Breaking Down

JEWEL SAMAD—AFP/GETTY IMAGES

BATTLEGROUND The streets of Dhaka have for months witnessed terrifying clashes among opposing political activists, police and troops

This should be a golden time for Bangladesh, with its GDP surging by almost 7% last year, fueled by strong foreign investment, buoyant exports and a resurgent agricultural sector. But Bangladesh's leaders rarely miss an opportunity to sabotage their country's fortunes. In the run-up to elections planned for Jan. 22, long-standing political tensions erupted again, pushing the nation to the brink of chaos. Opposing political activists fought one another and police and soldiers for months, leaving at least 45 dead and hundreds injured. On Jan. 11, President Iajuddin Ahmed, presumably with the backing of the army, called a state of emergency,...

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