8 Oct
Countering terrorism must go beyond international law enforcement | COMFORT ERO
The UN Security Council’s resolution on combating foreign terrorist fighters devotes just 31 of its 330 lines to addressing the roots of the problem. The rest is law enforcement. But a narrowly military and police focus alone cannot work. We also must face up to the difficult work of balancing international and regional diplomatic rivalries, thereby reducing the conflicts and tensions that lead to radicalization. Terrorism is usually a symptom of social breakdown rather than its cause, and states that have taken a narrowly military rather than more comprehensive approach often have little to show for it.
In Nigeria, for instance, the government has never addressed the governance, underdevelopment and rampant corruption driving radicalization, choosing instead to “do something” through military surges that drive more people into the hands of jihadi extremists. Yet, just as the expensively built new Iraqi army was pushed out of Mosul by a few thousand fighters, Nigeria’s military is now threatened in Borno state.
FULL ARTICLE (Today’s Zaman)
Photo: UN Photo/Stuart Price/flickr

Countering terrorism must go beyond international law enforcement | COMFORT ERO

The UN Security Council’s resolution on combating foreign terrorist fighters devotes just 31 of its 330 lines to addressing the roots of the problem. The rest is law enforcement. But a narrowly military and police focus alone cannot work. We also must face up to the difficult work of balancing international and regional diplomatic rivalries, thereby reducing the conflicts and tensions that lead to radicalization. Terrorism is usually a symptom of social breakdown rather than its cause, and states that have taken a narrowly military rather than more comprehensive approach often have little to show for it.

In Nigeria, for instance, the government has never addressed the governance, underdevelopment and rampant corruption driving radicalization, choosing instead to “do something” through military surges that drive more people into the hands of jihadi extremists. Yet, just as the expensively built new Iraqi army was pushed out of Mosul by a few thousand fighters, Nigeria’s military is now threatened in Borno state.

FULL ARTICLE (Today’s Zaman)

Photo: UN Photo/Stuart Price/flickr

Profile: Who are Yemen’s Houthis? | Manuel Almeida
Watched by Yemeni soldiers scattered around Sanaa’s Tahrir Square, a large crowd of Houthi rebels gathered on Sept. 23 to listen to Abdul Malik al-Houthi’s televised speech. “These great efforts created this great success – victory for all the people, forcing a response to popular demands,” the Houthi leader said, two days after the rebels tightened their control over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.
Until very recently, this would have been unthinkable: a rebel group once mostly confined to the Saada and Amran governorates now calling the shots in the capital and taking over key state institutions.
On Tuesday Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi appointed Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak (his office director) as the country’s new prime minister. Three weeks ago the Yemeni government and the Houthis signed a deal on the formation of a new national unity government. But the Houthis promptly rejected the Mubarak’s appointment. Amid this, more and more in Yemen and the region are asking about what the Houthis believe in and what their true objective is.
FULL ARTICLE (Al Arabiya News)
Picture: Rod Waddington/flickr

Profile: Who are Yemen’s Houthis? | Manuel Almeida

Watched by Yemeni soldiers scattered around Sanaa’s Tahrir Square, a large crowd of Houthi rebels gathered on Sept. 23 to listen to Abdul Malik al-Houthi’s televised speech. “These great efforts created this great success – victory for all the people, forcing a response to popular demands,” the Houthi leader said, two days after the rebels tightened their control over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

Until very recently, this would have been unthinkable: a rebel group once mostly confined to the Saada and Amran governorates now calling the shots in the capital and taking over key state institutions.

On Tuesday Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi appointed Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak (his office director) as the country’s new prime minister. Three weeks ago the Yemeni government and the Houthis signed a deal on the formation of a new national unity government. But the Houthis promptly rejected the Mubarak’s appointment. Amid this, more and more in Yemen and the region are asking about what the Houthis believe in and what their true objective is.

FULL ARTICLE (Al Arabiya News)

Picture: Rod Waddington/flickr

7 Oct
Islamic State: Why Turkey is hesitating to prevent fall of Kobane | Alexander Christie-Miller
BURSA, TURKEY — The future of the Syrian town of Kobane hung in the balance Tuesday as the Islamic State’s three-week assault on the Kurdish-held enclave appeared to enter its endgame.
Its last hope likely hinges on Ankara, whose armed forces remain poised on the border only hundreds of yards from the battle, resisting mounting pressure from Turkey’s own Kurdish minority to assist Kobane’s defenders.
Despite a range of strategic and ideological factors inclining Ankara against direct intervention, increasingly angry protests both in Turkey and abroad are creating mounting pressure for it to act.
“Kobane is about to fall,” acknowledged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an interview with Turkish television as he toured a refugee camp in southern Turkey early Tuesday.
FULL ARTICLE (The Christian Science Monitor)
Picture: Fraktion DIE LINKE. im Bundestag/Heike Hänsel/flickr

Islamic State: Why Turkey is hesitating to prevent fall of Kobane | Alexander Christie-Miller

BURSA, TURKEY — The future of the Syrian town of Kobane hung in the balance Tuesday as the Islamic State’s three-week assault on the Kurdish-held enclave appeared to enter its endgame.

Its last hope likely hinges on Ankara, whose armed forces remain poised on the border only hundreds of yards from the battle, resisting mounting pressure from Turkey’s own Kurdish minority to assist Kobane’s defenders.

Despite a range of strategic and ideological factors inclining Ankara against direct intervention, increasingly angry protests both in Turkey and abroad are creating mounting pressure for it to act.

“Kobane is about to fall,” acknowledged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an interview with Turkish television as he toured a refugee camp in southern Turkey early Tuesday.

FULL ARTICLE (The Christian Science Monitor)

Picture: Fraktion DIE LINKE. im Bundestag/Heike Hänsel/flickr

6 Oct
Afghan women’s daily battle against abuse | Bethany Matta
Taloqan, Afghanistan - The women affairs office in Taloqan, the capital of the northern Afghan province of Takhar, remains busy as distressed women and family members line up for help.
One such woman is Sadia whose husband, a militiaman, recently cut off her genitals. She left her husband’s home after the horrific incident.
"The women affairs office here has guided this case every step of the way," Razmara Hawash, who is in charge of the office in Takhar told Al Jazeera, referring to Sadia’s case.
"If we had not, then they would have used either money or power to get her back. Her husband and his family are powerful people."
FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera)
Photo: Kenneth Taylor Jr/flickr

Afghan women’s daily battle against abuse | Bethany Matta

Taloqan, Afghanistan - The women affairs office in Taloqan, the capital of the northern Afghan province of Takhar, remains busy as distressed women and family members line up for help.

One such woman is Sadia whose husband, a militiaman, recently cut off her genitals. She left her husband’s home after the horrific incident.

"The women affairs office here has guided this case every step of the way," Razmara Hawash, who is in charge of the office in Takhar told Al Jazeera, referring to Sadia’s case.

"If we had not, then they would have used either money or power to get her back. Her husband and his family are powerful people."

FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera)

Photo: Kenneth Taylor Jr/flickr

Feeling Good about Feeling Bad | Nathan Thrall
My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit is a Haaretz columnist admired by liberal Zionists in America, where his book has been the focus of much attention. In April 1897 his great-grandfather Herbert Bentwich sailed for Jaffa, leading a delegation of 21 Zionists who were investigating whether Palestine would make a suitable site for a Jewish national home. Theodor Herzl, whose pamphlet The Jewish State had been published the year before, had never been to Palestine and hoped Bentwich’s group would produce a comprehensive report of its visit for the First Zionist Congress which was to be held in Basel in August that year. Bentwich was well-to-do, Western European and religious. Herzl and most early Zionists were chiefly interested in helping the impoverished and persecuted Jews of Eastern Europe, but Bentwich was more worried about the number of secular and emancipated Jews in Western Europe who were becoming assimilated. A solution to the problems of both groups, he believed, could be found by resurrecting the Land of Israel in Palestine.
FULL BOOK REVIEW (London Review of Books)
Photo: Cycling man/flickr

Feeling Good about Feeling Bad | Nathan Thrall

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit

Ari Shavit is a Haaretz columnist admired by liberal Zionists in America, where his book has been the focus of much attention. In April 1897 his great-grandfather Herbert Bentwich sailed for Jaffa, leading a delegation of 21 Zionists who were investigating whether Palestine would make a suitable site for a Jewish national home. Theodor Herzl, whose pamphlet The Jewish State had been published the year before, had never been to Palestine and hoped Bentwich’s group would produce a comprehensive report of its visit for the First Zionist Congress which was to be held in Basel in August that year. Bentwich was well-to-do, Western European and religious. Herzl and most early Zionists were chiefly interested in helping the impoverished and persecuted Jews of Eastern Europe, but Bentwich was more worried about the number of secular and emancipated Jews in Western Europe who were becoming assimilated. A solution to the problems of both groups, he believed, could be found by resurrecting the Land of Israel in Palestine.

FULL BOOK REVIEW (London Review of Books)

Photo: Cycling man/flickr

2 Oct
North Korea completes upgrade at space center for larger rockets, says report | Tim Hume and KJ Kwon
Seoul (CNN) — New images of North Korea’s main satellite launch site show that an upgrade allowing for larger rockets has been completed, raising the possibility of a fresh launch within the year, a new report says.
Based on satellite images of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, located on North Korea’s west coast close to the Chinese border, the report was posted on the 38 North website, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
"North Korea is now ready to move forward with another rocket launch," concluded the report by retired imagery technology expert Nick Hansen, adding that if the political decision were made to proceed, "a rocket could be launched by the end of 2014."
FULL ARTICLE (CNN)
Photo: felibrilu/flickr

North Korea completes upgrade at space center for larger rockets, says report | Tim Hume and KJ Kwon

Seoul (CNN) — New images of North Korea’s main satellite launch site show that an upgrade allowing for larger rockets has been completed, raising the possibility of a fresh launch within the year, a new report says.

Based on satellite images of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, located on North Korea’s west coast close to the Chinese border, the report was posted on the 38 North website, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

"North Korea is now ready to move forward with another rocket launch," concluded the report by retired imagery technology expert Nick Hansen, adding that if the political decision were made to proceed, "a rocket could be launched by the end of 2014."

FULL ARTICLE (CNN)

Photo: felibrilu/flickr

QUICK FIX IN KABUL | SUNE ENGEL RASMUSSEN
THE GHANI-ABDULLAH DEAL KEEPS THE PEACE, FOR NOW.
At a high school in Kabul on Sept. 22, Ashraf Ghani, dressed in crisp white shalwar kameez and black jacket, was almost shouting. “We are not just responsible for protecting the vote of the people,” he said, “but also to protect people’s lives!” This, Ghani’s first speech as Afghanistan’s president-elect, was ostensible explanation for why the Afghan people had had to wait more than three months since the last ballots were cast to find out just who would succeed Hamid Karzai as the war-torn country’s next leader.
Between the end of the vote and the power-sharing agreement finally being reached between Ghani and his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, it had appeared likely that the controversial presidential election might push Afghanistan back into civil war. Talks between Ghani and Abdullah had repeatedly broken down. More than once, it got so bad between them that their campaign workers participating in the U.N.-monitored vote audit got into fistfights. Fearing loss of influence as a result of the political crisis, the country’s warlords threatened to create their own government. It took U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a number of personal visits and some 27 phone calls to Ghani and Abdullah to even get the two candidates in the same room.
FULL ARTICLE (Newsweek)
Photo: State Department/US Embassy Kabul Afghanistan/flickr

QUICK FIX IN KABUL | SUNE ENGEL RASMUSSEN

THE GHANI-ABDULLAH DEAL KEEPS THE PEACE, FOR NOW.

At a high school in Kabul on Sept. 22, Ashraf Ghani, dressed in crisp white shalwar kameez and black jacket, was almost shouting. “We are not just responsible for protecting the vote of the people,” he said, “but also to protect people’s lives!” This, Ghani’s first speech as Afghanistan’s president-elect, was ostensible explanation for why the Afghan people had had to wait more than three months since the last ballots were cast to find out just who would succeed Hamid Karzai as the war-torn country’s next leader.

Between the end of the vote and the power-sharing agreement finally being reached between Ghani and his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, it had appeared likely that the controversial presidential election might push Afghanistan back into civil war. Talks between Ghani and Abdullah had repeatedly broken down. More than once, it got so bad between them that their campaign workers participating in the U.N.-monitored vote audit got into fistfights. Fearing loss of influence as a result of the political crisis, the country’s warlords threatened to create their own government. It took U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a number of personal visits and some 27 phone calls to Ghani and Abdullah to even get the two candidates in the same room.

FULL ARTICLE (Newsweek)

Photo: State Department/US Embassy Kabul Afghanistan/flickr

1 Oct
CrisisWatch | A monthly bulletin on current and potential conflicts
September 2014 - Trends
Deteriorated Situations: Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen
Conflict Risk Alerts: Syria
Conflict Resolution Opportunities: Sudan
FULL BULLETIN
INTERACTIVE CONFLICT MAP

CrisisWatch | A monthly bulletin on current and potential conflicts

September 2014 - Trends

Deteriorated Situations: Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen

Conflict Risk Alerts: Syria

Conflict Resolution Opportunities: Sudan

FULL BULLETIN

INTERACTIVE CONFLICT MAP

Crisis Group Says Zimbabwe May Become Failed State | Blessing  Zulu
WASHINGTON DC—The International Crisis Group (ICG) says mounting tensions in Zanu PF over President Robert Mugabe’s succession, First Lady Grace Mugabe’s entrance into mainstream politics, the dire economic crisis and related issues could see Zimbabwe sliding into a failed state.
In its latest report titled ‘Zimbabwe: Waiting for the Future’, the ICG says Zimbabwe’s politics and economy are precarious raising the need for Zanu-PF to address  on President Mugabe’s successor at the party’s elective December congress.
The report says despite “visibly waning capacities, 90-year-old Robert Mugabe shows no sign of wanting to leave office.
"The succession battle within his party is presented as a two-way race between Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, but the reality is more complex. Public battles have intensified, with intimidation and violence a disquieting feature."
FULL ARTICLE (Voice of America)
Photo: Gregg Carlstrom/flickr

Crisis Group Says Zimbabwe May Become Failed State | Blessing  Zulu

WASHINGTON DC—The International Crisis Group (ICG) says mounting tensions in Zanu PF over President Robert Mugabe’s succession, First Lady Grace Mugabe’s entrance into mainstream politics, the dire economic crisis and related issues could see Zimbabwe sliding into a failed state.

In its latest report titled ‘Zimbabwe: Waiting for the Future’, the ICG says Zimbabwe’s politics and economy are precarious raising the need for Zanu-PF to address  on President Mugabe’s successor at the party’s elective December congress.

The report says despite “visibly waning capacities, 90-year-old Robert Mugabe shows no sign of wanting to leave office.

"The succession battle within his party is presented as a two-way race between Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, but the reality is more complex. Public battles have intensified, with intimidation and violence a disquieting feature."

FULL ARTICLE (Voice of America)

Photo: Gregg Carlstrom/flickr

30 Sep
Turkey shifts tone on Islamic State. Will it join US-led coalition? (+video) | Dominique Soguel
ISTANBUL, TURKEY — When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned home from the United Nations last week, he said Turkey was ready to play a more active role in the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition that has drawn new members both from across the West as well as the Arab world.
Just how active may become clearer Thursday when the Turkish parliament meets to take the “necessary steps” cited by President Erdogan, who was lobbied intensively by US leaders while in New York.
The Turkish lawmakers are expected to decide whether to expand the scope of two existing mandates authorizing the government to take military action in Iraq and Syria, where the jihadist Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS, has sought to create the seed of an Islamic caliphate.
Turkey shares a 206-mile-long border with Iraq and a 544-mile-long border with Syria, where IS thrived unchecked for months. Already a temporary home for more than a million refugees fleeing the 3-1/2-year civil war in Syria, Turkey has just opened its borders to a fresh wave of more than 200,000 mostly Kurdish refugees fleeing the latest IS offensive in Syria.
FULL ARTICLE (The Christian Science Monitor)
Photo: UN/Eskinder Debebe/flickr

Turkey shifts tone on Islamic State. Will it join US-led coalition? (+video) | Dominique Soguel

ISTANBUL, TURKEY — When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned home from the United Nations last week, he said Turkey was ready to play a more active role in the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition that has drawn new members both from across the West as well as the Arab world.

Just how active may become clearer Thursday when the Turkish parliament meets to take the “necessary steps” cited by President Erdogan, who was lobbied intensively by US leaders while in New York.

The Turkish lawmakers are expected to decide whether to expand the scope of two existing mandates authorizing the government to take military action in Iraq and Syria, where the jihadist Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS, has sought to create the seed of an Islamic caliphate.

Turkey shares a 206-mile-long border with Iraq and a 544-mile-long border with Syria, where IS thrived unchecked for months. Already a temporary home for more than a million refugees fleeing the 3-1/2-year civil war in Syria, Turkey has just opened its borders to a fresh wave of more than 200,000 mostly Kurdish refugees fleeing the latest IS offensive in Syria.

FULL ARTICLE (The Christian Science Monitor)

Photo: UN/Eskinder Debebe/flickr