Category Archives: Community

East Timor on the brink

As East Timor went to elections this year, the country was the most peaceful and united it had been in its short history. The CNRT-Fretilin government of national inclusion had functioned well, it appeared that the ‘Generation of ‘75’ exemplified by Xanana Gusmao, was stepping back from politics and, with the initialing of an agreement […]

Hope for an end to Yemen civil war dashed with death of former president

The death of former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh as he fled the capital of Sanaa has ended hopes of a possible end to Yemen’s civil war. Saleh abandoned his Houthi rebel allies on the weekend, sparking severe fighting in Sanaa. Despite having an initial advantage, Saleh’s less numerous forces were quickly overwhelmed and Saleh […]

Mugabe’s fall from … Grace

‘It is not a coup and anyone who says it is will be shot’, or so should have said Zimbabwe’s military after they took Robert Mugabe and his wife into custody, patrolled the capital of Harare in tanks and positioned troops on the streets.  Zimbabweans were warned not to come out because of the possibility […]

Cambodia cancels democracy

Despite the hopes once held for it by the international community, Cambodia’s long slide into becoming one-party state is now effectively complete. Cambodia’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has announced that the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) will be banned and that its seats will be redistributed among other parties, including his governing Cambodian People’s […]

Kurdistan’s five hurdles to independence

Iraq’s military, backed by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, has captured the city of Kirkuk and nearby oil fields that had been held by the Kurdish regional government’s Peshmerga forces since 2014. The question is whether this has dealt a death blow to Kurdish hopes for a separate state, manifested in an overwhelming vote for independence in […]

Independence driven by emotion, rarely pragmatism

The powerful emotions that produce the call for ‘independence’ have been increasingly seen on the streets of Barcelona is recent days. Those powerful emotions can drive people to extremes, in some cases including killing and dying. Yet for the high price often paid, independence movements are rarely successful and their outcomes are usually less than […]

Catalan independence referendum showdown with Madrid

The overwhelming vote of Catalonia’s referendum in favour of independence yesterday was hardly surprising, nor was the violence that accompanied it as police tried to shut down voting. Not all Catalans want independence from Spain, so avoided the vote, leaving the field clear for independence supporters, while sovereign states are usually loath to see any […]

Indonesia on notice – West Papuans still want independence

In a move that is expected to wind Indonesia’s military into a frenzy and which will again start an Indonesian witch-hunt for Australian supporters, a West Papuan petition calling for a vote on independence has been presented to the United Nations’ Decolonisation Committee. The petition demands a free vote on West Papua’s independence as well […]

Boycotting Myanmar

In July 2015, the then still relatively new Australia Myanmar Institute held an international conference at Yangon University. It was the first time that an international conference had been held at that university and the first time that politics had been openly discussed there since 1962. It was a great moment, before the elections which […]

Cambodia’s slide towards dictatorship nearing completion

Blighted by anti-colonial war, revolution, a genocidal regime and then a civil war, it was hoped that the United Nations intervention in Cambodia a quarter of a century ago would result in a stable multi-party democracy. In recent days, however, Cambodia’s long slide back towards naked dictatorship has become all but complete. Last weekend, Cambodia’s […]