Watchlist: Burundi Under Investigation, Leaves International Criminal Court

Week of October 30th U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza address reporters before their bilateral meeting at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on August 4, 2014. Africa Burundi First to Leave International Criminal Court Amidst Nkurunziza Power Grab A year after promising, along with South Africa and The Gambia, to withdraw from the United Nation’s International Criminal Court, Burundi became the first nation to leave the international war crimes tribunal. The withdrawal came during an active investigation by the court into Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza for crimes against humanity, including execution and torture, in combat bet

It’s May ‘til March

Prime Minister Theresa May coughing as she struggles through her speech. Source: Sky News In the wake of what was arguably her worst week as Prime Minister, Theresa May is struggling to withstand the aftershocks. For such a short term, her time in office has felt like an eternity with a string of losing battles behind her, from the loss of her parliamentary majority in an ill-advised call for a general election, to the current fight in Brexit negotiation strategies both in and out of her own party. With all this behind her, she was depending upon a rousing speech at the Conservative Party’s Annual Conference to “rally the troops”. The conference presented her with a perfect opportunity to ad

The Watchlist: Iraqi forces claim Kirkuk

Week of October 23rd Iraqi policemen with the local emergency services unit signal a car to approach a traffic control point in Kirkuk province, Aug. 1, 2011. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Africa Deadliest Terror Attack In Somali History Sparks Popular Outrage The terror attack that shook Mogadishu last week has become the deadliest in Somali history. According to government sources, 350 people were killed when a truck carrying military grade explosives prematurely exploded at a security checkpoint. The attack, which experts believe meant to target the UN or a Turkish military base in Mogadishu’s “green zone”, occurred near a busy traffic intersection, leading to hundreds of fatalities. The at

25 Years On: Russia

A map of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Introduction On paper, the fifteen union republics of the USSR were equal members of a voluntary union. In reality, however, Russia dominated every aspect of political, economic, social, and cultural life in the country, and it is for this reason that we start our discussion of the former Soviet republics with Russia itself. It was, after all, not a coincidence that the capital of Russia, Moscow, was also the capital of the entire USSR. Today, Russia is the largest country in the world by area, the ninth-largest country in the world by population, and the twelfth-largest country in the world by GDP. Moreover,

No Escaping Uncertainty For Catalan Youths

2012 Catalan independence protest on September 11th True to the proverb, uncertainty has been the only certainty for the people of Catalonia since passing the referendum to leave Spain on October 1st, 2017. An ambiguous speech by Catalan President Carles Puigdemont muddled the situation last week, simultaneously declaring independence and asking for reconciliation with Spain. “I am disappointed. I hoped for a declaration of independence and it didn’t happen,” 18-year-old Julia Lluch told Reuters Tuesday, expressing a frustration many young Catalans share following Puigdemont’s speech. Spanish President Mariano Rajoy has promised to impose direct rule on the region if Catalan officials do not

Watchlist: Political Fracturing in the UK Throughout Brexit Negotiations

Week of October 9th Photo of Theresa May, opening a church fete in 2007 Africa Massive Explosions Rock Ghanaian Capital A series of explosions rocked the fuel district in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, Saturday evening. The explosions allegedly occurred when a natural gas tanker ignited while delivering fuel to a gas station. The flames then reportedly spread to another nearby gas station, causing a second explosion. Seven people were killed in the blasts, and more than 100 were injured. This explosion marks the second of its kind in the last two and a half years; in 2015, a gas station explosion killed nearly 150 people in Accra. The Ghanaian government will undoubtedly face increasing p

25 Years On: The Arc of Change in Post-Soviet Republics

A map of the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union (Source: Wikimedia Commons) In March 1985, the Politburo, the highest policy-making body of the Soviet Union, elected Mikhail Gorbachev as the eighth General Secretary of the Communist Party. Convinced that a radical overhaul of the Soviet system was the only way forward, he proceeded to initiate an ambitious and wide-reaching reform program in a last-ditch attempt to save the failing Soviet economy. His reforms included four key tenets: glasnost (openness or transparency), perestroika (restructuring), demokratizatsiya (democratization), and uskorenie (acceleration of economic development). A little more than three years later, in September

Global Consequences of Dropping the Iran Deal

Iran's Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini give a joint press conference after a meeting on April 16, 2016 in the capital Tehran. Mogherini arrived in Tehran on her first visit since a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers came into force as tensions surface over its implementation. (Agence France -Presse/Atta Kenare) U.S. President Donald Trump has made it one of his key campaign promises to pull his country out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Recently in a speech to the United Nations he called the deal “one of the worst…transactions the United States has ever entered into.” Global response to

Watchlist: Catalonia's Referendum Descends into Chaos

Week of October 2nd 2012 Catalan independence protest on September 11th Africa Kenya Caught Between Two Elections Several weeks after the August 8th reelection of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the country’s supreme court annulled the results stating the election was not conducted in a manner consistent with the constitution. While the supreme court’s decision to annul the results has been applauded as a courageous display of effective separation of powers, the opposition party has called for protests in Nairobi to place pressure on the government to act. Tensions have risen in recent days as an opposition legislator was detained for calling Kenyatta, “a son of a dog.” Hundreds of Univer

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