North Africa and the Middle-East: A new wave of debt.

Demographic, Economy, Policies, Wild Cards

North Africa and the Middle-East: A new wave of debt.

In the first three parts we have observed the evolution of the DCs’ external debt over the last twenty years. The first part shows a dramatic increase of indebtedness, which multiplied by 2.5 with a steep acceleration from 2008 onward. The second part highlights the main threats on the DCs’ external debt, among which the growing significance of bonds, the evolution of interest rates and the depreciation of their currencies against the U.S. dollar. The third part examines the various factors that lure DCs into the debt trap: dependence on commodities, drop in foreign exchange reserves, inflating repayments, conjuncture of a multi-dimensional crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.

We deepen our analysis by focusing on various regions. After Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, we continue with the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA).

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Globalisation of HE: the good, the bad and the ugly

Economy, Policies

Globalisation of HE: the good, the bad and the ugly

Globalisation – the tendency to global convergence and integration – has wonderful potential in the abstract. It offers the possibility that we can work our way out of the national container blocking collaborative action, for example, on climate change.

Global convergence suggests a full and formative encounter with the diversity of human ideas, knowledge, imagination, government, institutions, social habits, on the basis of unity in diversity, heer butong, in tianxia, all under heaven, the Chinese terms.No one country or culture has all the answers and we have much to learn from each other. That is the ideal.

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Justice delayed is justice denied. I lost my family to Iran Regime’s barbarity

Demographic, Iran, Justice, Policies

Justice delayed is justice denied. I lost my family to Iran Regime’s barbarity

On May 4, over 1,100 families of the victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran wrote a letter to the international community. We called on the United Nations and European and American governments to take immediate action in preventing the regime from further destruction of their loved ones’ graves.

I was one of the signatories. I have lost six of my relatives to the regime’s cruelty. I was seven years old when my parents were arrested for their democratic ideals and activism. My father, Dr. Morteza Shafaei, was a well-respected and popular physician in Isfahan. He was admired by people because he was extremely compassionate and giving to others. He was brutally executed by the regime in 1981 simply because he sought a democratic future for his family and his compatriots.

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The heroes I met fighting Iran’s brutal prison system

Demographic, Iran

The heroes I met fighting Iran’s brutal prison system

Sepideh Kashani was an administrator at the now-defunct Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Iran’s premier conservation NGO. She was as well-behaved and unassuming a prisoner as the guards could have asked for. Despite the fact that we were being held in a maximum-security detention facility, the guards sometimes forgot to close the door of her cell, and Sepideh would pull it closed herself.

Both of us spent most of our time in solitary confinement, but for a time we shared a small, cramped cell. Forced to wear blindfolds every time we left it, Sepideh would pull hers firmly over her eyes and stumble around on the arm of the guard, whereas I was forever getting in trouble for wearing mine high on my forehead, my roving eyes registering every detail of the detention site and the shady, nameless individuals who ran it.

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Nuclear disarmament: Thinking outside the silo

Proflieration, Threats

Nuclear disarmament: Thinking outside the silo

Every five years since 1970 diplomats and arms control experts have gathered to review progress – or lack of it – in the disarmament process enshrined in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The latest review conference, which was scheduled for May 2020, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This postponement is a silver lining behind a very dark cloud made up of the pandemic and several looming nuclear crises. It has bought time and with that time a new administration in Washington, one that is likely to be more open to multilateral efforts, pragmatic compromise and cooperative solutions.

Statecraft: And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World

Diplomacy, Policies

Statecraft: And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World

How did it come to pass that, not so long after 9/11 brought the free world to our side, U.S. foreign policy is in a shambles? In this thought-provoking book, the renowned peace negotiator Dennis Ross argues that the Bush administration’s problems stem from its inability to use the tools of statecraft–diplomatic, economic, and military–to advance our interests.

Statecraft is as old as politics: Plato wrote about it, Machiavelli practiced it. After the demise of Communism, some predicted that statecraft would wither away. But Ross explains that in the globalized world–with its fluid borders, terrorist networks, and violent unrest–statecraft is necessary simply to keep the pea

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I Accuse: Jimmy Carter and the Rise of Militant Islam

Demographic, Iran

 I Accuse: Jimmy Carter and the Rise of Militant Islam

Philip Pilevsky argues that President Jimmy Carter’s failure to support the Shah of Iran led to the 1979 revolution that legitimized and provided a base of operations for militant Islamists across the Middle East. Since the Khomeini revolution, radical Islamists have grown bolder in attacking the West and more sophisticated in their tactics. This historical progression can be traced to Carter’s unwillingness to head off Iran’s Islamic threat in its nascent stages.

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The Silk Roads, 2nd: includes routes through Syria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and China (Silk Roads: A Route & Planning Guide)

Demographic, Iran

The Silk Roads, 2nd: includes routes through Syria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and China (Silk Roads: A Route & Planning Guide)

The Silk Road was never a single thread but an intricate web of trade routes – Silk Roads – linking Asia and Europe. This new practical guide helps travellers explore all these threads and covers Turkey, Syria, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and China.

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Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam

Demographic, Iran

Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam

From the best-selling author of Black Hawk Down comes a riveting, definitive chronicle of the Iran hostage crisis, America’s first battle with militant Islam. On November 4, 1979, a group of radical Islamist students, inspired by the revolutionary Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran. They took fifty-two Americans hostage, and kept nearly all of them hostage for 444 days.

In Guests of the Ayatollah, Mark Bowden tells this sweeping story through the eyes of the hostages, the soldiers in a new special forces unit sent to free them, their radical, naïve captors, and the diplomats working to end the crisis. Bowden takes us inside the hostages’ cells and inside the Oval Office for meetings with President Carter and his exhausted team

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Iran: A People Interrupted

Demographic, Iran

Iran: A People Interrupted

Praised by leading academics in the field as “extraordinary,” “a brilliant analysis,” “fresh, provocative and iconoclastic,” Iran: A People Interrupted has distinguished itself as a major work that has single-;handedly effected a revolution in the field of Iranian studies.

In this provocative and unprecedented book, Hamid Dabashi―the internationally renowned cultural critic and scholar of Iranian history and Islamic culture―traces the story of Iran over the past two centuries with unparalleled analysis of the key events, cultural trends, and political developments leading up to the collapse of the reform movement and the emergence of the new and combative presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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