Foreign Policy Blogs

Separatism – Looking for Your Views

Egyptian police beat a female protester in Tahrir Square

2011 proved a tumultuous year for states. The Arab Spring evidenced that stifling dissent through oppression and supporting autocracies should not be the status quo policy of the United States. Now we see states being made anew. How will these states fully differ from their previous forms? Will their previous economic or political strongmen truly be ousted or, moreover, will merely new strongmen or forces scuttle the hopes of idealistic citizens?

2012 and beyond will serve up many questions and draw attention to other cases of oppression; for example, political violence in the support of separatism will likely be a new issue that the international community will be forced to deal with. Let us not forget, it is not as if the US, France, Britain, etc. wholly supported self-determination before the Arab Spring – we still see the case of selective support to democratic governance, for example, in Bahrain.

Separatism will likely confront the international community in a similar manner, causing them to address fomenting separatist conflicts such as we see in Turkey with the Kurds. In relation, if you live in the greater Washington, DC, area, please take 10 minutes of your time to participate in interesting research I am conducting until 2 January on separatism.

Also, please share your opinions below on what issues related to political violence you believe will confront us in 2012. A peaceful, and pleasant, new year to all.




Ali A. Riazi
Ali A. Riazi

Ali is an independent advisor on conflict and foreign affairs and an advocate for civilian protection. He has advised the Office of the Secretary of Defense, US military, NGOs, and intelligence oversight staff on topics, such as Afghanistan, civilian protection, irregular warfare, and civil-military affairs. His 13+ years of career experience have spanned humanitarian and national security circles and involved extensive experience throughout the Near East and Central Asia.

Ali earned a BA in Government & Politics (summa cum laude) and a Minor in International Development & Conflict Management from the University of Maryland, College Park. Additionally, he served as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant in International Political Economy. He is currently pursuing an MLitt in Terrorism Studies through the University of St. Andrews.

Ali's other blog interests can be followed at, and he can be found on Twitter at!/ali_riazi.

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