Editor's note

At their recent summit, Russia and Turkey agreed to enforce a demilitarised zone in Idlib, Syria. Given his earlier plans to stage a military intervention in the region, a plan Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan opposed, this might seem to be a major concession by Vladmir Putin. In fact, argues Mustafa Demir, it’s just the latest play in Putin’s “grand strategy” to split Turkey from its NATO allies and make the country another Russian proxy.

The disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi two weeks ago has caused an international crisis. President Donald Trump has shown strong reluctance to the idea of sanctioning the Saudi government, which is suspected of murdering Khashoggi. Russell Lucas writes that Trump’s response to what many in the international community see as a human rights crisis has focused primarily on the negative effect such sanctions would have on American jobs – giving the world a strong dose of what “America First” really means.

Matt Warren

Deputy Editor

Top Stories

Russian president Vladimir Putin (R) and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meet in Sochi, Russia, on September 17, 2018. EPA Images

Russia’s grand strategy: how Putin is using Syria conflict to turn Turkey into Moscow’s proxy

Mustafa Demir, Staffordshire University

With the Syrian conflict right on its borders, and Russia and Iran increasingly shaping the region's politics, Turkey is becoming beholden to NATO's enemies.

President Donald Trump shows a chart highlighting arms sales to Saudi Arabia. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Arms and influence in the Khashoggi affair

Russell E. Lucas, Michigan State University

A missing Saudi journalist has put Trump's 'America First' rhetoric to the test.

Business + Economy

Why a new national carrier for Nigeria is never likely to get off the ground

Stephen Onyeiwu, Allegheny College

Many of the structural and institutional deficiencies that caused the collapse of Nigeria Airways are still present.

The Senate is set to approve it, but what exactly is the Trans Pacific Partnership?

Pat Ranald, University of Sydney

Labor says it will wave through the 11-nation Trans Pacific Partnership deal, then amend it in government. That won't be easy.

Environment + Energy

Cultural heritage has a lot to teach us about climate change

Cathy Daly, University of Lincoln; Jane Downes, University of the Highlands and Islands; William Megarry, Queen's University Belfast

While extreme weather conditions represent a considerable challenge globally, some communities have been living with (and adapting to) similar events for centuries.

Sulawesi tsunami: how social media (and a lullaby) can save lives in future disasters

Gavin Brent Sullivan, Coventry University; Saut Sagala, Institut Teknologi Bandung

Developed countries focus on technology, but lullabies can sometimes have a greater effect.

Politics + Society

Nepotism is bad for the economy but most people underestimate it

Asmiati Malik, University of Birmingham

Most people in Indonesia underestimate the effects of nepotism.

Debate: When abortion is ‘haram’, women find strategies to claim their rights

Hazal Atay, Sciences Po – USPC

Abortion appears to be illegal and clandestine in large parts of the Muslim world. Yet, women continue to challenge the status quo and archaic laws through their daily practices and activism.

Zero Hunger

How insects can help fight hunger in the world

Esther Ndumi Ngumbi, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Insects are an excellent tool to fight hunger and malnutrition because they are abundant and nutritious.

African countries’ policies must shift to achieve zero hunger

Sheryl L Hendriks, University of Pretoria; Elizabeth Mkandawire, University of Pretoria; Nosipho Mabuza, University of Pretoria

It's one thing to come up with food security plans. But implementing them is tough.