Month: April 2016

Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2014

Headlines from battlefields in Syria, Libya​​, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Ukraine give the impression that the world is becoming ever more violent. Indeed, since 2013 the number of armed conflicts in the world and the number of battle deaths has risen. Fortunately, the long-term trends nevertheless driving the waning of war are still at work.​ Since… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 16

Wednesday 20 April International media reports on Riek Machar’s postponed return: The New York Times: “South Sudan: Uncertainty Over Rebel Leader’s Expected Return” The Guardian “South Sudan peace deal in balance amid opposition leader’s continued absence” Financial Times “Machar’s aborted return sets back peace plans in South Sudan” BBC “South Sudan peace at risk –… Read more »

The Precarious China-Russia Partnership Erodes Security in East Asia

With the explosion of the Ukraine crisis in spring 2014, Russia made a determined effort to upgrade its strategic partnership with China and achieved instant success. Large-scale economic contracts were signed in a matter of a few months, and the military parades in Moscow and Beijing in respectively May and September 2015, in which the… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 15

Monday 11 April President Salva Kiir appointed nine new ambassadors, a move seen as an attempt to solidify his diplomatic roots in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Tuesday 12 April The SPLA (IO) accused the South Sudanese government air force of shelling their positions in Wau County, Western Bahr el Ghazal State. The local command… Read more »

Myanmar’s Ethnic Minorities Marginalized More

For the first time in over half a century, Myanmar has a government with a popular mandate, led by the National League for Democracy (NLD). Although the Myanmar armed forces still have extensive political powers under the 2008 constitution, and may seriously curtail the independent action of the new government, the inauguration of President Htin… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 14

Tuesday 5 April The SPLA denied reports that their forces had attacked SPLA (IO) positions in Mundri county, Western Equatoria State. Wednesday 6 April The SPLA admitted carrying out attacks against opposition forces in Wau County, Western Bahr el Ghazal State. However, they denied any violations of the peace agreement, saying they targeted criminals not part of… Read more »

Suicide Bombing ≠ Religious Fervor

  Is it just religious fanatics who blow themselves up as suicide bombers? Bernt Hagtvet, Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo, has been active in the Norwegian media lately, stating that only religion (he focuses mostly on Islam) brings the fervor to commit suicide attacks as part of a political struggle –… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 13

Tuesday 29 March The Government of Sudan issued a directive ending cross border movement in the south, effectively closing its border with South Sudan. MTN South Sudan announced it is cutting jobs and cancelling expansion plans in face a U.S. dollar shortage and falling subscriptions due to the country’s economic crisis. Four people were killed… Read more »

The Politics of Fun in Egypt

Yes, this little piece will relate to Asef Bayat’s gem of an article ‘Islamism and the politics of fun.’ But first a comment on the current goings-on in Egypt. The last time I visited the country, in early February, the news about the murder of Giulio Regeni broke. The Italian PhD student was tortured for… Read more »