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A chilling inside report of Al Nusra, the Syrian branch on Al Qaeda. Al Nusra is fighting  Bashar Al-Assad’s forces and the Islamic State. What broke my heart was watching 8 year olds sing ‘I am going to fight the Jews’ and yelling that Americans will find their grave in Syria. One of the youngest giggles when he shares his dream to become a suicide bomber. Where normal children would be cracking jokes in the… Read More

Every year I look forward to IDFA, the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam. From the five documentaries my friend Bart and I saw this year ‘Meru‘ and ‘Fog of Srebrenica’ stood out. The first one is a thrilling tale about climbers obsessed with the impossible ascent of peak Meru in the Himalayas – the climbing genre never ceases to inspire me. The latter is a raw and heartbreaking account of the massacre of… Read More

  Since the horrendous attacks in my beloved Paris I’ve been increasing my reading on ISIS, the attacks, jihadism and the Middle-East. Here’s a selection: A Vox article on the gap between true narratives and true facts. “America has not changed Iraq or Syria, but the wars there have indeed changed America” – a long-read  from David Ignatius on how ISIS spread in the Middle East A list of US airstrikes on… Read More

Forget Business School, just watch these 10 TED Talks. Some interesting talks on leadership and innovation.

Thousands of people have been killed by drones in the last 14 years: in Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and probably many other countries. This is how such a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is operated, from thousands miles away.

As seen during my visit to Riga, Latvia. A powerful reminder of the suffering the Baltics went through.

In times of great emotion taking some distance can generate new perspectives. For sure, in dealing with the huge immigration crisis in Europe rational analysis is of great help in finding workable answers. This is an interesting, factual look at arguably the biggest challenge we’ve been facing for a while on the Old Continent. The author, Robert K. Visser from the Centre for the Law of EU External Relations, frames the dilemmas… Read More

As this New Yorker article by Dexter Filkins (author of the great book The Forever War) argues, it should’t surprise anyone that no politician in charge in the last 10 years, Republican or Democrat, isn’t compromised by the chaotic American involvement in Iraq. Claiming that State Secretary Hillary Clinton stood by while events unravelled is as un-factual as blaming George W. Bush for all things gone wrong. As always, reality is nuanced – a difficult… Read More

A recent Foreign Affairs article draws a parallel between the Greek crisis and how Latvia recovered from its own crisis. The lesson – one that we learn over and over again – is clear: unless accompanied by substantial institutional reforms, neither austerity nor Grexit will work. I furthermore hope that Tsipras finds the time to read the insightful book ‘Why Nations Fail‘ – it will help him to better understand how functioning,… Read More

April 25th, 2012, Originally published on thnk.org TAKE A STAND | I was hoping that Easter would bring us a small miracle. The miracle of a political breakthrough. Not in the last place because Easter is a historically good period for miracles. It didn’t happen.  But then suddenly, last Saturday, after 7 weeks of complete silence, the news broke out. The talks about new austerity measures between Prime Minister Mark Rutte and… Read More