Redwan Hussien Rameto, Representative of the Ethiopian government, and Getachew Reda, Representative of the TPLF, sign the peace agreement “Cessation of Hostilities Agreement” in Pretoria on November 2, 2022.
Redwan Hussien Rameto, Representative of the Ethiopian government, and Getachew Reda, Representative of the TPLF, sign the peace agreement “Cessation of Hostilities Agreement” in Pretoria on November 2, 2022. | Photo: © picture alliance / EPA | Alet Pretorius

Prospects for Peace in Tigray. An assessment of the peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF

On November 2, 2022, the Ethiopian federal government and representatives of the Tigrayan rebels concluded an agreement intended to end the devastating civil war in the region. What some consider to be the world’s deadliest active conflict has caused tens of thousands battle-related fatalities and even more civilian victims due to famine and lack of medical service during the last two years. This Spotlight discusses the prospects of the current peace agreement and potential pitfalls that may undermine its stability.

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Kenya's new president William Ruto shakes hands with outgoing President Kenyatta, as he is sworn into office. In the other hand, Ruto holds a box. Fireworks can be seen.
Kenya’s new president Ruto shakes hands with his predecessor Kenyatta, as he is sworn into office. | Photo: © picture alliance/AP | Brian Inganga

Have the Tables Turned? What to Expect from Kenya’s New “Hustler” President William Ruto

Kenya had awaited the presidential elections held on August 9, 2022 with bated breath. The elections were won by William Ruto, who defeated opponent Raila Odinga by just a few percentage points. Ruto succeeds Uhuru Kenyatta, who leaves office having served his two permitted terms. This Spotlight analyzes the reasons for Ruto’s success, and, reflecting on his political career, discusses what can be expected from his presidency. We argue that both his success and his career have been strongly influenced by Kenya’s political history and the power structures of political alliances—especially in the context of previous elections.

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Public square in Istanbul with election banners signifiyng different political parties.
Election banners signifying different political parties in Istanbul. | Photo: Aris Gionis via flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0

The 2023 Elections in Turkey. Can the Opposition Challenge Erdoğan and the AKP?

Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on June 18, 2023, will be a notable juncture point. These elections will determine the country’s future and direction, and are therefore not only significant for domestic politics, but also at the international level as regards Turkey’s capacity to serve as a global actor. During these elections, the opposition will take on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to gain political power after two decades of AKP rule. They will only have a chance of success if they propose a strong candidate to challenge Erdoğan.

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Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale, featuring the faces of both current President Jair Bolsonaro, left, and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, outside the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil
Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale outside the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil. | Photo: © picture alliance/AP | Eraldo Peres

Democracy on the Razor’s Edge: The 2022 Presidential Elections in Brazil

Brazil’s presidential elections are scheduled to take place on October 2, 2022. The confrontation between the extreme-right incumbent president Bolsonaro and the center-left former president Lula Da Silva provides a rare setting. The election places Brazil at a crossroads and will set the stage for either a comprehensive commitment to democracy under Lula or a continuation along the path to authoritarianism under Bolsonaro. Recent polls suggest that the most likely scenario is a win for Lula. Nevertheless, Brazil’s democratic institutions are continuously under attack. Currently, the possibility of the elections being preemptively cancelled or the final results being contested cannot be fully dismissed.

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Vor einem großen Plakat über das Erzgebirge stehen Polizisten.
Freiberg in Alarmbereitschaft: Polizist:innen aus Nordrhein-Westfalen postieren sich am 13.12.2021 am Rande eines „Spaziergangs“ gegen die Corona-Maßnahmen | Foto: © dpa /dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Willnow

Eine polarisierte Stadt. Die Corona-Proteste, Demokratieverdruss und die Rolle der Lokalpolitik in Freiberg

Seit 2021 fanden im mittelsächsischen Freiberg über 60 „Spaziergänge“ gegen die Coronapolitik statt. Wie im ganzen Freistaat wurden die Proteste von den extrem rechten „Freien Sachsen“ dominiert. Auch Mandatsträger:innen von Parteien unterstützten sie. Die Kommunalpolitik reagierte nur zögerlich. Erst ein Appell der Zivilgesellschaft veränderte die Situation: Der Oberbürgermeister distanzierte sich deutlich und wurde wiedergewählt. Nun braucht es politische Antworten auf anhaltende Polarisierung und Demokratieverdruss in der Region.

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Ralf Stegner (SPD) spricht als neuer Ausschussvorsitzender nach der Konstituierenden Sitzung des Bundestags-Untersuchungsausschusses zum Bundeswehr-Abzug aus Afghanistan.
Ralf Stegner (SPD), Vorsitzender des Untersuchungsausschusses zum Abzug der Bundeswehr aus Afghanistan | Foto: © picture alliance /dpa | Michael Kappeler

Lehren aus Afghanistan – Der Untersuchungsausschuss und die Enquete-Kommission des Bundestages

In den Nachtstunden des 8. Juli beschloss der Bundestag einen parlamentarischen Untersuchungsausschuss zu den letzten anderthalb Jahren des Afghanistan-Einsatzes. Noch am gleichen Tag setzte er darüber hinaus eine Enquete-Kommission ein, die Lehren aus dem gesamten militärischen und zivilen Einsatz formulieren soll. Was können die beiden unterschiedlich ausgerichteten Gremien zur Aufarbeitung des internationalen Scheiterns in Afghanistan beitragen?

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Two hands lighting three white candles. Attached to the candles are small notes; one claiming "Hold Duterte Accountable for Killing the Poor!".
A scene from the past? Activists lit candles to protest the killing of farmers in a central Philippine province in Manila, Philippines, Monday, 1 April 2019. Police said that they were suspected communist rebels who opened fire during raids. But rights groups countered that the men were farmers and victims of extrajudicial killings. | Photo: © picture alliance / AP Photo | Aaron Favila

Impunity and Police Vigilantism – Is the highly excessive use of deadly force by the police in the Philippines now over?

Since June 30, Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency has been a thing of the past. This Spotlight asks why police forces in the Philippines were so willing to carry out the killing of drug personalities at Duterte’s behest in 2016 and what that may mean for the future. I argue that the inability to successfully bring suspects to justice and the resulting damage to the police’s self-image as a potent guardian of peace and order foster vigilante activities by police where a political and social environment exists that legitimizes such a strategy of violent crime control.

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Foreign Fighters cross the border to fight for Ukraine as Russia‘s attacks on Ukraine continue, in Przemysl, Poland
Foreign Fighters cross the border to fight for Ukraine as Russia‘s attack on Ukraine continues. | Photo: © picture alliance / AA | Abdülhamid Hoşbaş

“Enlist Now!” – Or Don’t? Why we should be concerned about foreign fighting in Ukraine

With the recent escalation of Russia’s war on Ukraine, tens of thousands of foreign fighters have flocked to the region. While the widespread praise for individuals supporting the Ukrainian defense effort is understandable, governments should take measures to prevent their citizens from joining the war. Foreign fighters epitomize the privatization of wars, and the multiplicity of individual motives and aims contributes to the conflict’s complexity. The involvement of third-country nationals also has the potential to escalate the conflict further. Lastly, Western countries will have to deal with returnees who are better trained, traumatized, and potentially radicalized.

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Wie geht es weiter mit der deutschen Demokratieförderungspolitik? | Photo: Martin Abegglen auf flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0).

Deutsche Demokratieförderpolitik. Ampelkoalition auf Kurswechsel?

Nimmt man die programmatische Rhetorik des Koalitionsvertrags ernst, deutet sich unter der neuen Bundesregierung eine Umorientierung der internationalen Demokratieförderpolitik Deutschlands an: vom traditionellen deutschen Ansatz, der durch Entwicklungsorientierung und das Selbstverständnis einer Zivilmacht geprägt war, in Richtung eines explizit politischen Zugangs, der Deutschland in einem internationalen Systemwettbewerb sieht, Demokratieförderung als primär außenpolitische Aufgabe definiert und auf die Unterstützung von Demokratien und Demokraten setzt.

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14. Dezember 1995: Die Präsidenten von Serbien, Slobodan Milošević (links), Kroatien, Franjo Tuđman (Mitte), und Bosnien-Herzegowina, Alija Izetbegović (rechts), unterzeichnen das in Dayton ausgehandelte Friedensabkommen für Bosnien und Herzegowina. | Foto: Central Intelligence Agency, William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Lizenz: public domain der USA

Bürgerkriege beenden. Militärische Siege und Friedensabkommen im Vergleich

„Es gibt keine militärische Lösung des Konflikts“, heißt es gerne in der internationalen Diplomatie. Anders sehen das nicht nur die Taliban in Afghanistan oder die Regierung Aserbaidschans, die im Herbst 2020 im Konflikt um Berg-Karabach triumphierte. In Studien zum Wiederausbruch von Bürgerkriegen dominiert der Befund, dass militärische Siege besser als Friedensabkommen für dauerhaften Frieden sorgen. Sind Friedensverträge nur die zweitbeste Weise, einen Bürgerkrieg zu beenden?

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