Financial secrecy is a growing global challenge. Much more than criminals stashing cash on tropical islands, financial secrecy is a big business, with more than $20 trillion US dollars hidden away in secretive tax havens around the world. The staggering size of the illicit economy means that all countries are impacted, not just rich ones.
In a number of ways, financial secrecy keeps poor countries poor. With access to secretive financial markets, bad actors can steal state funds and stash them abroad, contributing to capital flight and decreasing the tax base. Financial secrecy also allows authoritarians to use public resources as bargaining chips to maintain power.… Seguir leyendo »
After the Cold War, the massive means that had been deployed to stabilize existing states decreased. A break up of sovereign states into New Wars accelerated debates about the norms of the Westphalian system of sovereign states. With Yugoslavia as first trajectory, debates finally culminated in the Resolution 1674 and the commitment to the Responsibility to Protect. It seemed that human security was to dominate its state-centric counterparts. But can an individual-centric paradigm become dominant within an international society which is constituted by state sovereignty?
The doubtful compatibility led to a transition of the international society’s civil law system, enshrined in the UN Charter, to something that resembles common law.… Seguir leyendo »
Over the past two years, a wave of disinformation campaigns has upended democratic electoral systems across the globe, prompting both governments and electorates to demand action to counter the growing prevalence of fake news. So far, several governments have begun enacting laws to address the issue, from Malaysia’s anti-fake news bill passed in April to French President Emmanuel Macron’s advocacy for legislation criminalizing falsified content.
While these clampdowns are highly visible, these responses to a growing and diffused threat from falsified content essentially amount to knee-jerk attempts to declare the practices criminal. Along with the potential to severely restrict free speech through claims of fake news, these laws do not address the underlying factors that enable fake news campaigns to be successful in the first place, such as poor digital and information literacy among the general public.… Seguir leyendo »
During the second half of 2017, an estimated 671,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar due to systemic violence perpetrated against the ethnic group, including killings, rape, and torture. Much of this violence, allegedly committed by Myanmar’s armed forces, specifically targeted women and girls. Pramila Patten, United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, stated that the organized gang rape of Rohingya women was “a calculated tool of terror aimed at the extermination and removal of the Rohingya as a group.” Adding to the trauma of this campaign of sexual violence, many Rohingya women continue to experience sexual exploitation and violence after reaching the refugee camps in Bangladesh.… Seguir leyendo »
On the 8th of May Telegram, an app which has been banned in Russia since early April, turned to the Supreme Court of Russia with an appeal.
“Not sure why the messenger needs it. It benefits from the ban,” commented Pavel Salin, Director of the Center for Political Studies at the Financial University.
Indeed, Telegram has become the forbidden fruit: following the ban, the app’s audience in Russia has not dwindled, but in fact expanded. Pavel Durov, the app’s creator, estimates that 15 mln Russians are its active users and thanks Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft for refusing to maintain the censorship.… Seguir leyendo »
Earlier this month, Luigi di Maio, the 31 year frontman of the anti-establishment 5 Star Party won over 24% of the electoral vote and became the most powerful political force in Italy. For the second time in less than two years, a major western election has been fought and won by the swelling powers of populism.
For now at least, the 5 Star Movement are a long way from actually governing. Neither Di Maio, nor Matteo Salvini, the leader of far right Lega Nord party have enough seats to form a government. And the chances of a coalition emerging between Di Maio and Salvini are still very slim.… Seguir leyendo »
This Sunday the Russian President Vladimir Putin has secured a stunning 76,66% of support during the presidential election in Russia. In his post-victory speech at the Manezhnaya square he encouraged a cheering crowd to proceed with Russia’s development: “We are destined for success.”
While that is yet to be seen, it is clear that Mr. Putin is the one who is so far destined for success — and he uses cleverly-crafted manoeuvres for it. Hence, ahead of the election Mr. Putin in his usual, rather persuasive and eloquent manner, unveiled new types of weapon systems capable of striking targets even in Florida.… Seguir leyendo »
The EU’s foreign policy has previously developed by offering benefits. But with troubles in Poland and Hungary and ambiguous expansion policy, will Brussels open a new page in its ‘carrots and sticks’ approach?
The EU likes to see itself as exceptional — originally a trade project, it has turned into a union with benefits, incorporating the former Communist states and exercising regional influence. This image does sell well. Just recently the Western Balkan countries, including Serbia and Montenegro, showed enthusiasm after the EU declared 2025 as a potential membership date for these states, if they meet the conditions.
In a similar enthusiastic manner the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during his Davos speech had also expressed hope that the EU will announce the prospect of Ukraine’s accession in 2021, appealing to reforms and necessity to maintain societal stability.… Seguir leyendo »
The relatively stable post-Cold War international order and the steady growth of internationalization and political, economic and social globalization have increasingly led to challenges in the last two decades. The terror attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 were the opening event to a new era in international politics challenging the foundation our global order rests upon: The Westphalian system. After the peace of Westphalia in 1648, previously unheard principles were developed to govern the relations between different territorial entities. The state became the only legitimate and primary actor in political affairs, defined by sovereignty within clear boundaries. The principle of legality – the belief that all states are equal and only winning war can put one above the other – became the basis of international cooperation and conflict.… Seguir leyendo »
What will Britain look like by 2030? How will Brexit have played out or will the process be still ongoing? Will Great Britain’s map have changed or will greater devolution have resulted in a tweaking of borders? What kind of government might be in power?
A panel of experts gathered to discuss these questions and more at Juju’s Bar and Stage. The discussion, titled ‘Imagining Britain in 2030’ was moderated by Peter Apps, Reuters Global Affairs Columnist.
Paul Swinney, Head of Policy and Research at the Centre for Cities started off the discussion speaking on the reality of future changes to the world of work, such as the rise of the robots, will play out across the country.… Seguir leyendo »
Just as the dust is slowly settling on a nine-month long campaign to drive the Islamic State (IS) out of Iraq, the troubled country is lurching toward another war. According to the latest reports, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have taken control of the main military airbase in the disputed city of Kirkuk in the north of the country. The airport and surrounding areas were until yesterday manned by Kurdish forces. The ISF have also taken control of a vital oil field. The move comes amid escalated tension between the central government in Baghdad and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil over a controversial Independence referendum.… Seguir leyendo »
The partition of India is of one of Britain’s most monumental colonial blunders. It is an overwhelming testament to the horror that can be caused by a state’s lack of foresight; lack of knowledge and lack of understanding.
So it is somewhat ironic that in the same year as the atrocities’ 70th anniversary, one of Britain’s greatest assets in tackling ‘imperial ignorance’ is to lose yet another chunk of funding.
Savings targets in one country, sectarian violence in another
The BBC Monitoring service seeks out, identifies and analyses information from foreign (and often obscure) news outlets across the globe with an aim of providing its beneficiaries (including both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) with ‘a wider understanding of the world’.… Seguir leyendo »
For over a decade following the 9/11 attacks, al-Qaeda captured the public imagination in many Western countries unlike any other terrorist organization. But despite the optimism following the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki in 2011, al-Qaeda continued to exist. Since the declaration of its caliphate however, ISIS seems to have eclipsed al-Qaeda as the most infamous and headline-garnering jihadist organization. So has al-Qaeda lost the arms race for the hearts and minds of potential jihadists? The answer very much depends on the layer of the organization and possible audience of support one focuses on.
Al-Qaeda does not constitute a unified organization.… Seguir leyendo »
The future of warfare may be coming faster than we think.
That, at least, felt like the conclusion of Tuesday’s panel on “Imagining War in 2030”, organized by the Project for the Study of the 21st Century and the British Army Intrapreneurs’ Network [BrAIN]. With dozens of military and civilian attendees packed into a relatively airless conference room in Whitehall, a panel of leading experts sketched out what looks to be a period of massive technical, geopolitical and deeply unpredictable change.
Royal United Services Institute Futures and Technology fellow Elizabeth Quintana sketched out some of the technical breakthroughs coming down the line as nations invest in new cyber, electromagnetic and growing technologies as well as hypersonic and other weaponry.… Seguir leyendo »
The so-called Islamic State has dominated and continues to dominate headlines with the recent Barcelona attacks, for which it claimed responsibility. Although the question of what makes someone become a terrorist has been discussed since the rise of left-wing terrorism in the 1960s and 1970s, the rise of ISIS has intensified the discourse surrounding the processes of radicalization. The attackers were young and seemingly well-integrated immigrants of Moroccan descent and did not suffer from objective economic hardships. Yet they made the decision to kill and die for jihad. What drives those, who have lived in the West for all their lives or for a very long period of their lives, to sacrifice themselves for an organization that predominantly fights to gain territory in Iraq and Syria.… Seguir leyendo »
While the ideological appeal of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) remains high as exemplified by the recent attacks throughout the United Kingdom, the group’s territorial base is constantly shrinking. It is too early to proclaim the end of the caliphate or the defeat of ISIS. After all, Al-Qaeda was believed to have vanished into nothing more than a ghost of the past, yet it continues to operate, albeit with changed organizational character. ISIS, just like Al-Qaeda, will not just vanish even if all territory held by the group was liberated. One does not simply defeat terrorism by physical force. ISIS as an idea and an ideal will continue to live on far beyond its physical manifestation.… Seguir leyendo »
Following the recent terrorist attack in London that left seven dead and several wounded and in light of the previous two attacks on Westminster Bridge and in Manchester, British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to allow for more extensive law enforcement measures in fighting extremism. The Prime Minister stated that if human rights laws would prevent the government from pursuing their agenda against extremism, the government would “change the laws so we can do it”. UK intelligence services already possess a variety of intrusive powers to manage the threat that is perceived as especially challenging in Great Britain today, namely identifying, monitoring and countering ‘homegrown’ extremists and their supporters.… Seguir leyendo »
Less than three months ago, Germany’s social democrats pulled past Merkel’s CDU in the national polls – for the first time since 2006. “Ordinary”, “approachable”, his “finger on the pulse of Germany’s issues in 2017”, Martin Schulz’s unanimous election as candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) for the position of chancellor in the upcoming general election evoked uncharacteristically high spirits within a party that had long seemed resigned to its fate as junior coalition partner to Merkel’s Christian-conservatives. Party members and pundits alike mused over the “Schulzeffekt” propelling the SPD back into power, following two terms as junior partner and one in opposition to Merkel’s twelve year tenure as chancellor.… Seguir leyendo »
With the rise of the so-called Islamic State new questions for terrorism research emerged. Especially the social media use of the organization has both fascinated and worried practitioners and academics alike. One of the most worrying features of the new, virtual display of Salafi-jihadist ideology is the increasing number of people from all over the world, who seek to join this movement. We as societies need to ask ourselves what may drive young people towards this type of ideology. One of the possible underlying mechanisms for increased online radicalization from a sociological point of view is explored in the following by showing that today’s youth may be easier influenced in an online setting than older generations were.… Seguir leyendo »
The mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) was amended and renewed until 31 March, 2018. The mission is now tasked to oversee and support the transitional election process in the troubled African nation, continue to protect civilians, but its maximum allocated force strength has been reduced by three thousand personnel.
MONUSCO has had a troubled history and while it is far from an ideal mission, withdrawing from the country would be even more problematic for the DRC.
A Troubled Past And Present
Several reports have been published about MONUSCO in recent years (see “Challenges and the Path Forward for MONUSCO” or “MONUC/MONUSCO and Civilian Protection in the Kivus”) which should be consulted for more information regarding the successes and many shortfalls of this mission.… Seguir leyendo »