Backgrounders

Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

The Media Landscape in Iran

Author: Greg Bruno

The crisis following Iran's presidential vote cast a new light on the country's hotly contested media space. A crackdown has limited independent reporting but other sources remain as channels for dissent.

See more in Iran

Brazil on the International Stage

Author: Stephanie Hanson

Brazil's economic dynamism has given it a stronger voice on global trade and energy issues. Experts say Washington can advance its regional interests more effectively through a more sophisticated relationship with Brazil.

See more in Brazil; Economic Development

Presidential Power in Iran

Authors: Greg Bruno and Jamal Afridi

Iran's Supreme Leader remains the regime's ultimate authority but controversy surrounding the country's June 12 presidential election has raised new questions about the role and power of the head of state.

See more in Iran; Elections

Lebanon's Parliamentary Elections (June 7, 2009)

Authors: Ayten Tartici and Lee Hudson Teslik

Lebanon's upcoming parliamentary elections, pitting pro-Western political elements against a coalition led by Hezbollah, will test the country's ability to manage political change among many factions.

See more in Lebanon; Elections

China’s Internal Migrants

Author: Andrew Scheineson

China's rapid economic development has been fueled in large part by a massive migration of rural workers to cities and industrial zones. Young, poorly educated, and highly mobile, these workers continue to face discrimination due to their rural origins and transitory status.

See more in Migration; China