Ten years have passed since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Reintegration and reconciliation, regionalization, security and the battle against drug trafficking are all issues still far from being resolved. At the same time, preparations are taking place for what is described as the country’s “afghanization,” with Afghanistan being returned to the Afghans. One deadline, 2014, has been established, but this is not, after all, that far off, and for now there are those, such as Malalai Joya, a former member of the Afghan parliament forced to resign after reporting the presence of new War Lords and characters linked to the Taliban inside Afghan institutions, who believe that, “after a decade, Afghanistan is still the most unstable, most corrupt and most war-torn country in the world.”
Freedom and Democracy
On Friday 20th January, Donald Trump will be officially sworn in as the 45th president of the USA: after taking the Oath of Office and offering his first inaugural address, Trump will begin his mandate. Quite soon, he will officially present his administration’s team; then, it will be possible to understand the political and economic path he will choose for the USA, also assessing whether and how Trump’s policies will effectively mirror the provocative proclaims that have marked his electoral campaign.
Kusai only talks about returning home to Syria. Navigating the Islamist checkpoints and shoot-to-kill Turkish border guards to reach the destroyed city of Aleppo is preferable to waiting for the border to open. The slight and pensive 16-year-old boy had hoped to join his brother in Germany, but had spent two months stranded in a refugee camp at Eleonas, Athens, praying for the Macedonian gateway to central Europe to reopen.
This election was about the sex of state. In the eyes of millions of his supporters, particularly the men who made him President, America’s manhood is at stake. Donald Trump ran as an erect phallus, a sexually aggressive man who can break through the forms, crush our enemies and make the American body politic strong once again.Trump did not run on a policy platform. People voted for his dick. Never before has a candidate for the American Presidency defended his penis size, let alone a prime-time debate, assuring us that his small hands do not mean anything else is small. “I guarantee you, there’s no problem. I guarantee you,” he shot back at a primary debate. One of the rally posters for Trump now circulating proudly exhorts: “Don't’ be a pussy! Vote Trump.”
Long before the final results, many Americans knew that our body politic was suffering a seizure after being injected with a poison that nothing in Hillary Clinton’s politics was potent enough to expel. The impotence of that politics — its inability to draw from wellsprings deeper than bromides about breaking glass ceilings, “fighting” for families and children, and slashing college tuition — has little to do with Clinton’s character or alleged corruption or even with the undoubted wave of misogyny in this election.
He was one the first people to sign a petition protesting the Turkish government’s military operations against Kurdish areas in his country at the beginning of this year. Not even the attempted coup d’état of July 15th, which was neutralized by the government, has softened his criticism of President Racep Tayyp Erdogan. Cengiz Aktar, a professor of international relations at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University, has a hard time describing his country as a democracy.
In his articles, published in many Turkish as well as in international newspapers, Mustafa Akyol argues against Islamic extremism and terrorism, as well as gives his international readers some precious analyses and insights on the political and social situation of contemporary Turkey. Akyol’s book, “Islam without extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” (W.W.Norton, 2011) was long-listed in 2012 for the Lionel Gelber Prize and was praised by The Financial Times as “a forthright and elegant Muslim defense of freedom”. Akyol is a well-known Turkish intellectual whose ideas shape the Turkish, as well as the wider Muslim, debate. These are some of the reasons that convinced ResetDoc to invite him, once again, to Rome, where, on September the 14th he spoke about “Turkey After the failed Military Coup”, in a conference organized by the ResetDoc, in collaboration with Istituto di Affari Internazionali (IAI).
Two years after the publication of An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions, Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Sen of Harvard University returns to focus on the relationship between identity and violence. The Country of First Boys appeared a few months ago in bookstores as a collection of Sen’s essays made available with the contribution of Antara Dev Sen and Pratik Kanjilal. In it, the Bangladeshi-born economist updates his earlier reflections on ‘identity politics’ and its relationship with extremism and violence, both at the inter-ethnic as well as at the international level.
Over the past week newspapers in Turkey have reported alternating events one in apparent contradiction with the other. On December 14th the chapter involving negotiations concerning economic and monetary policies linked to Turkey’s EU membership was reopened. The integration process was resumed with unexpected speediness as part of the agreement on the management of Syrian refugees that will fill Ankara’s coffers with $3 billion to be used to build camps to keep Syrians far from the EU. With perfect timing, a court in Istanbul rejected the request presented by lawyers representing Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, respectively editor and editor-in-chief of the historical daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, for their release from prison.
Erdogan’s proclaimed state of emergency under Article 120 of the Turkish Constitution following the failed military putsch on the night between July 15th and 16th has further heightened concerns about Turkey’s internal and external direction of travel. There is an obvious mismatch between the cross-party rejection of the coup and the reality of an ongoing one-sided dismantling of significant sectors of the military, the judiciary, academia, and the media. What began as a legitimate response from the government aimed to restore law and order is increasingly turning into an awkward wide-ranging purge of long-time political opponents some believe may have already been in the making.
In the torrid heat of the summer of 2016 there has been unrest in President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika’s Algeria. Three new laws, either passed or drafted, reflect the country’s identity debate amidst independence-linked demands and political rivalry. Algeria is passionately debating identity, with emphasis ranging from the affirmation of exclusive nationality, to the recognition of multilinguism, from religious issues to electoral reform.
There is no country in the “Old Continent” left immune by the terrorist attacks carried out or at least inspired by the Islamic State, although the largest number of victims of this unusual violence is reported in Middle Eastern countries (especially in Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey) as the control of those territories conquered in the name of Jihad's ideology in Syria and Iraq is becoming harder.