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August 4, 2021

Tanzania
Arrests of Tanzanian Opposition Underline Need for Constitutional Reform

On July 21, Freeman Mbowe, chairman of Tanzania’s main opposition party, Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (the Party for Democracy and Progress, CHADEMA), and ten other party members were arrested in Mwanza, apparently for violating a ban on “unnecessary gatherings.” The ban, enacted the day prior, was officially billed as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19. Yet its timing, coming just before a conference on discussing constitutional reform, and the charges levelled against Mbowe—the party leader is accused, without evidence, of funding terrorist activities aimed at assassinating government leaders—suggest the true intent is to suppress calls for much-needed constitutional reform.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and former President Jakaya Kikwete stand side-by-side.

August 4, 2021

United States
Happy 231st Birthday to the United States Coast Guard!

The United States Coast Guard marks 231 years of service. 

Coast Guard

August 3, 2021

Nigeria
"Bandits" Shoot Down Alpha Jet as Nigerian Airpower Comes Under Scrutiny

On July 18, "bandits" shot down a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jet in northern Nigeria on the border between Zamfara and Katsina states. The pilot successfully ejected from the aircraft and avoided capture by the "bandits" using his "survival skills" until he reached an army installation. While NAF planes have crashed in the past—including earlier this year when a plane crash killed Chief of Army Staff General Ibrahim Attahiru—this is apparently the first time a jet has been brought down by enemy fire.

An Alpha Jet sits idle at an airport with missiles and munitions held under the wings.

July 30, 2021

Human Rights
Five Foreign-Policy Movies Worth Watching About Human Rights

Every summer Friday, we suggest foreign-policy-themed movies worth watching. This week: films about the fight for human rights.

Three movie posters in black frames: In the Name of the Father (man looks out from black background);Beasts of No Nation (a young boy with ammunition wrapped around his neck looks out); The Pianist (a man walks among the rubble of a city).

July 30, 2021

U.S. Foreign Policy
TWE Remembers: The Fulbright Program

Seventy-five years ago, what would become the world’s foremost international educational exchange program got off to a bumpy start. 

Senator J. William Fulbright sits behind his desk holding papers and looking at the camera.

July 29, 2021

Zambia
Warning Signs Appear Ahead of Zambian Elections

The stage being set for next month’s Zambian elections looks worryingly like a case study in ongoing democratic decline. Polls slated for August 12 will elect the country’s next president and members of its National Assembly. They will feature a tight contest between incumbent Edgar Lungu and his ruling Patriotic Front versus opposition stalwart Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development.

Zambia President Edgar Lungu stands looking towards a crowd at a meeting of the African Union.

July 28, 2021

Nigeria
Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial Turns Up Pressure on Nigerian Government

Nigerian security agencies failed on Monday to produce Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the increasingly radical secessionist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in Federal High Court for his arraignment. While government lawyers cited “logistical problems” for Kanu’s absence, his lawyer told the court that he had been unable to access his client in ten days and that he believed his client’s life was in danger.

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, emerges from a room wearing patterned clothing and holding a shield with the flag of Biafra, a breakaway state defeated in Nigeria's civil war in 1967-70. A flag of Israel is also next to the doorway, signifying Kanu's Jewish faith.

July 26, 2021

Space
Colonizing Space Is Not the Solution to Our Problems on Earth

The dawn of a new space age is upon us. It warrants taking a step back to ask more fundamental, long-term questions, namely: Just what is humanity hoping to accomplish in space?

Billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos wears goggles owned by Amelia Earhart which he carried into space at a post-launch press conference after he flew on Blue Origin's inaugural flight to the edge of space, in the nearby town of Van Horn, Texas on July 20, 2021.

July 23, 2021

Oceans and Seas
Five Movies Worth Watching About Conflict at Sea

Every summer Friday, we suggest foreign-policy-themed movies worth watching. This week: films about stormy relationships and battles at sea.

Three movie posters in black frames. From left: Run Silent, Run Deep (two men in khaki uniforms above a sinking ship); Mister Roberts (four men in khaki uniforms look off the edge of a ship); Dunkirk (a young man looks out into a chaotic ocean).

July 20, 2021

Democratic Republic of Congo
Political Uncertainty in DRC Highlights Need for Sustained Outside Attention

Back in 2019, the international community acquiesced to undemocratic dealmaking that preempted the will of Congolese voters and brought current President Felix Tshisekedi to power. President Tshisekedi, who has been extremely clear about his intention to seek a second term, has been more ambiguous about whether elections slated for December 2023 will occur on time.

Current President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Felix Tshisekedi and his predecessor Joseph Kabila sit on plush orange seats while wearing suits in apparent conversation.