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September 28, 2022

South Korea
Solidarity in Support of Freedom: South Korean President Yoon’s UN Speech

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol delivered his first speech to the UN General Assembly that outlined a daunting list of global challenges requiring a collective response through UN-based cooperat…

Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City on September 20, 2022.

December 11, 2020

Transition 2021
Transition 2021: Should a Retired General Be Secretary of Defense?

Each Friday, I look at what is happening in President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition to the White House. This week: Biden’s nomination of General Lloyd Austin to be secretary of defense raises question…

Retired General Lloyd Austin speaks at a podium as President-Elect Joe Biden sits behind him.

July 15, 2020

South Korea
Remembering General Paik Sun-yup

Without Paik’s herculean effort, South Korea as we know it today—a vibrant, capitalist, and liberal democracy—wouldn’t exist.

General Paik Sun-yup, 1950

October 13, 2020

International Organizations
Nigerian (and American) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Finalist for WTO Director General

The two finalists for the position of director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are Yoo Myung-hee, Republic of Korea, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian and (since 2019) an American citizen.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian woman running for WTO director general, raises her left arm while speaking. She is wearing a traditional headdress.

August 10, 2011

Ten Whats With…Kevin Benson

Kevin Benson (Courtesy Univ. of Kansas, Creative Commons License). Quick Bio (2-3 sentences): I was raised in Wisconsin and left after high school to go to West Point, 1973-1977.  I served on active…

Kevin-Benson

January 7, 2020

Iran
Death of Iranian General Soleimani Provokes Muted Reaction in Africa’s Giants

Nigeria and South Africa are the giants of Africa, with the two largest economies on the continent.  Both have had long-term relationships with Iran, though South Africa’s has been the closer. Thus far, the official reaction to Soleimani’s death from Nigeria and South Africa has been muted or non-existent, reflecting caution. Though the Nigerian inspector general of police has put his forces on “red alert,” likely fearing action by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) or other alleged Iranian proxies, there has been no apparent word from the government. In South Africa, the fiercest reaction came from the African National Congress (ANC), while Naledi Pandor, the South African foreign minister, called for calm.

Women hold pictures of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, during a funeral procession and burial at his hometown in Kerman, Iran, on January 7, 2020.

February 8, 2018

Turkey
General Erdogan’s First War

Turkey’s Islamist president is the first civilian with control over his country’s military—and you can tell by the results.

Erdogan

April 4, 2019

Nigeria
Former Director General of Nigeria’s National Intelligence Agency Arrested

On February 7,  the Federal High Court in Lagos issued a warrant for the arrest of Ayodele Oke, former director general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and his wife Folasade following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Just before they were due to appear in court, they apparently left the country for "medical treatment," and the Nigeria media is not reporting where they are now. The EFCC has declared the couple wanted after their failure to respond to a court summons. 

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December 13, 2014

Middle East and North Africa
What’s General Sisi So Scared Of?

This morning’s New York Times reveals the paranoia and vulnerability of the current Egyptian regime. Michele Dunne, a former career diplomat who served in Cairo and also at the National Security Cou…

October 2, 2014

United States
Voices From the UN General Assembly

International efforts to combat ISIS dominated the recent debate in New York when world leaders converged for the UN General Assembly’s sixty-ninth session. Middle East Matters has excerpted passages…

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2014 (Segar/Courtesy Reuters).