Protesters from the Answer Coalition gather in front of the White House, Washington, April 14, 2018 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

As the tragic civil war in Syria grinds through its eighth year, it is impossible to make sense of the Trump administration’s strategy as it moves in one direction and then shifts in another, again and again. American policy is utterly incoherent, and there is no sign that will change. President Donald Trump’s position on Syria, expressed more often in tweets than in formal policy statements, vacillated wildly even before he was elected president. In June 2013, for instance, he contended that the United States should “stay the hell out of Syria.” But two months later, after Syrian President Bashar […]

A girl eats boiled leaves from a local vine to stave off starvation, in the extremely impoverished district of Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen (AP photo by Hammadi Issa).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series on food security around the world. As the war in Yemen enters its fifth year, the country’s population is coping with an increasingly severe shortage of food. The United Nations’ humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, said last week that three quarters of Yemenis need some form of humanitarian aid, and the situation is nearing a “tipping point, beyond which it will be impossible to prevent massive loss of life as a result of widespread famine across the country.” WPR spoke via email with Noha Aboueldahab, a visiting fellow at the Brookings […]

A Palestinian girl peeks out of a car window after receiving UNRWA food aid in a refugee camp north of Jabalia, Gaza Strip, Sept. 4, 2018 (Photo by Wissam Nassar for DPA via AP Images).

RAMALLAH—“We lose Trump’s money, but we preserve our dignity,” Ahmed, 19, told me at Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah when I asked him how he felt about President Donald Trump’s recent decision to halt all U.S. funding to UNRWA, the United Nations agency that provides food, education and health care to the more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Created in 1949, UNRWA has been a lifeline for Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 and 1967 wars with Israel. Last year, the United States provided about […]

Syrian authorities distribute bread, vegetables and pasta near the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, Douma, Syria, April 16, 2018 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is close to military victory over the rebels that he has been fighting since 2011. The largest remaining area of opposition control is Idlib province, and the regime is gearing up to retake it. Turkey and Russia developed a cease-fire plan last week to try and prevent further large-scale fighting, but it may not work. The future looks grim for the people of Idlib. Like Assad’s other offensives, if this one takes place it will be brutal, with civilians suffering as much as rebel fighters. And if past patterns hold, Syrian government forces will use whatever […]

A currency exchange shop in Istanbul, Turkey, Aug. 14, 2018 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

Governments in emerging markets should be forgiven if they are dealing with a case of crisis fatigue. For 10 years now, they have lurched from one financial mess to another, triggered largely by external events and decisions outside of their control. Things are once again getting messy as global investors have soured on Argentina, Turkey and Indonesia, among other emerging market economies, causing their currencies to crash. As troubles have developed in one country after another late this summer, some observers have been careful to point out that the causes of the individual economic crises are very different. Don’t jump […]

Two New York City firefighters look toward One World Trade Center through the open ceiling of the Oculus at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, New York, Sept. 11, 2018 (AP photo by Craig Ruttle).

The anniversary of 9/11 has become an annual opportunity for soul-searching, for Americans to take stock of where they stand not only in the ongoing conflict with violent jihadism but more broadly as a nation. One thing stood out this year: Americans are more pessimistic about the struggle against al-Qaida and its offshoots than at any time since Sept. 11, 2001. In a sense, this is understandable. The United States is still mired in Afghanistan and Iraq with no sign of victory. Jihadism persists in many parts of the Islamic world and is even spreading to new regions. It continues […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Hashim Thaci, the president of Kosovo, inspect a military honor guard in Ankara, Turkey, Dec. 29, 2016 (AP photo by Kayhan Ozer).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the Trump administration’s pressure campaign against the Palestinians, against the backdrop of the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords. For the Report, A.J. Naddaff talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about how Kosovo has become the latest battleground in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s war with the Gulenist movement. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The […]

Election posters for Jimmie Akesson, right, leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats, and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, second from right, Flen, Sweden, Aug. 30, 2018 (AP photo by Michael Probst).

Yesterday’s anniversary of the 9/11 attacks passed by with relatively muted commemorations. This is understandable given the passage of time, and how we commemorate increasingly distant events. But if the immediate consequences of 9/11 have faded, the less visible aftereffects of that day’s trauma persist. At times, these aftereffects, no less pernicious for being hidden, spring into full view—most recently on Sunday, when Swedish voters made the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party the third-largest in parliament. It would be relatively easy to trace the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe, of which the Swedish electoral results are but the latest example, […]

The Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Nov. 18, 2017 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would close the office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s delegation in Washington, D.C. In an announcement, the State Department said the closure was in response to what it called the PLO’s failure “to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” It also expressed concerns over the PLO’s efforts to have the International Criminal Court investigate Israel for war crimes. The closure of the office, which functioned as a de facto embassy, is the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration that have strained ties with the […]

Students from Mehmet Akif College protest the arrest and expulsion of their teachers, Pristina, Kosovo, March 29, 2018 (AP photo by Visar Kryeziu).

LIPJAN, Kosovo—On a Thursday morning in March, Yasemin Karabina and her husband, Yusuf Karabina, both Turkish nationals, awoke at the usual time and headed to work in this town 10 miles south of Pristina, Kosovo’s capital. Yasemin taught Turkish to high school students at Mehmet Akif College, while Yusuf served as deputy director of the Gulistan Educational Institution, which is in the same building. The couple, who have been married for more than 20 years, were in the habit of driving to and from work together. Their teenage son, a student at Mehmet Akif College, rode along in the back […]

The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan during the signing ceremony for the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, Aktau, Kazakhstan, Aug. 12, 2018 (Photo by Aleksey Nikolskyi for Sputnik via AP Images).

On Aug. 12, leaders of the five Caspian Sea littoral states—Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan—gathered in the Kazakh port city of Aktau to sign the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. The agreement ended decades of uncertainty over the Caspian Sea’s status, clarifying the boundaries between each party’s territorial waters. And while the agreement left open the key question of ownership over the rich oil and gas deposits lying under the Caspian’s seabed, it provides a framework for these five countries to work out arrangements for joint exploration and drilling, as well as long-stalled pipeline projects. […]

Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa climb over a fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, March 28, 2014 (AP photo by Santi Palacios).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the battle for Idlib in Syria and the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats’ surge ahead of Sweden’s upcoming parliamentary elections. For the Report, Malia Politzer talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about Spain’s approach to an influx of African migrants under new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview […]

This courtroom sketch shows Iraq’s counterterrorism court where suspected Islamic State militants are tried, in Baghdad, Iraq, May 24, 2018 (AP photo by Saif Jawadi).

Although the Islamic State continues to carry out sporadic attacks in parts of Iraq, the focus across the country has largely turned to post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation. Harsh sentences are being meted out to suspected Islamic State militants and their collaborators. The Associated Press reported in March that 19,000 people have been detained or imprisoned on suspicion of connections to the extremist group. Of those, 3,000 have been sentenced to death. Meanwhile, a growing backlog of cases and a dearth of available evidence have stymied efforts to compensate victims. In an email interview, Ali Al-Mawlawi, head of research at the […]