Weekly Brief, June 22, 2012

In words and pictures, photojournalist Robert King tells the harrowing tale of his recent trip to the small Syrian town of Al Qusayr, where residents are fighting an uneven battle against the forces of the Assad regime. Alina Rocha-Menocal delivers a withering indictment of Mexico’s six years under Felipe Calderón. Elliott Prasse-Freeman argues that civil ...

Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images
Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images
Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images

In words and pictures, photojournalist Robert King tells the harrowing tale of his recent trip to the small Syrian town of Al Qusayr, where residents are fighting an uneven battle against the forces of the Assad regime.

Alina Rocha-Menocal delivers a withering indictment of Mexico's six years under Felipe Calderón.

Elliott Prasse-Freeman argues that civil society groups, not the government, offer the best hope for authentic reform in Burma.

In words and pictures, photojournalist Robert King tells the harrowing tale of his recent trip to the small Syrian town of Al Qusayr, where residents are fighting an uneven battle against the forces of the Assad regime.

Alina Rocha-Menocal delivers a withering indictment of Mexico’s six years under Felipe Calderón.

Elliott Prasse-Freeman argues that civil society groups, not the government, offer the best hope for authentic reform in Burma.

Greg Rushford reports on the economic reforms that could turn the Philippines into Asia’s next success story.

Christian Caryl celebrates Aung San Suu Kyi — and wonders whether she can make the leap from the idealism of the past to the practical political deal-making that her country needs now.

Mohamed El Dahshan worries about Egypt’s future as the country poises itself for a fresh round of political maneuvering.

And Francisco Toro explains why global oil prices are likely to be one of the most important factors in Venezuela’s upcoming presidential election.

And here are this week’s recommended reads:

Clive Baldwin of Human Rights Watch writes for The Guardian on the trial-in-absentia of ousted Tunisian leader Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and the problems of transitional justice. Democracy Digest argues that salafis pose the greatest challenge to the current Tunisian government.

Issandr el Amrani (of Arabist fame) writes about this week’s strange political interregnum in Egypt for the Latitude blog (International Herald Tribune).

Intrepid Reuters reporter Andrew Marshall offers a thorough look at Burma’s political prisoners who remain behind bars.

Paul Salem and Amanda Kdlec outline the long road ahead for a future Libyan democracy in a report for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Writing in Foreign Affairs, Antony J. Blinken, Norman Ricklefs, and Ned Parker explain why they believe that Iraq is not a failed state.

The World Bank’s new survey, Doing Business in Russia 2012, ranks Moscow as the worst place in the country if you’re trying to make money.

Belarusian activists abroad have come up with an innovative way of undermining the dictator back home.

The most in-depth study yet of the military capabilities of the Syrian rebels, from the Institute for the study of War.

And John Kay of The Financial Times challenges accepted definitions of poverty.

This week also marked the launch of two new online projects:

An intriguing new blog called "Political Violence @ a Glance" comes from a consortium of political scientists led by Wesleyan’s Erica Chenoweth and U.C. San Diego’s Barbara Walter.

And the New America Foundation is presenting a new website, the Global Savings and Social Protection Initiative, devoted to the rapidly expanding field of social innovations based on cash transfer payments.

Twitter: @ccaryl

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