In the wakeof the attempted Christmas Day bombing aboard a Northwest Airlines passenger jet en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, the world has turned its attention to Yemen. The would-be bomber’sclaims that he was trained by al-Qaida in Yemen are lookingincreasingly plausible as the investigation unfolds on both sides ofthe Atlantic. In light of the increased attention to the perilous internal situation in Yemen, World Politics Review is temporarily opening up free access to three four recent articles on the country. These articles will remain freely accessible until Jan. 8. In a prescient Nov. 5 article, World Politics Review Columnist […]

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has faced challenging times before, but in recent months, Tehran has been confronted with one crisis after another. The threats of severe international sanctions over its nuclear program are mounting, just as domestic strife undermines the legitimacy of the regime. With its plate so full, why did Iran suddenly decide to taunt Iraq — a country with which it fought an eight-year war — by provocatively raising the Iranian flag on an Iraqi-controlled oil field? The answer may point to even more trouble on the horizon for Iran’s leaders. The startling news […]

Cleric’s Death Highlights Fissures in Iran

NewsHour’s Margaret Warner reports on the continuing protests in Iran. The death of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, one of the founders of modern Iran, has given new life to opposition protests throughout the country. The progressive leader was opposed to the current government and known for supporting the expansion of civil liberties and women’s rights.

For a few days last week, it seemed that relations between Britain and Israel were about to plunge into the diplomatic permafrost. But as the two countries emerge from their most bruising encounter in years, it appears that their ties might even end up strengthened. The crisis broke when it was revealed that a London court, petitioned by a pro-Palestinian group under the legal doctrine of “universal jurisdiction,” had issued a warrant for the arrest of Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni on charges of war crimes. Livni, who was foreign minister during Israel’s military operation in Gaza early this year, […]

ISTANBUL — The recent closing by Turkey’s highest court of theDemocratic Society Party (DTP), the only pro-Kurdish party in theTurkish parliament, is being seen as a significant setback for thegovernment’s newly launched “democratization initiative,” a reformprogram aimed at solving Ankara’s decades-old Kurdish problem. Nineteen of the party’s 21 parliamentarians can remain in parliament by changing their party affiliation. (The other two, the DTP’s co-chairs, were banned from politics for five years.) But observers warn that the court’s action could alienate Kurds politically, and lead to increased tension and an upsurge in violence in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast. That, in turn, […]

With Investors Circling, Iraq Works to Create Oil Protocol

As Iraq opens up its oil fields to outside investment and signs MOUsand contracts with global firms, Iraq’s oil laws come under scrutiny.Hussain al-Shahristani, Iraq’s oil minister, and Issam al-Chalabi, theformer Iraqi oil minister speak with Al-Jazeera about Iraqi oil law –past, present and future.

Human Error vs. Cybersecurity

For some reason, coverage of the intelligence failures involving U.S. drones in Iraq as well as the U.S.-South Korea defense plans is insisting on framing the lapses as “hacking” and “cyberintelligence,” when both were the result of human error. In the case of the drones, as the Danger Room piece above points out, a known security loophole was left unchecked, and in the latter, the plans were apparently made vulnerable because they were downloaded to an unsecured USB key. Here’s a simple rule of thumb: If I could do it, it ain’t hacking. And I’m pretty sure I could have […]

One aspect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy that has provoked condemnation across the political spectrum is its approach to human rights around the world. Critics have pointed to a visible tendency to relegate human rights to the background in dealing with offending nations, as Washington keeps its focus on what it deems more important objectives. With the volume of criticism rising, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a detailed presentation of her — and presumably the administration’s — approach to human rights. Her speech at Georgetown University last Sunday offered a fascinating view inside the administration’s evolving philosophy. In […]

Afghanistan as Strategic Scaffolding

The conventional way to look at the Afghanistan war is as a multilateral coalition forming a security scaffolding around and upon which a stable Afghan nation can form. But if you consider the strategic network that is emerging from the war, it might be more accurate to say that Afghanistan is the strategic scaffolding around and upon which a stable regional arrangement is forming. The thought was triggered by Saurav Jha’s WPR briefing on India-Iran relations (which, if you missed it, is really worth taking the time to read). It took shape around Nikolas Gvosdev’s recent WPR columns, in which […]

In a region that already has enough conflicts, another one is brewing, and it comes from a surprising source: the Nile. The river that has traversed history from the pharaohs through to the Bible and on to the nationalist revolution of 1952 seems poised to enter a new phase. Only this time, there may not be enough water to go around. Egypt’s history is intimately tied to the Nile. A country with very little rainfall, its agriculture was long reliant on the river’s annual floods. Public works projects through the late 19th and early 20th centuries subsequently helped regulate the […]

Kurds Look for Representation After Party Ban

The Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) has been shut down byTurkey’s constitutional court following claims that the party has tiesto a Kurdish militant group, the PKK. The court ruling has incitedanger among the country’s Kurdish minority, and been at the root ofrecent violent protests. Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reports.

Obama Meets With Lebanese President

President Barack Obama met with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman atthe White House. The two leaders discussed the situation with Israelwhere Sleiman asked the president to put pressure on Israel to enforceUN Security Council Resolution 1701. In turn, Obama emphasized hisconcerns about the extensive arms smuggling into Lebanon that couldserve as a threat to Israel.

Global Insights: U.S. and Iran Continue Diplomatic Dance

It’s not often that a U.S. official defends Iran at an international forum. But U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman did just that at the sixth annual Manama Dialogue, a regional security conference organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies held in Bahrain on Dec. 11-13. Feltman deflected charges by the Yemeni and Saudi governments that Iran was providing military assistance to Houthi rebels operating along the Yemeni-Saudi border. Meanwhile, at the same conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki provided the most detailed counteroffer to date from Tehran regarding proposals that Iran exchange its […]

Turkey’s Tough Road to Reform

There’s a lot to unpack regarding the Turkish Supreme Court closing the “Kurdish” DTP party. The move comes as the AKP party is rolling out its long-awaited Kurdish initiative. And although the DTP had begun to increasingly oppose the measure, by inflaming public opinion, the party’s closure is certain to be a blow to the effort toward national reconciliation. There’s a lot riding on Turkey resolving its Kurdish population’s grievances — domestically, in terms of national cohesion and bloodshed; and regionally, in terms of its relations with its neighbors. More broadly, an inclusive reconciliation would help Turkey’s EU aspirations, and […]

Fissures in Iraq Security Forces Cause Confusion and Concern

International firms are raising security concerns as they compete fordeals to exploit Iraq’s oil fields. In light of a recent increase inviolence, major companies want reassurance that their investments willbe protected. Local Iraqis say security problems lay within afragmented system, often pitting local and central government forcesagainst one another.

Egyptian Rights Group Faults Regional Rights Situation

Arab countries not only fail to live up to their human rights obligations, but actively seek to undermine international mechanisms for rights protections, the Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) charges in its new annual report (.pdf). “Arab governments not only champion impunity for crimes; they actively seek out and punish those who strive for the establishment of a democratic government that guarantees accountability for all institutions and individuals. Thus, in many Arab countries people are not only victimized by the lack of justice, but also by the very act of seeking it,” Bahey eldin Hassan, CIHRS General Director […]

This Week’s WPR Video Highlights

Here are a few of this week’s highlights from WPR’s video section: – President Obama met with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan this week. In this press conference, the leaders discuss a wide range of issues. In a twist, following Erdogan’s visit to the U.S., the Turkish ambassador to the United States resigned from his post. – As Obama’s new Afghan strategy begins to be implemented, experts in this VOA video say Pakistan must play a key role. – RussiaToday reports on a new Russia-India nuclear deal. The move to intensify bilateral ties comes on the heels of Prime Minister Manmohan […]

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