With the withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) groups, Afghan forces will be the only strategic deterrent against the Taliban, who would have little incentive to negotiate a peaceful agreement —or to adhere to its provisions, if Afghan forces are under-equipped, underprepared, or insufficient...
As of mid-March 2012, the composition of the just-announced Egyptian Constituent Assembly will likely further increase concerns by the country's 12 million Copts, who, although accounting for nearly 10% of the total population, will likely gain only 3 seats of the 100 member assembly. In contrast, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm - the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) - and the Salafist-influenced Nour Party appear to have garnered more than 70 seats in an assembly where 50 members were selected from the current bi-cameral Parliament (the People's Assembly and the Shura Council) and 50 members from outside the government (mostly from religious, educational, and civic organizations)...
Mali was regarded by the West as "a stable democracy" right up to the moment a military coup began that removed the popularly elected president. Coup leaders point to insufficient support for the armed forces in its counterinsurgency campaign against well-armed Tuareg rebels in the north...
The general population ― as well as many counterterrorism officials ― dismiss violent extremism as an irrational act by irrational individuals. Apart from the occasional outlier with authentic psychological disorders, most terrorist campaigns reflect a rational calculus designed to achieve very specific outcomes...
As of mid-March 2012, Azerbaijan has become the new center for internecine warfare among intelligence agencies from an array of countries. Much like Geneva, a city that served as a bridge between East and West as well as a center for international intelligence activity during the Cold War, Azerbaijan and its capital city, Baku, have seen an influx of intelligence operatives in the two decades since it declared its independence from the Soviet Union...