• Like its putative Islamic State counterparts in Iraq and Syria, the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram has in recent weeks accomplished an alarming expansion of its territorial control
• The downing of a Nigerian fighter jet—and the videotaped beheading of its pilot—also suggest a quantum leap in the group’s offensive and propaganda capabilities
• The Nigerian state’s attempts to counter the Boko Haram narrative through positive public relations have yet to yield positive results
• The government’s latest claim of killing the militants’ leader, Abubakar Shekau, remains unsubstantiated, thus creating another public relations challenge for Nigerian security officials
Sarkozy's own political camp has been in a shambles, but the socialists are now in at least as bad shape. Especially after the strong showing by the far-right National Front in this spring's European Parliament elections, Sarkozy cannot allow himself to stand idly by and leave the door wide open for the National Front leader Marine Le Pen to capture the Elysée, or even get close again, as her father Jean-Marie Le Pen did in 2002.
In New York last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a group of U.S. media executives and senior correspondents that while, "Everything is based on the expectation — God willing — that we will reach success... [but that] doesn't mean if we fail to reach agreement, we will go back to the past."
How will the Brazilian presidential election unfold?Brazilians go to the polls on October 5 in the first round of voting for presidential, congressional, and state elections. If no presidential candidate secures 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will be held on October 26. The upcoming elections are likely to bring major changes at the national level—though incumbent governors are largely poised to claim victory at the state level—that could significantly alter the course of Brazil’s domestic and international policies.
After five presidential election cycles, the see-saw rivalry between the coalition led by the Workers’ Party (PT) and the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) seems to have come to an end. Following the tragic death of Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) presidential candidate Eduardo Campos on August 13, his running mate, Marina Silva, now heads the ballot, with a stunning turnaround in voters’ intentions. Aécio Neves, the PSDB candidate, seems poised to take third place.
In just two weeks, the PSB ticket saw first-round support increase from 9 percent before Eduardo Campos’ death to 34 percent. As of September 23, IBOPE polls indicate Marina and President Dilma Rousseff (PT) are neck and neck in the second round with 41 percent each. As former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) summed up, the death of Eduardo Campos ended one election and the entrance of Marina Silva marked the start of a new one.
Obama's opportunity with India and its new leader
When the new Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, visits the White House this week, President Obama should seize the opportunity to revive and rebuild an important relationship with a key Asian partner that has fallen on hard times in recent years.
In strategic terms, there are few countries more important to Washington than India, the dominant power in the Indian Ocean region and, with Japan, the most important U.S. partner in Asia seeking to limit Chinese assertiveness in the region. But, from the start of the Obama administration, India has never been a top priority and the long-term U.S. project to cement a strategic future with India is currently adrift. To be fair, Obama has had a multitude of critical short-term crises — Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Russia — to contend with. But overlooking India has had a price. Seeming U.S. indifference and an Indian government under former prime minister Manmohan Singh in domestic gridlock combined to put the two countries at odds on global trade, climate change, Iran and Russia.
Still, the address he made Wednesday to the annual meeting of the U.N. Security Council was especially eloquent in its appeal to the Muslim world to cure itself of the diseases of extremism and intolerance that historically plagued many religions but not to the same extent as Islam in today's world.
The US strategy to contain ISIS and to prevent it from dismembering Iraq cannot succeed without weakening and ultimately destroying ISIS where it was created — in Syria. Obama understands that the extraordinary swift and sudden ISIS advance from Syria into Iraq in early summer effectively created one Iraq-Syria battle space. To contain and ultimately destroy ISIS — which is the administration's stated goal — it will have to operate militarily in both countries.
This is the best we can do, they seem to be saying: Accept our position or you will face even more hardline interlocutors in the future.
Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations Wednesday evening in New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reminded the elite audience what happened in 2005 when the George W. Bush administration rejected a prior Iranian nuclear offer: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president, Iran accelerated its nuclear program and Zarif, a pragmatic former UN ambassador, was forced into "early retirement."
In defiance of international law and established rules of behavior, President Vladimir Putin’s Russia illegally annexed Crimea by force last spring and is vigorously destabilizing eastern Ukraine with a combination of military and nonmilitary means now called by specialists a "hybrid war."