Syrians flee shelling by Turkish forces in Ras al Ayn, northeast Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019
Syrians flee shelling by Turkish forces in Ras al Ayn, northeast Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019 | Photo: picture alliance/AP Photo

Turkey’s invasion of Northern Syria has begun

Turkey’s long threatened invasion of Northern Syria has begun. Following a phone call with Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, October 6th, President Trump ordered US troops in the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) to withdraw from the border area where they had been conducting joint security patrols with the Syrian Defence Forces. After ensuring that the invading forces would not clash with its NATO US military counterparts, Turkish aerial bombardment and land invasion has begun. The international community, especially Turkey’s NATO allies, should do more than just ask for restraint.

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Kya Sands Township in Johannesburg, South Africa
Kya Sands Township in Johannesburg, South Africa. | Photo: Johnny Miller/Unequal Scenes | CC BY-SA 4.0

Xenophobic violence and spatial inequality in South Africa

In recent violent attacks against African foreigners living in South Africa 12 people were killed. While xenophobic rhetoric has become increasingly normalised in the country’s political discourse, the latest violence has had domestic and international implications. Importantly, this violence must be seen in context of the continuation of South Africa’s colonial and apartheid era structures, which still play a crucial role in most South Africans’ everyday lives. Given that land reform is an unfinished and hotly discussed political project, we argue that intense economic and spatial inequality as remnants of the past are important contributors to recent violence, specifically against foreigners in South Africa. 

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The Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia's official Genocide memorial
The Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia's official Genocide memorial | Photo: z@doune | CC BY 2.0

Turkey and the “so-called” Armenian Genocide: the politics of denial in European and domestic affairs

The Armenian Genocide or, as it is labelled in mainstream Turkish discourse, the “so-called Genocide,” continues to fuel political tensions, both internationally and at home. Use of the G-word by governments worldwide invariably provokes a reaction from Ankara, whose genocide denial continues to shape and colour Turkish foreign policy as well as domestic matters. Strikingly enough, however, the most important institution of the Armenians in Turkey has also participated in the politics of denial in recent years. How do the politics of such genocide recognition and denial play out, and what do they imply?

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The Krka monastery is the best known monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia. | Photo: © Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Croatian Nationalist Elites Love to Hate Serbs

Almost 25 years after the end of the war and six years since its European Union membership Croatia is still unable to re-integrate its declining Serb population. Serbs face intolerance, economic obstacles and discrimination. Croatian nationalists target them as an inconvenient reminder that their exclusive narrative is just a myth. At the same time, they use the Serbs as the perfect “enemy” in order to preserve the dominant status of ethno-nationalism. Croatia therefore fails to respect the highest internationally recognized minority rights to which it repeatedly committed itself in the early days of its independence and during the EU integrations process.

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Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro is well known for insults against indigenous people. | Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR | CC BY 2.0

Indigenous Peoples’ experiences: Some observations about the new political era in Latin America

In the last five years, Latin America has entered a new political era with indigenous peoples at the center of these changes. The new governments in the region are promoting revisionist policies regarding past state violence and implementing new policies of indigenous dispossession. However, the observable trend denying indigenous peoples their basic rights, and their participation on issues affecting them, is not only an issue of minority politics, it also draws broader fundamental civil rights and liberties into question.

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The Chernobyl nuclear power plant sarcophagus | Photo: Petr Pavlicek/IAEA via Wikimedia

Chernobyl’s Fallout, Beyond Radiation

“What’s it like, radiation? Maybe they show it in the movies? Have you seen it? Is it white, or what? Some people say it has no color and no smell, and other people say that it’s black. Like earth. But if it’s colorless, then it’s like God. God is everywhere, but you can’t see Him.” Like so many others affected by the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the interviewee in Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl, struggled to grasp how something too small to be perceived by our senses could have such an enormous effect on human affairs.

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The concept of territorial peace by the Santos government does not have much to offer to the informal settlement La Primavera | Photo: Max Baum

Territorial peace in Colombia: Not just a rural issue

Within the framework of the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the guerrilla organization FARC-EP, which culminated in a historic peace agreement at the end of 2016, the territorial dimension of the violent conflict was conceptualized as a central problem for the first time. Since then, in Colombia, there has been talk about the challenge of establishing a territorial peace. The basic idea is that peace should be built from below, in concrete local spaces, in participatory processes. In this respect, the concept of territorial peace raises several questions. This article discusses a central blind spot: the importance of metropolitan areas in which numerous victims of the conflict can be identified and which have so far received little attention in the discussion about territorial peace.

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Chamber of the Security Council in the main building of the United Nations in New York (Photo: Xander Heinl/photothek.de)

Germany on the UN Security Council: Arria-formula meetings as a tool for crisis management and conflict prevention

Conflict resolution and crisis prevention are two main objectives of German foreign policy. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2019–20, Germany put these topics at the top of its agenda. An informal and flexible meeting format – Arria-formula meetings – can serve as a tool for achieving these goals. Germany should use this format more frequently in addressing impending crises and conflicts in which the Council is blocked, as well as to strengthen cooperation with countries and actors of the Global South.

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South Africa’s newly elected president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country’s first gender equal cabinet.
South Africa’s newly elected president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country’s first gender equal cabinet. | Photo: GovernmentZA | CC BY-ND 2.0

South Africa’s First Gender Representative Government: A New Dawn for Gender Justice?

Late on Wednesday night, South Africa’s newly (re-)elected president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the first ever gender equal cabinet of the country. As a part of his commitment for a “new dawn” for South Africa, Ramaphosa’s cabinet was selected after a thorough, not seen before consultation process. Welcomed from various corners of the country, the new government unsurprisingly drew criticism from main opposition parties. The gender representative cabinet is an important sign towards more serious political efforts to transform the country’s intense gender based inequality. However, given the male dominated networks of the political landscape, the struggle for gender equality in government and society is far from over.

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Health care in danger | Photo: European Parliament | CC BY ND 2.0

How Germany advocates for the protection of aid workers in the Security Council

Germany has made the facilitation of humanitarian aid to one of its headline goals for its 2-year seat on the UN Security Council from 2019-2020, and a main theme for its shared Security Council Presidency with France in March and April this year. With this move, Germany decidedly contributed to make the delivery of relief to suffering populations an issue of ‘high politics’. It gives humanitarian aid the salience it deserves, given the rising need of people in humanitarian crises, as well as the constant violation of humanitarian law. Germany in particular focuses on protecting aid workers by promoting the humanitarian principles. However, this approach is insufficient and contradicted by other international humanitarian aid policies.

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