Troops ride in a vehicle near central Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, March 2, 2018 (AP photo by Ludivine Laniepce).

On May 12, unknown attackers killed a Catholic priest and five worshippers in northern Burkina Faso, before burning the church. Two days later, four Catholics were killed in a separate attack in the region. It was the third attack on Christians in Burkina Faso in just three weeks. Then, two weeks later, gunmen raided another church in the region and shot four people dead. The targeting of both Catholics and Protestants in the country comes amid a wider unraveling of security that has killed and displaced Muslims and Christians alike. In this rising crisis, the escalation is outpacing the government’s […]

President Donald Trump addresses troops at Al Asad Airbase, Iraq, Dec. 26, 2018 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Civil-military relations in the United States work smoothly most of the time. Whether senior military leaders personally agree with a president’s decisions and policies or not, they normally support them, at least publicly. In exchange, civilian leaders respect the authority of military leaders within their own professional domain, particularly on things like military discipline and order. There have been times, though, when U.S. civil-military relations have been more troubled. In some cases, senior military leaders publicly disagreed with a president’s positions or policies and were fired for it. President Harry Truman’s sacking of Gen. Douglas MacArthur over U.S. strategy in […]

Malawian President Peter Mutharika, left, is presented with the Sword of Command by the Malawi Defense Force Commander General Griffin Phiri, right, during an inauguration ceremony in Blantyre, Malawi, May 31, 2019 (AP photo by Thoko Chikondi).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Incumbent President Peter Mutharika squeaked out a victory in Malawi’s presidential election last week, taking 38.5 percent of the vote in a seven-way race. With about 35.4 percent, opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera fell just short in an election that required only a simple plurality to win. In his acceptance speech Tuesday, Mutharika declared, “It is time to move on and develop the country,” according to The Associated Press. Easier said than done. Chakwera followed Mutharika’s speech by vowing to challenge the results […]

British Prime Minister Theresa May listens to U.S. President Donald Trump during the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 30, 2018 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

In this week’s editors’ discussion episode of the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein; managing editor, Frederick Deknatel; and associate editor, Elliot Waldman look at what to expect from President Donald Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom, Ireland and France next week. The editors also discuss the many diplomatic, economic and security-related issues facing the trans-Atlantic alliance. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every day […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses supporters at Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters, New Delhi, India, May 23, 2019 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

The Bharatiya Janata Party owes its dominating win in India’s general election to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is being sworn in for the second time today. The right-wing, Hindu nationalist BJP seemingly sought every vote in his name, as if Modi were running in every electoral district in the country. It worked, as many voters made their decision based on who they wanted as their next prime minister, rather than as their representative in parliament. It helped, too, that the opposition remained divided and undecided on whom to project as its candidate for prime minister. In winning 303 of […]

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister and interior minister, at a press conference after the European Parliament elections, Milan, May 27, 2019 (ANSA photo by Daniel Dal Zennaro via AP).

Last week’s European Parliament elections were expected to propel the far right to new heights, auguring a shiny future for a populist agenda that sends fears across much of the continent. But although far-right nationalists did score their best performance to date, the election results fell far short of expectations. Just as importantly, there are major internal contradictions in the nationalists’ plans to take over the European Union from within, suggesting that the road ahead will bring mostly headaches and disappointment for them and their supporters. The results revealed troubling polarization and the steadily eroding power of centrist parties, the […]

Saudi King Salman, right, and Iraqi President Barham Salih, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 18, 2018 (Saudi Press Agency photo via AP Images).

Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi made his first trip to Saudi Arabia, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The visit was part of a broad effort by Saudi Arabia to counter the growing regional influence of its rival, Iran, by deepening political and economic ties with Iraq. For Iraq, too, a closer relationship with Saudi Arabia allows it to diversity its foreign policy. But the two neighbors’ efforts to mend fences will take time, and will need to overcome many tricky obstacles, says Elizabeth Dickinson, senior analyst for the Arabian Peninsula at the International […]

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, May 17, 2019 (Reuters Pool photo by Thomas Peter via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif traveled to Beijing, where he met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. The visit, part of an Asian tour to promote Iran’s economic engagement with the region amid intense sanctions pressure from the United States, led some to wonder whether China and Iran’s tensions with Washington are pushing them to increase their cooperation. At the beginning of the month, the U.S. ended sanctions waivers for eight countries that import Iranian […]

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, May 28, 2019 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

While the ostensible purpose of European Parliament elections, which took place this weekend, is to determine the makeup of the European Union’s deliberative body, the results often have implications for domestic politics across the member states. This is certainly the case for French President Emmanuel Macron, who positioned himself prominently in this year’s election campaign. But it’s still unclear exactly what impact the vote will have on the future of European or French politics. Macron portrayed the vote as a battle between his progressive, reformist vision for the EU and the illiberal, nationalist policies championed by the bloc’s far-right populist […]

Presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez, left, and his running mate, former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, greet supporters during their kick-off campaign rally, Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 25, 2019 (AP photo by Gustavo Garello).

It sounds like the most improbable political script. Everyone is waiting for the candidate, a hardened political veteran backed by an army of loyal supporters, to declare her run for president. Opinion polls already place her ahead in the race. But then, unexpectedly and on an otherwise quiet Saturday morning, she announces it is actually the vice presidency, not the presidency, that she will seek. She announces a hand-picked nominee for president, someone who has been out of the limelight for nearly a decade. He quickly accepts. Her supporters seem a little startled but unfazed. Then, on the following Tuesday, […]

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido addresses supporters at a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 3, 2019 (Sputnik photo by Leo Alvarez via AP Images).

One month after the failed uprising of April 30 in Venezuela, which opposition leader Juan Guaido had proclaimed as “the final phase” of an effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro, the two sides remain mired in deadlock. The opposition finds itself in a difficult position, riven by internal divisions even as negotiations continue in Norway with government representatives. In the United States, senior Trump administration officials have toned down their rhetoric, even while hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham openly call for the United States to intervene militarily in Venezuela. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation for Venezuelans continues to worsen. In this […]

The funeral service of murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 24, 2019 (Press Association photo by Liam McBurney via AP Images).

Last month, journalist Lyra McKee was fatally shot during a riot in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. A group calling itself the New Irish Republican Army took responsibility for the killing, a troubling reminder of the three decades of political violence known as the Troubles. That conflict, in which Catholic republicans seeking a united Ireland fought with Protestant unionists who wanted to remain a part of the United Kingdom, was brought to an end by the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. But now, the looming specter of Brexit threatens to reverse many of the gains made in the peace process. In an […]

President Donald Trump poses with American farmers in the Oval Office of the White House after announcing $16 billion in aid, Washington, May 23, 2019 (DPA photo by Kevin Dietsch via AP).

President Donald Trump’s policies to “make America great again” often reflect a fondness for an earlier era that was not so great for everyone. Some of his judicial nominees have declined to affirm that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down segregation in public schools, is the settled law of the land. Trump’s immigration policies hark back to a time when there were national quotas that favored some ethnic groups over others. Recent trade developments also suggest a yearning for the golden days of yesteryear. The 1950s are widely remembered as a time of […]

Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong is sworn in as Vietnam’s president, Hanoi, Oct. 23, 2018 (Vietnam News Agency photo by Nguyen Phuong Hoa via AP).

At 76, Nguyen Phu Trong is a man in a hurry, intent on saving Vietnam’s Communist Party from corruption, backsliding and irrelevance. The implications for Vietnam are considerable, since the party’s claim on a monopoly of political power largely rests on its presumed moral superiority. Trong, a Marxist theoretician, is an unlikely leader. For decades, he toiled in obscurity, railing against party members’ loss of Marxist-Leninist virtue and decrying the erosion of the party’s revolutionary legitimacy. Then, three years ago, Trong orchestrated the dismissal of his bete noire, two-term Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Now he’s head of state as […]

A protester amid smoke from tear gas during clashes at the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Sept. 8, 2018 (AP photo by Dimitris Tosidis).

ATHENS—Last September, a story consumed Greek media outlets. A fatal altercation had taken place near Omonoia Square, a neglected plaza in downtown Athens known primarily for its small shops, markets and Middle Eastern restaurants. According to initial reports, a knife-wielding drug user had attempted to rob a jewelry store, only to be apprehended by the owner and killed during the fight that ensued. Within hours, the story became a sensation, a fact that had less to do with its details, which were scant, than with Greece’s current political climate. It presented a prime opportunity for New Democracy, the center-right opposition […]

A farmer picks his maize, in Qunu, South Africa, June 12, 2013 (AP photo by Schalk van Zuydam).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on food security around the world. African countries have long maintained some of the strictest regulations on genetically modified agriculture, with only four out of 47 countries across the continent allowing the planting of any genetically modified crops. Some countries, including Kenya and Nigeria, are mulling looser restrictions on imports and cultivation of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, but those moves will have limited significance for food security, says Robert Paarlberg, an adjunct professor of public policy at Harvard University who specializes in global food and agricultural policy. In an […]

Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Revolutionary Guard commanders in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 18, 2016 (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP Images).

In the high-stakes game between Tehran and Washington, it is often hard to tell who is really bluffing. This week, President Donald Trump threatened that a war would be “the official end of Iran,” responding in part to reports that Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, had urged leaders of Iranian-backed militias across the Middle East to “prepare for proxy war.” For those counting cards, however, Iran may already have tipped its hand. The recent return to Iran of a wave of fighters from Liwa Fatemiyoun, an Iranian-backed militia made up of ethnic […]

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