I thought I would share this list of all employment websites focusing on government, NGO, development, IR focus. I am based in london, so there is a slight bias towards london but many of these websites are global/ USA focus. May the odds be ever in your favour.
On the importance of starting your day right.
bigger is not alway stronger.
By Soner Cagaptay — Special to CNN
Could Turkey really go to war against Syria? If it were to do so, Ankara would need to find a way to deal with the increasingly sectarian nature of the conflict in Syria and its potential ramifications inside Turkey.
The regime of Bashar al-Assad has enjoyed overwhelming support among Syria’s minority Alawite population. The country’s Sunni majority, on the other hand, is leading the anti-Assad rebellion. Turkey’s push-back against al-Assad has drawn attention to a possible risk for Ankara: A sectarian Sunni-versus-Alawite conflict in Syria could potentially spill over into neighboring Turkey, causing tensions between Turkey’s Alevis and the government in Ankara.
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Interesting little snippets of the digital media team for Obama during the elections in 2012 from Jonathan Alter.
In an age of Big Data everywhere, the 2012 American election both party geared up with the best techies, data analysts and digital marketers. But it was not the tech that made the most difference. Instead of outsourcing or modifying already existing application techs tried to build everything in house. Techs had estimated a workable product by 2016. There was clear friction between the techs and the rest of the team. The digital analysts and marketers pick it up much of the slack. I certainly remembered the many meme that went viral and the Barack Obama tumblr.
Most important for the Obama geek squad was Facbook and the use to target individuals in swing states. The highly effective mobilisation of votes through Facebook was also looked in a more academic setting in a paper made that September by James Fowler.
photo: AP/Emilio Morenatti
Mr. Sharif has been accused of many things in the past such as corruption and was disposed by the army in a coup during his second term but he is back this year for a third term. The news of Sharif’s win in the Pakistan election this week has been more or less hailed with warm congratulation from everybody. His opponent Mr. Khan said he was glade that the election went well, adding that this a great step towards a more democratic and stable Pakistan. The international community also sent their congratulations, most prominent among them was Mr. Obama and Mr. Singh, the Prime Minister for India. They are many reason why Mr. Singh and Mr. Obama would be happy to work with Sharif. Mr. Sharif is a strong proponent of the free market capitalism and he will do his outmost to control the military power that be after their checkered history.
Yet many mutual interests does not automatically translate into great friendship. Mr. Obama is deeply unpopular in Pakistan. Pakistan with Isreal were the only countries where they have voted in the USA election would have voted for Mitt Romney. Mr. Sharif during the election like many of the other candidate have talked against the USA drone war in Pakistan and would like to see an end to them. Mr. Sharif also wants to talk to the pakistan Taliban to find a diplomatic peaceful solution. He also tried during his last term to impose sharia law in Pakistan. Mr. Sharif will find it hard to work with the more robust judiciary system but perhaps he will be more cautious than he was 13 years ago.Mr. Sharif first priority after all is to secure an IMF bailout and continuation of USA aid to try and improve the economy. Mr. Sharif was elected on a mostly economic platform, Pakistan ailing infrastructure means that many industry lack a constant reliable power supply. Pakistan’s economy is also being crippled by spiralling inflation and widespread unemployment.
This focus on the economy, Taliban and corruption was reflected in many other campaigns running in this year election. Many other issues looked at by western media such as the blasphemy laws, minority rights, freedom of press was a non issues for the majority.
The other two major parties in the running were the Pakistan People Party led by Benazir Bhutuo’s widower Asif Ali Zardari and Tehreek-e-Insaf party led by the former cricketer Mr. Khan which both won around 11 percent of the national assembly seats. These results pale in comparison to the 41 percent share secured by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led by Mr. Sharif. Mr. Khan has been the most vocal about election rigging which many attribute to his high expectation of winning the elections.Mr. Khan has hard last week of companying from his hospital bed after a fall while at a rally where he broke a vertebra. His lack of experience might have hurt him as well as Sharif favourite campaign line was that he played cricket once but he brought nuclear power to Pakistan.
The PPP’s fall can be easily explained.They have won only 31 seat this year a, stark fall from 2008 where they had 78 seats in the national assembly just after Bhutto was assassinated.Asif Ali Zardarias presidents has watched over the economic stagnation of Pakistan, he has been accused of corruption and as head of the party has overseen infighting.Benazir Bhutto’ and Asif Ali Zardari‘s son is the young PPP chairmen Bilawal Bhutto left for Dubai during much of the campaign.No clear explanation was given, rumours spread that it was because of a tiff with his father or that it was Taliban threats. There also has been defection from voters and party members to Mr. Khan.
The election has not been peaceful but has been deemed relatively fair in most part of the country and with a huge win margin of 41 percent for The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawazand high number of turnout of 60 percent it will be hard to transform election irregularities into full fledge election rigging allegation.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led by Mr. Shariff has won 125 seats but it will still have to attract independents or create a coalition as it needs137 seat out of the 272 seats reserved for directly elected member which does not include 70 seats reserved for women and non-muslim.
Photo: Saint Peter, first Bishop of Rome
If there is one institution that knows real politicking it is the Catholic Church and this was certainly seen this week with the election of a new pope. It has been great fun to watch with the media attention from for example the guardian with choose your own pope pontificator and is there white smoke. Twitter and other website like the pope alarm joined the papal election watch as well.
The excitement is understandable with the resignation of Benedict XVI, the first pope to do so in over 600 years (maybe this signifies a return to antipopes as well?). The ancient election of the conclave has changed little since its first modern incarnation in 1276; no communication with the outside world, burning of the paper votes and food abates to nothing after 8 days. There is nothing like the imminent prospect of starvation and death to help the indecisive, which was learned after the conclave of 1268-1271.
Although very few laws change with the Catholic Church after all the church is about tradition and will always be at odds with change and modernization (The Smithsonian predicted in 1989 that by 2000 there would be women clergy), it surprising that the election rule has changed several time in the last two decades. Pope John Paul II in 1996, when it changed from a two third majority to a majority rule (50%). In 2007 it was reverted back by Pope Benedict to a two third majority so that the elected pop will likely be a compromise candidate.
A total of 115 cardinals were eligible this year as cardinals over 80 aren’t allowed to be part of the cardinal-electorate. This rule meant that the dean of the college cardinal, 85 year old Cardinal Angelo Sodano couldn’t participate. Another notable cardinal missing from the conclave this year is Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien who had to resign shortly before the cardinal summons due to allegation from fellow priests of inappropriate action. So that the final breakdown of cardinal-elector was 67 were appointed by Benedict XVI, and 49 by his predecessor John Paul II. In terms of geographical background, 60 were European and more specifically one third of those were Italian. Outside Europe- 19 came Latin Americans, 14 North Americans, 11 Africans, 10 Asians and one cardinal from Oceania.
The elections only took two days, which shows that Pope Francis from Argentina was a straightforward choice for most elector-cardinals. There had been speculation that the Catholic Church would choose a pope that represented the growing percentage of people in the faith (the Catholic Church constituents) outside Europe. This specifically meant looking at either an African pope or Latin American where the Catholic Church is still strong.
The conclave is secret and there is no open campaigning on the part of the cardinals. Therefor vetoing of the papal candidate by the public and media only happens after the pope is elected. Media has been in a flurry about Pope Francis past and what kind of pope he will be. There has been some reports that he might have turned a blind eye to the military Juntas while a priest in Argentina. He also interestingly enough has links to Communion and Liberation(CL) which also has close political relations with Berlusconi: “CL helped put Silvio Berlusconi on Italy’s political map two decades ago by drawing a crucial swath of Catholic supporters to his side, particularly in wealthy northern regions such as Lombardy.”
It would seem that secular and catholic politics run deep in Italy and are not so easily divided. For those who want to try their luck in the next papal elections here is a quick guide.
photo: SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images
Uhuru Kenyatta, son of the founding president Jomo Kenyatta, was elected by Kenya this week and officially confirmed by the EICB five days later. This year’s election happened peacefully and to an international standard despite glitches with the new electronic vote transmission system which crashed. The Kenyan election this year received a considerable amount of press due to the ethnic violence involved during the last election in 2007, however a major effort by the media and politicians seem to have kept it to a minimum. Although media self-censorship was to some extent positive in minimizing violence, one should question whether it is altogether a positive step forward. To some extent this self-censorship meant that important issues were not discussed in the media or by politicians.
This has come as no surprise for Mutahi Ngunyi who has seen the Kikuyu Kenyatta as the clear winner as early as December when voter registration closed, arguing that Kenya would vote along ethnic line. This was for example seen to some extent in the rift valley, a predominately Kikuyu area, where 98% of the Kenyans voted for Kenyatta. This is certainly not the whole picture, as Kenyatta-Ruto’s Jubilee Alliance only made up 39% of the ethnic population. Other factors were also involved, such as the historic and highly emotive issue of land distribution and internally displaced population in Kenya.
As one of the largest land owners in the lush rift valley which has a rich soil it is unlikely that Kenyatta with will land reform. The land inherited from his father who came into power when Kenya became independent from the British in 1963. Despite British fear of handing power to Jomo Kenyatta’s Kenya African National Union nothing was done to reform the individual freehold title registration system which was in place during colonial times. The Kenyattas and the Kikuyu tribe settled in the rift valley and acquired a vast amount of land legally through the World Bank-supported settlement transfer funds scheme in 60’s and 70’s. Although in no way illegal, many feel this essentially amounted to simple land grab. This was reflected in the agriculturally land poor coastal region of Kenya where Uhuru Kenyatta gained less than 10% of the votes.
There is greater controversy regarding the dubious origins of William Ruto’s wealth. Kenyatta and Ruo were heavily promoted by the Moi presidency; Ruto was in charge of financing the youth kanu club support for Moi in 1997 elections. It has been alleged that Ruto sudden wealth came from the money skimmed of the youth group. This close association is reflected in the nickname of the Moi youth club that Kenyatta and Ruto have acquired in the press.
Another factor which may have contributed to Kenyatta’s lead over his competitor is ironically his impending International Criminal Court (ICC) trial. Kenyatta is alleged to have fomented violence in the 2007 election. Many Kenyans lost their lives in the post election ethnic conflict, and the scars were still felt today by many more in this past week’s election. The ICC and the international community (primarily United State Ambassador Johnnie Carson and the former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan) repeated warnings about electing Kenyatta, spurred many Kenyans to equate that a vote for Kenyatta was a vote for nationalism. In the words of Edward Kirathe, a real estate developer and a passionate Kenyatta supporter “Kenyans may be tribalists but we are also nationalists”. Kenyatta is hopeful that the charges will be dropped like Muthaura but if not he has offered to rule Kenya via Skype during his trial in July.
Kenya is an important logistic hub in Africa for journalists, humanitarians and businesses as well as being an important ally for western countries. Kenya has been significant in fighting the Al-Shabba terrorist group in Somalia. Alongside his ICC trial and the fact that Kenyatta campaigned on an anti-west platform, it is still unlikely that trading, donor or diplomatic relations with the west will end anytime soon.
The troubling issue that will almost certainly arise is the ethnic conflict that seemed to be dormant during the election. Voting strongly along ethnic lines and for political dynasties reflects upon a weak institutional government. The ICC trial will be more damaging during the summer when a Kalenjin Ruto and Kikuyu Kenyatta go on trial bringing ethnic tension to the coalition.
Moreover another source of ethnic tension within the coalition is the issue of devolution, Ruto being strong supporter of devolution and Kenyatta staunch supporter for strengthening central government. This will be exacerbated by the development of mining, gas and oil, which strongly encourages inequalities between class, ethnicity and regions.
photo: Reuters Yara Nardi
Italy went to the poles on Sunday the 24th of February to vote and like many other European countries rejected the harsh austerity measure. This has been seen in recent election all across Europe such as France, Netherlands and Greece. Although there seem to be no clear winner, the clear loser was Mario Monti. Monti’s party won only about 10% of the votes. Mr. Monti terrible downfall is not surprising not only because of the harsh anti-austerity sentiment but as well as his choice to run in the election in the first place. He was after all a technocrat interim prime minister who was supposed to step down for the election.
Italy’s will have to try to cobble some sort of working coalition from the three biggest winner from the election which were Bersani centre left, Berlusconi centre right with both about 30% of the votes and Grillo five star party with 25%. The most likely coalition will between Bersani and Berlusconi. There has been some doubt of how easy it will for a coalition to be built.
One of the reason building a strong coalition will be necessary is in 2005 when Berloscuni was still in power, among the many laws passed, such as the law against persecuting the president for fraud, was a change in the way elections were determined. This changed from first past the post (majority vote) to proportional representation. This has significant repercussion as in Italian democracy where both houses are equal (perfect bicameralism) and therefor a majority party has to win both houses. This was introduced before the last election so that Berlusconi could keep himself in power. Its is also interesting to note that the election was called two months early when Berlusconi’s party pulled its support from Monti’s government.
It is a surprised that Berlusconi managed to do as well as he did to many outside of Italy. Where he has been found guilty and sentenced to four year in prison last year (reduced to one year) and most recently to a further year for breach of confidentiality when he released a wiretapped conversation.
Another reason is even though Berlusconi campaign on an anti austerity platform, he was one of many candidates to do so and Bersani seemed like a valid alternative. Although Berlusconi did go further and pledge to not only reduce taxes but reimburse taxes already paid. Perhaps another reason is the fall in voter turn out by 7% to 55%. Many Italian feel delusioned by Italian politics. A clear sign that Italian want to see change in their politics is the rapid rise of the comedienne Beppe Grillo and his Five Star Party. Whether this young, anarchic and inexperienced party will be able to bring any solid and productive fiscal political policy that has positive change in another matter.
Image from BAZ RATNER / REUTERS
Netanhayu has won the Israeli election this year however not many of his party or his voters will see it as a victory. Netanhayu’s party, Likud Beitenu lost 11 of their 42 seats, some of which were gained by the ultraorthodox and moderate centrists. This means Netanyahu will have to scramble to form a coalition for a parliamentary majority, flirting with both the more moderate centrist party Yesh Atid and the ultra orthodox Jewish Home party. In many ways the Israeli elections this year have been devoid of content leading it to be referred to as a “Seinfeld election”; although this has not dampened voters, which rose to around 66%.
Israel has major issues such as government corruption and the ever-present question of Palestine. However like many OECD countries it also has a looming 10 billion deficits and eroding middle class. Israel has a Gini coefficient of 0.37 which is slightly less than the USA at 0.38. In the words of the great James Carville “it’s the economy, stupid.” One of the reasons that may have led to Netanhayu meager victory could be that his election campaign was based on the vague term of “Strength”. This was evident in late 2012 in the hawkish and warmongering stance Netanyahu had towards Palestine which resulted in skirmishes and bombing of Gaza city. Only through some diplomacy with Egypt taking its traditional role did the violence quiet down. Iran is Netanyahu other bugbear, the strained relationship between Iran and the rest of the world has certainly not been helped by threats from Israel about the possibility of air strikes nor by Israel’s murky relationship with Azerbaijan. Although during the USA presidential campaign nothing but full support from President Obama for Israel attacks on Gaza City was shown, yet as soon as the USA elections were won Obama was quick to distance himself from Netanyahu and was reported have said “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are”. These issues are deepening Israel’s isolation from the rest OECD community.
If the centrists do join Netanyahu, how much of a difference they will make remains to be seen. The Yesh Atid very much veers to the right when compared to Western countries. Their view about Palestine is more in agreement with Netanyahu, than for example the Labour Party. Major contentious domestic issues between the moderate Yesh Atid and ultra-orthodox Jewish Home, such as, the special treatment of the growing number of ultra-orthodox receive is resented by many Israelis. If the Yesh Atid does have any visible affect it will be on the domestic issues not Israel’s foreign policy. Major foreign policy changes in regard to Palestine will probably not change especially when considering that Arab Israelis party has been reduced to two seats in Knesset even though arabs make up 20 percent of the population.
Netanyahu has won another term in office but he will be playing much more the role of a power broker between the orthodox extremist and centrist party than as a head of state.