Backgrounders

Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Sudan's Fractured Internal Politics

Authors: Toni Johnson and Stephanie Hanson

Experts say instability in south Sudan should be looked at in tandem with the crisis in Darfur, and some call for addressing Sudan's problems in a more unified way to help forestall an escalation of violence.

See more in Sudan; South Sudan; Peacekeeping

Afghanistan's National Security Forces

Author: Greg Bruno

The growth and strengthening of Afghanistan's domestic security forces is seen as key to an eventual U.S. exit, but some analysts caution that progress will remain slow.

See more in Afghanistan; NATO

U.S. Drone Activities in Pakistan

Author: Greg Bruno

The reliance on unmanned drones to target terror suspects in Pakistan has been quietly lauded by U.S. officials. But the covert program, which has so far gotten little public scrutiny, is facing mounting legal and ethical concerns.

See more in Defense Strategy; United States; Pakistan

China-Pakistan Relations

Authors: Jamal Afridi and Jayshree Bajoria

As the United States and India move toward cementing their warmest relationship ever, India's rival, Pakistan, is broadening its ties with its own powerful ally: China.

See more in Pakistan; China

Fifteen Nuclear Agendas to Watch

Author: Toni Johnson

The Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty gets underway amid new concerns about Iran and North Korea and disputes between nuclear haves and have-nots. Fifteen countries will play a special role in the debate.

See more in Global Governance; Proliferation

The Four Nuclear Outlier States

Author: Toni Johnson

The countries outside of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty--North Korea, Pakistan, India, and Israel--present a significant challenge for U.S. diplomacy and efforts to restrain the spread of nuclear weapons, experts say.

See more in Global Governance; Proliferation

Pakistan's Constitution

Author: Jayshree Bajoria

Pakistan's constitution continues to be the focus of political struggle, with the nation's prime minister, president, regional governments, and army vying for advantage.

See more in Pakistan; Rule of Law; Elections