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Mohamed El Dahshan road-tests the Lebanese Army's new app -- and finds a few surprises.
Christian Caryl chastises the U.S. media for keeping Americans in dark about the horrors of war.
Blair Glencorse and Charles Landow propose a more efficient version of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).
Mohamed Eljarh explains how Libya's worsening oil crisis is exacerbating political problems.
And as the G-20 summit gets under way in St. Petersburg, Anna Nemtsova finds out why some Russian dissidents are becoming disillusioned with President Obama.
This week's recommended reads:
As the United States contemplates military action in Syria, experts Jeffrey White, Andrew J. Tabler, and Aaron Y. Zelin take an in-depth look at the rebels' political beliefs and military effectiveness. (In the photo above, pro-Assad protesters congregate outside the U.S. embassy in Beirut.)
Writing for the New York Review of Books, Yasmine El Rashidi explains why media coverage of the crackdown in Egypt has missed a crucial side of the story.
The International Crisis Group's third report on the challenges of integration in the North Caucasus analyzes the political and legal issues in the region that are preventing the establishment of fair political representation, rule of law, and other democratic norms.
Academics Alexander Thurston and Andrew Lebovitch provide a thorough rundown on a turbulent year of rebellion, coups, and violence in A Handbook on Mali's 2012-2013 Crisis. In World Politics Review, Kamissa Camara asserts that Mali's return to democratic government this month will not resolve the deep-rooted problems that prompted last year's rebel occupation.
New York Times reporter Nicholas Kulish writes on Kenya's vote to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) just as the court's trial of the country's leaders gets under way.
Writing for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Murray Hiebert explains why the U.S. decision to lift decades old sanctions will encourage the Burmese military to push ahead with reforms.
The U.S. Agency for International Development's Eric Postel argues that improving property rights is a prerequisite for greater food security.
In his review of Rouba Al-Fattal Eeckelaert's new book on international election assistance in transitioning democracies, Richard Armstrong pushes back against her contention that the U.S., Canada, and the EU should support democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority -- even when Hamas ends up the winner.
ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images
Venezuela's economy is in an endless state of disarray. Inflation is soaring, and basic staples are increasingly harder to find. Electricity blackouts are frequent, and crime presents an enormous problem for citizens and companies crazy enough to do business there.
James A. Robinson explains why Colombia's remarkable degree of political stability is not all that it's cracked up to be.
Malik Al-Abdeh wonders whether the creation of a new umbrella group for the Syrian opposition group will actually help to bring down the Assad regime.
Mohamed El Dahshan argues that the current government ban on pornography in Egypt threatens freedom of expression.
Larry Jagan analyzes the dynamics within the Burmese leadership and explains why fragmentation of the ruling party would be a disaster for the country.
Christian Caryl explores the comparison between two civil war presidents, Bashar al-Assad and Abraham Lincoln.
Besar Likmeta profiles Ina Rama, Albania's first female general prosecutor and valiant hero in the fight against sleaze.
Jackee Batanda reports on the increasing demoralization of a Ugandan public battered by new revelations of corruption in high places.
And here are this week's recommended reads:
Thomas Carothers and and Nathan J. Brown explain the real danger for democracy in Egypt.
Katrin Verclas and Lina Srivastava wonder why a new list of democracy promotion heavyweights is bereft of women.
In a Guardian interview with Colin Poulton, the SOAS research fellow makes the case that the establishment of democratic institutions in developing countries can be detrimental to the rural poor.
A new RAND report assesses the nation-building challenges in post-Qaddafi Libya.
A new report on Burma from the International Crisis Group, Storm Clouds on the Horizon, shows how continuing sectarian conflict is casting a shadow over the reform process. Writing in The Independent, Emanuel Stoakes stresses the need for President Obama to acknowledge the issue during his upcoming trip to Burma.
In an analysis for the Middle East Research and Information Project, Pete Moore explains why -- despite the recent turmoil there -- Jordan is unlikely to experience its own version of the Arab Spring.
Sarah Kendzior argues that there are good reasons for holding policy forums in authoritarian countries.
Alina Rocha Menocal takes issue with the notion that "building institutions" is the best formula for promoting development.And finally, Evelyn Lamb, writing in Scientific American, explains the background of the Gini coefficient -- and why it's not like the Kardashians
Photo by Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images
Can Burma make headway towards democracy when it's still saddled with an authoritarian constitution? Michael Albertus and Victor Menaldo argue that countries in comparable situations have managed to overcome similar obstacles in the past.
Skeptics say that Brazil's economy is losing its mojo. But Albert Fishlow begs to differ, explaining why investors shouldn't give up so soon.
Christian Caryl tells the peculiar story of a West Texas town that has become a player in the global human rights industry.
There's an old Acholi proverb: "Land is like a fish with its mouth wide open, waiting to swallow you." If there's one thing that unites the Acholi people, it's the obsession with land.
For the past four or five years I've been observing the growing land conflict in Acholi. The land question has become a leading subject of debate and discussion.
There seem to be many different people who want to have land in Acholi, and they have many ways of getting it. Some have used the government structures; others have simply grabbed it by force. Officers of the Uganda People Defense forces (UPDF) have been accused of amassing huge chunks of land in the region in the wake of the devastating conflict with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
Transitions is the group blog of the Democracy Lab channel, a collaboration between Foreign Policy and the Legatum Institute.