Libya’s leaders shelter by the sea as country tilts toward civil war | LAURA KING AND YASMINE RYAN
The seaside hotel that serves as the last redoubt of Libya’s internationally recognized government is named Dar al-Salam, or House of Peace. But beyond the confines of this modest port city nearly a thousand miles from the capital, this country teeters on the brink of civil war.
In the three years since longtime dictator Moammar Kadafi was toppled and slain, the energy-rich North African nation has struggled fitfully to reach some power equilibrium among heavily armed groups, fractured along ideological, regional and tribal lines. But over the last four months, the level of violence has escalated as the various groups fight for influence and riches, and the very notion of Libya as a state is slipping away.
FULL REPORT (Los Angeles Times)
Photo: Nasser Nouri/flickr
Why Liberians Thought Ebola Was a Government Scam to Attract Western Aid | Sara Jerving
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, has killed nearly 2,500 people since it was first identified in the region in December 2013. But when the Ebola virus hit the coastal city of Monrovia, Liberia, it sent crisis responders into a new level of panic. Ebola has never before hit as densely populated an area as Monrovia with such force. While Ebola was only first identified in the city in June, the county where the capital is located now accounts for nearly 40 percent of the deaths in the country.
Of all the countries now dealing with Ebola, Liberia is now in the worst condition. The virus first entered the country in March and three months later hit the capital city, spreading quickly and threatening to infect large numbers of people. Sierra Leone and Guinea have managed to keep cases mostly to the rural areas and Nigeria was able to quickly quarantine the small outbreak in Lagos. But in Monrovia, the virus is still uncontrolled. The city has become the “worry of the world,” says Andrew Hoskins, Medical Teams International country director. One of the reasons that Liberia is facing a more acute crisis than its neighbors is that high levels of corruption have created widespread distrust in the government—undermining its efforts to contain the virus.
FULL REPORT (The Nation)
Photo: EC/ECHO/Jean-Louis Mosser/flickr
Despite warnings, more Western tourists are traveling to North Korea | STEVEN BOROWIEC
It’s the kind of publicity that would seemingly scare off sightseers: A trio of U.S. citizens detained in North Korea pleading for help last week in brief, rarely granted media interviews.
Yet even as the ordeal for the men, who had gone to the reclusive communist outpost with tour groups, drags on — and as the U.S. strongly warns Americans against visiting — North Korea is making a push for more Western tourists.
And more are visiting.
FULL ARTICLE (LA Times)
Fears of unrest cloud Afghanistan as election dispute drags on | ALI M. LATIFI, SHASHANK BENGALI
As Afghanistan’s disputed presidential vote nears an uncertain conclusion, fears are mounting that post-election unrest could threaten the fragile political order that the United States has struggled for 13 years to help build.
Recent developments have raised questions about the ability of Abdullah Abdullah — the one-time front-runner who has alleged a conspiracy to rig the results against him — to pacify supporters if he, as expected, is declared the runner-up.
The concerns have increased as he has clashed with rival Ashraf Ghani over the details of a power-sharing proposal, brokered by the Obama administration, in which the new president would cede some decision-making authority to a chief executive from the opposing camp.
FULL ARTICLE (LA Times)
Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waeza/United Nations Development Programme/flickr
Where delaying elections can build peace | Landry Signé and Grace Kpohazounde
Elections are crucial to peace processes in post-conflict countries, but their organization before sufficiently addressing the root causes of conflict — and ensuring the serious political commitment of former belligerents — can jeopardize the achievement of sustainable peace and successful democratic transition.
On Jan. 28, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 2134 to address humanitarian, security and political concerns in the Central African Republic after a military coup and civil war, which had accelerated state collapse. Resolution 2134 called for the holding of elections “as soon as possible, but no later than February 2015 and, if possible, in the second half of 2014,” giving barely a year to the then-interim government and all the parties (or belligerents) involved to create trust among parties, reorganize the disintegrated administration, disarm factions, ensure security and create a credible electoral management body.
FULL ARTICLE (The Washington Post)
Photo: Catholic Relief Services/S.Phelps/UNHCR Photo Unit/Flickr
Violence and Kidnappings Lead UN to Relocate Golan Heights Peacekeepers | Samuel Oakford
After weeks of violent confrontations and the kidnapping of 45 peacekeepers by Syrian rebel groups, the UN said Monday that members of their observation force in the Golan Heights will be evacuated to Israeli-controlled territory.
"Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF [United Nations Disengagement Observer Force] positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers along the "bravo" line and in Camp Faouar," where the mission is headquartered, UN spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. "All the UN personnel in these positions have thus been relocated to the "alpha" side."
FULL ARTICLE (VICE NEWS)
Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten/Flickr
Dozens killed in Tripoli suburb under siege | Tom Stevenson
On the outskirts of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, the residents of an area known as Warshefana are surrounded on all sides by armed militias who, in addition to attacking built-up areas, have imposed what amounts to a siege, blocking the entry of food and medicine.
The fighters form part of a militia coalition that took effective control of Tripoli two weeks ago. They have been heavily shelling Warshefana from their surrounding positions for the last week and have so far killed more than 70 residents, including at least 12 children. An additional 140 are believed to be injured.
The Warshefana are a tribe often seen as having been loyalists to Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. They once supported militias from Zintan, including Othman Mlekta’s al-Qaqaa, in their long battle in Tripoli against allies of their attackers. The militias now besieging the tribe see its members as traitors to Libya’s revolution, which they claim to be upholding.
FULL ARTICLE (Al-Monitor)
Photo: European Commission DG ECHO/flickr