What Awaits the U.S. in Syria

By Fred H. Lawson in

Allegations that Syrian government troops used chemical weapons against civilians outside Damascus on 21 August 2013 come at a time when the country’s civil war has entered a particularly dangerous phase.  Opposition forces that advocate overtly religious platforms couched in virulently sectarian rhetoric have shouldered aside the few non-sectarian guerrilla formations and emerged as the […]

Children of the Days

By Allston Mitchell in

It would be unusual to call a book like this endearing, but that is what it is.  Galeano’s little folly of a book is uplifting despite the fact that it unearths depressing reminders of human frailty and cruelty throughout recorded history. It is a light-hearted manual of resistance, a restorative tonic. The latest work by […]

Wild ghosts: Bo Xilai on trial

By En Liang Khong in

The demons are dancing for Bo Xilai. The former party chief is now far from his humid, smog-drenched municipality of Chongqing. Instead, Bo has spent the last week on trial at Jinan’s Intermediate People’s Court, facing an inevitable suspended death sentence over corruption and power abuse allegations. Separating Bo from his power base by putting […]

Tiger, tiger … nowhere in sight

By Irene Dogmatic in

Once a royal hunting reserve, Chitwan National Park actually has only 200 or so Bengal tigers still extant, although they say the numbers are increasing thanks to their tiger protection programme. Be that as it may, they remained elusive and during our stay we didn’t see a single one. Needless to say, the huge variety […]

Germany’s Arms Sales and the Middle East

By Daniel Wagner - Giorgio Cafiero in

Germany’s influence in Middle Eastern affairs has been historically subtle when compared to other Western powers, with Berlin being more focused on its economic interests and soft-power, rather than military intervention. Germany’s staunch opposition to the Western-led regime change campaigns in Iraq and Libya, and its tendency to avoid partnerships with Israel’s enemies, have prompted […]

What is Shadow Banking?

By Stijn Claessens, Lev Ratnovski in

There is much confusion about what shadow banking is and why it may create (systemic) risks: – Some equate it with securitisation. – Others with non-traditional bank activities, or non-bank lending. Regardless, most think of shadow banking as activities that can create systemic risk. This column proposes to describe shadow banking as ‘all financial activities, […]

A militarized media in Egypt: a dirty war making many of us blind

By Gigi Ibrahim in

August 14, 2013 marks one of the darkest days in Egyptian modern history. Over 800 people were killed by security forces during the dispersal of the pro-Morsi Rabea and Nahda sit-ins that lasted over a month. Ever since, the emergency law has been reinstated as well as a month-long 7pm-6am curfew in 10 provinces, leaving […]

Newsletter – August 2013

By Allston Mitchell in

Welcome to The Global Dispatches, This month we publish some flash fiction micro-stories by Iranian writer Mitra Hooshiar; also Jeremy Fox finds ‘nourishment for prejudice’ in his look at the mythical conservative thinker Edmund Burke; Ludovico Pisani on the remarkable paintings in the Ajanta caves in India; Greg Burris examines the ongoing sparring match between […]

Edmund Burke: an unspoken villainy

By Jeremy Fox in

Not long ago I was invited for the first and – thus far – the last time to a meeting at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), an organisation described on its website as “the UK’s leading progressive think tank”. It took place in a modest room at the IPPR’s office where I found myself seated […]

The Ajanta Cave Paintings

By Ludovico Pisani in

The Ajanta caves are located in the western Indian state of Maharashta, cut into the cliff face above the spot where the river Waghora draws a harmonious half-moon through lush vegetation. Discovered by English officers during a tiger hunt in 1819, the caves are in such a remote spot (the nearest towns are Jalgaon and […]

Chomsky or Žižek: can’t we have both?

By Greg Burris in

“Disagreement is not the conflict between one who says white and another who says black. It is the conflict between one who says white and another who also says white but does not understand the same thing by it.” —Jacques Rancière About a year ago, a friend of mine suggested in passing that he would […]

Can Mali Reunite?

By Giorgio Cafiero in

Now that Mali has held its first election following the state’s near disintegration—a 16-month period marked by a fierce rebel offensive, a military coup, and a French military intervention—the prospects for peaceful reunification are on the minds of many. A high voter turnout in the capital city of Bamako underscored the average Malian’s eagerness for […]

Looking back, moving forward

By Pascal Lamy in

I came before the General Council in 2005 when I was a DG candidate and again in 2009 to share with you my views about the WTO. Today, I come to you one last time in my capacity as Director-General, as a sign of my strong commitment to being accountable to you, the members of […]

Critical Times for Algeria

By Emily Boulter in

Over a two-month period Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika vanished from the country’s political scene. He was reported to have suffered a mild stroke and travelled to France in order to receive medical care. His absence sparked rumors that the 76-year-old president had either passed way or was in a coma. There were widespread calls among […]

A Brewing Storm in the Western Pacific

By Walden Bello in

A storm is brewing in the Western Pacific. As the Asia-Pacific region descends into a period of destabilizing conflict, the Philippines is quickly becoming a frontline state in the U.S. strategy to contain China—the central thrust of the Obama administration’s so-called “Pivot to Asia.” In the most recent development, the Philippine government has offered the […]

Uludere: victim of civil-military relations

By Çağlar Köseoğlu in

The AKP’s current and much criticized undemocratic tendencies are not particular to its interaction with civil society. The government’s narrow understanding of democratic values also permeates its relations with the armed forces. This has proven to be disastrous for the surviving families of the Uludere massacre. On 28 December 2011, 34 unarmed citizens were killed […]