Showing posts tagged as "united nations"

Showing posts tagged united nations

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

18 Sep

Crisis Group’s Central Africa analyst Thibaud Lesueur speaks to Al Jazeera about the UN taking over peacekeeping from African Union in Central African Republic.

FULL Report (Al Jazeera)

17 Sep

With A Deadline Looming, Iran’s Nuclear Talks Reopen In New York | PETER KENYON

Negotiations on limiting Iran’s nuclear program resume this week in New York, but a summer of multiplying crises has world capitals distracted as the talks hit a crucial stage.

The high-profile setting for this round of talks between Iran and six world powers has raised expectations, and the talks come at a time when world leaders are also gathering for the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

The last round of talks, aimed at giving Iran sanctions relief if it accepts strict limits intended to keep it from acquiring a nuclear weapon, ended in Vienna in July with only an agreement to keep trying for a few more months.

Now, as a crisis-heavy summer turns into fall, the Ukraine conflict, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the extremist violence in Iraq and Syria are all threatening to overshadow the Iran issue.

READ FULL TRANSCRIPT (NPR)

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16 Sep
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.

5 Sep
Gulf of Guinea: A Regional Solution to Piracy? | Thierry Vircoulon & Violette Tournier
Acts of piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea represent more than a quarter of worldwide reported attacks. Steadily increasing since 2007, maritime insecurity in this region affects the trade of 455 million people. It affects the shipment of five million barrels of oil per day (Africa’s total is nine million), accounting for forty per cent of European and twenty-nine per cent of American imports. In its December 2012 report The Gulf of Guinea: The New Danger Zone, Crisis Group analysed the emergence of this problem and recommended a two-pronged, long-term response: building a regional maritime security architecture and improving the economic and security governance of the states in the region. While the region is working to develop the security architecture, it also needs to tackle the illicit economic dimensions of the overall situation. In addition, lessons learned from the securing of the Straits of Malacca (which inspired a similar effort in the Gulf of Aden) should be shared with African countries.
FULL ARTICLE (Crisis Group Blog)
Photo: The Maritime Regional Architecture in the Gulf of Guinea/CRISIS GROUP

Gulf of Guinea: A Regional Solution to Piracy? | Thierry Vircoulon & Violette Tournier

Acts of piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea represent more than a quarter of worldwide reported attacks. Steadily increasing since 2007, maritime insecurity in this region affects the trade of 455 million people. It affects the shipment of five million barrels of oil per day (Africa’s total is nine million), accounting for forty per cent of European and twenty-nine per cent of American imports. In its December 2012 report The Gulf of Guinea: The New Danger Zone, Crisis Group analysed the emergence of this problem and recommended a two-pronged, long-term response: building a regional maritime security architecture and improving the economic and security governance of the states in the region. While the region is working to develop the security architecture, it also needs to tackle the illicit economic dimensions of the overall situation. In addition, lessons learned from the securing of the Straits of Malacca (which inspired a similar effort in the Gulf of Aden) should be shared with African countries.

FULL ARTICLE (Crisis Group Blog)

Photo: The Maritime Regional Architecture in the Gulf of Guinea/CRISIS GROUP

20 Jun

Thierry Vircoulon, Crisis Group’s Project Director for Central Africa, breaks down the crisis in the Central African Republic in these four short video interviews.

Click here to watch the playlist.

Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box
The jihadi surge is the tragic, violent outcome of steadily deteriorating political dynamics. Instead of a rash military intervention and unconditional support for the Iraqi government, pressure is needed to reverse sectarian polarisation and a disastrous record of governance.
Within days, the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) conquered parts of north-western Iraq and revealed the fragility of a country ruined by sectarianism, hollowed-out institutions and high-level, pervasive corruption. Accumulated grievances of Sunnis in the area meant that ISIL pushed against a house of cards. But its possibilities are limited and a kneejerk international military intervention risks stoking the conflict instead of containing it. The International Crisis Group’s latest briefing, Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box , outlines necessary actions by Iraq, Iran, the U.S. and the wider international community to end the harmful course of events and reverse its underlying drivers.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
ISIL’s advance has highlighted all that has been wrong with the Iraqi government’s Sunni strategy, which sacrificed political reforms in the interest of fighting “terrorism” - a term used for all forms of Sunni violence but not for Shiite equivalents. This strategy enhanced polarisation and prepared the ground for the successful jihadi push in the north. International actors collectively failed to exert the necessary pressure on the Iraqi government to change its policy.
Despite their recent conquests, jihadis are not on the verge of storming Baghdad, nor is an all-out civil war inevitable. It could, however, be triggered by a disproportionate Iraqi Shiite and Iranian response that would cause Sunni ranks to close around the jihadis.
Iran and the U.S. should avoid a precipitate military response. Deployment of Iranian troops, who would be seen as a Shiite-Persian occupation force in Sunni-Arab territory, would bolster the jihadis’ standing further. The U.S., instead of rushing to send advisers, special troops or air power, should lay out plainly what it is willing to do to help Iraq address the ISIL challenge militarily but base its help on the premise that the government immediately implements overdue political reforms.
Iraq should form a genuine government of national unity, with meaningful Sunni inclusion and based on the recent election results, as the basis for national reconciliation.
ISIL’s rise is largely due to the growing integration of the Iraqi and Syrian arenas. Any lasting solution must be based on an integrated approach to those two arenas, possibly on the basis of a UN Security Council resolution if the Council’s disunity on Syria can be reduced.
“Under Prime Minister Maliki, the security apparatus has been undermined, parliament made toothless and other institutions gutted” says Maria Fantappie, Iraq Analyst. “All could see it, but it took swathes of the country falling to jihadis to put the extent of state deterioration in perspective”.
“A U.S. military response alone will achieve very little and could even worsen the situation”, says Peter Harling, Senior Middle East and North Africa Adviser. “Counter-insurgency cannot be successful without an effective Iraqi army to ‘clear’, an accepted Iraqi police to ‘hold’, and a legitimate Iraqi political leadership to build”.
FULL REPORT

Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box

The jihadi surge is the tragic, violent outcome of steadily deteriorating political dynamics. Instead of a rash military intervention and unconditional support for the Iraqi government, pressure is needed to reverse sectarian polarisation and a disastrous record of governance.

Within days, the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) conquered parts of north-western Iraq and revealed the fragility of a country ruined by sectarianism, hollowed-out institutions and high-level, pervasive corruption. Accumulated grievances of Sunnis in the area meant that ISIL pushed against a house of cards. But its possibilities are limited and a kneejerk international military intervention risks stoking the conflict instead of containing it. The International Crisis Group’s latest briefing, Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box , outlines necessary actions by Iraq, Iran, the U.S. and the wider international community to end the harmful course of events and reverse its underlying drivers.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • ISIL’s advance has highlighted all that has been wrong with the Iraqi government’s Sunni strategy, which sacrificed political reforms in the interest of fighting “terrorism” - a term used for all forms of Sunni violence but not for Shiite equivalents. This strategy enhanced polarisation and prepared the ground for the successful jihadi push in the north. International actors collectively failed to exert the necessary pressure on the Iraqi government to change its policy.
  • Despite their recent conquests, jihadis are not on the verge of storming Baghdad, nor is an all-out civil war inevitable. It could, however, be triggered by a disproportionate Iraqi Shiite and Iranian response that would cause Sunni ranks to close around the jihadis.
  • Iran and the U.S. should avoid a precipitate military response. Deployment of Iranian troops, who would be seen as a Shiite-Persian occupation force in Sunni-Arab territory, would bolster the jihadis’ standing further. The U.S., instead of rushing to send advisers, special troops or air power, should lay out plainly what it is willing to do to help Iraq address the ISIL challenge militarily but base its help on the premise that the government immediately implements overdue political reforms.
  • Iraq should form a genuine government of national unity, with meaningful Sunni inclusion and based on the recent election results, as the basis for national reconciliation.
  • ISIL’s rise is largely due to the growing integration of the Iraqi and Syrian arenas. Any lasting solution must be based on an integrated approach to those two arenas, possibly on the basis of a UN Security Council resolution if the Council’s disunity on Syria can be reduced.

“Under Prime Minister Maliki, the security apparatus has been undermined, parliament made toothless and other institutions gutted” says Maria Fantappie, Iraq Analyst. “All could see it, but it took swathes of the country falling to jihadis to put the extent of state deterioration in perspective”.

“A U.S. military response alone will achieve very little and could even worsen the situation”, says Peter Harling, Senior Middle East and North Africa Adviser. “Counter-insurgency cannot be successful without an effective Iraqi army to ‘clear’, an accepted Iraqi police to ‘hold’, and a legitimate Iraqi political leadership to build”.

FULL REPORT

22 May
U.N. Will Weigh Asking Court to Investigate War Crimes in Syria | Somini Sengupta
The Security Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a resolution that would ask the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Syria.
Russia is certain to veto the resolution. Its Western rivals are equally certain to seize on that veto in an attempt to isolate the Kremlin diplomatically. Supporters of the resolution, which was drafted by France, have spent days drumming up support from more than 50 countries.
Syria has undertaken its own countercampaign, distributing a letter castigating France for promoting what the Syrian ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, called a “biased draft resolution in order to sabotage any chance of peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis led by the Syrians themselves.”
France said the resolution was necessary to send a message to Russia, the Syrian government’s most important backer, even in the face of a veto.
FULL ARTICLE (New York Times)
Photo: Freedom House/flickr

U.N. Will Weigh Asking Court to Investigate War Crimes in Syria | Somini Sengupta

The Security Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a resolution that would ask the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Syria.

Russia is certain to veto the resolution. Its Western rivals are equally certain to seize on that veto in an attempt to isolate the Kremlin diplomatically. Supporters of the resolution, which was drafted by France, have spent days drumming up support from more than 50 countries.

Syria has undertaken its own countercampaign, distributing a letter castigating France for promoting what the Syrian ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, called a “biased draft resolution in order to sabotage any chance of peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis led by the Syrians themselves.”

France said the resolution was necessary to send a message to Russia, the Syrian government’s most important backer, even in the face of a veto.

FULL ARTICLE (New York Times)

Photo: Freedom House/flickr

10 Apr
"In at least five locations, South Sudanese seeking protection have been targeted and killed by armed actors in or around [UN] bases."

—from today’s report, South Sudan: A Civil War by Any Other Name