New at Brill in Open Access: Encyclopædia Iranica Online


Encyclopaedia Iranica is the most renowned reference work in the field of Iran studies. Founded by the late Professor Ehsan Yarshater and edited at the Ehsan Yarshater Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University, this monumental international project brings together the scholarship about Iran of thousands of authors around the world.




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Encyclopædia Iranica Online Now Freely Accessible at Brill

The Ehsan Yarshater Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University, New York, and Brill are delighted to announce that the Encyclopædia Iranica Online is now freely accessible at Brill’s Reference Works Platform. Encyclopædia Iranica is the comprehensive academic reference work dedicated to the study of Iranian civilization in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.

Ancient Iran Series Added to Brill’s Publishing Portfolio

As part of their growing portfolio in Middle East and Islamic Studies, Brill has signed an agreement for the take-over of the book series Ancient Iran Series. With its coverage of ancient, pre-, and early-Islamic Iran, this book series complements other book series with a more modern focus on this geographical area, as well as the various other journals and encyclopaedias Brill publishes in this field.

Read an interview with Geert Jan van Gelder

The longstanding series Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 1: The Near and Middle East recently reached its 150th volume by publishing the special Prominent Murder Victims of the Pre- and Early Islamic Periods Including the Names of Murdered Poets. We caught up with Geert Jan van Gelder, editor and translator of the volume.


Acquisitions Editors


Maurits van den Boogert

Nicolette van der Hoek

Abdurraouf Oueslati

Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

Jehona Kicaj

Middle East and Islamic Studies


The fundamental characteristics of the situation in Burkina Faso in 2004 were the preparations for the presidential election scheduled for November 2005 and the outcome of the Ivorian crisis, a matter of deep concern for Burkina Faso, since nearly two million Burkinabè people live and work in Côte d'Ivoire. More broadly, at the sub-regional and international level, Burkina Faso was allegedly involved in certain major political issues such as the abortive coup d'état in Mauritania. Nevertheless, Burkina appears to be a central though controversial actor in West Africa. In this respect, Ouagadougou also hosted the 10th Francophone summit in November, a fact that underlines President Compaoré's influence in ‘Françafrique.’


President Compaoré’s political standing diminished in both domestic and international affairs. Preparations for the introduction of a second parliamentary chamber mobilised the opposition and significant parts of civil society to protest against the government. Critics described the senate as a costly instrument that would protect the regime’s power. The reversal of the leadership in 2012 had created internal tensions in the ruling party, the ‘Congrès pour la Démocratie et le Progrès’ (CDP), but in rural areas the party proved its dominance in a partial municipal elections rerun and in many mayoral elections. Internationally, Compaoré continued to act as the official ECOWAS mediator for Mali and his country made a strong contribution to the UN military mission in that country, but he gradually lost political influence because he had a difficult relationship with Mali’s newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Burkina’s economic development remained largely dependent on industrial mining, while the biggest employer – the cotton industry – achieved a good harvest, encouraging optimistic forecasts for this volatile and vulnerable production sector.


The defining moment of 2014 in Burkina Faso was, without doubt, the end of the 27-year rule of former president Blaise Compaoré. The demise of the Compaoré regime occurred after months of opposition and civil society demonstrations against the government, and particularly against attempts to change Article 37 of the Constitution to allow Compaoré to stand in the presidential elections scheduled for 2015. A popular insurrection prevented the National Assembly from voting on a proposed modification to presidential term limits and forced Compaoré to resign from office on 31 October. After the fall of the Compaoré regime, some international actors threatened sanctions. Burkina Faso also increased its commitment to regional counter-terrorism operations by joining new regional organisations and military operations. Burkina’s economic growth slowed due its reliance on the mining sector, while the cotton sector experienced a robust harvest for the second year in a row. Optimistic forecasts and government planning for potential risks in this volatile sector offered encouraging signs for future economic development.


Following the removal of Blaise Compaoré by a popular insurrection in 2014, the transitional government that oversaw the return of an elected civilian government in 2015 overcame several challenges. The former presidential guard mounted a coup, temporarily derailing the political transition and forcing the government to postpone elections. Together, international actors and the national military reinstated the transitional authorities, affording them the necessary support to organise elections and inaugurate a new government by the end of 2015. Foreign relations with Côte d’Ivoire were tense because it provided refuge and support to former president Compaoré. In addition, the security situation in Mali and the larger Sahel region further deteriorated, spilling into Burkina Faso for the first time. Economically, the country faced declining growth in 2015 but, despite economic challenges, the transitional government was able to reform the mining sector and address several concerns of the country’s labour unions and civil society organisations.


After the inauguration of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré as president in December 2015, he named his prime minister and new government at the beginning of 2016. The new government faced significant challenges throughout the year, including increased insecurity due to terrorism, an emboldened opposition, and promoting justice and national reconciliation. Security in the northern regions deteriorated significantly as jihadist groups exploited the porous borders between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, conducting attacks on security forces and civilians. Relations with Côté d’Ivoire grew tense as former president Blaise Compaoré received Ivorian citizenship in exile and Ivorian officials became implicated in the September 2015 coup d’etat. Burkinabè citizens residing in Ouagadougou also suffered a number of public health crises related to droughts, flooding and outbreaks of dengue fever. However, the government successfully obtained donor support for their National Social and Economic Development Plan promising several development projects and initiatives in the future.


Terrorist activities grew in 2017, particularly in the northern Sahel region where dozens of small-scale attacks targeted security forces, schools and local traditional leaders. An attack also took place in downtown Ouagadougou, claiming the lives of 18 individuals and marking the second such attack in the capital in less than two years. The military joined those from Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Chad to form the newly operational G5 Sahel counter-terrorism joint task force, which conducted its first mission in the Liptako-Gourma region where the borders of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso meet. President Kaboré also sought to strengthen ties with several bilateral partners during the year. During many of his foreign trips, Kaboré highlighted the economic growth that Burkina Faso had experienced in 2016 and 2017. However, the opposition and several labour unions challenged the government during the year, expressing their frustrations with the lack of qualitative change, despite strong economic growth. The 25th bi-annual Pan-African Film and Television Festival, fespaco, took place in Ouagadougou, once again attracting travellers and movie-goers from around the continent and the world.


For the third year in a row, insecurity in Burkina Faso worsened due to attacks by armed jihadi groups and growing criminal activity, particularly in the northern and eastern regions. A terrorist attack simultaneously targeted the French embassy and the headquarters of the national military in downtown Ouagadougou leaving 16 dead and dozens wounded. However, the most significant disruption to Burkinabe daily life came from small-scale attacks targeting schools, security authorities, and other public officials, as well as civilians in the Sahel and East regions, where, by the end of the year, thousands of people had been displaced from their homes. In response, the government placed 14 of 45 provinces under a state of emergency and aggressively implemented a transnational strategy for combatting terrorism and weakening organised criminal networks in the region that significantly shaped the country’s foreign affairs. Despite this instability, strong economic growth continued throughout the year, largely due to strong performance in the gold sector. Still, the government faced several strikes throughout the year related to economic grievances among workers.


InThe views expressed in this chapter are those of the author and are not an official policy or position of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the Department of Defense, or the us government. recent years, insecurity in Burkina Faso has gradually worsened as multiple armed jihadi groups have waged insurgencies in the northern and eastern regions of the country. In 2019, these conflicts expanded and diversified as militants increasingly targeted communities farther south. As conflict intensified, generalised violence and criminality correspondingly increased and officials grappled with the growing crisis. The spread of insurgent violence and the accompanying insecurity triggered a humanitarian crisis in which more than half a million people were displaced, and at least 1,200 lost their lives. This crisis dominated domestic politics. Foreign affairs also centred on the growing threat of terrorism, increased insecurity, and the resultant humanitarian crisis unfolding in much of the countryside, by strengthening ties between regional governments and counter-terrorism partners, notably France and the United States. Despite the insecurity, the biannual Pan-African Film Festival known by its French acronym, fespaco, celebrated its fiftieth year in Ouagadougou and the economy maintained a steady growth rate of 6% real gdp.


In Burkina Faso, 2020 presented yet another tumultuous year.The views expressed in this chapter are those of the author and are not an official policy or position of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. The first person to officially die of Covid-19 in sub-Saharan Africa fell victim to the pandemic in Ouagadougou. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré and his political party faced down electoral challengers in joint presidential and legislative elections in November. Insecurity worsened in areas already hard hit by militant Islamist insurgencies, which showed worrying signs of spreading to new regions of the country. The mounting challenges presented by the insecurity propelled ever greater international coordination among neighbouring countries and international supporters. In September, disastrous flooding as a result of unseasonably heavy rains exacerbated the already challenging humanitarian situation facing the country. By the end of the year, nearly one in 20 citizens had been displaced from their homes.


In 2021, Burkina Faso witnessed a worsening security crisis and a looming humanitarian catastrophe. Militant Islamist groups continued to ravage the countryside as violence reached record levels, pushing up the number of internally displaced people. Roughly, one in thirteen Burkinabé citizens had been forcibly displaced by conflict by year’s end. The armed forces remained overstretched and unable to address the rising insecurity. Massacres of civilians and missteps by the military’s top brass prompted the president to reshuffle his cabinet and military leadership. The government sought new security partners as it was announced that the French would begin to withdraw their military assistance from the region. Despite security concerns and the Covid-19 pandemic, the biennial pan-African film and television festival in Ouagadougou took place in October after a postponement. After 34 years, the trial of former president Thomas Sankara’s assassins opened in October.