March 26, 2017

Egypt’s Opposition Persists

An Egyptian protester raises a shoe to the sky as a military helicopter flies overhead. (Photo by Jihad Abaza via WNV)

In what has become routine, every week Egyptian police forces kill and detain protesters opposed to the current military regime, led by Defense Minister General Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi. Seventeen people were killed by the police after the weekly Friday marches against military rule on January 3 — a toll that no longer elicits surprised responses from many Egyptians. Among the ever-growing ... Read More »

Central Asia’s Power Struggles

(Courtesy Wikimedia)

By local standards, 2013 proved quite successful for the people and leaders of the five Central Asian republics. There were no major wars, natural disasters, or coups d’etat. The governments continued to muddle through the usual raft of problems, and ordinary citizens remained largely quiescent; there was a distinct lack of an Arab Spring-like atmosphere.   Tajikistan provided a typical ... Read More »

Scientists Oppose Canada’s ‘War on Science’

Dr. Katie Gibbs speaks at a Stand Up for Science rally at Parliament Hill in Ottowa last September. (Photo by Kevin O’Donnell, via Evidence for Democracy)

Seven of Canada’s most prized scientific libraries are being shut down and some of their contents have already been burned, thrown away or carted off by fossil fuel consultancy firms. This development is part of a Harper administration plan to slash more than $160 million in the coming years from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, or DFO — an agency charged ... Read More »

French Complicity in the CAR Crisis

A Burundi soldier posts security at the Bangui Airport, Central African Republic (CAR). (Photo by US Army Africa, Creative Commons License)

By the end of 2013, ‘the White man’s burden’ was proving too heavy to bear for France. Feeling militarily and materially outstretched, Paris cried for help from other European powers to help it shoulder ‘its responsibility’ to quell violence, restore peace, order and political legitimacy in its backyards of Mali and Central African Republic, both in turmoil: the Islamists terrorists ... Read More »

Indonesian Polls: Anti-reform Actors Shine

A series of surveys have shown that Indonesia’s forthcoming electoral participation rate may slump to below half. (Photo  by yudzz88, Creative Commons License)

Indonesia’s democracy is being increasingly tested by the triple challenges of anti-reform actors, a high-level political malaise and popular disenchantment with the electoral process.   One indicator of this has been an increasing tendency by the Indonesian military (TNI) to reassert itself into the political debate. Indonesia is heading into legislative elections in April and presidential elections in July on the ... Read More »

Troubled Legacy of Ariel Sharon


  Ariel Sharon (1928-2014) had slipped into a coma in 2006, as if too embarrassed by his misdeeds to face the world for his remaining eight years. A veteran of the Haganah, one of the Jewish paramilitary battalions that helped seize Palestine for Israel, Sharon became one of Israel’s best known generals and then, later, one of its most powerful ... Read More »

Managing Southeast Asia’s Fractured Societies

Population density in Southeast Asia. (Photo by Jeff McNeill, Creative Commons License)

Political unrest, economic divisions, social turmoil, outright insurgency and civil war are common problems in the modern age. In Southeast Asia such problems are pertinent currently in Thailand and perennially in the Philippines. Elsewhere, they seem to be characteristic of the troubles in Ukraine and in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and other Arab countries. What do these countries have in common? Some have to do ... Read More »

Thailand on The Brink

A file photo a protest "Red Shirts" in Thai capital  in Bangkok. (Photo by Ratchaprasong, Creative Commons License)

Thailand is no stranger to political turmoil but the current unrest looks set to be a protracted and especially bitter affair, raising the very real possibility of civil war. The stage seems set for a showdown between anti-government forces, backed by powerful vested interests, and a flawed but democratically elected government that enjoys mass support, especially in its rural heartlands. The conflict ... Read More »

How Turkey’s Conservatives Failed

Occupy Wall Street and members of New York City's Turkish community gathered in Occupy's old base in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street on June 8 to protest the Turkish government's bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters over a small park in Istanbul's Taksim Square. (Photo by by Michael Fleshman, Creative Commons License)

The political war going on in Turkey these days is full of incredible details and drama. However, it only underlines a simple truth: Turkey’s religious conservatives, whether they are in the ranks of the government or the judiciary, have failed to realize their promise of turning Turkey into an “advanced” democracy. At the end of a decade in power, they, ... Read More »

Frustration But No Collective Action in Qatar

City center of Qatar's capital Doha. (Photo by dallasm12, Creative Commons License)

In late June 2013, as neighboring Arab states continued their struggles against popular pressure for political reform or regime change, the Gulf emirate of Qatar undertook its own, voluntary transfer of power. Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, patriarch of modern Qatar, appeared on state television to name as successor his 33-year old son, Sheikh Tamim. The outgoing leader was ... Read More »