The Reddit War

On April 14, Reddit user nadiahamilton logged onto the Syrian Civil War subreddit to submit the following post:

4:02 am syrian time, damascus, I’m hearing some seriously loud and strong blasts. Is it happening already?”

A bit later, she added an update: “EDIT: somoene in barzeh just confirmed they’re attacking that area.”

The responses by the rest of the community varied wildly. User syrus5 added soberly that his family had also been awoken by the sounds of airstrikes. NewHendrix wondered whether the OP (original poster) and their family had survived the attack unscathed. Upholding the subreddit’s mission statement of “critical and substantive on-topic discussion,” DONUTof_noFLAVOR compiled a quick collection of press releases and livestreams of the raid. As the rest of the world soon learned, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration had just ordered retaliatory strikes in response to a recent chemical attack, targeting the Barzeh research center in regime-held Damascus. Other Redditors soon swarmed the thread to put in their two cents, mostly either denouncing American imperialism or calling for a diplomatic solution. As was typical for the community, it was easy to discern Syrian users from the rest: While Europeans and Americans were caught in the heat of the moment, those with deeper ties to the region postponed political judgments to discuss the facts.

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The United Nations in Mali: A New Approach to Peacekeeping?

Impartiality has been one of the guiding principles of United Nations peacekeeping since the organization’s inception. This principle has been applied from the first deployment of blue helmets between Egyptian and Israeli troops in 1956, after the Suez Crisis. This operation supported the role of the UN as a facilitator of inter-state settlements. As a passive enabler of local political initiatives, the objective of UN peacekeeping operations was to minimize frictions during and following peace negotiations.

Since then, the global shift from interstate conflicts to civil wars has required a conceptual change in how impartiality is conceived, raising questions regarding the concrete meaning of impartiality, how to implement it, and whether it’s a desirable feature of UN peacekeeping. The progressive broadening of mission mandates has moved peacekeeping away from simple force interposition onto multidimensional missions, merging military policing with political initiatives such as demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.

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Voice, and Loyalty: Leveraging Migrant Communities

Diaspora communities represent a unique tool to leverage host countries and compromise domestic security, but also a powerful opportunity for democracies to strengthen liberal groups opposing rising and established dictatorships.

Two years have passed since the refugee wave that took European politics by storm. Since then, much of the continent’s leadership has settled on a strategy aimed at managing the incoming migration flow abroad while trying to contain the mounting pressure at home. The public discourse is dominated by two opposing camps: on one side, re-surging ethno nationalist movements argue against the dangers of multicultural society, which is often painted as a driver of security risks and terrorism; on the other, progressive parties that try to balance their sense of humanitarian obligation with the temptation to pander to the masses with equally xenophobic campaigns.

Continue reading at The Strategy Bridge