U.S. Death Toll In Iraq Increased During April

The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq during April rose above 100 over the weekend, making it the 6th deadliest month for U.S. forces out of the 50 months they have been in Iraq, according to the independent Web site icasualties.org. About half of the 104 U.S. service members killed since April 1 perished in and around Baghdad where U.S. forces are involved in a major security crackdown, according to Reuters, which also reported that “the toll could increase the pressure on U.S. President George W. Bush, who is fighting a plan by Democrats to set a timetable for […]

Commentary Week In Review

The Commentary Week in Review is posted on the blog every Friday. Drawing from more than two dozen English-language news outlets worldwide, the column highlights a handful of the week’s notable op-eds. Despite the wars, oil and endless Western punditry over its geopolitical significance, Edward Luttwak argued in the May cover story of Prospect Magazine that the Middle East is less relevant today than ever, and it would be best for everyone if the rest of the world learned to ignore it. “Strategically, the Arab-Israeli conflict has been almost irrelevant since the end of the cold war. And as for […]

Iraqis Seeking Asylum Face Hard Road

Debate continues from the Middle East to Europe over the fate of tens of thousands of Iraqis fleeing the violence in their homeland. New figures show that, following a drop after the initial exodus surrounding the 2003 U.S. invasion, the number of Iraqis seeking asylum in industrialized countries has jumped by almost 80 percent over the past year. Lawmakers across Europe and the Middle East are scrambling to deal with the spike, most likely a result of increased sectarian violence and civil war. Some 22,155 Iraqis sought refuge in the industrialized world in 2006, nearly double the number who did […]

Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy Speech

As part of our continuing effort to follow the foreign policy platforms of the major U.S. presidential candidates — right now those include in our minds Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Giuliani, McCain and Romney — we bring you the video of Barack Obama’s April 23 speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The speech was the Democratic candidate’s first major statement on foreign policy. (We should be clear that we aren’t giving Obama special treatment. When other presidential candidates make major foreign policy speeches, we’ll also cover those in this space.) Here are the New York Times and Associated Press […]

Senegalese Youth Rap for Reform

Browsing videos over at Current TV recently, we came across an interesting series of reports about political activism among Senegal’s youth. Senegal is a very young country, with a median age of just 19. Ahead of the 2007 presidential elections in February, young people in the capital Dakar were using rap music to express their frustration over the state of their country and its leadership. Senegal is the only African country not to have experienced a coup since independence, and it achieved a peaceful transfer of power in 2000 from the 40-year rule of the Socialist Party to current President […]

Reporter’s Notebook: Poverty and Corruption in Nigeria

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria — If there’s one thing Nigerians can agree on it’s their affinity for the “Crocodile Hunter.” Everywhere I went in the country televisions were tuned to the Animal Planet channel, which more often than not aired reruns of the late Steve Irwin. During my weeks-long assignment in the poverty-stricken and often violent West African country, I watched Nigerians marvel as Irwin handled a venomous snake from the African bush, inspected the toes of an aged land tortoise in the Galapagos Islands, and of course, wrestled a crocodile from his native Australia. Good drama, for sure, though why […]

Britain’s Asylum Problem

GLASGOW, Scotland – The British government has recently been accused by a parliamentary report of deliberately making asylum seekers destitute in an effort to push them out of the country or prevent them from entering in the first place. The March report by British Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights called the government’s treatment of asylum seekers inhumane and degrading. The government’s policies of refusing asylum seekers permission to work, coupled with an overly complex support system, mean vulnerable people are ended up on Britain’s streets with no income and completely reliant on charity, according to the report, made public […]

Video: Ségolène Royal Greets Her Supporters on Election Night

PARIS — Collecting 25 percent of the votes in the primary round of the French presidential election, Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate, enters the second round of the elections, where she will face conservative Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy obtained more than 30 percent of the vote, and remains the favorite. Last night, Royal appeared in rue Solferino, Paris, in front of the Socialist party’s campaign headquarters, where I captured the video below. Royal and her supporters expressed their joy and relief at making it to the second round. The last presidential election in 2002 was a deeply humbling moment for the […]

French Elections: Sarkozy vs. Royal for “le Second Tour”

The next president of France “will either be a center-right Atlanticist who wants [the French] to work more and pay fewer taxes or a woman with a leftist economic program and a declared ambition to modernize her Socialist Party,” the International Herald Tribune reports. The second round of the French campaign, a.k.a. “le second tour,” fought between now and the runoff May 6, promises to be a compelling race. A key question: for whom will supporters of upstart centrist Francois Bayrou vote in the runoff? Bayrou narrowly missed advancing to the second round of voting, garnering 18.35 percent to Royal’s […]

Commentary Week In Review

The Commentary Week in Review is posted on the blog every Friday. Drawing from more than two dozen English-language news outlets worldwide, the column highlights a handful of the week’s notable op-eds. An analysis by Salah Hemeid in this week’s Al-Ahram Weekly asserted that “a key Sunni Arab insurgency group in Iraq has called on Osama Bin Laden to step in and discipline his Al-Qaeda associates” from another group called the “Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia Organization.” “The growing tension was triggered by a power struggle between Al-Qaeda and powerful Sunni tribal leaders angered by the terror group’s indiscriminate killing of […]

Reports: Chavez Makes Marxism Mandatory

The Venezuelan government is reportedly pushing a plan to make four hours a week of training in Marxist ideology mandatory for all government employees, and students in government-funded schools. The public radio program Marketplace reported on April 19 that “the government of President Hugo Chavez is going to provideworkers with four hours of free classes each week — in Marxism.” A Spanish-language news report making the rounds on April 20 said the obligatory Marxist education will also be enforced for soldiers and employees of private industry. The Spanish newspaper Diario ABC reported on the plan to bring the Marxist education […]

The Growing Importance of National Oil Companies

The efforts of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez to assert state control over the country’s oil industry are just one example of an important worldwide trend toward the nationalization of oil. According to a very interesting report from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, National Oil Companies (NOCs) now control 77 percent of global proved oil reserves. Production is also increasingly controlled by NOCs, according to the report: In contrast to years past, when privately held IOCs with publicly listed shares, such as ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, represented the largest oil and gas producers worldwide, NOCs now dominate […]

WPR at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs

Media in International Conflict, a student group at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, invited World Politics Review Publisher Hampton Stephens to be part of a panel the group sponsored last week called “Global News Evolution: The Extinction of the Foreign Bureau and the Rise of a New Journalistic Species.” He was joined on the panel by Bartle Breese Bull, international correspondent and foreign editor for Britain’s Prospect magazine, and Alec McCabe, former North Asia bureau chief for Bloomberg News who now supervises recruitment and hiring for Bloomberg’s print news worldwide. A video of Hampton’s presentation is below, […]

Commentary Week In Review

The Commentary Week in Review is posted on the blog every Friday. Drawing from more than two dozen English-language news outlets worldwide, the column highlights a handful of the week’s notable op-eds. A great deal is at stake as the African powerhouse of Nigeria heads into nationwide elections this week, and so far initial indications “have not been promising,” according to John Ghazvinian’s April 12 assessment on the Web site of The Nation. “President Olusegun Obasanjo, a darling of Western business interests, has appeared reluctant to leave office,” Ghazvinian explained. “At its nominating convention in December, the ruling People’s Democratic […]

Four U.S. Presidential Candidates on Iraq, on Video

We just discovered YouTube’s “YouChoose ’08” feature (apparently it only launched today). YouTube seems to have persuaded almost every U.S. presidential candidate — lest they labeled clueless about the digital revolution — to post regular video clips. The videos are of all different types, from professional-looking campaign commercials to home videos from the campaign trail, to clips of TV appearances. We set out to find a video clip from each candidate relating to their positions on Iraq. Unsurprisingly, it’s the one foreign policy issue that almost every candidate has posted a video about. We wanted to find one clip from […]

Want the CCP View? Read State-Controlled Media

Here at the WPR blog, we’ve often commented on the usefulness of state-controlled media for sussing out the official line of a particular government on a particular issue. This works best, of course, in states like China where government control of official media is so well documented that its virtually certain that news and opinion articles reflect government wishes. In fact, the Chinese government is so open about using the media to get out the official line that there’s really no analytical skill involved in reading the state-issued tea leaves. Take the subject of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s upcoming visit […]

Syria’s ‘Totalitarian’ Stance On Media

Syria’s leading independent human rights group, The National Organization of Human Rights in Syria issued it’s 2006 Annual Report in late-March. Among the highlights, according to an English-language translation provided to World Politics Review by the group’s spokesman Ammar Qurabi, was this assertion about media freedoms in Syria: Press and media freedoms made no progress in Syria this year. Indeed, these freedoms saw a clear decline through systemizing the mono-dimension throughout all media sources, and returning to the usage of totalitarian approach in the detention of writers and journalists … Syrian authorities have full control over mass media such as […]

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