Foreign Policy Blogs

Violence in the Past Few Days

The past few days have seen terrible acts of violence (terrorism) in Iraq, Turkey, and India , and threats in China. On Saturday, according to news reports, 17 explosions went off one after another in Ahmedabad, India , with two further blasts at hospitals. 49 people were killed. The attacks were probably "attempts to provoke violence between Hindus and Muslims," and the NYT also reminds readers that the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington has concluded that from January 2004 to January 2007 India had a death toll of 3,674 to acts of terrorism , second only to Iraq. Questions have been raised about the involvement of the "Students' Islamic Movement of India" and the Indian Mujahedeen that warned about the attacks in advance. On Sunday evening in Istanbul, 17 people were killed in two bomb blasts. Der Spiegel reports that the bombings could play a part in the decision of the Constitutional Court in Ankara, which has met to "deliberate the case seeking to ban the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)." The article also points out that "even though a majority of the judges are opposed to the AKP, they will not want to see the country descend into chaos." Yesterday, three female suicide bombers killed 32 people in Baghdad. They were all Shiite pilgrims. Ethnic violence also erupted in Kirkuk between Kurds and Turkmens. In total, 61 people were killed and "by the end of the day, the riot and violence by Kurds against Turkmens had become one of the most severe ethnic skirmishes in Kirkuk since the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003." Now, the world community is wondering about the Beijing Olympics and what significance videotaped messages from the Turkistan Islamic Party have for the security of the Games. News reports have conveyed the terrorist message that the group intends to target the most important points of the Olympics and Chinese central cities. Meanwhile, Amnesty International's spokesman has said that "the human rights situation in China has deteriorated in the run-up to its hosting of the Olympic Games" and the reports say that Beijing is getting rid of political critics and "underground Christian organizers." China has denied that bombings on July 21 were terrorist attacks. Even more discouraging, attacks in Afghanistan are up by 50% in the first half of 2008.



Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;