Posted on 21 February 2013 by Guest
Editor’s Note: In the miasma of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s current trip to India, Jasmeet Singh takes a look at the rise of India’s next heir apparent: Narendra Modi.
On bright rain-drench mid-week morning of February, a bearded man stood in front of a crowd of young students holding up a glass half-filled with water. “An optimist would say this glass is half full,” he said with a thoughtful glance at the glass “while a pessimist would say it is half empty. I have a third view” he gestured. “For me the glass is always full-half full with water and half full with air.”
The venue that Narendra Modi, current Chief Minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat, chose to deliver his speech was the Sri Ram College of Commerce, or SRCC as it is popularly known among its many aspirants. It is also one of India’s most prestigious institutions to study business. Modi, the emerging face of the Hindu-nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) chose the place not only because SRCC’s name includes the name of Hinduism most revered figure-Lord Ram, but also because it’s a college primarily dedicated to the study of commerce, a field Modi’s Gujarat seem to be excelling in for over a decade now. It has constantly notched 10 per cent plus growth rate during decades after 1991, the year the Indian economy was liberalised and foreign trade eased.
Continue reading “The rise and call of Narendra Modi” »
Posted on 31 August 2012 by Nicholas Hughes
U.S. – The Justice Department’s probe into the CIA’s interrogation programme for terror detainees has concluded without any formal charges being brought. The investigation was initiated to study two deaths having occured in Iraq and Afghanistan, and concludes a series of reports on the treatment of 101 detainees captured since 9/11. The CIA has long maintained that it always acted according to guidlines issued by lawyers of the Bush administration, whilst investigating Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the inquiry “was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct”. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19432553
THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES – Speaking from the sidelines of an international water conference, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority has announced the planned construction of a half billion dollar desalination plant in the Gaza Strip – using money supplied by Arab and European donors. Set to be Gaza’s largest infrastructure project to date, it aims to alleviate suffering in a territory where over 90 per cent of water resources are unfit for human consumption. Nonetheless, the ultimate viability of the project will remain subject to Israeli approval. Accused of using water and other resources as political weapons, between 2001-2011 Israel has destroyed around $61 million of Palestinian infrastructural projects. http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/08/despite-possible-attacks-gaza-plans-half-billion-dollar-desalination-plant/
G7 – The G7 group of nations have called upon oil-producing countries to increase crude production in order to counter the risks posed by rising oil prices. With global financial stability still in doubt, the large economies have sought to prevent oil scarcity from limiting recovery - with speculation being that U.S. president Obama may release supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bolster domestic consumption. World supplies have partly been effected by sanctions imposed on Iran. http://www.timesofoman.com/innercat.aspx?detail=10903
Posted on 30 August 2012 by Nicholas Hughes
SOUTH AFRICA – Following the killing, by police, of 34 miners taking part in the Marikana dispute, the South African judiciary has charged 270 other workers with the murder of their colleagues. The controversial action – which former ANC youth leader Julius Malema termed “utter madness” – was made possible by the “common purpose” doctrine, which allows those taking part in violent action against the police to be held culpable for any injuries incurred. Infamously, the doctrine had traditionally been used during the period of white minority rule to prosecute those agitating for racial equality. Whilst a review of police conduct has been promised by the government, it is expected to take some months to complete. The hearing against the workers, meanwhile, is set to resume in seven days. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19424484
SYRIA – President Morsi of Egypt’s characterisation on Thursday of the Syrian regime as “oppressive” and lacking in legitimacy has prompted outrage from the Syrian delegation to the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran. The meeting of 120 nations, which the Iranian government has capitalised on in an attempt to bolster it’s own image, allowed the President to express the opinion that foreign intervention was required to end Syria’s chaos. On the same day that his remarks were made, rebels claimed to have shot down the second MiG of the war. http://www.albawaba.com/news/syria-protest-against-morsi-comments-assad-regime-440182
IRAN – It has been claimed that the IAEA’s upcoming quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear programme will show that the nation has increased its potential capacity to refine uranium by at least 30 per cent since May. It is believed that Iran has completed the further installation of several hundred interlinked centrifuges at secure sites devoted to the refinement of nuclear materials. http://220.127.116.11/~egyptian/index.php?action=news&id=27521&title=Iran%20increases%20underground%20nuclear%20capacity%20sharply
U.S. – A number of political commentators have targetted vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan following has speech at the Republican National Convention. Whilst much of his address was given over to an acerbic critique of the Obama administration’s domestic policies, many have pointed to factual inaccuracies contained in several of his claims. In particular, his assertions as to the effectiveness of auto industry bailouts and ‘Obamacare’ have been suggested to be disingenuous, if not outright hypocritical. Also speaking at the RNC, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received an even more rapturous reception during an assault on the government’s “ambiguous” foreign policy position. http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3840873.ece
Posted on 20 August 2012 by Katherine Abraham
Offering political asylum to Julian Assange seems to be one of the seven deadly sins for the Ecuadoreans currently. Ecuador has decided to grant political asylum to the 41 year old Wikileaks founder who is wanted by the Swedish government on charges of sexual assault. He has been forewarned by the British government that he will be extradited the minute he leaves the confines of the Ecuadorean embassy office.
The UK and the US have reacted rather sharply to this move by Ecuador. However, several lesser known facts about the case account for Ecuador being able to back Assange. According to the CIA Factbook, Ecuador does not rely on dealings with the European states for much of its economic activity. In fact, even trade with the United States of America does not account for the majority of the Ecuadorian income. The Ecuadorian economy slowed to 0.4% growth in 2009 during the global recession and due to the sharp decline in world oil prices along with remittance flows. Continue reading “Ecuador kicks up a British storm” »
Posted on 18 August 2012 by Nicholas Hughes
RUSSIA – Following on from the ‘guilty’ verdict reached against members of Russian band Pussy Riot, representatives of the EU, US and Amnesty International have strongly criticised the Russian judicial system. The three women had each been sentenced to two years imprisonment in a penal colony for ‘hooliganism’, prompting an outcry from supporters both within Russia and without. Despite the interest generated by the case, Russian public opinion is largely indifferent to the trio’s plight, with only 6% in a recent poll expressing sympathy. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19302986
BAHRAIN – A year on from the highpoint in popular protests against the Bahraini government, the Unites States’ leadership has gone public with its urging that a ruling against the director of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab, condemning him to three years imprisonment be overturned. Mr Rajab is an avid critic of Bahrain’s regime with a large twitter following, and has been accused of organising opposition rallies. Until recently, the U.S. has been relatively spare in its criticism of Bahrain – with the country hosting a sizeably U.S. naval and military contingent. http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/08/u-s-breaks-silence-on-bahrain-crackdown/
SYRIA – As the Syrian government is forced to deny rumours that al-Assad’s deputy, Farouq al-Shara, has defected and fled the country, the U.N. has appointed Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi to replace Kofi Annan as international mediator to Syria. Mr Brahimi takes up what the French envoy to the U.N. called an “impossible job” one day before observers are due to leave the country with the expirey of their mandate. The international organisation will, however, leave a ‘liason office’ open in Damascus. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/08/18/uk-syria-crisis-idUKBRE86H18C20120818?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews
Posted on 12 August 2012 by Guest
By Alexander George
Much of the commentary in the build-up to Mitt Romney’s announcement of his running mate has focused on whether he would choose a safe pair of hands (a Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty, say) or bring some excitement to the ticket (in the form of a Chris Christie or Marco Rubio). Of course, this supposes that the two options are mutually exclusive. In his choice of Paul Ryan (a 42 year old Wisconsin congressman and Chairman of the House of Representative’s Budget Committee), Romney has tried to do both. Continue reading “Romney’s VP pick: interesting impact on the race, big impact on Paul Ryan’s career” »
Posted on 04 August 2012 by Nicholas Hughes
THE TWO SUDANS – After around a year of dispute, Sudan and South Sudan have purportedly come to an arrangement over the transit fees that are to be affixed to oil produced by the latter and exported by the former. Whilst the precise terms of the arrangement have not been released by African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki, the announcement, if accurate, will seem to herald the relief of some of the economic difficultes experienced by both countries. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19122861
SPAIN – Spanish police have claimed to have arrested three possible al-Qaeda members – whom authorities believe were plotting attacks with ultralight or remote-controlled planes. The men had amassed enough explosives to destroy a bus-sized object. http://europenews.dk/en/node/57146
LIBYA – The first car bombing experienced since the ouster of Gaddafi last year hit Tripoli early this morning, outside military police offices. Whilst the authors of the attack are unknown, the country has continued to be plagued by low-level internal conflict and disunity since the fall of the old regime. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/tripoli-sees-first-car-bomb-since-gaddafis-fall-8007125.html
U.S. – Given the still-unresolved debate over the Obama administration’s reforms to healthcare – and their influence upon the coming election – it is interesting to note that a study has concluded that up to half of all adults in the U.S. lack basic levels of health literacy (the ability to make informed choices regarding their treatment and insurance cover). http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/5976955
Posted on 03 August 2012 by Nicholas Hughes
[In a new feature, The Pryer will now regularly publish synopses and external links to the day's most important and interesting international relations news items]
NORTH KOREA – With around 119 dead and several thousand displaced following last month’s flooding (according to state-controlled media), the UN has received requests from the Kim regime to provide emergency supplies. The disaster appears to have exacerbated already-severe infrastructural and agricultural weaknesses. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19107049
SYRIA – According the the Free Syrian Army’s own propaganda, rebels have taken control of over “50 per cent” of Aleppo – the country’s commercial hub and largest city. The action saw the first use of tanks by the opposition, against a military airport northwest of the city. In spite of the ostensive victory, independent observers have claimed that military forces are massing for a counter-assault on rebel positions in the city. http://www.aljazeera.com//news/middleeast/2012/08/20128353645664375.html
RUSSIA – Whether in a show of benevolence, or out of fear of popular disapproval, President Putin has asked the presiding court in the case of Pussy Riot to show leniency to the band’s members. Given the extent to which the Russian judiciary has frequently been complicit in Putin’s designs upon his opponents, it’s possible that the President’s ‘suggestion’ for the accused may be fulfilled. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/03/world/europe/russia-pussy-riot-trial/index.html?eref=edition
RUSSIA – Also in Russia, Putin has expressed his disappointment that participants in the NATO mission in Afghanistan have maintained their intention to withdraw combat forces from the country by 2014. It is, he claimed, in Russia’s national interest to have a stable border region on its southern flanks. Although relations between Moscow and the alliance have remained cool due to an ongoing dispute over a European missile defence system, Russia has permitted land and air transit of NATO supply vehicles bound for Afghanistan. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/putin-regrets-natos-plan-on-pullout-in-afghanistan.aspx?pageID=238&nid=26924&NewsCatID=353
U.S. – In an attempt to achieve bipartisan action on Iran before the legislature’s August recess, Congress has announced a new wave of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The measures will target individuals and companies linked to Iran’s energy and shipbuilding sectors – with the intention being to deprive the country of sources of hard-currency earnings. http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-1-124464-US-Congress-approves-new-sanctions-on-Iran
Posted on 23 March 2012 by Mitch Barltrop
Editor’s Note: Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the G8 & G20 Youth Summit, Mitch Barltrop, moots the notion of whether negativity should be allowed to reign over positivity in international relations. Does it do a world of good?
‘Dignity, health, and prosperity’. Those were the key tenets to Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama’s keynote article in last week’s Washington Post. Their joint declaration proclaimed nothing new. The Anglo-American relationship remains special, perhaps most virulently in the field of foreign affairs.
Continue reading “Negativity: does it do a world of good?” »
Posted on 25 February 2012 by Luke.Middup
Al-Qaeda in Iraq has claimed responsibility for a wave in bombings in Baghdad and across the country that in the past few days has claimed 55 lives. These incidents are the latest in a trend of steadily rising violence that has followed the withdrawal of the last American combat troops in January.
It is important to set this violence in context. The incidence of terrorist attacks and sectarian killings is nowhere near the level of the peak of violence in Iraq in late 2006/early 2007.
Also, some kind of surge in violence was to be expected with the departure of American troops, as extremists on all sides of Iraq’s ethnic divide sought to test the ability of the Iraqi government to cope with security after the Americans had left.
However, there are reasons to be concerned about the current trends in Iraqi politics and its impact on the security services. Continue reading “The Americans leave Iraq but the violence continues” »