Despite the apparent deadlock in armed clashes in eastern Ukraine, an idea to bringing together the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, together with their peers from Belarus and Kazakhstan as well as the leaders of France and Germany, gained momentum at the end of last week. Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev made an unscheduled visit to… Read more »
Category: Regions and Powers
The post–New Year holidays in Russia have brought less joy or happy expectations than usual to the country’s elites, the urban middle classes and even to Russia’s millions of labor migrants. Over the past 15 years, all these groups shared in the country’s prosperity, which had grown steadily since President Boris Yeltsin resigned and made… Read more »
Last weekend (November 21), Ukraine marked the first anniversary of the EuroMaidan—the public protests in Kyiv that lasted through the hard winter of discontent and brought down the corrupt regime of Viktor Yanukovych on February 21. As its war for state survival continues to rage, the country is in no mood for street festivities. Nevertheless,… Read more »
A change of prime minister will not resolve Iraq’s structural problems, and while a dysfunctional Iraqi state is reeling from onslaughts by Islamic extremists, the Iraqi Kurds in the north of the country have never been stronger. Even so, we are very unlikely to see an independent Iraqi Kurdistan in the immediate future. Behind the… Read more »
Russian and Chinese presidents aim to divide US and allies, including Japan, with WWII celebration. When Chinese President Xi Jinping met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, he stated that “Japan must look at history squarely and more towards the future.” Xi’s carefully selected words were taken from… Read more »
Iraq’s new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, faces the enormous task of uniting the country. But whatever the outcome, Iraq cannot be restored to how it was before the summer. There is broad agreement that the former Iraqi prime minister, Nour al-Maliki, was a part of the problem, and that his replacement by Haider al-Abadi is… Read more »
In a case of striking symbolism, President Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, as if seeking reassurance against the specter of a mass public uprising. The dismantling of that icon of the Cold War signified a breakthrough in finally achieving a Europe united by the… Read more »
Has the Iraqi Kurds’ sense of national identity been strengthened by the emergence of the so-called Islamic State? Not necessarily. If anything, mounting socio-economic and political tensions inside northern Iraq have been tearing at Kurdish nationalism for the last decade.
Are the people of Myanmar able to distinguish between Norway’s role in promoting peace and the commercial interests of Norwegian businesses? Now that several state-owned Norwegian companies have entered into large and risky ventures in Myanmar, Norway is walking a tightrope between peace and commerce. The maintenance of support for the peace process is critical…. Read more »
Norway has spent NOK 40 million to help fund a census in Myanmar (Burma). The census results are at odds with previous assumptions and may increase the level of conflict in the country in the run-up to the elections in 2015. Norway must take responsibility.