So Far, Calm Follows Coup in Niger

There has been relative calm since last week’s coup in Niger, says Deputy Assistant Secretary of African Affairs William Fitzgerald. He says that though the United States does not support the violent overthrow, if the new government can stay true to its moniker, “Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy,” not all hope is lost. Overthrown President Mamadou Tandja had already begun to twist the meaning of the word democracy in previous years as he manipulated Niger’s constitution to extend his rule. The new government, which has already dropped their previously imposed curfew, says they would like to see a […]

Mnookin: Iran is ‘A Problem from Hell’

Director of Harvard’s Negotiation Research Project Robert Mnookin talks about the ramifications of a nuclear Iran. Mnookin says that a nuclear Iran will cause a domino effect with its neighbors, such as Saudi Arabia, wanting to become a part of the nuclear club. The realization of which, he says, would be detrimental to international security.

Clinton: NATO Strategic Concept

“Those of us responsible for crafting a new Strategic Concept do face a great challenge and a great opportunity. The phrase “post-Cold War” says more about what our current era is not than about what it is or should be. All of us here today will help define what this new era will become.” -Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, NATO Strategic Concept Seminar

Civilian Casualties Under Fire in Afghanistan

Afghan officials are continuing to raise concerns over a recent wave of civilian casualties. Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen attributes these errors to be in great part due to difficult terrain and an enemy that is known to mingle with civilians making differentiation difficult. At the end of the day, Mullen said, “war is ugly.”

Biden: The Path to Nuclear Security

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at National Defense University on the White House’s nuclear security agenda. From budget requests to foreign policy, Biden takes students through the Obama administration’s nonproliferation program, emphasizing the importance of the NPT and technological advances.

ElBaradei For President?

The former Director General of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, has not formally announced that he will run for office, but public support and recent interviews indicate that the possibility is not far-fetched. ElBaradei says that he feels it is his duty to represent the people of Egypt, but has demanded certain preconditions be met before he runs for office. The Egyptian constitution, which has been heavily amended over the years by current president Hosni Mubarak, is the central obstacle to ElBaradei’s candidacy.

The Basij is to Blame for Violence

WorldFocus’ Daljit Dhaliwal interviews Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment about the state of affairs in Iran. Sadjadpour describes the Basij, an arm of the Islamic Revolutionary guard, as “boy scouts” in some rural parts of Iran. However, he says there are some hard-line elements to the organization that are more like “a cross with the Hells Angels and the Taliban.” He says this particular faction of young men is responsible for violently suppressing protesters with the blessing of Tehran.

The Marjah Focus

As NATO forces move deeper into their Marjah offensive, WorldFocus speaks with Marvin Weinbaum of the Middle East Institute about what this new strategy might mean for the the future of Afghanistan. He said, “I have no doubt that we will be able to clear the area,” in reference to Marjah. His uncertainty is with handing over security detail to Afghan forces.

Dalai Lama Speaks After White House Visit

After visiting the White House in a low-key capacity — as to not make any further waves with an already agitated Beijing — the Dalai Lama greeted reporters and gave his impressions on the talk, referring broadly to ideas of compassion and tolerance.

State Dept. Briefs Press on Iraqi Elections

Christopher R. Hill, United States Ambassador to Iraq, briefed reporters on the lead up to the Iraqi elections scheduled for early March. Of election monitoring efforts, which will be closely watched to ensure legitimacy of the results, Hill said “We are working very closely with the UN and with the U.S. forces to help secure having 26 four-person monitoring teams.” In other developments, the Ambassador said “Iraq has made important strides in its economy in recent months.” Read the full transcript of the briefing here.

Strategic Capture in Afghanistan Leaves Questions About Taliban Structure

As the Marjah offensive progresses, the alleged capture of resistance leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Pakistan has raised questions about the structure of the Taliban and how it would recover from a significant loss of leadership. Judy Woodruff speaks with Afghanistan political experts Seth Jones, Thomas Johnson and Steve Coll. “The key issue will be negotiating with the key power brokers in the Marjah area,” Jones says.

Serbia Wants to Go Back to the Table

Today is the second anniversary of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia, but as people celebrate in the streets, officials in Belgrade are trying to figure out how to stop the declaration from international recognition. The International Court of Justice has yet to rule on the legality of Kosovo’s secession, but a few nations have already recognized the province as autonomous. Al Jazeera’s Clayton Swisher spoke to Vuk Jeremic, Serbia’s foreign minister, who has been leading the diplomatic charge against Kosovo’s independence.

Obama Invests in Nuclear Energy

President Barack Obama announced more than $8 billion in loan guarantees for two new nuclear reactors, saying that the money will go to creating a clean energy sector that also generates hundreds of thousands of domestic jobs. This trend toward nuclear energy is being seen worldwide and is outlined in greater detail in WPR’s recent feature, Green Power: Geopolitics After Oil.

Clinton: Open Dialogue Creates the Conditions for Change

Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton speaks at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar. With respect to finding a peaceful, two-state, solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, Clinton says: “We support a two-state solution, with Israelis and Palestinians co-existing peacefully and with mutual security. We believe that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet […]

Ghani: There Is No Capital “I” in Insurgency

Ashraf Ghani, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Institute for State Effectiveness, explains his view on the pillars of insurgency in Afghanistan at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Ghani says that bad governance, a wealthy, drug-funded base, Al-Qaida, and havens in Pakistan are the driving causes leading insurgencies.

Euro Faces First Big Test in Greece

Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, an economic forecasting and consulting firm, tells NewsHour that Greece isn’t the only concern the EU has on its radar. Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain — or “PIGS” as the financially unstable group has been dubbed — are causing concern among EU officials who fear that bailouts might reinforce bad fiscal behavior while expulsion from the currency group would cause longer term damage.

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