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October 24, 2019

South Africa
Leader of South Africa’s Opposition Quits Party and Parliament

On October 23, Mmusi Maimane resigned as the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA). His resignation was preceded by that of the DA mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba on October 21, and immediately followed by that of the party’s federal chairperson, Athol Trollip.

Mmusi Maimane casts his vote at a polling station

November 5, 2019

Defense and Security
Why Would Arab Leaders Pursue Strategic Partnerships With Russia?

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…

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan attend a welcome ceremony in the United Arab Emirates, on October 15, 2019.

October 28, 2019

Islamic State
Islamic State Leader’s Death Does Little to Ease Syria Concerns

A U.S. military operation that eliminated Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is welcome but fails to allay worries about the security vacuum caused by the removal of U.S. troops from northern …

October 21, 2019

Southeast Asia
Malaysia’s Voting Age Amendment: A Double-Edged Sword for Political Leaders

Brian Braun is resident program officer in Malaysia for the International Republican Institute. Follow him at @BR_Braun. Malaysia made history on July 16 when, in the country’s first unanimous par…

Opposition supporters turn on flashlights on their phones after former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was elected as a parliamentary constituency candidate during a rally ahead of the 14th general election in Malaysia on April 15, 2018.

April 29, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa
Africa’s ‘Leaders for Life’

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to many of the world’s longest-ruling heads of state, but civil society and regional blocs may be slowing the trend of extending presidential terms in some areas.

A taxi passes an electoral poster for Cameroonian President Paul Biya in a market in Yaounde.

August 20, 2019

Nigeria
Nigerian Shia Leader Zakzaky Alleges U.S. Involvement in Treatment in India

On August 13, Ibrahim el-Zakzaky arrived in India to receive medical treatment. Three days later, he returned to Nigeria having refused medical treatment. Upon his return, he was placed under arrest. He found his treatment in New Delhi to be unsatisfactory and objected to the tight security arrangements that had been put in place. He and some of his followers are claiming that the United States was behind his perceived poor treatment in India.

Protesters hold a sign that says "Free Zakzaky" and has images of the Nigerian Shia leader.

March 6, 2019

South Africa
Southern Africa’s Leaders Walking Anti-Corruption Tightrope

Several southern African states are in the news for anti-corruption efforts. In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has established a special tribunal to expedite state efforts to track down ill-gotten gains. In Mozambique, the former chief of the intelligence service and the former president’s son have been arrested in connection with a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal. In Angola, which also witnessed the arrest of a former president’s son last year, two sitting members of National Assembly from the ruling party were recently indicted on charges relating to corruption.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives to deliver his State of the Nation address at Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa February 7, 2019.

November 8, 2019

Election 2020
Foreign Policy Roundup: Climate Change, the Middle East, and Defense Policy

Each week, I look at what the presidential candidates are saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail. 

Elizabeth Warren speaks to a crowd in Raleigh.

November 7, 2019

Taiwan
How China Is Interfering in Taiwan’s Election

Beijing is spreading disinformation to influence Taiwan’s election in January, but that doesn’t necessarily mean President Tsai Ing-wen will get voted out.

November 5, 2019

Syria
Who’s Who in Northern Syria?

With Turkey’s latest military offensive, here’s a rundown of the different forces in the region.