With most of the attention understandably focused on Ukraine right now, I thought I’d do a very short summary of recent events elsewhere. (Image credit: someone silly on reddit.)
In Bahrain, three policeman were killed by a remotely detonated bomb during a protest in a village west of the capital. The demonstrations in Bahrain are connected to last week’s death of a protester in custody as well as the third anniversary of the 2011 Arab Spring protests. It looks like there will be heightened security (read: a crackdown, but also potential for an escalation?) in the coming days:
The Royal Court declared Tuesday a day of mourning and King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa “directed the security agencies to take all the necessary measures for the strict application of the law against all those who are implicated in the disgraceful terrorist bombing aimed to cause the loss of lives.”
The OPCW just announced that a third of Syria‘s chemical weapons stockpile has now been shipped out of the country. Another batch is on the way to a U.S. vessel right now, which will then bring the chemicals to Germany and the United Kingdom for destruction. So far, the process is slower than initially planned, and a deadline of giving up the whole stock by mid-2014 looks likely to be missed.
Over at Bretterblog, a colleague has noted (in German) that many IR blogs seem to take a summer break. Might that have been directed at us? Well, here are some links to prove that not all of us are swimming in a lake right now… (I wish!)
PRISM / NSA surveillance, even though you’re sick and tired of it:
Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer now heading a think tank, argues that Edward Snowden is no traitor: “The damage he has inflicted is not against U.S. national security but rather on the politicians and senior bureaucrats who ordered, managed, condoned, and concealed the illegal activity.” Giraldi takes a pretty legal/technical point of view on this and draws on the U.S. Constitution, which I found interesting.
Nauro F. Campos analyzes why people are protesting in Brazil, using a dataset from 1870 to 2003. The list of factors he and his colleagues have identified for the current wave of protest doesn’t sound too surprising: “corruption and inefficiency in public services delivery, political ineptitude and the electoral cycle.” Another interesting finding: The number of riots is decreasing over time, but there are more peaceful protests.
There’s a great post at Scientific American by computer scientist Radhika Nagpal, who decided not to stress too much about tenure and instead treat her job as a “seven-year postdoc”. This means: don’t spend all your energy networking and sucking up to important people, but rather enjoy life and get good work done. Probably works best if you’re very smart and hard-working anyway; she’s now a professor at Harvard. Steven Saideman offers his comments at the Duck of Minerva.
These days, we are witnessing an interesting number of social upheavals around the world. There is the Arab Spring which has re-awakened the interest in the North African region. We have seen student protests in the streets of London. People went on the streets of Moscow to express their allegations of electoral fraud in 2011. And, to keep in mind, there is the still ongoing civil war in Syria. Very recently, two countries, often referred to as the power houses of their regions, have witnessed the discontent of their populations: Turkey and Brazil.
At a first glance, both cases seem to be different stories. Whereas the Taksim Gezi Park protests seem to be rather spontaneous, the Brazilian protests have deeper and long-lasting roots. So what happened? Are there also similarities? And how can we make sense of these contemporaneous events?1
Usually, I try to find common themes for the links when it’s my turn in the link duty. Today I do not live up to that. So, here’s a rather cursory collection of what I’ve read over the last couple of days.