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Council on Foreign Relations Religion and Foreign Policy Bulletin
July 2012

July 2012

Thailand's War Without an Audience

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(Surapan Boonthamon/Courtesy of Reuters)


Joshua Kurlantzick, CFR fellow for Southeast Asia, examines the conflict in southern Thailand and analyzes the reasons why it has drawn little attention within the international community. "The nation's deep south is home to a longstanding conflict between local Islamic rebels and the Buddhist-dominated Thai security forces that now stands as one of the deadliest insurgencies in Asia," writes Kurlantzick. "Some 5,000 people have been killed over the past decade, and tens of thousands been injured or made homeless." Kurlantzick notes that even in the age of Twitter and Facebook, there still exist invisible tragedies.


Syria: Beyond the UN Veto

CFR President Richard N. Haass comments on Russia and China's veto of the recent UN Security Council draft resolution on Syria. Predicting that fighting on the ground will intensify, Haass recommends that the United States and its allies work around the deadlocked Security Council to pressure the Assad regime and provide support for the Syrian opposition. He posits that although initiating Assad's fall will not be without its challenges, "it will likely prove far harder to manage a transition to something stable and democratic." Read more »

Unsettled Times in Israel

Elliott Abrams, CFR senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies, analyzes the mood in Israel amid the collapse of the governing coalition. Abrams explores Israel's plans to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions, and Israel's frustration over the United States' lack of leadership in Syria. To learn more about the temperature on the ground and at large, read the Interview »

Activists Mobilize Against the Taliban

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, CFR fellow and deputy director of the women in foreign policy program, discusses the surge of protests for women's rights in Afghanistan following the Taliban's execution of an Afghan woman. In reaction to the violent tragedy, Afghan president Hamid Karzai condemned the murder and called it "a crime in the sacred religion of Islam and the laws of the country." However, Lemmon and many activists in Afghanistan remain skeptical. "Some women leaders say the gruesome execution lays bare the myth of a 'reformed' Taliban and forces the world to see what they have argued for a while: there is no evidence that Taliban elders are ready to respect the current Afghan constitution, which offers women equal protections under the law," writes Lemmon. Read more »

The Muslim Brotherhood's Long Game

In this Foreign Affairs article, Eric Trager, fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argues that although the Muslim Brotherhood now controls Egypt's parliament and the presidency, its power exists in name more than reality. Trager does not foresee the Brotherhood waging a war with its opponents to gain more power, but instead predicts they will play the long game, and gain support by waiting patiently. To learn more about the political and religious dynamic in Egypt, visit Steven Cook's CFR blog, From the Potomac to the Euphrates »