25 April 2015

Liberland: latest microstate attracts 200,000

A libertarian micro-state called Liberland, set up in a no-man's-land between Serbia and Croatia, has attracted 200,000 applications.

24 April 2015

When do rebellions turn into a battle for the capital?

Oddly enough, this is not entirely obvious and can be apparently paradoxical:
... ‘multipolar’ civil wars are fought nearest to the capital, while ‘bipolar’ conflicts are fought substantially further away and ‘unipolar’ conflicts are fought largely in the periphery. Multipolar wars exist where the government and two or more rebel groups are evenly matched (Afghanistan in the early 1990s is an example). Bipolar wars exist where the government and one rebel group are evenly matched (such as in Rwanda in 1994) and unipolar wars exist where the government is much stronger than the rebels (such as the numerous ethnic insurgencies in Myanmar). The study also showed that internally divided rebel groups are more likely to fight in capital cities.
The paper: ‘Capital punishment’: Bargaining and the geography of civil war

Quote taken from: Why Was There No “Battle for Baghdad”? 

found at excellent: Political Violence @ a Glance

22 April 2015

Obituary: Matiullah Khan, police chief of Uruzgan

From the Lowy Interpreter
Matiullah Khan, the police chief of Uruzgan and once a strong ally of US and Australian special forces in the Afghan province, was killed yesterday in Kabul.
As with many obituaries, this obituary by Susanne Schmeidl is of a man I wish I had known about while he was still alive.

11 April 2015

Singapore's rise overstated

Arguably, Singapore's economic miracle has been overstated. According to this research, Singapore was already relatively rich at independence.

04 April 2015

Interest rates over the last 5000 years

Courtesy of the indispensable Lowy Interpreter: