Month: March 2015

This Week in South Sudan – Week 12  

Monday 16 March Between 70 to 100 people estimated killed in Lakes State after clash between youths from Rumbek East and Rumbek Center. Tuesday 17 March Five dead in another inter-clan clash in Lakes state between youth from the Pakam community and Ruop in Rumbek Central. At least two people were shot dead, allegedly by… Read more »

An Uncertain Future in Afghanistan

Under the tripartite agreement entered into between Afghanistan, Norway and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Afghans who are refused asylum in Norway have two choices: either to take advantage of the assisted repatriation programme; or to reject this offer and risk being forcibly deported and returned to Kabul almost empty handed. The two… Read more »

A Muted Voice? Religious Actors and Civil Society in Post-2001 Afghanistan

In general, religious actors are not perceived as possible contributors to civil society. In Afghanistan, where religion permeates society and politics, and where religious leaders and networks bear considerable influence, this is particularly problematic. There is a need for a thorough rethink of what civil society is, and the role of religion within it. While… Read more »

A Young and Fragile Time in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s “youth boom” means that the country has a large generation of young people with high expectations for a better future – and high levels of frustration. Such a situation provides fertile ground for radicalization. Afghanistan’s population is estimated to have grown by as much as 2.4 per cent in 2014, and around 68 per… Read more »

Two Summits and a Military Exercise

While Putin may believe in his own infallibility, his courtiers have to persist in reassuring him about the fragility of Western unity. Just another push and a couple more bribes, they argue, will convince some North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members that Narva or Spitsbergen are not worth fighting for, or to persuade some EU… Read more »

How can Norway best Support Afghanistan?

The current situation in Afghanistan is the subject of two opposing narratives: one is a success story about international support and involvement since 2001; the other is a story where much has gone wrong and everything can only get worse. Agreeing on a narrative that is closer to the truth is crucial when deciding what… Read more »

The Fire in the House of Islam

Generally speaking, the global map of conflict is increasingly shaped by armed conflicts involving Muslims on one side or the other, or on both. Are Muslim countries particularly belligerent? Is the religion to blame? Despite the numerous items of bad news delivered by the mass media on a daily basis, a global overview of armed… Read more »

Evaluating Ebola: the Politics of the Military Response Narrative

While the humanitarian community is still struggling to help end the Ebola epidemic, talk about lessons learned and the need for critical evaluations have been on the way for some time already. Here, I suggest that humanitarians must pay keen attention to the post-Ebola narrative of military victory that is currently emerging. To see the… Read more »

Putin’s Disappearing Act is a Sign of Leadership Crisis

Since the Ukraine crisis exploded a year ago, Putin’s system of power has rigidified into a uni-centric combination of a police state, kleptocracy and “propagandocracy” (if such a word could be invented), in which no transition of authority can be planned or envisaged. His recent poorly camouflaged and worse explained “disappearance” has not re-confirmed his… Read more »