An anti-government protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

From Lebanon and Iraq to Ecuador and Chile, popular protests have shaken governments and captured the imagination of pundits worldwide in the past few weeks. Combined with the mass demonstrations that forced regimes in Algeria and Sudan to cast aside longtime leaders earlier this year, as well as the Yellow Vest movement that stunned France from December 2018 through the late spring, some observers are wondering whether we are witnessing a revolutionary moment of global proportions. Has popular dissatisfaction with the unfair distribution of globalization’s spoils reached a tipping point? Or are these protests locally driven, offering little or no […]

Women walk beneath an election banner for the ruling Frelimo party in Maputo, Mozambique, Oct. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Ferhat Momade).

The stakes were high when Mozambique voted in general elections on Oct. 15, its sixth poll since 1994, when the country’s first multiparty elections began what has been a shaky transition from 16 years of civil war. But rather than ease tensions, this month’s vote has inflamed new ones amid charges of voter fraud and electoral violence. When fighting between the government and Renamo, the former rebel group and now main opposition party, flared up in 2013, there were fears of a slide back into open warfare. Although a cease-fire allowed general elections to go forward in 2014, this month’s […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Oct. 24, 2019 (pool photo by Gavriil Grigorov of TASS News Agency via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Russian President Vladimir Putin had a message for African leaders this week: Moscow is ready to make some deals. Putin’s government brought 43 African heads of state or government to the Black Sea resort town of Sochi for the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit. The Russians simultaneously sent a pair of nuclear-capable bombers to South Africa, apparently the first time the Soviet-era aircraft had ever landed on the continent, reinforcing both Russia’s strategic capabilities and what it might be able to offer African governments. […]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during a meeting with President Donald Trump at the InterContinental Barclay hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, Sept. 23, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The protests may have ended, but the past few weeks in Egypt have indicated that, rather than a model of authoritarian stability, the regime that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has built is one of authoritarian fragility. And the regime’s actions make clear that it knows it. On Sept. 20, nationwide political protests broke out in Egypt for the first time since a brutal crackdown on demonstrators following the 2013 coup d’etat against President Mohamed Morsi that brought Sisi to power. The protests were sparked by a series of viral videos by an Egyptian actor and contractor named Mohamed Ali, who […]

Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi, bottom left, casts his vote in the country’s presidential election, in Maputo, Mozambique (AP photo by Ferhat Momade).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Key presidential elections on either end of the continent this week delivered markedly different results. While a vote in Mozambique appears to have secured a victory for the longtime ruling party, elections in Tunisia may have introduced a new political era. Tunisia’s presidential campaign, which outsider Kais Saied won in a landslide, had been full of surprises from the beginning. The vote was moved up a few months after the country’s first democratically elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi, died in office. An […]

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, left, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, center, and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, outside a conference hall in Mombasa, Kenya, Aug. 28, 2013 (AP photo by Gideon Maundu).

KAMPALA, Uganda—When a young Yoweri Museveni launched his rebellion to seize Uganda’s presidency in 1981, he found a vital ally in an exiled Rwandan soldier named Paul Kagame. The former guerilla leaders have been presidents of their respective countries for 33 and 19 years now, but their relationship has soured since those early days during Uganda’s Bush War. Tensions escalated sharply earlier this year, as both men hurled accusations of sabotage, and Rwanda sealed its border with Uganda, halting trade and issuing a travel advisory. In August, Kagame and Museveni met in Luanda, Angola to sign a memorandum of understanding […]

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, left, stands with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at a welcoming ceremony in Pretoria, South Africa, Oct. 3, 2019 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari traveled to Pretoria in early October to meet his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, just weeks after the latest outbreak of attacks against foreigners—including Nigerians—in South Africa in September. The visit was intended to smooth over bilateral relations between Africa’s two largest economies, which have been bumpy in recent years, in part because of periodic episodes of xenophobic violence in South Africa. Xenophobic violence has been a problem in South Africa for years, with recent peaks in 2008 and 2015 prior to the most recent attacks in September. Analysts have pointed to numerous causes, notably a […]

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft addresses the Security Council at U.N. headquarters, New York, Sept. 19, 2019 (AP photo by Bebeto Matthews).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Richard Gowan is filling in for Candace Rondeaux this week. How is Kelly Knight Craft doing as U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations? It is almost exactly one month since Craft presented her credentials to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sept. 12. It has been an eventful period, including the annual General Assembly jamboree and Security Council crisis talks on North Korea and Syria. To top it off, Guterres warned this week that the U.N. is about to run out of operating funds because over 60 members have not paid their annual dues. The U.S. has […]

Opposition leader Riek Machar, left, greets South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, in Juba, South Sudan, Sept. 9, 2019 (AP photo by Sam Mednick).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. South Sudan’s peace deal showed signs of faltering this week ahead of a November implementation deadline. With key provisions unmet, including an agreement on the boundaries of the country’s states, opposition leader Riek Machar is now threatening to boycott the unity government that is the centerpiece of the deal. Rights groups are also faulting the signatories for failing to set up a tribunal to consider wartime atrocities. The agreement, signed in September 2018, lays out a set of requirements, including the formation […]

Zambian President Edgar Lungu at the Southern African Development Community’s leaders’ conference in Pretoria, South Africa, Aug. 19, 2017 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. With Zambia’s National Assembly set to debate changes to the country’s constitution, President Edgar Lungu appears to be consolidating his party’s power ahead of his 2021 reelection campaign. The proposed changes would give the president unprecedented authority to remove members of the judiciary, eliminate restrictions on his ability to appoint ministers and strip the National Assembly of many of its oversight responsibilities, including fiscal controls. The amendments would also grant the parliamentary body new control over its size, which may give Lungu’s […]

Supporters of jailed media magnate Nabil Karoui chant for his freedom in Nabeul, west of Tunis, Tunisia, Sept. 21, 2019 (AP photo by Mosa’ab Elshamy).

The first round of Tunisia’s presidential election underlined a critical fact about the country’s fraught democratic transition: Tunisians have had enough of their post-revolution politicians. This was made clear not only by the number of people who skipped the mid-September vote altogether, but by the choices made by those who opted to have a say. This year’s shortened electoral calendar, in which Tunisians will elect a new parliament between two rounds of presidential voting, was drawn up after the unexpected death of 92-year-old President Beji Caid Essebsi in July. The Independent High Authority for Elections brought the presidential vote forward […]