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Zim: Whither Mbeki?

One of the major reasons why this blog, putatively devoted to South Africa, has so emphasized Zimbabwe thus far is that beyond the obvious significance of Zim right now, the country also represents South Africa's biggest foreign policy challenge. It is too facile to assert that South Africa is doing nothing ...

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The newest Central Asian development bank

On January 26, 2006, the Eurasian Economic Security Council (EAEC or EurAsSec) announced the inception of a new development bank that aims to improve economic issues for its member states.  According to Vladimir Putin, the Eurasian Development Bank (EADB, or sometimes EDB) was proposed by Nursultan Nazarbaev in 2004, in ...

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Tajikistan: Refurbished air force base

What in the West we consider to be the Central Asian state furthest from international access, India is calling "the fulcrum of regional geopolitics." In a move little noted elsewhere, India has developed its first foreign air base‚ in Tajikistan.  The Ayni base is a former Soviet airbase used to supply ...

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Stalin and the hijab

Stalin and the hijab

Eighty years ago, Stalinists attempted to eradicate specific Central Asian religious and cultural practices: one such undesired practice, again relevant, concerned the customary headcoverings for Islamic women (hijab).  According to articles by Douglas Northrop in 2000 and 2001 (see Worth Reading: Uzbekistan), Bolsheviks in Uzbekistan began korenizatsaiia (nativization) in the early 1920's.  By 1926, ...

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An End to the Zim Stalemate?

The International Crisis Group has posited a possible solution to the Zimbabwe stalemate. Their outline has garnered the general support in principle of both factions of the divided Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's major opposition party, as well as members of President Robert Mugabe's own Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) whose dissatisfaction with the ...

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Dariga Nazarbaeva and Kazakhstan's Media

Dariga Nazarbaeva and Kazakhstan's Media

"more than words can wield the matter"  Dariga Nazarbaeva, the eldest daughter of Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev, continues to be the most influential word-wielder in Kazakhstan.  Ms. Nazarbaeva is the Founder, previous President, and Chairperson for Khabar, Kazakhstan's media conglomerate.  According to BBC, Darigha Nazarbaeva and her husband, Rakhat Aliev, ...

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The Tripartite Alliance

Over the course of an interview in the Mail & Guardian Zwelinzima Vavi, the secretary general of the Congress of South African Trade Unions asserted that his organization wants to re-establish itself as a more powerful player within the African National Congress’ tripartite alliance of COSATU, the South ...

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Solidarity

Mongolia Web reports that New York's Lincoln Center Fest will present the Secret History of the Mongols July 22-29, 2007.  Nine musicians and storytellers will perform the work at the Clark Studio Theater. This passage is from The Secret History of the Mongols: In time Dobun passed away and after he was gone Alan the ...

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Africa, Iran and the “War On Terror”

At The Mail & Guardian Virginia Tilley, a chief research specialist at the Human Sciences Research Council, speculates about Africa's, and especially South Africa's, role in a potential war against Iran and in the “War on Terror” generally. Her conclusions are probably not what the Bush administration would want to ...

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Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s Liberia

Swanee Hunt, director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and chairwoman of The Initiative for Inclusive Security, published an op-ed piece in today's  <i>Boston Globe</i> praising the progress Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, “Ma Ellen,” has made in Liberia in her first year as ...

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The Proteas in the Caribbean

The Proteas, South Africa's cricket team, are readying themselves for the World Cup, which starts this month in the West Indies. Although a number of teams see themselves in contention to win the final in late April, the South Africans have been playing well and have a good ...

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The State of Zimbabwe

Although the mandate of this blog is primarily to deal with South Africa, I plan to take a catholic view of my responsibilities and will regularly feature news and commentary from the rest of Africa. Consider my approach to represent a coupling of the Pan-Africanist dream with the fact that ...

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That "early, meaningful, and regular" human rights dialogue

That "early, meaningful, and regular" human rights dialogue

Human rights groups have recently come forward to ask that the European Union (EU) continue to implement sanctions against Uzbekistan in response to the Andijan Massacre of May 12, 2005.  The EU met on March 5, 2007, to review the sanctions, which have not thus far borne any ...

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The State of South Africa: A Primer

Whether you are a neophyte to South Africa or an experienced hand you’ll find this article in The Economist to provide a useful primer on the current state of affairs in South Africa on matters ranging from crime to the economy to the always-fascinating political climate. For links ...

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Turkmenistan: Lost in the Pageant, part 2 of 2

Turkmenistan: Lost in the Pageant, part 2 of 2

The pageant's focus now turns again to domestic considerations.  As suitable for a seamless transition, the new policies thus borrowed heavily from the old.  The new President of Turkmenistan has announced the commissioning of a new statue of Turkmenbashi, to honor in death a man who has had countless statues ...

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