The horrific figures of death and human suffering in Syria are bewildering. Over 2 million people have been forced to flee the country as refugees, over 6.5 million people are internally displaced and over 100,000 people have been killed as the civil war rages on.
It’s hard to really imagine such destruction, and several satellite images by Human Rights Watch highlight how whole neighbourhoods have been obliterated.
This is the Mezzeh area, Damascus. You can see extensive demolition of dozens of high-rise residential and commercial buildings along the main road between Mezzeh Air Base and the neighborhood of Daraya.
This is the Masha’ al-Arb’een neighbourhood, Hama.
See more images like this over at Human Rights Watch.
With Jonna starting a new job and myself doing actual PhD and teaching work rather than watching cat videos all day, we’ve been a bit slow getting Friday links together so here’s a few things that have caught my eye today:
The beeb have a short guide to the rebel/opposition forces in Syria. As you can see the majority of them are not Jihadist, something which might surprise you if you were to watch/read most of the British media.
Vice have an interesting piece on Jihadist culture in Syria. Parts of it seem to just echo a lot of the typical ‘Syrain rebels = Jihadist’ angle, but it has some interesting stuff on the role music is playing in Syria. Apparently “Al Qaeda is the Simon Cowell of the war zone, churning out hits the war-weary public wants and in doing so, providing itself with the perfect promotional gimmick.”
Meanwhile everyone’s favourite right-wing-fictional-daily-sewerage-spout has a piece with the headline “Tunisia’s ‘sex jihadis’ who were sent to Syria to have sex with 100 rebels EACH are coming home pregnant with their children”. You stay classy Daily Mail.
On another note, Politics has a virtual issue out which is all about teaching and learning in IR and politics, it’s an interesting read having just started teaching myself and worth checking out if you’re a student, researcher or teacher of global politics.
If you’re just starting out on the PhD path in IR and you’re based in the UK then this event organised by the BISA postgrad network will be of interest. It’s in London on the 6th of November and registration closes on the 30th of October.
Oh, and here’s ten reasons why recent intelligence leaks are not threats to national security. Have a nice weekend!
Hope everyone has had a great week – here are a few interesting things we’ve come across (usually while avoiding other work):
First up, the US government shutdown is now in its second week. Lots of interesting things have been published on this, and of course it has huge implications for government staff who either aren’t allowed to work or have to work for no pay. On the security front, it also means that 90% of US nuclear safety regulators were shut down yesterday. The article notes that ‘If something truly terrible goes down, of course, they’ll be able to call in emergency backup’ – though efforts to actually make reactors safer are now officially on hold. While we usually think of the US as a ‘reliable’ nuclear power state in terms of safety procedures, Greenpeace US have long campaigned to shut down American nuclear reactors, with some success in particularly problematic cases.
The Guardian have started a worthwhile debate over UK universities overseas partners, as six UK universities set up campuses in Uzbekistan – a country with an abysmal human rights record – including forced labour practices. This report also follows discussions from earlier this year over UK universities’ investment in (and generally close ties to) fossil fuel industries. Isn’t it time to start holding universities accountable for unethical practices?
A guest post on the Duck of Minerva asks, Why didn’t the US ‘re-interpret’ the UN Charter on Syria?
Some research found interesting links between slave ownership and modern management practices. Control over every aspect of human lives basically allowed slave owners to maximise productivity, and the lessons learnt are still used in management today.
Lastly: Don’t be that dude: handy tips for the male academic – a discussion that unfortunately still needs to be had, in 2013.
Have a good weekend all!
New podcast series from the Politics department at the University of Birmingham, this week covering:
‘Barack Obama’s erratic handling of the Syria crisis, the legal and political questions surrounding international intervention in the civil war there, and the consequences for Britain’s world role of parliament’s vote against participation in any military strikes’
Available here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/government-society/departments/political-science-international-studies/news/2013/09/syria-politics-podcast-01.aspx