Articles in English

Soldiers of the Kosovo Security Force stand in front of the American and NATO flags after the army formation ceremony in Pristina, Kosovo, in December.CreditCreditLaura Hasani/Reuters

In April, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will celebrate its 70th birthday. Founded in the earliest years of the Cold War, it is just as relevant today, when many feel that the international order is shaken again. In fact, if NATO did not exist, those in favor of a free world would have to invent it.

While NATO’s key purpose remains to guarantee the security of its members, it has never been a purely military alliance. It is a political alliance as well, based on the common aspirations of its members who, as the NATO Treaty says, “are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of its peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.”

These principles are under assault today.…  Seguir leyendo »

Trump Worsens the Border Crisis

Over the last month, I have traveled in three congressional delegations to El Paso and southern New Mexico. We heard from federal law enforcement, toured detention centers and Border Patrol stations, and listened to human rights and legal advocates who have worked with migrants for decades.

Some of us even saw where Felipe Gómez Alonzo, an 8-year-old Guatemalan who recently died while in custody, and his father were apprehended.

Obviously, El Paso and its metropolitan area, including Ciudad Juárez, in Mexico, is just one point along a very long border. But everything we saw demonstrated why President Trump’s call for a wall is simplistic and misguided.…  Seguir leyendo »

India is now ground zero in a struggle over the instrument that so enhanced its democracy but now threatens to undermine it: the Internet.

In late December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government proposed new rules empowering it to order Internet companies like Facebook and Twitter to remove content from their platforms within 24 hours. The government broadly defines the rules as affecting “intermediaries,” which could potentially mean all Internet-based companies, from social media platforms to search engines to e-commerce platforms. The criticism was swift from Internet giants, who are calling the move a form of censorship and are mounting a legal battle.…  Seguir leyendo »

Workers across Tunisia are on strike to demand higher pay in a standoff with a government struggling to tame unemployment, poverty and social tensions. (Hassene Dridi/AP)

The UGTT, Tunisia’s powerful national labor union, began a countrywide strike on Thursday. The union is the most powerful in any Arab country, and it was a co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in guiding the country through the turbulent post-revolutionary transition. The strike will raise suspicions about the UGTT’s role moving forward as the country deals with fracturing ruling coalitions and a rise of “independent” candidates in the recent local elections.

The UGTT, or the Tunisian General Labor Union, has been a bulwark of Tunisia’s transition to democracy following the 2010-2011 revolution that ousted long-standing dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.…  Seguir leyendo »

A protest against President Jimmy Morales in Guatemala City on Monday. Mr. Morales last week announced he was expelling United Nations commissioners who were investigating him and his family for corruption.CreditCreditOrlando Estrada/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An unpopular president is backed by hard-line military, right-wing parties and conservative elites. He disdains democratic norms and institutions, especially when they investigate his family and top government officials. He recently went on national television to propose drastic measures to solve a crisis many accuse him of provoking. His claims were later exposed by the media as false.

This president is Jimmy Morales of Guatemala, a former television comedian. On Jan. 7, he held a news conference where he announced his decision to withdraw from a United Nations-backed anti-corruption commission, giving its prosecutors a day to leave the country.

Subverting a justice system so that it can no longer protect society and institutions from the predations of powerful criminals is one way to kill a democracy, as happened in Guatemala.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Our long-awaited honeymoon together turned into the biggest nightmare I could have ever envisioned’

On 27 November I landed in Bangkok with my beloved husband, a Bahrain-born professional football player. We were overjoyed to be spending our honeymoon together in the breathtaking country of Thailand. Not only were we celebrating our honeymoon, but it was also my husband’s first time traveling outside of Australia in the five years since he fled there in 2014 from Bahrain and was granted refugee status.

We chose Bangkok for our honeymoon because of all the beauty it had to offer and had planned our visit in detail together. We planned a serene boat ride together to one of the famous floating markets to buy tropical fruits and locally made crafts, and to visit Bangkok’s unique aquarium for its one-of-a-kind ocean experience that we had read about.…  Seguir leyendo »

Shabaabs Nairobi attack is a reminder that tit for tat terror never succeeds Mukoma wa Ngugi

A few nights ago I had a nightmare – my family and I were living on the seventh floor of an apartment building in a US city that I could not name. It was a hot summer night. Through our open windows we heard shouts of: “Go back to where you come from!” This was followed by a commotion, and then gunshots and then death grunts. My daughter was standing by the window looking outside – I crawled to her yelling at her to get on her stomach – and then I woke up relieved.

And then I read about the attack in Nairobi at the Dusit hotel in which at least 14 people were killed.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Pope Francis wants you to take your slanging match about who was supposed to have organised the dishwasher repair out of sight. Anyone who has had children will know this is pointless.’ Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis has been offering parenting advice and, sad to say, it is rubbish.

It would, perhaps, be more surprising if it were sensible. The Catholic church is an institution dominated by avowedly celibate men who are not meant to have children. Then there is its – how shall we put it? – distinctly patchy recent record of prioritising the needs of children, which you would think might disqualify it from opining about anything much.

Still, the pope is the pope and a lot of people take him seriously – and what he has said is that it’s fine to have a blazing row with your partner, just not in front of the children.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Will the Olympic movement allow a fellow athlete to languish in jail, or worse be sent back to his country of birth to be tortured?’ Photograph: Kommersant Photo Agency/REX/Shutterstock

In the 50 days since Hakeem al-Araibi has been held in a Bangkok jail, global events for Olympic sports have continued. The Hockey World Cup and the World Swimming Championships were held and the Handball World Championships, football’s Asian Cup and tennis grand slam the Australian Open have begun. The Winter X Games and Super Bowl will also be under way soon.

Yet one of our fellow Australian athletes, Hakeem al-Araibi, a former international footballer, remains in jail, awaiting the worst fate of any asylum seeker or refugee: extradition back to the country that persecuted him, the country he fled in fear for his life.…  Seguir leyendo »

Paweł Adamowicz. Photograph: Wojciech Strozyk/Reporter/Rex/Shutterstock

The death of Paweł Adamowicz, the popular liberal mayor of Gdańsk, has sent shockwaves across Poland and elsewhere in Europe.

Silent marches have been held in Warsaw, Gdańsk and other cities to pay tribute to him – and tens of thousands of Poles participated. Saturday, the day of his burial, will be a day of national mourning.

The alleged assailant, a 27-year-old man from Gdańsk, was released from prison last month, it emerged on Monday. After the stabbing, the assailant told the crowd he blamed Adamowicz’s former political party Civic Platform for his jailing in 2014 for a series of violent attacks.…  Seguir leyendo »

The scale of the defeat suffered by Theresa May in Westminster on 15 January 2019 will go down as the worst humiliation a British Prime Minister has suffered in the House of Commons in well over a century. It qualifies as a historic defeat, dwarfing the Suez debacle in 1956 and going hat in hand to the IMF in 1976. The PM’s deal to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union, painstakingly negotiated over twenty one months was thrown out by 432 votes to 202. The night before, the House of Lords had already voted by a majority of 321 to 152 to reject the deal, regretting that May’s proposal would damage the future economic prosperity, internal security and global influence of the UK.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, who is leading a joint committee of government and rebel representatives, tasked with overseeing a truce in the Red Sea port city and the withdrawal of both parties, speaks with an official in Hodeidah on 13 January 2019 AFP

In December 2018, representatives of Yemen’s internationally recognised government and the rebel Huthi movement did something unexpected: they agreed on something. At UN-mediated talks in Sweden, the two parties announced what is now known as the Stockholm Agreement.

You can read our analysis of the agreement here, but its key components were a prisoner swap, an agreement for mutual redeployments from Hodeida – the port, the city and environs – and a commitment to discuss de-escalation at another front-line city, Taiz. The Hodeida agreement in particular was vital. A battle around this Red Sea port threatened to cut off a trade route that accounts for 70 per cent of key goods shipped into Yemen, thereby pushing the country into famine.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Xi Jinping of China and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany with a military honor guard in Beijing last month. German leaders have recently become more worried about the risks of having China as a business partner.CreditCreditFred Dufour/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As the trade impasse between the United States and China grinds on, the rest of the world is reduced to being anxious bystanders — and nowhere are leaders more anxious than here in Germany.

Over the last decade, Germany, the largest economy in Europe but still a middle power by global standards, has steadily adapted itself to the realities of Chinese economic dominance. We have welcomed Chinese investment, and encouraged our companies to play by Beijing’s rules to get access to its markets. At the same time, Germany has remained a stalwart member of the Western political and security alliance.

The geopolitical tumult of the last six months has led to a strategic awakening among Germany’s leaders of the risks involved in trying to play both sides.…  Seguir leyendo »

The United Kingdom government’s attempts to create consensus around a Brexit deal have collapsed. Now the people must be allowed to have their say again.

Despite British Prime Minister Theresa May’s insistence that her plan was the only possible outcome, Parliament rejected it by an unprecedented majority of 230 votes — the largest defeat in modern British political history.

Parliament was right to reject the deal. It doesn’t meet the promises made to the British electorate in 2016 — we were told we could “take back control” from Brussels while simultaneously enjoying the exact same benefits as a full European Union member.…  Seguir leyendo »

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s recent call to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the Palestinian Authority’s parliament, comes as the culmination of more than a decade of political deadlock and division. The last parliamentary elections — held in 2006, and returning a Hamas majority — led to a brief civil war in 2007 between the two dominant Palestinian parties, Hamas and Fatah, and subsequent divisions left the legislative body in a state of paralysis. What’s more, the basic links between the Palestinian leadership and the people have badly frayed.

Since this effective suspension of Palestinian democracy, Abbas has relied on a provision in the Palestinian Authority’s interim constitution to exercise full lawmaking authority in the West Bank.…  Seguir leyendo »