Prime Minister Saad Hariri and other Lebanese officials attend a rally to mark the 14th anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Beirut, Feb. 14, 2019 (DPA photo by Marwan Naamani via AP Images).

The international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri unveiled a new indictment last week further implicating Hezbollah in the destabilization of Lebanon in the mid-2000s. On Sept. 15, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a United Nations-backed court based in The Hague, charged Hezbollah member Salim Jamil Ayyash for two assassination attempts on former ministers, Marwan Hamadeh and Elias Murr, in 2004 and 2005, respectively, and the killing of former Lebanese Communist Party leader George Hawi in a car bombing in 2005. Ayyash is one of four Hezbollah members already charged by the tribunal in 2011 for […]

A rare anti-government protest in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Sept. 21, 2019 (dpa photo via AP by Oliver Weiken).

Egyptians witnessed something rare last Friday night: protests against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Amid heightened repression, Egyptians have mostly stayed home ever since Sisi took power in a 2013 coup, two and a half years after mass protests had led to the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak. Sisi quickly and ruthlessly crushed any opposition, starting with the Muslim Brotherhood. He jailed Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, and other Islamist leaders, along with any perceived critics of his regime. It’s no wonder most Egyptians have opted to keep their heads down. Friday’s protests, which unfolded in Cairo and […]

Across the world, populism has become a prominent feature of the political landscape. This report provides a comprehensive look at the rise of populism and its implications for liberal democracies. Download your FREE copy of The Global Rise of Populism today. In Europe, an anti-immigrant backlash against the 2015 migrant crisis helped fuel the rise of far-right, nationalist parties whose leaders often adopt a populist style. The Brexit referendum in 2016 appeared to be the highwater mark of the populist wave, but in Eastern and Southern Europe, and even in Scandinavia, populist parties continue to either govern or enjoy widespread […]

An image provided by the U.S. government shows the damage to Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil processing facility in eastern Saudi Arabia, Sept. 15, 2019 (U.S. government/Digital Globe via AP).

Kelly Knight Craft, America’s new ambassador to the United Nations, is about to have a tough week at work. With the crisis escalating over Saturday’s airstrikes on an oil processing facility and nearby oil field in Saudi Arabia, there’s no telling how things will go between now and the kick-off of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24. There is little doubt though that Craft will play a leading role as the U.S. and Saudi Arabia seek to make a case for the U.N. Security Council to take strong action against Iran, which Washington and Riyadh have […]

The Saudi military displays what it says are an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in a recent attack on its oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 18, 2019 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

If Iran is in fact responsible for the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities, whether directly or through its proxies in Yemen, it suggests that Iranian cruise missiles and drones are getting more sophisticated. Unlike its ballistic missile program, which receives considerable international attention, Iran’s cruise missile capabilities have long stayed under the radar. That may change following the damage done to oil infrastructure in eastern Saudi Arabia. With more accurate strike capabilities, Iran’s cruise missiles have major implications for the military balance of power in the Persian Gulf. Although Iran has one of the largest arsenals of ballistic missiles […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, meets with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 18, 2019 (pool photo by Mandel Ngan of AFP via AP Images).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Frederick Deknatel and Laura Weiss talk about the attack on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and what it means for the U.S., Iran and the region. They also discuss a massive data leak in Ecuador and the challenge of securing data in the digital age, as well as the Israeli elections and whether they signal the end of the Netanyahu era. 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 […]

A man reads the Al-Shorouk daily newspaper showing candidates Kais Saied, right, and Nabil Karoui on its front page, a day after the first round of presidential elections, in Tunis, Tunisia, Sept. 16, 2019 (AP photo by Mosa’ab Elshamy).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Tunisia’s presidential race is headed to a runoff next month between two surprising candidates: a law school professor who barely bothered to campaign and a media mogul who spent Election Day in jail. Analysts are reading the results as a sharp rebuke of the new political establishment that has emerged since the overthrow of autocratic leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. Neither Kais Saied, the professor, nor business tycoon Nabil Karoui has ever held elected office. They drew 18.4 percent and […]

President Donald Trump walks from the Oval Office as he leaves the White House, in Washington, Sept. 16, 2019 (AP photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta).

It’s still too early to say who is responsible for the attack Saturday on two Saudi oil facilities, or what the U.S. response to the incident will be. President Donald Trump and his administration have so far offered mixed messages on both the attribution of the attack, apparently launched with drones and cruise missiles, and possible repercussions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and intelligence officials have pinned the blame directly on Iran, although so far both the satellite imagery they have provided to the media and the available open source information on the attack are inconclusive. Trump himself first described […]

Hezbollah fighters at a memorial service in Tefahta village, south Lebanon, Feb. 13, 2016 (AP Photo by Mohammed Zaatari).

BEIRUT—In late August, an Israeli airstrike on a compound south of Damascus killed two Hezbollah fighters, who had reportedly been working alongside members of the Quds Force, the elite branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to launch drone attacks on Israeli territory. According to the Israeli army, the airstrike thwarted an imminent attack. Hours later, two mini rotary drones, one fitted with explosives, crashed into the southern suburbs of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, damaging a Hezbollah media office. Details of the incident remain foggy, but reports suggest that Israel had dispatched the drones to target a machine used to […]

Smoke rises as angry residents set fire to part of the Green Village compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 3, 2019 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).

After 18 years, it is hard for most Americans to picture the forever wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan actually coming to an end. Yet over the past week, there were growing signs that what seemed unimaginable could really happen soon. First, on Sunday, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, revealed in an Afghan television news interview the partial details of a deal for a U.S. withdrawal of 5,400 troops in exchange for a pledge from the Taliban to cut ties with terrorist groups like al-Qaida and reduce violence. Then, on Tuesday, members of Congress once again […]

A picture released by the Iranian government claiming to show the launch of a Simorgh satellite-carrying rocket at an undisclosed location, Iran (Iranian Defense Ministry photo via AP Images).

After a four-year pause, Iran resumed its satellite program earlier this year, although two attempted launches in January and February both failed, followed by a third failed launch in late August. Together, they are a major setback for a space program that has long been hampered by the strains of international sanctions, including the ones these tests provoke, like the latest U.S. sanctions on Iran’s space agencies imposed this week. Even though a failed test is an opportunity for Iranian engineers to troubleshoot their rocket designs, the series of failures this year demonstrate the challenges that Iran must overcome before […]