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Showing posts from June, 2015

Countering political violence: Tackle the root causes

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RSIS Commentary is a platform to provide timely and, where appropriate, policy-relevant commentary and analysis of topical issues and contemporary developments. The views of the authors are their own and do not represent the official position of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU. These commentaries may be reproduced electronically or in print with prior permission from RSIS and due recognition to the author(s) and RSIS. Please email: RSISPublications@ntu.edu.sgfor feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentary, Yang Razali Kassim. 
No. 145/2015 dated 29 June 2015 Countering political violence:
Tackle the root causes
By James M. Dorsey
Synopsis


Nations across Europe, North Africa and Middle East have responded to recent attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait with lofty condemnations of violent extremism and kneejerk security measures that in isolation are unlikely to solve what is becoming a festering problem. To drain the swamps of radicalization, governments will have to embe…

Soccer's global corruption crackdown: should the AFC worry? (JMD in South China Morning Post)

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Soccer's global corruption crackdown: should the AFC worry? The continent's governing body will not escape scrutiny, with the resignation of general secretary Alex Soosay the tip of the iceberg, says one observer PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 June, 2015, 11:39pm UPDATED : Sunday, 28 June, 2015, 2:16am Nazvi Careemnazvi.careem@scmp.com
After American and Swiss authorities moved in on Fifa officials, who is next? Experts say Asia and Africa should be looking over their shoulders. The Asian Football Confederation is used to putting on a show. The draw ceremonies this month for the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup at the Grand Millenium in Kuala Lumpur were no exception, broadcast live on the AFC website and proceeding without a hitch. There were positive vibes all round and no hint of the chaos and fear gripping its parent body, Fifa, in the wake of corruption investigations by American and Swiss authorities. Indeed, Asia appears impervious to what is happening thousands of kilometres away in…

A Study in Contrasts: Militaries in Political Transitions in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa

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By James M. Dorsey
The Economist recently highlighted the contrast between post-revolt Asian societies and Middle Eastern and North African societies in the woes of a pro-longed, messy and bloody transition that is pockmarked by revolt and counter-revolt, sectarianism, the redrawing of post-colonial borders, and the rise of retrograde groups as revolutionary forces.
Almost 30 years after they brutally crushed pro-democracy student protests, Korean police are projecting themselves as K-cops, the counterpart of K-pop, South Korea’s most popular cultural export and successful soft power tool. Korean police are largely today everything Middle Eastern and North African security forces are not.
Restructuring Korean police and ensuring that its legitimacy and credibility was publicly accepted was no mean task. Much like Middle Eastern and North African security forces, Korean police emerged from regime change as the distrusted and despised enforcer of repression that had brutally suppressed…

Advisory Council rejects labour reform as Qatar stiffens its back

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By James M. Dorsey
Revived controversy over the integrity of Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup and persistent criticism of the conditions of migrant labour in the Gulf state appear to have stiffened Qatar’s back as it responds to attacks on multiple fronts, including judicial inquiries in Switzerland and the United States, the media, and United Nations and human rights organizations as well as trade unions.
Qatar’s hardening stance threatens to roll back its successful effort since winning the right to host the World Cup four years to convince its critics that it was serious about reform of its notorious kafala or sponsorship system that puts employees at the mercy of their employers.
In the latest indication that Qatar refuses to be seen as caving in to external pressure, Qatar’s Shura or Consultative Assembly that nominally serves as the country’s legislature raised objections to the government’s draft law that would introduce changes to the kafala system. The counc…

The Middle East and North Africa: Adapting to a New Paradigm

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RSIS Commentary is a platform to provide timely and, where appropriate, policy-relevant commentary and analysis of topical issues and contemporary developments. The views of the authors are their own and do not represent the official position of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU. These commentaries may be reproduced electronically or in print with prior permission from RSIS and due recognition to the author(s) and RSIS. Please email: RSISPublications@ntu.edu.sgfor feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentary, Yang Razali Kassim. 
No. 141/2015 dated 18 June 2015 The Middle East and North Africa:
Adapting to a New Paradigm
By James M. Dorsey
Synopsis


US and Arab military strategies across the Middle East and North Africa have failed to reverse the rise of often retrograde rebel forces in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya. This stems from a refusal to acknowledge a new reality: the region is in the throes of violent, political transition that will inevitably redraw the map along et…

Departure of AFC general secretary: Business as usual in a swamp of corruption allegations

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By James M. Dorsey
Transparency appears nowhere on the radar of Asian soccer governors as global soccer reels from the worst crisis in the sport’s history. That was evident in a terse statement issued by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announcing the resignation of its suspended general secretary, Dato Alex Soosay.
The statement made no mention of Mr. Soosay’s suspension, an investigation into the general secretary’s apparent attempt to tamper or hide documents related to an audit that uncovered suspected extensive corruption but has since been buried, or the fact that the AFC was forced to relieve Mr. Soosay of his duties after this blog revealed his attempts to obstruct the audit.
It also did not explain whether it would take action against the group’s finance director, Bryan Kuan Wee Hoong, who rejected Mr. Soosay’s alleged attempt but in the three years since did not deem it necessary to report the incident.
Amid judicial investigations in the United States and Switzerlan…

ILO condemnation of Qatar likely to have ripple effects

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By James M. Dorsey
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has dealt a blow to Qatari assertions that the Gulf state complies with global standards for workers in a report that condemned the government for allowing state-owned Qatar Airways in the words of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) to “violate international and national agreements and institutionalise discrimination.”
The report comes at a time that Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup is under increased scrutiny as a result of the corruption scandal that has rocked world soccer body FIFA and mounting criticism of Qatar’s failure to make good on promises to improve the working and living standards of migrant workers who constitute a majority of the population. Investigations in the United States and Switzerland are probing the integrity of the Qatari bid.
In the latest World Cup-related allegations, a Monaco bank account opened by disgraced former Brazilian Football Association president and FIFA …

Druze Mount next flashpoint in Syrian conflict: Implications for Israel

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RSIS Commentary is a platform to provide timely and, where appropriate, policy-relevant commentary and analysis of topical issues and contemporary developments. The views of the authors are their own and do not represent the official position of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU. These commentaries may be reproduced electronically or in print with prior permission from RSIS and due recognition to the author(s) and RSIS. Please email: RSISPublications@ntu.edu.sgfor feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentary, Yang Razali Kassim. 
No. 140/2015 dated 15 June 2015 Druze Mount next flashpoint in Syrian conflict:
Implications for Israel
By James M. Dorsey

Synopsis


This month’s killing of 23 Druze clan members by Jabhat Al Nusra jihadists has made Syrian Druze a potential flashpoint in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel. As rebel forces advance towards the mountainous Druze stronghold in Idlib province, Israel has to decide whether it should intervene in the Syrian…