Today's era is characterized by constant rearrangements and changes, which have always happened in the past as this is a natural progression of events. However, now it seems to have acquired a reckless speed of change similar to that of the development of technology, which is undoubtedly judged as one of the most important game changers of international reality. The ambiguity and multipolarity that characterizes contemporary events and international developments tend to become a constant among the maze of variables, making it increasingly difficult to properly and qualitatively analyze and design an effective plan of action at the nation-state level.
The decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court to revoke the almost 85-year-old museum status of Hagia Sophia and allow its conversion to a mosque did not come as a bolt out of the blue. Instead, it is the by-product of a decades – old battle concerning the republic’s oppressed Islamic soul and the orientations of her foreign policy vis-à-vis the Arab and the Muslim world.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic many countries have adopted several measures to stop the spread of the disease. For some of these measures reservations are expressed regarding their conformity with the required respect for human rights. The concern is especially due to the fear of the measures been enforced in discriminatory ways against certain segments of the population, or that abuse of powers could take place. The very battle to thwart the spread of SARS-CoV-2 could serve as pretext for authoritarian governments to exercise more control over citizens. What is particularly worrying is that the restrictions and surveillance could survive even the end of the pandemic, justified as a way to make sure it will not return, or prevent a new pandemic from taking place. The Council of Europe, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as generally human rights organisations have raised awareness, so that civil liberties, human dignity, human rights and even human lives are not put in danger, not now, nor in the period after this acute phase of the pandemic. To show the many challenges COVID-19 poses for those concerned for the protection of human rights, this article will highlight the example of Turkey.
Από το φθινόπωρο του 2001, όταν ξεκίνησε η αμερικανική – νατοϊκή επέμβαση στο Αφγανιστάν στο πλαίσιο του ‘‘Waron Terror’’ της διοίκησης Bush του νεότερου, μέχρι την 29η Φεβρουαρίου του 2020, που υπογράφτηκε η περίφημη συμφωνία ειρήνης με τους Ταλιμπάν, οι ΗΠΑ δαπάνησαν κοντά στα 975 δισεκατομμύρια δολάρια. Επιπλέον, 4.030 στρατιώτες του διεθνούς συνασπισμού (ISAF), εκ των οποίων 2.441 Αμερικανοί, σκοτώθηκαν στις μάχες. Υπολογίζεται ότι από το 2009, όταν ο ΟΗΕ άρχισε να καταγράφει τις απώλειες, πάνω από 100.000 Αφγανοί, μεταξύ αυτών περίπου 60.000 στελέχη των σωμάτων ασφαλείας με βάση εκτιμήσεις αρχές του 2019, έχουν χάσει τη ζωή τους ή ακρωτηριαστεί. Οι δε καταγεγγραμμένοι Αφγανοί πρόσφυγες ανέρχονται στα 2.5 εκατομμύρια, δηλαδή ο δεύτερος μεγαλύτερος προσφυγικός πληθυσμός μετά τους Σύρους.
The US House of Representatives and US Senate have both recently adopted resolutions formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide, expressing that it is the sense of both chambers of Congress that the policy of the United States is to “commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance.”The resolutions also set the historical precedent for such a move, stating: “Whereas the United States has a proud history of recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide, the killing of an estimated 1,500,000 Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, and providing relief to the survivors of the campaign of genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians.”
The recent assassination of general Soleimani, has to be viewed as the latest phase within the framework of the ongoing game that goes back to 2001, or 1979, or 1953 depending on your historical perspective.
As the war in Syria is coming to an end, it appears that the US have been attempting to rebalance the region and create a new equilibrium. The Trump Doctrine is being forged by a series of unorthodox unilateral actions, from the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to unquestioned support of Saudi Arabia, regardless of the latter's actions. In addition, President Trump has supported the formation of an energy axis among Israel, Cyprus and Greece, effectively blocking Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and has chastised Turkey's decisions and association with Russia, while he has allowed Turkey to invade, occupy and set a zone within Syria. Last but not least, the US administration has been trying to put Iran “back in the box”, as Iran has benefited from US interference in the region since 2001, especially following the war against the Islamic state.
Την ώρα που οι δυτικές μητροπόλεις βυθίζονταν στην εορταστική φρενίτιδα και μέθη των ημερών, το Ιράν βυθιζόταν στην αβεβαιότητα. Εν μέσω των βίαιων διαδηλώσεων που μεταδίδονταν σαν “κολλητική ασθένεια” από τη μία πόλη στην άλλη, η παραμονή πρωτοχρονιάς του 2017-2018 έφερε ένα έντονο άρωμα “Αραβικής Άνοιξης” και σίγουρα θα μείνει αξέχαστη. Παρά την βιασύνη κάποιων να προεξοφλήσουν την αρχή ενός νέου '79 και το τέλος των Ayatollah, η Ισλαμική Δημοκρατία διαχειρίστηκε την κρίση αυτή σχετικά αναίμακτα. Αυτό δε σημαίνει βέβαια ότι δεν είναι υπαρκτή, ωστόσο πως μπορούμε να την αναγνώσουμε;
Where a rather detailed visit to the adjoining regions of Southwest Asia and the Gulf allows one to reconnect with the friends, fellow thinkers and civil society activists, it also affords a sought-after opportunity to observe first-hand all the vital developments. Dubai’s unending sky rises, its boulevards infested with endless and often flashy cars, private residences surrounded by meticulously manicured lawns, and principality’s Western food joints and ever growing shopping malls exhibit modernity with its unchallenged invincibility on this side of the Gulf. But it also hides the regional tensions and sordid volatilities across the blue waters, which have sadly become region’s more apparent characteristics over the past four decades. Dramatic and equally traumatic developments including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq-Iraq War, the Second Gulf War, 9/11 and the Western invasion of Afghanistan—longest of its kind in recent history and with no victors but endless victims—have bequeathed millions of widows, orphans and refugees in Southwest Asia.
Egypt’s biggest mass slayings, committed in a mosque in northern Sinai on 24 November during the Friday congregational prayers, have once again underlined the urgency to locate the causes of this by now rather familiar self-immolation across several Muslim regions. With 305 worshippers including 27 children dead and 135 seriously wounded as a result of an orchestrated bombing and shootings from close proximity by at least thirty perpetrators presumably with some ISIS affiliation, one is certainly flabbergasted at the meticulous and no less gruesome planning of a grievous tragedy.
Lebanon is a small and internally complicated country, so why should anyone on the outside bother? And since at present it is also tranquil then maybe it is wise just to leave good enough alone. These realities, while true, cannot constitute valid reasons for open-ended benign neglect. Hidden corrosive forces in and around the tiny country are constantly at work, and sudden calamitous setbacks as happened on many occasions in Lebanon's recent past remain a menacing possibility at all times. What sits quietly and unobtrusively on the sidelines could merely out of carelessness find itself sliding into turmoil and thus be swiftly catapulted to center-stage with ugly fallout on the immediate surroundings and possibly far beyond. In this respect Lebanon may not exactly be a ticking time-bomb since it does exhibit a healthy "been there, done that" resilience, but it persists as a delicately cobbled polity with much about it that is unfinished or unresolved, thereby harboring built-in vulnerabilities that are potentially worrisome.
Το Κέντρο Μεσογειακών,Μεσανατολικών και Ισλαμικών Σπουδών φιλοξενεί πληθώρα διαφορετικών απόψεων στα πλαίσια του ελεύθερου ακαδημαϊκού διαλόγου. Οι απόψεις αυτές δεν αντανακλούν υποχρεωτικά τις απόψεις του Κέντρου. Η χρήση και αναπαραγωγή οπτικοακουστικού υλικού για τις ανάγκες της ιστοσελίδας του ΚΕΜΜΙΣ γίνεται για ενημερωτικούς, ακαδημαϊκούς και μη κερδοσκοπικούς σκοπούς κατά τα προβλεπόμενα του Νόμου 2121/1993 (ΦΕΚ Α' 25/4-3-1993) περί της προστασίας της πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας, καθώς και του άρ.8 του Νόμου 2557/1997 (ΦΕΚ Α' 271/1997).