The CSS Blog Network

Relief as thousands recognized as Ivoirian citizens*

Image by Michael Fleshman/Flickr.

ABIDJAN, 22 March 2013 (IRIN) – Which of Côte d’Ivoire’s 20 million inhabitants qualify as nationals is a question that has driven political debate and conflict here for many years, and one that came to the fore earlier this month when thousands of people who had lived here all their lives were finally, and simultaneously in a public ceremony, given formal citizenship documents.

While around 140,000 similarly eligible residents have received documentary confirmation of their Ivoirian citizenship since 2011, the public ceremony held earlier this month in the administrative capital, Yamoussoukro, made waves because the documents were given to more than 8,000 people at the same time.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in Côte d’Ivoire who qualify for Ivoirian nationality but who, for various, reasons lack the documents to prove it. Because many are descended from people from other west African countries, they are often regarded as foreigners. In law, they are effectively stateless. » More

Kyrgyzstan: China Muscles into Energy Market, Fueling Suspicion

Image by Sergio Russo/Flickr.

China is financing the construction of Kyrgyzstan’s first major oil refinery, and excitement is building in Bishkek that the facility could enable the Central Asian nation to break Russia’s fuel-supply monopoly. At the same time, some observers express concern that the project may stoke local resentment, or become enmeshed in political infighting.

The refinery in Kara-Balta, about two hours west of Bishkek, is expected to produce 600,000 tons of fuel annually, enough to end Kyrgyzstan’s dependency on Russian imports, currently pegged at 1,150,000 tons a year, according to the State Statistics Committee. Slated to receive crude piped from Chinese-run fields in Kazakhstan, the project, operated by a smallish Chinese state-run entity called Junda, has already witnessed regular environmental protests and labor disputes, which one lawmaker claims are backed by opposition politicians bent on using the facility as a weapon in a political struggle against the government. » More

Jordan’s Forgotten Youth Problem

Image by Alexander Nikishin/Flickr.

King Abdullah’s post-election euphoria disguises the enduring challenge of youth political participation in Jordan. The country’s western allies have adopted a similar relaxed posture towards the palace-led reforms. Yet the state’s continued claims of “reform success” neglect the sentiment of the country’s unsettled youth. Representing more than half the population and the bulk of the unemployed, unrest among Jordanian youth-–particularly tribal elements-continues to fester. Impending austerity measures set against these social pressures present a critical juncture for the state.

Jordan’s recent elections ushered into power various tribal coalitions and independent businessmen, groups considered loyal to King Abdullah II and likely to resist substantive reform. While the level of youth participation–and active boycott–is unknown, skepticism towards state-led reform abounds among many young Jordanians. Instead, concerns about their own economic livelihood remain a top focus. » More

The Shangpu Revolution

Image by g_yulong/Flickr.

On early Sunday, a reported 3,000 police and security troops surrounded the Chinese village of Shangpu. They fired tear gas, severed communications, shut off the electricity, and removed wrecked vehicles. They cleared off roadblocks that residents had erected. Some 30 to 40 villagers were hurt in fierce fighting. “It’s an extremely serious situation,” one resident told AFP. “They injured many people.”

The incident began in February when villagers fought pitched battles with dozens of thugs sent by Li Baoyu to break up a protest against a seizure of 33 hectares of farmland. Li, the Communist Party chief of the village, had arranged for the land to be transferred to Wanfeng Investment, controlled by businessman Wu Guicun. Wu had planned to build factories making electrical cables. » More

The Terrorist Mind

Image by Joe Crawford (artlung) / Flickr.

Security experts are pointing to the emergence of an arc of terrorist activity that stretches from the Sahel region of Africa, through the Maghreb region, all the way to the Arabian Peninsula. Increasingly, experts pinpoint the latest hotspots in the global geography of terrorism and then rationalize their existence as being the result of environmental conditions particular to that country or region. Growing concerns about “North African extremism” and “Yemen’s transnational militant jihadism” epitomize a problematic trend in the analysis of the roots of terrorism: the assumption that the origins of terrorism can be traced to a specific set of geographical and socio-economic conditions. The interdependent factors that underlie fragile states, such as natural resource scarcity and poverty, resource wealth and corruption, and weak centralized authority and disaffected minority groups, are used to explain the distribution and diffusion of terrorism among and within states.

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