Afghanistan has reached a critical moment in the development of its democratic system. In the coming days, the behaviour of the two candidates in the presidential contest – and the conduct of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) – will determine the credibility of what is meant to be the first peaceful handover of power in the country’s history.
Since 16 June 2014 Alexander Sodiqov, a young scholar and PhD student at the University of Toronto, has been in the custody of the security services in Tajikistan. Under contract to conduct academic research for a British-funded project, Sodiqov had just started his research in Khorog, Tajikistan, when his ordeal began. The detention incommunicado of a young scholar has generated an international outcry—from students, from scholars, from universities, from human rights groups, and from foreign governments. In this global discussion, held in at least nine settings, scholars consider not only the latest information about Sodiqov’s detention but also the broader implications for research scholars around the globe.
The Toronto Meeting will be held at the Munk School of Global Affairs on Friday, June 27
Time: 12-2 PM
Location: Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place
Prof. Edward Schatz (University of Toronto)
Ron Deibert (University of Toronto)
Chrystia Freeland (Canadian MP and author)
Sponsors: Munk School of Global Affairs and Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
Live webcast will be available
“The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is gearing up to become something way beyond a sort of counterpart to NATO, focusing mostly on terrorism and fighting drug trafficking. It wants to do major business. Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mongolia are observers, and sooner rather than later will be accepted as full members.”
“The agreement calls for Russian government-controlled Gazprom to supply state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. with 38 billion cubic meters of gas annually. That would represent about a quarter of China’s current annual gas consumption of nearly 150 billion cubic meters. … The price appears to be closer to the level Russia wanted”
“To contain a growing, increasingly confident insurgency as NATO troops withdraw, Afghanistan needs continued international support, including military, and the new government in Kabul will need to reinvigorate the state’s commitment to the rule of law.” – International Crisis Group
“This is the first presidential election in which President Karzai can’t run. A peaceful handover of power from one democratically elected president to another has never occurred in Afghan history. The mostly positive reports from Election Day have brought that achievement one large step closer. ” – Scott Smith, OpenCanada.org
“There is much about Afghanistan’s presidential campaigns that Americans would probably find familiar. Chartered jets carry candidates to corners of the country where they would ordinarily never set foot, political operatives try to spin skeptical reporters, and rich men hand over bundles of cash to curry favor with their next potential president. But this is Afghanistan, where democracy must be conducted in wartime.” – The New York Times
“[F]rom now on, if the House of Saud sees Iran as a threat, it will have to come up with its own strategy. And if Israel insists on seeing Iran as an “existential threat” – which is a joke – it will have to deal with it as a strategic problem. If a real consequence of the current shift is that Washington will not fight wars for Saudi or Israeli sake anymore, that’s already a monumental game changer.”