Category Archives: Community

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 […]

Yes, President Trump, talking IS the answer!

It’s fair to say that no-one who understands the basics of international relations believes that President Donald Trump also understands how they work. His latest statement – sorry, Tweet – that ‘talking is not the answer’ regarding tensions with North Korea is a glaring case in point. Trump’s threats and ‘show of force’ over North […]

Aid agencies flee following Rohingya – Myanmar clashes

When Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy was elected to government in November 2015, there was a wave of relief across Myanmar, and the world, that, after decades of repression, things would change for the better. For many citizens of Myanmar there has been positive change, if most of it occurring prior to […]

Timor-Leste heading towards minority, but stable, government

Although unlikely to be formalized before 22 August, the shape of Timor-Leste’s next government is starting to become clear. It appears that Fretilin, as the ‘most voted’ party, will form a minority government, probably in alliance with the ‘youth’ party, KHUNTO. This alliance will give the government 27 seats in the 65 seat parliament. The […]

Timor-Leste’s political unity ended

Timor-Leste went into the 2017 parliamentary elections with a general expectation that the two major parties, CNRT and Fretilin, would continue to dominate the small country’s politics and return to the coalition they had since 2015. That coalition gave Timor-Leste stability and promised stability into the future, if at the expense of a viable opposition. […]