The Nicaraguan government has intensified its confrontation with one of the country’s most popular and historically powerful institutions: the Catholic Church. Police raided the episcopal rectory in the northern city of Matagalpa on August 19, placing a bishop, five priests and two seminarians under arrest. In recent weeks, President Daniel Ortega has shut down seven Catholic radio stations, expelled missionaries and banned religious processions in an effort to silence dissent — even at the risk of alienating the country’s fervently Catholic population.
August 30, 2022, marks the one-year anniversary of the last US troops leaving Afghanistan. During America’s 20-year military intervention, there were several opportunities to negotiate peace among the Taliban, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and the United States—but these opportunities were missed, went unrecognized, or were deliberately spurned by one or more of the parties. In this important history, Steve Brooking, the first British official sent into Afghanistan after 9/11, examines why the three parties were unable or unwilling to reach a negotiated settlement.
No one was ever in doubt about the damage that the Israeli army can inflict on Gaza, or in the occupied territories in general, in any military confrontation. The gap in the balance of power is one of the widest in the region. This has been the case in the wars that took place in 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2021, and in the latest military attack that ended on August 7, 2022. The duration of the conflict, the extent of the destruction in Gaza, the regional and international response and other factors varied widely. However, unsurprisingly, like in previous confrontations, each side claims that to some extent it was able to achieve its objectives.
In 1965, Japan and South Korea signed numerous treaties and agreements to normalize relations, including the Treaty on Basic Relations reestablishing diplomatic relations and a Claims Agreement settling property claims among the two countries and their nationals. These agreements have failed to resolve bilateral tensions stemming from the claims of Koreans who were subjected to forced labor by Imperial Japan during World War II. Some parties have called for a legal resolution based on the arbitration clause in the Claims Agreement. However, major issues would arise if the two countries pursued arbitration.
As Russia’s unprovoked and illegal war against Ukraine enters its seventh month, the Russian government continues its diplomatic offensive to prevent more countries from joining international condemnation and sanctions for its military aggression. Between July and August, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov traveled to Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, the Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Cambodia — the last as part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. This tour represented an evolving reorientation of Russian foreign policy from Europe to the Global South that has accelerated since Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
Despite prior assurances that they had moderated their positions, the past year of Taliban rule has been marred by a disturbing rollback of women’s and girl’s basic rights as 20 years of advancements have nearly evaporated. Meanwhile, the current economic crisis has forced young Afghans out of the workforce and left them in dire financial and humanitarian straits. USIP’s Belquis Ahmadi and Matthew Parkes examine how the Taliban’s oppressive policies have affected Afghan women, girls and youth over the last 12 months and offer ways for the United States and international community to support Afghanistan’s next generation.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and occupation of Europe’s largest nuclear power station have triggered the first real-world case of a crisis that security scholars have feared for decades: a threat of radiological disaster from a wartime incursion on an operating nuclear power plant. Russia effectively is using the plant at Zaporizhzhia as a pre-positioned nuclear weapon to threaten and intimidate not only Ukrainians but millions of Europeans across a dozen countries. This is undermining global security institutions in which all countries have a stake, and Russia must join the international community in treating nuclear power plants as demilitarized zones.
The current state of relations between South Korea and Japan is, in the judgment of many observers, the worst since normalization in 1965. Despite decades of interaction, cooperation and even integration, relations between South Korea and Japan seem to have reverted to a dysfunctional status in which even the most basic forms of diplomatic intercourse present a challenge.
The Global Fragility Act (GFA) marked the launch of a new U.S. government approach to conflict prevention and stabilization abroad. Notably, this new approach includes a commitment to locally-driven solutions — a reflection of the peacebuilding community’s growing emphasis on the local dimensions of peace and conflict.
With President Ortega now attacking the Catholic Church, USIP’s Mary Speck says Nicaragua’s democratic backsliding “has gone further than any other country” in Central America — noting the risk that regional leaders could follow Ortega’s lead after they “see what [he] has been able to get away with.”