Peace of Westphalia

The term Peace of Westphalia refers to the two peace treaties of Osnabrück and Münster, signed on May 15 and October 24 of 1648 respectively, which ended both the Thirty Years’ War in Germany and the Eighty Years’ War between Spain and the Netherlands. The treaties involved the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand III (Habsburg), the Kingdoms of Spain, France and Sweden, the Dutch Republic and their respective allies among the princes of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Peace of Westphalia resulted from the first modern diplomatic congress and initiated a new order in central Europe based on the concept of state sovereignty. Until 1806, the regulations became part of the constitutional laws of the Holy Roman Empire. The Treaty of the Pyrenees, signed in 1659, ended the war between France and Spain and is often considered part of the overall accord.

RESULTS

Internal political boundaries

A simplified map of Europe after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

A simplified map of Europe after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

The power taken by Ferdinand III in contravention of the Holy Roman Empire’s constitution was stripped and returned to the rulers of the German states. This rectification allowed the rulers of the German states to independently decide their religious worship. Protestants and Catholics were redefined as equal before the law, and Calvinism was given legal recognition. [1] [2]

[edit] Tenets

The main tenets of the Peace of Westphalia were:

  • All parties would now recognize the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, by which each prince would have the right to determine the religion of his own state, the options being Catholicism, Lutheranism, and now Calvinism (the principle of cuius regio, eius religio). [1] [2]
  • Christians living in principalities where their denomination was not the established church were guaranteed the right to practice their faith in public during allotted hours and in private at their will. [1]
Holy Roman Empire in 1648.

Holy Roman Empire in 1648.

There were also territorial adjustments:

  • The independence of the city of Bremen was clarified.
  • Barriers to trade and commerce erected during the war were abolished, and ‘a degree’ of free navigation was guaranteed on the Rhine. [3]

History of International Relations

The history of international relations is often traced back to the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, where the modern state system was developed. Prior to this, the European medieval organization of political authority was based on a vaguely hierarchical religious order. Westphalia instituted the legal concept of sovereignty, which essentially meant that rulers, or the legitimate sovereigns, wouldno internal equals within a defined territory and no external superiors as the ultimate authority within the territory’s sovereign borders. Classical Greek and Roman authority at times resembled the Westphalian system, but both lacked the notion of sovereignty.

Westphalia encouraged the rise of the independent nation-state, the institutionalization of diplomacy and armies. This particular European system was exported to the Americas, Africa, and Asia via colonialism and the "standards of civilization". The contemporary international system was finally established through decolonization during the Cold War. However, this is somewhat over-simplified. While the nation-state system is considered "modern", many states have not incorporated the system and are termed "pre-modern". Further, a handful of states have moved beyond the nation-state system and can be considered "post-modern". The ability of contemporary IR discourse to explain the relations of these different types of states is disputed. "Levels of analysis" is a way of looking at the international system, which includes the individual level, the domestic nation-state as a unit, the international level of transnational and intergovernmental affairs, and the global level.

What is explicitly recognized as International Relations theory was not developed until after World War I, and is dealt with in more detail below. IR theory, however, has a long tradition of drawing on the work of other social sciences. The use of capitalizations of the "I" and "R" in International Relations aims to distinguish the academic discipline of International Relations from the phenomena of international relations. Many cite ThucydidesHistory of the Peloponnesian War as the inspiration for realist theory, with HobbesLeviathan and Machiavelli‘s The Prince providing further elaboration. Similarly, liberalism draws upon the work of Kant and Rousseau, with the work of the former often being cited as the first elaboration of democratic peace theory. Though contemporary human rights is considerably different than the type of rights envisioned under natural law, Francisco de Vitoria, Hugo Grotius and John Locke offered the first accounts of universal entitlement to certain rights on the basis of common humanity. In the twentieth century, in addition to contemporary theories of liberal internationalism, Marxism has been a foundation of international relations.

GEORGIA VS RUSSIA / AS VS RUSSIA ???

GEORGIA VS RUSSIA / AS VS RUSSIA ???

24 08 2008

Banyak pihak menilai perang di Kaukasus adalah ”kemenangan” bagi Rusia. Barat tampaknya tidak berkutik menghadapi tindakan keras Rusia saat mengerahkan pasukan ke tetangganya, Georgia, setelah Georgia menyerbu Ossetia Selatan. Benarkah genderang ”Perang Dingin baru” telah ditabuh?

Media-media Eropa menyebutkan bahwa garis Perang Dingin antara Rusia dan Barat tengah digambar ulang. Para analis menilai pecahnya konflik antara Rusia dan Georgia adalah titik balik geopolitik terbesar sejak bubarnya Uni Soviet tahun 1991. Konflik Rusia-Georgia dipastikan mengubah tatanan internasional di masa-masa mendatang.

Bermula dari serbuan pasukan Georgia ke Ossetia Selatan pada 7 Agustus lalu, beberapa jam setelah Presiden Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili menyatakan gencatan senjata sepihak. Ossetia Selatan, yang tidak pernah merasa menjadi bagian dari Georgia dalam banyak hal, memerdekakan diri melalui perang tahun 1991-1992, tetapi tidak pernah diakui oleh masyarakat internasional.

Dua hari setelah Georgia membombardir Ossetia Selatan, Rusia mengerahkan pasukan ke provinsi tersebut. Alasannya, melindungi warga negara Rusia. Lebih dari 70 persen penduduk Ossetia Selatan memegang paspor Rusia. Rusia juga menempatkan pasukan penjaga perdamaian di Ossetia Selatan.

Isu Ossetia Selatan telah membuat hubungan Rusia-Georgia tegang sejak Georgia memerdekakan diri tahun 1991 menyusul bubarnya Uni Soviet. Georgia langsung berafiliasi ke Barat, sesuatu yang tidak disukai Rusia, terlebih saat Georgia berkeinginan untuk bergabung dengan Pakta Pertahanan Atlantik Utara (NATO).

Profesor Stefan Wolff dari University of Nottingham dalam artikel di Atlantic Review menyebutkan, sejak Ossetia Selatan memerdekakan diri, situasi di pegunungan Kaukasus itu terbilang ”tidur”. Sesekali pecah bentrokan antara tentara Georgia dan gerilyawan Ossetia Selatan, tetapi selebihnya tenang. Itulah sebabnya banyak pihak heran mengapa begitu cepat konflik di Georgia berubah menjadi konflik antara Rusia dan Barat.

Setelah merasa ”cukup”, Rusia menarik pasukannya dari kota Gori, yang diduduki Rusia setelah berhasil mengusir Georgia dari Ossetia Selatan, 22 Agustus. Rusia telah memenuhi misinya untuk menunjukkan kepada dunia bahwa untuk tidak macam- macam dengan negara yang tengah bangkit ini.

Melunasi utang

Gleb Pavlosky, penasihat mantan Presiden Rusia Vladimir Putin, kepada BBC, mengatakan, kepemimpinan di Rusia telah menyimpulkan bahwa setelah Revolusi Oranye di Ukraina, Moskwa ingin mencegah hal serupa terjadi lagi. Rusia menganggap Ukraina dan Georgia, yang juga mengalami Revolusi Mawar yang memenangkan Saakashvili, sebagai pengaruh buruk di kawasan.

Fakta bahwa Georgia didukung Barat membuatnya menjadi sasaran empuk. Kesalahan Saakashvili adalah terlalu percaya diri bahwa Barat akan berada di belakangnya. Rupanya, dia salah perhitungan karena Barat hanya bisa bersuara keras tanpa bisa bertindak lebih jauh.

Rusia memanfaatkan retorika Barat yang disebut intervensi kemanusiaan dan Barat termakan ucapannya sendiri. Dengan alasan serupa, Barat mendukung kemerdekaan Kosovo dari Serbia.

Majalah The Economist edisi 16 Agustus menyebutkan bahwa Rusia kini telah menggambar garis merah tebal di atas peta Eropa di mana Barat dan NATO tidak bisa menyeberang. Rusia mencoba ”melunasi” utang kekalahan saat berakhirnya Perang Dingin tahun 1990, menjawab pengeboman NATO di Belgrade tahun 1999 dan invasi AS ke Irak tahun 2003. ”Jika kalian bisa, kami juga bisa” menjadi logis.

Namun, Barat bukannya tidak bisa berbuat apa-apa. Menteri Luar Negeri Inggris David Miliband menyatakan hubungan dengan Rusia harus dipikir ulang. NATO telah memutuskan, ini adalah akhir dari ”bisnis seperti biasanya”. Ambisi Rusia untuk bergabung dengan badan- badan dunia berpengaruh, seperti WTO dan OECD, menjadi taruhan. Bahkan, G-8 telah rela mendepak Rusia.

Gencatan senjata kini telah berlaku kendati masih rentan dan bisa pecah sewaktu-waktu. Kini, apa yang bisa diperbuat saat dunia memasuki fase baru?

Faktanya adalah Barat memerlukan Rusia dan Rusia memerlukan Barat. Rusia ingin terintegrasi dalam sistem ekonomi dunia dan dianggap sebagai mitra diplomatik yang serius. Sementara itu, Barat memerlukan Rusia dalam konfrontasi dengan Iran atau Sudan.

Mantan Menlu Inggris Lord Owen mengatakan sangat absurd untuk memperlakukan Rusia seperti Uni Soviet. Rusia lebih siap, tidak hanya secara militer, tetapi juga secara ideologis. Dukungan Rusia terhadap separatis di Ossetia Selatan dalam menghadapi dukungan Barat terhadap Georgia kian menegaskan permainan perang proxy di era Perang Dingin mulai dimainkan. Seluruh dunia kini harus mulai bersiap.

Perang Antara Rusia Dan Georgia Karena Korban Geopolitik Dari Amerika Serikat Dan Uni Eropa

Perang Antara Rusia Dan Georgia Karena Korban Geopolitik Dari Amerika Serikat Dan Uni Eropa

11 08 2008

Samuel P Huntington, profesor di Universitas Harvard, AS, pernah mengatakan, sebuah perang bisa terjadi antara pemerintah dan salah satu kelompok etnisnya. Kelompok etnis itu bisa saja mencari perlindungan dari negara lain, yang dianggap berada dalam satu kelompok etnis.

Inilah yang lebih kurang terjadi di Georgia (didominasi etnis Georgia) dengan etnis Ossetia yang menghuni Ossetia Selatan, yang cenderung bergabung dengan Ossetia Utara (Rusia).

Konflik hanya bisa diatasi, salah satunya, dengan meminta tolong etnis Ossetia Utara atau Rusia. Persoalannya, Rusia gusar terhadap Georgia yang cenderung memilih dekat ke Uni Eropa dan AS. Rusia makin jengkel dengan keinginan Georgia bergabung dalam Pakta Pertahanan Atlantik Utara (NATO), sebagaimana diutarakan Perdana Menteri Rusia Vladimir Putin.

Setelah kecewa dan memendam rasa sakit hati selama dekade 1990-an, ketika Uni Soviet ambruk, dan satu demi satu eks Uni Soviet menjadi anggota Uni Eropa, bahkan ada yang menjadi anggota NATO, Rusia merasa dipermalukan dan dikepung. Rusia tak berdaya karena terjadi pada dekade 1990-an saat ekonomi dan militernya hancur.

Kebangkitan ekonomi dan militer Rusia, mulai dekade 2000-an, membalikkan keadaan. Rusia tidak bisa lagi menerima penggerogotan pengaruh yang terus dilakukan Barat atas halaman belakangnya.

Ini terkait soal geopolitik dan rasa nyaman. Rusia merasa bemper pengamanan negaranya sudah dihabisi, kecuali Asia Tengah yang masih memilih dekat ke Rusia. Persoalan bagi Georgia terjadi dengan uang berlimpah milik Rusia, yang memberikan kehidupan lebih baik bagi warga Ossetia ketimbang yang diberikan Georgia.

Salah taktik

Benar bahwa tindakan Rusia di Ossetia Selatan makin menjengkelkan karena mencoba melakukan propaganda bahwa dekat ke Rusia berarti sebuah kemakmuran. Politisi Jerman, Gernot Erler, mengatakan, Rusia terus menanamkan pengaruh di Ossetia Selatan dari segi ekonomi, politik, dan harga diri.

Jelas Rusia salah dan tindakannya menyerang Ossetia adalah pelanggaran besar atas kedaulatan Georgia. Presiden Rusia Dmitry Medvedev mengatakan, serangan itu bertujuan membuat Georgia mempertahankan perdamaian di Ossetia dan Abkhazia, dua provinsi separatis.

Namun, Rusia memiliki legitimasi melakukan itu demi kepentingan geopolitiknya, sebagaimana AS melakukan hal serupa di Irak. Jika AS bisa semena- mena di negara lain, mengapa Rusia tidak. Inilah buah kegagalan kebijakan luar negeri AS. Dunia berteriak, tetapi faktor geopolitik sangat berperan.

Dalam hal ini, bisa dikatakan, Presiden Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili kurang taktis. Mempertahankan kedaulatan wilayah tak perlu dengan serangan militer, membuat Rusia marah. Saakashvili tak menyadari faktor geopolitis itu. Atau, caranya kurang taktis karena memilih berseteru dengan Rusia daripada merangkulnya demi keutuhan Georgia.

Konflik Ossetia, Ajang Perebutan Pengaruh Antara NATO dan Rusia

Konflik Ossetia, Ajang Perebutan Pengaruh Antara NATO dan Rusia

Konflik bersenjata antara Georgia dan Rusia di Ossetia Selatan sejak 8 Agustus 2008, dinilai sebagai pesan keras yang ingin disampaikan Rusia kepada pihak-pihak terkait di Barat dan AS agar tidak melakukan perluasan pengaruh NATO di Ossetia dan Abkhazia melalui tangan Georgia. Pesan keras lainnya, Rusia ingin mengatakan dengan lantang  bahwa ancaman Rusia yang akan menggunakan kekuatan senjata untuk menghalau setiap upaya NATO memperluas pengaruhnya di negara-negara tetangganya bukanlah omong kosong, tapi akan dibuktikan dengan tindakan nyata.

Memang benar, secara kasat mata, Georgia-lah yang pertama memprovokasi Rusia dengan melancarkan serangan udara secara membabi buta terhadap Ibukota Ossetia Selatan Tskhinvali pada 8 Agustus 2008. Serangan itu menewaskan sekitar 1400 orang, 10 diantaranya adalah pasukan perdamaian Rusia. Akan tetapi balasan Rusia terhadap provokasi itu tidak seperti yang diduga oleh banyak pihak. Rusia langsung membalasnya dengan serangan udara dan agresi secara langsung mengusir tentara Georgia dari Ossetia dengan melibatkan ribuan tentara, ratusan pesawat tempur dan kapal-kapal perang. Armada tempur Rusia tidak hanya menargetkan posisi tentara Georgia di Ossetia tapi juga ibukota Georgia, Tbilis ikut menjadi sasaran.

Balasan Rusia yang diluar dugaan itu menunjukan adanya “ niat terpendam” Rusia yang telah sejak lama ingin “memberi pelajaran keras” terhadap sikap-sikap politik Presiden Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili yang cenderung pro Barat dan AS. Georgia dibawah pemerintahannya berupaya terus untuk bergabung dengan NATO dan mendapat dukungan dari AS. Hal ini dinilai sebagai faktor yang memicu kemarahan besar bagi Rusia karena perluasan NATO telah sampai pada negara yang berbatasan langsung dengan Rusia. Sejak berkuasa di Georgia tahun 2003 melalui “revolusi bunga” , rezim Mikhail Saakashvili berupaya menjauh dari lingkaran politik negeri beruang putih dan berusaha untuk menguasai wilayah Abkhazia dan Ossetia Selatan yang pada tahun 1992 menyatakan memerdekaan diri dari Georgia secara sepihak dengan mendapat dukungan dari Rusia.

Berbagai statemen dari para pejabat Moskow semakin memperkuat dugaan tersebut. Menlu Rusia Sergey Lafrov mengatakan ada bukti-bukti yang menunjukan adanya pembersihan etnis terhadap muslim Ossetia Selatan. Kondisi rakyat di negara tersebut semakin memburuk dan banyak warga sipil yang mati kelaparan. Moskow tidak mencukupkan sampai di situ, bahkan menuduh Ukraina menyuplai senjata kepada Georgia untuk mendorong negara ini membersihkan etnis muslim di Ossetia Selatan.

PM Rusia Vladimir Putin juga  ikut berkomentar dengan mengatakan serangan Georgia terhadap Ibukota Ossetia Selatan Tskhinvali merupakan petualangan militer Georgia yang kotor. Vladimir Putin juga mengatakan bahwa volunteer Rusia siap berperang di Ossetia dan sulit bagi Georgia untuk mengentikan mereka. Vladimir Putin mengatakan serangan militer Rusia terhadap Ossetia untuk mendesak Georgia agar bersedia melakukan perdamaian dengan  penduduk Ossetia Selatan.

Intervensi AS

Berbagai media massa Rusia memiliki tanggapan lain. Hampir seluruh media Rusia melayangkan tuduhan adanya intervensi AS. AS dituduh telah  menyuplai senjata kepada militer Georgia dan memprovokasinya untuk menyerang Ossetia Selatan. Hal ini menunjukan bahwa akar permasalahn konflik sebenarnya bukan terbatas konflik antara Georgia dengan Ossetia Selatan, akan tetapi juga ikut bermain kepentingan Rusia yang tidak ingin melihat negara tetangganya Ukrania, Georgia, Ossetia dan Abkkhazia bergabung menjadi bagian dari NATO.

Sikap negara Abkhazia menjadi bukti yang paling kuat keterlibatan AS. Sejumlah pejabat di Abkhazia langsung menyatakan dukungan mereka terhadap Ossetia dan mereka langsung memberi bantuan militer. Meskipun antara Abkhazia dengan Ossetia Selatan memiliki  perjanjian pertahanan bersama untuk saling membantu jika diserang Georgia, namun apapun yang dilakukan oleh Abkhazia kepada Ossetia Selatan tidak bisa terlaksana, kecuali setelah mendapat lampu hijau dari Rusia. Di satu sisi, Rusia tampak ingin memperluas front peperangan hingga ke Abkhazia, agar Georgia cepat ditumbangkan, sekaligus memberi tamparan keras terhadap negara-negara yang ingin melawan pengaruh Rusia di kawasan Asia Tengah.

Rusia Memiliki Banyak Kartu Turf

Keberanian Rusia bersikap agresif menghadapi serangan militer Georgia oleh banyak pengamat disebabkan karena Rusia memiliki banyak kartu turf dan posisinya berada di atas angin. Hal ini bisa dilihat dari beberapa faktor antara lain, pertama perimbangan kekuatan militer antara Rusia dengan Georgia, Rusia tampak lebih unggul. Rusia memiliki sekitar 395 ribu tentara, 23 ribu tank, 9900 truk  tempur, 26000 senjata artileri dan 1809 pesawat tempur. Sementara Georgia hanya memiliki 32 ribu personil tentara, 128 tank dan 44 truk pengangkut  tentara.

Kedua, Rusia  mengetahui Barat yang diwakili NATO tidak bisa berbuat banyak apabila negara sekutunya Georgia dibombardir, karena NATO kini masih disibukkan oleh permasalahan di Afghanistan sementara tentara AS terjebak di Irak. Oleh karena itu, melalui Jubirnya, Pemerintah Gedung Putih menyerukan kepada semua pihak agar segera berunding dan menyelesaikan segala permasalahannya melalui dialog. Hal senada juga disampaikan oleh Komandan Pasukan AS di Eropa Kolonoel Jhone Dorban, yang mengatakan bahwa pasukan AS di Georgia bukan pihak yang terlibat dalam konflik. Kemlu AS juga menyatakan bahwa AS akan segera mengutus utusan khusus ke Georgia untuk melakukan perundingan dengan pihak-pihak yang terkait konflik.

Ketiga, kondisi Internal Georgia sendiri sangat menentang kebijakan Presiden Georgia untuk  terlibat kontak fisik dengan Rusia, karena dampaknya terhadap masyarakat Georgia, menghancurkan infrastruktur. Kelompok-kelompok oposisi Georgia semakin memiliki posisi kuat dengan terjadinya konflik di Ossetia. Rezim Presiden Georgia, Mikhail juga dinilai tidak dapat memenuhi janji-janjinya seperti yang disampaikannya sebelum memangku jabatan Presiden, di satu sisi kemiskinan dan pengagguran di kalangan masyarakat Georgia hingga kini masih menjadi problem yang banyak dikeluhkan masyarakat.

Hadiah Buat Iran

Iran tampaknya menjadi negara yang paling diuntungkan dengan meletusnya konflik bersenjata di Ossetia. Banyak pihak mengatakan, konflik di Ossetia merupakan pelampung penolong bagi Iran untuk menghadapi Barat dan AS terkait program nuklirnya. Kesimpulan ini dapat dijelaskan dengan melihat AS saat ini tengah mempersiapkan paket hukuman baru bagi Iran, akan tetapi dukungan AS terhadap Georgia dengan sendirinya akan mendorong Rusia untuk menolak usulan sangsi AS terhadap Iran itu dalam sidang DK PBB. Masalah Iran akan digunakan sebagai kartu truf untuk mendapatkan kelunakan sikap Barat dan AS terkait dengan masalah Georgia dan Ukraina, dimana NATO mati-matian untuk menarik kedua negara ini bergabung dengan NATO

Ada perkembangan lain yang tidak diduga-duga oleh Presiden Bush yakni Georgia secara tiba-tiba menarik 1000 pasukannya yang bertugas di Irak. Langkah ini sedikit membuat kalang kabut berbagai rencana dan kalkulasi AS di Iran.

Problem Ossetia

Sejarah Ossetia dimulai sejak tahun 1878. Pasca Revolusi Bolseviks, Rusia membagi Ossetia menjadi dua bagian. Ossetia Utara masuk menjadi bagian wilayah Rusia dan Ossetia Selatan ke Georgia. Pada 28 November 1991, Ossetia menyatakan memerdekakan diri dari Georgia secara sepihak, namun kemerdekaan Ossetia tidak mendapat pengakuan internasional. Pasca kemerdekaan Ossetia, terjadi konflik bersenjata antara pasukan Georgia dan gerilyawan Ossetia dan berakhir pada tahun 1992 dengan disepakatinya kesepakatan damai. Dalam kesepakatan itu, kedua pihak setuju pasukan perdamaian Rusia ditempatkan di wilayah perbatasan antara Georgia dengan Ossetia Selatan. Namun pada tahun 2004, Presiden Georgia Mikhail melancarkan serangan militer besar-besaran terhadap gerilyawan Ossetia.

Tahun 2006, Ossetia Selatan melakukan referendum untuk menentukan nasib dirinya sendirinya. Hasil referendum itu menyetujui Ossetia merdeka terlepas dari Georgia. Pada tahun yang sama Ossetia  menyelenggarakan Pemilu Presiden Ossetia. Presiden Edwadi Kukuti sebagai presiden terpilih pertama republik Ossetia

Country profile: Kazakhstan(bbcnews)

Country profile: Kazakhstan

Map of Kazakhstan

A huge country covering a territory equivalent to the whole of Western Europe, Kazakhstan has vast mineral resources and enormous economic potential.

The varied landscape stretches from the mountainous, heavily populated regions of the east to the sparsely populated, energy-rich lowlands in the west, and from the industrialised north, with its Siberian climate and terrain, through the arid, empty steppes of the centre, to the fertile south.

Overview

Ethnically, the country is as diverse, with the Kazakhs making up over half the population, the Russians comprising just over a quarter, and smaller minorities of Ukrainians, Germans, Chechens, Kurds, Koreans and Central Asian ethnic groups accounting for the rest.

These groups generally live in harmony, though ethnic Russians resent the lack of dual citizenship and having to pass a Kazakh language test in order to work for government or state bodies.

Astana, Kazakh capital

Astana: Oil money is driving the new capital’s development

Since independence, there has been major foreign investment in the Caspian oil sector. Oil development has brought rapid economic growth.

An oil pipeline linking the Tengiz oil field in western Kazakhstan to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk opened in 2001. There are plans to escalate oil exports by linking Kazakh resources to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline which began operating in summer 2005. A pipeline to China was opened in late 2005 and other routes are also being explored.

Nevertheless, poverty is still widespread and Kazakhstan continues to face major economic challenges, particularly with unemployment and inflation. At the same time, an elite group of people have grown very rich since independence through privatization and other business deals which opposition figures allege to have been corrupt.

The people of Kazakhstan also have to live with the aftermath of Soviet-era nuclear testing and toxic waste dumping and with increasing drug addiction and a growing incidence of HIV/Aids. Inefficient irrigation projects have led to severe shrinkage of the heavily polluted Aral Sea.

Facts

  • Full name: Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Population: 15.4 million (UN, 2007)
  • Capital: Astana
  • Largest city: Almaty
  • Area: 2.7 million sq km (1 million sq miles)
  • Major languages: Kazakh, Russian
  • Major religions: Islam, Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 62 years (men), 72 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Kazakh tenge = 100 tiyn
  • Main exports: Oil, uranium, ferrous and nonferrous metals, machinery, chemicals, grain, wool, meat, coal
  • GNI per capita: US $2,930 (World Bank, 2006)
  • Internet domain: .kz
  • International dialling code: +7

Leaders

President: Nursultan Abish-uly Nazarbayev

Elections in December 2005 returned Nursultan Nazarbayev for a further seven-year term with more than 90% of the votes.

The opposition protested that the ballot had been rigged and OSCE observers declared it to have been seriously flawed.

Kazakh president

President Nazarbayev: At the helm during reform years

Mr Nazarbayev said the election had been fair and showed that people wanted evolution, not revolution.

Born in 1940, Mr Nazarbayev came to power in 1989 as first secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan and was elected president the following year. He was re-elected after the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

His supporters say he preserved inter-ethnic accord and stability during the reform years.

Mr Nazarbayev has concentrated extensive powers in his own hands and is accused by the opposition of suppressing dissent. Although he says he advocates democracy as a long-term goal, he warns that stability could be at risk if change is too swift.

A referendum in 1995 extended his term of office and in 1999 he was again elected president in elections from which his main rival was barred from standing on a technicality.

Parliament voted in 2007 to allow him to stay in office for an unlimited number of terms. When he does step down, he will have a permanent seat on the defence council and a role as head of the people’s assembly, which unites members from different ethnic groups.

The president merged his Otan party with his daughter Dariga’s party, Asar, in July 2006. The move created a vast ruling coalition and was seen as consolidating the president’s power. Otan was subsequently renamed Nur-Otan in honour of Mr Nazarbayev.

Media

Press freedom is enshrined in Kazakhstan’s constitution, but press freedom monitors say the privately-owned and opposition media are subject to harassment and censorship.

In its 2007 report, media rights body Reporters Without Borders said pressure on the media included prosecutions for "defaming" the president, the closure of opposition newspapers and physical attacks on journalists.

Insulting the president and officials is a criminal offence; the private life, health and financial affairs of the president are classified as state secrets.

The government controls the printing presses and most radio and TV transmission facilities. It operates the country’s national radio and TV networks.

The president’s close associates, including his eldest daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, and son-in-law, have benefitted from the privatisation of the former state media. Dariga heads the influential Khabar Agency which runs several TV channels.

The couple also controls the radio stations Europa Plus, Russkoye Radio, Hit FM and Radio Karavan, along with the newspapers Karavan and Novoye Pokolenie.

The press

  • Kazakhstanskaya Pravda – government-backed, Russian-langauge
  • Yegemen Qazaqstan – government-backed, Kazakh-language
  • Ekspress-K – private, Russian-language
  • Zhas Alash – private, Kazakh-language
  • Liter – private, daily
  • Vremya – private, opposition weekly
  • Nachnem s ponedelnika – private, Russian-language opposition weekly
  • Karavan – private, weekly

Television

  • Khabar TV – operated by Khabar agency
  • Kazakh TV (first channel) – state-owned, in Kazakh and Russian
  • Kazakh Commercial TV (KTK) – private, in Kazakh and Russian
  • Channel 31 TV – private, Almaty
  • Caspionet – satellite channel operated by Khabar agency, in Russian, Kazakh and English
  • Eurasia TV – state-run, rebroadcasts of Russia’s Channel One

Radio

  • Kazakh Radio – state-owned, broadcasts in Kazakh and Russian
  • Europa Plus – private, Almaty, Astana
  • Khabar Hit FM – private, Almaty
  • Russkoye Radio-Aziya – private, Almaty, Astana

News agencies

  • Kazinform – state-owned; English-language pages
  • Interfax Kazakhstan – a service of Russian news agency Interfax; English-language pages

Country profile: Bosnia-Hercegovina(bbcnews)

Country profile: Bosnia-Hercegovina

Map of Bosnia-Hercegovina

Bosnia-Hercegovina is recovering from a devastating three-year war which accompanied the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

The 1992-1995 conflict centred on whether Bosnia should stay in the Yugoslav Federation, or whether it should become independent.

Overview

It is now an independent state, but under international administration. Its three main ethnic groups are Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Croats and Serbs. The war left Bosnia’s infrastructure and economy in tatters. Around two million people – about half the population – were displaced.

International administration, backed at first by Nato forces and later by a smaller European Union-led peacekeeping force, has helped the country consolidate stability.

Mostar

Symbol of hope: Rebuilt bridge at Mostar

But early in 2007 the International Crisis Group, a think tank, warned: "Bosnia remains unready for unguided ownership of its own future – ethnic nationalism remains too strong."

The 1995 Dayton peace accord, which ended the Bosnian war, set up two separate entities; a Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina, and the Bosnian Serb Republic, or Republika Srpska, each with its own president, government, parliament, police and other bodies.

Overarching these entities is a central Bosnian government and rotating presidency. In addition there exists the district of Brcko which is a self-governing administrative unit, established as a neutral area placed under joint Serb, Croat and Bosniak authority.

Dayton also established the Office of the High Representative. The Office’s representative is the state’s ultimate authority, responsible for implementation of Dayton and with the power to "compel the entity governments to comply with the terms of the peace agreement and the state constitution".

Critics of Dayton said the two entities came too close to being states in their own right and that the arrangement reinforced separatism and nationalism at the expense of integration. Negotiations to amend the existing constitution, established by Dayton, in order to centralise functions and transform the country into a non-ethnic parliamentary democracy, are ongoing.

Underlining how far the country had progressed since Dayton, EU foreign ministers gave the go-ahead in late 2005 for talks on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the start of Bosnia’s long journey towards possible EU membership.

The prospect of talks with the EU was a factor likely to increase pressure for the capture of two key Bosnian Serb war crimes suspects, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.

After nearly 13 years on the run, Radovan Karadzic was arrested in July 2008 by Serbian security forces in Belgrade.

There were celebrations on the streets of Sarajevo following news of his arrest. However, Serbs in Mr Karadzic’s wartime stronghold town of Pale expressed anger and disappointment at the development.

Facts

  • Full name: Bosnia and Hercegovina
  • Population: 4 million (UN, 2007)
  • Capital: Sarajevo
  • Area: 51,129 sq km (19,741 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian
  • Major religions: Christianity, Islam
  • Life expectancy: 72 years (men), 77 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 convertible marka = 100 convertible pfenniga
  • Main exports: Wood and paper, metal products
  • GNI per capita: US $2,440 (World Bank, 2006)
  • Internet domain: .ba
  • International dialling code: +387

Leaders

President: The presidency rotates every eight months between a Serb, a Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and a Croat.

The responsibilities of the presidency lie largely in international affairs.

Prime minister: Nikola Spiric

Nikola Spiric, a Bosnian Serb, was first asked to form a government in January 2007 after the parties which gained the most votes in general elections in October agreed on a coalition.

Outgoing Bosnian PM Nikola Spiric

Nikola Spiric resigned after 10 months

He resigned in November 2007 in protest at efforts by the High Representative and EU Special Representative, Miroslav Lajcak, to introduce reforms supported by the EU. Mr Spiric said in his resignation speech that Bosnia has been run for too long by foreigners.

However, in December 2007 he secured the approval of Bosnia’s parliament to return as prime minister, promising to work on reforms that would bring Bosnia closer to membership of Nato and the European Union.

Media

The war in Bosnia-Hercegovina turned most media into propaganda tools in the hands of authorities, armies and factions. Since the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord efforts have been made – with limited success – to develop media which bridge inter-entity boundaries.

The most influential broadcasters in Bosnia are the public radio and TV stations operated by the Bosniak-Croat and Serb entities. The Office of the High Representative (OHR), the leading international civilian agency in Bosnia, is overseeing the development of a national public broadcasting service.

The OHR and other international organisations have encouraged the development of media which support a civic rather than a nationalist approach.

The media are partially free, but outlets and journalists come under pressure from state bodies and political party structures in both the Bosniak-Croat and Serb entities.

More than 200 commercial radio and TV stations are on the air, but their development has been hampered by a weak advertising market.

The press

Television

Radio

News agencies

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