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2014: The Year 10 Million Syrians Became an Insignificant Statistic; Salwa Amor

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 759

Sep 30, 2015 - 2:47 PM

In mid-2014, the UN declared that the influx of Syrian refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), and the ensuing human trafficking catastrophe, had led to the worst humanitarian refugee crisis since WWII. How does the current Syrian refugee crisis fit into the historical context of this previous tragedy, and has the international community and the world at large really learnt anything from past experience? This is the question we pose, and this is the answer we give: a comparison between Europe’s response to the post-WWII refugee crisis and the current, second worst crisis of its kind, reveals that Europe has advanced in many ways. However, for victims of displacement around the world, Europe has yet to move on from the WWII mentality, which was characterized by indifference. Read more...

CAUCASUS UNDER REVIEW: RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOKS

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 753

Sep 30, 2015 - 3:26 PM

While the Caucasus is a region of enormous diversity and potential, it is also a region about which relatively little is known. However, during the last decade, numerous publications on the region have expanded both regional and international understanding of this diversity and potential. This overview of recent publications provides an up-to-date reading list for anyone interested in the region. Read more...

Contemporary Refugee Issues in the EU and the Crises of Multiculturalism; Brendan Cole

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 743

Sep 30, 2015 - 2:39 PM

In reporting on the conflict in Syria, the media has concentrated on the refugee crisis as a key facet of the larger narrative. While the geopolitical ramifications of the conflict are pored over by political leaders, the more human consequences of this vast exodus of refugees have raised questions over the responsibility of the international community toward the millions who are fleeing. So far, it has fallen to Syria’s immediate neighbors to bear the brunt of the exodus, with EU countries accepting relatively few. This has led to a discrepancy between a predominantly European call to help Syria’s refugees - and how welcoming Europe is in practice. Added into the mix is the rise of anti-immigration sentiment in many European countries, where problems with the integration of immigrants is perhaps fuelling a reluctance to accept refugees. European governments are making public statements to their citizens about the rise of Islamism in Europe; the kind of anti-immigration protests seen in Germany over the last few months show how difficult it is for governments to square their humanitarian responsibilities with public doubts over the value of multiculturalism in their societies. This commentary enquires whether there is a degree of hypocrisy in the EU, given the gap between its professed concern for those fleeing violence and the help it actually offers, and asks whether this is likely to change. Read more...

Life in a Tent… The Unending Plight of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon; Samar el Kadi

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 743

Sep 30, 2015 - 2:46 PM

When Syrians fled their war-torn country for the relative safety of neighboring Lebanon, they little imagined that almost four years on, they would still be there. As the humanitarian assistance which they have been relying on runs out and the tolerance of their hosts wears thin, their living conditions have dramatically deteriorated. What is it like for the Syrian refugees who continue to spend years of their lives in poorly equipped tents in miserable conditions? Samar el Kadi reports from the Bekaa valley in eastern Lebanon. Read more...

Commentary by Simon Anglim - In the Absence of Effective Global Governance, Security Policy Based on Political Realism Makes Sense

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 742

Sep 30, 2015 - 3:29 PM

To political realists, the world is a dangerous place, anarchic and without any central body to enforce international law or any universal system of morality. Consequently, states cannot trust each other, and have a duty towards their citizens to maximise their power in order to ensure their protection. A political leader may have a strong sense of personal morality, but this must be put aside in the face of possible threats to the safety and welfare of the people who have entrusted him/her with high office. Other forms of guaranteeing state and international security, for instance through collective security, are contingent on trust and optimistic interpretations of human nature. Consequently they have flaws and loopholes where realism does not, and the current emphasis on liberal intervention could be making the world less stable, and therefore less secure. Read more...

Armenia, Transnational Terrorism and Global Interests: What Do CIA and DoS Documents Suggest? Oleg Kuznetsov

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 739

Sep 30, 2015 - 3:42 PM

The 1980s witnessed intensive theoretical engagement with and reflection on the issue of state-sponsored transnational terrorism in and outside Armenia. During that decade, this terrorism existed on an unprecedented and as yet unrepeated scale, effectiveness and emotional intensity. Scholarly debate on the subject was taking place against the backdrop of continuing geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East, particularly Lebanon, forming the primary foundation of this socio-criminological phenomenon with its mainstream experiencing deep and structural modernization, consolidation and crystallization. An adequate understanding of the goals, objectives and practical orientation of the academic discussion on Armenian terrorism has only become possible in recent years, following the release of CIA documents on Armenian terrorist organizations (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, Justice Commandos against Armenian Genocide, and New Armenian Resistance) into the public domain. A comparison of the US intelligence documents and those of the United States Department of State (DoS) with academic research materials has demonstrated a high degree of correlation across their content, potentially indicating that the majority of the theoretical analyses of the time were carried out indirectly or directly in the service of US government interests. The main purpose of the contemporary academic discourse was to study different theoretical perspectives and different angles on the possibility of the use of resources and potential of Armenian state-sponsored terrorism against the Soviet Union as a “hot tool” in the Cold War. The affirmative answer to this question became the catalyst of aggression of originated in the Middle East Armenian terrorism against the Soviet Transcaucasia and marked the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh con-flict. Read more...

Samtskhe-Javakheti as a Potential Flash Point in Georgia: Ethnic-Confessional Composition and Integration Challenges; Nika Chitadze

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 724

Jan 18, 2016 - 12:16 PM

This article will assess the importance of the geographical location of Georgia’s Samtkhe-Javakheti region and its administrative-territorial division. It will also provide an overview of the historical factors relating to the formation of the territory and borders of the region, which influenced its ethnic and religious composition. Taking into consideration the historic and geographical factors, a central focus of the research is a deep analysis of the ethnic and religious composition of the population of this historic part of Georgia, in order to answer the main research question: how have multi-ethnic and multi-confessional factors affected the socio-economic and political situation in Samtskhe-Javakheti? Read more...

NATO on Its Mind: Will Georgia’s Aspirations be Fulfilled?; Brendan Cole

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 722

Jan 18, 2016 - 12:21 PM

Since the Rose Revolution of 2003, the last decade or so of Georgia’s recent history has been a turbulent one. The presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili ushered in sweeping changes, increasing westernization, and a break from the country’s Soviet past. After he was democratically ousted by the Georgian Dream coalition in 2012, this Euro-Atlantic realignment continued apace, out of a desire to join the European Union as well as NATO. The economic benefits of EU membership were obvious enough, while joining the Alliance would demonstrate Georgia’s ability to hold its own at the world’s top military table. On a more practical level, Tbilisi had hoped that membership would offer Georgia security, especially in light of the 2008 war with Russia, which led to declarations of independence by Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The breakaway republics remain points of contention in relations between Moscow and Georgia. The Georgian government’s rhetoric of optimism has not shifted one bit, and NATO has not disabused Georgia of this outlook, continuing to work with Tbilisi as a partner. However, the alliance remains non-committal regarding the prospects for a Membership Action Plan (MAP), the first concrete step to eventual membership. London-based journalist Brendan Cole asks think tanks in the British capital and the US about the likelihood of NATO membership for Georgia - and if not, what are the alternatives? Read more...

OSCE and Conflict Resolution in the Post-Soviet Area: The Case of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict; Azad Garibov

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 719

Sep 30, 2015 - 3:40 PM

The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is one of the several conflicts in the post-Soviet space in which Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is involved in mediation of peace negotiations, but failed to facilitate any kind of sustainable resolution of the conflict. The OSCE continued peace-making efforts from 1992 to date; it has deployed several institutions that are tasked dealing with conflict, including the OSCE Minsk Group. In the environment of impunity coupled with the inefficacy of OSCE, Armenia refuses to compromise for the sake of peace and repeatedly sabotages the negotiations process, rendering resolution of the conflict virtually impossible. In such a complex situation, the OSCE needs to be very committed and to have a significantly more effective and coherent peace building strategy. However, OSCE’s peace efforts and mediation strategy suffers significant setbacks; the major purpose of the Minsk Group troika’s efforts seems to have become ‘conflict management’ rather than genuine conflict resolution. Read more...
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