Posts

Pakistan’s Battle with Coronavirus Reveals Governance Challenges

While governments around the world are anxious to emerge from their pandemic lockdowns for the sake of their economies, the pressure to do so is more acute in countries like Pakistan where there were already high levels of poverty and a significant part of the population is engaged in the informal economy.

Beware of China

China is using the coronavirus pandemic to exploit divisions among Western democracies and extend its influence in these countries, according to Emily Haber, Germany’s ambassador to the United States. She worries that the twin public health and economic crises could turn into a political crisis for the democratic West.

With One Small Step, Trump Makes History in North Korea

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On June 30, Donald J. Trump became the first US president to set foot in North Korea. Trump made history when stepped across a low concrete marker accompanied by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and walked a few steps into the North. The two leaders agreed to have their negotiators resume an effort to reach what has so far been an elusive nuclear deal.

US President Donald J. Trump, accompanied by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, stepped into North Korea at the border village of Panmunjom on June 30. Trump is the first sitting US president to set foot in North Korea. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Trump, Xi Pause US-China Trade War

US President Donald J. Trump agreed on June 29 to lift some restrictions on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and delay imposing new tariffs on Chinese goods. These concessions were announced following a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, at which the two leaders agreed to restart trade negotiations between their countries.

Trump Sanctions Iran’s Supreme Leader

US President Donald J. Trump on June 24 signed an executive order that he said would place “hard-hitting” sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader.

“The Supreme Leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime. He’s respected within his country.  His office oversees the regime’s most brutal instruments, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Trump said before signing the order in the White House. “These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” he added.

Open Source Information as a Tool in Exposing Authoritarian Regimes

In April, Norwegian security agents informed Iyad el-Baghdadi that he was the target of a threat emanating from Saudi Arabia. El-Baghdadi believes the threat came from the government of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the crown prince’s righthand man Saud al-Qahtani.

El-Baghdadi, a prominent Arab activist, is a critic of the Saudi government, much like his late friend, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. He took the threat seriously.

Open Source Investigators Set Their Sights on Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen

Bellingcat and the Global Legal Action Network are using open source information to investigate airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition on civilian targets and critical infrastructure in Yemen.


The goal of this project is to investigate “a hundred airstrikes as part of legal cases to prevent arms exports to Saudi Arabia,” said Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, an open source investigation website. In remarks at the Atlantic Council’s 360 O/S disinformation conference in London on June 21, Higgins used videos—most relying on satellite imagery—to explain the work his team of researchers has been doing to verify the credibility of information obtained from conflict zones around the world.