Archive for the ‘Regions’ Category

29
Apr

If, in 2011, the West’s view of the Arab world was grounded in optimism and exhilaration, it’s an entirely different story in 2016. Five years ago, there was still the sense that something was afoot, that the region could change into something better. There was the promise of a region based more on respect for fundamental rights, better governance and freedom – rather than one where these elements were constantly sacrificed to nepotism, autocracy and the cynical exploitation of concerns around security.

Five years on, the situation looks very different.

Now it is far more about security than ever before. It used to be that different Arab leaders would privately and publicly argue that they were better than the alternative of Islamism and that would be enough to get any concerns around fundamental rights of the table for discussion. Today, the equation is the same but different: many simply argue that the alternative to their rule is chaos. And, of course, no one wants chaos – and so the cycle continues.

But the region is not simply a place where one makes short-term exchanges between security concerns and everything else. It is a catastrophic mistake to look at the region in those terms alone.

The region is in a state of flux and the outside world needs to be more, not less, engaged with it, as it goes through an incredibly critical part of its modern history. Read more…

 

Published on April 28, 2016  in the national.ae

28
Apr

A banner of Austrian presidential candidate Norbert Hofer is covered with snow in Gnadenwald, Austria, April 27, 2016.

A ripple of concern shivered across Europe this week in establishment circles after a right-wing populist candidate stormed to pole position in the first round of Austria’s presidential election.

“Triumph for the extreme right,” proclaimed Spain’s El Pais newspaper. Britain’s Guardian warned of “turmoil” ahead. Italy’s Corriere della Sera bemoaned a victory for the “anti-immigrant far right” while Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung called on traditional political parties to “listen to this wake-up call!”

“In Austria, European governments see a mirror of their own future. Social tensions are rising,” noted another editorial predicting the rise of Europe’s far right.

But this writer wasn’t talking about Sunday’s vote.

Trotskyist journalist Peter Schwarz penned his thoughts 16 years ago, back in February 2000, when the Freedom Party (FPOe) first joined an Austrian government.

At the time, the party’s charismatic and controversial leader, Joerg Haider, had provoked condemnation at home and abroad with his praise for Hitler’s Waffen SS, with his strong anti-immigrant stance and Eurosceptic views. Read more…

Published on April 28 by Katya Adler in http://www.bbc.com

27
Apr

The world’s two greatest powers are competing for military dominance of the western Pacific Ocean and the contest is about to intensify. The US and China are each jockeying for advantage as they anticipate a quickening in a struggle that “has the potential to escalate into one of the deadliest conflicts of our time, if not history”, according to Malaysia’s Defence Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein.

An important ruling from the International Court of Justice in the Hague is expected in the weeks ahead. It will rule on a claim by a US ally, the Philippines, to sovereignty over reefs that are also claimed by China. Most experts expect the ruling, due by the end of June, will favour the Philippines. Beijing has warned it will not recognise the court’s jurisdiction.

The South China Morning Post reported on Monday that, if the court ruled against it, Beijing would accelerate plans to build an artificial island around one of the reefs at the heart of the dispute, Scarborough Shoal. The shoal is 230kilometres from the Philippines coast and 1020kilometres from China’s.

25
Apr

Burundian time-bomb

Written on April 25, 2016 by Waya Quiviger in Africa, International Conflict, Terrorism & Security

 

WHEN a Hutu politician says it is time to “pulverise and exterminate” rebels who are “good only for dying”, outsiders should sit up. When he talks of spraying “cockroaches” or urges people to “start work”, it is hard to miss the old codewords for massacring Tutsis. When the politician is not some obscure backbencher but the president of the Burundian Senate, the world should be alarmed.

History does not always repeat itself in central Africa, but it rhymes cacophonously. Rwanda and Burundi, two small countries with Hutu majorities and Tutsi minorities, have seen large-scale ethnic massacres in 1959, 1963, 1972, 1988, 1993 and 1994. These were not, as some outsiders imagine, spontaneous outbursts of tribal hatred. They happened because those in power deliberately inflamed ethnic divisions. The Rwandan genocide of 1994, in which perhaps half a million Tutsis were hacked to death, was meticulously planned by Hutu army officers and politicians. They did it to avoid sharing power with Tutsi rebels after a peace accord to end a civil war. They raised a militia, cranked up the genocidal propaganda and imported hundreds of thousands of machetes in advance. The outside world barely noticed until it was too late. The genocide ended only when a Tutsi army swept in to stop it, led by Rwanda’s current president, Paul Kagame. Read more…

 

Published on April 23rd in the economist.com

21
Apr

brussels 2brussels 1

 

 

#MIRinBrussels Fieldwork Experience

 

By Rimpal Kumbhani and Susan Guarda, MIR 2015/2016

After 5 months of vigorous coursework, it was finally time for the highlight of the MIR Program. From March 14th to March 18th, all 29 students, Executive Director Waya Quiviger, Academic Director Dan Kselman, and Program Assistant Angel Benito took a weeklong trip to Brussels, Belgium to experience and apply what was learned in the classroom. Each day started with an early wakeup call with the smell of brewing coffee, and warm complimentary continental breakfast, which was necessary to fuel the long agenda in the heart of the capital. The trip included a variety of visits and seminars given by both public and private organizations. The visits included the EU Institutions such as the Commission, Parliament and the Council. In addition to the EU institutions, MIR students visited the lobby firm Hill & Knowlton, newspaper Politico, the U.S. Commission to the EU and the global telecommunications company Telefonica, just to name a few. We had the opportunity to meet professionals from all over the world and sit through captivating seminars regarding the EU a global actor. The seminars motivated students to be interactive and ask questions about pressing issues.

 

 

Quotes from students:

 

“The highlight of the trip was when we visited NATO. We had Q&A sessions with 4 different personnel and I was able to get further information on a topic I had been studying in term 2, NATO’s role in the Ukraine conflict. For me this was an experience that I couldn’t have had elsewhere”. –Rimpal Kumbhani

 

“I was thrilled to go to the lobbying firm, Hill & Knowlton, and get a first hand experience on how the company operates. In general, the different visits gave us insight on how the public and private sectors are connected”. –Nina Volaric

 

“It was rewarding to get an insider’s view of the workings of the EU. It was truly a unique experience to get to interact with officials and experts in the field while exploring job opportunities”. – Susan Guarda

 

 

Looking back at the trip, it was a privilege to have visited the different organizations but even bigger privilege to be there under safe conditions. Our condolences go out to the families and loved ones affected by the Brussels attacks.

 

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