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About Nikolaj Nielsen

Nikolaj Nielsen is an independent journalist and editor based in Brussels. 


Articles by Nikolaj Nielsen

This week’s front page editor

Rosemary Bechler is a mainsite editor of openDemocracy

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The freedom fighters of Belarus

Next Monday marks the anniversary of Belarus' disgraceful 2010 elections, which led to a brutal campaign of intimidation, imprisonment, violence and torture against opponents of the regime. Last month, Nikolaj Nielsen travelled to Minsk — still pincered between paranoia and fear — to talk to the brave men and women fighting for their country's freedom.

Nikolaj Nielsen

By 2050, a global system that guarantees the equitable distribution of resources -  of water, of land, of energy, and of food. But first, all risk-aversion schemes that underpin our fears and spin off so many absurdities have been binned. No more military, no more securities markets, or insurance plans meant to keep us safe and in constant fear. With the removal of corporate and state centric interests – genuine democracy could finally have the space to prevail.

Migrants in Brussels – against the odds

Migrant women especially face extreme discrimination in Brussels. But they don’t necessarily see it that way.

One asylum seeker in Belgium: Part Three

In March 2010, over 400 Macedonian asylum seekers arrived in Belgium. Many have since returned to Macedonia. Most are now considerably worse off. Parts One and Two.

Belgium’s asylum seeker fiasco

People in Brussels are led to believe that there is a huge influx of asylum-seekers. Yes and no. The truth is much harder to tell. Many have ended up in the street and some have even taken the Belgian state to court. Part Two

The asylum seeker village – from Macedonia to Belgium: Part One

We begin a three-part account of the experiences of ethnic Albanians seeking asylum. Part One begins in Macedonia, which recently lifted visa restrictions towards Europe

Tirana: calm before a storm?

On 21 January, three people died when the Republican Guard opened fire on protesters in front of the Prime Minister’s office. This is taking place in Europe

On the frontline - Western Sahara

The recent European Parliament resolution on Western Sahara did not cite Moroccan repression and the need to liberate Sahrawi political prisoners. Nor did it call upon MEPs to send a contingent to investigate. Just as well. The Moroccan authorities would have stopped them at the border – again.

Road trip with Roma - from Brussels to Bulgaria; life at both ends

Almost all the Roma in Brussels come from the Razgrad region in northern Bulgaria and most have no bank account. Travel by plane is generally not an option. Slavtho charges €80 a head from Brussels; €120 return. “Soon Bulgaria will become a full member of the EU. Bulgaria vacation; Brussels work,” he says.

A small bomb in Gali

The rising tension on the Abkhazia-Georgia border is fuelling fear and intransigence, reports Nikolaj Nielsen.

Trade isolates the PKK

Turkey and Iraq's Kurds discuss bilateral trade agreements to develop Kurdistan. A car bomb detonates outside the Danish Embassy in Islamabad. The UN Security Council is on a ten-day tour of Africa. The normally reclusive Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, holds a press conference. And much more in today's security briefings.

"Sureshot" FARC leader dies

FARC leader and founder Manuel Marulanda is confirmed dead. Iraqi soldiers are accused of breaking ceasefire in Sadr City. The MEND attack a Shell oil pipeline in the Nigerian delta. Nato urges Islamabad to reconsider negotiating with the Taliban. And more in today's security briefing.

Lebanon's divide

Fears of a growing sectarian divide in Lebanon may lead to more fighting. The US detains several hundred children as unlawful enemy combatants. UN Secretary General Bi Kan-moon is scheduled to visit Burma and expedite relief efforts. Bush administration continues to spy on US citizens. And much more in today's security briefings.

Beirut besieged

For the first time in fifteen years, guns rattle the streets of Beirut. Outbreaks of violence worsen crisis in post-Nargis Burma. Darfur rebels attack Khartoum and vow more clashes in the capital. Pentagon sees global resources as future of conflict. Mogadishu residents victim of latest fighting in Somalia. And more in today’s security briefings.

Bali bomber detained

Indonesian authorities detain a man suspected of involvement in the 2005 Bali suicide bombings. In Iraq, women organisations denounce “honor killings.” Washington is planning to send in more American troops to Afghanistan. US officials claim Hizbollah is training Iraqis in Iran. And more in today’s security briefings.

Gaza "stripped"

Donor countries meet to discuss Gaza Strip’s worst humanitarian crisis since the 1968 Israeli offensive. An Al-Jazeera cameraman is released after spending six years at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay. A teenage boy detonates a bomb in a mosque in Pakistan. And more in today’s security briefing.

Karzai’s Damocles sword

Afghanistan’s Taliban come within 500 meters of killing President Hamid Karzai. Activists accuse Kenyan forces of torturing 4000 people in troubled western region near Uganda. Fifteen thousand Turkish soldiers clash with PKK rebels. Indonesian Muslims torch a “heretic” mosque. And much more in today’s security briefings.

Malaysia's Guantanamo

Up to 70 people  are being detained without charge in Malaysia's "Guantanamo". Ethiopian forces allegedly target civilians and abduct children in Mogadishu. The spectre of rape rises in Kenya's slums. Georgia says a Russian MiG-29 shot down a drone in Georgian airspace. Pakistan's peace deal with Taliban leader raises concerns over safe havens. And more in today's security briefings.

Mogadishu burns

Civilians bear the brunt of latest fighting in Somali capital. Iranian ambassador praises Iraq's tough stand against Shia militants in Basra. Iraqi Kurds continue to support the PKK despite hardships. UK endorses Pakistan's latest attempt to negotiate with militants. And more in today's security briefing.

A new Cold War front

Russia's latest support for breakaway regions in Georgia foments conflict. Al-Qaida's second-in-command calls for a "fortress of Islam" in Iraq. Anti-colonialist and renowned poet Aimer Cesaire dies in Martinique. Captured UK sailors were not apprehended in Iraqi waters.The US is set to sign off a new $7 billion "aid package" to Pakistan. And much more in today's security briefing.

Iraqi journalists against all odds

Against the odds, an Iraqi journalist launches a new non-sectarian political party. Bush sees Iran as a greater threat than the pan-nationalist al-Qaida movement. In Pakistan, Hindus face prejudice on numerous fronts. An explosion at a mosque in Iran kills twelve. And much more in today’s security briefing.

Food crisis sparking conflict

Rising food prices threaten global security. Israeli tanks enter the Gaza strip amid intense fire from Palestinian fighters. A market blast in India injures at least forty. A top al-Qaida operative involved in the 2005 London bombings dies in Pakistan. Senior US officials approved of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against suspected al-Qaida. And much more in today’s security briefing.

Al-Maliki vs al-Sadr

Thousands protest against China in London during the Olympic Torch Relay. Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki threatens to ban Shia cleric al-Sadr from upcoming elections. SIMI activists are arrested in India. US President George Bush and Russia’s Vladmir Putin disagree on Washington’s proposed missile defense project. ISAF forces encounter stiff resistance in Afghanistan. And more in today’s security briefing.

Iraqi forces flee

Iraqi security forces abandoned their positions during last week’s fighting in Basra. Mujahideen leader Jalaluddin Haqqani calls for a new Taliban strategy against NATO forces. The United States claims to accept new Pakistani strategies to combat militants in tribal areas. In Iraq, a suicide bomber detonates himself at funeral. And much more in today’s security briefing.

Annapolis foundering?

Israel agrees to dismantle 50 roadblocks as Rice tries to push the Annapolis peace agreement forward. In the northern remote areas of Pakistan, local officials meet with Taliban to discuss peace. In Iraq, Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announces a ceasefire. The global trade of weapons decreased in 2007 according to a report by a Swedish think-tank. And more in today's security briefing.

Quantifying terror

Salon journalist Mark Danner attempts to make sense of the "terrorist measuring stick." Find out the reach of US military assistance in The Center for Public Integrity online database. The UK admits to British torture of Iraqi civilians and pays the price. Chilean ambassador to the UN discusses Washington's strong arm tactics. And much more in today's security briefing.

Thousands protest in Tibet

The largest protest against Chinese rule in two decades sparks violence in Tibet. Hundreds of Serbs clash with NATO and U.N. in northern Kosovo. ULFA rebels allegedly detonate bomb during an annual festival in Assam. Twenty people are killed by a US missile attack in Pakistan. And more in today’s security briefing.

Vietnam’s "Phoenix" rises in Iraq

Top US counterinsurgency advisor looks to Vietnam for inspiration in Iraq. The EU Parliament has passed measures allowing for armed "sky marshals" inside Europe. Meanwhile, both Chad and Sudan sign a peace agreement intended to end the cross border rebel skirmishes. And much more in today's security briefings.

Bush condones torture

Bush vetoes a Congressional bill outlawing waterboarding and other torture techniques. Salon journalist speaks to a former Taliban commander who says US is funding militants. China claims to have averted a possible terrorist attack inside its borders. All this and much more in today's security briefings.

Refugees find cold refuge in Chad

Refugees fleeing Darfur face more violence in Chad. US officials hope to expand the American military presence near the troubled Afghan-Pakistan border. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood gains support despite Mubarak’s harsh crackdown. All this and much more in today’s security briefing. 

Carnage during Shia pilgrimage

Scores dead as suicide bombers target Shia pilgrims in Iraq. Gazans demonstrate at Israeli border fence against embargoes. Sri Lankan military strikes Tamil Tigers. Senior Pakistani military officers killed in Rawalpindi. Thousands gather to protest Armenian election results. Russia renews its support for Serbia.

Turkish troops enter northern Iraq

Ten thousand Turkish soldiers enter northern Iraq in a campaign to eradicate PKK rebels accused of launching attacks in southeastern Turkey. The EU Parliament is reviewing procedures in the EU’s controversial terrorist blacklist. The UK admits CIA extraordinary rendition complicity despite claiming ignorance after years of denial. Morocco claims to have unraveled a terrorist network with links to al-Qaida. And the ever brutal LRA walk out of talks as their demands for cash and ministerial positions are refused.
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