Global Insider: Turkey-Africa Relations

With the turmoil in North Africa impacting Turkey’s primary commercial ties with the continent, Turkish exports to sub-Saharan Africa have grown sharply this year. In an email interview, Thomas Wheeler, a longtime South African diplomat and researcher at the South African Institute for International Affairs, discussed Turkey-Africa relations. WPR: What is the history of Turkey’s trade and diplomatic relations with sub-Saharan Africa? Thomas Wheeler: Turkey had few relations with sub-Saharan Africa until the 1990s. Admittedly, the Ottoman sultan appointed honorary consuls in South Africa in the 19th century, but during the Republican era from 1922, Ankara’s emphasis was on consolidating […]

Coverage of last month’s Group of Eight summit in Deauville, France, centered on the leadership crisis at the International Monetary Fund and measures to support new regimes in the Arab world. However, the summit’s most significant achievement may be the dramatic change in Russia’s stance on the conflict in Libya. After months of Russian ambivalence toward the military intervention against Col. Moammar Gadhafi, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev not only joined the other G-8 leaders in a statement declaring that Gadhafi has lost all legitimacy and must step down, but also announced that Russia would help mediate an exit for the […]

When President Barack Obama took the podium at the State Department to outline Washington’s new policy framework for the Middle East several weeks ago, he unleashed a storm of controversy that caught many people by surprise. The speech sought to outline a new American stance toward the unfolding changes in the Arab world. But the controversy centered instead on the president’s statement regarding the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. When Obama called for a return to negotiations “based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps,” he sparked a furious, if rather unusual dispute. On one side, the president’s […]

Assad Hits an Israeli Nerve in the Golan

After the weekend’s bloody clash between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters in the Golan Heights, Israel claimed the violence was being fomented by Syrian President Bashar Assad in an attempt to divert attention from Syria’s own anti-government uprising and his heavy-handed attempts to crush it. While such assertions may be impossible to prove, close observers says Syria suffers no shortage of motives to try to convince Israel of the danger that could lay ahead should Assad’s government collapse. “Basically what Assad is saying to the Israelis is, ‘If I go down, you’re entering the realm of the unknown with […]

‘Arab Spring’ Revolutions Follow Game Plan From 1993 Book

Though the outcomes of the protests have varied, from country to country the protesters for the most part have used a similar set of tactics. What few people realize is that the philosophical underpinnings for these tactics can be traced to a 93-year-old retired professor, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Global Insider: Iran-Kuwait Relations

Kuwait and Iran recently reinstated their ambassadors to one another, after having recalled them amid accusations that Kuwait had uncovered an Iranian spy ring. In an email interview, W. Andrew Terrill, a research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College and the author of “Kuwaiti National Security and the U.S.-Kuwaiti Strategic Relationship After Saddam,” discussed Kuwait-Iran relations. WPR: What is the recent history of Iran-Kuwait relations? W. Andrew Terrill: Kuwait enthusiastically backed Iraq during the second half of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, although the Kuwaiti leadership deeply regretted this decision after Saddam Hussein invaded their […]

As the United States debates just how much more effort it wants to put into the Afghanistan-Pakistan sinkhole, evidence mounts of the need to pursue a strategic pivot back toward the Middle East, where the Arab Spring is increasingly threatened by a Persian winter of revolutionary discontent. For some time now, Iran has been showing signs of mounting internal divisions between competing hardline factions led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But it has also become more desperate about asserting its alleged leadership of the region’s ongoing wave of uprisings, including a far more active […]

As the popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes continue in several Arab countries, those countries’ neighbors and the wider international community are being forced to deal with a new crisis: the growing number of conflict refugees. During the past five months, thousands of Libyans have fled to Tunisia and Egypt. Many have also tried to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, with some dying at sea. The continuing violence in Syria has also forced thousands of Syrians to seek refuge in Lebanon. The situation in Syria may yet escalate into a full-fledged sectarian conflict between the majority Sunnis and the ruling Alawis. […]

It is time for President Barack Obama to initiate an informal, tripartite dialogue with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about stabilizing the global price of oil. Leaving the decision in the hands of speculators has not served the interests of any of these three countries. At midweek, the price, while coming down, still stood higher than $100 a barrel, with Brent crude currently trading at roughly $112 a barrel. Counterintuitively, oil producers are hoping the price descends further, because if oil gets too expensive, customers begin looking for other sources of energy. Last week, speaking […]

What’s Behind Russia’s Libya Shift?

One of the less-reported developments at last week’s G-8 summit was Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s about-face on the Libyan crisis. Medvedev called on Moammar Gadhafi to step down and added that Russia will not offer a safe haven to the beleaguered Libyan leader. Russia has previously been critical of NATO’s bombing campaign in Libya, and with reports now indicating that Moscow seeks to play a mediation role toward negotiating Gadhafi’s exit, close observers are questioning what prompted the policy shift. In an email interview with Trend Lines this week, Richard Weitz, who heads the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the […]

Yemen: Saleh’s Last Hurrah or More of the Same?

The collapse of negotiations toward a peaceful departure from power by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has resulted in a week of such chaotic violence it may well appear the nation is devolving back into civil war. But close observers say that what’s occurring in Yemen now is simply a continuation of the tactics that have kept Saleh in power since the 1970s. “He wants to provoke a military confrontation with any of the opposition groups, because he feels more comfortable with armed conflict than he does confronting a nonviolent, headless movement,” says Bernard Haykel, a professor of Near Eastern […]

In March, the Stimson Center released a report (.pdf) by Gordon Adams and Rebecca Williams reviewing U.S. security assistance programs. Titled “A New Way Forward,” the report argued that the United States should restructure its security assistance programs away from “security,” as defined in Cold War terms, and toward “governance,” which more accurately reflects U.S. interests in the post-War on Terror world. The difference is hardly trivial. “Security” assistance focuses on improving the tactical and operational capabilities of fielded armed forces, whether against domestic or international foes, while “governance” assistance aims to “strengthen state capacity in failing, fragile, collapsing and […]

With the U.N. in the global spotlight for its involvement in high-stakes missions in Libya, Sudan, Côte D’Ivoire and elsewhere, this World Politics Review special report examines the U.N. through articles published in the past year.Below are links to each article in this special report. U.N. Security Council New Members Make for a Real Security Council at Last Richard Gowan and Bruce D. Jones October 20, 2010 Indian Power and the United Nations Richard Gowan November 15, 2010 No U.N. Security Council Reform, No Problem Richard Weitz January 4, 2011 New Tools for New Times Bruce D. JonesJanuary 11, 2011 […]

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