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June 2014

Tuesday is Decision Day in Baghdad

Come Tuesday in Baghdad, Iraq's parliament will determine the future stability of that already fractured nation, when they meet to decide upon a new prime minister, a new president and a new speaker of parliament. Much is at stake in terms of these selections -  for Iraq has been besieged by lightning fast attacks and occupation from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant(ISIL), which has overrun much of Iraq's north and west along with large tracts of territory in Syria. Yesterday, ISIL declared a Caliphate of taken territory between the two conflict ridden countries.

Europe's Struggle: Past Grandeur Vs. Future Integration

At College in Miami, Florida, during the last decade of the last millennium(now I feel really old), my International Relations professor, Dr. William Primus, introduced our class to this grand integration movement taking hold of Europe that could result in a large bloc of people wrapped into an economic pact that could spread prosperity for Europe - The Maastricht Treaty, which gave birth to the European Union(EU). Over the years, I continue to share Dr. Primus's enthusiasm and hopes for the EU.

A Tale of Two Commemorations to 100 Years-ago

On this date 100 years-ago, Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip assassinated heir to the Austria-Hungary empire Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. That event set in motion World War One. A Brief chronological look back at some key events of that trenched war:

June 28, 1914: Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo.

July 28, 1914: Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia.

August 1, 1914: Germany declares war on Russia.

August 3, 1914: Germany declares war on France.

August 4, 1914: The United Kingdom(UK) declares war on Germany after Germany invades Belgium.

Ukraine Signs onto Democracy and Out of Russian Dominance

Ukraine completed months of upheaval to democratization and to westernization earlier today when it finally signed an association agreement with the European Union(EU). In Brussels, Belgium, Ukraine was joined by Moldova and Georgia in signing agreements with the EU and all three expressed the desire for full membership into the 500 million people EU.

Though Russia has threatened "grave consequences", greater security and economic comfort could now be enjoyed by theses three former soviet states whose people are seeking westernization away from Russian dominance and insecurity.

Ukraine: Your Arduous Russia-Impeding Journey to the EU is Neigh

Freedom is never free. Ukraine must know this by now. But through the perseverance of Western aspiring Ukrainians, who took to the Maidan last year, come Friday, Ukraine will leave a rusting relationship with Russia behind and enter into a new phase of Ukrainian history when the country formally signs an economic and political pact with the European Union(EU) that former president Yanukovych reneged upon, thus setting the stage for the turmoil that has engulfed Ukraine for months.

On Friday,Ukraine will join Moldova and Georgia in signing agreements with the EU to liberalize trade and get technical assistance and funds so that they may adapt to EU standards while promoting human rights and democracy at home along with pledging to fight corruption and live by the rule of law.

Finally, A Rational Action from Russia?

Seriously! Could it be really true that Russian President Vladimir Putin is drawing down Russian troops from Ukraine and that today he will ask the Federation Council to renounce the right it gave him back on March 1 to invade Ukraine? If it is indeed true, then it amounts to a first rational action and decision by the Putin in quite sometime. Moreover, when Russia's upper house grants the expected renouncement today, it should give added restraint to the loose ceasefire declared in Ukraine by Petro Poroshenko's government and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Of Weak Insecure Governments - the Suppression of the Press and of Freedoms

It is easy to identify weak insecure sensitive governments once records of the Press and human rights freedoms are examined. I submit that in countries with weak governments or mostly with authoritarian rulers, suppression of human rights and of the Press, become prevalent as policy in attempts to retain power in light of real societal problems governments would rather not address. In China, it has become the norm to censor and to suppress the Press and human freedoms so that the communists could cling to absolute power.

The Questionable Justice of Egyptian Courts

Three journalists were convicted and jailed for seven years earlier today by an Egyptian court. Egypt's courts have determined that the reputable journalists conspired to broadcast false news in order to destabilize Egypt, as reported by the New York Times. These journalists have now joined a growing list of thousands in Egypt who are arrested, tried, and jailed for offenses which are questionable by any standard. But this recent harsh sentence handed down to reporters for Al Jazeera, demonstrates the subtle fragility and sensitivity of the Egyptian government to objectivity and its continued use of the judiciary to control dissent.

The Lure to Jihad by Western Youth...Its Roots

In the United Kingdom(UK), a father after witnessing his 20-year-old son -  a medical doctor prospect, in a video recruiting Jihadists, tearfully pleads with his son to come home. His call is not alone, for as conflicts rage in Syria and Iraq, some 500 Brits, unknown numbers of French, German and American youth, have taken up the call for Jihad. Why? Why would youth want to leave the safety and sanctity of freedom in the West to venture into the jaws of death and conflict in the Middle East?

Sectarian Conflicts - Failures at Inclusiveness by Nations

From Iraq to Syria, Nigeria and beyond, sectarian conflicts continue to grow more violent and to gain more notoriety. But these conflicts are no new phenomena. Wherever people live under authoritarian rule, there is a likelihood sectarian conflict will break out. Sectarian conflicts emerge when Nations fail to grant recourse to sects with legitimate grievances. Conflicts also become real when a ruling group dominates and oppresses another until a time when the situation is reversed, then the whole process is repeated over and over; over generations, over borders.