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Conflict and Security

Caught Between the Great Powers: Azerbaijan

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the peculiar Republic of Azerbaijan has risen out of Russia’s shadow and has increasingly been entering the world stage. This oil-rich state finds itself adhering to the stereotypes of oil states. As the most prosperous country in the Caucasus, it also fosters the corresponding corruption and oppression. The current president of Azerbaijan, Ilham ... Read More »

The Failure of the ‘War on Drugs’: Drug Trafficking in West Africa

As the West Africa Commission’s on Drugs (WACD) report asserts, since the mid-2000s drug offences have ‘taken on a dimension that threatens the security, governance and development trajectory’ of the West African countries. The convergence of international drug cartels and diverse West African criminal networks has played a major role in political upheavals, such as those processed in Guinea-Bissau and ... Read More »

A Venezuelan Spring: Undermined by Fragmentation and Geopolitical Stakes?

By José-Manuel Heinze Power cuts, shortages of goods, staggering inflation, corruption and crime rates ranking among the highest on the continent, have become common features in the record of Venezuela. As of recently, domestic turmoil that has been the largest in a decade and have thrown the country into a serious domestic crisis, can be added to this record. The ... Read More »

Ukraine in Turmoil: a Local View

The European headlines currently are filled with the turmoil in Ukraine. Every day there is new developments in the East of the country with the “pro-Russian separatists” taking control of an increasing number of official buildings and strategic positions. We read about the resurrection of an already buried Cold War rhetoric. The Western alliance gathers together to impose sanctions and ... Read More »

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 »

A Civilian Force Opposing A Drug Cartel

The war the Mexican government is waging against drug cartels has dragged along for years and resulted in nothing but more instability and civilian casualties. The government simply doesn’t seems to be able to get a grip on these huge organizations. As a reaction to this, a new ‘force’ entered the game and already has one of the major cartels, ... Read More »

Move Over Somalia, here´s Africa´s Next Failed State

After 20 years of bloody conflict and several failed international interventions, Somalia finally seems to have turned the tides and to be heading towards stability. Although Al-Shabab is still a serious threat, it is losing ground to the troops of the African Union. This of course is great for Somalian government, the African Union and the Somali people in general, ... 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 »

Rape and Sexual Violence in Syria’s Civil War

The sheer brutality of the ongoing Syrian civil war is often demonstrated by two figures: 70,000 killed people and over one million refugees since the conflict´s outburst in March 2011, after an angered crowd went on the streets to show their disgrace about the arrest and torture of teenage boys who were bold enough to spray anti-Bashar slogans on a ... Read More »