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Politics, Principles and Practice: Zimbabwe's Diamonds and the Kimberley Process

Smuggled diamonds are still financing violent conflicts in Africa. In 2003 the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was created to prevent the trade of these blood diamonds. But recent reports of violence, human rights abuses and smuggling are fuelling doubts about the credibility and effectiveness of the certification scheme. By Antonie Nord

Report on Pakistan’s Interests in Afghanistan: Fear and Prejudice

Afghanistans development is heavily dependend on the role of its neighboring country Pakistan. A new report examines the perceptions of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Elite on the situation in Afghanistan, their interests and strategies. The results are uncomforting.

By Britta Petersen

Syrian uprising: "To succeed, the opposition must postpone identity issues"

After seven months of military repression, Syria’s protest movement is still bravely confronting the government of Bashar al-Assad. Layla Al-Zubaidi heads the office of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation in Beirut. In an interview, she speaks about the endurance of the protests, the complexity of confessional groups and Turkeys role in the conflict. By Hans Dembowski

Ten Years After 9/11: Lessons Learned?

The attacks of 11 September 2001 represented a historic turning point of a scope comparable to that of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. This year’s annual foreign policy conference took stock of the “war on terror” and formulated a vision for Afghanistan, the Middle East and global politics. By Stefan Schaaf

Transparency in negotiations with the Taliban and long-term political support

In view of the upcoming December 2011 Bonn/Petersberg Conference on Afghanistan, leaders from Afghan civil society have appealed to members of the German Bundestag in an open letter. In the letter, they demand, among other things, more transparency in the Afghan government’s negotiations with the Taliban, as well as increased access by the Afghan civil society to the national decision-making process.

What moves Afghanistan?

In December 2011, ten years after the Petersberg Conference, the future of Afghanistan will be discussed anew. How can Afghanistan increasingly become militarily, politically and economically more independent? And where does the Afghan parliament and civil society stand in this year’s Bonn Conference? Will they be included? Or will they – as is so often the case in international conferences – be excluded? By Barbara Unmüßig

Afghanistan 2011: 10 Years of International Engagement

After ten years of international involvement in Afghanistan, a second conference will take plan in Bonn this December 2011 to discuss the country’s future. Since 2002, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has actively supported the development of civil society in Afghanistan and has promoted exchanges between the German and Afghan public. The following dossier provides a venue for comments, analysis and debate ahead of the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.

After the Death of Osama bin Laden: Now to Break the Al- Qaeda Franchise

It is young people at the heart of the Arab revolt who are rebelling not for jihad but for freedom and democracy. Nevertheless, bin Laden's death opens up huge opportunities worldwide. President Barack Obama needs to follow up on the promise he made in Cairo, two years ago, when he pledged to build bridges to the Muslim world.  By Ahmed Rashid

Import Ban on Bridal Dresses

Wedding ceremonies have become ruinous for many Afghans. A new law now aims at limiting the expenses. The good intention of the initiative is tarnished, however, because the draft at the same time sanctions heavy governmental interference into personal affairs.

By Bente Scheller

Global Environmental Governance and Rio +20: Thinking Big – Doing Little?

There is little faith in the reform of the UN system; nonetheless, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 – also known as Rio +20 – is not only to set the stage for a green economy, but also to provide an impetus for the institutional reform of the UN environmental sector. By Barbara Unmüßig

Pakistan’s nuclear bayonet

An extremist takeover of Pakistan is probably no further than five to 10 years away. Even today, some radical Islamists are advocating war against America. By Prof. Pervez Hoodbhoy

WikiLeaks' Promise to Democracy

Having power does something to people. They get full of hubris; they forget who they are supposed to represent; they start exercising their power behind closed doors and they become arrogant in a way that is both unbecoming and potentially dangerous. This is one of the things that WikiLeaks counteracts. A comment by

By Christian Engström

A Trip to Taliban Stronghold

For a long time, security along the Gultapa road in Northern Afghanistan made the area difficult to access. Afghan journalist Noor ul Ain from the Dari language daily 8 am recently travelled along this road and found the situation much improved. Yet, in his trip it became evident: What people are still in need for is development – schools, healthcare and governmental services that make it not only a secure place for now but that open prospects to the people in that area.

German troops in Afghanistan: A home debate for a home audience

While the deployment of German troops in Afghanistan is polarizing Germany, in Afghanistan big hopes are lying on particularly the German engagement. Even though the pull-out has not yet started, the Afghan population starts feeling left alone since one issue even here is not a secret: What is of least importance for the German parliament’s decision is what is really happening in Afghanistan.

By Bente Scheller

Afghanistan: We Need Your Presence, Please Do Not Leave

Every year, when the western countries’ parliaments debate about the extension or otherwise of their troops’ mission in Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan get concerned and anxious. More than 60% of Afghans want the international forces to remain in the country and 88% consider the Taliban and al-Qaeda the perpetrators of violence. 

By Sanjar Sohail

Khost’s Tribes: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Afghanistan’s south eastern province of Khost is well connected with important centers of trade on the other side of the border in Pakistan. At the same time, these advantages are also being used by insurgents and make Khost a primary spot for infiltration. TLO, a partner organization of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, takes a closer look at Khost province and analyzes the effects of the erosion of tribal unity there over the last decades. 

Wikileaks And The Silence Of Jordanian Media

As the second day of the post-”cablegate” news cycle unfolds, local media in Jordan seems to have only stuck out its head enough to disseminate the government’s position in a slew of standardized articles in the major newspapers all reiterating the same denials and reaffirming the same positions. By Naseem Tarawnah

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