Libyan children wave national flags as they look out over Tahrir Square, during the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Benghazi, Libya, Feb, 17, 2013 (AP photo by Mohammad Hannon).

Libya is a mess and rapidly getting worse. It is a “failed state ravaged by civil war, and a magnet for al-Qaida and Islamic State (IS) recruits,” as Christopher Chivvis put it— “Somalia on the Mediterranean.” The principle victims are Libyans themselves. After suffering through decades of Moammar Gadhafi’s dictatorship, they now face a future that is, in many ways, even worse. But the danger spreads outward. Gadhafi’s weapons have been used to arm extremists across Africa, dragging other nations like Mali toward the abyss. Libya probably has more IS fighters than any place outside Syria, and they now threaten […]

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers a speech on board the Chinese frigate Changbaishan at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Feb. 19, 2015 (AP photo by Thanassis Stavrakis).

While the world watches the ongoing debt negotiations between Greece and its international creditors mainly for their impact on the Greek and eurozone economies, the talks have already put Beijing’s plans for a strategic transport system meant to further integrate Europe and the Mediterranean with the Chinese market back on track. The new leftist government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens had initially announced plans to halt the privatization of Greece’s largest seaport, Piraeus, alarming investors from the Chinese shipping giant Cosco, which is keen to take a majority share in the Greek facility. But as part of the […]

View of Basseterre, St. Kitts, Dec. 21, 2010 (photo by Flickr usser sel licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

Last week, the opposition Team Unity coalition ousted the Labour party in St. Kitts and Nevis’ parliamentary election after 20 years in power. In an email interview, Wouter Veenendaal, a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, discussed domestic politics in St. Kitts and Nevis. WPR: What led to the success of the Team Unity coalition over the long-ruling Labour Party in recent election? Wouter Veenendaal: The election victory of Team Unity can be explained by a number of factors. First, the Labour Party and its leader Denzil Douglas ruled St. Kitts and Nevis […]

Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz at King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—One month has passed since King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud ascended to the throne to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, taking the reins of a country that is a pivotal player in the Middle East, the Muslim world, international energy markets and the global economy. He took power at a moment of turbulence and potentially lasting, dramatic change. Understanding precisely how he will steer his country is a matter of great interest here in the Arabian Peninsula and around the globe. From the moment he became Saudi Arabia’s reigning monarch, Salman announced his guiding principle would […]

Ugandan tanks of the African Union Mission in Somalia participate in a joint offensive with the Somali National Army on the outskirts of Afgooye, west of Mogadishu, May 24, 2012 (U.N. photo by Stuart Price).

On Feb. 9, Somalia’s parliament finally endorsed a Cabinet, 66 members strong, after Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke had failed in two previous attempts in January 2015 to present a list that could appease all of the country’s fractious clan leaders and political players. Sharmarke is President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s third premier since taking office in September 2012—a product of consistent bickering between Somalia’s top leaders over their respective powers and responsibilities. With only two years left in the government’s mandate, expectations are high that it can work with all stakeholders in Somalia and complete an ambitious post-conflict transition […]

NATO troops take part in the military parade to mark Estonia’s Independence Day near the Russian border, Narva, Estonia, Feb. 24, 2015 (AP photo by Liis Treimann).

The latest cease-fire between government forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine remains tenuous, but there are some signs it may hold for now. Kiev withdrew heavy artillery from the front today as the Russian ruble rallied for the first time since its collapse in December, prompted both by the cease-fire and by a rebound in global oil prices. While Russia’s economic outlook remains grim, with Western sanctions still in place, Russian President Vladimir Putin can claim some measure of victory after a year of interventions in Ukraine. Meanwhile, to the north, the three Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—are faced […]

The entrance to Camp 5 and Camp 6 at the U.S. military’s Guantanamo Bay detention center, which President Barack Obama has pledged to close amid opposition in Congress, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, June 7, 2014 (AP photo by Ben Fox).

When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, there were 680 prisoners being held in the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Today, there are 122. As The Associated Press has reported, that is “less than half the number when [U.S. President Barack] Obama took office, and the fewest since 10 days after the U.S. began shipping al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, shackled and clad in orange jumpsuits, to the base on Jan. 11, 2002.” A slow trickle of prisoner releases has steadily picked up over the last year and a half, and especially in recent months, as part of a policy […]

A Libyan soldier wakes his comrade in Al Ajaylat, 75 miles west of Tripoli, Libya, Feb. 21, 2015 (AP photo by Mohamed Ben Khalifa).

Four years after the revolution began to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi’s regime with NATO’s help, and amid a worsening civil war, Libya today faces a new and very real threat: militants affiliated with the self-declared Islamic State (IS). Even though Libya has no religious divisions that IS can exploit to establish a foothold, the country’s ongoing political crisis, armed conflict and security vacuum provide a fertile environment for IS to expand its influence to Europe’s doorstep. The Islamic State’s senior leadership in Libya is made up of foreign fighters from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, who were dispatched to Libya by […]

Ukrainian troops wave as they ride on an armored vehicle near Artemivsk, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2015 (AP photo by Evgeniy Maloletka).

This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a roundtable in New York sponsored by the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development on the question of whether the West and Russia have entered into a new Cold War. My sense of pessimism that it now seems impossible to get relations between Russia and the West back on track was reinforced by listening to the exchanges. Even if the present cease-fire holds in Ukraine and succeeds in halting open warfare, the effect will only be temporary. Any sort of long-term settlement seems to be beyond reach. Neither Russia nor […]

U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave to the media before a meeting in New Delhi, India, Jan. 25, 2015 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

U.S. President Barack Obama’s January visit to India saw some long-awaited movement on the two countries’ Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), touted by both sides as a means to transform the current buyer-seller defense relationship into one based on coproduction and co-development. In pursuit of this stated goal, India and the U.S. have agreed upon some pathfinder projects for production of U.S.-origin systems in India, in addition to exploring several high-end joint technology development proposals. The moves confirm that the DTTI will be a key element of the two sides’ renewed bilateral defense pact as it moves into its […]

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy guided missile destroyer Qingdao during a search and rescue exercise off the coast of Hawaii, Sept. 9, 2013 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brennan D. Knaresboro).

Earlier this month, while visiting Seoul for talks with his South Korean counterpart, China’s defense minister expressed Beijing’s opposition to the deployment in South Korea of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system. That followed a similar declaration by China’s ambassador to South Korea in November, and the topic was reportedly also raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping in talks with South Korean President Park Geun-hye during Xi’s visit to Seoul in July. The vocal expressions of Chinese concern are puzzling, since the U.S. and South Korean governments have not held any formal talks on such […]

Honor guards stand at the Pentagon Memorial on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the Pentagon, Arlington, VA, Sept. 11, 2011 (AP photo by Charles Dharapak).

For almost a decade now, since the publication of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s brilliant, discursive rumination “The Black Swan,” conventional wisdom has held that the biggest threats to strategy—in national security as well as areas like finance—come from sudden and unexpected events. A black swan, as Taleb named such an event, is at its core both a shock and a surprise. It is an “outlier,” Taleb writes, “as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility.” He goes on to claim that such events are the engines of history. “A […]

Opposition demonstrators display a Venezuelan flag in front of a line of Bolivarian National Guard officers dressed in riot gear in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 12, 2015 (AP photo by Fernando Llano).

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stepped up his crackdown on his political opponents with the arrest last week of the mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, who stands accused of trumped-up charges of plotting a coup with support from the United States. Ledezma’s is the most recent in a string of arrests of opposition politicians and comes as Maduro faces a severe economic crisis at home. Since assuming power in 2013, Maduro has struggled escape the shadow of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, and unify his base of support, known as the Chavistas. Last July, with oil prices only just falling, Frida Ghitis […]

A taxi driver transports a car full of passengers in Havana, Cuba, Feb. 17, 2015 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

U.S. President Barack Obama defends his opening to Cuba as a more effective way to bring democracy to the island than his 10 predecessors’ policy of isolation. Engagement, he argued in December, “chips away at this hermetically sealed society, and I believe offers the best prospect then of leading to greater freedom, greater self-determination on the part of the Cuban people.” This rationale has been echoed by administration officials at every opportunity since then, along with the hope that Washington’s new approach will enable it to recruit European and Latin American allies to push Havana on human rights and democracy. […]

Libyan soldiers take a break from fighting with militants on the frontline in Al Ajaylat, 75 miles west of Tripoli, Libya, Feb. 21, 2015 (AP photo by Mohamed Ben Khalifa).

Just how bad is Europe’s strategic situation? Over the past week, senior European politicians and officials have piled up dire predictions about the continent’s security. Italy’s foreign minister called for a United Nations peacekeeping force to halt Libya’s collapse into violence “before it’s too late.” The French defense minister attacked other European Union states for failing to do enough against terrorist groups in Africa. NATO’s deputy military commander warned that Russian forces could launch an assault aimed at seizing territory from an alliance member similar to its operations in Ukraine, sparking an “existential”—meaning nuclear—war. This all sounds rather like panic. […]

A busker plays music in front of graffiti that refers to Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the Plaka district of Athens, Feb. 21, 2015 (AP photo by Thanassis Stavrakis).

On Friday, European finance ministers meeting in Brussels reached a deal to extend Greece’s bailout by four months. As part of the deal, Greece was given 48 hours to present a list of reforms to creditors, including measures such as cracking down on tax evasion and relaxing labor laws. This list is due to be submitted by midnight on Monday, and if creditors do not feel the reforms go far enough, the entire deal could collapse. The tentative agreement eases some of the uncertainty that came with the victory of the radical left Syriza party in Greece’s snap election in […]

Shiite militia fighters sing anti-Islamic State group songs on the frontline near Kirkuk, Iraq, Feb. 15, 2015 (AP photo by Emad Matti).

Iraq is an artificial creation cobbled together from provinces of the old Ottoman Empire by outsiders. The ethnic groups and religious sects that live there were not always mortal enemies, but there was an undercurrent of enmity among them that turned malignant when Saddam Hussein imposed a murderous domination by his group, the Sunni Arabs. When the United States waded into Iraq, it hoped that this precarious political entity could hang on in part as a barrier to Iran. After the removal of Saddam in 2003, Washington encouraged Baghdad to develop an inclusive government balancing the interests of its component […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 621 2 3 4 Last