Politics

Syria

When the Rubber Meets the Road

By Eugenio Lilli

Military intervention in Syria “would benefit the US the most”. This is the conclusion drawn by two respected authors, Michael Doran and Max Boot, about the current situation in Syria and the way the US and the West should respond to it. They are by no means the only voices supporting such a move. On the contrary, Doran and Boot epitomise the opinion of a growing number of people arguing in favour of a US-led military intervention to stop the conflict. Here, I take issue with each of the five reasons these experts presented to support their position and suggest that the international community, and the US in particular, should think twice before embarking in another military adventure in the Middle East.

Venezuelan Elections

Chávez Faces Strong Challenge in Venezuelan Elections

By Diego Moya-Ocampos

Venezuela heads to the polls on 7 October with Hugo Chávez, battling cancer, seeking to extend his rule until 2019. The increased prospects of victory for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, grave concerns over Chávez health and post electoral scenarios and fraud claims, coupled with weak political institutions, raise fears over the country’s stability.

Breivik

Anders Breivik: An Extremist or Terrorist?

By Arthur Hayes

Dr Robert Lambert, an academic at St Andrews University’s prestigious Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, has recently published an article in which he describes Anders Breivik as a “far right terrorist”. Lambert was previously in the globally renowned Metropolitan Police Special Branch. This proclamation by Lambert on the Breivik case raises an interesting question: aside from being a convicted criminal, would he have been labelled an extremist or terrorist if he had been British and committed his crimes in London instead of Oslo? 

Opium

The Coming Storm: NATO Withdrawal and Afghan Opium in Central Asia

By John Still

The topic of Afghanistan dominated the May 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago. The majority of the discussion revolved around the specifics of NATO’s withdrawal of combat troops in 2014 and the need for continuing aid, training and funding for the Afghan National Security Forces. The problem of illegal drugs was largely ignored.

China-Bhutan

China Flew Over The Bhutanese Nest

By Rajeev Sharma

The Chinese hard power juggernaut is moving in all directions and not even tiny neighbours are out of its ambit these days. In the latest instance of China’s hyperactive diplomacy, Beijing is vigorously pursuing one finger of its so-called “five finger policy” – Bhutan. The other four fingers are Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh (both parts of India), Nepal and Sikkim; while the palm is Tibet. The Chinese objectives in Bhutan, a country with which it has been having a protracted border dispute, pose a major foreign policy and security challenge for India.

Blair

Tony Blair: London Mayor?

By Tom Wein

Tony Blair has announced his intention to "re-engage" with British politics. It is an event that has attracted much attention. With varying levels of horror and titillation, pundits of right and left have pored over his statements, and sought to divine his ambitions. They have variously predicted that he wants to be Prime Minister, or run the IMF, or the UN, or the EU. None of these seem especially plausible. Nor does the idea that he could be a member of the Shadow Cabinet; how, without overshadowing his own boss? Yet one prominent job has not been suggested: I believe Tony Blair may run for London Mayor.

Iraq_Culture

Iraq's Intellectual Tragedy

By Matthew Schweitzer

Professor Saad Jawad is no stranger to the hardships Iraq’s academic community has endured. So when, after having taught for thirty years at the University of Baghdad, he says that Saddam Hussein’s collapse destroyed intellectual free speech in Iraq, it pays to listen. Since the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s intelligentsia have been targeted by sectarian killing squads. Amongst the violence after the invasion, these killings still stand out for their selectivity. Iraq’s intellectuals have been sidelined amidst the fog of war, and their absence is felt throughout Iraq’s political system today. To overcome the incredible challenges facing the current Iraqi government, Baghdad needs to welcome and protect this community.