Russian President Vladimir Putin and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, in Moscow, July 14, 2018 (Photo by Sergey Mamontov for Sputnik via AP Images).

Moscow's relationship with Sudan is far from new, but Russian activity in Sudan is deeper now, and Russia cannot afford to sacrifice the benefits of having Bashir in its orbit. As protests in Sudan calling for the removal of President Omar al-Bashir enter their fourth month, Russian support for the regime has begun to attract international interest. Much has been written about Russian activity, whether overt or covert, in places like Syria, the Central African Republic and Venezuela. But until now, comparatively little attention has been given to Moscow’s involvement in Sudan, which is a linchpin of Russia’s approach to […]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Tehran, Iran, Feb. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

In promoting the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised it would yield impressive economic dividends for the general population. But those never materialized. Instead, the economic situation has deteriorated considerably since U.S. President Donald Trump took office and embraced hard-line policies toward Iran. In January, Rouhani said the country was facing its worst economic crisis since the 1979 revolution. In this week’s in-depth report for WPR, Jasmin Ramsey, the communications director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, examines how Iranians are coping with their […]

A group of Iranians listen to President Hassan Rouhani during a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Tehran, Iran, Feb. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. In the picture, a woman raises her left fist while using her right hand to shield her face from a cloud of tear gas. She’s standing behind a barrier outside the University of Tehran, with spindly trees visible in the background. The scene dates to December 2017, when Iranian authorities attempted to quash protests that were initially sparked by economic woes but quickly evolved to channel broader political grievances. Some 5,000 people […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses supporters at a rally in Istanbul, March 19, 2019 (AP photo by Emrah Gurel).

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, are engaged in a no-holds-barred campaign of threats and intimidation against opposition parties ahead of local elections planned for Sunday. Opinion polls have found AKP candidates trailing in key cities like Istanbul and Ankara amid an economic recession that has damaged Erdogan’s political brand. Fearing a resounding defeat at the polls that could undermine his presidency, Erdogan has even said he could intervene to change the results. In an interview with WPR, Sinan Ciddi, executive director of the Institute of Turkish Studies in Washington, explains what’s […]

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Royal Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 14, 2019 (Pool photo by Andrew Cabellero-Reynolds via AP Images).

For many decades, shared fears of common enemies—from the Soviets to the Iranians, Saddam Hussein and extremist movements like al-Qaida and the Islamic State—pushed America and Saudi Arabia into an uneasy embrace. But today that calculus is no longer enough to sustain their alliance. For the United States, the strategic costs of the Saudi relationship have come to outweigh the benefits, as the tensions and unnaturalness of the partnership make it increasingly intolerable. The U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia can be traced back to the 1930s, when the kingdom first began producing petroleum. By the 1970s, Saudi Arabia was an […]

Activists protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold a candlelight vigil outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 25, 2018 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

Saudi Arabia has lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons. It has been widely condemned for a disastrous war in Yemen that has forced over 3 million civilians to flee and left over 15 million people on the brink of famine. The killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul—allegedly on orders from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—is a story that refuses to go away. More recently, the Saudi government finds itself responding to alarming allegations regarding the detention, torture and impending trial of many prominent female activists in the kingdom. On March […]

French President Emmanuel Macron receives Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, April 10, 2018 (Sipa USA photo via AP Images).

For the first time since it was founded in 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Council earlier this month rebuked Saudi Arabia for its human rights record. In a rare show of unity, the council’s statement, which condemned the kingdom’s “continuing arrests and arbitrary detentions of human rights defenders,” was co-signed by all 28 members of the European Union. But that move coincided with another unanimous decision by EU member states: to prevent Saudi Arabia from being added to an EU blacklist of countries with insufficient controls on money laundering and terrorism financing. In an interview with WPR, Julien Barnes-Dacey, […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 1, 2018 (Photo by Ralf Hirschberger for dpa via AP Images).

One thing the Cold War taught the United States was how important it is, whenever possible, to address security threats without using force. American leaders knew that almost any military action risked confrontation with the Soviet Union and potential escalation to nuclear war. So armed conflicts had to be kept limited, and the two superpowers instead sought to use nonmilitary means to deal with adversaries. The United States learned during the Cold War to rely on economic and political power, reserving military action for deterrence and for addressing serious threats that could not be handled any other way. American leaders […]

Anti-Brexit campaigners’ placards outside Parliament, London, Jan. 28, 2019 (Photo by Kirsty O’Connor for EMPPL PA Wire via AP Images).

In this week’s editors’ discussion episode of Trend Lines, WPR’s editor-in-chief Judah Grunstein, managing editor Frederick Deknatel and associate editor Elliot Waldman look at British Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest Brexit setback, the Trump administration’s latest policy shift on Israel, and the United Nations Security Council’s latest report on North Korea sanctions noncompliance. 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 article every day of the week, plus three […]

High school students face riot police officers as they protest in Algiers, Algeria, March 12, 2019 (AP photo by Toufik Doudou).

In any other country, the news that peaceful demonstrations had forced the incumbent president to drop his unpopular re-election bid would have been a startling announcement. But given Algeria’s political system, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s move to withdraw his candidacy for a fifth presidential term and postpone April’s elections, made public on Monday, was welcomed by protesters as only a good start. Amid a growing protest movement, Algerians are being cautious about Bouteflika’s announcement because of what they call le pouvoir—the shadowy “power” that rules Algeria, made up of an assortment of aging army generals, secret service operatives and party apparatchiks. […]

Turkish troops secure the Bursayah hill, which separates the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz, Syria, Jan. 28, 2018 (AP photo).

In the Syrian civil war, combatants are not always divided along clear lines, making it more difficult than ever for conventional forces like the U.S. military to combat pockets of insurgency. Find out more with your subscription to World Politics Review. Week by week, month by month, the horrific war in Syria grinds on, killing Syrian civil war combatants from many countries and, most tragic of all, Syrian civilians—the unintended or, in many cases, intended victims of the warring parties. It’s easy to look at the Syrian war as uniquely horrible, the catastrophic result of geography, Bashar al-Assad’s craven brutality, […]

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi takes part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier, Moscow, Russia, Aug. 26, 2015 (AP photo by Ivan Sekretarev).

Despite the original hope that the Arab Spring brought to Egypt, authoritarian rule is back under Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. Egypt’s democracy did not survive, but is all hope lost? Find out more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). In November 2016, Egypt’s major cities experienced something that had become rare since a military coup led by then-General—and now President—Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013: protests. In the streets and at universities in Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said, Egyptians took great risks in sight of the police to gather and demonstrate against price hikes and bread shortages. Until then, the country […]

Protesters gather for a demonstration outside the prime minister’s office, Amman, Jordan, June 6, 2018 (AP photo by Raad al-Adayleh).

At an investment conference in London on the last day of February, Jordan got what appeared to be a much-needed financial boost, with promises of assistance and loans totaling $2 billion. But for a nation whose economic challenges are likely to only intensify, with debt amounting to around 95 percent of its gross domestic product, the pledges were really just a drop in the bucket. Jordan has built a decades-old reputation as a kingdom of calm in an otherwise restive region. But its long reliance on that image of stability, underwritten by external support, may also be its undoing. Its […]

Relatives and comrades pray as they surround the Hezbollah flag-draped coffins of Shiite fighters who were killed in Syria, Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, Oct. 27, 2015 (AP photo by Mohammed Zaatari).

Hezbollah has taken risks in fighting for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, but those risks are paying off. Israel, however, is on the losing end of this gamble. Find out more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). With the Syrian civil war entering its final phase, the conditions are in place for a conflict between Hezbollah and Israel that neither side wants. As Hezbollah fighters begin making their way home after a costly but apparently successful effort to help save the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, there are growing signs that the status quo is about to change. The […]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, March 3, 2019 (Photo by Ronen Zvulun for Reuters Pool via AP Images).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss challenges facing China and what they mean for relations with the U.S., against the backdrop of the Chinese Communist Party’s annual National People’s Congress, which is taking place this week. For the Report, Shira Rubin talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about how Israel’s New Right party could jeopardize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election prospects. 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 […]

Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett arrives for the weekly Cabinet meeting at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem, Nov. 18, 2018 (AP photo by Abir Sultan).

ARIEL, West Bank—Itzik Ashkenazi first came to this settlement in the West Bank 20 years ago, drawn by the cheap housing and mountain views. On clear days, he can see the Mediterranean and the Israeli city of Tel Aviv in one direction, and the Palestinian city of Nablus in the other. The 50-year-old Ashkenazi, who works as an aide for senior citizens, often whiles away the afternoon with friends, chain-smoking, drinking beer and talking politics at a wobbly aluminum table next to a kiosk that sells snacks, cigarettes and alcohol. This unremarkable lifestyle, Ashkenazi says, is the most potent antidote […]

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, fourth from right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, third from left, at a meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, Feb. 22, 2019 (Pool photo by How Hwee Young via AP).

Before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Beijing for a major visit late last month, he was the target of an intense lobbying effort at home and abroad. Members of the Uighur diaspora in Saudi Arabia and beyond hoped the young, powerful royal would acknowledge China’s nationwide crackdown on its own Muslim population. For the past year, a state-sponsored campaign against expressions of Islamic piety has roiled Muslim communities throughout China—especially in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where analysts now estimate that more than 1 million ethnic Uighurs have been detained in so-called “re-education camps.” Instead, as he […]

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