The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Conflict Spillover

The Syrian refugee crisis has been heartbreaking to watch. According to the United Nations, over 2.4 million people have fled the country, and many more have been displaced internally. This human tragedy has shocked the world’s conscience and has led for appeals for humanitarian relief. However, does the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees also pose security challenges for host countries?

A close-up view of the Za’atri camp for Syrian refugees. Photo from Wikipedia

Today, PRIO researcher Kristian Skrede Gleditsch and Idean Salehyan have published a guest blog post on Political Violence @ a GlanceRead More

Global warming and melting of Arctic ice

Rossiiskaya gazeta published a report from a scientific conference where the proposition on global warming and melting of Arctic ice was effectively disproved. The fact that September 2013 ice was by as much as 50% larger than September 2012 ice is indeed under-reported. What is odd about this emphasis, however, is that it goes strictly… Read more »

Old Wine in an E-bottle (or, The Text that Mistook Itself for a Tactical Shift)

Photo by Flickr user Jose Luis Orihuela.

On January 24th Barbara Walter wrote a fascinating blog entry entitled “The Text that Changed the World”. It noted that the “Ukrainian government” had issued a text message to “thousands of protesters” effectively telling them that they had been busted (i.e., they were identified as participating in a protest event). While it is useful to think about the impact of this action on subsequent challenging behavior, given my interest in the end of repressive action it seemed useful to reflect for a moment as to how the text might be relevant.

… Blog post by PRIO Global Fellow Christian Davenport on the blog Political Violence @ a Glance

The Northern Fleet

It is rather unusual for the official news agency to publish an expert opinion that “the Northern Fleet in its current strength cannot perform even elementary tasks on ensuring national security in this vast region“. The volume of assertive statements has much increased after the short cruise of a squadron led by Petr Veliky along… Read more »

The Battle for Bangkok

In the wake of the power struggle between the political elites in Thailand, we are now seeing a popular uprising.

Once again Thailand’s capital is paralysed by demonstrations. The streets are filled with Thai flags and demands that the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, must step down. “Shut down Bangkok – Restart Thailand!” But behind the façade of colourful placards and catchy slogans lies a brutal political power struggle.

thai1

The country’s political crisis seems to be worsening in proportion to the advancing age and deteriorating health of the people’s beloved King Bhumibol. The danger of violent confrontation is significant – just today [17 Jan 2014] 28 people were injured when a bomb exploded in a procession of demonstrators. Unfortunately there is no swift resolution in sight.Read More

Why does Democratization Occur in Waves?

The ‘Arab Spring’ demonstrated that political transitions tend to occur together in space and time. Samuel Huntington coined the term ‘Waves of democratization’ in his book The Third Wave. The figure above shows that changes to the proportion of the world’s countries that are democracies occurs in spurts. Confirming Huntington’s three waves of democratization, spurts occurred from the  1890s up to 1920, from 1935 to 1945, and from 1975 up to today. There are also reverse waves — from 1920 to 1935 and from 1945 to about 1970.Read More