Guinea-Bissau's president, Jose Mario Vaz, during the United Nations General Assembly, New York, Sept. 21, 2016 (AP photo by Frank Franklin II).

Earlier this month, Guinea-Bissau’s political factions agreed to a six-point roadmap to form a consensus government and end more than a year of deadlock. Although the ambitious plan is a positive step toward ending the small West African country’s political crisis, the deal is unlikely to overcome the deep divisions within Guinea-Bissau’s parliament or address the fundamental drivers of instability. Moreover, the planned withdrawal of an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) peacekeeping mission in mid-2017 will allow Guinea-Bissau’s military to play a greater role in politics, raising the possibility of a coup in the next two years. Guinea-Bissau’s […]

New AmeriCorps volunteers are sworn in during a ceremony at the White House, Washington D.C, Sept. 12, 2014 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

America’s conflict with violent Islamic extremism is now 15 years old, with no end in sight. While the conflict does not pose an “existential” threat to the United States, both political and military leaders have warned that it will be a multigenerational effort. There is still much killing to come; persistent violence is the new normal. This is not war in the traditional sense where victory means defeating enemy forces on the battlefield. All of the bombing in the world and even the deployment of American ground combat units to Iraq, Syria or Pakistan would only shift the conflict to […]

Recent graduates from across West Africa complete their five-week Young Africa Leadership Initiative training, Accra, Ghana, Sept. 3, 2015 (U.S. Embassy Ghana photo via Flickr).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss global violence and discrimination against women, the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau, and the need to give Syrian refugees the right to work. For the Report, Ernest Nti Acheampong joins us to talk about how young entrepreneurs are driving economic growth in Africa. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant Articles on WPR: The World Needs a Peace Treaty Between Men and Women WPR Global Insider Interview Series on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Deal to End Guinea-Bissau’s Deadlock Instead Stokes Risk of Another Coup Many […]

The aftermath of an airstrike in a rebel-held area of Aleppo, Sept. 24, 2016 (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets photo via AP).

If it is hard to grasp the scale of devastation in rebel-held Aleppo this week, given the past four years of bitter warfare in Syria’s largest city, consider this detail from Liz Sly and Louisa Loveluck’s reporting in The Washington Post. With no electricity, “families huddle together in the dark” at night, when the bombings are the worst, “gathered in one room so that they don’t die alone, listening to the roar of the jets and waiting for the bombs to fall.” Taking shelter on the lower floors of apartment buildings, “entire families sleep in one room, because they prefer […]

Police and military personnel lay sandbags to strengthen a dike, Woltersum, Netherlands, Jan. 6, 2012 (AP photo).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on countries’ risk exposure, contribution and response to climate change. The Dutch parliament voted last week to cut the Netherland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030, a move that requires closing the country’s five remaining coal-fired power plants. In an email interview, Pier Vellinga, a professor at the University of Wageningen, discusses the Netherland’s climate change policy. WPR: What is the Netherlands’ risk exposure to climate change, what effects of climate change are already apparent, and what sorts of adaptation approaches will it have to adopt or […]

A protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada, Leipzig, Germany, Sept. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Jens Meyer).

When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the stage on Monday night for their first presidential debate, there was one topic on which their positions were not diametrically opposed: trade. That’s not to say they agreed. But in a debate rife with sharp disagreements on just about every issue, the matter of U.S. trade agreements with other countries was one in which they both argued there is room for change. Skepticism about the benefits of free trade is not unique to the United States. Throughout the developed world, the rise of populist politicians has changed the tone of the discussion […]

Egyptian women protest violence used against them in clashes between police and protesters, Cairo, Dec. 20, 2011 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series inviting authors to identify the biggest priority—whether a threat, risk, opportunity or challenge—facing the international order and U.S. foreign policy today. The world must find a way to end violence and discrimination against women. In any other context between human beings, the endemic violence committed by men against women would be considered warfare or terrorism. But rather than being seen as a war against a segment of the population—a real genocide or “gendercide”—which it would be if the targets were not women, the violence and oppression targeting half of […]

A police officer stands guard on the Bulgarian-Turkey border, near Lesovo, Bulgaria, Dec. 04, 2015 (Bulgarian Government via AP).

Earlier this month, the Council of the European Union—the body known also as the European Council where EU member states’ leaders and government ministers meet—formally approved a new border agency for the bloc, the European Border and Coast Guard, or EBCG. The new force will replace the EU’s existing border agency, Frontex, and also include national border authorities and coast guards. It will officially start its activities on Oct. 6. Originally proposed last December during the height of the migrant crisis, the new force aims to provide better management of the EU’s external borders in order to deal with migrant […]

This photo released on Feb. 2, 2015 by the Iranian Defense Ministry, claims to show the launching Safir-e Fajr, or Ambassador of Dawn, satellite carrier in an undisclosed location in Iran (AP photo by the Iranian Defense Ministry).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on a range of countries’ space priorities and programs. The head of Iran’s space agency announced plans last month to launch three satellites into orbit within the next year: the Doutsi earth-observation satellite, the Tolou remote sensing satellite and the Aat Sat telecommunications satellite. In an email interview, John B. Sheldon, the chairman and president of ThorGroup GmbH, a Swiss-based consulting company, and publisher and editor of SpaceWatch Middle East, discusses Iran’s space program. WPR: What are Iran’s space capabilities, in terms of its space-industrial complex, and what are […]

U.S. National Guard members stand by as demonstrators protest the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2016 (AP photo by Jeff Siner).

A routine intervention by security forces turns deadly, causing deeply rooted and widely felt grievances that have lain dormant for years and even decades to erupt into view. Spontaneous protests grow into organized demonstrations, ending in violent confrontations, and at times even riots. By now we’ve become familiar with the sequence of catalyzing events that trigger widespread political instability. It is a pattern that describes Tunisia, Egypt and Syria in 2011, and we are used to thinking of it in terms of fragile states on the periphery. But it also describes the events in Charlotte, North Carolina, last week, following […]

A gas transfer station, Volovets, western Ukraine, Oct. 7, 2015 (AP photo by Pavlo Palamarchuk).

Following meetings with Ukrainian officials in Kiev early this month, the vice president of the European Commission, Maros Sefcovic, who holds the energy portfolio for the EU as a whole, laid out his vision for how the often contentious relationship between Ukraine, Russia and the EU ought to be structured. “Russia as an exporter, Ukraine as a transit country and the EU as the main importer,” he said. This pithy formulation also sums up Europe’s geo-economic approach for managing the Ukraine conflict. Geopolitical strategies to keep the peace appear to be breaking down in Ukraine. An uptick in clashes and […]

A Maori warrior with a traditional Maori trumpet, Auckland, New Zealand, Jan. 1, 2000 (AP photo by David Guttenfelder).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the legal status and socio-economic conditions of indigenous peoples in a range of countries. A recent report showed that white New Zealanders were more likely to be given a warning by police officers for minor crimes than indigenous Maori, who are more likely to be charged. Advocates say the report confirms the bias of the justice system in New Zealand. In an email interview, Margaret Mutu, a professor of Maori studies at the University of Auckland, discusses Maori rights in New Zealand. WPR: What is the legal status […]

Tunisians rally demanding human rights, Tunis, Tunisia, Aug. 31, 2013 (photo by Amine Ghrabi via flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0).

Last week, five Tunisian civil society associations submitted a report to the United Nations, decrying systemic attacks on members of Tunisia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Despite progress in some areas since the popular overthrow of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, many say that discrimination against the LGBT community has worsened over the past five years. In May 2015, the Tunisian government authorized the country’s first official LGBT advocacy organization, Shams, making it the only country in the region to legalize such an association. But a smear campaign ensued, propelled by some conservative politicians and religious figures. Abdellatif […]

Suriname's president, Desire Delano Bouterse, during a military parade, Paramaribo, Suriname, Aug. 12, 2015 (AP photo by Ertugrul Kilic).

Corruption and falling commodities prices have many in Suriname worried that their country is turning into the next Venezuela. Businesses are closing; inflation is rising; and the economy is predicted to contract by 2 percent this year. In an email interview, Robert Looney, distinguished professor in the department of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, discusses the economic crisis in Suriname. WPR: What factors are behind the recent economic turmoil in Suriname? Robert Looney: Suriname’s economy has never been able to break out of the boom-and-bust cycle that afflicts many resource-producing developing countries. The country is almost totally […]

Kurdish fighters preparing to retake Sinjar from the Islamic State, Iraq, Nov. 13, 2015 (AP photo by Bram Janssen).

The United Nations took a historic step earlier this month, for the first time naming a victim of human trafficking as a goodwill ambassador for the dignity of survivors of such atrocities. Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a 23-year-old Yazidi woman who survived months of captivity as a sex slave of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, was appointed to the position at a ceremony at U.N. headquarters in New York. She gives an international voice to the brutalized young women and children of the Yazidi religious minority, the victims of barbarity and sexual enslavement in northern Iraq. Murad’s new role provides some […]

CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 16, 2016 (AP photo J. Scott Applewhite).

Last week, the CIA held its third annual conference in conjunction with George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. The agency’s director, John Brennan, who moderated parts of the proceedings, expressed his deep personal commitment to improving the conversation between the intelligence community and the American public. Earning the public’s trust is an obligation in a democracy, and as a practical matter, a lack of openness only leads to very distorted perceptions of the intelligence function. Brennan spoke of the need for secrecy, not for its own sake, but strictly as required for safety and security. The conference, […]

The Oncupinar camp for Syrian refugees near the border town of Kilis in southeastern Turkey, June 20, 2016 (AP photo by Emrah Gurel).

After five years of relentless conflict and human tragedy, the world has begun to sense the permanence of Syria’s refugee crisis. Those who have fled violence are unlikely to return home anytime soon. Instead of seeing the crisis through a purely humanitarian prism, focusing on aid and resettlement, host countries and international donors are now looking more at how to provide sustainable livelihoods and integrate Syrians into their host communities, in particular by bringing them into the workforce. In countries like Turkey, which hosts some 2.7 million registered Syrian refugees, and Jordan, which hosts more than 650,000, creating a legal […]

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