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March 15, 2018

Russia
Are Cold War Spy-Craft Norms Fading?

The poisoning of former double agent Sergei V. Skripal in the UK indicates that Russia may have abandoned some unspoken rules of espionage. CIA veteran Jack Devine examines the history and current state of spy-craft.

UK Skripal Poisoning Crime Scene

September 29, 2017

Military Operations
A Conversation with Senator Jack Reed

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) discusses the president's approach to dealing with North Korea and Russia; Iran's compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); and the U.S. military's stat…

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January 24, 2020

Nigeria
Facing Rising Insecurity, Southwest Governors in Nigeria Launch Policing Initiative

In southwest Nigeria (Yorubaland), the location of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, there has been a dramatic upsurge in kidnapping, house invasions, and robbery. On January 9, the governors of the six states in the region announced the establishment of Operation Amotekun (“leopard” in the Yoruba language).

Three armed police officers stand in front of the Novare Shoprite Mall in Lekki, near Lagos, Nigeria, after it was looted, on September 3, 2019.

January 7, 2020

Iran
Death of Iranian General Soleimani Provokes Muted Reaction in Africa’s Giants

Nigeria and South Africa are the giants of Africa, with the two largest economies on the continent.  Both have had long-term relationships with Iran, though South Africa’s has been the closer. Thus far, the official reaction to Soleimani’s death from Nigeria and South Africa has been muted or non-existent, reflecting caution. Though the Nigerian inspector general of police has put his forces on “red alert,” likely fearing action by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) or other alleged Iranian proxies, there has been no apparent word from the government. In South Africa, the fiercest reaction came from the African National Congress (ANC), while Naledi Pandor, the South African foreign minister, called for calm.

Women hold pictures of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, during a funeral procession and burial at his hometown in Kerman, Iran, on January 7, 2020.

November 21, 2019

Nigeria
Abacha, Abiola, and Nigeria’s 1999 Transition to Civilian Rule

The 1999 transition of Nigeria from military to civilian, democratic government, is a defining moment in Nigerian history, representing the beginning of the longest, uninterrupted government since independence in 1960. But what exactly transpired during the period of transition, which began in earnest with the death of military dictator Sani Abacha in1998, is not entirely clear. Max Siollun, in a fascinating study of the period, Nigeria’s Soldiers of Fortune, has done us a service by illuminating some of the behind-the-scenes machinations of that period, and putting to bed some of the rumors that passed for history.

A supporter of Chief Mashood Abiola holds up a newpaper during a demonstration outside the family home July 10 to protest about the suspicious nature of his death.

November 13, 2019

Nigeria
Nigerian Police Use Live Ammunition Against Peaceful Demonstrators

Nigerian media is reporting that on November 12, the Nigerian police fired live bullets to disperse those protesting the continued imprisonment of Nigerian journalist Omeyele Sowore. The media descri…

Protestors facing police hold signs that read "DSS Obey The Court," and other things.

February 12, 2020

China
Huawei: China’s Controversial Tech Giant

The Chinese telecommunications company faces accusations from President Donald J. Trump and other leaders that Beijing could use it for cyber espionage. The outcome of the struggle could shape the wo…

A woman in business clothing walks in front of a large screen that displays the red Huawei logo.

January 15, 2020

Nigeria
Nigeria’s Slide Toward Authoritarianism

The recent unlawful detention of a journalist and politician is the latest in a series of moves by Muhammadu Buhari’s administration that weaken the rule of law.

January 8, 2020

Election 2020
The President's Inbox: The Killing of Qasem Soleimani

Each week between now and the Iowa caucuses, I’m talking with experts with differing views on how the United States should handle a foreign policy challenge it faces. These special episodes are part …

Debris burns outside Baghdad International Airport where a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and seven others on January 3. Iraqi Security Media Cell via Reuters

December 23, 2014

China
Where to Look for the Next Jack Ma?

Where to look for the next Jack Ma? This is a trillion dollar question. According to a document released by the State Council (China’s cabinet) last October, by 2020 the size of China’s health servic…

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