Qassim Suleimani, the recently slain Iranian general, was named head of Iran's elite, paramilitary Quds Force in the late 1990s. Suleimani then became widely known for expanding his country's regional influence by bolstering (mainly) Shiite proxy forces around the Middle East to counter US, Saudi, and Israeli influence. Here's a look at militias and proxies in the region that are now broadly aligned with Iran.

The collapse of the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria has given rise to a host of new challenges for governments around the world. Turkey has captured thousands of ISIS fighters as a result of its offensive in northern Syria, many of whom are foreign nationals who left their home countries to fight with the Islamic State. To date, non-Middle East countries have mostly opposed ISIS fighters returning home, leaving them, and their spouses and children, in legal limbo. Here's a look at where these foreign fighters come from.

In recent years, Republicans have come to dominate most of the state legislatures in the US. Ironically, it was during the Obama-era that the GOP made major headway in states that had long been considered safely blue. State legislatures are now redder than they've been in nearly a century, and in most parts of the country, one party holds all the levers of power (governorship and legislatures). For the first time since 1914, there's only one split legislature in the entire country: Minnesota. To be sure, some state races are bucking the trend: Kentucky and Louisiana, both deep-red states, recently elected Democratic governors. Here's a look at how Democratic and Republican control of state legislatures has evolved over the past four decades.

The system of passports as we know it today dates from roughly a hundred years ago, when leading world powers were trying to figure out a way to regulate international travel in the messy aftermath of World War One. Ever since, these documents have been seen both as boarding passes to freedom and as levers for government control. But which of the world's passports open up the widest vistas of international travel? The Henley Passport Index has an answer. For 199 passports, it tallies up the number of countries that are accessible without obtaining a prior visa. Here's a map of which countries' passports are the most powerful right now.

Over the past 60 years, United Nations peacekeepers have been deployed to conflict zones around the world to help keep order and facilitate political reconciliation. Today, there are 86,687 uniformed personnel (police, UN military experts on mission, staff officers and troops) deployed to 14 peacekeeping missions on four continents. Yet, while the permanent five members of the UN Security Council – China, Russia, the US, the UK and France – yield the most power at the UN, including the mandate to authorize peacekeeping missions, they provide less than five percent of peacekeepers globally, with China sending more than the other four combined. It's the developing nations who pick up the slack. Here's a look at the numbers from July 2019.