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KIRKUK, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 25: People are seen casting their referendum vote at a voting station on September 25, 2017 in Kirkuk, Iraq. Despite strong objection from neighboring countries and the Iraqi government. Some five million Kurds took to the polls today across three provinces in the historic independence referendum.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Not Everyone in Kurdistan Is Cheering Kurdish Independence

In Iraq’s multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, this week’s referendum has sparked celebration — and serious discontent.

A picture taken on June 5, 2017 shows a man walking past the Qatar Airways branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh, after it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia following a severing of relations between major gulf states and gas-rich Qatar. Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt cut ties with Qatar accusing it of supporting extremism, in the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in years. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE        (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

A Field Trip to the Front Lines of the Qatar-Saudi Cold War

The showdown in the Gulf shows no signs of ending. And there don’t seem to be any clear winners emerging.

UN Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres speaks during the ceremony for the appointment of the Secretary-General during the 70th session of the General Assembly October 13, 2016 at the United Nations in New York.
The UN General Assembly on Thursday formally appointed Antonio Guterres as the new secretary-general of the United Nations, replacing Ban Ki-moon. The 193 member states adopted by acclamation a resolution appointing the former prime minister of Portugal for a five-year term beginning January 1.
 / AFP / Jewel SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Before U.N. Summit, World Tells Trump His ‘America-First Fun’ Must End

Friends and rivals alike press administration to embrace multilateral diplomacy on climate change, Iran, and North Korea.

People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) presidential candidate and Angolan Defense Minister Joao Lourenco looks on during a meeting between MPLA leadership and sporting entities, associations and managers during his presidential elections campaign on August 10, 2017 in Luanda. / AFP PHOTO / AMPE ROGERIO        (Photo credit should read AMPE ROGERIO/AFP/Getty Images)

Angola’s Transition to Technocracy Won’t Be Victimless

The biggest challenge for Angola’s new president will be escaping the shadow of his predecessor — and the corrupt cronies around him.

Anti-government activists stand near a barricade burning in flames in Venezuela's third city, Valencia, on August 6, 2017, a day after a new assembly with supreme powers and loyal to President Nicolas Maduro started functioning in the country.
In the video posted online earlier, allegedly at an army base used by the National Bolivarian Armed Forces in Valencia, a man presenting himself as an army captain declared a "legitimate rebellion... to reject the murderous tyranny of Nicolas Maduro" and demanded a transitional government and "free elections." After the video surfaced, military chiefs said troops had put down the "terrorist" attack.

 / AFP PHOTO / Ronaldo SCHEMIDT        (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuela Quells Military Uprising, Fires Outspoken Government Critic

The protest-rocked country could face a fresh round of U.S. economic sanctions.

Russian army officers train Syrian army soldiers at their military camp known as the International Demining Center in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra on May 5, 2016. / AFP / VASILY MAXIMOV        (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia Looks to U.N. to Help It Profit From Syria Conquests

Critics suspect the Kremlin is looking to the West to pay the price to make Palmyra safe for Russian business.

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani speaks during a press conference following a summit on the post-Kadhafi held at the Elysee Palace in Paris on September 1, 2011. France hosts a "Friends of Libya" conference to allow states that stood by during the uprising that ousted Moamer Kadhafi to belatedly back Tripoli's fledgling revolutionary regime. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)

The Palace Intrigue at the Heart of the Qatar Crisis

The Saudis don’t believe the young emir of Qatar is really running the country — and they’re looking for regime change.

The Latest

This week on Rational Security, the panel discusses Trump, Iran, and Russian trolls.

Rational Security on The E.R.: The “Decertified” Edition

Trump deems Iran in violation of the “worst deal ever.”

Afghan army trainees inside a helicopter simulator at a military base in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Oct. 21, 2009. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

‘Ghost Soldiers’: Too Many U.S.-Trained Afghans Are Going AWOL

Some 13 percent of Afghan military personnel training in the United States last year went AWOL.

Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces stand guard next to a bridge in Manbij, northern Syria, on June 23, 2016. (Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian Reconstruction Spells Juicy Contracts for Russian, Iranian Firms

Bombed-out cities meant death and destruction. Now they promise billions of dollars — for new construction.

Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Chen Miner attends the 19th Party Congress in Beijing on Oct. 19. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Xi Jinping Has Quietly Chosen His Own Successor

Meet Chen Miner, the man who has been getting groomed to run China — without anyone in the West seeming to notice.

In the Magazine

In the Magazine

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This Land Is Their Land

Immigration is inevitable. When will the West learn that it promises salvation — not destruction?

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Rescuing Migrants From a Couch in Galicia

How a school administrator in Spain is helping save refugees with little more than fervor and a phone.

On the Edge of Afghanistan

A decimated economy, a resurgent Taliban, and growing tensions with Iran are driving disenchanted Afghans to seek opportunities abroad. And for many it’s their only option.

Highway Through Hell

The human-smuggling route across the Sahara may have been the deadliest on Earth. Then the EU paid Niger’s army to shut it down — and made it even more treacherous.

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Global Thinkers 2015 Issue Cover