A landmark agreement between leftist FARC rebels and the Colombian government over how the guerrillas could transition from violence into politics marks a crucial turning point on the road to end this country's 50-year internal conflict, though many pitfalls remain. Negotiators for the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who have been meeting in Havana for a year, announced the partial agreement on political participation, which would take effect only once a broader agreement to end the conflict is reached.

Soon after the end of the M23 rebellion that threw parts of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into conflict for much of the last two years, a blog post titled "We Stopped M23" appeared on the website of a California-based nonprofit called Falling Whistles. The slick homepage describes the organization as “a campaign for peace in Congo." It urges visitors to “be a whistleblower for peace” by purchasing stylish metal whistles, hung on a chain or black cord, from the organization's online store.

November 6, 2013

In 1979, George Lewis was an NBC correspondent in Iran covering the hostage crisis. Thirty-four years later and thousands of miles away, at a Zócalo event co-presented by Occidental College at MOCA Grand Avenue, Lewis asked a panel if the breakdown in U.S.-Iran relations he witnessed firsthand might finally be on the road to repair.

Colombia`s Santos administration and FARC guerrillas have unveiled an “historic agreement” on “political participation”. Today`s announcement hopes to breathe life back into a year long peace process that faces growing skepticism. The FARC have promised finally after 50 years of conflict to trade the bullet for the ballot box. We`re now a third of way through the talks, with two of the six points on the agenda being signed off. Excellent, you might think.

The M23 rebel group declared an end to its 20-month rebellion in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday, saying it was ready to disarm its troops and pursue a political solution. The movement has decided "to end its rebellion from this day forward and pursue, by purely political means, the search for solutions to the root causes that led to its creation," M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa said in a statement.

Saudi authorities rounded up thousands of illegal foreign workers at the start of a nationwide crackdown, according to media reports. "Since early [Monday] morning, the security campaign got off to a vigorous start as inspectors swung into action," Nawaf al-Bouq, a police spokesman, told the Saudi Gazette newspaper. Police carried out raids on businesses, markets and residential areas to catch expatriates whose visas are invalid because they are not working for the company that 'sponsored' their entry into the kingdom.

The United States is withdrawing troops from Afghanistan having lost its battle against the country’s narcotics industry, marking one of the starkest failures of the 2009 strategy the Obama administration pursued in an effort to turn around the war. Despite a U.S. investment of nearly $7 billion since 2002 to combat it, the country’s opium market is booming, propelled by steady demand and an insurgency that has assumed an increasingly hands-on role in the trade.

November 4, 2013

There were high expectations after President Obama and Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, talked on the phone in late September. Those hoping for a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff were excited that a breakthrough was imminent; meanwhile, some American allies, like Israel and Saudi Arabia, expressed deep skepticism over a potential American rapprochement with Iran.