Religion & Geopolitics Weekly Roundup

At a Glance

Religion & Geopolitics Weekly Roundup

22 May 2014

In the week following the Indian election results it is not surprising that the Roundup features a number of pieces looking at how not only India but other neighbouring countries and the rest of the world are viewing this change.

The Centre on Religion & Geopolitics also serves to monitor continuing situations around the world, and we highlight in graphic detail the conflict in Syria, while also featuring the conflict in the Central African Republic and look again at Boko Haram in Nigeria during a week of further attacks and at a time when the school girls are still missing. We also look at the Iraqi election results and look ahead to the Ukrainian Presidential election.

Top Stories

India: Following the Indian election results, Sandhya Gupta looks at the fragile optimism present in the country and Martin Bright asks what Modi's election victory means for the secular future of the world's largest democracy.

Syria: Shocking images continue to filter out of the country and Vice News releases a new film from Aleppo, where they followed a civilian rescue group, and attended a youth camp run by Jabhat al-Nusra. [WARNING: GRAPHIC AND UPSETTING CONTENT]

South and Central Asia

Bangladesh: With the results of the Indian election being discussed around the world, the   Wall Street Journal reflected on how neighbouring Bangladesh would take to the election of Narendra Modi.

India:  Rob Joustra cites Brian Grim's statistics on religious freedom and economic prosperity to suggest that religious nationalism may undermine the Indian economy. Similarly, Ira Trivedi makes the case that if Modi fails to promote religious and gender equality, the nation's economic health will suffer. 

Pakistan: As the government targets militants in North Waziristan, Foreign Policy point out  Pakistan's 'Sharia dense' constitution could be used to undercut extremists' proprietary claims to Sharia. Christine Fair explains the constitution's origins and its long term effects on the country's Shia.

South East Asia

Myanmar:  Kenan Malik looks at how Buddhist extremists appear to be using religion to justify their actions. Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group again highlights the controversial census in Myanmar and how the results of this could affect the run up to the 2015 elections.

Middle East and North Africa

Iraq: The Institute for the Study of War published the election results and studies the statements of the political parties, both before and after the election. The Wall Street Journal also has a take on the negotiations that are likely to take months to form a government.

Libya: In the worst violence since the revolution, former General and anti-Gaddafi activist Khalifa Hiftar launched a revolt in Benghazi, reportedly aimed at reducing the power of the militias, and bringing security to the country. But NATO's intervention against Gaddafi is partly responsible for the way the conflict has gone, says John Hudson

Yemen: Despite millions of dollars of security funding from Western donors, the government of Yemen has long been suspected of opposing jihadis in public and coddling them in private and their double standards are actively hindering the fight against al-Qaeda, say Shuaib Almosawa and Gregory Johnsen.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central African Republic: The Wilson Center ask 'What is religious about the CAR conflict?' and detail the origins of the warring Seleka and anti-Balaka forces.

Nigeria: There have been further attacks this week and with growing concern for the Nigerian school girls, Kirk Ross analyses Boko Haram's opposition to Western education, pointing out that it is more specifically opposed to Western education in Northern Nigeria.

Somalia:  Ken Menkhaus questions the ability of Somalis to deal with Al Shabaab without foreign support, discussing four scenarios: defeat, stalemate, power sharing and capitulation.


Turkey: The apparent turn towards authoritarianism of Prime Minister Erdogan should not be viewed through rose-tinted spectacles, argues Daron Acemoglu, but it is to be expected in a gradual transition towards democracy. Meanwhile  David Gardner  argues that even though Erdogan has continued support, he has no social contract with the public.

Ukraine: In the build up to the Ukrainian presidential elections on 25 May, Yaroslav Lukov travels to the city of Lviv where Crimean Tartars have relocated, and gauges opinion on their hopes and fears.



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