Analysis

Angola Has an Opportunity to Lead

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A change in leadership often signals a natural time for transformation and, of course, challenges. The first peaceful transition of power in Angola took place in August, with the election of João Lourenço as the new president, replacing long-serving José Eduardo dos Santos, who led the country for thirty-eight years. Eugen Iladi  The National Interest International observers called the election process fair, with the ruling MPLA party taking 61 percent of the votes. In mid-September, the Constitutional Court of Angola ... Read More »

The Social Roots of Jihadist Violence in Burkina Faso’s North

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Jihadist violence in the West African Sahel has now spread to the north of Burkina Faso The response of Ouagadougou and its partners must go beyond the obvious religious and security dimensions of the crisis, and any solution must take into account deep-rooted social and local factors. Executive Summary Long spared by the Sahel’s armed groups, Burkina Faso now faces increasingly frequent and lethal attacks in its north. Although this insecurity in large part is an extension of the Malian ... Read More »

Discord in Yemen’s North Could Be a Chance for Peace

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Since August, a public rift has surfaced between the two main partners on the northern front of Yemen’s war – the forces loyal to the Huthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh. ICG Rather than fostering its rivals’ discord, key powerbroker Saudi Arabia should seize this rare chance to resolve the two-and-a-half year war by championing a new regional initiative. 1. Overview A public rift between Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party (GPC) and the Huthis (aka Ansar Allah) may change ... Read More »

Explainer: how our understanding of risk is changing

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Under the traditional notion of risk, people react predictably based on how risk-tolerant they are. Here, risk is calculated by combining the probability of something occurring (such as rolling a six with a pair of dice) with the value of the outcome (how much you have wagered). Robert Hoffmann  Adrian R. Camilleri  But our understanding of risk is changing. The Conversation We now know that a whole host of factors, from your personal history to your mood and age, all ... Read More »

The Domestic Challenge to Kyrgyzstan’s Milestone Election

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While Kyrgyzstan’s 15 October elections are a rare milestone for Central Asian democracy, the campaign is exposing dangerous fault lines. Deirdre Tynan  In the largest city of Osh, the new president will have to face down robust local power brokers, defuse Uzbek-Kyrgyz tensions and re-introduce the rule of law. ICG Kyrgyzstan’s forthcoming presidential elections on 15 October are a milestone for Central Asia: for the first time, a president from the region will voluntarily stand down at the end of ... Read More »

How to Turn Battleground Ukraine Into a Success Story

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If the West manages to talk Kiev out of any hasty ill-judged decisions and convince it to accept Moscow’s peacekeeper proposal as it is, then the world will finally see a win-win Anna Tikhonova, Cyril Fokin The National Interest Putin’s early September suggestion that a UN peacekeeping force be sent to the Donbass region triggered a skeptical reaction from the Western block To a certain degree, the Kremlin’s acceptance of the deployment of UN peacekeepers signifies a diplomatic victory of the ... Read More »

Why Europe Needs a New Deal, Not Breakup

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The EU is facing a crisis of legitimacy—but retreating to the nation-state will only benefit the far right By Yanis Varoufakis and James K. Galbraith * The Nation The American New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt’s first two terms combined the goals of financial stabilization, reconstruction, conservation, and employment—jobs for the jobless; public works; power systems and new industries, especially in the South; soil conservation and reforestation to battle the Dust Bowl; and a potent mix of regulations and insurance to assert ... Read More »

Let’s All Agree Not To Visit Turkey

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To many Americans, a trip to Turkey has long seemed like a dream excursion A NATO ally that sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey has offered an approachable window into exotic history and culture. And the flights are generally affordable, too. Gregg Roman The Daily Caller But Turkey has changed in the past few years. The State Department hasn’t issued a travel warning yet, but if Americans think they’ll be safe there, they’re wrong. One year ago ... Read More »

An Eye for an Eye: Iran Promises to Partition Saudi Arabia If Iraq Is Partitioned

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Iran is now openly threatening to dismember Saudi Arabia for its support for Kurdish independence and secession from Iraq. Prof. Hillel Frisch BESA This ratcheting up of tensions has implications not only for those two countries but for the region and the world at large Israel would do well to remember that the Middle East is growing ever more volatile, and the US should sharpen its resolve to contain… The Iranian-Saudi struggle over primacy in the Middle East ... Read More »

How to Ensure a Credible, Peaceful Presidential Vote in Kenya

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Following the annulment of August’s historic vote, Kenya must hold repeat presidential elections by 1 November. But rising tensions and the threat of an opposition boycott could result in missing the vote’s deadline and risk a constitutional crisis Both political camps must move away from harsh words and find mutually acceptable electoral reforms to allow elections to proceed. ICG 1. Overview Kenya must hold repeat presidential elections before 1 November, after the country’s Supreme Court annulled a first vote that ... Read More »

What drives lone offenders?

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Lone offender attacks – sometimes called “lone wolf” attacks – make headlines fairly regularly It’s not just the single shooter killing dozens and injuring hundreds in Las Vegas, but also shootings in Washington and Texas shopping centers. Randy Borum  The Conversation In Nice, France; Orlando, Florida; and elsewhere, atrocities committed by individuals apparently acting alone have surprised and concerned the public and authorities… Because just one person is at the center of the event, these sorts of attacks can seem ... Read More »

The Twists and Turns along China’s Belt and Road

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China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative could potentially transform relations with over 60 countries across Eurasia, Africa and beyond But to bring the concept to fruition, Beijing must overcome mammoth logistical obstacles, navigate fragile political situations and placate growing regional apprehension surrounding its ambitions. Michael Kovrig  ICG “The project of the century” is how Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi touted the Belt and Road Initiative to the world when addressing the UN General Assembly on 21 September. It was only ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia Must Prepare for the Post-Petroleum Order

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The jury is out on how far Mohammed bin Salman will go in steering reforms to liberate the innovation and productivity of younger Saudis Precisely because women and human-rights activists in Saudi Arabia have highlighted its past proscription as a symbol, the royal decree granting Saudi women the right to drive is no small matter. Mark P. Lagon  The National Interest And it surprisingly comes as the Saudi government has been enthusiastically embraced by a U.S. president who said—on Saudi territory—“We are not here to lecture” ... Read More »

The Who, Where, and When of Secession

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National self-determination, the principle that US President Woodrow Wilson put on the international agenda in 1918, is generally defined as the right of a people to form its own state. Joseph S. Nye Project Syndicate The independence referendums in Iraqi Kurdistan and Catalonia are the latest examples showing why that principle is so often difficult to apply. CAMBRIDGE – This week, Kurds in northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence for the country’s Kurdistan Region. With some 30 million ... Read More »

Grattan on Friday: Careful, Mr Dutton, Donald Trump might hear you

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It’s the tiniest start. But the first offshore refugees leaving Papua New Guinea and Nauru for the US this week represented a new life for more than 50 people and a glimmer of hope for others. Michelle Grattan  The Conversation So it was a nasty, jarring note when Immigration Minister Peter Dutton marked their departure with a derogatory spray. Dutton, appearing in his regular spot with 2GB’s Ray Hadley was asked about a newspaper photo of departees from PNG, which ... Read More »

EL PAÍS analyzes 10 claims commonly made by separatists to support their cause

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The Catalan pro-independence movement bases its claims on a set of emphatic and oft-repeated assertions These range from historical beliefs (that there was, for example, a war of secession in 1714 that resulted in a subjugated Catalonia) to economic maxims (Spain is robbing us, we’d be richer outside Spain). EL PAÍS These assertions are all false. EL PAÍS has analyzed 10 of the myths that are used to support the separatists’ story, and found that not one of them withstands ... Read More »