Encyclopedias

# Political Handbook of the World 2010

Encyclopedias

### Edited by: Arthur S. Banks, Thomas C. Muller, William R. Overstreet & Judith F. Isacoff

• Front Matter
• Countries A-Z
• Political & Electoral Systems
• International Organizations

## Preface

In October 2008 the Nobel Committee awarded the world’s most prestigious peace prize to Finland’s former president Marrti Ahtisaari, citing his more than three decades of work in conflict resolution on several continents. A year later, in contrast, the Nobel Peace Prize went to a new participant in international politics, Barack Obama, who had occupied the office of U.S. president for less than ten months. The committee lauded Obama’s “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

Early in President Obama’s Nobel lecture on December 9, 2009, he acknowledged that many regarded the Nobel Committee’s decision as premature and considered others—for example, humanitarian workers and those “who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice”—more deserving. He also spoke frankly about the central paradox surrounding the award: In addition to being the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, he was commander in chief of a country that was engaged in two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, only eight days before his Nobel address he had called for committing an additional 30,000 U.S. troops, for a total of about 100,000, to the eight-year-old Afghan conflict.

The Nobel Committee’s gesture of support for a “new climate in international politics” came at the end of a decade that some commentators disparaged as “the aughts” for its dearth of positive developments. The “00s” had begun with considerable apprehension over a “Y2K” millennial software meltdown that never materialized, as “1999” reset to “2000” with few glitches. At the same time, much of the world appeared inattentive to what would prove to be a far more substantial threat: the lethal growth of terrorism on the part of Islamic militants, which on September 11, 2001, claimed nearly 3,000 lives and provided the decade with its most indelible image, the collapse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City, brought down by airline hijackers in a suicide mission linked to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida. The shorthand “9/11” soon became common parlance, signifying the potentially devastating impact of “nonstate actors” who, whether devoted to jihad or some other cause, had the capacity to operate without regard for geopolitical boundaries or governments. For the balance of the decade suicide bombings and other terrorist assaults were never far from the headlines. Islamic terrorists, some of them homegrown, would later strike successfully, although not at such a high cost as on 9/11, in the United Kingdom, Spain, and elsewhere in the West as well as across a swath of Asia, from the Middle East through Indonesia and the Philippines.

As an immediate consequence of 9/11, the administration of President George W. Bush spearheaded the multinational invasion of Afghanistan, where the fundamentalist Taliban government permitted al-Qaida to operate. Eighteen months later, in March 2003, the United States launched a considerably larger military force against Iraq, which President Bush had characterized in January 2002 as part of an “axis of evil” that also included Iran and North Korea. Although the invasion of Iraq quickly succeeded in ousting strongman Saddam Hussein from power in Baghdad, it also destabilized Iraqi society. The occupying forces not only failed to locate the ostensible raison d’être for the invasion—stockpiled weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), which proved to be nonexistent—but also failed to bring with them a coherent plan for maintaining order and reestablishing civil society, thereby contributing to a protracted insurgency and sectarian bloodshed that would continue for the rest of the decade.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration refused to negotiate bilaterally with North Korea, which confirmed its entry into the company of nuclear powers with a successful underground nuclear explosion in October 2006. Washington also accused Iran of assisting terrorists and of using its efforts to develop civilian nuclear power as a cover for a nuclear weapons program—a charge lent at least some credence by Tehran’s secrecy and failure to be forthcoming with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which, along with its director general, Mohamed ElBaradei of Egypt, had won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to prevent the military use of nuclear energy.

President Obama’s first year in office therefore found him dealing with the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, erratic behavior from North Korea, the issue of Iran’s nuclear status, and the continuing terrorist threat. There were numerous attacks around the world in 2009, including a car bombing in Spain by the Basque separatist ETA that injured some 60 people and the bombing of two Jakarta hotels in Indonesia that killed 9 and injured more than 50. However, the nexus of terrorist activity, excluding Afghanistan and Iraq, was Pakistan, which found itself confronted not only by the efforts of the jihadist Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to establish dominion and impose sharia (Islamic law) in the Swat valley of the North-West Frontier Province, but also by reprisals for its attempts to exert military control in tribal areas where al-Qaida and the Taliban had been taking advantage of the porous border with Afghanistan since 2001. Reprisals indiscriminately targeting civilians as well as the military and police also came in response to missile strikes launched by unmanned U.S. drones, one of which killed TTP leader Baitullah Mahsud, the alleged mastermind behind one of the decade’s most consequential assassinations, that of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.

In addition to addressing Islamic terrorism and nuclear proli-feration, Obama’s Nobel lecture focused on conflicts within countries—ethnic and sectarian clashes, secessionist movements, and insurgencies—and the chaos created by failed states. These are conflicts in which, he noted, “many more civilians are killed than soldiers; the seeds of future conflict are sown, economies are wrecked, civil societies torn asunder, refugees amassed, children scarred.” He went on to argue that attendant violations of international law demand a principled international response and that armed intervention may be necessary and morally justified if nonmilitary measures, such as stiff sanctions, fail.

The decade 2000–2009 provided ample examples to support Obama’s concerns:

• In Myanmar (Burma), where a repressive junta kept 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for most of the decade
• In the failed state of Somalia, where “terrorism and piracy are joined by famine and human suffering”
• In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where throughout the decade contending forces committed what Obama characterized as “systematic rape” and preyed on tribal animosities in an effort to control the country’s natural wealth
• In Sudan’s Darfur region, where during the new century an estimated 200,000 died and 2.5 million were uprooted, and where the presidency continued to be held by Umar al-Bashir, whom prosecutors at the International Criminal Court charged with genocide
• In Sri Lanka, where a separatist insurgency fought for more than a quarter of a century by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was finally defeated by government forces in May 2009, but not before tens of thousands of civilians had been killed and both sides had repeatedly been accused of human rights violations that included torture, rape, assassination, and extrajudicial killings

Turning to the prospects for building “a just and lasting peace,” Obama called for imposing sanctions severe enough to change the behavior of noncompliant governments. He also advocated honoring the inherent rights of individuals, such as freedom of speech, religion, and assembly, and ensuring the opportunity for citizens to freely choose their leaders.

In the latter regard, the previous decade had recorded notable accomplishments, including the independence of Timor-Leste (East Timor) from Indonesia in 2002 and the return of limited self-rule to Northern Ireland in 2007. Also in Indonesia, impetus for settling a long-standing separatist conflict in Aceh Province had arisen from a catastrophe: the tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, killing at least 230,000 people, the majority of them in Aceh. Partly as a result of mediation by Marrti Ahtisaari’s Crisis Management Initiative team, Jakarta approved an autonomy statute for Aceh in 2006, bringing a formal end to the 30-year conflict. Other noteworthy developments in 2000–2009 included the 2003 “Rose Revolution” in Georgia, the 2004 “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine, and the 2005 “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan, although electoral politics in Kyrgyzstan, in particular, subsequently failed to meet fully democratic standards.

In 2008, as the decade approached its close, “change” became a common electoral theme, bringing into power a spate of opposition parties, including, in the United States, Barack Obama’s Democratic Party. In 2009, however, “stability” appeared to be key in a number of elections. Notable second-term victories were won by the center-right government of Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany and the multiparty coalition of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in India, who thereby became the first Indian prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru (1946–1964) to continue in office following completion of a full first term. Among the industrialized countries, Japan offered the most noteworthy counter to the trend as the Democratic Party of Japan ousted the Liberal Democratic Party, whose rule had been almost continuous for over half a century. The switchover was hardly a surprise, however, as polling had predicted the results more than two years before the election.

Incumbent presidents were also reelected in Afghanistan and Iran in 2009, but large segments of the populace in both countries rejected the vote counts as fraudulent. In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, heading a government allegedly rife with corruption, claimed an outright victory but ultimately succumbed to international pressure and agreed to a runoff against his leading opponent, Abdullah Abdullah. Expressing concerns over fairness and transparency, Abdullah ultimately dropped out of the November contest, which was canceled. In Iran, the leading challenger to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, opposition figure Mir-Hossein Mousavi, refused to accept the June election results, which gave him only 34 percent of the vote versus the incumbent’s 62 percent. But Ahmadinejad had the crucial support of Supreme Religious Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, who directed an often violent crackdown against Mousavi supporters and other opposition demonstrators. Defying authorities, antigovernment protesters repeatedly took to the streets throughout the rest of the year.

Among 2009's other significant election results, Benjamin Netanyahu returned as Israeli prime minister, heading a conservative coalition government that assumed a hardened stance toward creation of a Palestinian state and that, ignoring international objections, soon authorized construction of additional Jewish housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Those decisions and the latest denunciation of Israeli intentions by the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas-led government in Gaza undermined efforts to restart the Middle East peace process.

In Africa, the leader of a 2008 coup in Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz, was elected to his country’s presidency in July 2009. At the same time, in Guinea-Bissau the orderly conduct of a two-round presidential election in June–July (won by Malam Bacai Sanhá) garnered wide international praise, coming as it did only weeks after the assassination of the country’s president and most senior politician, João Bernardo Vieira.

In the Americas, the president of Honduras, José Manuel Zelaya, was deposed on June 28 and forced into exile in an action that was widely condemned internationally but was characterized by his opponents as authorized by the constitution. In his three years in office Zelaya had introduced an increasingly leftist agenda, and he had recently called for revising the constitution. The previously scheduled election for Honduras’s next president took place on November 29 and was won by the opposition National Party’s Porfirio Lobo Sosa, but at the end of the year, with Zelaya still sequestered in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa after stealing back into the country in September, the crisis remained unresolved.

In addition to championing human rights and free elections, in his Nobel lecture President Obama identified economic opportunity and economic security as features of a just peace. (Twice in the past decade the peace prize has been awarded for achievements related to economic opportunity and sustainable development: in 2004, to the Kenyan Wangari Muta Maathai, founder of the environmental Green Belt Movement, and in 2006, to Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank for their work in offering microcredit loans, primarily to poor women.) However, economic opportunity and security were in relatively short supply in 2009 as the world attempted to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Beginning in September 2008 with a “credit crisis” that washed over the global banking and financial sectors, market downturns wiped out sizable portions of personal and institutional wealth and forced governments to rethink the basic underpinnings of their economies. The crisis had been precipitated in the United States and other developed economies by the rupture of a housing market bubble and its impact on largely unregulated, complex financial instruments. With striking speed, bank nationalizations, surreally priced bailouts, and massive stimulus packages collectively totaling trillions of dollars became the standard approaches for preventing complete implosion of the world economy.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the world economy contracted by 1.1 percent in 2009, although the downturn was not distributed evenly. In fact, many countries in Africa and Asia, despite experiencing drops in GDP growth rates, avoided falling into recession. The hardest hit countries were often developed economies: GDP fell by 2.7 percent in the United States, by 4.4 percent in the United Kingdom, by 5.3 percent in Germany, and by 5.4 percent in Japan. Every country in the European Union except Poland was in recession for the year as a whole, with the hardest hit being the Baltic republics of Estonia (–14 percent), Latvia (–18 percent), and Lithuania (–18.5 percent). Even the world’s most vibrant economies, China (8.5 percent GDP growth) and India (5.4 percent), saw their rates of expansion slow from previous highs.

By mid-2009 economic data indicated that the “Great Recession” was technically over in many of the affected economies, but year-end IMF forecasts for 2010 predicted continuing recession in other countries and slow growth in most. Moreover, the return to modest growth was widely labeled as a “jobless recovery,” especially in the United States, where unemployment remained at 10 percent and where, for the decade as a whole, no net job growth had occurred.

Both the Nobel Committee, in announcing its 2009 award, and President Obama, in his Nobel lecture, called attention to another crisis, namely climate change. In a major end-of-decade event, the UN-sponsored Climate Change Conference—formally, the 15th Conference of the 193 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 5th Meeting of the 189 Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol—met December 7–18, 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The conference was originally called to conclude negotiations on a new agreement targeting cuts in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions, but for a time it appeared that the conferees would fail to reach agreement on a final communiqué, let alone a treaty. At the eleventh hour, however, President Obama (visiting Europe for the second time in less than two weeks) met behind the scenes with the leaders of China, Brazil, India, and South Africa and emerged with a compromise agreement, the Copenhagen Accord.

The accord, which Obama himself characterized as “an imperfect framework,” called for cooperation in reducing greenhouse gases “with a view” toward keeping the global temperature from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. In addition, wealthier countries agreed to provide $10 billion annually for three years to fund the efforts of poorer countries to develop clean energy and to redress the impact of global warming. By 2020,$100 billion a year is to be made available. Critics, citing the lack of legally binding provisions and specific emission-reduction targets, immediately dismissed the accord as toothless.

The year, and the decade, came to a close with the threat of Islamic terrorism once again commanding the headlines. On December 25, 2009, a would-be suicide bomber nearly succeeded in blowing up a U.S. passenger plane over Detroit, Michigan, despite all of the airport screening procedures and other precautions that had been instituted in the wake of 9/11. The alleged bomber, a Nigerian who had apparently been recruited while a student in the United Kingdom and was later reportedly trained by al-Qaida in Yemen, boarded a plane in Lagos, Nigeria, and then transferred to the U.S.-bound flight in Amsterdam, Netherlands, carrying in his clothing an explosive compound that he ignited but failed to detonate as the aircraft, with 289 passengers aboard, began its landing procedures.

Traditionally, the Handbook editors have used these prefaces to welcome the emergence of newly independent nations, particularly when independence has been embraced by the international community through such actions as quick admission to the United Nations. A global consensus has yet to be reached, however, regarding Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008 after years of conflict between the Muslim majority in Kosovo and the strongly nationalist Serbian population. For the 2009 edition, the Handbook editors decided to include a separate article on Kosovo. We based our decision primarily on the fact that more than 50 countries had recognized Kosovo but also on our assessment that readers would best be served by having a consolidated analysis and history of the complicated developments concerning Kosovo. That rationale continues to hold for the present edition, but this decision should not be construed as evidence that we support Kosovo’s side in the recognition dispute with Serbia. We remain neutral on that issue, as we also do in regard to two pro-Russian separatist regions in Georgia—South Ossetia and Abkhazia—that also declared independence in 2008. For this edition at least, both remain covered in the article on Georgia. (It is worth noting that while Kosovo has been recognized, as of January 12, 2010, by 65 countries and Taiwan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been recognized only by Nauru, Nicaragua, Russia, and Venezuela.)

In attempting to assess, in highly compressed form, the past and present politics of the global community, CQ Press and the editors of the Handbook continue a publishing tradition extending from 1928, when the Council on Foreign Relations prepared A Political Handbook of the World, edited by Malcolm W. Davis and Walter H. Mallory. (The book’s history is outlined on page 1932.) This is the fifth edition published by CQ Press, now a division of SAGE Publications. The Handbook is now also available in an online edition.

The articles on individual countries are presented in alphabetical order based on their customary names in English. Their official names, if differing from the customary, are also provided, in both English and the national language or languages. If a country has related territories, they are treated together at the end of the country article. In the case of politically divided China and Korea, a discussion of matters pertaining to the nation as a whole is followed by separate articles on the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, in the first instance, and on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea), in the second. We have elected to include one territory without a permanent population and government (Antarctica). At the end of the country articles we have also included an article on the Palestinian Authority/Palestine Liberation Organization (PA/PLO), now no longer denied a territorial base, but whose status with regard to much of the West Bank and East Jerusalem is still evolving.

For this edition, the Handbook editors have attempted to cover national elections for all of 2009. This information is incorporated within the regular text wherever possible or in headnotes at the beginning of the country articles for elections that occurred in the latter part of the year.

The intergovernmental organizations selected for treatment are presented in a separate alphabetical sequence based on their official (or, in a few cases, customary) names in English. A list of member countries of most organizations is printed within each article; for the UN and its specialized agencies, the memberships are given in Appendix C. Non-UN intergovernmental organization memberships for individual countries are listed at the end of each country section, in conformity with the list of IGO abbreviations (see page ix). We have explicitly limited this section to groups that have memberships composed of more than two states, governing bodies that meet with some degree of regularity, and permanent secretariats or other continuing means for implementing collective decisions.

CQ Press gratefully acknowledges The Research Foundation of the State University of New York at Binghamton for its longtime support of this work and its integral role, from 1975 until 2005, in maintaining the Handbook's strong legacy of readership and editorial standards. Special thanks are extended to Stephen A. Gilje, associate vice president for research at Binghamton University; Paul C. Parker, associate vice president for research administration; Michael D. McDonald and David H. Clark, former chairs of the Department of Political Science; and Benjamin Fordham, chair of the Department of Political Science.

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