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Highlights From CFR

July 18, 2014

The World This Week

The Sunni-Shia Divide

Sectarian conflicts have fed a Syrian civil war that threatens to transform the map of the Middle East, spurred violence that is fracturing Iraq, and widened fissures in a number of tense Gulf states. Growing clashes between Sunni and Shia forces have also sparked a revival of transnational jihadi networks that poses dangers beyond the region. View the InfoGuide »

The Downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17

Janine Davidson

The downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17—which killed 295 civilians—marked an escalation in the crisis between Ukraine and Russia. To date, Western Europe has dragged its feet in instituting biting sanctions against Russia, but with the conflict on their front doors, NATO states will need to show serious interest in order to ease regional tensions. Read more on Defense in Depth »

War Comes to Ukraine

Alexander J. Motyl

This week saw a major escalation of Russian military involvement in Ukraine, which, until yesterday, had gone relatively unremarked in Western media. But now, no matter who fired the missile that brought down Malaysian Airlines MH 17, things are set to change. And that is bad news for Putin. Read more on »

Crisis in the Middle East

The Muslim World Is Upside Down

Leslie H. Gelb

Six hundred years of Mideast history are shredding, and no brilliant policy can soon reverse these horrific tides. Over time, Washington will need to forge new alliances, including with Iran, to meet the jihadi challenge. Read the op-ed »

Israeli-Hamas Brinkmanship

Robert M. Danin

Since the five-hour temporary ceasefire mandated by the United Nations, more than one hundred rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel. Thursday night, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered IDF troops to begin ground operations in Gaza. Read about this and other developments from this week in the Middle East. Read more on Middle East Matters »

What Is Hamas?

Founded in 1987 during the first Intifada, Hamas is a Sunni Islamist group and a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization violently opposed to the state of Israel. This primer chronicles the group's origins and history. Read the Backgrounder »

An Interactive Look at the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

For decades, the effects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have reverberated throughout the Middle East and the world. This interactive guide details the origins of the dispute and its often contested history. View the interactive »


The BRICS Bank Is Risky Business

Robert Kahn

The proposed development bank for emerging markets is an economic gamble that could suffer from poor investments, bad policies, and corruption. Read more on Macro and Markets »

Jokowi’s High Road a Mistake

Joshua Kurlantzick

Despite quick count reports that Joko Widodo has won Indonesia's presidential election, he has not rebutted his opponent Prabowo Subianto's claims to victory. Jokowi's failure to proactively ensure the validity of his quick counts in the most hotly contested presidential election in Indonesia's modern history is a huge mistake. Read more on Asia Unbound »

The World Ahead

An Audio Preview of the World Next Week

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon

In this week's podcast, Lindsay and McMahon discuss escalating tensions in Gaza; a nuclear talk deadline for the world powers and Iran; and the release of Indonesia's presidential election results. Listen to the podcast »

Japan's New Politics and the U.S.-Japan Alliance

Sheila A. Smith

The U.S.-Japan security treaty dates to the end of World War II. It was revised in 1960 to grant the United States access to military bases on the archipelago in exchange for a U.S. pledge to defend Japan in the event of an attack. However, changes in Japan's domestic politics in the last two decades have affected that partnership. Read the report »

Immigration Reform Is Happening

Shannon K. O'Neil

With the federal government incapacitated, states, cities, and municipalities have stepped into the fray. Although some of the more than four hundred laws passed in 2013 are unfavorable to undocumented immigrants, the majority find ways to integrate undocumented immigrants into U.S. society. Read the op-ed »

Protect Undocumented Children

Mark P. Lagon and Patrick McCormick

As the number of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala crossing the border continues to increase, Congress should resist changes to current human trafficking laws that would facilitate more rapid deportations of these vulnerable children. Read the op-ed »

China's 2008 Milk Scandal Revisited

Yanzhong Huang

China's 2008 milk scandal, which caused an estimated 300,000 infants to fall sick and claimed the lives of six babies, was recently used by Premier Li Keqiang to strengthen the country's food safety laws. How effective these efforts will be remains to be seen. Read more on Asia Unbound »

World Events Calendar

July 20: General Election, Thailand
CFR Resources on: Thailand »

View the Calendar »

Inside CFR

In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs committee, CFR Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh discussed Iran's destabilizing role in the Middle East. Read the testimony┬╗

The Long and Short of Chinese Economic Reform

In July's Global Economics Monthly, CFR senior fellow Robert Kahn discusses economic reform and rebalancing in China, and their implications for future growth and crisis prevention. Read the report┬╗


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