Explainers

In Briefs

Succinct rundowns on the world’s most important developments, produced by CFR’s scholars and editorial team. 

In Brief Filters and Cards

Pakistan
Why Pakistan Is Deporting Afghan Migrants
Pakistan’s decision to deport undocumented migrants over perceived security risks is poised to affect almost two million Afghans. 
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo Holds Tense Elections: What to Know
Congo’s elections on December 20 are unlikely to deliver meaningful change to address massive insecurity in the east, corruption scandals, and persistent poverty.
Netherlands
What Do the Dutch Elections Mean for Europe?
Far-right candidate Geert Wilders emerged as the biggest political force in Dutch politics in November’s general elections. What does his win mean for the Netherlands and Europe?
Israel
Israel Seeing Military Progress Against Hamas Amid Mounting Civilian Toll
Israel’s forces have moved to control the northern Gaza Strip but face challenges in tracking Hamas fighters into tunnels. Meanwhile, the costs for Palestinian civilians are intensifying pressure on Israeli leaders.
Climate Change
COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai: What to Expect
Scientists say governments need to act with more urgency to keep global warming in check. How much progress is possible at COP28?
Middle East and North Africa
How Hezbollah Sees the War in Gaza
A much-anticipated speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on November 3 largely echoed Iran’s pronouncements of support for Hamas and its threats of intervention in the group’s war against Israel.
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel’s Ground War Against Hamas: What to Know
A major ground campaign in the Gaza Strip will display Israel’s overwhelming military force, but the country faces a steep challenge in its goal of eradicating Hamas, as well as in finding a workable post-combat plan for the territory.
Latin America
Ecuador’s 2023 Election: What Noboa’s Victory Means
Daniel Noboa Azín is the youngest president in Ecuador’s history and faces immediate challenges in tackling the country’s grave economic and security crises.
Poland
How Poland’s Election Results Could Reshape Europe
After nearly a decade in power, Poland’s dominant Law and Justice Party fell short of a new mandate in 2023. A new multi-party coalition government is likely to draw closer to the European Union.
Egypt
Will Egypt Play a Role in Easing the Gaza War?
Egypt remains reluctant to welcome Palestinians seeking to flee Gaza as Israel prepares a retaliatory offensive against Hamas, and hopes of a Cairo-mediated cease-fire remain premature. Here’s what’s behind Egypt’s position.
Israel
Israel’s War on Hamas: What to Know
Israel will seek to eliminate the threat posed by the Palestinian militant group for good, but its campaign in Gaza could draw in other adversaries, including Hezbollah and al-Qaeda. 
Iran
Iran’s Support Against Israel Bolsters Hamas
Iran has greeted the attack by Palestinian militant forces on Israel and with its backing of Hamas and Hezbollah has been working to coordinate pressure on Israel, threatening further escalation of the shadow war between the two countries.
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Surprise Palestinian Attack Spawns Fears of Wider Mideast War
The shocking assault by Gaza militants on Israel will trigger massive retaliation from Israeli forces and likely have region-wide security repercussions.
Egypt
October War Legacy Fades in Troubled Modern Egypt
Half a century later, Egypt regards its brief war with Israel as an important military milestone that initially bolstered its leaders, though in recent years, Egypt has weakened under repressive, ineffective rule.
Russia
How Firm Is Vladimir Putin’s Grip on Power?
President Vladimir Putin appears to be in firm control of Russia today, but in order to maintain it in the years ahead, he will have to manage at least three primary challenges.