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Weekly Links

By Danny Hirschel-Burns

Giovanni Bellini, “San Zaccaria Altarpiece,” 1505. Via Steven Zucker.

Giovanni Bellini, “San Zaccaria Altarpiece,” 1505. Via Steven Zucker.

Christopher de Bellaigue argues that those calling for a Muslim Enlightenment are missing Islam’s long entanglement with modernity. The primary cause of these calls have been ISIS, who Graeme Wood argues are driven largely by an apocalyptic ideology. There have been a number of responses to Wood, but Robert Farley’s stands out. However, despite ISIS’ brutality, Bashar al-Assad’s regime has still killed tens of thousands more people. Finally, Robyn Cresswell casts a look back at the imagined possibilities of Syria’s nascent revolution.

Henry Farrell has a unique article on the Silk Road and state-building, and why libertarian fantasies of autonomous markets fall apart.

What’s the link between information/communication technology and violence? Well there’s a positive correlation between the two, but causality is hard to pin down. One way to reduce violence is to pay off combatants, but that’s often a tricky endeavor.

Russian casualties in Ukraine are unlikely to force Putin to change course. On a similar topic, Thomas Wright examines how the United States can restrain Russia without an escalation to a war no one wants.

The Guardian alleges the Chicago Police Department has been operating a “black site” for years, where it detains prisoners without public records.

Al Jazeera released thousands of spy cables leaked from various intelligence agencies this week. One of them indicates that Sudan attempted to assassinate the AU Chairwoman in 2012. Sudan is also accusing a UN peacekeeper of rape, likely to cover up its recent mass rape in Darfur. In the DRC, hopes were high for UN peacekeepers following the introduction of the Force Intervention Bridgade, but following a number of high-profile departures and setbacks, optimism is fading. One of the reasons for the setbacks is increasingly uncooperative DRC army, which Christoph Vogel analyzes in some depth.

A critique of the ‘rising powers’ literature, which a particular focus on China.

An American Army Lieutenant has been found guilty of second-degree murder after ordering his troops to kill unarmed Afgahns in Kandahar, and his troops aren’t speaking out in his favor. Unlike soldiers operating in the field, drone operators and intelligence analysts aren’t in any physical danger, but the stress and boredom that come with the job can take their toll.

Mark Kersten argues that “Yes the ICC is in crisis. It always has been.”

Andrew Wojtanik has an article in National Interest on the dynamics surrounding regional cooperation on fighting Boko Haram in the run-up to Nigeria’s elections.

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