The tensions between Russia and the West have further ratcheted up this week since the Crimean Peninsula's local government called for a referendum to secede from Ukraine. The current standoff between the West and Moscow concerning Ukraine might be viewed as the gravest instance of tension in the post-Cold War era.
Pakistan's Islamic parties have long wielded influence through street politics; political and, at times, ideological alliances with the army; and support to militant groups. They are key players that merit continued study. Vying for Allah's Vote examines their origins, ideologies, bases of support, and relationship with extremism and civilian rule.
This month, Iranian leaders encounter a unique and distinct political opportunity to improve Tehran's political image. The "London 11" will hold a meeting in Europe next week and the subject of Iran's role in the resolution efforts of the Syrian civil war as well as delivery of humanitarian aid to the nation will be discussed.
Although the UN does important humanitarian work, it is overgrown with the weeds of a dysfunctional bureaucracy and spineless leadership, and has become a watering hole for states that are prepared to sanction sex discrimination and extremist ideology without fear of serious challenge by the world body.