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Articles in Geopolitics

Sakha: World Capital of Cold

By Martin W. Lewis | January 27, 2010 |

The attention of the global media usually remains focused on a limited portion of the earth’s surface. Wealthy countries and regions are covered in depth, as are places considered threatening to the developed world, but most parts of the earth are more often ignored. Consider, for example, Sakha (Yakutia), a vast internal Russian republic

The Heterodox Zone

By Martin W. Lewis | January 26, 2010 | One Comment

Yesterday’s post included a map of religious communities in northern Iraq, based on a larger map by Mehrdad Izady, generated as part of Columbia University’s Gulf 2000 project. As Izady’s maps show, northern Iraq is part of a larger region of striking religious diversity, highlighted on the map above. This area has no established

Ethnic Issues in Iraq’s New Census

By Martin W. Lewis | January 25, 2010 |

The government of Iraq recently announced that it is preparing to conduct its first census since 1987. Merely holding a census is controversial, especially in the ethnically mixed areas of northern Iraq. The main issue concerns the eventual size — and share of governmental revenues — of the Kurdish Autonomous Region. The Kurds lay claim

Declining Violence In Northeastern India

By Martin W. Lewis | January 21, 2010 |

On January 19, 2010, a grenade attack near the Manipur Police Chief’s residence in northeastern India critically injured three people. No one has yet claimed responsibility, and it would be risky to venture a guess, since for sheer diversity of insurgent groups it is hard to beat northeastern India. This remote and little-known area is

What’s In A (Place) Name? The Gulf Controversy

By Martin W. Lewis | January 20, 2010 | 4 Comments

In mid-January 2010, the Islamic Solidarity Games—scheduled to take place in Tehran in April—were cancelled over a toponymic dispute. The Iranian organizers of the athletic competition insisted on labeling the body of water located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula the “Persian Gulf” in their promotional materials. The event’s organizing committee, based in Saudi Arabia

Violence In Nuristan, Formerly Kafiristan

By Martin W. Lewis | January 18, 2010 |

The province of Nuristan in eastern Afghanistan has recently emerged as one of the most insecure regions of the world. On January 13, 2010, a fourth delegation sent to negotiate the return of kidnapped Greek social worker Athanasios Lerounis returned home empty-handed. In October 2009, the United States abandoned its four key outposts in the

Kalmykia: The Republic of Chess

By Martin W. Lewis | January 16, 2010 | One Comment

Certain parts of the world are so closely associated with a specific issue or activity that other matters tend to fade from view, at least as far as the international media are concerned. Consider, for example, Kalmykia, a Russian internal republic located northwest of the Caspian Sea. Larger in area than the Republic of Ireland

The Finances of Man

By Martin W. Lewis | January 15, 2010 |

Sometimes the most obscure news article reveals significant processes that have the potential to reshape global geography. A case in point is a January 13, 2010 article from Transfer Pricing Weekly, all of seven sentences long, entitled “MAP Established between the Isle of Man and Australia.” The first sentence, which outlines “the mutual agreement procedures

Violence in Cabinda

By Martin W. Lewis | January 14, 2010 | One Comment

On January 8, 2010, a bus carrying Togo’s national soccer team to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Angola was attacked as it traveled through Cabinda, an Angolan exclave separated from the rest of the country by territory belonging to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). After killing the driver, gunmen continued firing at

Anti-Immigrant Violence and Organized Crime in Italy

By Martin W. Lewis | January 12, 2010 | One Comment

On January 10, 2009, the front page of the New York Times carried an article entitled “Race Riots Grip Italian Town and Mafia Is Suspect.” In two days of violence, 53 people were injured, including 18 members of the police, 14 local residents, and 21 immigrants. Most of the immigrants involved in the riots were

Burma Takes on the United Wa State Army

By Martin W. Lewis | January 11, 2010 |

As recently mentioned in this blog, James C. Scott’s new book The Art of Not Being Governed is essential reading on the history of state-level sovereignty. As Scott brilliantly shows, pre-colonial states in Southeast Asia, and much of the rest of the world, actually governed relatively small areas. Our conventional

Belize Vs. Guatemala

By Martin W. Lewis | January 8, 2010 |

A major controversy engulfed the small Central American country of Belize in early January 2010 after its foreign minister, Wilifred Erlington, described the border between his country and Guatemala as “artificial.” Enraged Belizean nationalists denounced Erlington as a “sell-out,” while opposition leaders demanded his resignation.

The Marshall Islands and the U.S.

By Martin W. Lewis | January 7, 2010 |

The Marshall Islands is a sovereign state in the Pacific Ocean, recognized as such by its fellow members of the United Nations. But the Marshall Islands forms an unusual country in several regards. Its population is small (62,000) and its land area meager (70 square miles), yet its tiny atolls spread across a vast swath

Pre-Trianon Hungary

By Martin W. Lewis | January 6, 2010 |

Pertaining to the post below, the map shows the diminution of Hungary that occurred after the signing of the Treat of Trianon, while the dual images show the use of the pre-Trianon map as a political icon

Language and Voting In Romania

By Martin W. Lewis | | One Comment

As the previous post indicated, many Hungarian-populated areas lie outside of Hungary’s national borders. More than half of Hungary’s territory was stripped away in the post-WWI settlement, although most of the areas lost had non-Hungarian majorities. Hard-core Magyar (or Hungarian) nationalists who dream of reclaiming these lands often advertise their views by displaying maps of

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