Middle East & Africa
Moqtada al-Sadr Wants to Be Iraq’s Ayatollah Khomeini
Despite the Shiite cleric’s apparent efforts against Iranian influence in Iraq, his chief inspiration is Iran’s founder and most famous supreme leader.
Militarizing the Sahel Won’t Make Europe More Secure
The EU’s obsession with security in the Sahel is a reflection of its own anxieties—and a betrayal of its values.
Democracy Fades in the Arab Spring’s Success Story
Few restraints remain for Tunisian strongman Kais Saied after his constitutional referendum passed overwhelmingly and opposition parties boycotted the vote.
Raisi’s Inept Negotiators Are Sinking Iran Deal Talks
The incompetence of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his team is partly responsible for the current impasse.
Senegal’s Democratic Backsliding Is a Threat to African Democracy
A constitutional coup in a country that has long been a beacon for freedom would encourage authoritarians across the continent.
Burkina Faso Could Be Next for Russia’s Wagner Group, U.S. Intel Fears
A military coup, natural resources, and roiling insecurity are a recipe for Russian intervention.
Iran Stands to Lose the Most if the Nuclear Deal Isn’t Revived
Resistance and endurance are pointless if diplomatic and economic opportunities are not seized when they arise.
U.S. Embassies in Africa Are Chronically Short-Staffed
Hollowed-out posts could leave the United States playing catch up to China and Russia.
Ghana’s ‘Success’ Exposes the West’s Toxic Development Model
Standard theories of global progress continue to be largely limited to raw extraction.
Russia Still Has Willing Partners in the Middle East
Despite Moscow’s military shortcomings and Western efforts to make it an international pariah, Vladimir Putin remains a capable player in the region.
Arming Civilians in Northern Nigeria Is a Bad Idea
Zamfara state’s decision to provide weapons to untrained individuals could lead to more small-arms proliferation and widespread violence.
‘Science of Women’ Classes Take on the Patriarchy in Kurdish-Held Northeast Syria
“Now, I see that even the woman has a life.”
Russia’s Dreams of a Red Sea Naval Base Are Scuttled—for Now
U.S. intelligence believes Sudan has rebuffed Moscow’s hopes of establishing its first naval base in Africa.
Biden’s Push for Lower Energy Prices Amounts to a ‘Declaration of Bankruptcy’
FP columnist Adam Tooze discusses how fluctuating oil and gas prices are changing the world as we know it.
On Biden’s Middle East Visit, He Will See a New Iraq at the Table
After leaning heavily on the United States, Iraq is finding its own footing.
Biden Should Revive the Carter Doctrine for the Middle East
In a new era of superpower conflict, Washington needs to recommit to the region.
The United States Doesn’t Need to Recommit to the Middle East
The Biden administration is reportedly considering a formal defense agreement with the UAE. Here’s why it shouldn’t.
Five Years After Liberation, There Is New Hope Among Mosul’s Ruins
On the anniversary of its liberation from the Islamic State, Iraq’s second city heals its scars.
Why Did Iran’s Ali Khamenei Oust a Loyal Intelligence Head?
Hossein Taeb’s sudden removal from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is part of a wider project to install a new generation of zealots.
How Biden Can Reverse China’s Gains in Saudi Arabia
Preventing growing Chinese influence in the Middle East is more important than making Riyadh a pariah.
Kais Saied’s Proposed New Constitution Is Roiling Tunisia
The changes would grant the president almost untrammeled power.
Nigeria’s Presidential Candidates Are Deeply Uninspiring
The country’s multiple challenges require a generational change in leadership.
Why Iran Is Downplaying Israel Assassinating Its Officials
As Israel ups the ante of covert warfare, Iran scrambles to respond.
Western Nonprofits Are Trampling Over Africans’ Rights and Land
Indigenous people are being forced out from so-called protected areas.
Green Energy’s Dirty Secret: Its Hunger for African Resources
The scramble for battery metals threatens to replicate one of the most destructive dynamics in global economic history.
Why Does Israel Keep Assassinating Iranian Officials? Because It Works.
Targeting senior leaders critical to an enemy program makes strategic sense from Israel’s perspective.
Britain’s Rwanda Deportation Policy Is a Cruel, Expensive Failure
Boris Johnson’s offshoring of asylum-seekers won’t stop the human smuggling trade—or deter people fleeing tyranny who are intent on reaching Britain.
U.S. Aid to Saudi Arabia on Missile Defense Is Not Unconditional
Biden must make it clear to Saudi leaders that continued ballistic missile cooperation with China will jeopardize U.S. missile defense assistance.
Bibi Sees a Path Back to Leadership After Israeli Government Dissolves
But a fifth election in less than four years is more likely to produce deadlock—again.
Syrian Refugees Find Little Hope in Lebanon’s Election
Lebanon’s large refugee population has long given up on their futures in the country.
Why Biden Is Trying to Keep Naftali Bennett Afloat
The right-wing Israeli leader’s fragile coalition is vastly preferable to a return of Netanyahu.
The Next Mediterranean Migration Crisis Will Be Worse
A new book tells the forgotten story of migrants stranded in Libya amid United Nations incompetence and Western indifference.
Tunisia’s Powerful Labor Union Is Thwarting President Saied’s Ambitions
The Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) is the one body with enough power to derail Saied’s plans.
Egypt’s Remilitarized Sinai Is a Future Powder Keg
Egypt and Israel are undermining their peace treaty—and it needs to be stopped.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Is Silencing Human Rights Advocates
Mustafa al-Kadhimi promised reform and freedom of expression. Now he’s using archaic laws to stifle free speech.
Putin’s World Order Would Be Devastating for Africa
Moscow is already deeply involved in destabilizing wars.
Russia’s Imperial Arrogance Is Destroying Ukrainian Heritage
The Kremlin believes it’s the true heir of classical civilization—and is poised to replicate its pillage of Syria in Ukraine under the guise of cultural preservation.
Somalia’s al Qaeda Branch Has Gotten ‘Bigger, Stronger, and Bolder’ Since U.S. Exit
As in Afghanistan, Trump’s decisions to withdraw have only emboldened terrorists.
Blasting Israeli Settlement Construction Will Get Biden Nowhere
Settlement growth in the West Bank is a product of population pressure, not policy.
An Israeli-Palestinian Confederation Is the Best Path to Peace
The plan would satisfy concerns across the political spectrum by tackling the thorniest issues in new ways.
Can Lebanon’s Elections Pull the Country Out of an Abyss?
On Sunday, Lebanese go to the polls for the first time since their 2019 uprising.
War in Ukraine Is Worsening East Africa’s Food Crisis
Rising wheat, fuel, and fertilizer costs amid a historic drought could lead to mass hunger and instability throughout the Horn of Africa.
Yemen Is Sitting on a Time Bomb Bigger Than the Exxon Valdez
An abandoned oil tanker with more than 1 million barrels of crude is rusting off the coast.
Terrorism Is Making a Comeback, and Africa Is the Hot Spot
Things could get even worse after the pandemic.
Western Allies Pressure African Countries to Condemn Russia
But too much pressure could backfire.
Families of American Hostages Abroad Find Power—and Solace—in Numbers
Biden faces pressure to secure release of Americans wrongfully detained abroad.
Can Nigeria Ever End Its Kidnap-for-Ransom Industry?
New legislation seeks to tackle a stubborn security threat, but members of the government are undermining their own policy.
Palestinians Feel Economic Pain From the War in Ukraine
A food crisis looms as the price of wheat and other staples surges.
Treating Migration as a Crisis Is a Missed Opportunity
Racism is keeping rich societies from benefitting from increased migration.
Russian Mercenaries Staged Atrocities in Mali, France Says
The French military watched what appeared to be Wagner operatives attempting a false-flag operation to discredit the West.
Sanctioning Russia Won’t Stop Putin. Just Look at Iran.
Iran is a cautionary tale that stubborn autocracies can’t be disciplined with sanctions.
Russia Flounders in Ukraine but Doubles Down in Mali
Russian mercenaries fill Mali vacuum as European powers pursue an exit.
China’s Transnational Repression Gets Saudi Backing
Deporting Uyghur refugees is inhumane and illegal.
Why African Leaders Won’t Back the West on Ukraine
Committed nonalignment, fear of upsetting China, and reliance on Russia for arms and security led many countries to ignore Washington’s demands.
Panicky Markets Are the Greatest Danger to Global Food Supply
The loss of Ukrainian and Russian wheat can be made up elsewhere.
Putin Is Targeting Ukrainian Hospitals. That’s a War Crime.
The Kremlin is reviving the brutal methods it used in Syria, and the World Health Organization is refusing to name the crime and its perpetrator.
The World Bank and IMF Are Getting It Wrong on Climate Change
Rich donor countries are working to deprioritize poverty reduction and economic development in the global south.
America’s Middle East Friendships Are Dying a Natural Death
It’s time to recognize they were living on borrowed time.
Will Russia’s Ukraine Invasion Impact the Central African Republic?
Wagner Group mercenaries have transformed the conflict, but the country is still far from a workable peace deal.
U.S. Opens Door to Ukrainian Refugees, Shuts It for Others From Africa
People fleeing conflict in Cameroon wonder why they aren’t getting the same treatment as Ukrainians.
It’s Time to Give the Revolutionary Guards a Concession
An Iranian nuclear deal is more important than the symbolism of a terrorist list.
How Biden Can Rebuild U.S. Ties With the Gulf States
War in Ukraine and Yemen has strained relations between Washington and its Arab allies. Small moves from both sides could put things back on track.
Putin Resorts to Syrian Mercenaries in Ukraine. It’s Not the First Time.
The Kremlin has been recruiting thousands of hardened Syrian fighters to join its war in Ukraine.
The United States’ Clueless Diplomacy Won’t Stop a Nuclear Iran
A new nuclear deal will strengthen the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps without derailing the regime’s long-term ambitions.
Mohammed bin Salman Has Leverage on Biden—and Is Using It
Saudi Arabia’s cooperation on lowering oil prices will come at the cost of the West’s values.
Abbas Is Destroying Democracy to Ensure His Successor Supports Israel
The status quo of military occupation is working well for those at the top of the PLO.
The World Must Condemn Human Rights Abuses in Tigray as It Does in Ukraine
International solidarity with Kyiv in the face of Russian aggression is admirable. Tigrayans brutalized by Ethiopia and Eritrea deserve the same.
Biden Should Punish Saudi Arabia for Backing Russia
Riyadh could make a difference in oil markets but has chosen to side with fellow authoritarians rather than the United States.
Somaliland Courts U.S. for Independence Recognition
Officials in Washington say no to independence but make room for closer ties.
Syrian Fighters May End Up on Both Sides of the Ukraine War
Young Syrians have already served as mercenaries elsewhere.
Russia’s ‘Eleventh-Hour’ Interference in the Iran Deal
Moscow is seeking to use the Iran deal to shield itself from the full effect of Western sanctions.
In Backing Russia on Ukraine, Iran Is on the Wrong Side of History
The self-proclaimed champion of anti-imperialism is now sugarcoating an imperial war.
Putin’s War Has Middle Eastern Countries Hedging Their Bets
Washington’s security guarantees now seem worth even less.
Former Israeli Prime Minister: Israel Should Stand Up for Ukraine
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said it’s “inconceivable” that Israel doesn’t stand by its allies and clearly denounce Russia’s invasion.
Fears of a Chinese Naval Base in West Africa Are Overblown
Reports about a possible Atlantic base reveal more about Washington’s military priorities than Beijing’s.
Targeted Sanctions Can Help Restore Democracy in Sudan
Focusing on key military leaders and their networks can force the regime to change course.
Anti-Colonialism Doesn’t Mean Ignoring Human Rights Abuses
Oppression should be condemned, regardless of who is behind it.
The Islamic State Is Capitalizing on Lebanon’s Economic Collapse
A growing number of Lebanese men are deciding their best hopes lie with jihadis next door.
How the Occupation Fuels Tel Aviv’s Booming AI Sector
Israel hones invasive surveillance technology on Palestinians before it is exported abroad.
‘Brink of Catastrophe’: Drought Worsens Humanitarian Crisis in East Africa
Experts warn of the driest conditions in over four decades, fueled in part by climate change.
The Afghan Crisis Demands a Coordinated Response on Refugees
This is a chance to display democratic values—and establish a better order.
U.N. Pressures Biden Against Adding Yemen’s Houthi Rebels to Terrorist Blacklist
A return to sanctions would only worsen a humanitarian catastrophe, experts warn.
Rebel-Held Syria Is the New Capital of Global Terrorism
The question of who controls the region around Idlib has become an international problem.
In Iraq, the Bitter Legacy of War Still Lies Hidden Underground
Baghdad can’t rebuild its infrastructure and agricultural sector when its land remains littered with thousands of explosive devices.
Inside the U.S.-Russia Deal that Eases Pressure on Assad
Is it a necessary concession for humanitarian reasons, or part of a trend toward normalization?
The Islamic State Has Become a Resilient Insurgency
The group may no longer have its caliphate, but it’s far from defeated.
U.S. Security Assistance to Burkina Faso Laid the Groundwork for a Coup
Since 2009, the United States has supported the country’s military with funding, weapons, and training.
Xi Jinping Has Transformed China’s Middle East Policy
Beijing was once wary of the region. Now, it’s all-in.
Saudi Arabia Is Ratcheting Up the Middle East’s Arms Race
It’s only a matter of time until Saudi military advancements force Iran to respond in kind.
Biya Basks in Soccer Spotlight in Hopes of Propaganda Win
Cameroon’s regime wouldn’t be the first to use sports to whitewash a brutal conflict.
The Middle East’s Conflicts Aren’t Done With the Emirates
Just when the United Arab Emirates thought it was done with focusing on foreign policy, they’re getting pulled back in.
Mali’s Military Doubles Down as Junta Ousts Burkina Faso’s President
West Africa is rocked by yet another coup as the military seizes power in Ouagadougou and holds onto control in Bamako.
How Abiy Ahmed Betrayed Oromia and Endangered Ethiopia
A former government official recounts how the prime minister’s failed reform agenda paved the way for war in Tigray.
Yemen Has Become an Iranian Proxy War Against Israel
The United Arab Emirates faces a militant consequence of the Abraham Accords.
Ethiopia’s National Dialogue Needs to Include Everyone
Excluding key Tigrayan and Oromo leaders will undermine the legitimacy of the process and make it harder to achieve peace.
How a Plea Bargain for Netanyahu Could Realign Israeli Politics
The terms offered would keep him out of prison but also out of office.
The U.S. Has a Moral Responsibility to Prevent Assad’s Normalization
The Syrian leader’s crimes will forever be recalled alongside the world’s worst tyrannical butchers.
Why Has Biden Stopped Pushing for Arab-Israeli Peace?
Not building on the Abraham Accords has been the biggest missed opportunity of his first year.