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Russia’s Oprichnik Economy

By Andrei Zaostrovtsev in Economics and Finance, January 8, 2013

Owning a business in Russia today is a hazardous affair: each year thousands of companies close after their owners are accused of ‘economic crimes’ and face either prison or protection payments to government officials.

Talking to the other side

By Antonio Giustozzi - Ashley Jackson in Politics,

Humanitarian engagement with the Taliban in Afghanistan will become crucial. Aid agency engagement with the Taliban will be critical to ensuring they can still operate after 2014. Research published by ODI explores Taliban attitudes toward aid work and the approaches used by aid agencies to gain access to Taliban-held areas.

The unmaking of Syria

By Issa Khalaf in Politics, January 7, 2013

Everything about Syria is steeped in miasma: is this conflict politically and sociologically definable as a civil war? Has it become a sectarian war? How strong and widespread is the Salafist (and global Jihadi) presence?

Ground the Drones in 2013

By Imran Khan in Politics, January 4, 2013

The Chairman of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf political party and former captain of the national cricket team, Imran Khan, is leading a popular campaign against the indiscriminate brutality of US drone strikes in Pakistan that are “driving fear into every living soul in the tribal areas”.

Turkey’s Energy Challenges

By Daniel Wagner - Giorgio Cafiero in Features, January 3, 2013

Ankara will soon be confronted with some difficult foreign policy decisions that could affect its long-term energy interests. The discovery of vast reserves of natural gas off the coasts of Cyprus and Israel could oblige Turkey to resolve longstanding disputes with its neighbours.

Mark Mazower: Governing the World

By Lev Myshkin in Features, December 19, 2012

A thought-provoking and eminently readable history of an idea: “governing the world” traced from its visionary roots in the 19th century up to the founding of the UN, the World Bank and the IMF.

China’s Dream Team

By Stephen S. Roach in Politics,

China’s recent leadership transition was widely depicted as a triumph for conservative hard-liners and a setback for the cause of reform – a characterization that has deepened the gloominess that pervades Western perceptions of China. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Power of Hakkari 72:0

By Ekrem Eddy Güzeldere in Travel Writing,

Founded by a dynamic young Kurdish woman, the Hakkari Power women’s football team from south-eastern Turkey has an enviable score record and a growing number of players. Currently at the top of the second division, the team has broken down taboos in a traditionally conservative region.

The Credit Rating Enigma

By Timothy J. Sinclair in Economics and Finance, December 18, 2012

Credit rating agencies are among the most puzzling institutions of our times. Formerly largely unknown, the raters have become a focus of political and media attention since the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98.

Israel’s legitimacy, Palestine’s UN bid, and the ICC

By Valentina Azarov in Politics, December 4, 2012

Palestine’s newly accorded observer status at the UN General Assembly is only the latest move in an ambitious gamble to maneuver the ICC in the quest for statehood.