How many candidates did Iran's Guardian Council approve for the upcoming presidential election? The parliament of which country banned advertising for alcohol and issued restrictions on its sale on Friday?
Take our weekly quiz to find out.
‘Beyond the Manhunts: How to Stop Terror’ – a GPS special tonight on CNN at 11 p.m. ET
Fareed explores a number of key issues: The hunt for Osama bin Laden, the state of al Qaeda, the morality of drone strikes, and the threat of lone wolves striking the U.S. homeland. Expert voices include former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, and former CIA Counter-terrorism chief Robert Grenier.
“It's very easy, when you get out on that slippery slope, to say…well here we are, we shouldn't just be focusing only on the international terrorists,” Grenier says. “What about the people who are supporting them? But when we take the next step and we start attacking them as an affiliated group, as though they were international terrorists themselves, we’re inviting a lot of trouble.”
"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
First, Fareed delves into the attack on a British soldier: What lessons can London – and the world – draw from it?
Then, does Britain need more Europe, or less? A discussion with Financial Times commentator Martin Wolf and Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Applebaum.
“I think that Britain has the opportunity still to be a leading power inside Europe. And because of the particular nature of the Tory Party and because of the nature of the argument right now, it is at risk of eliminating itself,” Applebaum says. “If Britain is going to spend the next two or three years renegotiating its relationship with Europe rather than taking part in the central debates that everybody else cares about, then it will be irrelevant.”
Later, is the Cold War back? Two experts on the world of espionage explain why Russia decided to humiliate an alleged U.S. spy.
And finally, Big Data or Big Brother? How the digital information era is changing the world in extraordinary ways.
By Dwight Bashir, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Dwight Bashir is Deputy Director of Policy and Research at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. You can follow him @DwightBashir. The views expressed are his own.
This week, in one arbitrary swoop, Iran’s Guardian Council shrunk the list of presidential candidates for next month's election from 686 to eight eligible individuals. It should come as no surprise that all of the serious contenders are loyalists to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Still, the decision did hold some surprises, not least the disqualification of former two-term President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
The exclusion of Rafsanjani, 78, speaks to something greater than his age. If we learned anything from the stolen June 2009 election, it was that the regime would do anything to maintain its stranglehold over the country. The last election highlighted a regime fighting for its life by invoking its repressive religious ideology to stifle a tidal wave of dissent and protest, and the banning of Rafsanjani is the first clear sign during this election cycle that Khamenei will do anything to avoid a repeat of 2009. The reality is that since then, Rafsanjani has become a greater adversary of Khamenei and a favorite of the reformist Green Movement. To allow him to run would be tantamount to giving pro-reform Iranians a rallying icon.
By Michael O’Hanlon, Special to CNN
Michael O’Hanlon is senior fellow at Brookings and author of The Wounded Giant: America’s Armed Forces in an Age of Austerity. The views expressed are his own.
President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism speech Thursday did not deliver any radical policy changes or huge revelations, but it was well done nonetheless. It explained his reasoning behind the use of certain techniques of warfare including drone strikes and Guantanamo detentions, even as he also promised to minimize the use of these methods in the future and try to move towards a world in which the 2001 authorization for war against al Qaeda and affiliates would no longer be needed. It was an intelligent blend of the tone of his more idealistic speeches, such as the Cairo address of June 2009, with his more muscular messages like the December 2009 Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
But one section of his speech is worth particular focus – the use of armed unmanned combat vehicles or drones. Even though President Obama did not specify exactly how drone strikes would change in the future, and did not provide a great deal of new information about them, the modest amount of detail he did provide was welcome. That is because U.S. drone strikes are badly misunderstood around the world, a point underscored by a New York Times op-ed today contained the following statements:
“...the C.I.A. has no idea who is actually being killed in most of the strikes. Despite this acknowledgment, the drone program in Pakistan still continues without any Congressional oversight or accountability.”
By Troy Stangarone, Andrew Kwon and Peter Taves, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Troy Stangarone is the senior director of Congressional Affairs and Trade at the Korea Economic Institute of America. Andrew Kwon is a recent Masters of International Security graduate from the University of Sydney. Peter Taves is a Masters of International Economic Relations candidate at American University. The views expressed are the authors’ own.
Whether threatening to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire” or describing the recent summit meeting between Presidents Barack Obama and Park Geun-hye as a prelude to war, over-the-top rhetoric has become almost an art form for the leadership in Pyongyang. Under Kim Jong Il, the United States and South Korea grew accustomed to North Korea engaging in threats to extract concessions as Pyongyang mastered the art of crisis escalation, only to dial tensions down when the time was right to get what it wanted. But if the language used under Kim Jong Il was calculated for effect, the thinking behind Kim Jong Un’s rhetoric is much less clear.
While the events of recent months contain certain familiar elements, there has been a higher degree of specificity in the threats, an increase in their intensity, and a longer duration than in previous crises. This is reflected in an analysis of the rhetoric used in current and previous crises in North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), which shows the use of terms such as “war,” and “nuclear” far more prevalent than terms such as “peace,” and “reconciliation.”
By Rebecca Schleifer and Darby Hickey, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Rebecca Schleifer is the advocacy director for Human Rights Watch’s Health and Human Rights Program. Darby Hickey is a policy analyst with the Best Practices Policy Project, which promotes the human rights of people doing sex work. The views expressed are their own.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule next month in a case about whether the U.S. government can require organizations to denounce prostitution as a condition of funding for their international HIV/AIDS work.
As those on the ground who work in programs trying to stop the spread of HIV have reported, this “anti-prostitution pledge” makes it harder to reach out to sex workers, the very people whose cooperation is needed to make these efforts work.
Since 2003, U.S. law has required organizations receiving U.S. anti-AIDS funds to have a specific organization-wide policy “explicitly opposing prostitution.” This requires organizations to censor their speech on prostitution, or sex work, even when using their own private funds in separate programs. The government contends the pledge is a way to identify the best organizations to carry out HIV/AIDS work and that the provision does not violate free speech because groups can set up parallel organizations not bound by the pledge. The Alliance for Open Society International, which brought the Supreme Court case, says that the pledge not only violates its First Amendment rights but also undermines the very public health goals that the government is providing the money to achieve.
Cyber security expert Eugene Spafford, a professor of computer sciences at Purdue University and former member of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, responds to GPS readers’ questions. The views expressed are his own, based on publicly available information, and do not necessarily reflect those of any other organization.
“Danish Ahmed” notes we have laws governing the high seas and space – should governments be doing more to implement rules in cyber space?
Definitely, yes. Unfortunately, there are many significant obstacles in the way. We’ve had governments for thousands of years and we are still working out how to balance national interests against each other with simpler technologies, and to understand and enforce the laws and norms those governments set for their populations. The whole notion of international computing networks is about 35 years-old – about one human generation. That isn’t enough time for us to get the experience necessary to really understand what needs to be done and what will work.
We have need of better agreements on behavior about what might be considered illegal, for instance. But to do that, we need to come up with some norms or appropriate use to which (almost) everyone can agree. This will not be simple or quick because there is such a variety of national and cultural standards that must be bridged. As one particular case, there are broad general protections in the U.S. for political and religious expression. However, that is not the norm everywhere else. For example, references to Nazi symbols are criminal offenses in Europe, Christianity is effectively banned in some Muslim countries with proselytization a capital offense, any criticism of the king is a crime in Thailand, and discussion of the failings of the Communist Party is blocked in the People's Republic of China. The situation may be even more complex as we consider images, video, and sound. Cartoons that purport to be of the Islamic prophet Mohammed will generate violence in many countries and be seen as valid speech in others. Posting pictures of naked people will be (boring) art in some countries, scandalous pornography in others, and possibly generate a death sentence in a few more. How do we begin to define norms for everyone to use?
By Fareed Zakaria
The U.S. tax code is at the heart of a system of institutionalized, legal corruption. The code is so vast because companies, industries and lobbying groups receive special preferences in return for campaign contributions, a cash-for-favors scheme that Washington would denounce as crony capitalism in any Third World country.
You can see the corruption at work in the fierce opposition to efforts to lower the corporate tax rate. After demanding this reduction for years, companies are now lobbying hard — and spending heavily — to retain their own special tax breaks, which is what drove rates up in the first place.
By Jeffrey N DeMarco, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Jeffrey DeMarco is a lecturer in Criminology at Kingston University and research associate with the Centre of Criminology and Sociology at Royal Holloway, University of London. The views expressed are his own.
Here we are again. An attack. A metropolis. A sensational depiction of violence. A Western victim. These are the thematic artifacts of our current (British) understanding of the “War on Terror.” Regardless of the venue, the perpetrator, or the modus operandi we reach an ultimate conclusion: Islamic jihadists. Full stop. The drawn out era of conflict post-9/11 has limited our already narrow understanding of a worldwide conflict fuelled by our incomprehension of “another.” The “War on Terror,” meanwhile, has evolved.
When the Twin Towers fell, our concept of terrorism and victimology dramatically changed. No longer did these atrocities play out on foreign soils, but instead on our neighbors’ door steps. The attack on London's transit system in July 2005, as with that on Madrid's in March 2004, only reinforced our own feelings of victimization. What we fail to acknowledge is the evolutionary process terrorism, as crime, follows.
On Thursday, with the killing in Woolwich in Southeast London of a man believed to be a soldier, we were reminded of the dynamic nature that a terrorist act can take. As details emerge, we see the substantiated process of the “lone wolf” or “wolf pack” emerging further. The purpose of terrorism is not, contrary to popular belief, to terminate the maximum number of lives. Instead, the goal is the installation of fear and uncertainty amongst the populace. Al Qaeda’s influence is not about direct contact – the group’s mere existence is intoxicating, given the appropriate channels.
By Mark N. Katz, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Mark N. Katz is professor of Government and Politics at George Mason University, and the author of ‘Leaving without Losing: The War on Terror after Iraq and Afghanistan.’ The views expressed are his own.
The ongoing civil war that is devastating Syria is increasingly threatening to spill over and engulf neighboring countries. Indeed, all the ingredients are there for what would be a disastrous region-wide Sunni-Shiite conflict.
Just look at what has been going on. Turkey is hard pressed to deal with the growing number of Syrian refugees flooding into its territory, while tiny Jordan may soon be overwhelmed by them. In addition, the conflict between Syria’s Alawite minority regime and its Sunni majority opposition is spilling over and re-invigorating Sunni-Shiite conflict both in Iraq to the east and Lebanon to the west. Meanwhile, Shiite-dominated governments in Iran and Iraq, as well as the radical Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, are all actively assisting Syria’s Alawite regime, while Sunni-dominated governments in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan are helping the Sunni opposition.
And what has been the Obama administration’s response to all this? Surprising – and troubling – restraint.
By Carolyn Campbell, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Carolyn Campbell is a partner at Emerging Capital Partners, a pan-African private equity investor headquartered in Washington DC. The views expressed are her own.
Thirteen years ago this month, The Economist was so discouraged by Africa’s lack of progress that it was moved to write a cover story entitled “The hopeless continent.”
“The new millennium has brought more disaster than hope to Africa,” the editorial ran. “Worse, the few candles of hope are flickering weakly.”
How times have changed. Over the last decade, real income per person across the continent has increased by more than a third, even as it has fallen in rich countries including the United States. Meanwhile, fueled in part by a quadrupling of foreign direct investment in the decade through 2012, African GDP has been forecast to rise by an average of 6 percent a year for the next ten years.