Showing posts tagged as "united states"

Showing posts tagged united states

24 Apr
Analyst Q&A: Obama’s Agenda for Asia Visit | Daniel Schearf
President Obama is in Japan Thursday at the start of a four-country visit in East Asia reassuring U.S. allies of its commitment to security and stability in the region as part of the so-called “Asia pivot” or “re-balance.” The trip was delayed last year because of U.S. political fighting over budget issues. North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats are expected to dominate talks in Japan and South Korea as there are indications Pyongyang is preparing its fourth nuclear test. China’s increasingly assertive moves on disputed territory are also expected to be discussed as some worry Beijing may follow Russia’s lead in Crimea by using force to take back historic claims. VOA spoke with the Deputy Director for Northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group, Daniel Pinkston, on these issues via Skype.
FULL INTERVIEW (Voice of America)

Analyst Q&A: Obama’s Agenda for Asia Visit | Daniel Schearf

President Obama is in Japan Thursday at the start of a four-country visit in East Asia reassuring U.S. allies of its commitment to security and stability in the region as part of the so-called “Asia pivot” or “re-balance.” The trip was delayed last year because of U.S. political fighting over budget issues. North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats are expected to dominate talks in Japan and South Korea as there are indications Pyongyang is preparing its fourth nuclear test. China’s increasingly assertive moves on disputed territory are also expected to be discussed as some worry Beijing may follow Russia’s lead in Crimea by using force to take back historic claims. VOA spoke with the Deputy Director for Northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group, Daniel Pinkston, on these issues via Skype.

FULL INTERVIEW (Voice of America)

25 Feb
Central African Republic: Making the Mission Work | Thierry Vircoulon and Thibaud Lesueur
By failing to engage when Crisis Group and others warned that the Central African Republic had become a phantom state, the international community has now had to become much more heavily involved, at much greater expense, after horrifying loss of life and massive displacement, with much greater odds of failure. The new CAR government (the third in one in a year) looks promising and the capital, Bangui, enjoys slightly more security. Yet the international response continues to be riven by divisions, most notoriously between the African Union and the UN. CAR’s new president has called for a UN peacekeeping mission and Chad, an important regional player which initially opposed this option, now agrees. The Security Council has itself approved a European Union mission, soon to be deployed. But peacekeepers (EU and otherwise) must be guided by a stabilisation strategy that is coherent, comprehensive and meets the needs of CAR not just in the short-term but over the long haul.
crisisgroupblogs.org
PHOTO:REUTERS/Camille Lepage

Central African Republic: Making the Mission Work | Thierry Vircoulon and Thibaud Lesueur

By failing to engage when Crisis Group and others warned that the Central African Republic had become a phantom state, the international community has now had to become much more heavily involved, at much greater expense, after horrifying loss of life and massive displacement, with much greater odds of failure. The new CAR government (the third in one in a year) looks promising and the capital, Bangui, enjoys slightly more security. Yet the international response continues to be riven by divisions, most notoriously between the African Union and the UN. CAR’s new president has called for a UN peacekeeping mission and Chad, an important regional player which initially opposed this option, now agrees. The Security Council has itself approved a European Union mission, soon to be deployed. But peacekeepers (EU and otherwise) must be guided by a stabilisation strategy that is coherent, comprehensive and meets the needs of CAR not just in the short-term but over the long haul.

crisisgroupblogs.org

PHOTO:REUTERS/Camille Lepage

1 Nov
UN Should Mandate Unhindered Humanitarian Access To and Within Syria
The U.S.-Russian agreement to remove Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal has led many observers to hope for a political breakthrough.  A more immediate and realistic objective,  as well as a more reliable yardstick by which to measure various parties’ good-will, should be on the humanitarian front, where the situation is deteriorating rapidly and relentlessly.  As the conflict’s third winter fast approaches, it is past time for this to become a priority and for all involved – the Syrian authorities, but also the rebels and the two sides’ respective sponsors – to take steps to relieve the civilian population’s intolerable and entirely man-made suffering. 
There is more than one paradox.  Even as chemical weapons inspectors enjoy unhindered access to some of the country’s most sensitive locations, UN humanitarian aid cannot reach civilians in besieged areas.  This is true even only a few miles from the international organisation’s offices in Damascus, where the regime deliberately and systematically starves people in a new tactic of modern war. Regime troops that are holding on to pockets of territory in remote parts of the country suffer a similar fate at rebel hands. 
Likewise, even as borders remain wide open to foreign fighters, weapons deliveries and cash transfers – whether in support of the opposition or the regime – the flow of humanitarian aid routinely is inhibited or blocked.  Reasons abound: UN unwillingness to circumvent the regime, which in turn prohibits cross-border assistance to rebel-held areas; the regime’s cynical use of aid, incompetence and red-tape in handling foreign assistance; Western ambivalence at working with the regime; opposition radicalisation and fragmentation; the reluctance of neighbouring states to have their territory serve as a logistical base for international NGOs; the global economic slowdown which reduces available funds; and the behaviour of countries most deeply involved in the conflict – notably Iran, Russia, and Gulf Arab states – whose enthusiasm in backing the war effort is not matched on the humanitarian front. Europe, which has every reason to fear that Syrians fleeing violence and poverty will ultimately wash up on its shores, has been unimaginative in finding ways of helping them before they depart the region.
The need for outside assistance is all the greater insofar as the parties in conflict have done so little on their own to care for the civilians they at one point purported to be protecting.  This is particularly true of the regime which, despite emphasising the state’s sovereignty and integrity, has abdicated most state responsibilities.  It focuses exclusively on a struggle for survival and treats large segments of its population as if they no longer were civilians and citizens but rather enemies to be destroyed at any cost and by all means. For its part, the exiled opposition – although it claims the right to replace the regime – essentially has ignored the urgent task of providing humanitarian aid and basic services to so-called liberated zones.  This in turn has contributed to the disruption of their social fabric, weakening of activist networks and empowerment of radical armed groups more focused on accruing resources for themselves than providing for civilians around them.
All this must end. If, as some claim, the diplomatic and political climate has changed sufficiently to make compromise even remotely possible, the first gauge of such a shift must be swift and tangible progress on the humanitarian front. 
A first priority must be adoption by the UN Security Council of a resolution calling on all parties to guarantee safe, full and unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including through cross-border operations if and when provision of urgent humanitarian aid proves impossible from within Syria. The resolution should include establishment of a monitoring mechanism to name and – optimally – sanction any party that resorts to starvation as a war tactic or hinders, steals or diverts humanitarian assistance.    
There is much else that can and should be done.  But this action is long overdue.  All it requires is for the Security Council to demonstrate the same unity of purpose with which it addressed Syria’s chemical arsenal and for Russia in particular to implement in practice the commitment it repeatedly voices to the well-being of Syria’s citizens.
crisisgroup.org

UN Should Mandate Unhindered Humanitarian Access To and Within Syria

The U.S.-Russian agreement to remove Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal has led many observers to hope for a political breakthrough.  A more immediate and realistic objective,  as well as a more reliable yardstick by which to measure various parties’ good-will, should be on the humanitarian front, where the situation is deteriorating rapidly and relentlessly.  As the conflict’s third winter fast approaches, it is past time for this to become a priority and for all involved – the Syrian authorities, but also the rebels and the two sides’ respective sponsors – to take steps to relieve the civilian population’s intolerable and entirely man-made suffering. 

There is more than one paradox.  Even as chemical weapons inspectors enjoy unhindered access to some of the country’s most sensitive locations, UN humanitarian aid cannot reach civilians in besieged areas.  This is true even only a few miles from the international organisation’s offices in Damascus, where the regime deliberately and systematically starves people in a new tactic of modern war. Regime troops that are holding on to pockets of territory in remote parts of the country suffer a similar fate at rebel hands. 

Likewise, even as borders remain wide open to foreign fighters, weapons deliveries and cash transfers – whether in support of the opposition or the regime – the flow of humanitarian aid routinely is inhibited or blocked.  Reasons abound: UN unwillingness to circumvent the regime, which in turn prohibits cross-border assistance to rebel-held areas; the regime’s cynical use of aid, incompetence and red-tape in handling foreign assistance; Western ambivalence at working with the regime; opposition radicalisation and fragmentation; the reluctance of neighbouring states to have their territory serve as a logistical base for international NGOs; the global economic slowdown which reduces available funds; and the behaviour of countries most deeply involved in the conflict – notably Iran, Russia, and Gulf Arab states – whose enthusiasm in backing the war effort is not matched on the humanitarian front. Europe, which has every reason to fear that Syrians fleeing violence and poverty will ultimately wash up on its shores, has been unimaginative in finding ways of helping them before they depart the region.

The need for outside assistance is all the greater insofar as the parties in conflict have done so little on their own to care for the civilians they at one point purported to be protecting.  This is particularly true of the regime which, despite emphasising the state’s sovereignty and integrity, has abdicated most state responsibilities.  It focuses exclusively on a struggle for survival and treats large segments of its population as if they no longer were civilians and citizens but rather enemies to be destroyed at any cost and by all means. For its part, the exiled opposition – although it claims the right to replace the regime – essentially has ignored the urgent task of providing humanitarian aid and basic services to so-called liberated zones.  This in turn has contributed to the disruption of their social fabric, weakening of activist networks and empowerment of radical armed groups more focused on accruing resources for themselves than providing for civilians around them.

All this must end. If, as some claim, the diplomatic and political climate has changed sufficiently to make compromise even remotely possible, the first gauge of such a shift must be swift and tangible progress on the humanitarian front. 

A first priority must be adoption by the UN Security Council of a resolution calling on all parties to guarantee safe, full and unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including through cross-border operations if and when provision of urgent humanitarian aid proves impossible from within Syria. The resolution should include establishment of a monitoring mechanism to name and – optimally – sanction any party that resorts to starvation as a war tactic or hinders, steals or diverts humanitarian assistance.    

There is much else that can and should be done.  But this action is long overdue.  All it requires is for the Security Council to demonstrate the same unity of purpose with which it addressed Syria’s chemical arsenal and for Russia in particular to implement in practice the commitment it repeatedly voices to the well-being of Syria’s citizens.

crisisgroup.org

19 Jul
Govt says in process of appointing envoys to US, UK | Mariana Baabar
“We will see these two posts fill up very soon,” says one official who also confesses that he is clueless about the choices of the government. The Foreign Office too is in the dark and so far no consultations have taken place, nor recommendations requested.
FULL ARTICLE (The International News)
Photo: US Department of State/Wikimedia Commons

Govt says in process of appointing envoys to US, UK | Mariana Baabar

“We will see these two posts fill up very soon,” says one official who also confesses that he is clueless about the choices of the government. The Foreign Office too is in the dark and so far no consultations have taken place, nor recommendations requested.

FULL ARTICLE (The International News)

Photo: US Department of State/Wikimedia Commons

2 Dec
U.S. Challenges in a Changed Middle East | Council on Foreign Relations
by Bernard Gwertzman
The events in the Middle East continue to rapidly unfold, providing difficulties for U.S. policy in the region, whether it is the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine, the rise of Islamists, the conflict in Syria, or tensions with Iran. Middle East expert Robert Malley says, “With Islamists in power in Egypt, with Hamas more powerful than it was the last time it was at war with Israel [2008-09], the United States is trying to figure out its place in a region that is no longer the one it was accustomed to.” And in Syria, although a negotiated end to Bashar al-Assad’s regime is preferable, “unfortunately, it almost certainly is not the most likely” way the conflict will end. He says the United States is conflicted over accepting Egyptian help in ending the recent Israel-Hamas attacks while it is also uncomfortable with the domestic policies of the Muslim Brotherhood.
FULL ARTICLE (Council on Foreign Relations)
Photo: Talk Radio News Service/Flickr

U.S. Challenges in a Changed Middle East | Council on Foreign Relations

by Bernard Gwertzman

The events in the Middle East continue to rapidly unfold, providing difficulties for U.S. policy in the region, whether it is the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine, the rise of Islamists, the conflict in Syria, or tensions with Iran. Middle East expert Robert Malley says, “With Islamists in power in Egypt, with Hamas more powerful than it was the last time it was at war with Israel [2008-09], the United States is trying to figure out its place in a region that is no longer the one it was accustomed to.” And in Syria, although a negotiated end to Bashar al-Assad’s regime is preferable, “unfortunately, it almost certainly is not the most likely” way the conflict will end. He says the United States is conflicted over accepting Egyptian help in ending the recent Israel-Hamas attacks while it is also uncomfortable with the domestic policies of the Muslim Brotherhood.

FULL ARTICLE (Council on Foreign Relations)

Photo: Talk Radio News Service/Flickr

8 Nov

Robert Malley, directeur du programme Moyen-Orient et Afrique du Nord à Crisis Group, parle avec Arte Journal aux conséquences en Moyen-Orient du victoire d’Obama.

(Arte Journal)

15 Aug
"Gaza enjoys a strategic depth, and Hamas a political one, that both lacked not long ago. Relations have improved with a vast array of countries, and more progress is expected."
-Crisis Group’s new report, Light at the End of their Tunnels? Hamas & the Arab Uprisings

"Gaza enjoys a strategic depth, and Hamas a political one, that both lacked not long ago. Relations have improved with a vast array of countries, and more progress is expected."

-Crisis Group’s new report, Light at the End of their Tunnels? Hamas & the Arab Uprisings

"The situation in Sinai has become a top concern for the Israeli government, which sees it as a no-man’s-land to which various militant groups – and advanced weaponry – find their way."

Light at the End of their Tunnels? Hamas & the Arab Uprisings, a new report from Crisis Group

"Amid momentous changes affecting the region, Hamas has sought to postpone critical decisions, largely adopting a wait-and-see posture."

—Crisis Group’s latest report: Light at the End of their Tunnels? Hamas & the Arab Uprisings

14 Aug
"Hamas’s choice about which way to turn – toward Cairo or Ramallah; fully into the Arab fold or with a foot still on Iran’s side – is not being considered in a vacuum. It is being debated against the backdrop of its experiences over the last six years, since it won the legislative elections in 2006. It also will be influenced, to a degree, by future steps taken by the West."

— Light at the End of their Tunnels? Hamas & the Arab Uprisings, Crisis Group’s new report.