A confluence of factors this week led to heightened tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary, the United States officially moved its embassy to Jerusalem, and protests in Gaza led to levels of violence not seen in several years. Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen shares her analysis and discusses the perfect storm of events leading to the tumult between Israelis and Palestinians and explains why Middle East peace remains a generational goal.
Our guest on this episode is USIP Research Fellow, Zinaida Besirevic, a Ph.D. candidate in human development and cognition at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation compares children and adults in their reasoning about violations of Human Rights and infringements on human dignity. Together we discuss if moral reasoning changes with development, and whether and why we become more likely to tolerate harm.
Earlier this week, Russia’s Vladimir Putin began his fourth term. Ambassador William B. Taylor explains that Putin’s political longevity is a combination of Russia’s desire to feel important in the world again, Putin’s power over the media, and the support of powerful, wealthy friends. Nevertheless, Taylor says harsh U.S. sanctions combined with those from the international community have isolated and punished Russia for Putin’s provocations in Ukraine and elsewhere, meddling in elections, and cyberwarfare.
Fresh from her USIP delegation trip to Nigeria, Nancy Lindborg explains Nigeria’s importance to Africa and the United States. Lindborg discusses the critical on-the-ground work happening to prevent violence and underscores the importance of Nigerian governors to countering Boko Haram.
Following the horrendous bombing outside a Kabul voter registration center, Scott Worden shares his sobering analysis and commentary about the continuing war in Afghanistan where he says most agree that a military victory is unlikely. The conflicts grinding stalemate, Fall 2018 elections and presidential elections due a year from now concern Worden especially with today’s Taliban announcement of a new fighting season and rejection of President Ghani’s peace offering.
From Lebanon, Osama Gharizi shares his analysis about the clarity of U.S. objectives after retaliatory missile strikes targeting the Assad regime’s suspected chemical weapons facilities. Gharizi says these strikes sent a signal to Assad and his allies that there are limits to U.S. and coalition intervention in Syria. In turn, these limits strengthen Russia, Turkey, and Iran’s roles as the diplomatic arbiters to negotiate a peace deal. Separately, Gharizi addresses the risks associated with the suggestion of setting up an Arab force in Syria that could create further obscurity in terms of U.S. intent and objectives versus those of Arab countries forming such a force.
Leaders from the Western Hemisphere absent Venezuela’s President Maduro will gather for the 8th Summit of the America’s in Peru later this week. Vice President Pence following the summit will travel on to Colombia. Steve Hege explains a range of issues involving Colombia from U.S. bilateral relations, upcoming elections, peace plan implementation and reforms, and the strains on public infrastructure and services as a result of an exodus of Venezuelan refugees.
Following USIP’s event “Iraq and Syria: Views from the U.S. Administration, Military Leaders and the Region,” Mike Yaffe provides key takeaways from the panel featuring CENTCOM Commander General Votel, USAID Administrator Green, and Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS McGurk. "Iraq and Syria are complex and starkly different from one another," says Yaffe, "but the key goals are the same: concentrate on defeating ISIS and work by, with, and through local people to stabilize each country."
Our guest on this episode is USIP Peace Scholar, Meshack Simati, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Georgia State University. His dissertation is titled, “The False Promise of the Judiciary in Reducing Election Violence among African Countries.” Together we explore the history of election violence in Kenya and other countries around the world. What is election violence? How does it impact the voting process and the outcome? What are the implication for the future? How do we prevent it?
The alleged Russian use of a chemical weapon against a former Russian spy turned double agent in the United Kingdom led to scores of Russian diplomats being sent packing from the United States and Western Europe. Ambassador Taylor discusses the strong showing of unity among Western nations, and its effect on Russian intelligence gathering efforts and additional U.S. and international economic sanctions.