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September 14, 2012

United States
Egypt: Mohammed, KFC, and US

I have been traveling most of this week, watching events in the Middle East unfold from the American heartland.  The reaction among many of the people there was a mix of shock, anxiety, and fear.  Th…


February 21, 2013

Sub-Saharan Africa
Nigeria’s Boko Haram Ready for Dialogue?

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former e…

Crowds fill Abubakar Gumi central market after authorities relaxed a twenty-four hour curfew in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, June 24, 2012.

March 7, 2013

United States
Egypt: The High Art of Being Feckless

I felt sorry for Secretary of State John Kerry when he flew into Cairo on March 2.  I am sure his briefers and the U.S. embassy staff did everything they could to prepare him for the visit as best as…


April 5, 2013

United States
Middle East Matters This Week: Lebanon, Iran, Syria, and Israel-Palestine

Significant Developments Lebanon. Tamam Salam, a Lebanese member of Parliament and former minister of culture, has emerged as the consensus candidate to become Lebanon’s next prime minister. Lebanes…

Lebanese former minister Tammam Salam attends a meeting for pro-WMarch 14 political coalition in Beirut April 4, 2013 (Azakir/Courtesy Reuters).

September 18, 2013

Sub-Saharan Africa
Declining Poverty Rates in South Africa

There is good and bad news about poverty in South Africa: The good news is that poverty is declining, as is the gross discrepancy between white incomes and those of everybody else. The bad news is th…

Passengers read newspapers on a business express train in Johannesburg December 11, 2008.

August 29, 2013

United States
Middle East Matters This Week: Retaliatory Talk Against Syria, Egypt’s Crackdown Intensifies

Significant Developments Syria. White House officials plan to brief members of Congress this evening on the situation in Syria after more than one hundred U.S. representatives signed a letter yester…

U.S. president Barack Obama (Downing/Courtesy Reuters).

May 6, 2014

Sub-Saharan Africa
Times Are A ‘Changin’ in South Africa, But Perhaps Not Yet

South Africa goes to the polls on May 7. The South African media has been describing the elections as likely to be “the closest since the coming of democracy in 1994.” Liberation icon Nelson Mandela …

Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/Courtesy Reuters)

May 9, 2014

United States
This Week: Syria’s Latest Agreement and a New U.S. Ambassador for Egypt

Significant Developments Syria. Regime forces took complete control of Homs today as part of a deal struck with armed rebels allowing for nearly 1,700 opposition fighters to evacuate the city with l…

Residents arrive on foot to inspect their homes in the al-Hamdeya neighborhood, after the cessation of fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, in Homs May 9, 2014 (al-Hariri/Courtesy Reuters).

December 4, 2014

United States
This Week: Mubarak’s Acquittal Challenged and Israel’s Government Dissolves

Significant Developments Egypt. Egypt’s top prosecutor announced Tuesday that he plans to appeal an Egyptian court’s dismissal of all remaining charges against former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. …

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak waves to his supporters as he returns to Maadi military hospital in Cairo November 29, 2014 (Waguih/Courtesy Reuters).

February 6, 2015

Weekend Reading: Kurds in ISIS, Houthis in Sanaa, and Netanyahu in Washington

Rebecca Collard reports on Kurdish men who have joined ISIS and attacked their own people. Nabeel Khoury looks at who the Houthis are, their ambitions, and the options before them. Michael Koplow r…