Mali’s Struggle: Not Simply of Their Own Making
9 May 2012

In examining the political crises which have gripped Mali in recent months, it is important not to fall into simplistic analyses of dysfunctional or “failed” African states. Indeed, the Malian people have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to mobilize civil society and build stable democratic governance despite a history of enormous poverty, ethnic divisions, and foreign intervention.


University of California Takes Aim at Human Rights Activists
4 May 2012

From the Vietnam War to the Central American revolutions to apartheid South Africa to the East Timor occupation to the invasion of Iraq, university campuses have been an important venue for concerned scholars and activists to raise issues regarding human rights, international law and US foreign policy.

However, in an effort to stifle this tradition, University of California President Mark Yudof has launched a campaign targeting human rights activists and others challenging the Israeli occupation and colonization of the West Bank and other policies of the right-wing US-backed Israeli government.


Ideas for Organizing Around Palestinian Rights (video)
30 April 2012

Part 1
Part 2


Remembering Israel’s West Bank Offensive
18 April 2012

Ten years ago this month, following a particularly deadly series of Palestinian terrorist attacks, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched an assault on several Palestinian cities and refugee camps in the West Bank. The Bush administration largely supported the Israeli offensive, even as hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands of young men were detained without charge amid widespread reports of torture.


Why One of the World’s Leading Peace Advocates Threatened to Punch Me in the Face
5 April 2012

I have rarely ever come face to face – only inches in fact – with such anger. Certainly not at an academic conference. And certainly not from such a prominent figure: chancellor of Australian National University, former attorney-general and foreign minister, former head of the International Crisis Group, and one of the world’s most prominent global thinkers.


Interview: Dr. Stephen Zunes at USF (video)
4 April 2012

Right Now

Interview with Dr Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies, University of San Francisco. Filmed in conjunction with the Castan Centre for Human Rights 2012 Lecture: Nonviolent resistance in the Middle East


Military Intervention in Syria Is a Bad Idea
2 April 2012

Although the impulse to try to end the ongoing repression by the Syrian regime against its own people through foreign military intervention is understandable, it would be a very bad idea.

Empirical studies have repeatedly demonstrated that international military interventions in cases of severe repression actually exacerbate violence in the short term and can only reduce violence in the longer term if the intervention is impartial or neutral. Other studies demonstrate that foreign military interventions actually increase the duration of civil wars, making the conflicts longer and bloodier, and the regional consequences more serious, than if there were no intervention. In addition, military intervention would likely trigger a “gloves off” mentality that would dramatically escalate the violence on both sides.


Democracy Imperiled in the Maldives
15 March 2012

Well before the launch of the Arab Spring, the people of the Maldives, a Muslim nation located on a tropical archipelago in the Indian Ocean, were engaged in widespread nonviolent resistance against the 30-year reign of the corrupt and autocratic president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The growing civil insurrection forced the dictator to finally allow for free elections in October 2008, which he lost.


Democracy imperilled in the Maldives
8 March 2012

The United States and much of the international community has understandably been focused on increasingly violent conflict in Syria. However, attention also needs to be given to the Muslim people of this Asian nation and their commitment to the power of nonviolent action


Obama, Palestine, and the United Nations
2 March 2012

For those of us who hoped that President Barack Obama would usher in a new era supporting international law, the United Nations, and Israeli-Palestinian peace, 2011 proved to be a profoundly disappointing year.