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Author Archives: Montijn Huisman

Religion, American politics, hip hop music, human rights, international law, minorities, crime; as a third year IRIO student I am interested in a lot of different things. When writing for Checks&Balances I try to pick those topics that I think will interest you and provide you with a background of the daily news. Be sure to check out this website regularly for new articles!

The Life of a Diplomat: Assassination in Khartoum

On March 1, 1973, a terrorist attack led by the Black September Organization took place at the Saudi Arabian embassy based in Khartoum, Sudan. Five diplomats were taken hostage, of which only two survived. Jan-Willem Bertens, who was not only a diplomat in Uruguay, Costa Rica and Sudan, but also the party leader of D-66 in the European Parliament, and ... Read More »

Life of a Diplomat: Bridge Over River Nile

‘There is an Arab saying which claims that ‘When Allah created Sudan, he laughed’. Of course, it is impossible, Allah cannot laugh, because nobody saw his face!’, exclaims J. W. Bertens, when he remembers his assignment in Sudan. This is the second part of Checks&Balances’ interview with Jan-Willem Bertens, who was not only a diplomat in Uruguay, Costa Rica and ... Read More »

Interview: The Life of a Diplomat: a Football Match

The word diplomat always invokes a promise of success and adventure, at least among many IR/IO students. Checks&Balances interviewed Jan Willem Bertens, who was not only a diplomat in Uruguay, Costa Rica and Sudan, but also the party leader of D66 in the European Parliament. Above all, Bertens is a passionate story-teller, with plenty to talk about: he built a ... Read More »

The Muslims of China

2 November 2013 – last Monday, a car crashed through the heavily guarded barricades of Tiananmen Square  and burst into flames in front of the steps of the Forbidden City. Later this week, the Chinese authorities said the crash was probably a suicide attack committed by Uighur Muslims belonging to a radical Islamist organization. This claim was immediately disputed by ... Read More »

African Terrorism With Global Ambitions: The Story of Al-Shabab

6 October 2013- In the poverty-stricken rural areas of central and southern Somalia, farmers pay taxes for owning land and transporting rice. They do not give this money to the Somali government, but to those responsible for the attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi. Islamic terrorists control most of the rural areas in Somalia: they exploit farmers, hunt elephants ... Read More »

Bloody Ivory: Elephants and Instability in Central Africa

On a routine patrol, the Park Rangers of Garamba National park in North-Eastern Congo discovered 22 elephant carcasses. The group of elephants, including four babies, were all shot dead from above and their tusks had been removed. A few days later, a Ugandan military helicopter was spotted hovering above the park by the rangers. In a continent ripped apart by ... Read More »

Hunting Witches in Papua New Guinea

In early April, an elderly woman named Helen Rumbali was accused of being a witch and killing a member of her village by using dark magic. She was taken from her home by an angry mob, tortured for over 12 hours, and eventually beheaded in public. In the West, words like magic and sorcery usually conjure up images of fictional ... Read More »

Cleaning Hearts and Minds: America’s War on Drugs

What would prove to be the United States’ longest war started in 1971, when Richard Nixon declared war on America’s public enemy No. 1: drugs. Since then, the budget invested in the drug war has multiplied by 30, which amounts to $15 billion dollars being invested under the Obama administration. The total direct and indirect costs are even greater and ... Read More »

The Kennedy Curse

In the United States, Joseph Patrick ‘’Joe’’ Kennedy started what would become one of the modern world’s most powerful dynasties. Even today the surname seems to go hand in hand with power and success. However, a shadow follows the Kennedy family wherever they go.  The original Kennedy family consisted of the nine children of Joe and Rose Kennedy, descendants of ... Read More »

The World’s Most Dangerous Criminal

Semeon Mogilevich seems to have walked right away from the set of a Hollywood gangster movie: he is fat, highly educated, powerful, rich, and above all incredibly elusive. The Ukrainian criminal is wanted by various countries and has been on the World’s Most Wanted list of the FBI since 2009. Despite being one of the world’s most hunted criminals, the ... Read More »