Blogs

Commentary: Pakistan’s Baluchistan Issue

May 10, 2012 by

Earlier this year, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representative recognizing Baluchistan’s right to self-determination. The bill’s co-sponsors where, Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA). The legislation said in part, the Baluch’s “have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country; and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status.”

Political Transition in Nepal: Challenges Ahead

May 9, 2012 by

The rising tide of Maoists, during the last decade, has turned the Nepalese psyche towards establishing a modern welfare state. The same conditions led to a momentous political rebellion against the royal monarchy, particularly between the years of 1996 and 2006. Consequently, the 238 years-old institution came to an end in 2008 when the Constituent Assembly of Nepal declared a Federal and Democratic Republic. Further, 2006 witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists for establishing democracy in Nepal.

Struggle over Iran: Tumultuous Israeli Politics Will Not Usher Peace

May 9, 2012 by

Israel is currently experiencing the kind of turmoil that may or may not affect its political hierarchy following the next general election. However, there is little reason to believe that any major transformations in the Israeli political landscape could be of benefit to Palestinians. Former politicians and intelligence bosses have been challenging the conventional wisdom of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu through a series of charged statements and political rhetoric.

Commentary: Can AMISOM Protect Somalia’s Sovereignty?

May 9, 2012 by

For more than two decades, Somalia’s sovereignty has been in limbo- or in an utterly defunct status. Though there are many causes, a particular one stands out exponentially: volatile security. For no nation can claim, or (like in Somalia’s case) reclaim its sovereignty while dependent on another country, coalition, or a peace-building force for security. And though road-based security has been a top priority, it has been an objective made difficult by the many hurdles along the way!

Osama’s Bins Laden with Juicy Correspondence

May 8, 2012 by

A year after Osama bin Laden met up with the pointy end of Seal Team Six, it’s fascinating to hear that he was worried about the proliferation of terrorism. In a series of declassified “battlefield documents” published last week by the unambiguously named Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, we gain some insights into what the ex-Most Wanted Man was pondering as he paced around his Abottabad compound. The 17 documents represent a fraction of the intelligence haul that was gathered from the Pakistani hide-out following the raid.

Commentary: The Criminalization of America’s Schoolchildren

May 7, 2012 by

For those hoping to better understand how and why we arrived at this dismal point in our nation’s history, where individual freedoms, privacy and human dignity have been sacrificed to the gods of security, expediency and corpocracy, look no farther than America’s public schools. Once looked to as the starting place for imparting principles of freedom and democracy to future generations, America’s classrooms are becoming little more than breeding grounds for compliant citizens of the police state. In fact, as director Cevin Soling documents in his insightful, award-winning documentary The War on Kids, which recently aired on the Documentary Channel, the moment young people walk into school, they increasingly find themselves under constant surveillance: they are photographed, fingerprinted, scanned, x-rayed, sniffed and snooped on.

Why Low Minimum Wages Kill Jobs and Crush Living Standards for Everyone

May 3, 2012 by

Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, has introduced a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.80 from its present level of $7.25. Polls are showing many voters in favor, though they are confused about what it would mean for the job market. The truth is that a move would be good for a slow economy and have a positive impact on the jobs crisis. Naturally, this has led to the usual cries of opposition, largely based on the notion that raising the minimum wage hurts the very people it is supposed to help. Typical of this view is a letter to the New York Times from Michael Saltsman, a fellow at the Employment Policies Institute, a business-backed nonprofit research group (surprise!).

The Obama Administration Defends the use of Armed Drones

May 3, 2012 by

Set against the backdrop of events marking the one year anniversary of the killing of Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin-Laden, the Obama administration has for the first time formally acknowledged its use of drone missile strikes that have proven effective in decimating Al-Qaeda’s ranks as well as killing other high value targets in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere. Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington on April 30th, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, affirmed, “the United States government conducts targeted strikes against specific al-Qaeda terrorists, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft, often referred to publicly as drones.”

Illegal Settlements Bonanza: Israel Plots an Endgame

May 2, 2012 by

Israel’s colonization policies are entering an alarming new phase, comparable in historic magnitude to the original plans to colonize Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem following the war of 1967. On April 24, an Israeli ministerial committee approved three settlement outposts - Bruchin and Rechelim in the northern part of the West Bank, and Sansana in the south. Although all settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal by international law, Israeli law differentiates between sanctioned settlements and ‘illegal’ ones. This distinction has actually proved to be no more than a disingenuous attempt at conflating international law, which is applicable to occupied lands, and Israeli law, which is in no way relevant.

Social Business: Challenges and Opportunities

April 28, 2012 by

In social development, social business has emerged as an important topic. Its impact on enriching and empowering people’s lives has become evident all over the world. To combat the global economic crisis, social business has harnessed the advent of technology and modern science to eradicate poverty, hunger, unemployment and other social problems. Social business has been around for the last three decades in Bangladesh. It has empowered women and reformed many facets of society.

YPIA Announces its 2012 Top 5 Young Hollywood Celebrities (Under 40) Helping Africa

April 24, 2012 by

YPIA is happy to announce its 2012 top five young Hollywood celebrities who take time out of their busy schedules to assist the African continent. This is an annual award and serves as a precursor to the May release of YPIA’s top 35 under 35 project. These under 40 years old ‘megastars’ often help shine light on topics that would otherwise go unnoticed by most of the general public. And for that, we thank you.

Politics and Islam in Central Asia and MENA

April 24, 2012 by

Following the democratization of predominantly Muslim countries in Central Asia and MENA there are many challenges still yet to be met. For the overall development of the region to progress and to assure alternatives to the autocratic governments that dominate these two regions, more will need to be done by the West and international institutions. Following the Six-Day War in 1967 there was a movement towards radical Islam. Since that time, radical politicized Islam has become an alarming trend that adversely affects the development of MENA and Central Asia, and also adversely affects its people and their economies. Anti-Western ideologies do not promote democracy and they adversely affect opportunities to provide economic growth.

North Korea Puts On Its Best Face

April 22, 2012 by

In the rare silences during North Korea’s April 15 military parade, after innumerable divisions, tanks and rocket launchers had passed by, another sound rang out across the vast square in central Pyongyang: the hacking coughs of North Korea’s top military officers. I’d heard the same tortured coughs the day before at Kim Il-sung stadium, when tens of thousands of military had crowded into the stadium’s amphitheater seats to listen to speeches in honor of the North Korean founder who would have turned 100 years old on April 15.

Continuities in US History

April 17, 2012 by

The Civil War ended 147 years ago with General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America (CSA) capitulating to General Ulysses S. Grant of the United States of America. But that was not quite the end. Grant accepted the capitulation of the Army of Northern Virginia. The others capitulated one by one––like the Army of Tennessee––April 26, Trans-Mississippi––June 2 and finally on November 6, Confederate cruiser Shenandoah surrendered.

Water Crisis in Africa

April 16, 2012 by

Remarks by Ambassador David H. Shinn before the GWU International Affairs Society on 9 April 2012.

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