Links to Start Your Week 12/21/14

Finals are done. I have completed my first semester of graduate school! Here are links for this week, and you can expect a longer written post later this week.

Middle East

Take a look behind the scenes of Abu Dhabi’s Guggenheim, at the conditions of the migrant laborers who are building it and the labor rights activists trying to defend them. New York University and the Louvre are foreign sponsors of the project. It also reflects on academic freedom, freedom of expression, and how scholars and artists who support the project are being bought off.

Jordan has hanged 11 men. Prior to this execution, Jordan had not utilized the death penalty in 8 years.

Abundant oil has been keeping the Persian Gulf monarchies wealthy, to the point where they have been able to use oil revenue to essentially buy stability. However, their growing domestic demand for oil could undermine both their stability and the reliability of their role as oil producers for the rest of the world.

Latin America

Here is an in-depth story about the disappearance of the 43 college students in Iguala, Mexico.

I’m very excited about the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba. I interned with this fine gentleman, Wayne Smith, who served as a diplomat to Cuba before the revolution and then became the head of the Cuba project at a foreign policy think tank. This is all good news not just because of the importance of renewing ties with Cuba itself, but also removes a major point of contention in U.S. relations with the rest of Latin America.


The attack on the public school in Pakistan has led to public backlash against not only the Pakistani Taliban, but also on conservative parties with links to it. 70 people have been arrested in connection with the attack.


More than two hundred Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are still missing.


The Council on Foreign Relations released a report on what their experts think should be the top ten conflict prevention priorities for the next year.

Human Rights

Four more Guantanamo detainees have been released, these ones back to their homes in Afghanistan.

Turkish police have raided the offices of a newspaper considered to be too critical of Erdogan’s government.

Speaking of Turkey: the government is promoting state-run religious schools, building more while simultaneously limiting the number of secular schools.

The Senate torture report does not address whether or not any of the terrorism suspects tortured by the CIA were women. However, the U.S. does have links to regimes that have definitely tortured women as well. In 2004, U.S. and British intelligence rendered a 12-year-old girl to Gaddafi’s spy chief in Libya because of her father’s political beliefs. This is not to say that torture of women is worse than torture of men, but rather to point out how the presence and suffering of women is often erased. The U.S. may be redacting mention of abuse of women from its report because officials are concerned it would further inflame anti-American sentiment around the world.

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