Nieuws Democracy

Nieuws over politieke trainingen en ontwikkelingen in Oost- en Zuidoost Europa, de Kaukasus, Afrika en het Midden Oosten

Israelis and Palestinians start taking the law into their own hands

A few days only after the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found dead near the contentious city of Hebron, the body of a 17-year-old Palestinian was in his turn found on the outskirts of Jerusalem yesterday. This succession of events has increasingly strained relations in the region, leading to the largest clashes in the Occupied side of the city in years.

Poroshenko ends ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine against European and Russian advise.

On the night of July 1st the ceasefire between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian state was put to an end by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In his address to the nation, he declared that Kiev "will attack and liberate [its] land. Not renewing the ceasefire is [its] response to terrorists, rebels, looters." This statement followed the multiplication of aggressive actions by pro-Russian separatists in the Eastern part of the country. The ceasefire had been effective for ten days, without a clear diminution in the conflict’s intensity and renewed breaches of the truce. Ukrainian Foreign Minister stated on Monday that the ceasefire had led to 27 Ukrainian servicemen being killed and 69 wounded during more than 100 violations of the ceasefire by rebels.

Kosovo elections : relations with Serbia influence majority formation

Following our previous coverage of June 8th elections in Kosovo, declared as positive and democratic, the country has entered a profound political crisis. The opposition parties’ alliance against the PDK’s election victory have increasingly being challenging the political and institutional organization of Europe’s youngest state. Indeed the Vetevendosje’s demands to end the EU-led talks between Belgrade and Pristina still prevent the opposition from forming a majority.

Syrian rebels hail Islamic State

Militant Sunny rebels in Syria’s northern Raqqa province have hailed the change of name by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) into Islamic State and the declaration of a new Calipahte on 29 June. After the deceleration by Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, Sunny rebels held a parade and cheered the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as new Caliph. The promulgation came after the organization conquered a large part of Iraq to add to its territory.

Pas op voor democratierelativering

Door Arjen Berkvens, directeur Foundation Max van der Stoel

De Amerikaanse invasie in Irak was het” hoogtepunt” van Westerse interventiepolitiek in de afgelopen 25 jaar. De aanwezigheid van massavernietigingswapens was de Amerikaanse rechtvaardiging voor het beginnen van deze oorlog, maar toen die er niet bleken te zijn, werd het brengen van democratie tot hoogste doel verheven. Deze doorzichtige verantwoording achteraf had tot dramatisch gevolg dat alle democratieondersteuning in een kwaad daglicht kwam te staan, zoals we nu zien in Oekraïne. Er zijn echter vele goede manieren om van buitenaf de democratisering van landen te ondersteunen.

Parliamentary elections in Libya

Marking another step in the transition from the Gaddafi-regime, 1.5 million Libyans will go out and vote for a new 200-seat parliament today 25 June. Libya desperately needs a functioning government to bring the heavily armed former rebels, militias and tribes that helped oust former dictator Muammar Gaddafi under control and to secure the oil ports vital for Libya’s government and public budget. The new parliament, which will be called the House of Representatives, will replace the General National Congress as new legislative assembly.

Ethnic Albanians clash with Police in south Mitrovica

Clashes broke out between ethnic Albanians and police in the ethnically divided Kosovo town of Mitrovica, injuring 13 police officers and 21 protesters on Sunday 22 June. The clashes started after ethnic Serbs rebuilt a road barricade over the central bridge, dividing the ethnic Albanian southern part of the town from the ethnically Serbian northern part. Local Serbs removed the barricade on 17 June but they replaced a road barricade, made of sand and flowerpots, on 18 June. The ethnic Albanian’s were outraged by the renewed barricade, saying the barricade stands testament to ethnic Serb refusal to integrate into the independent state of Kosovo.

ISIL has the region on edge

The rapid conquest of large parts of Iraq by the radical Sunny Islamist al-Qaeda splinter group, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has a destabilizing effect on the entire region. ISIL fighters aim to establish a Sunny caliphate along the Iraqi-Syrian frontier, mirroring the eight century Abbasid caliphate. ISIL fighters pride themselves on their brutality and have massacred hundreds of Shiite troops, who they consider heretics. The emphasis on the Sunny – Shiite divide spikes fears for sectarian violence that could spread across the entire region

Local elections Georgia – Ruling party “force which really has no alternative”?

On 15 June municipal elections took place in Georgia in which the heads of 59 municipalities and 71 new local councils were elected, for a term of three years and four months. Next to this, mayoral elections were held in twelve cities. Despite the fact that Transparency International reported irregularities and filed complaints, they argued that the election day was “generally calm”.

Israeli forces move on Palestine

Tensions between Israel and Palestine rise as Israel deploys around 2,000 troops in southern West Bank on 14 June. Israeli military command has announced its plan to step up its military operations in the region in order to locate three abducted Israeli teens. Troops have sealed of most entrances to the city of Hebron on 15 June and increased its military presence to 2,500 troops. In the city of Ramallah a Palestinian protester was killed as Israeli troops expand their pressure on the Palestinians.

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