In the wakeof the attempted Christmas Day bombing aboard a Northwest Airlines passenger jet en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, the world has turned its attention to Yemen. The would-be bomber’sclaims that he was trained by al-Qaida in Yemen are lookingincreasingly plausible as the investigation unfolds on both sides ofthe Atlantic. In light of the increased attention to the perilous internal situation in Yemen, World Politics Review is temporarily opening up free access to three four recent articles on the country. These articles will remain freely accessible until Jan. 8. In a prescient Nov. 5 article, World Politics Review Columnist […]

Here at WPR, we don’t spend much time thinking about which of thearticles we publish will be most popular. But eyeballs are easier to quantifythan other more important measures. And we’d risk insulting our readersif we put no stock whatsoever in what they read most often. By the same token, it is an irony of online publishing that masses of first-time readers, clicking through from occasional links on heavily trafficked sites, can do more to shape statistics pertaining to popularity than that smaller group of core, loyal readers that it is the primary job of a publication like WPR to […]

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 15, 2009, as part of the WPR feature “Illicit Flows and Transnational Threats.” It is made available here for free, as part of a promotion that ends Jan. 5. To experience more of WPR’s subscription service, sign up for a 30-day free trial. In January 2009, retired Gen. Mauro Tello Quiñones took command of a police unit charged with combating drug-related violence in the popular Mexican tourist destination of Cancún. The assignment lasted just one week. In early February, Tello and two aides were kidnapped and killed. Before murdering Tello, the […]

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Nov. 10, 2009, as part of the WPR feature “China’s Once and Future Rise.” It is made available here for free as part of a promotion that ends Jan. 5. To experience more of WPR”s subscription service, sign up for 30-day free trial. On Oct. 1, the People’s Republic of China celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding, most notably with an air show and military parade along Beijing’s Orwellian-sounding Avenue of Eternal Peace. The event showcased China’s arsenal of indigenously made fighter aircraft, tanks and newer-generation Dongfeng missiles, capable of delivering […]

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has faced challenging times before, but in recent months, Tehran has been confronted with one crisis after another. The threats of severe international sanctions over its nuclear program are mounting, just as domestic strife undermines the legitimacy of the regime. With its plate so full, why did Iran suddenly decide to taunt Iraq — a country with which it fought an eight-year war — by provocatively raising the Iranian flag on an Iraqi-controlled oil field? The answer may point to even more trouble on the horizon for Iran’s leaders. The startling news […]

More than 56 years after the end of the Korean War ushered in a long period of relative military isolation, South Korea is finally taking steps towards a regional security role commensurate with the country’s advanced economy. But South Korea’s rise as a military power is complicated by its domestic politics — and a belligerent North Korea. Despite a technologically advanced military and a Gross Domestic Product that, at just shy of $1 trillion, makes it the world’s 15th-wealthiest country, the Republic of Korea has rarely deployed troops outside its borders. In 1999, Seoul sent 400 soldiers to boost a […]

For regular watchers of “The Dadis Show” — the television broadcasts made by Guinea’s self-promoting junta leader, Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, since taking power in a bloodless coup in December 2008 — the events of the last month have built into a cliffhanger. But whether it will mark the series’ season finale, or its last bow, remains to be seen. Dadis is currently convalescing at a hospital in Morocco after being shot in the head at close range on Dec. 3. His close confidante and head of the presidential guard, Lt. Abubakar “Toumba” Diakite, admitted in an interview on Dec. […]

For a few days last week, it seemed that relations between Britain and Israel were about to plunge into the diplomatic permafrost. But as the two countries emerge from their most bruising encounter in years, it appears that their ties might even end up strengthened. The crisis broke when it was revealed that a London court, petitioned by a pro-Palestinian group under the legal doctrine of “universal jurisdiction,” had issued a warrant for the arrest of Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni on charges of war crimes. Livni, who was foreign minister during Israel’s military operation in Gaza early this year, […]

During his first visit to Moscow as NATO’s secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen outlined his vision of “a true strategic partnership” between Russia and NATO by 2020. Unfortunately, the Dec. 16-18 trip also highlighted persistent divisions between Russia and the West regarding NATO enlargement, Afghanistan, and other areas that present serious obstacles to Rasmussen’s roadmap. The high point of Rasmussen’s visit was the speech he delivered at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). In addition to foreshadowing the agenda items that will likely dominate NATO-Russia discussions in coming months, Rasmussen’s remarks, entitled “NATO and Russia: Partners for the Future,” […]

It has become an article of faith that American counterterrorism policy — especially as practiced in Afghanistan — is a failure, and that as a consequence a new approach is required. This perception served as a major justification for the escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan by the Obama administration, while the associated elevated sense of risk explains much of the resistance to closing the detention center in Guantanamo and holding terrorist trials in federal courts. Fortunately for the United States, the real story is quite different, as the American Security Project’s latest annual report (.pdf) on terrorism trends documents. […]

If you thought the neocons were vanquished, disappearing along with theBush-Cheney administration, better think again. Their mindset stillanimates most of what the GOP offers in opposition to President BarackObama’s magical apology tour. For while the president won a Nobel PeacePrize for his heartfelt mea maxima culpa, Charles Krauthammer & Co. see no reason to surrender America’s two-decades-and-counting “era ofmaximum dominance” to the Chinese simply because Beijing holds the pinkslip on our national economy. First, some details. Atthe heart of this struggle lie two diametrically opposed views oftoday’s world: one that accepts globalization as the all-powerfulshaper of human destiny, and one […]

ISTANBUL — The recent closing by Turkey’s highest court of theDemocratic Society Party (DTP), the only pro-Kurdish party in theTurkish parliament, is being seen as a significant setback for thegovernment’s newly launched “democratization initiative,” a reformprogram aimed at solving Ankara’s decades-old Kurdish problem. Nineteen of the party’s 21 parliamentarians can remain in parliament by changing their party affiliation. (The other two, the DTP’s co-chairs, were banned from politics for five years.) But observers warn that the court’s action could alienate Kurds politically, and lead to increased tension and an upsurge in violence in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast. That, in turn, […]

ISLAMABAD — It is often noted that the outcome of the war in Afghanistan may well determine who gains access to the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia. Pakistan, being a gateway to the mineral resource wealth of Central Asia, has been a key participant in the Afghan conflict. But what is generally less well-known is that Pakistan’s own oil and gas reserves have also attracted significant attention from large multinational energy corporations. According to government sources, Pakistan possesses reserves of 27 billion barrels of oil and 280 trillion cubic feet of gas. Yet most of that wealth remains […]

In discussing my proposal last week for a Sino-Indian Convention that would define 21st century spheres of influence in Central Asia, a colleague suggested that it was an idea that Otto von Bismarck would have been proud of. They didn’t mean it as a compliment. We think of Bismarck as a caricature of the old European warlord, peering through a monocled eye while croaking about decisions forged in “blood and iron.” Most of all, we see him as someone whose policies were designed for personal and imperial aggrandizement, not the betterment of the people. We distrust his approach to the […]

NEW DELHI — India has a long history of deferring critical choices for its armed forces, with defense buildups occurring always after military emergencies, rather than in anticipation of potential ones. The same is true today, when severe deficiencies in equipment and inventories have put archaic Indian acquisition norms in the spotlight, particularly in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks last year. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged problems with India’s defense acquisitions in a recent speech to the Combined Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi, saying, “I am aware that procedures for defense acquisitions and procurements are a matter of […]

One aspect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy that has provoked condemnation across the political spectrum is its approach to human rights around the world. Critics have pointed to a visible tendency to relegate human rights to the background in dealing with offending nations, as Washington keeps its focus on what it deems more important objectives. With the volume of criticism rising, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a detailed presentation of her — and presumably the administration’s — approach to human rights. Her speech at Georgetown University last Sunday offered a fascinating view inside the administration’s evolving philosophy. In […]

In a region that already has enough conflicts, another one is brewing, and it comes from a surprising source: the Nile. The river that has traversed history from the pharaohs through to the Bible and on to the nationalist revolution of 1952 seems poised to enter a new phase. Only this time, there may not be enough water to go around. Egypt’s history is intimately tied to the Nile. A country with very little rainfall, its agriculture was long reliant on the river’s annual floods. Public works projects through the late 19th and early 20th centuries subsequently helped regulate the […]

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