Monday Headlines

When The Guns Fall Silent, What Next For Syria?
The ongoing Vienna talks on the Syrian war have centered on fighting ISIS, but Anthony Cordesman believes says there is no evidence that outside forces can restore order within Syria. Even if a truce is brokered, what kind of nation will Syria be and will the nation be able to move forward to a better future.

“There is no reliable way to estimate the cost of the fighting in economic terms, but it is again clear that most of these costs have been borne by people in the areas where Assad forces have fought other rebel movements,” he says, adding that the human cost is also immeasurable.

“Once the situation stabilizes, Syria will have to grapple with immediate economic challenges. It will also need to support the return of internally displaced people and refugees in neighboring countries, rebuild the country’s infrastructure, enhance the provision of public services including health and education, and rebuild the social fabric of the country,” laments Cordesman.

A Program To Foster Peace Between Israeli, Palestinian Kids Soldiers On
Fred Strasser of the US Institute of Peace visits the group Kids4Peace to see how the group that brings Israeli and Palestinian children together makes its way forward in times of increased violence and strife.
The Geopolitics Of Faith
While there are a variety of explanations for the resurgence of religious politics, an understanding of precisely how religion relates to modern politics is missing. Author Scott Hibbard attempts to put religion in its context in his upcoming book, Nations under God: The Geopolitics of Faith in the Twenty-First Century.

“Over the last twenty-five years, the world has witnessed an increased level of political activism by religious individuals and organisations. This resurgence of religious politics is evident in the violent sectarianism and exclusive religious identities of the contemporary Middle East, the persistent communalism in South Asia and the continued salience of an illiberal religious politics in the United States and elsewhere. Conceptually, the trend is interesting given the assumptions of secularisation theory, which predicted that the influence of traditional belief systems would diminish with the onset of economic and political development.

“The persistence of religious politics has also given rise to the view that diplomats, politicians and political scientists all need to better understand religion if they are going to understand contemporary international politics,” argues Hibbard.


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