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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.

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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April 9, 2018

Malaysia
Malaysia’s Upcoming General Election: What to Expect

Last week, Malaysian prime minister Najib tun Razak dissolved parliament and called a general election, which will now occur no more than sixty days after April 7, the day of dissolution. Najib and o…

Malaysian Prime Minister

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…

May 24, 2018

World Health Organization (WHO)
A Scorecard for Dr. Tedros as the WHO’s Director-General

Tedros’s first year as Director-General of the WHO demonstrated his vision, leadership, and ability to seize an opportunity for action. However, concerns remain regarding his willingness to balance p…

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on May 18, 2018.

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).