Seeking New Leadership? Military Coups in Africa and Their Implications

In a 2021 op-ed, we predicted that military coups and political unrest in West African countries like Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso signaled a recurring pattern of semi-democratic military rule. Recent military takeovers in Niger on July 26 and Gabon on August 30 have now affirmed this prediction.

Mohamed Toumba, one of the leading figures of the National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland, attends the demonstration of coup supporters and greets them at a stadium in the capital city of Niger, Niamey on August 6, 2023. Photo: Balima Boureima/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

This raises a crucial question: are we witnessing the emergence of a new brand of political leadership in Africa, starting within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region?Read More

Six Years as Refugees and Still No Refuge

“What is happening with the Rohingya refugees? We heard so much about all the horrible things, but how are they now?”

These are questions I often get when I talk to people about my research.

Rohingya refugee woman in front of her shop at Noya Para Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh in May 2023. Photo: K M Asad/LightRocket via Getty Images

What is the situation for the Rohingya? The situation is terrible.

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Curtains for Wagner: Can Russia’s Show in Africa Go On?

The fall of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group and its impact on Russian activities in Africa: diminished authority of President Putin, fading diplomatic influence, and declining mercenary power pose challenges to sustaining interventions on the continent.

An alleged member of the Wagner group stands guard at the informal memorial for Yevgeny Prigozhin in Moscow. Photo: Vlad Karkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The abrupt end to the spectacular career of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the boss of the Wagner Group and the proprietor of a substantial business and media empire, was anything but surprising. The shocking mutiny of his mercenaries on June 24 was to all intents and purposes an act of high treason.

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In the Israeli Democracy Protests, the Flag Has Become the Contentious Topic – The Occupation Is Not.

For the past few months Israel has experienced mass demonstrations both for and against the attempted judicial “reforms” by the current right-wing government.

A striking visual theme of the protests have been the ubiquity of the Israeli flag. Photo from Jerusalem in July: Eyal Warshavsky/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A striking visual theme of these protests have been the ubiquity of the Israeli flag. The use of national symbols like the Israeli flag is nothing unusual for Israel’s right-wing movements, indeed it has long been associated with the nationalist right-wing manifestations like the flag march through Jerusalem’s Palestinian parts.

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The Two-State Solution Vacuum

In Israel/Palestine, it is an established truism that there is no alternative to the two-state solution. When the Oslo Accord was signed in September 1993, this solution was its central premise.

Developments over the past 30 years, however, have rendered it impossible. This is something we must talk about.

Rabin and Arafat shake hands at The White House in 1993. Photo: Mark Reinstein (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

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China’s Digital Silk Road and Malaysia’s Technological Neutrality

Like other nations in Asia and Africa, Malaysia has shown considerable agency in navigating the tech war between the United States and China.

The ongoing tech war between the United States and China is increasingly driven by ideological, normative, and political tensions. The development of 5G technologies and the strategic hedging of third countries represent a perfect case in point.

Photo: Huawei

In May of this year, the news broke that American and European Union diplomats had warned the Malaysian government about possible national security risks should the Chinese firm Huawei be involved in building the country’s second 5G network.

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Oppenheimer, Ukraine and Cluster Bombs

In desperate situations, it is essential that ethics are not sacrificed, as happened in practice in Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Poster for the Oppenheimer film. Universal Pictures

At the cinema, currently we can follow the United States’ development of the atom bomb, headed by the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer.

At the same time, Nazi Germany was in the process of developing its own weapon of mass destruction.

To defend themselves against the victory of barbarism, the Americans decided that it was necessary to steal a march on the Nazis – and if necessary use the bomb. In this way, they could halt the enemy once and for all and bring an end to the destructive war.

I myself have lectured many times about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, about the fire bombings of Dresden and Tokyo, and about other war crimes committed by the “good” side. I’m shocked by the suffering inflicted on hundreds of thousands of civilians. I search for solutions that could realistically have been substituted for the most brutal and egregious breaches of international law.Read More

Hard Georgian Lessons for Ending the War in Ukraine

Russia’s all-out aggression against Ukraine, which will pass the 18-month mark next week, is indirectly but strongly connected to the Russo-Georgian war of 15 years ago.

In the first week of August 2008, Georgian villages in South Ossetia, a separatist enclave controlled by Russia since 1992, came under heavy artillery fire; on August 14, Russian tanks reached the outskirts of Tbilisi, before retreating to Tskhinvali a week later.

Russian soldiers travel on a tank in the province of South Ossetia following the conflict with Russia in August 2008. Photo: Igor Gavrilov/Laski Diffusion/Getty Images

The ceasefire was negotiated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who rushed to Moscow to persuade Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to roll back the invasion, and it was United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who convinced Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to sign the deal, which prompted the Kremlin to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “independent states” (Rossiiskaya gazetaSvoboda, August 8).Read More

Hallucinations and Existential Threats — Yet More Power to AI

Every so often, we observe debates around the threats of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Not least from fictional movies and some skeptics.

‘Hold My Hand’ by Cash Macanaya. Unsplash

But this debate around promises and perils of AI has, as of late, taken a pivotal turn — with the emergence of AI chatbots such as Chat GPT or Google’s Bard. The model underpinning these systems has gained a central stage in those debates. On the one hand, the model is constantly empowering AI technology. And, on the other hand, it is inviting more resistance against AI — even by its staunch proponents.Read More

Ukraine’s ‘Counteroffensive’ in the Global South

The low-profile and high-impact meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on August 5 and 6 was never intended to produce a road map for ending the war in Ukraine; neither was it a summit, since the invitations sent to some 40 countries specified the level of representation as national security advisers.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Jeddah at a previous occasion in May. Photo: Saudi Foreign Ministry / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

It can, nevertheless, be called a peace conference, following up on the meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on June 24, and preparing the ground for a wider peace summit proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

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