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Posts Tagged ‘ Bosnia ’

The Globalisation Of The NBA

nba

Brooklyn Nets kicked off the first global game of 2014 with a resounding 127-110 win over the Atlanta Hawks at London’s 02 Arena last Thursday.

Over the past 35 years the NBA have played 147 games globally, visiting 20 different countries including China, Germany, Italy and Russia amongst others.

Yet the globalisation of the NBA has extended far beyond bringing the game cross continent.  Continue reading

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Irish Sides Learn European Fate

el-trophyUEFA revealed the draw for the First Qualifying Round and Second Qualifying Round of both the Champions League and Europa League yesterday morning. Fans from across the globe, including those within in the League of Ireland tuned in to see where they would follow their team in a foreign country for the first time this year.

St.Patrick’s Athletic never seem to get the luck they need within the draws. Pats last couple of European draws has featured trips to Bosnia, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Malta, Romania, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine. No doubt their was an air of grievance around Richmond Park yesterday when the draw pitted them against Lithuanian side Zalgiris Vilnius, with a potential second round trip to Armenia to face FC Pyunik or Macedonia to face FK Teteks on the cards should they progress. . Continue reading

A Look at the Degeneration of Mali: the Military Coup and Barbarism

Islamic Jihadist groups have capitalized on Mali’s weak political situation to place themselves, by force, in power in northern Mali. In an area as vast as France the Islamic rebels have imposed strict Shariah, and as a result, it is reported that almost half a million people have been forced to flee their homes. Those who have stayed are subject to the imposed Islamic law; women are advised to stay indoors, smoking is punishable by whipping, alcohol is forbidden, theft (supposed) is punishable by amputation of the hand, which happened to a man some 2 weeks ago in Ansongo, and adultery is punishable by stoning to death, a fate which befell a couple some weeks ago in Bamako. The parents had a number of children, the youngest just 6 months…

As if forcing your barbaric religious law upon a peaceful region wasn’t awful enough, the group Ansar Dine recently demolished an ancient mosque in the historic city of Timbuktu. In what was reminiscent of the destruction of the OldBridge in Mostar, Bosnia, by Catholic Croats, members of the Islamic group, armed with axes, destroyed the building that was of great cultural importance to the region. “It’s very simple: it doesn’t correspond to the rules of Islam…What doesn’t correspond to Islam, we will correct”, said Sanda Ould Boumana, a spokesperson for Ansar Dine.

 

The Military and the Coup

A military coup in the south of the country in March has meant that the Islamic groups, Ansar Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA), have been able to descend upon the region and impose Shariah. The military staged a coup to overthrow the democratically elected government of Mali and to drive President Amadou Toumani Toure into exile. The coup left the northern territories vulnerable and the Islamic groups seized upon this niche. Some have said that Mali was a beacon of hope in Africa, the government being democratic and secular, but the truth is that the country was wrought with corruption. The question is posed whether it is justifiable to overthrow a democratically elected government by force? This raises some rather thorny questions; is it justifiable to leave such a corrupt government in place?  The trend of military coups has been an exponential prevalence in the past century. More often than not corrupt governments are replaced by a newly appointed government, but a new government with pro-military individuals taking seats in cabinet. And some may suggest this is what is happening in Mali. On Monday (20/08) a new government was appointed. Of the 31 ministers, 5 of them are perceived to be close associates of coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo.

In an article in March for Al Jazeera William Moseley wrote of the transition of the government following the coup, “If we are charitable and assume the best, then Sanogo may be a well-intentioned subaltern who unwillingly led a coup because he was fed up with rampant corruption, improper support of the military, and the declining welfare of the Malian people… Sadly, however, the ends do not justify the means. Coups are steely, double-edged swords, as one violent transition of power opens the door for yet another transition of power”.

The timing is somewhat suspicious. An upcoming election was due to be held some months after the coup. Instead of a coup, the military could have focused their efforts on eliminating the threat of militant Islamic groups in the north and let the civilian masses vote in the upcoming free elections. Their decision to undercut the government early may well suggest their intention to increase their influence in the cabinet.

The Northern Situation

Whatever the intentions of the military the threat of religious fundamentalism in the north is critical. The newly appointed government has stated the main concern is the situation in the north. The situation is indeed urgent; the groups, mainly Ansar Dine which is aligned with the Taliban, controls almost two-thirds of the country. The military commander of Ansar Dine, Omar Ould Hamaha, has said, “When we have finished conquering France, we will come to the USA, we will come to London and conquer the whole world…The banner of Muhammed will be raised from where the sun rises in the east to where it sets in the west”. The democratic and secular country of Mali has some work to do to rid its northern territory of these barbaric terrorist who hold imposed governance over the people and who seek to spread their horrific law. The newly appointed government of Mali also needs to counteract deep seeded corruption within the cabinet and may need to seek external assistance to aid them in the re-generation of their country, and the fight against barbarism in the north.

Shuki Sadan Byrne (22/08/2012).

Find Willaim Moseley’s Article Here: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/03/2012331124714249529.html

LOI V Bundesliga: A Steep Learning Curve

The League of Ireland has once again fallen victim to the underrated force of the Bundesliga after Hannover 96 all but ended St Patricks Athletic’s European dream after securing a three nil away win in Dublin.

The first leg tie saw goals from Leon Andreasen, Christian Pander and Didier Ya Konan break Saints hearts and all but end the tie as the contest. The Saints travel to Germany on Thursday for the second leg which is nothing but a formality but it could have been so different had Liam Buckley’s men claimed a well deserved goal.

The Inchicore side will travel to Hannover with pride at stake and will bow out of Europe with their heads held high after a great Europa League run saw them knock out IBV of Iceland and Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia before coming up against the might of the Germans, something they weren’t phased by.

Indeed it’s not the first time Ireland’s most consistent European club has felt the gulf in quality between the League of Ireland and the Bundesliga, a league which is arguably the toughest in the world. Hertha Berlin knocked Pats out of the Europa League in 2008 despite the Saints claiming a credible nil all draw at the RDS, which could have easily swung in the Saints favour.

Fast forward to 2012 and Die Roten proved a more brute force than their Bundesliga rivals. Hannover haven’t had any great European history but in recent years they have shown their form and prowess. The 2010/11 season saw an amazing fourth place finish for the men from Lower Saxony and ensured they ended their 19th year absence from competing on the European stage. Few could have predicted that finish for Mirko Slomka’s side yet the best was yet to come from the German side, who marched all the way to the Europa League quarter finals only to lose out to eventual winners Atletico Madrid.

This season offers another venture in the Europa League for Slomka’s side, who beat Pats 3-0 without really hitting their top gear. While 3-0 was incredibly flattering to the Germans, Pats deserve tremendous credible for their valiant second half showing. The League of Ireland is a world away from the Bundesliga both on and off the pitch but the determination and heart of St Patricks Athletic has shown that if lady luck was on their side it would have been a different story. In the end the clinical finishing of Hannover killed off the tie, although Brendan Clarke should have done better to save Pander’s free kick while there was a suspicion of offside about Ya Konan’s finish.

St Patricks Athletic have long been regarded as one of Ireland’s top clubs and their consistency on the European stage is far greater than any other club despite Shamrock Rovers tremendous feat of reaching the Europa League group stages last year.

Pats have an incredible home record in the Europa League but when they reach the crunch stage the very fact that they have to move their home tie from Richmond Park seems to be something of a mental hindrance. The Saints have enjoyed many great nights in Inchicore and have saw off some good sides such as Elfsborg, Krylya Sovetov and Siroki Brijeg. Such victories have brought the might of clubs such as Hertha Berlin, Steaua Bucharest, Karpaty Lviv and Hannover 96 to Dublin. European football is a tremendous learning curve and a whole different game to the domestic league.

If Pats can learn anything from their illustrious opponents of which Hannover are no doubt the finest then we may well see Ireland’s European club crack the Europa League year after year.

But until then Saints fans must remain content in the knowledge that fantastic European nights come at the expense of domestic success, as has been proven year upon year.

Pats Ready For Hannover Battle

St Patricks Athletic will look to continue their Europa League journey tonight when they square off against Bundesliga giants Hannover 96 at Tallaght Stadium (Kick off 7.45pm).

Tonight’s high profile tie with the Bundesliga giants is the reward for Pats following their extra time victories over both ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar and Široki Brijeg – leaving the Saints as the League of Ireland’s sole representative left in European competition.

It is the second successive season that Pats have reached this stage, having been knocked out by Karpaty Lviv last season.

Hannover remain in the middle of their pre-season preparations ahead of the beginning of the 2012/13 Bundesliga season on August 23rd when they open up their campaign with a home tie with FC Schalke 04. They come to Dublin with an air of confidence and few can blame them as they are the clear favourites, however such is the nature of football that the favourites tag can often be seen as a hindrance.

Pats won’t fear their illustrious opponents and have tasted the strength of the Bundesliga in recent years. 2008 saw the Saints square off against Hertha Berlin, a tie they were rather unlucky in. The Saints lost 2-0 in the first leg but achieved a credible nil all draw in the return leg in Dublin, a game they easily could have won.

Speaking to stpatsfc.com, Saints’ manager Liam Buckley stated that while his side were under no illusions of the calibre of Hannover 96 and the huge challenge they would pose, it was one that everyone at the club were relishing and that his side would concentrate on their own performance rather than worrying about the opposition.

“We have to make sure we play our way. When we get the ball, we’ve got to be even more patient in terms of keeping possession – our supporters have been great in understanding that and supporting us this season.”

“We’ve a tough game Thursday night, but we’ll rely on what we’ve been working on for the past few months, and if we retain the ball, they’re not going to score. So we cannot afford to give the ball away cheaply which we have done at times this season – if we can avoid doing that, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

Buckley reported that the Saints will be without the services of Stephen O’Flynn after breaking a rib, the striker is expected to be out for up to a month. Dean Kelly is also on the casualty list with a groin injury, while Mark Rossiter is a long term absentee with a knee injury.

Buckley however is hoping to have new signing Vinny Faherty registered in time for tomorrow night’s clash.

The Beginning of the End, a Short Follow Up to the Syrian Situation as it Stands

It may have come in a brutal manner but it would seem that President Basher Al-Assad’s regime is within clear sight of its demise. Yesterday a bomb tore through the National Security Headquarters of the regime in Damascus. It left 3 top officials, and key advisors to Assad, dead, one of whom was Assad’s brother-in-law. 

The beautiful, ancient city of Damascus has seen days of intense fighting. As we speak Government forces are staging a fierce response to the assassinations yesterday. Fresh fighting has been reported all over the city. Many are fleeing the city as it becomes a war ground between Government forces and rebel fighters.

Some have come out to condemn the attacks yesterday. China has strongly condemned the bombing. In a statement from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei, it was stated that “China opposes all forms of terrorism and violence and strongly condemns yesterday’s bombing attacks in Damascus”. The statement has left many bewildered. China has remained somewhat taciturn on the crimes committed by Assad forces in the past 15 months. Hong Lei also said that “China is deeply worried about the rising tensions in Syria and we again urge all sides in Syria to immediately ceasefire and stop the violence”. China has stood by Russia’s side twice since the conflict began in blocking earlier resolutions, so it is bewildering to many what China’s real stance on Syria is.

It is the rejection of earlier resolutions in Syria that have caused the country to descend into brutal civil war. The International Red Cross recently concluded that Syria was now in a state of  ‘Civil War’. This is important because the two sides are now subject to international humanitarian law. The law is also retroactive which means any crimes committed before the ‘civil war’ status can be considered war crimes. It is also important because it should give the non-interventionalists, like Russia and China, more incentive to vote for a resolution, which seems unlikely for Russia has already said that it will not support any intervention at this point in time.

You get the sense that it is all a little too late anyway. the fighting is entering its last, and possibly bloodiest, phase. The international bodies that are in place to serve and protect us have failed again, as they did in Bosnia. As it was in Bosnia, and as it is in Syria, with little or no help the uprising was (or seemingly is) a success, but a bloody and violent one. With a resolution a little earlier the lives os thousands could have been spared. The intrepid freedom fighters can call this one their own. As for Assad, his forces will fight until the end, wreaking as much havoc as they can before the removal of their leader.

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