East Africa: A new front for global jihad?
The deadly siege on the Westgate shopping centre in Kenya’s capital Nairobi in September 2013 highlighted the growing presence of extremism in East Africa. Groups such as Somalia’s al-Shabaab, a militant Islamist organisation that claimed the attack, have become more visible in recent years, raising fears the region may be a new jihadist front.
Greece cut to the bone
Greece was drowning in debt and looked to be on the brink of default when it received its first EU/IMF bailout in May 2010. The country has since introduced a series of tough austerity measures in a bid to save its economy, much to the discontent of millions of Greeks who have regularly taken to the streets in protest over the past few years.
The Bettencourt scandal: Politics, cash and cosmetics
The Bettencourt scandal began as a row between France’s wealthiest woman, L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, and her daughter, before escalating as far as former president Nicolas Sarkozy. An investigation into Sarkozy has been dropped but his ex-labour minister Eric Woerth is expected to face trial over allegations of illegal campaign donations.
Democracy in Tunisia put to the test
Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, has been wracked by political turmoil since ex-president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in 2011. After months of crisis and the assassination of two prominent opposition figures, the ruling Islamist Ennahda party is in talks with the opposition to form an interim government ahead of fresh elections.
Egypt: A nation divided
In barely three years, Egypt has witnessed the fall of longstanding dictator Hosni Mubarak, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ouster of democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, the banning of the Brotherhood, resurgent military power and bitter divisions in Egyptian society.
Egypt after Mubarak
After an 18-day revolution that forced president Hosni Mubarak from power, a military council is guiding Egypt through a “peaceful transition” that has already included a referendum-approved package of constitutional amendments. Military leaders have announced that presidential elections will be held in November, leaving the country’s emerging political groups only a few months to organise ahead of the much-awaited poll.
Libya: Power to the people or militias?
The fall of Muammar Gaddafi has not brought the anticipated stability and prosperity to this oil-rich nation as militias continue to challenge Libya’s elected government. Tribal and ethnic animosities are being fuelled by Gaddafi’s looted arms and Libya today is in danger of losing the gains of the Arab Spring.
Mali: Long road to recovery
After a calamitous 2012, which saw a military coup and the north fall to militant groups, Mali is back from the brink following a French military intervention. Malians elected a seasoned politician in a widely hailed presidential election and UN peacekeepers are on the ground. But security is precarious and the longstanding Tuareg issue still festers.
Syria: From Arab Spring to civil war
Peaceful protests in the spring of 2011 raised hopes of political change in Syria, but instead marked the start of a brutal civil war. Fighting between rebel factions and Bashar al-Assad’s regime has since claimed over 100,000 lives, sparked a refugee crisis, sowed divisions among Western powers and threatens to engulf the region.