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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.

January 24, 2020

Nigeria
Facing Rising Insecurity, Southwest Governors in Nigeria Launch Policing Initiative

In southwest Nigeria (Yorubaland), the location of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, there has been a dramatic upsurge in kidnapping, house invasions, and robbery. On January 9, the governors of the six states in the region announced the establishment of Operation Amotekun (“leopard” in the Yoruba language).

Three armed police officers stand in front of the Novare Shoprite Mall in Lekki, near Lagos, Nigeria, after it was looted, on September 3, 2019.

January 24, 2020

Election 2020
Campaign Foreign Policy Roundup: Restoring U.S. Leadership

Each Friday, I look at what the presidential challengers are saying about foreign policy. This week: U.S. leadership in the world; the wisdom of making campaign donors ambassadors; and early voting b…

Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaign rally in Muscatine, Iowa, on January 21. Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

January 24, 2020

Mexico
Mexico’s Security Dilemma

Amid a spate of drug cartel attacks, Mexico is considering whether to increase security cooperation with the United States.

January 23, 2020

Myanmar
The Rohingya Crisis

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group, have fled persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, fueling a historic migration crisis.

A group of Rohingya refugees after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, September 1, 2017.

January 22, 2020

Lebanon
What Is Hezbollah?

Military experience gained from fighting in Syria’s civil war and decades of clashes with Israel have made the Iran-backed group stronger than ever, but the biggest threat it faces may be upheaval in…

A crowd of Hezbollah supporters surrounds a giant model of a fist holding a gun.

January 15, 2020

Iran
Did Soleimani Pose an Imminent Threat?

The Trump administration is making a mistake in providing vague and shifting legal rationales for the killing of an Iranian general.

January 21, 2020

Robots and Artificial Intelligence
We Need a Drastic Rethink on Export Controls for AI

Before export controls for AI are codified, the U.S. government needs to assess its past controls on technology and understand the challenges that AI poses to traditional export control practices. 

The hand of humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard during a demonstration by the German research centre for artificial intelligence at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover

January 17, 2020

Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico: A U.S. Territory in Crisis

The Caribbean island, which shares a close yet fraught relationship with the rest of the United States, faces a multilayered economic and social crisis, rooted in long-standing policy and compounded …

A man rides his bicycle through a damaged road in Puerto Rico.

January 16, 2020

Libya
What’s at Stake in Libya’s War?

The war between Libya’s rival governments is intensifying as more countries wade into the conflict, and analysts fear that a proxy war is brewing in the North African nation.