Mozambique's President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, Sept. 28, 2015 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

Dialogue between the government of Mozambique and the Renamo opposition movement continued to advance this week, with the ruling Frelimo party naming its final negotiating team after three rounds of preparatory talks. Renamo had already announced its expanded team of negotiators last week for the talks, which are to take place under international mediation in an effort to bring an end to a surge in attacks by Renamo followers on road and rail cargo. The agreement to begin negotiations, and to allow international observers to mediate them, represented a major concession by the government and follows a significant increase in […]

Spain's acting prime minister and Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy during a campaign rally, Madrid, June 24, 2016 (AP photo by Daniel Ochoa de Olza).

Spain held its second general election in six months on Sunday, after political leaders failed to form a governing coalition in the wake of December’s inconclusive vote. However, results from Sunday’s voting didn’t move the needle much from December, and Spain, once again, faces the prospect of continued political deadlock. Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party (PP) managed a better showing this time around, winning 33 percent of the vote, up from 29 percent in December. This gives the party 137 seats in the Spanish parliament, but leaves it short of the 176 seats needed for a majority, so […]

Relatives of the 43 missing students from the Isidro Burgos rural teachers college march holding pictures of their missing loved ones, Mexico City, Dec. 26, 2014 (AP photo by Marco Ugarte).

The leaders of Mexico, Canada and the U.S. are gathering today for the final so-called Three Amigos summit of Barack Obama’s presidency. While clean energy targets and other issues will be high on the agenda, so too will the longstanding challenge of reining in the violence associated with transnational drug trafficking, particularly in Mexico. Cooperation with the U.S. on this issue has been a source of tensions under the administration of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who distanced his country’s security forces from their American counterparts. That trend was partly reversed in the high-profile January 2016 arrest of Joaquin “El […]

An Emirati gunner aboard a Chinook military helicopter, Yemen, Sept. 16, 2015 (AP photo by Adam Schreck).

Earlier this month the minister of state for foreign affairs of the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash, announced that the tiny federation of Persian Gulf emirates had declared an end to combat operations in Yemen, where it is part of a Saudi-led military coalition. In a June 15 speech, Gargash was quoted as saying that the Yemen war “is over for our troops,” and that the UAE was now focused on monitoring the political situation and “empowering Yemenis in liberated areas.” The speech was valedictory in tone, reiterating the oft-made point that the Emirati military has exceeded expectations in the […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a press conference during the World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, May 24, 2016 (OCHA photo by Berk Özkan).

The cycle of violence between the Turkish state and insurgents of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is reaching proportions not seen since the 1990s. The fighting has left approximately 11,000 homes destroyed, leading The Financial Times to declare Turkey “the most dangerous country in Europe” and others to begin speaking of the “Syrianization” of the country’s southeastern region, where the brunt of the conflict has taken place. The fighting in the provinces of Diyarbakir, Sirnak, Hakkari, Van and Bingol has taken a heavy toll on civilians. About 1.3 million people have been impacted, with tens of thousands forced to flee […]

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter delivers a speech at the 15th International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-la Dialogue, Singapore, June 4, 2016 (AP photo by Wong Maye-E).

A spate of high-profile diplomatic feuds and military actions related to the South China Sea has raised concern about the direction of U.S.-China relations. At the Shangri La Dialogue held in Singapore from June 3-5, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter charged that China risked “self isolation” through its behavior in the South China Sea. For their part, Chinese officials and media have dismissed such criticisms. President Xi Jinping has firmly defended Chinese actions in the South China Sea, warning that “China will not accept freedom of navigation as an excuse to undermine China’s sovereignty and national security interests.” One […]

Bahraini anti-government protesters hold posters of top Shiite cleric Sheik Isa Qassim, Karrana, Bahrain, May 17, 2013 (AP photo by Hasan Jamali).

Last week, authorities in Bahrain stripped Sheikh Isa Qassim, the country’s most prominent Shiite cleric, of his citizenship. His crime: “Serving foreign interests” and spreading sectarian discord. The move wasn’t in isolation. One week prior, a Bahraini court suspended the activities of al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group, on charges of terrorism, extremism and violence. Days before, Bahraini police detained Najeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, during a raid on his home. Zainab al-Khawaja, a political dissident, also fled the country earlier this month after being released from prison. In May, an appeals court extended the […]

Peasants work in a potato field, Villapinzon, Colombia, Aug. 23, 2013 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Two weeks of strikes, protests and roadblocks ended in rural Colombia two weeks ago after peasant farmers and indigenous groups reached an agreement with the Colombian government to include them in future rulings on mining and other issues in the country’s rural areas. More than 30,000 members of indigenous and peasant groups across the countryside initially joined the agrarian strike on May 30, which affected 24 of Colombia’s 32 departments, or regions. Three protesters were killed in clashes with riot police, and some 100 people were injured. “The government was responsible for the signing of agreements, which are viable and […]

People crowd around market stalls, Lagos, Nigeria, June 20, 2016 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Nigeria’s currency, the naira, lost 30 percent of its value after the Central Bank of Nigeria abandoned its peg to the dollar on June 20. The bank’s move was a substantial but long-overdue shift after a year of haphazard and detrimental economic policy under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. It took 16 months for the bank to abandon its peg, which had exacerbated negative external economic factors, including depressed global oil prices, and helped move the country toward a recession. The lag in policy change is indicative of a slow, centralized and politicized decision-making process under Buhari. The abandoning […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, Monday, May 23, 2016 (AP photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu).

Earlier this month, the German parliament voted to recognize the 1915 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide, a motion that passed with support from all parties in the parliament. Turkey, unsurprisingly, was furious about the vote, and immediately recalled its ambassador in Berlin. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on a visit to Kenya at the time, said “the decision will seriously impact Turkish-German relations.” Erdogan also took aim at German parliamentarians of Turkish origin, saying they should have blood tests to prove their Turkish identity since “their blood is impure,” statements that infuriated the Turkish community in Germany. […]

Iranians in line at a polling station during the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections, Qom, Feb. 26, 2016 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

There is a crackdown underway in Iran. But it is no longer just a crackdown on dissent. Rather it is an attempt to crush views or expressions that depart from the insular and rigid worldview of an increasingly small band of hard-liners. It is not opposition parties, secularists or even reformists that are the latest targets of repression, but longtime insiders and scions of the Islamic Republic; a conservative and clerically vetted president and his administration; and revered cultural figures whose music, art and writings have long been the pride of Iranians. These are the new targets of repression, and […]

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo during a press conference, Warsaw, Poland, Feb. 5, 2016 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

BELGRADE, Serbia—The perceived threat of millions of immigrants from the western Balkans and Turkey, and the status of citizens from Central Europe living in the United Kingdom, have become touchstone issues in the British referendum on whether or not to stay in the EU. But little attention has been paid the other way, to the impact of a potential Brexit on Central and Eastern Europe, a region extending from Poland, the union’s sixth-most-populous member, to Kosovo, which has its own distant aspirations of membership. As polling in the U.K. has showed more support for the “leave” vote, discomfort has grown […]

Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Office, Taipei, Taiwan, May 20, 2016 (Taipei Photojournalist Association via AP).

Chinese President Xi Jinping has a bone to pick with Taiwan’s new president, Tsai Ying-wen, who took office late last month. Xi and other top Chinese leaders believed they had pushed forward unification with Taiwan during the presidency of Tsai’s predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou of the long-time ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Although Ma failed to go nearly as far as they would’ve liked, at least in Beijing’s view, some tangible progress was made. Now, Xi doesn’t want to see those gains lost with a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president in power. Chinese officials correctly perceive that a DPP administration will […]

Migrants and refugees crowd the tracks of a railway station used as a makeshift camp, Idomeni, Greece, May 5, 2016 (AP photo by Gregorio Borgia).

On Friday, the aid group Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym, MSF, announced that it will no longer take money from the European Union or any of its member states, in a denunciation of the union’s “intensifying attempts to push people and their suffering away from European shores.” In 2015, the group received about $42 million from member states and nearly $21 million from the EU itself. The move is a response to a deal between the EU and Turkey, in which Turkey agreed to take back all migrants, including Syrian refugees, who arrived on Greek islands, in […]

Bangladeshi teachers, students and social activists during a protest against the killing of a university professor, Dhaka, April 29, 2016 (AP photo).

A series of gruesome attacks on bloggers in Bangladesh has shocked the country and the world. But they are only one element in a years-long cycle of mounting violence. Large-scale political repression has created a climate of injustice that extremist groups have easily exploited in their war against secularists and liberal thinkers. Unfortunately, political violence is nothing new in Bangladesh. Much of it is the result of the unrelenting, intense rivalry between the country’s two major parties, the governing Awami League of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and […]

Clashes between students and Bolivarian National Police near the Central University, Caracas, Venezuela, June 9, 2016 (AP photo by Fernando Llano).

Next week, on June 23, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) will meet to discuss Venezuela, a country in the throes of an economic, political and humanitarian crisis. It now appears that it’s only a matter of time before Venezuela—virtually institution-less, politically polarized, facing chronic food and medical shortages, and with its government and military wracked by corruption—implodes and becomes a failed state. How did this happen? How did a country with abundant natural resources, a nominally democratic government and basic human rights, one that is a member of a multilateral system with numerous safeguards to […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a welcoming ceremony at the Saadabad Palace, Tehran, May 23, 2016 (Iranian Presidency Office via AP).

With international sanctions against Iran lifted, India is keen to get ties with Tehran back to their pre-sanctions level. This was reflected in the flurry of high-level visits that took place this year in the run-up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran in late May. While India is looking to Iran to help in its transition to an economy fueled by natural gas, it is also betting on Iran to be its gateway into markets in Central Asia, through the development of the Iranian port of Chabahar. For its part, Iran seems keen to deepen its strategic economic […]

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