Police officers prevent access to the church where a hostage-taking claimed by ISIS left a priest dead, Normandy, France, July 27, 2016 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Though only a little more than half over, 2016 has already turned into a tragically bloody year of terrorism. What is concerning is not simply the extent of this violence but the ongoing mutation of terrorism into new forms. This is not unexpected. Terrorism constantly changes as the dark organizations that use it innovate. Terrorists seek to cause fear, anxiety, panic and overreaction. The unknown and unexpected amplifies fear, so once the terrorists’ intended audience adapts to a type or level of violence, they must escalate or find new methods. As is often true in strategy, what works today for […]

Peru's newly sworn-in president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, after his inauguration ceremony, Lima, July 28, 2016 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

After a rollicking election, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski took office as Peru’s new president yesterday. To fulfill his broad pledges for Peru’s economy—mainly, to maintain market-friendly policies while reducing poverty—his administration will need to move quickly and decisively on several issues, especially the energy sector. Kuczynski has committed to closing the gap for access to electricity in Peru by 2020, but that requires efforts aimed at improving power distribution across the country—no easy task. He has prioritized natural gas as a power source, focusing on completing a touted but stalled pipeline connecting the Camisea gas fields in Cusco to Peru’s southern […]

Fighters listen to Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah as he speaks via a video link, Beirut, Lebanon, Nov. 11, 2015 (AP photo by Bilal Hussein).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the potential for conflict between the U.S and Russia, al-Shabab’s resilience, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response to unrest in Kashmir. For the Report, Nicholas Blanford joins us to talk about the effect of the Syria conflict on Hezbollah’s standing in Lebanon and the region. Listen:Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant Articles on WPR: The Real Risk of Unintended U.S.-Russia Conflict Why Territorial Losses Don’t Weaken Somalia’s Al-Shabab Modi’s Kashmir Conundrum: Promising Development as Violence Intensifies Will Syria Be Hezbollah’s Proving Ground, or Its […]

A young Honduran immigrant during a news conference about conditions for Central American immigrants, Washington, May 18, 2016 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced that it would admit more migrants from Central America into the United States as refugees, expanding a program that observers have criticized as inadequate in the face of an exodus of people, many of them unaccompanied minors, fleeing violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras over the past two years. Under the program to date, unaccompanied Central American children seeking to reunite with their families living in the United States have been allowed to apply for refugee status; since it came into effect in 2014, the program has received some 9,500 applications. […]

A man sprays water in an attempt to extinguish bush fires on a peat land, Siak, Indonesia, March 17, 2014 (AP photo by Rony Muharrman).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on countries’ risk exposure, contribution and response to climate change. Earlier this year, Indonesia called on the palm oil sector to play a larger role in the fight against climate change, including by stopping its slash-and-burn deforestation practices. In an email interview, T. Nirarta Samadhi, the Indonesia country director for the World Resources Institute, discusses Indonesia’s response to climate change. WPR: What is Indonesia’s risk exposure to climate change, what effects of climate change are already apparent, and what sorts of mitigation approaches will it have to adopt or […]

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a news conference, Tampa, Florida, July 27, 2016 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shocked the U.S. foreign policy establishment last week when he told the New York Times that he might not come to the rescue of a Baltic state, all three of which are NATO members, if the Russians invaded. While Trump later explained that his hesitation stemmed from concerns over NATO members paying their dues, it is evident that when it comes to the Atlantic alliance, Trump’s misgivings go beyond dollars and cents. Trump’s most recent statements were consistent with other comments he has made regarding Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin and NATO, the bloc created […]

Soldiers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy watch as the USS Blue Ridge arrives at a port in Shanghai, May 6, 2016 (AP photo).

The ruling earlier this month by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in favor of the Philippines in its dispute with China over some of the islands in the South China Sea has spurred a wealth of commentary, forecasts and questions. Three main narratives have emerged. The first centers on the respect of international law that is enshrined in the liberal order. Some observers have stressed that the international tribunal’s ruling strengthens the liberal order, while others see Beijing’s rejection of it as a test or even a threat to the liberal order itself. Many Western policymakers favor […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a statement on the Munich attack, Berlin, July 23, 2016 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

Since 2009, the European Union has faced a nonstop string of major crises, from Greece’s debt and Ukraine’s separatist fighting, to the refugee influx and now Brexit. Throughout each one, Germany has found itself leading the EU as it muddles its way to a response. But Germany’s leadership hasn’t always been welcome, and Germany’s own relationship with its role in Europe is complicated. Berlin has always had an important role in the EU, but historically it was the partnership between Germany and France that drove European policy. However, as the eurozone crisis grew into a pressing emergency and France was […]

A Somali soldier after a bomb attack by al-Shabab on a hotel frequented by government officials and business executives, Mogadishu, June 2, 2016 (AP photo by Farah Abdi Warsameh).

Earlier this month, al-Shabab militants targeted a Somali army base near Mogadishu, killing at least five soldiers. It was the latest in a string of attacks going back to December 2014, when about 25 attackers disguised in Somali army uniforms penetrated the heavily fortified airport of Mogadishu, the main base for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), wounding four. The attacks highlight how, despite being pushed out of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 and having suffered a steady loss of territorial control since, al-Shabab continues to be the main obstacle to Somalia’s political transition. It has also emerged as […]

People leave notes at Gangnam Station to mourn the stabbing death of a 23-year-old woman by a male attacker, Seoul, South Korea, May 22, 2016 (AFLO photo by Lee Jae-Won via AP).

Last month, two South Korean police officers assigned to protect high school students in Busan, the country’s second-largest city, were found to have had sex with several of them. But neither was punished. Instead, they both resigned and were set up to receive full retirement benefits. The former police chief who broke the scandal on Facebook commented, “This is what happens when you dispatch young, good-looking police officers to schools filled with teenage girls.” News of this story broke as South Korea was in an uproar after a young woman was stabbed to death in a bathroom near Seoul’s central […]

Smoke streams from the chimneys of a coal-fired power station, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Nov. 24, 2014 (AP photo by Martin Meissner).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on countries’ risk exposure, contribution and response to climate change. Earlier this month, the U.N.’s special envoy on climate change accused Germany of going against the Paris climate agreement by financing the fossil fuel industry through subsidies. In an email interview, Daniel Klingenfeld, the head of the director’s staff at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, discusses Germany’s climate change policy. WPR: How big of an issue is climate change domestically in Germany, and what role does Germany play in EU and international efforts to address climate change? […]

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention, Cleveland, July 20, 2016. (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

Last week I spent four days in Cleveland listening to speakers at the Republican Party’s national convention describe an America I don’t recognize. According to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and dozens of other convention speakers, the United States is beset by threats from all directions: murderous illegal immigrants crossing the border in droves; Syrian refugees intent on coming to this country to kill Americans; and terrorists hiding in the shadows ready to strike at a moment’s notice, to name just a few. Of course, virtually none of this is true. But to paraphrase an old saw, if the convention […]

Afghan men carry the coffin of a relative who died in a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 25, 2016 (AP photos by Rahmat Gul).

The most recent suicide bombing in Kabul over the weekend, claimed by the so-called Islamic State, contrasts with the near absence of debate over Afghanistan in the U.S. presidential campaign to date. President Barack Obama’s decision to slow down the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country may be enough to delay a difficult debate about abandoning the Afghans. But as the bombing highlights, the presence of U.S. and coalition forces is clearly not sufficient to prevent the violence that plagues Afghanistan. The next president will have a chance to revalidate or reposition U.S. engagement there. The larger challenge is […]

Relatives and comrades pray as they surround the Hezbollah flag-draped coffins of Shiite fighters who were killed in Syria, Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, Oct. 27, 2015 (AP photo by Mohammed Zaatari).

As Hezbollah prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of a month-long war with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the militant, Iran-backed Shiite organization is facing some of the toughest challenges in its three decades of existence. Hezbollah is mired in a protracted war in neighboring Syria, where its fighters are battling to defend the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The conflict is estimated to have taken the lives of more Hezbollah fighters in four years than in the entire period of resisting Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon between 1982 and 2000. Hezbollah is struggling to maintain morale among its […]

Indian paramilitary soldiers and Kashmiri protesters during clashes in Srinagar, Kashmir, July 25, 2016 (AP photo by Mukhtar Khan).

This past April, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Jammu and Kashmir, the disputed state administered by India but claimed by Pakistan. He sought to strike a conciliatory tone in the restive, Muslim-majority region, where residents resent the constant presence and heavy-handed actions of Indian security forces, and where some want to become independent or part of Pakistan. In a public address, Modi, echoing the words of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the last Indian prime minister from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), called for an embrace of three essential pillars to help Kashmir overcome its challenges: humanity, democracy and Kashmiriyat, […]

Protesters hold portraits of Morocco's King Mohammed VI and the Moroccan flag during a rally, Rabat, Morocco, March 13, 2016 (AP photo by Abdeljalil Bounhar).

On July 18, Morocco made a request to reintegrate into the African Union, more than three decades after it withdrew from the organization over its controversial claims to Western Sahara. The dispute over Western Sahara, which Morocco annexed in 1975 following Spain’s withdrawal, has lingered for decades and been a thorn in Morocco’s regional and foreign relations, particularly with neighboring Algeria. In 1984, the African Union recognized an independent Western Sahara as the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, known by its French acronym, RASD, and granted it membership, prompting Morocco to leave the supranational body. The Polisario Front, a liberation movement […]

A Russian SU-24 jet making a close-range, low altitude pass near the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, April 12, 2016 (U.S. Navy photo via AP).

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles inviting authors to identify the biggest priority—whether a threat, risk, opportunity or challenge—facing the international order and U.S. foreign policy today. A war between Russia and the United States is more likely today than at any time since the worst years of the Cold War. This may sound implausible or exaggerated to policymakers, journalists and the wider public. Yet the fact remains that increasing deployments by both sides, coupled with severely constrained direct dialogue, mean that dangerous incidents will become far more likely and will be far harder to […]

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