The Kurds are the world’s largest ethnic group (25-35 million) without a nation. As the graphic below shows, Kurds are widely distributed throughout the turbulent regions of Middle East and Central Asia. The green areas are the major areas of heavy Kurdish concentration — but small enclaves exist in areas not marked. (For example, I met many Kurdish Turks in western Anatolia in 2008-9 — my impression was that these urban Kurds were well integrated into Turkish society, unlike their brethren in the East.)
Below is a report analyzing a little known dimension to the Kurdish Question in the turbulent North Caucasus (i.e. the area of red ellipse), where a relatively small number (approximately 64,000) people of Kurdish origin now reside.
Will Russia play the Kurdish card?
Maxim A. Suchkov, Ph.D., a former Fulbright visiting fellow at Georgetown University (2010-11), is currently a fellow at the Institute for Strategic Studies at the North Caucasian city of Pyatigorsk, Russia and is a contributor to the Central Eurasian Studies Society Blog.
Yet another story of the failure of austerity policies. The dominant economic philosophy of the Theocratic Right since Ronald Reagan has repeatedly been shown to be a failure. Yet, so far as I can tell, none of these failures have had the slightest effect on wretched Rightist corrupt political prostitutes in the U.S. House of Representatives. We have become a fact-free culture.
By George, Britain’s Austerity Experiment Didn’t Work!
JOHN CASSIDY – The New Yorker
We keep being warned, and we keep ignoring the warnings, so we are going to live with the consequences.
The Devolution of the Seas: The Consequences of Oceanic Destruction
ALAN B. SIELEN – Foreign Affairs
This and the next story are so immoral they almost take one’s breath away. One out of five children in the United States go to bed hungry. We do not have universal healthcare. Our schools are in shambles. But there are untold billions for war and “nation building” in nations other than our own. You’d think we would be ! ashamed, but shame about thoughtless callous programs that punish people already sorely reduced no longer seems to play any role in our society.
U.S. Needs Millions More to Complete Afghanistan’s ‘Pentagon’
TIM CRAIG – The Washington Post
Syria: Syrian TV reported that on 9 December the Syrian army captured the town of al-Nabk in west-central Syria after days of fighting. This town was the last rebel strong point on the road that links Damascus to Homs and the coast.
Thousands of Drones Set To Take Over Our Skies? – My New Video
Go here to turn the video into an MP3: http://us.
One problem though. Since Montreux came into being nobody has had a way to compare in any kind of systematic way how various states were ensuring that PMSC headquartered on their territory were complying with the document’s best practices. In effect, nobody has known which states using PMSC have been naughty and which have been nice. That is, until now.
On Dec 3 the Initiative for Human Rights in Business, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the American University Washington College of Law released a report Montreux Five Years On: An analysis of state efforts to implement Montreux Document legal obligations and good practice.
The report focuses on a subset of participating States: two Contracting and Home States (the United States and the United Kingdom), two Territorial States (Iraq and Afghanistan), and a special feature on one region (Latin America and the Caribbean). The report goes on to detail and assess the U.S., U.K., Iraq, and Afghanistan’s efforts to meet their Montreux Document commitments as captured in five categories: Determination of services; Due diligence in selecting, contracting, and authorizing PMSCs; Due diligence in monitoring PMSC activities; Ensuring accountability; and Providing access to effective remedy.
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Introducing The Yale Undergraduate Journal of Politics
As distrust of the U.S. abounds, reliable intelligence is more difficult to procure.
“Snowden and Manning fucked us. Who would want to work with us?” asked one former CIA officer. Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, he told The Politic, not only leaked a record number of classified intelligence documents, but damaged America’s credibility on the world stage. And with revelation after sullying revelation of each American snooping scandal, the world grows increasingly weary of U.S. involvement in the global arena.
Intelligence gathering from local sources is often the only feasible way of managing the diverse threats the U.S. faces. But as distrust of the United States abounds, reliable intelligence is more difficult to procure — even as it becomes more essential in places like Afghanistan.