Mourners carry a flag-draped casket during a mass funeral for those killed in a suicide car bombing that targeted members of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, in Isfahan, Iran, Feb. 16, 2019 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

Iranian celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution earlier this year were marred by a suicide bombing in southeastern Iran that killed 27 members of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The soldiers had been traveling near the Pakistani border in Sistan and Baluchistan province, where armed Sunni insurgents have waged a decades-long campaign to achieve greater autonomy from the Shiite-led government in Tehran. Iran accuses hostile foreign powers like the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan of supporting the insurgency in the predominantly Sunni region. In an email interview with WPR, Patrick Clawson, director of research […]

A supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during celebrations outside the ruling party headquarters, Istanbul, June 24, 2018 (AP photo by Emrah Gurel).

As president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan could be the wedge that destroys Turkey’s relationships with the U.S. and Europe. Find out more with your subscription to World Politics Review (WPR). A new mosque in the traditional Ottoman style is currently being built in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square. Due to be completed later this year, it is just one of thousands of new mosques going up across Turkey. But the construction in Taksim is particularly symbolic—an apparent sign of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conquest of the political landscape and ability to reshape the Turkish nation in line with his wishes. […]

A Sri Lankan soldier stands guard at the damaged St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 26, 2019 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

In this week’s editors’ discussion episode of the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief Judah Grunstein, managing editor Frederick Deknatel and associate editor Elliot Waldman talk about the challenges facing Sri Lanka in the wake of the Easter bombings and what that attack says about the evolving threat of terrorism. In light of the U.S. decision to stop issuing waivers for major importers of Iranian oil this week, the editors also analyze the Trump administration’s arbitrary and ultimately counterproductive use of sanctions against Iran. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can […]

Iranian oil workers at an oil refinery south of Tehran, Iran, Dec. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

History’s judgment of the Trump administration’s foreign policy is likely to be unkind, with the biggest question for now being whether it is the intended or unintended consequences that will warrant the most severe rebuke. There are plenty of examples of how the administration’s approach risks both catastrophic success and catastrophic failure, but its policy on Iran is particularly illustrative. The latest case in point is the announcement Monday that the U.S. would not extend the waivers it had granted to five major importers of Iranian crude after reimposing unilateral sanctions on Iran’s oil sector last year. The countries—China, India, […]

Tunisian police block a street to keep demonstrators from reaching a meeting of Arab leaders, Tunis, Tunisia, March 31, 2019 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).

Tunisia is often considered a success story compared to other Arab countries caught up in the popular uprisings of 2011. Unlike Syria and Libya, it has been spared armed conflict. And unlike Egypt, which is descending deeper into authoritarianism, it has implemented impressive democratic reforms. Yet such comparisons risk overlooking the many ways in which Tunisia is still fragile eight years after protests toppled longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. As Francisco Serrano notes in this week’s in-depth report for WPR, the security forces are struggling to counter the threat posed by Islamist extremists based near the border with […]

A woman attends a demonstration to celebrate Tunisia’s independence, Tunis, March 20, 2019 (AP photo by Hassene Dridi).

KASSERINE, Tunisia—The blast that claimed the life of Cherifa Hilali was likely meant for a soldier, not a civilian. One day in May 2016, Hilali, 40, was out picking rosemary on Mount Semmama, an area near the border with Algeria where Islamist extremists routinely battle Tunisian security forces, when a land mine detonated. The explosion killed her and another woman and left a third woman injured. “They were walking through a trail normally used by the military,” Hilali’s husband, Makki Hilali, told me when I met him in February. Rising up from fields of olive trees and cacti, Mount Semmama […]

President Donald Trump delivers remarks to ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the U.S. State Department, in Washington, Feb. 6, 2019 (Photo by Alex Wong for dpa via AP Images).

During his presidential bid, Donald Trump hammered on about the threat posed to America by the self-styled Islamic State, and how he would defeat it. As an issue, it was perfect for him, since the Islamic State’s sociopathic brutality fueled fear and anger among his core supporters—emotions that candidate Trump was able to harness and use to his benefit. Although the Islamic State emerged from the insurgency in Iraq that was unleashed by the American invasion in 2003, the extremist group grew more powerful during President Barack Obama’s administration, so Trump could wield it as a political weapon against Obama […]

Demonstrators rally near the military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, April 15, 2019 (AP photo by Salih Basheer).

Sudan has experienced more change in the past week than in the previous three decades under President Omar al-Bashir, who was deposed in a coup d’état on April 11 following four months of mass protests. Many Sudanese, however, have had little time to savor the euphoria of Bashir’s departure. Their most immediate task is to preserve and protect their revolution from the military leaders they fear will subvert it. Protesters have had some initial success, rejecting the self-appointed head of the new transitional military council, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, who was considered unacceptably close to the old regime. […]

A U.S. soldier sits on an armored vehicle on a road leading to the tense front line with Turkish-backed fighters in Manbij, northern Syria, April 4, 2018 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).

The reasons for U.S. involvement in the Middle East are becoming obsolete, but policy and strategy aren’t keeping pace. Find out more with your subscription to World Politics Review (WPR). The security environment in the Middle East may be the most complex on earth, with an intricate, volatile and sometimes shifting mixture of destabilizing forces and hostilities. There are deadly power struggles within and between nations. And behind it all is the Middle East’s massive oil production, on which the global economy depends. The United States first ventured into the Middle East early in the Cold War and has remained […]

Likud party ballot papers and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign fliers on the ground after polls closed in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 10, 2019 (AP photo by Ariel Schalit).

In this week’s editors’ discussion episode of the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief Judah Grunstein, managing editor Frederick Deknatel and associate editor Elliot Waldman look at how Benjamin Netanyahu was able to win a historic fifth term as prime minister of Israel in elections that were held there this week. They assess what Netanyahu’s victory means for Israel’s policies in the region and its relationship with the United States. Other international news items this week that caught the editors’ eyes: Brexit’s delay, Bashir’s ouster in Sudan and South Korean President Moon’s visit to the White House. If you like what […]

Sudanese demonstrators gather outside the Defense Ministry a day after the military took power and arrested President Omar al-Bashir, Khartoum, Sudan, April 12, 2019 (Photo by Ala Kheir for dpa via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. For a few days this week, the fate of Sudan’s protest movement seemed to hang in the balance. As large crowds continued their sit-in Tuesday morning outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, they were fired upon by paramilitary troops loyal to President Omar al-Bashir, who had been in power for three decades. Yet these troops soon clashed with soldiers who appeared to be sympathetic to the protesters, highlighting how, as the movement to oust Bashir gained unprecedented momentum, at […]

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, left, is welcomed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon his arrival at Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, July 14, 2018 (AP photo by Mulugeta Ayene).

Since Abiy Ahmed became prime minister of Ethiopia a year ago, domestic and foreign observers have heavily scrutinized his political reforms and, especially, the peace deal he reached last year with Eritrea. But the changes he’s introduced extend farther afield. On the foreign policy front, Abiy has demonstrated a willingness to engage with wealthy Middle Eastern countries on the other side of the Red Sea, dismissing his predecessors’ wariness of becoming entangled in the region’s politics. Evidence of this engagement was first apparent in the role that Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, played in brokering the Eritrea peace deal. It […]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, right, signs a peace accord with Eritrea as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks on, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 16, 2018 (Saudi Press Agency photo via AP Images).

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—Since protests swept 42-year-old Abiy Ahmed into power as Ethiopia’s prime minister a year ago, the country has undertaken a dramatic series of changes. Abiy has ended Ethiopia’s two-decade conflict with its neighbor Eritrea, introduced ambitious reforms designed to lessen repression, and vowed to organize Ethiopia’s first free and fair elections. Taken together, these developments from Africa’s youngest head of state amount to an attempted revolution from within Ethiopia’s long-ruling coalition. As Ethiopia remakes itself at home under Abiy, it is also forging a new set of ties with wealthy Middle Eastern nations across the Red Sea, breaking […]

Demonstrators march with national flags during a protest in Algiers, Algeria, March 29, 2019 (AP photo by Toufik Doudou).

The unexpected outburst of popular opposition to the regime long in power in Algeria has stimulated a renewed conversation about the dramatic tidal wave of change in the Middle East in 2011 known as the Arab Spring. The conventional view has been that cascading protests toppled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, but then fizzled out. Egypt returned to its previous strongman system, only one that was even worse than before. Libya, along with Yemen, got stuck in incomplete transitions that led to state failures and armed conflict, exacerbated by outside interference. And Syria is only now, eight years later, […]

Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after taking the oath for his fourth term in office, Algiers, April 28, 2014 (AP photo by Sidali Djarboub).

In this week’s editors’ discussion episode of the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief Judah Grunstein, managing editor Frederick Deknatel and associate editor Elliot Waldman discuss the resignation of Algeria’s aging president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The move follows massive demonstrations that have brought hundreds of thousands of Algerians into the streets to demand Bouteflika’s removal, but also broader political reforms. Amid questions about the shape of Algeria’s future, WPR’s editors discuss the prospects for political renewal there and elsewhere in the region, and the implications for U.S. policy toward the Middle East. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and […]

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, left, and Gen. Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, at a press conference in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, near Paris, France, July 25, 2017 (Photo by Christian Liewig for Sipa via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Less than a week ago, Libyan officials appeared to have achieved a small milestone on the road to restoring civilian rule when the country held local elections. Though voting did not take place everywhere, including in much of restive southern Libya, the United Nations hoped the process would generate momentum for a national conference planned for later this month. That conference was intended to bring together the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli and the breakaway Libyan National Army, which is […]

Greek Cypriots wait at a checkpoint to cross into the Turkish part of Nicosia, April 27, 2003 (Photo by Mustafa Sagiroglu for Anatolia via AP Images).

For 45 years, the island of Cyprus has been divided, politically and physically, between the Turkish-Cypriot north and Greek-Cypriot south. Despite many efforts over the years to resolve it, including some near misses, the conflict has proved intractable. Security guarantees, though perceived differently for both sides, have been among the major sticking points to reuniting the island. But so, too, has restitution of property abandoned by Cypriots who were displaced from both sides of the island during the Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus in 1974. That sense of loss has long featured prominently in Cypriots’ experience of the […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 181 2 Last