Measurement of Regime Type Effects on Police Focus

An Iranian policeman operates a speed gun. Via wikimedia.

Is there any measurable way to tell whether police become more or less focused on crime prevention and public safety in nations that are not fully democratic?

Interesting question. I guess answering it would have to start with a good theory as to why police would change their priorities and behaviors in less democratic countries. Most existing work seems to refer to the fact that democracy provides a level of transparency, public oversight, and accountability over police practice, which make police more professional and responsive to the rule of law than they might be in non-democracies. However, I’m not aware of any scholarship looking at your precise question (i.e. the effects of regime type on police focus on crime prevention and public safety).

Read more in the original post at Political Violence @ a Glance, published 23 July 2014.

Putin held Personally Responsible for the War he is Losing

If President Vladimir Putin really thought that the destruction of Flight MH17 with 298 people on board would soon blow over, the White House statement from last Friday must have disillusioned him—assuming his subordinates actually informed him about it. The White House statement directly noted: “we have concluded that Vladimir Putin and the Russians are culpable to this tragedy.” Russian media did its best to spin these words, whereas the official sources mentioned only the West’s lack of irrefutable evidence (, RIA Novosti, July 26). It is possible to interpret “the Russians” in this context in the narrow sense—as the separatist rebels—but there is no doubt about the meaning of the point: “… it all goes back ultimately to Vladimir Putin” (RBC, July 26). There were at least 15 telephone conversations between Putin and Western leaders in the immediate aftermath of the air tragedy—though none since last Wednesday (July 23).

Full text in the EDM , July 28.

Putin is trying to blend in but somehow doesn’t


State Briefing: Unity State

Capital: Bentiu Approximate Population: 585,801 Internally Displaced People (IDP) sheltering in the state: 265,500 While parts of South Sudan have been relatively calm in July, Unity State is still severely insecure.  In the last two weeks the agreement on cessation of hostilities has been violated by clashes between the SPLA and the SPLA-in-Opposition (SPLAiO) in… Read more »

Muslim Charity for the Poor

Fasting and celebration

At this time Muslims all over the world are celebrating Eid – Islam’s most important religious festival. Eid marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. After the Eid prayer, families and friends gather to celebrate. This is a time for dressing in fine clothing, eating well, and giving gifts to children. In fact, it is not unlike Christmas. During Eid, it is customary for everyone who can afford it to donate a sum of money, zakat-al-fitr, so that the poor will also be able to eat their fill during the festival. These donations are often made via the mosque.

Zakat, or giving of alms is one of the most important aspects of Muslim worship. Here is a group of poor people waiting patiently outside a hotel for the benefactor to come and deliver Zakat : in this case a free night meal. Photo: Koshy Koshy, Wikimedia Commons

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This Week in South Sudan – Week 30

Monday 21 July The South Sudan government accused neighbouring countries of supplying the SPLA-in-Opposition with weapons. The South Sudan government claimed it has regained control over Nasir after the SPLA-in-Opposition attack Sunday. The UN and world leaders condemned the opposition attack on Nasir. Tuesday 22 July Two people were killed by armed men in Nyangkot,… Read more »

Helping or Hindering? The Impact of Civil Society Groups in the Peace Negotiations

South Sudan’s unresolved civil war dampened celebrations on its third Independence Day on 9 July 2014. Despite the urgent need for peace, the negotiation process has yet to yield a resolution. Since the signing of the recommitment to the cessation of hostilities in May 2014, progress has occurred, though with ambiguous outcomes. For example, although… Read more »

The Paradox of 2014

In recent weeks, a number of people have asked me whether I think we’re headed for World War III. Maybe it’s the intense media coverage of the centennial of WWI. Maybe it’s all the violence heating up in Israel & Gaza, Iraq, and Ukraine, and wars raging in Syria, Nigeria, and DRC.

The sculpture “Non-Violence” in front of the United Nations building in New York. Courtesy of Luke Redmond/Flickr.

Maybe it’s the fact that several of these wars are activating great power tensions in ways that haven’t been seen since the Cold War, or that diplomatic crises are shaking the United States’ friendships with foundational allies. Maybe it’s the speculation by some pundits that we are, indeed, teetering on the precipice of a new world war.Read More

This Week in South Sudan – Week 29

Monday 14 July Salva Kiir accused Riek Machar of using ‘spiritual powers’ to mobilise. SPLM/A-in-Opposition claimed they killed 15 government troops who attempted to raid cattle in Unity State. SPLM/A-in-Opposition claimed SPLA launched new attacks in Unity State last weekend. The IGAD official who has been reported calling Machar and Kiir “stupid” claimed he was… Read more »

Putin tours Latin America, but his fate is decided in Ukraine

The upcoming BRICS (a loose political-economic grouping of the large emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit, scheduled to take place in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15–17, provided an occasion for President Vladimir Putin to make a lengthy tour around Latin America, starting from Cuba last Friday and making a short unscheduled detour to Nicaragua on Saturday. Meetings with the Castro brothers as well as with Daniel Ortega did little to restore Putin’s international prestige, but they allowed him to make a grand gesture of writing off Cuba’s debt amounting to no less than $35 billion (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 8;, July 11). The next destination was Argentina, which can perhaps serve as a useful illustration of a protracted economic disaster aggravated by entrenched populism (Kommersant-Dengi, April 28). Putin is hardly receptive to such lessons and has to play down his trademark counter-revolutionary rhetoric, emphasizing instead the determination to stand firm against US hegemony and interventionism. This discourse certainly resonates in Latin America; but the BRICS summit is focused on economic dynamism. And Russia’s anemic economic growth makes Moscow’s claims for a major role on the international arena questionable (, July 10).

The full article is in Eurasia Daily Monitor, July 14.

Fidel has something to say to Putin. Photo: Alex Castro

This Week in South Sudan – Week 28

Monday 7 July Shoot-to-kill orders against curfew violators were issued. South Sudan security confiscated newspapers covering the federalism debate. Two people were killed when a grenade exploded in Yida camp, Unity State. Tuesday 8 July 12 people were killed in an attack on the UN camp in Bor. International Crisis Group urged the UN Security… Read more »