Iraqi Kurdistan is an autonomous region in the north-east of the country and has a somewhat fractured relationship with the government in Baghdad. Relations between the two authorities is much better than under Saddam Hussein, although this is a very low bar, but there remains a perception in Erbil that the Iraqi central government is both corrupt and incompetent. It is this perception that last week resulted in leading politicians announcing that the region would hold a referendum on independence from Iraq. This development is something that I have long argued for and could be a game-changer for the Middle East.
One of the most inspirational movements of political history was the movement for female suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was a struggle by a disenfranchised group that sought to radically transform how the existing political order functioned, and succeeded despite the fact that none of their group were in the corridors of power. Men and women came together to rectify an injustice that in modern discourse could only be conceived of as a thought experiment rather than as a serious policy proposal. Thankfully in democratic countries this arbitrary distinction has been removed, but the campaign for women’s suffrage can, in my view, easily compared to the struggle for Kurdish liberation. On the surface this may seem like a bit of stretch but hopefully this article will convince you of my case.
After the oppressive rule of former President Yahya Jammeh, The Gambia has decided to move on, and this is in part down to the will of the Gambian people. The Gambian government has announced that the country will establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in the mould of that of post-Apartheid South Africa, to investigate the abuses of power during Yahya Jammeh’s rule. The Gambian Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou made the announcement in Banjul a few weeks ago adding that Jammeh’s finances would also be subject to investigation. However the new administration has been further bolstered by parliamentary elections that will rekindle a democratic political culture in the country.
London has been rocked by a terrorist incident that took place close to the Palace of Westminster. The Metropolitan Police have closed the roads surrounding of the Palace and are treating the situation as the scene of two terrorist incidents. The House of Commons was sitting at the time and Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle suspended the session and ordered that the Commons Chamber was locked down. Prime Minister Theresa May was evacuated and Downing Street later confirmed that she was unharmed. The session of the Scottish Parliament has also been suspended following the news out of London.
The government have announced that after Brexit the Scottish Parliament shall have more powers. David Mundell announced the move in the House of Commons after questioning from the Scottish National Party. Scotland has been given a lot of attention because of the large cohort of SNP MPs at Westminster, and as such almost all discussion of devolution has been concerning Scotland. But this piece shall look at what the impact of Brexit will be on the Welsh devolution settlement and how the government should respond. In other words, what about Wales?
The fragile but promising democracy of The Gambia has been given a boosted after the European Union announced that it would provide the country with €225 million of investment. The EU’s Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation Neven Mimica has said that “there is no time to lose” and that the money will “make sure that the new Gambian state can deliver as it should… that it can deliver up to the high expectations of its people”. Considering the dire situation of The Gambia’s public finances, the country needs all the help it can get, but there are certain things that must be kept out of negotiations.
After 33 years of self-imposed diplomatic exile, Morocco has been readmitted into the African Union (AU). Previously, the country had left the organisation after the AU made a series of statements in support of the Polisario Front. The Polisario Front- who have been seeking the right to an independent nation-state in Western Sahara- have been engaged in verbal and military combat with the Moroccan government since the start of the Western Sahara War in 1975. I have mixed emotions towards this decision, and this is what I want to outline in this piece.