On May 7, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of al-Qaeda, released an audio recording in which he announced that he had given his permission for the al-Qaeda affiliated Syrian jihadist group, al-Nusra Front, to create "a new emirate" in Syria.
For Al-Qaeda affiliates around the world, holding westerners hostage and threatening to kill them if their governments don't pay for their release is big business. In fact, kidnapping is a massive windfall for terrorist organizations in general.
While Tunisia has been spared the large-scale human rights abuses and chaotic turmoil of the other post-Arab Spring states, a growing al Qaeda presence threatens to destabilize the country and undermine the democratic aspirations that fueled the Jasmine Revolution.
As Morocco's strategic partner, the U.S. must ensure that its dollars, military support, and political support generate momentum for human rights. Moroccan authorities shouldn't be allowed to presume that their relationship with the U.S. is a blank check.
Bilateral relations between China and Nigeria will likely take one of two paths in the long term: either China will remain the overwhelmingly dominant actor or Nigeria will become a regional superpower, evening out the playing field.
Having survived the harsh conditions of the desert and peacefully and coexisting alongside the local populations for centuries, the current political instability and its consequences is yet another stress to this elephant population, already at the limit of its endurance.
What does this mean for us? Well, it's both good and bad. It's good because the extreme ideology of the group likely contributed to its downfall in Mali. It's bad because calls for pragmatism -- which would moderate its more severe violence -- may fall short.