Ing. Salih CAVKIC
Editor in Chief
Paris nor Brussels!
We want to live in peace with all
regardless of their religion, color and origin.
Therefore, we condemn any
kind of terrorism!
Ne više Pariz ni Brisel!
Mi želimo živjeti u miru sa svim našim
bez obzira koje su vjere, boje kože i porijekla.
Zato mi osuđujemo svaku vrstu terorizma!
Prof. dr. Murray Hunter
University Malaysia Perlis
Years to Trade Economic Independence for Political Sovereignty -
Defense of Cross-Fertilization: Europe and Its Identity
Contradictions - Aleš Debeljak
DEBELJAK - ABECEDA DJETINJSTVA
- INTERVJU; PROSVJEDI, POEZIJA, DRŽAVA
Rattana Lao holds a doctorate in Comparative and International
Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and is
currently teaching in Bangkok.
Director of Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana,
Rakesh Krishnan Simha
Géométrie variable of a love triangle – India, Russia and the US
Amna Whiston is a London-based writer specialising in moral philosophy. As a
PhD candidate at Reading University, UK, her main research interests
are in ethics, rationality, and moral psychology.
Eirini Patsea is a Guest Editor in Modern Diplomacy, and
specialist in Cultural Diplomacy and Faith-based Mediation.
Can we trust the government to do the right thing, are they really
care about essential things such as environmental conditions and
education in our life?
Postgraduate researcher in International Relations and Diplomacy at
the Geneva-based UMEF University
professor of IT law
and EU law at Banja Luka College,
Bosnia and Herzegovina
, studied in Belgrade (Political Science) and in Moscow
(Plekhanov’s IBS). Currently, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kent
University in Brussels (Intl. Relations). Specialist for the
MENA-Balkans frozen and controlled conflicts.
English - L'Anglais
Dutch - Nederlands
French - Français
German - Deutsch
Hungry of Hungary –
One (senti)mental journey
By Julia Suryakusuma
days ago, I achieved historical continuity between Hungary and
Indonesia — well, at least in connection to my father and me.
How so?In the early 1960s, my father was assigned to set up the
Indonesian Embassy in Budapest. Indonesia had already established
diplomatic relations with Hungary in 1955, but did not actually have
a physical embassy.
During my father’s time there as chargé d’affaires, he met with many
high-ranking officials. Among the old photos from those times, there
is one of him shaking hands with János Kádár, Hungary’s prime
minister at the time. Kádár was PM from 1956 to 1988. Thirty-two
years, just like Indonesia’s Soeharto.
As dad’s daughter, I was invited to a luncheon at the State Palace
on Feb. 1 — hosted by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo naturally — in
honor of Victor Orban, the current Hungarian prime minister who was
here for an official visit. I had my photo taken with him.
Cut-to-cut: in 1962 my dad with the then Hungarian PM, in 2016, me
with the current Hungarian PM.
While 54 years have lapsed, my fond memories of Hungary have not. My
father passed away in 2006, so unfortunately he could not witness
the historical continuity his daughter created, albeit only as a
snapshot (pun unintended!).
When we lived there, we first stayed at the famous Gellert Hotel, built
between 1916 and 1918 in Art Nouveau style. Situated at the foot of
Gellert Hill and on the right bank of the River Danube, it was
probably one of the most beautiful places to start our life in
Indeed, it’s still one of the most famous historic hotels in Europe.
We eventually moved to a house in Lepke Utca (Butterfly Street) on
the Buda side of the city, which had a huge garden, two swimming
pools and about 100 apple trees. Our household staff consisted of
Mariko and Ibolya, and their families became our Hungarian family.
The embassy chauffeur, Mr. Bologni, was my favorite because his
taste in dolls and clothes that my mum would sometimes ask him to
buy for me and my sister was great.
One day, while driving my mother, he pointed to a beautiful mansion.
“Madam, that used to be my house”. A former aristocrat, after the
Hungarian revolution of 1956, his property and wealth were seized by
the Communist government that came into power. Changes in political
power unfortunately do tend to have their victims. Sometimes, lots.
What do Indonesia and Hungary have in common? It’s mostly an exercise in
contrasts: one is archipelagic, the other landlocked, Indonesia’s
population is 256 million, Hungary’s is less than 10 million;
geographically, Indonesia is more than 20 times the size of Hungary;
Indonesia predominantly consists of Muslims while Hungary of a
variety of Christian denominations.
Indonesia has lots of natural resources, Hungary has some, but
nothing compared to Indonesia.
In terms of social indicators, Hungary is way above Indonesia. It
has a Human Development Index of 44, while Indonesia’s is 110.
Hungary’s maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate are,
respectively, 17/10,000 live births and 5/1,000 live births, while
Indonesia’s is 126/10,000 and 24.29 /1,000 live births. Last but not
least, Hungary has 13 Nobel Prize winners, and Indonesia — none!
Being in the presence of the two leaders at the luncheon, and even
chatting with them briefly, I couldn’t help thinking of their
leadership styles. Both are close in age —Jokowi being born in 1961
and Orban in 1963, but like the countries they lead, they too are a
study in contrasts.
Jokowi is sometimes said to be a karbitan (artificially
ripened) leader. Karbit is Indonesian for calciumcarbide, which
produces acetylene gas used to artificially ripen fruit. His
meteoric rise from mayor of Surakarta (2005-2012), to governor of
Jakarta (2012-2014), then (narrowly) winning the 2014 presidential
elections is the reason for this epithet.
After the initial euphoria, indeed it was often painful to watch him
in his first year. So far he has survived, still with his “mild and
gentle” leadership style, except when it comes to the death penalty.
The recent disbanding of the Red-and-White Coalition (KMP), led by
Prabowo Subianto’s Gerindra party certainly helps, giving Jokowi a
majority in the House of Representatives.
Orban is anything but karbitan - he’s a seasoned, skilled and
consummate politician. At age 14-15 he was secretary of the
communist youth organization KISZ. In 1988, he was founding member
of the Fidesz party (Alliance of Young Democrats), rising up the
ranks until in 1993 he became the first president of the party.
Under his leadership, Fidesz gradually transformed from being a
radical liberal student organization to a center-right people’s
Those were turbulent years and fall of communism, in Eastern Europe
– region that my friend prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic calls “the
world’s last underachiever”.
However, every rule has an exception. Orban was only a remarkable 35
years old when he became prime minister, serving between 1998 and
2002. From 2002 to 2010 he was in opposition, and won his second
premiership in 2010, winning 53 percent of the popular vote and a
two-thirds majority of seats.
In the media Orban has been described as right wing and populist, even
fascist. In July 2014 he announced his plans to make Hungary an
“illiberal state”, citing Russia and China as examples. He also
stated that it was important to secure his nation’s borders from
mainly Muslim migrants “to keep Europe Christian”.
Orban is said to be the new brand of politics in Europe, i.e. right-wing
veering to ultra nationalist: France’s National Front, Poland’s new
conservative leaders, and the Tories in Britain.
Even in Nordic countries, extreme right wing political movements are
also emerging. Denmark and the Netherlands are examples of
ultra-liberal societies having a backlash.
Love him or hate him, Orban is a force to be reckoned with. He’s had a
long and winding career, “Orban shapes as much as fits the European
Zeitgeist,” as the Politiconews website states, with
migration being just one example.
Jokowi, reckon you can pick up a few leadership tips from your
Julia Suryakusuma is the outspoken Indonesian thinker,
social-cause fighter and trendsetter. She is the author of
April 26, 2016
450 Years of Jewish Life in Sarajevo
In this week's long
read, Mads Jacobsen explores the Jewish experience in
Bosnia-Herzegovina through the eyes of Sarajevo-born Rabbi Eliezer Papo.
The Ashkenazi Synagogue in Sarajevo (Foto: Mads H. Jacobsen)
“If you imagine Bosnia to be a piece of somun,
that piece of bread you eat during Ramadan, you
cannot say that Jews are the water of that
somun, nor can you say that they are the flour,
but you can certainly say that they are the
black seeds on the top of it. Now, could a somun
survive without it? Yes. Would it still be the
same somun? Certainly not. Jews are currently a
small percentage of the Bosnian population, but
they are an important part of the urban
population, and they have contributed a great
deal to the country. So, could Bosnia do it
without Jews? Yes. Would it still be the same
Bosnia? Certainly not”, explained Rabbi Eliezer
Papo in an interview with the Post-Conflict
This year, the Jewish community in Sarajevo
celebrated its 450th anniversary by hosting an
international conference in the Ashkenazi
Synagogue dedicated to folklore, linguistics,
history and the relationship between the Jewish
community and other communities. Following this
anniversary, Mads Hoeygaard Jacobsen – an intern
at the Post-Conflict Research Center – had the
chance to interview Sarajevo-born Rabbi Eliezer
Papo to talk about the Jewish experience in
Bosnia-Herzegovina during the different epochs
of the country’s history.
“Every single life is marked by traumatic events,”
started Rabbi Papo. “It is very traumatic to be
born, and it is probably quite traumatic to die,
but in between there is an entire life. Nobody
reduces life to those two traumatic events. So,
unlike the Jewish experience in many different
parts of the world, their experience in Bosnia
was a good one.”
The earliest records indicate that Jews had
settled in Sarajevo by 1565 and were of the
Sephardic branch of Judaism, descendants of Jews
who had lived in Spain and Portugal prior to
being expelled in 1492.
In order to illustrate to what extent the
Sephardic Jews lived a robust existence in
Sarajevo during the Ottoman era, the Rabbi
pointed to a piece of jurisprudence that the
Bosnian Jewish community contributed to the
Halakha, or Jewish Law, in those years. On
the Sabbath, it is forbidden for a religious Jew
to light a fire, so how does one smoke?
“Well,” explained Rabbi Papo, “if on Friday you
take a nargilla and fill it with tobacco smoke
without taking it into your lungs and then close
the lid from both sides, you can use it during
the Sabbath without the starting a fire…That’s
the way Jews in Sarajevo lived. Think of it, if
these were the questions Rabbis dealt with,
investing time and effort into inventing a way
to smoke on Sabbath, that means all other
problems were solved and that life was very good
When the Sephardic Jews settled in Bosnia, they
fell under the control of the Pact of Umar, a
piece of Islamic jurisprudence. This law stated
that non-Muslims within the Ottoman Empire would
be provided security if they adhered to various
strict prohibitions of their religious practices.
One of the conditions proclaimed that non-Muslim
religious buildings would be permitted to
function, but no new buildings were allowed to
be built and no repairs were to be made to those
already existing. This presented a problem
because no synagogues existed in Bosnia prior to
the Jewish settlement in the sixteenth century.
But the Sephardim soon began negotiations with
the Ottoman administrators who, in the words of
Rabbi Papo, said:
“OK, you know what? Let us make this profitable
for all of us. Our heart hurts when we have to
break sharia, so you will have to pay for that.”
The Rabbi continued: “If building a synagogue
costs a million dollars, it would actually cost
two million in the Ottoman Empire because you
needed to bribe everybody along the way from
Sarajevo, to Travnik, to Istanbul.”
This system continued until the end of the
nineteenth century when Bosnia came under the
rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Front of the Old Synagogue in Sarajevo, built
during Ottoman Rule (Foto: Mads H. Jacobsen)
“When Austro-Hungary arrived, things changed
from good to better,” explained Rabbi Papo. “I
mean, the country was still occupied, but it was
more like: goodbye to an old dying empire and
hello to something much more enlightened. Jews
started to thrive even more as new European
concepts of freedom, citizenship, and equality,
were brought to the country.”
It was during the Austro-Hungarian occupation
that the Sephardic Jews were joined by some of
their Ashkenazi brethren who arrived from the
Habsburg Empire, even though they had separate
houses of worship and language.1
Jewish participation in public and political
life during this period was also very high. Jews
were freely appointed to various regional and
local governments, and in Sarajevo, for example,
the Austro-Hungarians established a city council
where three to four seats were secured for
members of the Jewish community.2
Then came World War One, after which Bosnia
became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and
Slovenes, later renamed the Kingdom of
Yugoslavia. During this period, the Jewish
community in Sarajevo started doing even better.
Rabbi Papo explained:
“Sarajevo became the center of a much bigger
Jewish community. It became the center of Jewish
life for the entire Kingdom of Yugoslavia. How
do we know this? When they decided to start
building a school for Rabbis, all Yugoslavian
Rabbis, it was built in Sarajevo. It was not
built in Belgrade, it was not built in Zagreb,
it was built in Sarajevo. This is because the
leaders of the Jewish community said: ‘Jewish
life in Sarajevo is the strongest, and this is
the way through which future Rabbis have to pass.’
If you are familiar with Sarajevo you can see
how many synagogues were in the city. In fact,
every fifth person in Sarajevo during the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia was Jewish.”
But things would dramatically change with the
coming of the Second World War to Sarajevo in
1941. Bosnia was occupied by Croatia and the
flourishing Jewish community was violently
stripped of rights, property and even of life
itself. First, the Jewish institutions were
sacked, then the Jews were barred from economic
and political life, and then their organizations
were shut down.3
The deportation of Sarajevo’s Jews began on 3
September 1941, and many were transported to the
Jasenovac concentration camp, a place from where
few survived. Just prior to World War Two,
approximately 14,000 Jews lived in Bosnia –
10,000 of them in Sarajevo.4 By
August 1942, it is estimated that only 120 Jews
were left in Sarajevo.5
During the war, many Jews in Bosnia volunteered
for Tito’s Partisan movement because active
resistance and “Brotherhood and Unity” seemed
like a better alternative than waiting for
deportation and death. The toll on Jewish life
was high and, when the war ended, around 10,000
Jews in Bosnia.6 were dead or missing,
7,092 of them from Sarajevo. This accounted for
68% of the region’s prewar Jewish population.
Likewise, of the 450 Jews who had joined the
Partisans or served the Communist party, 316, or
70%, had lost their lives.7
The Jews who survived and remained in Bosnia
after World War Two found themselves in Tito’s
socialist Yugoslavia. Here, the Jewish community
got the chance to get on their feet again. Rabbi
Papo explains that, after the war, most Jews
were marrying outside their group, likely
because of their reduced numbers. As a result,
many Serbs, Croats and Muslims were assimilated
into the Jewish community. The Rabbi remembers
“Whether the father was Serbian and the mother
was Jewish or whether the mother was Croat and
the father was Jewish… well, it would be silly
to say the kids from mixed marriages felt
‘Jewish’ because everybody was Yugoslavian, but
it was cool to be Jewish. Being Jewish meant
being urban. Being Jewish meant not being rural.
It meant good English and having international
contacts. Being Jewish was good.”
These mixed marriages proved important in
Sarajevo during the Bosnian War from 1992 to
1995, since the Jewish community of around 2,000
people8 was the only one equally
related to the three combating groups.
“Before the war, the community wasn’t aware of
its strength; it was a traumatized community of
Holocaust survivors,” Rabbi Papo explained. “But
the Jews had learned from the last war, and this
time they were very organized on a local and
world scale. The Jewish community was well
connected with all warring parties, and we were
able to get help into the city. We were able to
bring in supplies from abroad, which we equally
distributed to everybody in the city. We were
the only group that could make it past Croatian,
Serbian, and Muslim control posts,.”
“There were probably others that were able to
achieve such things, but being capable does not
mean you will do it, so it was something very
special to see such a tiny community doing such
a big thing.”
The Rabbi remembers one instance during the
conflict when a sentence was written on the
Jewish community’s building in Sarajevo. It was
a sentence that the Rabbi believes expressed
exactly what the city was feeling at the time:
“Kikes are Saving the City,” it ironically read.
“I like it actually,” Rabbi Papo commented.
“Although I do not like the word, I do like the
saying.” 1,500 Jews were evacuated during the
conflict, and today there are around 500 Jews
left in Bosnia.9
Sarajevo-born Rabbi Eliezer Papo is a Professor
at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel
With the end of the war and the signing of the
Dayton Agreement a new problem arose. Jews,
along with other ethnic minorities, were not
recognized in the constitution as a constituent
people, meaning they could not be elected to
Bosnia’s House of Peoples.
Jakob Finci, who is considered the de facto
leader of the Jewish community in Bosnia,
brought the case to the European Court of Human
Rights in 2009 in Sejdić-Finci v. Bosnia and
Herzegovina. Although the court voted in
Finci’s favor, the reforms that aim to change
this point in the constitution remain in limbo.
When asked about his personal position on the
matter, Rabbi Papo explained:
“I remain ambivalent on this issue. On the one
hand, I think that Jews, after living in
Sarajevo for 450 years, are entitled to run this
country just as anybody else who is born here
is. On the other hand, I would not want the
Jewish community to be recognized as cooperating
with one national group against two others to
undermine Dayton. Personally, I would not have
pressed charges, not because Dayton is a sacred
cow, but because Bosniak Muslims are pushing
strongly for constitutional reform towards
centralization of the country, and I do not
believe Jews should play into their hands.”
Nonetheless, Rabbi Papo believes that Jews would
probably do a good job running Bosnia by
pointing out that during his tenure Emerik Blum,
the Jewish mayor of Sarajevo from 1981 to 1983,
greatly contributed to the city’s prosperity.
Rabbi Papo is planning another conference in
Sarajevo that is likely to take place in the
summer of 2016. The theme of this event: “The
Great War and Jewish Literatures.” The
assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir to
the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo
Princip in 1914 makes Sarajevo a fitting
location for conversations about World War One.
450 years ago, Jewish life in Sarajevo began
after the Jewish community’s traumatic expulsion
from the Iberian Peninsula. The Jews experienced
400 years of prosperity under the rule of
various empires and kingdoms until tragedy again
struck the community during World War Two and
the Croatian occupation from 1941 to 1945. Then,
from 1992 to 1995, despite being fragmented and
few in number, the community managed to unite,
using its full capacity to aid suffering
civilians in war-torn Bosnia.
1 Donia, Robert J. 2006.
“Sarajevo: A Biography”, paperback edition
from 2009. London: C. Hurst & Co. Ltd.
4 European Jewish Congress. n.d. “The
Jewish Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina”.
[online] Available at:
5 Donia, Robert J. 2006.
“Sarajevo: A Biography”, paperback edition
from 2009. London: C. Hurst & Co. Ltd.
Jewish Congress. n.d. “The Jewish Community of
Bosnia-Herzegovina”. [online] Available at:
7 Donia, Robert J. 2006.
“Sarajevo: A Biography”, paperback edition
from 2009. London: C. Hurst & Co. Ltd.
8 European Jewish Congress. n.d.
“The Jewish Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina”.
[online] Available at:
Mads is an intern at PCRC. Mads Jacobsen is from Denmark and is currently
pursuing his Master's degree in 'Development and International Relations' at
April 24, 2016
Is Caucasus the next Syria - Don’t forget OSCE
By Aleksandra Krstic
recent all-shoot out in Azerbaijan between the ethnic Armenians and
Azerbaijani forces brought yet another round of casualties,
psychological traumas and property destructions. Sudden and severe
as it was, the event sent its shock waves all over Caucasus and well
beyond. Is Caucasus receiving the ‘residual heat’ from the boiling
MENA? Is this a next Syria? Is a grand accommodation pacific
scenario possible? Or will it be more realistic that the South
Caucasus ends up violently torn apart by the grand compensation that
affects all from Afghanistan up to the EU-Turkey deal?
Most observes would fully agree that for such
(frozen) conflicts like this between Azerbaijan and Armenia,
mediation and dialogue across the conflict cycle have no
alternative. Further on, most would agree that the OSCE
(Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) with its Minsk
Group remains both the best suited FORA as well as the only
international body mandated for the resolution of the conflict.
However, one cannot escape the feeling that despite
more than 20 years of negotiations, this conflict remains
unresolved. What is the extent of the OSCE failure to effectively
utilize existing conflict resolution and post-conflict
The very mandate of the Co-Chairmen of the OSCE Minsk
Group is based on CSCE Budapest Summit document of 1994, which tasks
them to conduct speedy negotiations for the conclusion of a
political agreement on the cessation of the armed conflict, the
implementation of which will eliminate major consequences of the
conflict and permit the convening of the Minsk Conference. In
Budapest, the participating States have reconfirmed their commitment
to the relevant Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council
and underlined that the co-Chairmen should be guided in all their
negotiating efforts by the OSCE principles and agreed mandate, and
should be accountable to its Chairmanship and the Permanent Council
Nevertheless, as it emerged from this sudden eruption
of violence in the region in late March/early April of 2016, the
OSCE and its Minsk Group have been side-stepped from the settlement
Over the years, the role of the OSCE and its
participating States, including those that are members of the Minsk
Group, has been limited to extending formal support to the
activities of the Co-chairmen. It gradually led to change the
conflict resolution process into conflict containment activities
as reflected in artificial and out-of-mandate prioritization of
tasks of the co-Chairmen to focus on prevention of escalation
rather than lasting solution, and interference with the
activities of other international organizations wishing to
contribute to the true and comprehensive settlement of the conflict.
In parallel, one may observe rather selective
approaches by some OSCE Member States and regional groupings to the
principles with regard to the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area.
As an ending result, the Organization as such lost
its control over the process. Such a lack of control over the
activities led to negligence to inherent balance and inter-linkage
between the principles of the most fundamental Security structure of
Europe achieved ever – the Helsinki Final Act. It is rather
dangerous and counterproductive to equalize the principles of
non-use of force against the territorial integrity of political
independence of the States, territorial integrity and equal rights
and self-determination of peoples, which some publicly present as a
basis for a settlement. Misinterpretation is evident even in naming
of these principles.
These voices claim that there is no hierarchy among
the above mentioned principles and that these elements should be
observed and applied independently of each other. In fact, such a
voluntary interpretation of the principles is in direct
contradiction to the letter and very spirit of the Helsinki
Decalogue and its Final Act, which in seven out of ten principles
places strong emphasis on the necessity to fully respect
internationally recognized borders of states and their territorial
integrity against any attempt of forceful acquisition of territories
or change of borders, and (one-sided) application of
Such a deviation from the agreed character of the
principles unfortunately provided Armenia with a card blanche
to justify its territorial claims against Azerbaijan, consolidate
the status-quo and made the process of settlement dependent on whims
of the Armenian side.
Several FORAs (incl. the OSCE mechanisms) openly
claim that they have no responsibility for the conflict resolution,
and that the parties need to demonstrate political will and to make
necessary compromises (‘no way to exert pressure on the sides’ and
‘we can only be a communication channel between the two conflicting
parties’ lines of usual rhetoric).
In the meantime, Armenia keeps holding a premium over
the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan, which it
continues to occupy. Clearly, that ‘process’ is far away from OSCE
principles and commitments, and will dangerously backfire elsewhere
Unless we want another Syria, and yet Europe entirely
enveloped by the insecure neighbourhood all the way from
Mediterranean to Caucasus, we need a tremendous progress in the
settlement of the conflict. Over last years, most of conflict
resolution-potent initiatives have been blocked in the OSCE.
Discussion on the conflict has been turned into a taboo within the
OSCE, even when the informal discussions are in question – and so,
not only when Caucasus was in case.
If we want to revive this particular process and
return it from a de facto conflict containment back on track to the
conflict resolution process, the following steps for Caucasus are
To unblock and fully revitalize the OSCE Minsk
Group, and intensify the efforts towards earliest pacific
solution of the conflict, especially by using the best services
from the member countries willing to constructively solve the
Serious attempt of the OSCE to re-establish the
dialogue at the level of the communities affected by the
conflict is more than essential stabilizer. It is an
indispensable instrument for any confidence building measure. To
it related as complementary is the exchange of data on the
missing persons, a mechanism foreseen in a tripartite approach
by the French, Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents late last
year. It should be coupled and further enhanced by variety of
the P2P programs that could bring Armenians and Azerbaijanis all
profiles, ages and origins together;
Items above surely presuppose the relaxation of
tensions and renunciation of usage of military effectives as a
means of conflict resolution. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan
(either at different occasions, also through their top diplomats
at the OSCE Vienna, ambassador Arman Kirakossian and ambassador
Galib Israfilov) signalled their wishes and efforts to move
beyond this status quo. That is in line with all statements of
the UN and OSCE in past 20 years. Surely, the best way to shake
this status quo of containment back on track to the lasting
solution, is to eliminate the military factor;
Regrettably, the only military factor remaining
in the region in/around Nagorno Karabakh is the presence of the
Armenian troops – something that surely does not service
Armenian community there on a long run! (Min how much Serbs
harmed their own community in Kosovo by their rigid military
stance.) If, as currently as of now, Armenian Government is
serious of the danger and incidents along the Line of Contact
they should withdraw their troops. If so, people could at least
feel safer in those territories, halt the massive migratory
wave, and plan their own future viably;
And finally, a pacific, orderly and balanced
re-integration of the currently occupied territories back into
the Azerbaijani political, legal, social and economic system –
that serves ethnic Armenians on a long run the most. It will
shield them from an otherwise lost demographic battle.
This would be the best way to reinvigorate the
OSCE’s relevance in mediation efforts and create an environment in
which the OSCE as an organization can play a meaningful role
applying its existing tools – all for the lasting benefits of the
peoples and nations of Caucasus. The OSCE area should be what is
meant to be – the area of security and stability. Stubbornness and
irrational pride should never be an obstacle to this higher end.
About the author:
Aleksandra Krstic , studied in
Belgrade (Political Science) and in Moscow (Plekhanov’s IBS).
Currently, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kent University in
Brussels (Intl. Relations). Specialist for the MENA-Balkans frozen
and controlled conflicts.
PRIVACY I(N)T CONTEXT
doc. dr. Jasna Cosabic
right to privacy, or the right to respect for private life, as the
European Convention on Human Rights guarantees it, has been affected
by the IT growth era. Privacy has long been protected, but will face
a new dimension of protection for the generations to come. The right
to respect for private life is not an absolute one, and may have a
different feature in different context.
By Niemitz v. Germany judgment (1992) the European Court on Human
Rights ('the ECtHR') included the right to connect with other
individuals into the notion of private life, saying that it would be
too restrictive to limit the notion of an 'inner circle' to personal
life and exclude therefrom entirely the outside world not
encompassed within that circle. The right to communicate was thus
inscerted into the the privacy context.
But the extent of communication and technologies which enable it
signifficantly changed since.
Few decades ago, it mainly consisted of personal communication,
communication by conventional letters and phone communication. At
the time the Convention was adopted in the mid last century, there
was no internet, not even mobile/cell phones, nor personal
computers. The feature of privacy protection was much more simple
Now, when we approach the rule of IoT (internet of things)
communication, not only do people communicate, but 'things' as well.
The subject of that 'non-human' communication may also be private
data of individuals. At the same time, the individual, human
communication became more simple, available at any time, and
versatile by its means.
New society digital evolution becomes a special challenge when
speaking of the protection of privacy. Availability of every person
not only in physical life but in cyber life as well, upgrades the
privacy to a new sphere. If we do ourselves chose to use social
networking, Skype, Instagram, Twitter, Yahoo Messenger, Linkedin,
Facebook, the later being ‘the most powerful database of persons
ever on internet’ as rightfully noted by prof. Bajrektarevic, in his
book ‘Is there life after Facebook?’ as well as other internet
features, we must be aware that our privacy may come into the open.
If we add to that e-context a physical surrounding of a working
place, under certain conditions, the feature of privacy changes,
i.e. it becomes less protected then in the context of an earthbound
private circle, the surrounding which was in mind of lawmakers when
adopting for instance the European Convention on Human Rights in
Recently, at the table of the ECtHR was the case of Barbulescu v.
Romania (judgment enacted in January 2016), where the question arose
of whether an employer is entitled to look into his employer’s
private messages at Yahoo Messenger. The messages were written by
the employee during the working time, at the computer owned by the
employer. The employer monitored and made transcript of messages
made at the Yahoo Messenger account that was created at the
employer’s request for the purposes of contacts with clients, but
the transcript also contained five short messages that Mr.
Barbulescu exchanged with his fiancée using a personal Yahoo
The ECtHR found no violation of the right to respect the private
life by such actions of the employer.
The ECtHR noted that the employer did not warn the employee of the
possibility of checks of the Yahoo Messenger. However, the company
where Mr. Barbulescu worked did adopt internal rules according to
which it was strictly forbidden to use computers, photocopiers,
telephones, telex and fax machines for personal purposes. Can that
be seen as a warning? Does it give an employer a right to monitor
personal messages of an employee?
We may wonder if the ECtHR gave the advantage to a market economy
and profit growth, versus privacy? Did it give to employer the right
to control the employee even if that would mean invading his
privacy? This, under certain conditions, like internal policy rules
or warning, gives the employers the right to rule the employees
space, of course, during work hours, and their right to monitor the
job done by his employees may be stronger then their right to
However one should be careful in concluding that all employers may
now freely snoop into their employees’ e-mails, tweets, messages
The ECtHR took into consideration the ‘expectation of privacy’,
which Mr. Barbulescu, the employee, had regarding his
communications. The internal rules of the employer which strictly
prohibited the use of computers for private purposes, made the
decisive shift towards ruling in favor of non violation. He probably
should not have expected to have his privacy respected in such
circumstances. But in the absence of such rules and in the absence
of warning, any such intruding into employees’ private communication
would rise an issue of privacy protection.
With the fast development of society and technology, the privacy is
much more vulnerable, and it apparently affects its legal
Almost two decades ago in the case of Halford v. UK the same ECtHR
decided that tapping of Ms. Halford’s phone at the office did
constitute a violation of her right to respect of her private life.
Without being warned that one's calls would be liable to monitoring
the person would have reasonable expectation that his privacy is
protected (Halford v. UK 1997). In Amann v. Switzerland ECtHR
judgment (2000) telephone calls from business premises pursue to be
clearly covered by 'private life' notion.
The ECtHR further spread the privacy protection to e-mails sent from
work in the Copland v. United Kingdom judgment (2007). In this case
it also decided that monitoring of telephone usage in the way of
analysis of business telephone bills, telephone numbers called, the
dates and times of the calls, duration and cost, constituted
“integral element of the communications made by telephone”, and made
an interference into the privacy. Moreover, the ECtHR was of the
view that the storing of personal data relating to the private life
of an individual also fell under the protection of the Article 8,
being irrelevant whether it was or was not disclosed or used against
the person. It further held that that 'e-mails sent from work should
be similarly protected under Article 8, as should information
derived from the monitoring of personal Internet usage' like
analysing the websites visited.
In Halford and Copland case the personal use of an office telephone
or e-mail or was either expressly or tacitly allowed by the
employer. Accordingly the ECtHR found a violation of privacy when
the employer intruded therein. In Barbulescu, on the other hand, due
to the internal regulations that forbid the private use of
computers, the ECtHR did not consider a monitoring by employer to be
a violation of his privacy, although the intrudment happened in the
form of making the transcript of employee's messages and keeping
that transcript. The ECtHR considered that ‘broad reading of Article
8 does not mean, however, that it protects every activity a person
might seek to engage in with other human beings in order to
establish and develop such relationships' (Barbulescu para 35)
We can see that the position of employer towards allowing or non
allowing phone, e-mail, or internet usage, made a difference as to
the employee’s expectation of privacy. But can we add to that the
more open communication, as a reason of lowering the level of the
‘expectation of privacy’?
It still remains up to the individual how he/she shall expose
his/her privacy. The means of multiple communication, are now in
everyone’s pocket, and a person does not have to use a land phone
line, in order to call home. By simple touching the screen he/she
may communicate, share, like, tweet, comment. If it is done during
working hours, it gives, under certain conditions, a possibility to
employers to look into that ‘share’, ‘like’, ‘tweet’, ‘comment’ and
still not to invade anyone’s privacy.
The more open the conversation is, its protection gets more
demanding and complicated. So the protection of privacy remains a
big test for the future.
The European Commission has launched an EU Data Protection Reform in
2012, in order to 'make the Europe fit for the digital age.'
Strenghtening citizens' fundamental rights, Digital Single Market,
are the areas that need special attention. Currently in force
Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of
the EU of 1995, provides that personal data is 'any information
relating to an identified or identifiable natural person'.
Article 29 Data Protection Working Party ('DPWP'), in 2002 adopted a
Working Document on the Surveillance and the Monitoring of
Electronic Communications in the workplace. According to that
Document the mere fact that monitoring serves an employer's interest
could not justify an intrusion into workers' privacy. Monitoring,
according to the DPWP, must pass four tests: transparency,
necessity, fairness and proportionality.
'Workers do not abandon their right to privacy and data protection
every morning at the doors of the workplace' provides the Document,
however, 'this right must be balanced with other legitimate rights
and interests of the employer, in particular the employer's right to
run his business efficiently to a certain extent'.
Under Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal
data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications
sector (Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications) of 2002
'Member States shall ensure the confidentiality of communications
and the related traffic data by means of a public communications
network and publicly available electronic communications services,
through national legislation.' It provides for the prohibition of
'listening, tapping, storage or other kinds of interception or
surveillance of communications and the related traffic data by
persons other then users without the consent of the users
concerned'. Exceptions may be made, inter alia, for the
interests of national security, prevention of criminal offences or
of unauthorized use of the electronic communication system etc.
Data protection of citizens will be a big challenge in future. The
judge Pinto de Albuquerque in his partly dissenting opinion in
Barbulescu case has criticized the ECtHR's majority in missing the
chance to develop its case-law in the field of protection of privacy
with regard to Internet communications and for overlooking, inter
alia, some important features like sensitivity of the employee's
communication and non-existence of Internet surveillance policy duly
followed by the employer (apart from the above mentioned internal
regulations forbidding the use of computers).
On one hand there is a request for privacy protection, while on the
other hand, there is a request from the market economy/employers
that the job be done. The interests of the two must always be fairly
balanced, but with the speedy development of technology and the
internet interaction, the danger of exposing private data rises.
That is why the legal creators have a big responsibility to act
ahead of time, which, in the IT context, is running at the light
doc. dr. Jasna Čošabić
professor of IT law and EU law at Banja Luka College,
Bosnia and Herzegovina
April 18, 2016
Saudi – Iranian future: 3 games – 3 scenarios
By Manal Saadi
is no need to argue on Saudi Arabia and Iran as the two biggest
regional powers in the Gulf, the rising tension between the two
countries who are engaged in proxy wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and
somehow Bahrein had installed a climate of Cold War.2.
How did we get there?
Saudi Arabia existed since 1932 as a Sunni country and the
birthplace of Islam. Its history of creation is so unique,
mesmerizing and fascinating.
Iran, has a glorious past, with various empires that conquered the
Arab-Islamic world at certain pe-riod of time.
While the Shah was in power, Iran’s relations with the Arab Gulf
States were normalized, Iran’s navy used to act as the policeman of
the gulf. The situation has changed when the Iranian Islamic
revolution occurred in 1979, with consequences on both countries and
on their relationships. Iran’s Ayatollah wanted to export their
respective model and undermine Saudi Arabia that Iranian officials
see as corrupt and unworthy due to its relation with the United
States and the West. The Shia country is also supporting Shia
communities in the Gulf which is seen as a direct threat to Saudi
Not only the leaders of the Iranian revolution see Saudi Arabia as a
corrupt country, but they also see them as treacherous and disloyal.
The reason behind is more than a Shia-Sunni rivalry; it is
im-portant to contextualize the order before the Islamic revolution;
an oil embargo was occurring in the world where Iran’s leaders
wanted to stop selling oil to Western powers. They called upon Saudi
Arabia to do the same in retaliation toward countries who helped
Israel in the « Yom Kippur War », but Saudi Arabia didn’t stop
selling its oil, and decided to increase the price of the barrel to
destabi-lize the economy of the Western countries that helped
Israel, without disturbing their strategic alli-ance with the United
Today, the relationship between the two countries is delayed.
The succession of events from 2011 where Iran wants to seize the
opportunity of a possible vacuum of power during the Arab Spring, by
supporting the Shia protests that erupted in Bahrein and the idea of
a Shia Islamic republic, has proved the ability of Saudi Arabia and
the GCC to sends its troops into Bahrain. Was it a symbolic gesture,
or a warning for Tehran?
Then it cames to Yemen, Iraq and Syria, where today Saudi Arabia and
Iran are engaged in a proxy war. The Iranian Nuclear deal with the
P5+1, the uncontrolled situation in Yemen, the Hajj crush where Iran
claimed more than 400 dead citizens, The execution of 27 Sunnis by
the Iranians, the execution of Nimr al Nimr (a Shia Sheikh) by the
Saudis, the attack of the Saudi Embassy in Teh-ran, then the cuts of
the diplomatic ties between the two countries, and the
intensification of the rivalry.
What is for the future to expect?
In this scenario, Saudi Arabia and Iran will have to
sit in the table of negotiation and find a com-promise. But how can
two rival countries negotiate? common interest if there is any or a
Iran and Saudi Arabia are both rich countries, with large access to
natural resources, big territories and their economic model is based
on oil. If there is no common interest between the two powerful
states in the region, the creation of ISIS constitute a threat to
both governments. Iran doesn’t want a powerful Sunni group in Iraq
and Syria and ISIS is threatening the Gulf monarchy. However, Tehran
and Riyadh seems to have no intention to lower the temperature and
talk again for a potential solution toward the defeat of « Daesh »,
and the rivalry between them is distracting attention from the war
against ISIS. If a mutual threat is not enough to push for
negotiations what can be the other solution?
As a consequence of the Iranian deal, the Saudis seem to be fed up
with the shock therapy that the United States is exerting in the
region at a point that they refused a seat in the Security Council.
Saudi Arabia is today looking for new partnership with different
countries, the latest highest meet-ing of the GCC has proved the
lack of confidence of the Saudis regarding their alliance with the
United States. With the intensification of tensions between Riyadh
and Tehran, the Americans show no will to interfere and defend the
interest of their historical ally, and Saudi Arabia is being
exacerbated by the Washington-Tehran reconciliation.
Recently Saudi Arabia’s King Salman met the Chinese President in
Riyadh where they signed a memorandum of understanding on the
construction of a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor that can help
the growing energy demand for electricity and water desalination in
the Monarchy. This will also evolve the beginning of a nuclear
program in Saudi Arabia. Actually, Since 2006, The monarchy was
projecting to construct and promote a peaceful nuclear capacity
program within the GCC, and in 2007 the six Gulf States studied with
the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) the feasibility for a
regional nuclear power, with the assistance of France. Saudi Arabia
started singing many international agreements for a nuclear
cooperation with different countries as France, Argentina, South
Recently, in June 2015, Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement
for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy including the design,
construction, operation of nuclear power, education and train-ing
and other aspects related nuclear reactors. Now, what if Saudi’s
decide to weaponize the use of nuclear? It will have subsequent
effects in the region and will lead to an arms escalation of WMD.
Nevertheless, if this situation is unwanted, it can bring back
stability in the region, the history has proved it.
During the cold war, the Soviet Union and the United States were
expending their ballistic mis-siles, the Cuban missile crises and
the threat of a nuclear war between the two blocs that can destroy
Russia and the United States and may be the world, had generated the
need for negotiations to find a compromise. Khrushchev was going to
dismantle the offensive weapons in Cuba and in exchange the U.S made
a public declaration that it would never invade Cuba without a
direct provocation, but it also said it would dismantle its missiles
from Turkey and Italy. The outcome of the negotiations between the
two blocs resulted in the establishment of a hotline between the
Kremlin and Pentagon and the beginning of the « detente » period.
The struggle of power in the region between Saudi Arabia and Iran is
already leading to an arms escalation, and it might be possible for
both countries to start a weaponization of nuclear facilities, it
doesn’t matter who will start first, as long as the other will
follow. Pakistan never wanted a nuclear bomb until India got one.
Achieving parity with a rival country would lead to sit in the table
of negotiation and the achievement of a compromise. Iran can promise
not to get involved in Yemen and in Bahrain while Saudi Arabia would
pull-out its intervention in the Syrian conflict, and Iran would
join the war against ISIS.
The year 1979 marked the Islamic revolution in Iran,
the Iranian theoretical or « spiritual » leader was aiming at
exporting the Shia-Islam brand to Shiites minorities within the
Middle East, this con-stitute a threat for the powerful
Sunni-Monarchy, as it can undermine the existing equilibrium in the
region. The Iranian clerics were urging the Shiites communities of
the gulf States to rebel against their rulers, and demonstrations
started in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Iraq.
A year later, Iraq attacked Iran, and the two countries engaged in a
war that was serving the inter-ests of Iraq, and the Gulf countries,
more precisely Saudi Arabia; despite the support by western
countries, this war undermining the West’s interests in terms of oil
flows disruption. Saudi Arabia with Kuwait were financing Iraq, and
the United States was indirectly supporting the Iraqi govern-ment by
cutting off Iran’s supplies. The Iranian revolution, followed by the
war installed a climate of increasing rivalry between the powerful
Shia and Sunni countries. With the recent uprising of the Arab
Spring, the situation intensified.
Since the conflict in Syria and Yemen seems to offer no political
solution, a climate of cold war is installed in the region between
Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The 3rd round of the Geneva peace talks about Syria, included the
participation of delegates from the Saudi-backed opposition, the
delegates from the Syrian government, the High Negotiations
Committee and other opposition figures to discuss a possible
ceasefire, relate of prisoners, humani-tarian aid deliveries and the
threat posed by ISIS. The problem is that neither the opposition nor
the actual Bashar’s government wants to negotiate with each others,
and neither Saudi Arabia and Iran are willing to bury the hatchet in
With the Iranian nuclear deal, the reconciliation between Iran and
the west and the failure of finding a solution in Syria and Yemen,
the tensions between the two powerful nations in the regions are
reaching their peak. One should not forget that the assassination of
Archduke Ferdinand was sufficient to cause the first World War; and
today a small incident in the region can have large consequences.
Both nations are exacerbated from each others, we can imagine a
small event going wrong in Syria or Yemen leading to a direct war
between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
A war in the region can erupt at any moment, it is certainly the
least preferable scenario, but the most likely to happen if the
tensions between the two regional powers are not softened. A direct
conflict between the two influent States would undermines the west
interests, the oil prices, and the economy of the world and will
shift a regional war to a Third Word War.
In one side, the United States with the European powers would back
Saudi Arabia and the other Arab Golf States; on the other side
Russia would back Iran and Syria militarily and financially. Who
will be the winner? We can’t tell, but a War is very expensive for
both countries and for their allies, especially for Russia that is
now suffering economically from its intervention in Syria. What is
certain is that a Third World War can leave the economy, culture and
politics of Iran and Saudi Arabia completely destroyed, and would
change the actual « World Order ».
Since the Arab Spring, Iran started increasing its
military presence in the Middle East. In Iraq, it has sent its
soldiers to fight alongside the Iraqi Army, in Syria the Iranians
are financially supporting the Assad’s government, Hezbollah in
Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen are backed by Iran. Can Iran’s
rising power destabilize the region stability and create a
conversion of power?
As my professor Anis Bajrektarevic well summarized on the Gulf and
its surrounding intellectual scenery: “as it solely bridges the two
key Euro-Asian energy plateaus: the Gulf and Caspian. This gives
Iran an absolutely pivotal geopolitical and geo-economic posture
over the larger region – an opportunity but also an exposure!
...Nearly all US governments since the unexpected 1979 Shah’s fall,
… have formally advocated a regime change in Teheran. On the
international oil market, Iran has no room for maneuver, neither on
price nor on quotas. Within OPEC, Iran is frequently silenced by a
cordial Saudi-led, GCC voting”. Therefore, only now, the United
Nations sanctions against Iran are formally lifted, which
reconnected Iran to the global economy. The European embargo on
Iranian oil is to come to an end and the Iranian banks will
re-establish connections with the Europe-an banking system and
private companies would be able to operate with no fear of a western
Nowadays, Iran is representing a diverse emerging market in the
fields of manufacturing, retail and energy.
The public sphere was demonizing Iran for decades, but with the
Rouhani government Iran is con-verting to a charming country. Jawed
Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, gives the image of an open country
for negotiations, that is looking for long term solution and for
stability in the region and in the world, but also a country that is
trying to improve the economical and political situation of its
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is suffering from a huge deficit in its
public financing for the first time. With the crash of the crude
prices, the deficit in the resource-rich Monarchy is more than 20%
of the GDP that is according to Saudi Arabia’s finance minister
around $120bn. To balance the budget, the kingdom needs an oil price
of 100$ a barrel, its decision to keep the production high caused
the plunge of the oil prices.
The decision of OPEC with the influence of Saudi Arabia to keep the
production high, is going to burden the U.S shale oil and put the
U.S gas industry under pressure, which can undermine the
rela-tionship between the two allies in the region.
The emergence of a prosperous Iran at the international level could
serve as a pattern in the region, and shift the attention from the
petrodollar monarchy to the « charming » country not far from it.
While today Iran is improving its image in the public opinion,
changing from the « devil » to « the sexy lady », Saudi Arabia’s
model of « Wahhabism » is more and more connected to Islamic
ex-tremism and is blamed of causing terrorism.
Iran can use its new charisma plus its energy resources to attract
the west, improve the situation in the country, offer a stability in
Iraq and Syria and fill all the gaps where Saudi Arabia has failed.
The two regional powers are playing a poker game… Will the winner
take it all?
Manal Saadi, of Saudi-Moroccan origins, is a postgraduate
researcher in International Relations and Diplomacy at the
Geneva-based UMEF University.
She was attached to the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the UNoG and
other Geneva-based IOs, as well as to the Permanent Mission of the
GCC to the UN in Geneva.
April 4, 2016
Near East and the
Nearer Brussles Euro(h)ope possible ?
Anis H. Bajrektarevic
is a claim constantly circulating the EU: ‘multiculturalism is
dead in Europe’. Dead or maybe d(r)ead?... That much comes from
a cluster of European nation-states that love to romanticize – in a
grand metanarrative of dogmatic universalism – their
appearance as of the coherent Union, as if they themselves lived a
long, cordial and credible history of multicul-turalism. Hence, this
claim and its resonating debate is of course false. It is also
cynical because it is purposely deceiving. No wonder, as the
conglomerate of nation-states/EU has silently handed over one of its
most important debates – that of European anti-fascistic identity,
or otherness – to the wing-parties. This was repeatedly followed by
the selective and contra-productive foreign policy actions of the
Union over the last two decades.
Twin Paris shootings and this fresh Brussels horror,
terrible beyond comprehension, will reload and overheat those
debates. However, these debates are ill conceived, resting from the
start on completely wrong and misleading premises. Terrorism,
terror, terrorism!! – But, terror is a tactics, not an ideology.
How can one conduct and win war on tactics? – it is an oxymoron. (In
that case, only to win are larger budgets for the homeland security
apparatus on expenses of our freedoms and liberties, like so many
The January assassins in the Parisian Satirical
Magazine, as well as those behind the bloody Paris Friday of
November, and those behind the Black Tuesday in Brussels (butchering
randomly selected victims) are labeled as the so-called
Islamofascists. The fact that these individuals are (again)
allegedly of Arab-Muslim origins and seemingly clero-indoctrinated
does not make them less fascists, less European, nor does it abolish
Europe from the main responsibility in this case. How do we define
that challenge will answer us whether we live the real democracy or
are blinded by the formal one.
Fascism and its evil twin, Nazism are 100% European
ideologies. Neo-Nazism also originates from and lately unchecked
blossoms, primarily in Europe. Many would dare say of today; an
über-economy in the center of continent, surrounded from all
sides by the recuperating neo-fascism.
How else to explain that the post-WWII
come-and-help-our-recovery slogan Gastarbeiter willkommen
became an Auslander Raus roar in a matter of only two
decades, or precisely since the triumph of the free will – fall of
the Berlin Wall. Suddenly, our national purifiers extensively shout
‘stop überfremdung of EU, we need de-ciganization’ of
our societies, as if it historically does not always end up in one
and only possible way– self-barbarization. In response, the socially
marginalized and ghettoized ‘foreigners’ are calling for the
creation of gastarbeiterpartie. Indeed, the first political
parties of foreigners are already created in Austria, with similar
calls in Germany, France and the Netherlands. Their natural
coalition partner would never be any of the main political parties.
We should know by now, how the diverting of the mounting
socio-economic discontent and generational disfranchising through
ethno engineering will end up, don’t we?
The Old continent tried to amortize its deepening
economic and demographic contraction by a constant interference on
its peripheries, especially meddling on the Balkans, Black
Sea/Cau-casus and MENA (Middle East–North Africa). What is now an
epilogue? A severe democratic recession. Whom to blame for
this structural, lasting civilizational retreat that Europe suffers?
Is it accurate or only convenient to accuse a bunch of useful idiots
for returning home with the combative behavior, equipped with the
European guns and homegrown anger of the misused?
* * * * *
My voice was just one of the many that included
notables like Umberto Eco, Bono Vox and Kishore Mahbubani –foster
moderation and dialogue, encourage forces of toleration, wisdom and
understanding, stop supporting and promoting ethno-fascism in the
former Yugoslavia and Ukraine. These advices were and are still
ridiculed and silenced, or in the best case, ignored. Conversely,
what the EU constantly nurtured and cherished with its councils,
boots and humanitarian aid starting from Bosnia 25 years ago, Middle
East, until the present day Ukraine was less of a constructive
strategic engagement and lasting-compromise, but more of a
history-rewriting, cult of death, destruction, partition, exclusion
and reverse drive to fascism.
Some of the most notorious regimes on this planet are
extensively advertised and glorified all throughout the EU–
including its biggest sports events and the most popular sports. No
matter, that one of these hereditary theocracies considers as a
serious criminal offence– brutally coercing like European Nazis did
in 1930s – if the prescribed state religion is not obeyed as the
only existing one. On the other side, European temple of
multiculturalism – Sarajevo, was barbarically sieged and bombed for
1,000 days – all that just a one-hour flight from Brussels. Still,
20 years after falling a victim of unthinkable genocide, Bosnia
remains the only UN member state in the world that does not exercise
its sovereignty. It is administratively occupied by the opaque and
retrograde international bureaucracy (that is out of any
institutionalized democratic control and verification) –
predominantly overpaid secondhand European apparatchiks that
institutionalized segregation in this, victimized then criminalized,
Illuminating cradles of millennial multiculturalism –
some of the brightest verticals of entire human civilization such as
Jerusalem, Bagdad and Damascus still suffer unbearable horrors of
externally induced, rather ahistorical destruction, hatred and
perpetuated purges. With such a dismal ‘export’ record, universal
claim of the European political system or even its historic
perspective does not hold water any longer, hardly appealing to
Europe still defies the obvious. There is no lasting
peace at home if the neighborhood remains restless. Ask Americans
living at the Mexican border, or Turks next to Syria. The horrific
double Paris massacre and this fresh Brussel’s shock is yet another
a painful reminder of how much the EU has already isolated itself.
For unreasonably long, Europe promoted in the Middle East and Africa
everything but the stability and prosperity of its own post-WWII
socio-economic model. No wonder that today, instead of blossoming
neighborhood, the EU is encircled by the ring of politico-military
instability and socio-economic despair – from Ukraine, Balkans to
MENA, and countless refuges pouring from there. (How many times is
history to repeat itself?
– The colonial overstretch/economic chauvinism,
yesterday abroad – means a moral overkill, today at home. In this
context, one should understand also the recently released Oxfam
study ‘Wealth: Having it All and Wanting More’, /January, 2016/. It
documents into a detail, all the enormous wealth accumulation on the
side of 1% over the last 25 years, as well as the further
acceleration of wealth gap. Rather mistakenly, many would consider
99% as a principal victim, although 99% themselves are primarily,
sustained and for years, responsible for this cleavage by ignoring
and silencing it.)
Hence, when there is no opportunity, give at least a
lame (Spring) hope. That is what Europe keenly helped with in
the Middle East: The very type of Islam Europe supported in the
Middle East yesterday, is the version of Islam (or better to say,
fascism), we are getting today in the Christian Europe as well as in
the Christian neighborhoods of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
Thus, in response to the Balkans, MENA and Ukraine
crises, the EU repeatedly failed to keep up a broad, single-voiced
consolidated agenda and all-participatory basis with its strategic
neighborhood. The EU missed it all – although having institutions,
WWII-memory, interest credibility and ability to prevent mistakes.
The very same mistakes it did before at home; by silently handing
over one of its most important questions, that of European identity,
anti-fascism and otherness, to escapist anti-politics (politics in
retreat) dressed up in the Western European wing-parties.
(It leads the so-called western democracies into the deadlock of
perpetuated cycles of voters’ frustrations: elect and regret, vote
against and regret, re-elect and regret again… A path of an ongoing
trivialization of our socio-political contents and subsequent
formalization of substantive democracy.)
Eventually, the ‘last world’s cosmopolitan’ – as the
EU is often self-portrayed – compromised its own perspectives and
discredited its own transformative power’s principle. The
2012 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, EU did so by undermining its own
institutional framework: the Nurnberg principles and firm
antifascist legacy (UN and CoE), Barcelona Process as the
specialized segment of from-Morocco-to-Russia European
Neighborhood Policy (EU) and the Euro-Med partnership (OSCE).
The only direct involvement of the continent was
ranging between a selective diplomatic de-legitimization,
satanization in media, false-flag or proxy assaults, and punitive
military engagements via the Atlantic-Central Europe-led coalition
of the willing (the Balkans, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine).
This naturally results in a massive influx of
refugees, a consequence to which Europeans (with their inherited
low-tolerance of otherness) usually respond by criminalizing
migrations and penalising the immigrants’ way of life.
Confrontational nostalgia prevailed again over both that is
essential for any viable future: dialog (instruments) and consensus
The consequences are rather striking and worth of
stating once more: The sort of Islam that the EU supported (and the
means deployed to do so) in the Middle East yesterday, is the sort
of Islam (and the means it uses) that Europe gets today. Small
wonder, that Islam in Turkey (or in Kirgizstan and in Indonesia) is
broad, liberal and tolerant while the one in Atlantic-Central Europe
is a brutally dismissive, narrow and vindictively assertive.
Our urgent task – if we are any serious about Europe–
is denazification. Not a one-time event, but a lasting process.
Let’s start from Bosnia, Ukraine and Brussels at once.
Anis H. Bajrektarevic,
Author is chairperson and professor in
international law and global political studies, Vienna, Austria. He
authored three books: FB – Geopolitics of Technology
(published by the New York’s Addleton
Academic Publishers); Geopolitics –
Europe 100 years later
(DB, Europe), and the just released
Geopolitics – Energy – Technology
by the German publisher LAP. No
is his forthcoming book, scheduled for later this year.
Back in November 2011, reflecting on the tragic
events from Norway, I wrote for the Oslo’s Nordic Page the
following: “No doubt, just as the cyber-autistic McFB way of life is
the same in any European and Middle Eastern city, so are the
radical, wing politics! Have you spotted any critical difference
between the rhetoric of Norwegian serial killer Breivik and the Al
Qaida Wahhabi ‘Islamists’? ‘Just like Jihadi warriors are the
plum tree of Ummah, we will be the plum tree for Europe and for
Christianity’– many news agencies reported these as words allegedly
written by the Christian Jihadist Anders Behring.
The European (rightwing) parties opposing e.g. Muslim immigration
are nothing but the mirror image of the MENA’s Islamist parties. In
both cases, there are: (i) Socio-political outsiders (without much
of any coherence, integrity and autonomy) that are denouncing the
main, status quo, parties as a ‘corrupt establishment’; (ii)
Extensively exploiting domestic economic shortcomings (e.g.
unemployment, social inequalities, etc.), but they themselves do
nothing essential to reverse the trend; (iii) Making ethnic and
religious appeals (preaching the return to tradition), attacking
foreign influences in their societies and otherwise ‘culturally
purifying’ population; (iv) Generally doing better in local rather
than in national elections (the ‘Rightists’ win on the national
elections only when no other effective alternative exists to
challenge the governing party/coalition block); (v) More emotionally
charged populist movements than serious political parties of the
solid socio-economic and socio-political program (per definition,
these parties have very poor governing score).”
How many more have to die before we accept and
acknowledge the inevitable – Denazification process is urgently
needed in Europe!
Vienna, 24 MAR 2016
Notes and References:
Lasting conflicts in the multireligious and multinational countries
nobody can win. Therefore, the severity and length of atrocities as
well as the magnitude of suffering of civilians in the former
Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine are
meaningless from the military or any logical point of you, unless
the very objective is something else. What if war is used as an
instrument of mass torture, not for a geostrategic advancement but
for a social reengineering, e.g. Nazification? The conduct is as
follows: (i) destabilized central authority; (ii) systematic and
prolonged sectarian violence to the point of ‘we cannot forgive, we
cannot live together anymore’; (iii) partition, hysteria, further
atomization; (iv) ethno-fascism; (v) permanently dysfunctional
government, easily controllable on remote control (or remote
detonator – as to occasion).
Clearly, Europe’s far right benefits from almost everything in the
EU: a contracting economy; a galloping unemployment rate;
labour-rights brutalization and job insecurity; a deepening fear of
loss of elementary social status; a cracking welfare system and
corroded public services; a repellent Maastricht project; a
multiple waves of migration, heightened by chaos in the Euro-Med
(from Greece to Iraq, from Portugal to Algeria). And a
Socialist/Social-democrat ‘left’ that for almost 30 years have
shared with the conservative center-right the direct responsibility
for neoliberal policies now locked in through the EU treaty system,
and a project of remaining in power indefinitely by presenting
itself every election as the last defense against the ultra-right,
as the only cure, salvation possible.
The result: no other
political force displays as much momentum and cohesion as the far
right, and none communicates as effectively the feeling that it
knows the way and owns the future. No party has any convincing
strategy for challenging the far right on a long run.
It is worth to recall my warnings against destruction of the most
successful African state, one of the very few MENA countries that
generously offered a universal health, universal schooling and
universal housing to its citizens and permanent residents. This is
my voice from autumn 2011: “To conclude with the Huntingtonian
Clash of Civilizations
wisdom: When the
predominantly Christian air-force is bombing a predominantly Muslim
country for 4 consecutive months and keeps doing so all throughout
the ‘Muslim Christmas’ – the holy fasting month of Ramadan and
it surely will not help
to maintain secularism and introduce democratization locally, nor
will it assist the war against Islamist radicals regionally… The
nomadic tribes that got its first nationhood in 1951, and were
effectively united only under Gaddafi, have finally managed to
overthrow the only indigenous governing structure they have ever
experienced. It has been done after nearly six months of armed
struggle and with the help of over 7,000 NATO air-raids deployed
against their own country and the properties built for generations.
Deliberately or not, the current momentum of Libya– with the
infrastructure devastated, police force dismantled, properties
plundered, and the streets full of civilians (of minor and older
ages, but some with the previous criminal prison dossiers, sporadic
racist killers or looters) of many nationalities, armed with long
guns (including the air-defence mobile rockets) without any visible
command – does not create a context for any political debate or any
promising future. With its social cohesion brutally fractured, and
society deeply traumatized, Libya may sink into the limbo and a
lasting, bloody interregnum.” (Bajrektarevic, A. (2011), Libya –
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Africa, Addleton Academic
Publishers CRLSJ, 3(1)2011)
Europe's resurgent far right focuses on immigration,
multiculturalism, CNN (July 24, 2011).
24 MAR 2016
Poles Saving Jews in
Bangkok: History Lesson for Humanity
by Rattana Lao
BANGKOK – Polish,
Israeli and Thai diplomats, academics and students gathered together
to listen and learn about the courage of Polish people saving the
Jews during the Second World War.
University hosted “The Good Samaritans of Markowa” exhibition to
honor the innocent and brave Polish families in Markowa who risked
their lives saving the Jews from Nazi extermination. The event took
place in Bangkok to celebrate the 40th year of lasting
friendship between Poland and Thailand.
During the course of World War II, more than 50,000 Jews were saved
by Polish people. Each Jewish survivor needed to change their
shelter at least 7 times and required as many as 10 people to be
involved in the process.
Irena Sandler, a Polish nurse, was one of the brave Poles who saved
at least 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto. At the end of the
War, 6,600 Polish people were awarded with the Israeli Righteous
Amongst the Nation. However, not every brave Pole survived
Nazi capture. Approximately, 1,000 to 2,000 Poles were executed as
punishment to save the Jews.
The brutality of War took away more than 6 millions Jewish lives and
has inflicted deep wounds to those who have survived. The Ulma
Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews in World War II in Markowa is one
of the Museums established to offer a place of solace and for those
who are left behind to come to term with this atrocity.
Understanding the complexity of the Holocaust has far reaching
ramification not only to those directly affected, but also to
students and public who live world apart and far removed from it.
Firstly, learning about the Holocaust from multiple perspectives
allows human race to come to term with painful history with greater
compassion. Learning about war and its awful aggression should not
and must not instill hatred, but rather to promote greater
understanding across nations, races and religions.
Secondly, through better understanding, it is hoped that we can
prevent such crime against humanity to ever take place. His
Excellency Mr. Zenon Kuchciak, the Ambassador of the Republic of
Poland to Thailand, added to this: “These memories oblige us to act
against the policies of religious hatred and racial prejudice.”
Religious hatred and racial prejudice are not problems of the past.
They are still here and now. There are still many leaders and
extremists who preach war and call for racial discrimination.
Professor Jolanta Zyndul, expert from the POLIN Museum of the
History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, however, reminded that one should
not study the Holocaust as a singular event in history. Something
that happened once and won't be repeated. Rather, it should be read
and learned in relations with other genocide such as Khmer Rouge,
Darfur and Rwanda.
“While we should not downplay the unique characteristic of the
Holocaust, students must learn that massive killing has happened in
so many places around the world and they are closer to us than we
realize,” Professor Zyndul added.
This strongly invites us to revisit and reaffirm often disregarded
truths of the WWII, like those in words of prof. Anis Bajrektarevic:
“while Jews where the preferred non-territorial target of Hitler’s
Nazi policy, Slavic states of the East/Southeast were the prime
territorial target. As many as 36 million nationals (mostly
civilians) of the Europe’s Slavic states such as SSSR, Poland,
Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, (including their Jewish
minority) have been killed by Germans and their servant fascists.
Comparing it with the casualties of the Atlantic Europe at around 1
million, gives us a stunning proportion: 36 to 1 !!”
Despite all its might, forces of darkness were defeated
and peace gradually prevailed.
The story of Poles – Nazi victims themselves, saving its Jewish
minority empowers us all with the sense of courage and power of
human sensitivity. Through the act of kindness toward fellow human
being, change, a significant one, can take place even at time of
aggression, suppression and extermination.
The Polish families in Markowa shed the beaming light of hope in
time of darkness, the symbol of life at time of despair. Stories of
these bravery and courageous ordinary people remind us that that
there is hope for humanity even in the middle of war, World War.
Talking about Poles Saving Jews and Hitler's atrocity during World
War II in Bangkok has a context specific significance at a whole new
level; educationally and diplomatically.
Not so long ago, there were public debacle about Thailand's
ignorance on the history of the Holocaust. A group of Thai students
used the image of Hitler to signify heroism, while the Thai military
government propaganda of 12 core values used Nazi symbol as a
representation of democracy.
While the military's ignorance is unacceptable and unexplainable,
students' mistake was perhaps the product of Thailand's infamous
educational system that promotes rote learning, enforces obedient
and offers single-minded cum nationalistic learning of history. The
textbooks tell what the powerful and authority wants students to
read, and classroom pedagogy is top-down, lecture intensive and
exam-driven. There is very little space for students to engage in
any topic critically and creatively.
Anna Lawattanatrakul, a student from Faculty of Arts at
Chulalongkorn, reflected on her educational experience in Thai
school. “I was taught about the history of the Second World War
simplistically, with an emphasis on memorization than understanding,
and frankly I do not think it is enough.”
It is not enough.
Changing Thai educational system will take a long time and changing
public attitude will take even longer. But that does not mean we
should not try. In fact, it is the role of university to be the wind
Dr. Verita Sriratana, Head of Central and Eastern European
Studies Section, Chulalongkorn University, succinctly encapsulated
this “the goal of an educational institution is to create a platform
where knowledge, and in this case, the history of the Holocaust to
be discussed from as many as different perspectives as possible.”
Historical sensitivity with cultural awareness is lacking in
Thailand. This dialogue serves to fill that gap. It is a small step
toward the larger goal of educating Thai students and public to
break away from the small box of ignorance and understand the
complexity of the world outside Thailand.
All of these won't happen over night but it has to begin somewhere.
The first step for Thai students is to get the facts right.
Hitler is not a Hero and the Nazi is not a symbol of democracy.
Bosnia and the first
circle of hell
In the first half of the 1990s, Bosnians found themselves in the
deepest circles of hell, in a world of war, genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Following the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995 Bosnians were able to escape war,
but have since remained trapped in a different European underworld: isolated,
looked down upon, seen as hopeless and treated as such.
In Inferno, the first book of his Divine Comedy, Dante describes his journey
through nine circles of hell. The Bosnian predicament brings to mind the first
circle of Dante's inferno, Limbo, which hosts "virtuous pagans struck with grief
from a lack of God's presence." Pagans had the misfortune to be born at the
wrong time and in the wrong place. They might be good people but, unbaptized,
they could not enter purgatory. Paradise is forever closed, not because of their
deeds, but because of who they are. It is time for Bosnia to be allowed to
escape from Limbo. A new ESI report sets out how:
ESCAPING THE FIRST CIRCLE OF HELL
The secret behind Bosnian reforms
One popular idea about Bosnia and Herzegovina among European
observers is that Newton's first law of motion applies to its politics: this law
says that an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside
force. For Bosnian politics, that outside force has to be the international
In February 2016, this logic was upended. The chairman of the Bosnian
presidency, Dragan Covic, submitted his country's EU membership application,
demonstrating that Bosnian leaders had their own will, determination and the
ability to agree amongst themselves to push for something that they considered
to be in the best interest of their country. In Brussels, European Commissioner
Johannes Hahn praised the Bosnian government for having undertaken "a lot of
work in order to submit a credible application." And following the Brussels
ceremony, Bosnian leaders from different ethnic groups and various political
parties vowed to do whatever is necessary to obtain official EU candidate status
by the end of 2017. This objective is ambitious, but it is achievable.
Newtonian politics: the master cliché about Bosnia
One debate in EU capitals today is whether Bosnia is "ready for
the next step." The conventional wisdom that Bosnians cannot coordinate when it
comes to EU matters is wrong. The history of relations between Bosnia and the EU
since 2000 shows that whenever Bosnian institutions were seriously challenged by
the EU to co-ordinate, they were able to do so – often to the surprise of their
A new ESI report explores this history and sets the record straight. It tells
the forgotten story of Bosnia-EU relations. It shows that it was not squabbles
between Bosnia's political leaders and their inability to work together that
delayed Bosnia's long overdue application for membership, but
arbitrary conditions, specially devised for Bosnia and applied to no other
At the same time we argue for a concrete step to be taken by EU leaders without
delay. The next step in the process would be a decision by the 28 EU member
states to ask the European Commission to prepare an opinion (avis) on the
Bosnian application. In the case of Croatia in 2003, it took two months for EU
member states to ask the Commission to do this.
Receiving a questionnaire is not a reward for political leaders. It is
like a voucher for three months in a boot camp for civil servants, with a
program designed by ex-Royal Marines: the civil service equivalent of circuit
training, obstacle courses, swimming and boxing. You put yourself through this
only if you are highly motivated and believe in the process. Bosnia's
Europeanisers in the public administration do not need more carrots and sticks
to work on Bosnia's EU agenda. They need to be taken seriously. Then they and
their colleagues will respond to professional challenges professionally.
It was high time for Bosnia to submit an application for EU membership. It is
high time for the EU to treat Bosnia as a normal candidate: strictly but fairly.
The sooner the Bosnian civil service at all levels of the state can work on
answering the questionnaire to obtain candidate status, the better for Bosnian
citizens, for the EU and for the cause of reforms. The EU should encourage the
ambition of the Bosnian presidency, not thwart it. It is a bet that the EU
should be willing to make now, in its own interest.
Many best regards,
Knaus (Austria) is ESI's founding chairman. After having studied in Oxford,
Brussels and Bologna, he taught economics at university in Ukraine in 1993/94
and spent five years working for NGOs and international organisations in
Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina. From 2001 to 2004, he was the director of
the Lessons Learned Unit of the EU Pillar of the UN Mission in Kosovo. In 2011,
he co-authored, alongside Rory Stewart, the book "Can Intervention Work?" He has
also co-authored more than 80 ESI reports as well as scripts for 12 TV
documentaries on South East Europe. He is a founding member of the European
Council on Foreign Relations and was for five years an Associate Fellow at the
Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School,
where he was a Visiting Fellow in 2010/2011 lecturing on state building and
intervention. He writes his blog on www.rumeliobserver.eu.
- CONTACT Gerald Knaus
Mongolia and the New Russian Oil
By Samantha Brletich
signed an inter-governmental agreement in early late January 2016
that would resettle Mongolia’s debt to Russia which totaled $172
million, 97 per cent of Mongolia’s total debt. The debt forgiveness
signals Moscow is moving closer to Ulan Bataar as it slowly losses
grip on other Former Soviet Union Republics economically. Mongolia
also presents an increased market opportunity for Russia and its
petrol products. The use of financial instruments and debts to bring
countries closer to Russia and to gain political concessions are a
mainstay in Russia’s diplomatic toolkit.
The crashing oil market impacted Russia’s economy by shrinking
Russia’s GDP and the regional economy causing many former Soviet
Republics to rethink their economic policies and alliances.
Countries heavily interconnected with Russia, politically and
economically, suffered because of the crash of the commodities
market and Western sanctions on Russia. Remittances dropped among
four Central Asia states affecting their GDP. The slowed Russian
economy has forced Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan—two of Russia’s closest
allies out of the Former Soviet Union—to seek economic opportunities
Kazakhstan’s currency, the tenge, plunged 100 per cent in the last
five months and the current exchange rate 352.08 tenge to one US
dollar on 18 February. According to reporting on 23 February 2016
from Reuters, Kazakhstan’s economy will grow only 0.5 per cent, as
opposed to the originally forecasted 2.1 per cent. Kazakhstan will
also cut its oil output to 74 million tonnes. Kazakhstan’s is
looking to Middle Eastern investors such as the United Arab
Emirates. Kazakhstan’s diversifying economic partners is also
reflected in Kazakhstan’s desire to be a bridge between Europe and
Eurasia and to expand its bilateral economic partnerships.
The squeeze prompted discussion of raising rent rates for Russia who
leases four of Kazakhstan’s military and space sites including the
Sary Shagan and Emba missile testing sites. Russia, for all four
sites, pays $24 million which is not enough according to Kazakhstan
MPs. Russia is currently leasing Baikonur Cosmodrome from Kazakhstan
for $115 million a year until 2050.
Kyrgyzstan also cancelled plans for a hydroelectric power plant
(HPP) as the two companies, Inter RAO and RusHydro, responsible for
the project were unable to finance the completion of the
Kambar-Ata-1 HPP. Vladimir Putin signed the agreement to construct
the HPP in 2012 and costs projected at $3 billion. RusHydro was to
build four smaller hydropower plants (HPP) costing $727 million.
Citing information from EurasiaNet, Kyrgyz authorities are trying to
find a way to avoid paying Russia a $40 million debt for a HPP in
the Upper Naryn region.
Results for Kyrgyzstan in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) are
mixed. Kyrgyzstan joined the EEU because of a large population of
migrant workers in Russia, to strengthen bilateral ties, and access
to traditional and regional markets. Kyrgyzstan’s inclusion in the
EEU generated more migrant workers, about 544,000 Kyrgyz work in
Russia today, according to Minister of Economy Kylychbek Dzhakypov.
For the migrant workers, remittances dropped 28.3 per cent by the
end of 2015; Tajikistan’s and Uzbekistan’s remittances dropped by
Internally, the resettlement of the debt favors Mongolia’s
government. Mongolia’s Prime Minister survived a no confidence vote
in January 2016 facilitated by Mongolia’s poor economic performance.
Mongolia’s economy grew only 2.3 per cent in 2015, the slowest in
seven years and since the 2009 global economic downturn. A drop in
commodity prices, dwindling foreign investment, and a slowdown in
Chinese trade contribute. One indicator of increased foreign direct
investment is the end of negotiations over the Gatsuurt gold mine
deposit permitting mining operations and the end of the dispute over
“Clearly, the post-Soviet Russia avoids any strategic global
competition with the US…Is it possible to (re-)gain a universal
respect without any ideological appeal?” – famously asked prof. Anis
Bajrektarevic. Well, here might come an answer: Revived Oil-gas
Debt forgiveness may be way to lure Mongolia to import more energy
from Russia. Mongolia in 2014, imported 91 per cent of its petroleum
products from Russia including: gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel. As
of 2013, Mongolia imported $1.03 billion worth of refined petroleum
products accounting for 67% of imports from Russia. In 2011,
Mongolia imported 90 per cent of its petrol products from Russia.
Trade volume between Russia and Mongolia decreased by 2.8% (May
Mongolia’s energy dependence makes it vulnerable to supply shocks
and Russian politics as Russia terminated gas supply (Ukraine)
during strained relations and spikes in anti-Russia sentiment.
During April 2011, Russia cut its diesel supply to Mongolia because
of shortages in its domestic supply which drove up costs of mining
operations and logistics.
Energy dependence affects mining operations and infrastructure which
Mongolia lacks. Improved infrastructure in the country would mainly
be used to export mining goods. Concerns of sovereignty and control
also drive Mongolia’s “Third Neighbor Policy.” Many fear that
Chinese and Russian construction projects would make movement of
Mongolia’s mining tonnage more dependent on the two countries.
Another argument is that “such [railway] links would make Mongolia a
natural resource backyard for China and even facilitate a Chinese
demographic influx” into Mongolia.
Mongolia, to avoid energy dependence, needs to expand the “third
neighbor policy” to avoid over-dependence. Mongolia’s should use its
status as a democracy for increased cooperation and funding from the
European Union and other Asian nations such as Japan and South
Korea. Mongolia’s other “third neighbors” are all democracies.
Mongolia also needs to diversify its economy from only exporting
mineral resources. Russia will most likely take advantages of
opportunities to advance the Mongolia-Russia bilateral relationship
and to enhance Russia’s position in the region.
About the author:
Samantha Brletich specializes in Central Asia Affairs with a
focus on regional security, terrorism, economics, and culture. She
possesses a Masters Degree in Peace Operations Policy from George
Mason University in the United States. She can be reached at
sbrletich2 (at) gmail.com
March 4, 2016
Pan and the Sleeping Beauty
(Europe – Identity Imagined)
Anis H. Bajrektarevic
downturn; recession of plans and initiatives; €-crisis; Brexit and
irredentism in the UK, Spain, Belgium, Denmark and Italy; lasting
instability in the Euro-Med theatre (debt crisis of the Europe’s
south – countries scrutinized and ridiculed under the nickname PIGS,
coupled with the failed states all over the MENA); terrorism;
historic low with Russia; influx of predominantly Muslim refugees
from Levant in unprecedented numbers and intensities since the WWII
exoduses; consequential growth of far-right parties that are
exploiting fears from otherness which are now coupled with already
urging labor and social justice concerns, generational unemployment
and socio-cultural anxieties… The very fundaments of Europe are
Strikingly, there is a very little public debate in Europe about it.
What is even more worrying is the fact that any self-assessing
questioning of Europe’s involvement and past policies in the Middle
East, and Europe’s East is simply off-agenda. Immaculacy of Brussels
and the Atlantic-Central Europe-led EU is unquestionable.
Corresponding with realities or complying with a dogma?
One of the leading figures
of European Renaissance that grossly inspired European renewal,
Dante, puts Prophet Muhamed to the 8th
circle of his famous Inferno. The only individuals bellow
Muhamed were Judas, Brutus, and Satan. “Islam was seen as the
negation of Christianity, as anti-Europe…and Muhammed as an
Antichrist in alliance with the Devil…” as Rana Kabbani noted ijis
luminary piece Imperial Fictions.
Read more on the next
February 23, 2016
Key to Stop Refugee Flows:
Unique higher education programme for Conflict zones
Prof. Dr. DJAWED SANGDEL
EU Refugee crisis can not be effectively tackled without addressing
the root problems. Why the unique higher education program for
development in conflict zones with or without internet connectivity
is the key to stop refugee flow? Is this the cheapest, most
effective and most durable way to eventually reverse the trend by
stabilizing the sending countries for a longer run?
Accessible in all geographic areas - including conflict zones
§ Accessible to all communities and groups
(regardless of gender or economic status)
§ No cost to students
§ High quality, needs-based content
§ Flexible learning access – TV, online
platform and offline CD package
§ Quality controlled assessment
§ Designed and led by international experts in
§ Programme delivered in 3 languages: English,
Dari and Pashto
§ A model for accessible, needs-based higher
Dunya University of Afghanistan (DUA), in association
with Swiss UMEF University of Geneva, has developed a new,
critically-needed education programme for delivery to the population
of Afghanistan. Drawing on the expertise and extensive experience of
leaders from Afghanistan’s higher education sector and faculty from
around the world, this initiative provides access to high quality
higher education specifically designed to respond to the needs of
the Afghan population, whose country continues to suffer the impact
of decades of war.
Read more on the next
15th February 2016
Obituary for Alesh
Poet, thinker, professor, father and husband
Modern Diplomacy’s Advisory Board member and
Islam: Towards a new worldview
Murray Hunter and Azly Rahman
concluding our essay on Tawhidic-Singularity as a new philosophy of
Islam, we proposed that Muslims need to interpret the core teaching
of One-ness from a kaleidoscopic perspective. We asked readers to
reflect upon the applicability of Chaos or Complexity Theory to view
Islam as an organic and living religion inviting its believers to
look at the concept of One-ness as the manifesting of Many-ness. In
this essay, we go deeper into the discussion of the soul of the
Quran itself and how Muslims could perceive and read it as a
postmodern text with multiple-level meanings based on his/her unique
life experiences. We wish to propose the worldview of “Quantum
Islam,” as a new way looking at this cultural belief system. We
invite readers to think of Islam as more than just unquestioning
faith and rites and rituals but as an evolving text to be made
alive. The idea of a “living Quran” is a means of perceiving and
feeling one’s existence as a world of interconnectedness. This world
of deep personal connectivity is a world of the physical, emotional
and spiritual self as it exists in the realm of the Universal self
as a world designed as a Quantum being in itself. Multiple Universes
and the Quran
Islam is about what cannot at present be explained intrinsically
through the science we know today.
MURRAY HUNTER is an Australian academic, entrepreneur,
researcher, and writer who has spent more than 35 years within the
region. He is a contributor to a number of international news sites
around the world.
DR AZLY RAHMAN is an academician, long-time columnist for
Malaysiakini, an author of seven books on Malaysia and the
complexities of hypermodernity and globalisation, and teaches
courses in Global Politics, Culture, American Studies, Education,
and Philosophy. He currently resides in the United States.
Read more on the next
January 28, 2016
Currency dictatorship – the
struggle to end it
by Rakesh Krishan Simha
India and the BRICS are giving the US dollar the boot? Is it
last time a country decided to dump the dollar in the oil business,
the US destroyed it. Now India, the world’s third largest economy,
and Iran have agreed to settle their outstanding oil dues in rupees.
What’s more, the two countries may conduct all future trade in their
national currencies. This follows an agreement between Iran and
India in mid-2011 in which both sides decided to settle 45 per cent
of India’s oil import bill in rupees and the remaining 55 per cent
in euros. In March 2012 the two countries inked the Rupee Payment
Mechanism that allowed India to buy crude oil in its national
currency. Iran then used the funds to buy products from Indian
manufacturers. Ironically, it is the US itself which is responsible
for the dollar’s elimination from India-Iran trade. The Rupee
Payment Mechanism was set up to skirt American economic sanctions on
Tehran. Iranian oil forms a significant portion of India’s energy
requirements. Similarly, the Iranians rely upon India for steel,
medicines, food and chemicals.
Rakesh Krishan Simha
New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst. According
to him, he writes on stuff the media distorts, misses or ignores.
Rakesh started his career in 1995 with New Delhi-based Business
World magazine, and later worked in a string of positions at other
leading media houses such as India Today, Hindustan Times, Business
Standard and the Financial Express, where he was the news editor.
Read more on the next
January 19, 2016
Hungry of Hungary – One (senti)mental journey - By Julia
Years of Jewish Life in Sarajevo - By Mads Jacobsen
PRIVACY I(N)T CONTEXT - doc. dr. Jasna Cosabic
– Iranian future: 3 games – 3 scenarios - By Manal Saadi
Near East and the Nearer Brussles Euro(h)ope possible? - Anis H.
Saving Jews in Bangkok: History Lesson for Humanity - by Rattana
Bosnia and the first circle of hell - Gerald Knaus
Mongolia and the New Russian Oil Diplomacy - By Samantha
Noah, Peter Pan and the Sleeping Beauty (Europe – Identity
Imagined) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic
Key to Stop Refugee Flows: Unique higher education programme for
Conflict zones - Prof. Dr. DJAWED SANGDEL
Quantum Islam: Towards a new worldview - Murray Hunter and Azly
Currency dictatorship – the struggle to end it - by Rakesh
Creative Economy and the bases of UNCTAD’s Creative Economy
Programme as instrument for growth and development - by
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic
Editor - Geopolitics, History, International Relations (GHIR) Addleton Academic
Publishers - New YorK
Senior Advisory board member, geopolitics of energy Canadian energy research
institute - ceri, Ottawa/Calgary
Advisory Board Chairman Modern Diplomacy & the md Tomorrow's people platform
Head of mission and department head - strategic studies on Asia
Professor and Chairperson Intl. law & global pol. studies
Critical Similarities and Differences in SS of Asia and Europe - Prof.
Anis H. Bajrektarevic
MENA Saga and Lady Gaga - (Same dilemma from the MENA) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic
HE ONGOING PUBLIC DEBT CRISIS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: IMPACTS ON AND LESSONS
FOR VIETNAM - Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Assos. Prof. Nguyen Linh
Change and Re Insurance: The Human Security Issue SC-SEA Prof. Anis
Bajrektarevic & Carla Baumer
(Researcher and Lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Politics,
University of Jayabaya)
the ‘crisis of secularism’ in Western Europe the result of multiculturalism?
Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella
A Modest “Australian” Proposal to Resolve our Geo-Political Problems
Were the Crusades Justified? A Revisiting - Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella
Fazleeva earned an MA in International Relations from the University of East
Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom in 2013. Her research interests include
foreign policy decision-making, realism and constructivism, and social
psychology and constructivism.
is an independent researcher specialized in International Politics and Peace
& Conflict Studies with a regional focus on the Balkans and the Middle East.
Founder of Internacionalista
São Paulo, Brazil
Brazil – New Age
political character of Social Media: How do Greek Internet users perceive and
use social networks?
SWISS UMEF UNIVERSITY
is a master`s degree student on the University for Criminal justice and Security
in Ljubljana. She obtained her bachelor`s degree in Political Science- Defense
Samantha Brletich, George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and
Intl. Relations She focuses on Russia and Central Asia. Ms. Brletich is an
employee of the US Department of Defense.
Interview on HRT-Radio
Prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarević
Dr Filippo ROMEO,
is the outspoken Indonesian thinker,
social-cause fighter and trendsetter. She is the author of Julia’s Jihad.
Fógra tábhachtach Nuacht