The head of Sudan’s military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, speaks during a press conference, Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 26, 2021 (AP photo by Marwan Ali).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Across Sudan, people have taken to the streets to protest a military coup that threatens to derail their aspirations for a democratic future. On Oct. 25, just weeks after a previous failed coup attempt, Sudan’s military leadership detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, several key civilian government officials […]

Detail from the Catalan Atlas, a medieval map produced in the 1370s, depicting Mansa Musa of the Mali Empire (Bibliotheque Nationale de France, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

No regular reader of my columns at World Politics Review can be surprised by now that I believe the future of Africa is one of the most important as well as one of the most neglected questions facing humankind. Africa is so routinely marginalized from the concerns of global affairs that even among otherwise well-informed people, most are unaware that it is the continent where almost all the action is taking place in terms of worldwide demographic growth. So it bears repeating here what I have written before: Africa’s population, which at the outset of my own career was about […]

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann during a press briefing at the OECD Ministerial Council meeting, Oct. 6, 2021, Paris (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

A new agreement negotiated under the auspices of the G-20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development aims to crack down on tax havens by subjecting the world’s largest and most profitable multinational corporations to a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent. The deal has been agreed by 136 countries and jurisdictions, collectively representing more than 90 percent of the global economy. The OECD is hoping it will become effective by 2023. Many economists and commentators argue that such a deal is long overdue, given the ability of many gigantic corporations to avoid paying taxes on all or […]

Polisario Front soldiers sit on a cliff in the Boujdour refugee camp, Algeria, Oct. 15, 2021 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

After two years of diplomatic deadlock, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed a new envoy for Western Sahara, a territory disputed between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front, which represents the ethnic Sahrawi population of the territory. The recent designation of seasoned Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura marks a much-delayed and critical step forward in a standoff that, if left untreated, risks spreading instability elsewhere in the region.  The temperature has been rising of late in this often-overlooked conflict. In November 2020, fighting flared up between Morocco and the Polisario Front. A month later, President Donald Trump threw fuel on the […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari speak during a joint news conference, Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 19, 2017 (Presidential Press Service photo via AP).

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan touched down in Luanda, Angola, for the first leg of a four-day, three-nation diplomatic tour of Africa. After meeting with Angolan President Joao Lourenco, the Turkish leader continued on to West Africa, where he met with his Togolese counterpart, Faure Gnassingbe, before concluding his trip in Nigeria with a bilateral meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari. Throughout the tour, Erdogan—who has now visited nearly 30 African countries—highlighted the importance of cooperation between Turkey and Africa, and emphasized the prospects for increased partnerships. He also signed a swathe of bilateral agreements, including one for the […]

Shawan Jabarin, director of the al-Haq human rights group, at the organization’s offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Oct. 23, 2021 (AP photo by Majdi Mohammed).

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Tuesday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. Last week, Israel placed “terrorism” designations on six Palestinian human rights groups, escalating an ongoing legal and political campaign against Palestinian civil society. The move drew condemnations from the international human rights community, while initially attracting a muted response from the United States. Israeli officials reportedly plan to travel to […]

A woman protests at Lekki Toll plaza on the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS demonstrations against police brutality, Lagos, Nigeria, Oct. 20, 2021 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. In Oct. 2020, Nigerians took to the streets in cities across the country during widespread protests against police brutality, popularly known as #EndSARS. The demonstrations, regarded by many as the most significant popular uprising since the country’s pro-democracy struggles of the 1990s, initially began as a campaign […]

A monument to Ukrainian poet and writer Taras Shevchenko is silhouetted against an apartment building with a sign for Russia’s natural gas giant Gazprom, in Moscow, Russia, March 4, 2014 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

Four years ago, at a Track II dialogue between German and American diplomats and analysts, a German colleague of mine explained his firm belief that his country—and, by extension, Europe as a whole—could use geoeconomic tools to regulate and blunt Russia’s geopolitical ambitions. Europe’s need for natural gas, he said, was balanced by Russia’s need to sell. A European strategy of energy diversification would therefore give the West leverage over Moscow, which would not want to risk its access to European markets by making bold political plays. The plan was for European governments to encourage gas utilities to shift from […]

Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate after the announcement of the results of parliamentary elections, Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2021 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Monday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. Iraq has begun the long, tortuous and now-familiar process of post-election negotiations among the country’s powerful, mostly armed blocs, and the interregnum between the Oct. 10 parliamentary election and the swearing-in of a new government could potentially stretch into next summer.  The election results have made possible many important shifts […]

Participants attend the New Africa-France Summit 2021, Montpellier, France, Oct. 8, 2021 (AP photo by Daniel Cole).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. For the first time since the inaugural event in 1973, the Franco-Africa Summit—rebranded as the New Africa-France Summit, or as some referred to it on Twitter and other social media platforms, #AfricaFranceRemix—did not feature a single African head of state or government, or ministerial delegation. Instead, the […]

Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate after the announcement of the results of parliamentary elections, Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2021 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

On Sunday, for the fifth time since the U.S. invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraqis voted in elections. Initial results suggest that the big winner was nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political formation once again emerged with the most seats in parliament. Parties aligned with pro-Iranian militias were the big losers, seeing their vote totals plummet. But with turnout at a record low 41 percent of registered voters, the election is being seen as an expression of Iraqis’ disillusionment with the state of the country’s electoral politics. The elections were the culmination of a political process triggered by […]

Qatari airmen board a transport plane evacuating people at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021 (Qatar Government Communications Office photo via AP).

Senior U.S. officials recently met face-to-face with counterparts from the Taliban for the first time since the hard-line Islamist group took control of Afghanistan in August. The talks, which the State Department described as “candid and professional,” took place in Qatar, which has played an important role as a diplomatic mediator between the U.S. and the Taliban in recent years.  On the Trend Lines podcast this week, Annelle Sheline, a research fellow in the Middle East program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, joined WPR’s Elliot Waldman to discuss Qatar’s history as a facilitator of sensitive negotiations, and what […]

Taliban fighters walk past a Qatar Airways aircraft at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 9, 2021 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

With its rich natural gas reserves and strategic location, the Gulf monarchy of Qatar has long played an important role in regional and global diplomacy that belies its small size. It has mediated or facilitated a number of sensitive negotiations, including the talks that led to the peace agreement the United States signed in February 2020 with the Taliban. Since then, and even after the Taliban overthrew the internationally backed government in Kabul this summer, officials in Doha have continued to exercise influence in Afghanistan. Qatar’s diplomatic efforts have not always been smooth sailing, however. For more than three years, […]

Kenyans read the morning newspapers following the Pandora Papers revelations that President Uhuru Kenyatta is among the beneficiaries of secret financial accounts, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Brian Inganga).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.   Nearly 50 politicians and public officials from 18 African countries have connections to secretive offshore financial structures and trusts in tax havens, according to the Pandora Papers investigation. The leaders implicated by the leaked files—the latest effort of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ—include Kenyan […]

Syrian President Bashar Assad reviews an honor guard at the Syrian Presidential Palace in Damascus, Syria, July 17, 2021 (photo by the Syrian Presidency via Facebook via AP).

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Monday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it.  The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been steadily pushing toward normalizing relations with a number of the states that had formally supported the opposition after the outbreak of Syria’s civil war 10 years ago. Two significant milestones this week suggest that momentum is shifting […]

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, speaks to the media in Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 17, 2018 (AP photo by Salvatore Di Nolfi).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.  More than 80 alleged cases of sexual abuse, including allegations implicating World Health Organization staff members, occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the Ebola crisis between 2018 and 2020, an independent commission has found. Although much of the coverage of the probe has focused on […]

A poster of the Social Democratic Party candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz, at the party’s headquarters just after German parliamentary elections in Berlin, Sept. 26, 2021 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only Weekly Wrap-Up newsletter, which gives a rundown of the week’s top stories on WPR. Subscribe to receive it by email every Saturday. If you’re already a subscriber,  adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Germany’s elections are of global significance under normal circumstances. As the European Union’s biggest economy and political powerhouse, Germany plays a huge role in shaping the bloc’s policy, which in turn has major implications for global trade and geopolitics. But several factors made the circumstances surrounding Sunday’s elections exceptional. To begin with, after 16 […]