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May 15, 2019

Burkina Faso
French Forces Free Hostages in Burkina Faso With U.S. Help

President Emmanuel Macron of France announced on May 10 that French military forces rescued four hostages in Burkina Faso held by Islamist militants. Two were French, one was American, and one was South Korean. No authorities have released freed hostage names, citing privacy considerations. However, the operation cost the lives of two French soldiers, the names of whom have been made public.

France-Macron-Military-Burkina-Faso-Hostage

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 14, 2020

France
France and G5 Sahel Recommit Themselves as U.S. Mulls Drawdown

President Emmanuel Macron of France hosted a summit in Pau, southwestern France, with the heads of state of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauretania, and Niger. The purpose of the summit was to improve military coordination against insurgents with a particular focus on the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) and al-Qaeda affiliate Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM). Macron also sought, and received from the African chiefs of state, an endorsement of France’s continued presence in the region. He, in turn, pledged a small increase in the number of French soldiers to be deployed there. 

France's President Emmanuel Macron with the G5 Sahel heads of state deliver a news conference as part of the G5 Sahel summit on the situation in the Sahel region in Pau, France January 13, 2020

January 9, 2020

West Africa
Jihadi Violence and Terror Surging in West Africa

In a follow up to his remarks in December, Mohamed Iban, Chambas, the UN special representative sand head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) sounded the alarm on growing militant and jihadi violence. In his January 8 briefing to the UN Security Council, he said the “devastating surge” in terrorism has “shaken public confidence.” He focused on Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, where casualties from terrorism have increased fivefold since 2016, with 4,000 deaths in 2019 compared to 770 in 2016.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council on West Africa, on January 10, 2019, in New York.

January 8, 2020

Russia
Top Conflicts to Watch in 2020: A Crisis Between Russia and Ukraine

This year, a severe crisis between Russia and Ukraine following increased fighting in eastern Ukraine, and/or a major military clash in contested areas, was included as a top tier priority in the Cen…

Ukrainian soldiers ride on top of a tank during military exercises in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine on December 3, 2018.

January 3, 2020

Cameroon
Lessons From the Past on Cameroon’s Crisis

The violent conflict in Cameroon, still rarely discussed in Washington, is becoming increasingly dire. Both President Paul Biya’s Francophone regime in Yaounde and the Anglophone separatists in the southwest region are accused of brutal human rights abuses, including the burning of villages, attacks on schools, and the killing of men, women, and children. Despite mediation attempts by the Swiss government and sanctions by the Trump administration, there are no signs of any progress towards a negotiated settlement. 

A sign saying " Speak English or French for a bilingual Cameroon" outside a now abandoned school in rural southwest Cameroon, on May 22, 2019.

December 31, 2019

Global
Ten World Figures Who Died in 2019

I wrote yesterday about ten Americans who died in 2019 who shaped U.S. foreign policy during their lifetimes. But Americans are not the only ones who influence world affairs. Below are ten world figu…

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July 26, 2014

Human Rights
The End of French Jewry?

Here’s the situation in Paris: Violent anti-Jewish riots in Paris on Sunday [July 20], sparked by Israel’s ongoing operation in Gaza to halt rocket attacks from the coastal enclave, left Jews in the…

December 23, 2019

Global
Ten Most Significant World Events in 2019

If you are feeling a bit exhausted as 2019 comes to a close, you aren’t alone. It has been a busy year on the world scene. A seemingly unending parade of summits, crises, and protests have dominated …

Hong Kong Protests

December 23, 2019

Lebanon
Is Lebanon Becoming A Real Nation?

Amir Asmar is a Department of Defense analyst and CFR’s national intelligence fellow. Throughout his intelligence career, his primary area of focus has been the Middle East. He held a wide range of a…

Demonstrators stand on a bridge decorated with a national flag during an anti-government protest along a highway in Lebanon, on October 21, 2019.