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Yemen’s troubled transition

By Aaron Edwards in Politics, March 12, 2014

In Yemen a transition towards a new political dispensation is threatened by Islamist violence, drone strikes, southern secessionism and tribal militancy. But concentrating on the first alone and failing to understand the wider context will not secure it.

Obama Shouldn’t Fall for Putin’s Ukrainian Folly

By Anatol Lieven in Politics,

We’re now witnessing the consequences of how grossly both Russia and the West have overplayed their hands in Ukraine.

How Abe makes Washington listen

By François Godement in Politics, March 4, 2014

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gives Washington a wakeup call about potential conflict in East Asia, now that immobility is no longer a viable option for dealing with China. Sooner or later, settlements must be found, or territorial disputes will turn into open conflict.

Burkina Faso’s “West African Spring”

By Sam Badger - Giorgio Cafiero in Politics, March 3, 2014

Anti-government rallies in Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela have captured the attention of millions but large pro-democracy demonstrations in Burkina Faso last month escaped the media’s radar.

Iran’s Maestro of Dramatic Arts

By Mitra Hooshiar in Features, February 23, 2014

Illustrious Iranian writer, dramatist and teacher to generations of students at Tehran University, Khosro Hakim-Rabet has lived through turbulent times. Mitra Hooshiar uses his book of memoirs “The Seventh Day” to explore his long and eventful life.

Blood and Treasure

By Rodric Braithwaite in Politics, February 21, 2014

Former British Ambassador to Moscow and author of “Afgantsy” asks: Can an invasion of Afghanistan ever be considered to be a mission accomplished? The British in the 19th century, the Soviets in the 20th and now 21st century ISAF is pulling out its troops. What have they achieved and what is likely to happen afterwards?

Turkey And Iran’s Growing Alliance

By Daniel Wagner - Giorgio Cafiero in Politics, February 19, 2014

The Turkish Prime Minister’s recent visit to Iran respresents a significant shift in the foreign policy of both countries. The potential opening up of Iran offers both economic and political opportunites for Ankara but both Turkey and Iran have more to gain than lose by continuing to build stronger ties.

The Pirate Ching Shih

By Ludovico Pisani in Features,

Ching Shih, the greatest and most successful pirate that ever lived was a woman who began life as a prostitute in Canton and ended up commanding a fleet of 60,000 pirates, ending her life in genteel retirement, phenomenally rich, running a gambling hall and brothel.

The UN’s Green Climate Fund

By Oscar Reyes in Environment, February 18, 2014

As the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board prepares to meet in Bali, Oscar Reyes identifies some of the key issues that will shape an institution that is expected to become central in providing international climate finance.

Afghanistan, then and now

By Anatol Lieven in Politics, February 17, 2014

Modern urban versus traditional rural Afghanistan, then and now. Time may have moved on, but the problems are big enough to be extremely concerning. The positions of the Afghan state in 1989 and 2014 are in certain respects very similar – too similar for comfort.