Showing posts tagged as "Conflict prevention"

Showing posts tagged Conflict prevention

26 Sep
Crisis in Venezuela worsening | Mark Schneider
The lull in the street battles that raged across many of Venezuela’s cities this spring belies the violent civil conflict still threatening the country. From February to June, dozens of people died, hundreds were wounded and several thousand more were detained during conflict between protesters and government security forces.
Repression, exhaustion and disorganization have quieted protesters for the moment, but they will certainly return given the government’s failure to address the causes of the country’s polarization. With its vast oil reserves — by some measures the world’s largest — and its complex network of regional relations, Venezuela’s meltdown would be a disaster not only for its people but for the entire hemisphere.
FULL COMMENTARY (Miami Herald)
Photo: andresAzp/flickr

Crisis in Venezuela worsening | Mark Schneider

The lull in the street battles that raged across many of Venezuela’s cities this spring belies the violent civil conflict still threatening the country. From February to June, dozens of people died, hundreds were wounded and several thousand more were detained during conflict between protesters and government security forces.

Repression, exhaustion and disorganization have quieted protesters for the moment, but they will certainly return given the government’s failure to address the causes of the country’s polarization. With its vast oil reserves — by some measures the world’s largest — and its complex network of regional relations, Venezuela’s meltdown would be a disaster not only for its people but for the entire hemisphere.

FULL COMMENTARY (Miami Herald)

Photo: andresAzp/flickr

25 Sep
"The Ebola health crisis threatens to become a political crisis that could unravel years of effort to stabilise West Africa. The hardest-hit countries now face widespread chaos and, potentially, collapse. Adding social breakdown to the epidemic would create disaster perhaps impossible to manage."

—From Crisis Group’s latest Statement on Ebola and Conflict in West Africa

23 Sep
Venezuela: Dangerous Inertia
Caracas/Bogotá/Brussels  |   23 Sep 2014
The end of street protests does not mean the end of Venezuela’s crisis. Rising economic problems and unaddressed political demands could lead to renewed violence and threaten national stability.
Violent protests on Venezuela’s streets have calmed down, but the government’s perceived victory over the opposition belies simmering political dissent. Opposition demands, such as to restore independence to the justice system and other key institutions, have not been heeded. Most of the killings during the protests remain unsolved. The economic recession and a critical shortage of basic goods, including food and medicines, require urgent action, which the government delays. Internal dissent on both sides has also contributed to a reluctance to resume the negotiations that stalled in May. The International Crisis Group’s latest briefing, Venezuela: Dangerous Inertia, outlines ways to address the root causes of the crisis that, if left to fester, might well worsen, with repercussions beyond Venezuela.
The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:
Any solution to Venezuela’s long political crisis must go hand in hand with the development of autonomous rule-of-law institutions capable of applying the law impartially. The government and opposition must therefore agree on a viable timeframe and trustworthy mechanism to appoint new members of the Supreme Court, the National Electoral Council and other key institutions.
The international community should supervise and assist in this process to validate the integrity of the selection of personnel and to ensure that civil society actors, free from political pressures, participate in the selection as provided for by the constitution. The opposition clearly requires an impartial observer able to offer reassurances, while the government would benefit by bringing in credible external actors to bolster it in some of the difficult decisions it faces.
The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) seems best placed to play this role, but as a relatively young organisation it might benefit, itself, from support. Other actors, like the UN, should, where needed, offer technical and political assistance. This might initially focus on, for example, reinforcing the capacity of UNASUR to produce analysis and policy recommendations and helping to design a credible framework for talks.
UNASUR and the international community should likewise promote a return to negotiations and support calls for a release of those detained for non-violent political protest.
“The roadmap for addressing the crisis does not need to be drafted from scratch, it is available in the constitution” says Javier Ciurlizza, Latin America Program Director. “Venezuela’s neighbours and the broader international community have a crucial role in bringing both sides back to the negotiation table and reforming Venezuela’s political system. If they don’t succeed, the quiet on Venezuela’s streets might be the calm before the next storm”.
FULL BRIEFING 

Venezuela: Dangerous Inertia

Caracas/Bogotá/Brussels  |   23 Sep 2014

The end of street protests does not mean the end of Venezuela’s crisis. Rising economic problems and unaddressed political demands could lead to renewed violence and threaten national stability.

Violent protests on Venezuela’s streets have calmed down, but the government’s perceived victory over the opposition belies simmering political dissent. Opposition demands, such as to restore independence to the justice system and other key institutions, have not been heeded. Most of the killings during the protests remain unsolved. The economic recession and a critical shortage of basic goods, including food and medicines, require urgent action, which the government delays. Internal dissent on both sides has also contributed to a reluctance to resume the negotiations that stalled in May. The International Crisis Group’s latest briefing, Venezuela: Dangerous Inertia, outlines ways to address the root causes of the crisis that, if left to fester, might well worsen, with repercussions beyond Venezuela.

The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • Any solution to Venezuela’s long political crisis must go hand in hand with the development of autonomous rule-of-law institutions capable of applying the law impartially. The government and opposition must therefore agree on a viable timeframe and trustworthy mechanism to appoint new members of the Supreme Court, the National Electoral Council and other key institutions.
  • The international community should supervise and assist in this process to validate the integrity of the selection of personnel and to ensure that civil society actors, free from political pressures, participate in the selection as provided for by the constitution. The opposition clearly requires an impartial observer able to offer reassurances, while the government would benefit by bringing in credible external actors to bolster it in some of the difficult decisions it faces.
  • The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) seems best placed to play this role, but as a relatively young organisation it might benefit, itself, from support. Other actors, like the UN, should, where needed, offer technical and political assistance. This might initially focus on, for example, reinforcing the capacity of UNASUR to produce analysis and policy recommendations and helping to design a credible framework for talks.
  • UNASUR and the international community should likewise promote a return to negotiations and support calls for a release of those detained for non-violent political protest.

“The roadmap for addressing the crisis does not need to be drafted from scratch, it is available in the constitution” says Javier Ciurlizza, Latin America Program Director. “Venezuela’s neighbours and the broader international community have a crucial role in bringing both sides back to the negotiation table and reforming Venezuela’s political system. If they don’t succeed, the quiet on Venezuela’s streets might be the calm before the next storm”.

FULL BRIEFING 

22 Sep

Competing Solutions to Keeping Peace in Africa 

In this video, Dr. Comfort Ero, Africa Program Director of the International Crisis Group, joins UNU Policy Advisor Rahul Chandran to discuss the challenges and potential solutions for overcoming conflict and maintaining peace in Africa.

FULL VIDEO (United Nations University) 

Israel & the US: The Delusions of Our Diplomacy | Nathan Thrall
In the early days of the Gaza war that took the lives of some 2,100 Palestinians and seventy-two Israelis, a number of officials in Washington, Ramallah, and Jerusalem began to speak of renewing Israeli–Palestinian negotiations mediated by the United States. As the fighting dragged on, this talk intensified, again showing that the “peace process” gains greatest urgency from the threat of Israeli–Palestinian violence.
There is little reason to believe that renewed talks would succeed. The obstacles that caused the failure of the negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry have not disappeared. Many of them have grown larger. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his political program of nonviolence and negotiation have been weakened by Hamas’s strategy in Gaza, which impressed many Palestinians, although the costs were enormous. Hamas sent thousands of rockets into Israel, killing seven civilians, while Israeli air strikes and artillery killed hundreds of children, devastated large parts of Gaza, and left tens of thousands of people homeless. Reconstruction will cost many billions and take years.
Still, Hamas demonstrated that its militancy and its willingness to endure a ferocious Israeli attack could achieve more in weeks than Abbas’s talks have achieved in years. During the Gaza war, Israel did not announce a single new settlement in the West Bank. Although Israel did not agree to some of Hamas’s most important requests—for example, the opening of a seaport and the release of recently arrested prisoners—it showed eagerness to negotiate with the Palestinians and willingness to make significant concessions, including the easing of some border crossings, extending fishing rights, and facilitating the supply of construction materials.
FULL ARTICLE (The New York Review of Books)
Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/flickr

Israel & the US: The Delusions of Our Diplomacy | Nathan Thrall

In the early days of the Gaza war that took the lives of some 2,100 Palestinians and seventy-two Israelis, a number of officials in Washington, Ramallah, and Jerusalem began to speak of renewing Israeli–Palestinian negotiations mediated by the United States. As the fighting dragged on, this talk intensified, again showing that the “peace process” gains greatest urgency from the threat of Israeli–Palestinian violence.

There is little reason to believe that renewed talks would succeed. The obstacles that caused the failure of the negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry have not disappeared. Many of them have grown larger. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his political program of nonviolence and negotiation have been weakened by Hamas’s strategy in Gaza, which impressed many Palestinians, although the costs were enormous. Hamas sent thousands of rockets into Israel, killing seven civilians, while Israeli air strikes and artillery killed hundreds of children, devastated large parts of Gaza, and left tens of thousands of people homeless. Reconstruction will cost many billions and take years.

Still, Hamas demonstrated that its militancy and its willingness to endure a ferocious Israeli attack could achieve more in weeks than Abbas’s talks have achieved in years. During the Gaza war, Israel did not announce a single new settlement in the West Bank. Although Israel did not agree to some of Hamas’s most important requests—for example, the opening of a seaport and the release of recently arrested prisoners—it showed eagerness to negotiate with the Palestinians and willingness to make significant concessions, including the easing of some border crossings, extending fishing rights, and facilitating the supply of construction materials.

FULL ARTICLE (The New York Review of Books)

Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/flickr

17 Sep
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

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

16 Sep
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

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

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

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

12 Sep

Crisis Group President Jean-Marie Guéhenno discusses Syria and the UN on the BBC.