August 17, 2017

Putin’s Calculus in Ukraine Like Zero-sum Game

Vladimir Putin at the World Economic Forum. (Photo by World Economic Forum, Creative Commons License)

Crimea is more than a flash-point for conflict between Ukraine and Russia. War between Ukraine and Russia has potential regional and global implications. While supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty, the Obama administration must be careful not to escalate tensions. It may be possible, however, to change President Vladimir Putin’s calculus through a combination of carrots and sticks.   Events are fast-moving and ... Read More »

India’s Forgotten Cotton-picking Children

Manually decontaminating cotton before processing at an Indian spinning mill (2010). (CSIRO under a Creative Commons License)

‘Almost half a million – mostly dalit and adivasi – Indian children are working to produce cottonseed. Around 200,000 of them are below 14 years. This is one of the shocking results of the new study “Cotton’s Forgotten Children” by India’s long-term expert on the issue, Dr Davuluri Venkateswarlu.’ Read More »

Obama’s Double Game on Turkey

An anto government protest in Istanbul in June 2013. (Photo by eser.karadag, Creative Commons License)

It may be interesting for many to observe that there is no improvement in Turkey mentioned on the 2013 Human Rights Report from the U.S. Department of State. On the contrary, from freedom of the press to the freedom of non-violent assembly, from arbitrary arrests and long detention periods to police brutality, there are areas where the rights situation in ... Read More »

Beijing Redoubles Counter-terrorism Efforts in Xinjiang

A demonstrator holds a placard in Helsinki  during a 2011 protest demanding  respect of Uighur human rights in China. (Photo by Amnesty Finland, Creative Commons License)

On 15 January, authorities in Beijing arrested the outspoken critic of government policies in Xinjiang, Ilham Tohti. Tohti, an Uyghur scholar, has called into question the dominant government narratives on aggressive economic development for the Uyghur and the extent of Uyghur ‘terrorism’.   Just days after Tohti’s arrest the Xinjiang regional government announced that it would double the public security bureau’s ‘counter-terrorism’ ... Read More »

Brute Force Fails to Break Boko Haram

A car that was burnt during the crackdown on Boko Haram in July 2011. (Photo by Aminu Abubakar via IRIN)

Hoping to snuff out Boko Haram, Nigerian forces launched a crackdown in May 2013, swooping into towns, rounding up hundreds of youths and strafing suspected hideouts of the militia, who, despite being pushed back, continue to torment civilians and target security forces.   In the latest attack on 15 February, more than a hundred people were killed in the northeastern Borno State ... Read More »

Bosnian Spring that Might Not be Only Bosnian

A group of Bosnians protest in Sarajevo against economic stagnation and political corruption. (Photo by stefanogiantin, Creative Commons License)

Civil unrest that started last week and turned to violent riots and setting fire to government buildings and police cars in the cities of Sarajevo, Tuzla and Mostar and some other locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina has already been called a “Bosnian Spring.” It was even compared to the current Ukrainian uprising. Regional countries were alerted that the people’s mass ... Read More »

(No) Dialogue in Bahrain

Anti-government protesters under the Lulu towers in Manama during the 2011 uprising. (Photo by Al Jazeera English, Creative Commons License)

In the run-up to the third anniversary of the Bahraini uprising on February 14, 2011, mass protests with tens of thousands of participants again engulfed the small kingdom. At the same time, a number of contacts between the opposition and the royal family sparked hopes of renewed high-level negotiations leading to the resolution of the long-standing conflict.   A January ... Read More »

Nuclear Deal: Implications for Iran’s Neighbors

P5+1 Talks on Iran's Nuclear Program being held in Geneva on November 7, 2013. (Photo by US Mission Geneva, Creative Commons License)

Iran will receive relief worth 7 billion dollars with a waiver of economic sanctions within the next six months. According to a report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Iran may get a potential benefit worth $20 billion from “unfrozen assets, recouped petrochemical and auto sales and an array of illicit trade.” Suspension of curbs on gold and precious ... Read More »

A New Maritime Boundary

Course of the new maritime boundary between Chile and Peru. (Image: ICJ)

Smiles in Lima and long faces in Santiago were the first reactions to the ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Jan. 27 regarding the new maritime boundary between Peru and Chile. ICJ justices granted Peru 50,284 square kilometers (19,410 square miles) of maritime domain, part of which was previously under Chilean control ... Read More »

On its Deathbed — Media Freedom in Turkey

Turkish journalists protest against curbs on media. (Photo via

Freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by a despotic government. Indeed media freedom levels are a good test of the democratic health of a nation.   Turkey is in very poor health, with the government continuing to muzzle free media. The latest effort is related to the Internet. ... Read More »