Backgrounders

Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Author: Steven J. Markovich

Postsecondary education has significant public and private benefits, but debate continues over the extent of federal student lending.

See more in United States; Education

Sarin

Author: Zachary Laub

Sarin, one of the world's most lethal chemical weapons, has long been stockpiled but is rarely used by states or terrorists. Allegations of attacks on civilians in Syria, if substantiated, would represent a departure from long-standing international practice.

See more in Weapons of Mass Destruction; Syria

Same-Sex Marriage: Global Comparisons

Author: CFR.org Staff

The movement to recognize same-sex marriage continues to gain traction worldwide, though homophobia still persists within societies. This Backgrounder examines policies toward same-sex couples in select countries.

See more in Global; Society and Culture

Human Rights in Iran

Authors: Jayshree Bajoria and Robert McMahon

Global monitors say Iran's human rights situation is poor and unlikely to improve amid a climate of political uncertainty and growing external pressures. But activists urge continued international scrutiny of Iran's violations.

See more in Iran; Human Rights