Europe/Americas update: January 18 2019

EUROPE RUSSIA The Russian government is casting doubt on ISIS’s claims that it was behind a December 31 explosion in an apartment building in the city of Magnitogorsk. That explosion, which killed 39 people, was most likely caused by a gas leak–Russian infrastructure is generally quite old and in varying states of disrepair–but the terror… Continue reading Europe/Americas update: January 18 2019

World update: December 7 2018

ASIA ARMENIA Armenian voters will get to vote on Sunday in the country’s first national election since Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s “Velvet Revolution” upended Armenian politics earlier this year. Pashinyan has been governing without a stable majority since then, though that’s expected to change after Sunday when his My Step party is expected to pull… Continue reading World update: December 7 2018

Europe/Americas update: September 28-30 2018

EUROPE RUSSIA This was probably inevitable, but Vladimir Putin now has his own reality TV show: To many Russians, Putin’s annual news conference and wildly popular question-and-answer program are “circus,” a mix of entertainment and politics. This month, Putin added another tool to his repertoire: a weekly prime time series following his daily activities. The… Continue reading Europe/Americas update: September 28-30 2018

Europe/Americas update: June 14 2018

EUROPE RUSSIA Russia is hosting the FIFA World Cup for the next month–perhaps you’ve heard about that. Which is a nice chance for Vladimir Putin to parade himself around like a world titan. It’s also a nice chance for a bunch of young Russians and young foreigners to meet and mingle. But is that such… Continue reading Europe/Americas update: June 14 2018

World update: January 15 2018

ASIA AFGHANISTAN The New York Times has some deep background on the ongoing clash between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the fired-but-still-there-anyway Balkh governor Atta Muhammad Nur. Ghani’s supporters portray the ex(?)-warlord as corrupt and unaccountable, while Nur contends that Ghani is attempting to sideline him for political reasons. The US may also have a reason… Continue reading World update: January 15 2018

World update: January 3 2018

ASIA AFGHANISTAN Indiana University’s Nazif Shahrani argues that one of Afghanistan’s problems is that the office of the president, regardless of who holds it, is too powerful: The 2004 Afghan constitution invests the president with more powers than former Afghan kings had before the republican period. Among them is the power to appoint all government officials,… Continue reading World update: January 3 2018

Middle East update: January 3 2018

SYRIA Russian media is reporting that at least seven Russian aircraft were destroyed on December 31 by rebel shelling at Khmeimim airbase, just south of Latakia. If true, it’s Russia’s biggest loss of materiel in one incident in their 2+ year long Syrian intervention. It also suggests some rebel movement in northwestern Syria that’s gone otherwise… Continue reading Middle East update: January 3 2018