June 29, 2017

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 turkeypressfreedom.org)

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 »

Quo Vadis Ukraine?

Barricade with the protesters at Hrushevskogo street on January 26, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photos by snamess, Creative Commons License)

  The latest crisis in Ukraine broke out in late November with protests against President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal, under pressure from Russia, to sign a trade pact with the European Union and instead turn to Russia for a $15 billion loan and a significant discount on gas prices. It has been growing ever since with a police crackdown of the protestors, further government restrictions on demonstrations, ... Read More »

Ten Trends That Will Shape Asia in 2014

Asia map by kerim

  A fraught 2014 lies ahead for Asia. Political risks will rise, security tensions will increase and skepticism will continue to grow about whether major Asian governments are sufficiently committed to growth-conducive reforms. Ten trends will shape this more volatile Asia over the next 12 months and beyond.   First, the good news: Asia’s relationship to the world economy is ... Read More »

European Jihadists in Syria

(Photo by  by FreedomHouse, Creative Commons License)

(Photo by FreedomHouse, Creative Commons License) Several Balkan mothers burst into tears at the beginning of 2014 after being told their sons were killed fighting in Syria on the side of various Islamist militias. Mirza Ganic (19) from the Serbian province of Sandzak, who used the pseudonym “Abu Shehid,” was among the last that became a real “shehid” (martyr). The ... Read More »

Debate on Large Dam Divides Georgia

The village of Khaishi, Georgia. (Photo by Aleksey Muhranoff via Wikimedia Commons)

The village of Khaishi sits in the picturesque mountains of the historical Georgian province of Svaneti, some 2,000 meters above sea level. But soon it and a few other nearby villages will be under water, forcing more than 2,000 people to leave their homes, if the long-planned Khudoni dam is finally built over the Enguri river.   Locals have sworn ... Read More »