Arab Spring

End of Theocracy?

Given Iran's complex and regimented theocratic system, the protests are unlikely to escalate into another Arab Spring. Indeed, democracy and hard-core Islam seem prima facia incompatible, as the failure of the Arab Spring in all countries where it had once ignited the hope of democratic transition amply demonstrates. More so for Iran, wherethose who exercise power are handpicked by the all-powerful Supreme Leader and lack accountability to citizens.

Republic of Queues

Millions of people are wallowing in the mire of privation, and a majority of households can barely scrape together enough to secure their next meal.

An age of anger

By all indications, the 21st century appears to be an age of rage. We are witnessing extraordinary waves of protests around the world against widening inequality and rising authoritarianism. It is understandable why citizens are angry. But why are political leaders angrier than the citizens?

Spring to Winter ~I

Without civil society and political institutions, without a system of education that encourages critical thinking, democracy is an alien sapling yet to take root in this world. Nothing much has changed here during the decade except for the worse

The Great Dictator

And this tragically has been the thread that runs through the dictatorships of President Mubarak to President Sisi to President Assad via the heady upheaval at Cairo’s Tahrir Square in February 2011.

Chemical Warfare

This week’s startling revelation by the intergovernmental Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is a damning indictment of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Endgame in Syria

The war in Syria is one of the biggest and most important wars of the 21st century, resulting in untold death and destruction. It also marks an inflexion point in contemporary geopolitics. The two most powerful countries in the world ~ the US and Russia ~ fought a semi-proxy war, prompting one expert to call it ‘World War III,‘ on a limited scale.

Where things fall apart…

The cauldron of a civil war is bristling with Haftar’s self-proclaimed “Libyan National Army” articulating the threat ~ to which has now been added the caveat, “The time has come”, couched in the assurance that civilians and “state institutions” would be spared. So far, so merciful.

A real change?

Though Algeria was not convulsed by the Arab Spring as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria were in 2011, memories of the shortlived democratic revival of the 1980s must still rankle.