One of the foundational concepts of good democratic governance is that of a separation of powers. French Enlightenment philosopher Baron de Montesquieu´s argument for the separation of political power between the three branches – executive, legislative and judiciary – hinges on the notion that power should not be centralized in a single sovereign to prevent rulers from usurping complete control. To these three branches can be added the Fourth Estate, the media. Independent from the state, it serves as a watchdog over the three branches. Finally, there is what Yochai Benkler (2006) refers to as the “Networked Fourth Estate” which comprises the realm of the internet and social media. The events of the past weeks in Turkey give reason for concern over the viability of a tripartite system of governance in Turkey.
Read more in the blog post published March 7, 2014 on the New Middle East Blog.
Rwandan Genocide Murambi skulls. From Wikipedia
It is coming: the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan violence of 1994 (i.e., the interstate war, the civil war, the genocide, the sexual violence and some random wilding or, the genocide and civil war – depending upon who you are listening to). Yes, it has been 20 years and yes it is going to be quite something. Much has happened over the last 20 years and much has happened over the last 10 as it relates to what we have come to understand about what happened. Some of it is consistent but much of it is not. We will get to more of that as the event approaches. Look for the relaunch of www.genodynamics.com – your one-stop research site for the rigorous study of Rwandan political violence of 1994.Read More
Monday 24 February The proposal of an interim government excluding Riek Machar and Salva Kiir was rejected by the South Sudan government. They expressed that they will not accept a solution which does not involve Salva Kiir. The South Sudan Army (SPLA) reported that they had killed at least 200 rebels supporting SPLA/M-in-Opposition who had… Read more »
Erica Chenoweth, Associate senior researcher at PRIO
Nicholas Kristof’s Sunday op-ed generated a lot of buzz among political scientists because he called out our discipline for being increasingly irrelevant in the real world. Kristof suggests the field is “committing suicide” because political scientists don’t publish enough work that policymakers can read. He holds up economists as being an ideal comparison because policymakers have incorporated their work, and decries sociologists for being so far left politically that they can’t produce any research that policymakers can abide. Lots of people have decent rejoinders, like Erik Voeten at The Monkey Cage, Tom Pepinsky, Corey Robin, Mischiefs of Fiction, Edward Carr, and our own Steve Saideman at the Spew. Kristof responded to some of the main objections on his Facebook page.
Read more in the blog post published 17 February 2014 at Political Violence @ a Glance
Perceptions of peace negotiations tend to shift rapidly from inertia to optimism, to disillusion and back to inertia. Peace talks also tend to be long-winding. True to form, the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) facilitated negotiations between the Government of South Sudan and its opposition led by Riek Machar has been a roller coaster ride… Read more »
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published a new South Sudan situation report, Monday 24 February. Their latest estimate is that 710,600 people have been internally displaced since the violence erupted in December 2013, in addition 171,000 have fled to neighbouring countries.
Monday 17 February Salva Kiir admitted to having organised a private army. Tuesday 18 February Fighting reported in Malakal, Upper Nile. Malkal divided between government forces and the opposition. Fighting reported in Warrap State. Wednesday 19 February US condemns the violence in Upper Nile. Uganda announced that the Ugandan Forces will be withdrawn from South… Read more »
Photo from Wikipedia
The Ukrainian opposition is more likely to succeed if its campaign remains primarily non-violent, writes Marianne Dahl, Doctoral Researcher at PRIO.
This is not the first time that Kiev’s streets have been filled with demonstrators wanting to end Viktor Yanukovych’s days in the presidential palace.Read More
[Originally written 30 January] Peace talks between the Government of South Sudan and its opposition within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) facilitated by the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) started in Addis Ababa in early January. On the 23rd the parties signed an agreement of cessation of hostilities committing to “cease all military actions… Read more »
Monday 10 February Riek Machar announced, on behalf of the opposition, that they would not attend the next round of the peace negotiations as the released detainees were not invited to the negotiation table. Tuesday 11 February Public rally for peace and reconciliation in Juba, more than 4000 participated. South Sudanese president Salva Kiir terminated… Read more »