The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Friday Morning Linkage

October 11, 2013


  • Human Rights Watch has a new report on the killing of 190 civilians in early August by members of five Islamist rebel groups:  Ahrar al-Sham, Islamic State of Iraq and Sham,  Jabhat al-Nusra,  Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, Suquor al-Izz
  • Congratulations to Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on the Nobel Peace Prize.  They won’t have much time to celebrate given a mid-2014 timeline to destroy all of Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities.  Here’s a link to this week’s OPCW press conference on the latest from Syria with Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü and members of the Syria Advance Team.
  • Conditions for Syria’s refugees in Jordan and Lebanon are deteriorating — UNHCR estimates that there will be more than 5 million refugees by the end of 2014; UNICEF reports that children are facing early marriage, child labor, and domestic violence; food aid has been reduced in Lebanon.
  • With all of the focus on the Westgate attack in Nairobi, Kenya faces a large, neglected challenge.  According to the NGO Maisha e.v, one of every three women in Kenya has experienced gender-based violence — a far higher percentage than the 1 in 10 worldwide.
  • The situation between Sudan and South Sudan is deteriorating. Jerome Tubiana provides excellent perspective from the borderlands between the two countries.
  • Malawi President Joyce Banda dissolved her entire 25 member cabinet amid a massive corruption scandal.  Kim Dionne at haba na haba sets the context and challenges in the run-up to next May’s elections.


  • A view of Mogadishu — Tristan McConnel narrates a phenomenal slide show of Pete Muller’s photographs from a recent trip to the city.

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Jon Western has spent the last fifteen years teaching IR in liberal arts colleges at Mount Holyoke College and the Five Colleges in western Massachusetts. He has an eclectic range of intellectual interests but often writes on international security, U.S. foreign policy, military intervention, and human rights. He occasionally shares his thoughts about professional life in liberal arts colleges. In his spare time he coaches middle school soccer, mentors the local high school robotics team, skis, and sails.