US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook is expected to resign this week. There’s been a lot of speculation about who her successor may be, and how recent changes in the human-rights world and the DC bureaucracy may impact the future of her job. But first, a bit of backgroundRead More
Robin Wright, we like you. You’re a top-notch reporter on the Arab world and Iran, and you’re written some great books about the cultural and political changes underway in the region. You’re a fixture at DC think-tank events, but that doesn’t mean your analysis is ever condescending or simplistic. You’re able to report on the people you interview with compassion and complexity, and you have great fashion sense. In short, you’re a pro.Read More
Last weekend was marked by unexpected incidents of public and religiously motivated violence around the world. A posh shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya was besieged by Islamists in a dramatic standoff with government forces that has killed dozens of Kenyans and foreigners so far. A funeral procession in Baghdad was bombed, killing at least 65 bystanders. And in the largest anti-Christian attack in Pakistan’s history, 80 people died when Taliban affiliates bombed a church in Peshawar after Sunday services.Read More
That little blue check mark next to Javad Zarif’s name is a very big deal. So is that tweet from Thomas Erdbrink. Let us explain why.
Official access to Twitter and Facebook became heavily restricted in Iran following the 2009 reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the street protests that followed, disputing the results. Then in this year’s election, Hassan Rouhani and other presidential candidates relied heavily on social media to get their messages across.Read More
Happy Thursday! Yesterday we introduced our crash course on the Eurovision Song Contest. Today’s installment: the politics of Eurovision.
Each participating country has 12 votes to spend in the final round, whether or not they make it in themselves. Half of those 12 votes comes from a jury, and the other half comes from phone voting within the country. The scoring system is very confusing, but maximum score a country can award is all 12 of its votes — the famous “douze points.”Read More
Many Eastern Christians celebrated Easter (Pascha) yesterday, due to differences between the Gregorian and Julian calendars.
It has been an especially precarious Lent and Holy Week in many parts of the Arab world. On April 22, two bishops belonging to different Orthodox churches were abducted by armed rebels in Syria, leading to demands for their release from Pope Francis and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Their status remains unknown.Read More
Barring the unlikely event that the United States will get entangled in military action against Grozny (or Makhachkala, or Bishkek), this will be the only time Wonkistan covers the saga of the Brothers Tsarnaev, alleged perpetrators of last week’s Boston Marathon bombing.Read More
It is the eve of election day in the United States, Wonkistan! We’ve had a great discussion on voting and civics over the past few months, so we thought we would round up our favorite videos, articles, and links in preparation of the big day.Read More