There’s Been A Coup In Burkina Faso And This Is Why


The end of now former President Blaise Compaore’s 27-year rule has been long coming.

Blaise Compaore was president of Burkina Faso for 27 years — until Friday, when he was ousted in a coup following two days of protests.

Blaise Compaore was president of Burkina Faso for 27 years — until Friday, when he was ousted in a coup following two days of protests.

Issouf Sanogo/AFP / Via Getty Images

Compaore (right) himself first took power via a coup, and had gained a reputation for being a skilled negotiator, helping to broker the end to crises in Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mali, according to World Politics Review.

In a televised statement, Compaore announced: “In order to preserve the democratic gains, as well as social peace, I declare a power vacuum to allow the establishment of a transition leading to free and fair elections within a maximum of 90 days.”

The military has declared that it is now in charge of the country and Compaore is rumored to be moving toward the border shared with Ghana.

The driving force behind the protests was Compaore’s attempt to change the Burkinabe constitution to allow him to run for a third term in office. Earlier this year, a first round of protests against the possibility drew tens of thousands.

The driving force behind the protests was Compaore's attempt to change the Burkinabe constitution to allow him to run for a third term in office. Earlier this year, a first round of protests against the possibility drew tens of thousands .

Ahmed Ouoba / Via AFP / Getty Images


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HII Launches Murtha Amphibious Warship


Amphibious warship John P. Murtha takes to the water on Oct. 30, 2014. HII Photo

Amphibious warship John P. Murtha takes to the water on Oct. 30, 2014. HII Photo

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has launched the tenth San Antonio-class (LPD-17) amphibious warship on Thursday.

The John P. Murtha (LPD-26) — named after the late influential Pennsylvania U.S. Senator — took to the water for the first time on Thursday when it was lowered into the Gulf of Mexico at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.

“This ship is tracking to be one of our best LPDs ever, and it is the most complete ship at launch to date,” Ingalls president Brian Cuccias said in a statement from the company.
“We are incorporating learning from each ship to improve our performance in both cost and schedule. Our hot production line in LPD construction provides efficiencies in day-to-day work efforts and helps stabilize the program and the associated supplier base.”

The 25,000-ton Murtha is expected to commission in 2016 and is the penultimate San Antonio-class ship unless a proposal — backed by the Marine Corps — for a 12th LPD-17 is approved by Congress.

Portland (LPD-27) is scheduled to launch in 2016.

Earlier this month, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus signed out a memo saying that the LPD-17 hull design is the Navy’s preferred design for the construction of the Navy’s next generation amphibious warship — LX(R).


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Russia warns it’s coming for the Arctic’s oil, including an area Canada claims as its own


MOSCOW — Russia has warned that it will revive its claim to a huge swathe of the Arctic in the hope that it can secure the rights to billions of tons of oil and gas.

Moscow has long seen the seabed off its northern coastline as a mine of valuable hydrocarbons and is keen to fend off rival bids for control over the region’s resources.

Sergei Donskoy, the minister for natural resources, said Russia had completed research on its submission to the United Nations, under which it hopes to gain an extra 740,000 kilometres. “That is a big increase to the country’s territory, that’s why we call this application an application for the future – an application for the future sustainable development of our country,” said Mr. Donskoy after greeting scientists returning home this week from the Arctic to St Petersburg on the Akademik Fedorov research ship.

Mr. Donskoy said Russia’s application, which could net it at least five billion tons of hitherto unexploited oil and gas reserves, would be submitted to the UN in the spring.

ALEKSEY NIKOLSKYI/AFP/Getty Images

ALEKSEY NIKOLSKYI/AFP/Getty ImagesRussian President Vladimir Putin holds a briefing session with standing members of the Russian Security Council at the Bocharov Ruchei residence outside Sochi on Saturday.

The announcement came as the Kremlin increases its military presence in the far north. Russia’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that it was going to build 13 new military airfields and 10 radar stations in the Arctic in case of “unwelcome guests”.

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, told his security council in April that the Arctic was “a sphere of our special interest”.

Under the UN convention on the law of the sea, the five states with territory inside the Arctic Circle – Canada, Norway, Russia, the US and Denmark, via its control of Greenland – have economic rights over a 200-mile zone around the north of their coastline.

However, the convention is open to appeal and several countries are disputing the limits of the zone.

Russia believes its shelf is directly linked to the Lomonosov ridge, an underwater mountain crest that runs 1,240 miles across the polar region. A similar claim is being made about the Mendeleyev ridge, which also strikes out from Siberia toward the North Pole.

Moscow submitted research findings to the UN in 2001 to the effect that the ridges were a “natural prolongation” of Russia, but they were rejected, and it has been gathering data for a new application since.

In 2007, Russian scientists tried to beef up their claims by diving to the seabed under the North Pole and planting a titanium Russian flag. That prompted ridicule from some quarters, with Peter MacKay, Canada’s then foreign minister, comparing it to a 15th century colonial land-grab.

Canada also calls the Lomonosov ridge its own and is expected to lay claim to the North Pole itself in a forthcoming application to the UN. Denmark thinks the ridge is part of Greenland.


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WorldViews: Letter to Obama: Don’t be fooled if Beijing’s skies are blue


When President Obama arrives in Beijing in November for an important Asia-Pacific summit, he shouldn’t be surprised if the skies are a brilliant blue.

The Chinese government is mounting a concerted campaign to make sure the capital’s infamous smog is under control when Obama and regional heads of state arrive for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. It is an operation similar in scale to that mounted for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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Chinese Combat Drones: Ready to Go Global?


David Schaefer

Security, China

 “China is forecast to become the global hub of drone production over the next decade, with the Chinese Government as the main buyer.”

In November of every other year, aviation experts descend on the Chinese city of Zhuhai for a rare look at the future of China’s air power. Over the last ten years, the International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition have charted the progress of China’s drone fleet from concept art to functioning models. Now, as the country’s investment in drone technology helps it catch up to the competition, the technology on display at Zhuhai next week could pose another challenge for the global arms control effort.

Chinese companies have boasted about muscling into the international drone market, and they appear to be making headway. In May, it was revealed that Saudi Arabia purchased an unknown number of Chinese-made Wing Loong drones, a rough equivalent to the US-made Predator. This followed earlier reports of Chinese collaboration with the Algerian military, and suspicion that Uzbekistan, the UAE and Pakistan are operating Chinese drones. And in an August joint military exercise, China conducted a live-fire demonstration of drone strikes for its partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

All this comes at a time when American experts are worried about their diminishing lead in unpiloted aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.

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Burkina Faso’s president steps down amid massive protests


Army has dissolved parliament and announced a transitional government in the face of violent mass protests


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Challenges in Nuclear Verification: The IAEA’s Role on the Iranian Nuclear Issue


International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano

Event Information

October 31, 2014

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

Falk Auditorium

Brookings Institution

1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20036

Register for the Event

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has for almost 60 years been at the forefront of international efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Its safeguards system is indispensable in providing credible assurance that states are honouring their international obligations, including under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and ensuring that any misuse of nuclear material or technology by a state can be quickly detected.

The IAEA has been addressing the Iran nuclear issue for over 10 years. More recently, it has played a critical role in verifying and monitoring the implementation of nuclear-related measures agreed by Iran under the Joint Plan of Action negotiated by Iran and the P5+1 countries.  It is likely to play a central role in monitoring and verifying nuclear-related measures under any comprehensive agreement that may be reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries.

On October 31, the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at Brookings will host IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who will discuss the IAEA’s role in nuclear verification, including in monitoring the November 2013 interim agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran.  Following his remarks, Amano will take questions from the audience.  Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Einhorn will moderate the question and answer session.

This event is part of the Alan and Jane Batkin International Leaders Forum Series, a new event series hosted by Foreign Policy at Brookings which brings global political, diplomatic and thought leaders to Washington, D.C. for major policy addresses.

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Morocco To Provide UAE With Military, Intel Support Against Terrorism


Morocco will provide direct military, operational and intelligence support to the United Arab Emirates to assist in its fight against terrorism, according to the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


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Taiwan President Backs Hong Kong Protesters While Courting Beijing


In an interview, President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan said he supported Hong Kong protesters’ democratic ideals, but would still pursue trade agreements with China.




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What Was The Result Of U.S. Attack Against Khorasan Group In Syria?


More than a month after the U.S. targeted a shadowy al-Qaida bomb-making group known as the Khorasan in Syria with Tomahawk cruise missiles, little is known about the impact of that attack.

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