territory is at risk of becoming a failed state upon achieving its independence from Khartoum this July. With the South slated to take control of 75 percent of Sudan’s oil fields upon secession, observers say the bloodshed is the result of a widening power vacuum in which Southern tribes and local warlordsare jockeying for influence in theterritory’s nascent government. “The main violence is South-on-South, and it has to do with who is going to benefit under the new state and how the money is going […]

The worsening crisis battering Syria threatens more than the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. It also carries with it the potential to recast the balance of power in the Middle East, with damaging results for Iran and conceivably disastrous consequences for its allies — Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Given the magnitude of the stakes for these players, one can argue that it would make strategic sense from their perspective to try to lure Israel into a more intense armed conflict: not an all-out war, but clashes powerful enough to garner headlines and capture the attention and emotions […]

In the glare of global anticipation, and despite a botched first attempt, Nigeria conducted presidential and national assembly elections that have been largely viewed by domestic and international observers as fair and free. This is a significant achievement compared to the last three marred attempts. But deadly post-election riots in the north have cast a shadow over the balloting. Late on Monday, Attahiru Jega, head of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), declared incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan the winner after he received 22.5 million votes and more than 25 percent of the vote in more than 24 of the country’s […]

Six months ago, Hosni Mubarak was the unchallenged ruler of Egypt, and his son Gamal was generally assumed to be the heir-apparent — a modernizer and reformer waiting in the wings. Today, Mubarak père is detained in hospital, while Mubarak fils is prisoner No. 23 at Tora Farm, the country’s most notorious prison. The wheel of fortune has turned so dramatically for the Mubaraks, in part because the provisional military government found it necessary to mollify protesters — who continue to challenge its reform bona fides — by vigorously taking action against the ancien regime. Indeed, with the wheels of […]

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The Libyan intervention is now reaching an inflection point, with the limited initial commitment of force apparently incapable of achieving the expressed — and universally desired — strategic outcome of driving Moammar Gadhafi from power. As a result, Britain and France will send small teams of military advisers in an effort to improve the rebels’ fighting capability, and the U.S. has decided to commit UAV drones to the intervention. But neither measure is likely to have a rapidly decisive impact on the fighting, which has now devolved into a war of attrition that neither side seems poised to win, which […]

The plight of the Indian freighter MV Asphalt Venture has added a new dimension to India’s fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean. In a first, a spokesperson for pirates based in Harardhere, Somalia, announced last week that they had reached a “consensus” decision to retain seven Indian sailors as hostages — even though the pirates had released the ship itself after receiving the full ransom from its Mumbai-based owners. The move is an attempt to achieve the release of about 120 Somali pirates currently held in Indian prisons following a series of Indian naval actions in the Indian Ocean […]

The NATO campaign in Libya has just begun its second month, and the situation on the ground is not improving. The defenses of Misurata are deteriorating, and rebel forces appear to be falling back from Adjadibya. In spite of the deteriorating tactical situation, however, the leaders of France, the United Kingdom and the United States have formulated in very certain terms the maximalist strategic goals of the campaign: the end of Moammar Gadhafi’s grip on power. The basic problem remains one of complete incoherence between strategic goals and operational means. Paris, London and Washington want Gadhafi gone. However, none of […]

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In an attempt to salvage his 24-year hold on power, Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaore, has responded to mounting unrest in the West African nation by dissolving his cabinet and sacking the country’s top military commanders — hasty moves made early this week after soldiers, protesting over undelivered housing allowances, began looting parts of the capital. While his goal may be to mollify angry demonstrators, Compaore is ultimately doing what “[Hosni] Mubarak tried to do and what [Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali tried,” says David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso, now at George Washington University’s Elliot School […]

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Anger over the result of Nigeria’s presidential election triggered riots that killed several people in the north of the country, where supporters of runner-up Muhammadu Buhari, claimed the ruling party had rigged the election, and refused to recognize the result.

One of the main causes of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt was the frustration that millions of Tunisians and Egyptians felt with the state of their economies. Among their many grievances, citizens of both countries were especially fed up with inequality, high unemployment and corruption. Yet the uprisings have led to a further deterioration of economic conditions in both countries. International tourists are staying away, and tourist facilities have laid off thousands of workers. Increased economic uncertainty has also led international investors to stay away for now. To make matters worse, some labor unions have taken advantage of the […]

The Obama administration’s reluctant involvement in the Libya operation recalls the Biblical adage, “One man sows, another reaps.” The United States agreed to undertake the heavy lifting needed to get the air campaign started, in particular handling the precision strikes to disable Moammar Gadhafi’s air defenses, suppress some of his heavy weapon capabilities and target the very centers of his regime’s power in Tripoli. But the understanding was that responsibility would subsequently be transferred onto the shoulders of others: the Libyan rebels, our NATO allies and other partners. In every speech and statement, President Barack Obama was quite clear that […]

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In March, the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement garnered enough national signatures to allow it to be presented to national parliaments for ratification. In an email interview, Aaron Wolf, a professor at Oregon State University specializing in water resources policy and conflict resolution, discussed the political maneuvering over water rights in the Nile Basin. WPR: What is the significance of the finalization of the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement? Aaron Wolf: I’m not sure “finalization” is the right word. It seems clear that discussions over management of the Nile will continue for some time before anything is really […]

South Africa will formally join the BRIC grouping of Brazil, Russia, India and China at their April 14 summit in Hainan, China. Echoing previous meetings, the major focus of the summit will be to consolidate the impression that the BRICs are the rising force in the global arena. The June 2009 Yekaterinburg summit was hailed as an “historic event” by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and was punctuated by a call for “the emerging and developing economies [to] have a greater voice and representation in international financial institutions” (.pdf). Then-Brazilian President Lula da Silva, host of the April 2010 summit, upped […]

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Full-blown civil war may have been averted in Côte d’Ivoire, but it remains to be seen how the post-election turmoil might influence the behavior of power players in other African elections. “The most important thing in an election is not the voting process but the aftermath,” asserted a recent BBC commentary, which went on to ask, “Will losers accept the verdict? Will the winner humble the vanquished?” Richard Downie, deputy director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington, believes Côte d’Ivoire’s election is “a case of precedent,” particularly within the context of U.S. policy […]

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The recent takeover by Indian firm Essar Africa Holdings of Zimbabwe’s state-owned iron and steel company, Ziscosteel, is a prime example of India’s efforts to ramp up its economic involvement in Africa. In an email interview, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, national director of the South African Institute for International Affairs, discussed India’s economic relations with Africa. WPR: What is the current state of Indian investment and development aid in Africa? Elizabeth Sidiropoulos: Indian companies have been operating in Africa for many years, although more recently there has been a substantial increase in investment — from $556 million in 1997 to some $18 […]

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