The Democratic Credentials of the Anti-IS Coalition
Many observers have noted that the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State includes several unsavory partners, including Saudi Arabia, which Freedom House consistently rates among the “worst of the worst” in its annual Freedom in the World report.
However, a closer look at the official list of coalition countries and their respective scores reveals that the group is, on average, better at upholding political rights and civil liberties than the world at large.
The actual contributions of tiny and distant states like Luxembourg and Iceland are probably rather small, while those of others, like France, are more substantial. But the overall breakdown of coalition countries indicates that without the involvement of the United States and its democratic allies, the Islamic State crisis would be left in the hands of regional powers with human rights records that range from mediocre to extremely poor, making a positive outcome—which is already in doubt—even less likely.
Analyses and recommendations offered by the authors do not necessarily reflect those of Freedom House.
The government’s decision to reignite the Kurdish conflict is a cynical ploy to recover the ruling party’s parliamentary majority. It is also a disastrous strategic blunder that has drawn in the United States.
Photo: Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki
The depraved slaughter of civilians in Syria, which began with sniper fire on peaceful demonstrators and later degenerated into bombings of residential areas and execution-style killings of women and children, masks a darker truth. While the violence of the current crackdown distinguishes Syria today, it emerges from decades of brutal dictatorship, and equally brutal dictatorships are alive and well across the globe. They tend to get noticed only when particularly gross abuses take place or they escape attention almost entirely. For close to one-fourth of the world’s population, intense repression has become routine.
If you’re following the 2014 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul this week, you might want to refresh your memory about internet freedom around the world.