Even with so-called “personality” strikes in which the individual has been targeted based on evidence of identity, accurate assessments of collateral damage are impossible. — from Crisis Group’s recent report, Drones: Myths and Reality in Pakistan
Nine years after the first U.S. drone strike in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in 2004, the U.S. refuses to officially acknowledge the CIA-run program, while Pakistan denies consenting to it. — from Crisis Group’s recent report, Drones: Myths and Reality in Pakistan
Drones: Myths and Reality in Pakistan
Islamabad/Washington/Brussels | 21 May 2013
Drone strikes alone will not eliminate the jihadi threat in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Extension of Pakistani law and full constitutional rights to the region is the only long-term solution.
In its latest report, Drones: Myths and Reality in Pakistan, the International Crisis Group examines the extensive CIA-led program of drone strikes in Pakistan. The report argues that the U.S. needs to be transparent about its drone policies and bring them in accord with legality and enhanced congressional oversight and judicial accountability, while Pakistan must live up to its responsibility for governance and security in FATA.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
“The core of any Pakistani counter-terrorism strategy in this area should be to incorporate FATA into the country’s legal and constitutional mainstream”, says Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group’s Senior Asia Adviser. “For Pakistan, the solution lies in overhauling an anachronistic governance system so as to establish fundamental constitutional rights and genuine political enfranchisement in FATA, along with a state apparatus capable of upholding the rule of law and bringing violent extremists to justice”.
Women and girls share a lighter moment at the Doro refugee camp in Maban, Upper Nile state in South Sudan.
© 2012 Samer Muscati/Human Rights Watch
Our President, Louise Arbour, signed this open letter, calling for the end of the taboo “that blocked for so long the debate on more humane and efficient drug policy”. Read in full on the Guardian.
Photo: Flickr/UN Photo Geneva
The Flawed Logic Behind Beijing’s Senkaku/Diaoyu Policy | The Diplomat
By Yaping Wang
Beijing has responded to Japan’s recent nationalization of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, with activities on the ground (or water) designed to undermine Japan’s de-facto control of the islands. Beijing’s actions were rightly captured as “reactive assertiveness” by an International Crisis Group report, where “[China] exploits perceived provocations in disputed areas by other countries to take strong countermeasures to change the status quo in its favor.”
By inducing costs on the ground, Beijing’s goal is to make Tokyo recognize the existence of the dispute and agree to negotiate. However, this “reactive assertive” approach makes flawed calculations of risks and gains.
Beijing does have some logical reasons to pursue this course. One, inaction would be difficult to reconcile with boiling domestic nationalism. Two, Japan’s control of the islands does not give Tokyo any motive to recognize the existence of the dispute, much less the willingness to negotiate. Unless China gains some leverage vis-à-vis Japan, chances are thin that this issue will ever even reach the negotiating table. Three, Japan’s initial provocation may have inflamed China, but it offered Beijing the chance to retaliate by challenging Japan’s de-facto control of the islands while still claiming the moral high ground. Four, the economic ties between China and Japan, as well as U.S. interests, seem strong enough to keep potential armed conflicts at bay. To the extent that the U.S. is involved, its interests in these tiny, uninhabited rocks are marginal. Although its security treaty obligations with Japan bind it to action should the islands be attacked, the U.S. will attempt to deter the use of force. Finally, a strong and consistent response would effectively showcase to China’s other disputants, in the South China Sea for example, its resolve to defend its position in territorial disputes.
FULL ARTICLE (The Diplomat)
Photo: Flickr/Al Jazeera English
Venezuela: A House Divided
Caracas/Bogotá/Brussels | 16 May 2013
Legal challenges to the close 14 April presidential election and the government’s reluctance to commit to a full review cast a shadow over the sustainability of the new administration in an already deeply polarised Venezuela.
Venezuela: A House Divided, the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines the presidential election triggered by the death of President Hugo Chávez. Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s chosen successor, won by a margin of less than 1.5 per cent over Henrique Capriles of the Democratic Unity alliance. The opposition has claimed irregularities and filed a court challenge after the electoral commission refused to conduct a full audit. The judiciary and other key institutions have been hollowed out in the fourteen years of Chávez’s rule, creating uncertainty about whether the transition to the post-Chávez era can be accomplished smoothly.
The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:
“There is a potentially dangerous gulf between the regime’s insistence that the election result be recognised as a condition for accepting the opposition, and the opposition’s understandable insistence that it can accept the election results only after a full and transparent review”, says Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group’s Latin America and Caribbean Program Director. “If the worst is to be avoided, the moderates (or pragmatists) on both sides need to find a way to bridge that chasm”.
“Venezuela urgently needs to reconstruct its social and political fabric in the post-Chávez era”, says Mark Schneider, Vice President and Special Adviser on Latin America. “It needs to avoid political violence and accept democratic checks and balances in addressing the huge challenges of crime and economic deterioration”.
Kenya After the Elections
Nairobi/Brussels | 15 May 2013
Though the 2013 general elections were relatively peaceful, Kenya is still deeply divided and ethnically polarised.
Kenya After the Elections, the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group,examines the 4 March elections that saw Jubilee Coalition’s Uhuru Kenyatta declared president. Despite various shortcomings and allegations of irregularities, Kenyans averted a repeat of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. However, the conflict drivers that triggered the 2007 bloodshed, including a culture of impunity, land grievances, corruption, ethnic tensions, weak institutions and regional and socio-economic inequality,have yet to be addressed adequately.
The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:
“Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option for a still divided Kenya”, says Cedric Barnes, Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director. “The ICC cases, a disappointed and bitter opposition and the implementation of an untested system of devolved governance remain significant challenges for the new government”.
“The new government has the opportunity to usher in an era of peace and socio-economic development that would benefit all communities and unite the country”, says EJ Hogendoorn, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Deputy Director. “The foundation has been laid with the overwhelming support the constitution received in 2010, a base that should be maintained and built upon for a peaceful and prosperous future”.
This last incident on Saturday was the last in a string of incidents that directly affected Turkey’s security and the lives of Turkish civilians. So it definitely demonstrates the risks involved, for Turkey, in supporting Syrian opposition and being involved in Syria’s crisis. — Listen to Didem Collinsworth, Crisis Group’s Turkey Analyst, talk about Syrian–Turkish border clashes on FSRN.