Posts Tagged

War

With the military campaign in Afghanistan in the middle of its eleventh year, NATO has firmly moved from what is idealistically desirable to what is realistically achievable in the war-torn country. Over a decade ago, NATO intervened in Afghanistan with post-Cold War ambition. But the experience in Afghanistan, where the battle with Taliban-led insurgents is far from over, has put many off protracted peacekeeping missions. The US, who went into Afghanistan with a neoconservative mission of turning a tribal system upside down, is finally settling for an imperfect yet “responsible end” to a prolonged, unpopular, costly and deadly war. At the recently-held summit in Chicago, NATO leaders announced an “irreversible” three-stage security transition plan. Under the plan, Afghan National Security Forces …

Much has been said of the viral Kony 2012 campaign, ‘a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous… to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice’. The last page of the Invisible Children Kony 2012 action booklet reads, ‘Joseph Kony is the worst living criminal…He remains at large because he is invisible to the world. Few know his name, even fewer know his crimes. This year we are making Joseph Kony famous, because when he is, the world will unite for justice and demand his arrest’. The Campaign The campaign kicked off with the release of a (painfully narcissistic) 30-minute film that grossly oversimplifies the conflict and the actors. …

Margot Wallstrom, the United Nation’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, referred to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as ‘the rape capital of the world’. If my Google search was any indication (registering a disturbing 4,640,000 hits for the term), the sensationalist phrase stuck among members of the civil society and aid agencies in the Global North. The eastern DRC has alternately been described as ‘the worst place in the world for women’ by The Guardian and ‘hell’ by American feminist playwright Eve Ensler. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called rape in the DRC ‘evil in its bases form’ during a visit to the region in 2009.  There is something to be said about the damaging …

The Iraq war was not a success. It was a failure. A dismal failure, and Western governments should learn from their mistakes. Of course, nobody can deny the brutal crimes that Saddam Hussein was responsible for. The savage attacks against the Kurdish population in Northern Iraq, the invasion of Kuwait and the terrorising of innocent civilians in the town of Dujail after an assassination attempt serve as prime examples of the sadistic nature of the Iraqi dictator. The world is definitely safer without him, but this in no way outweighs what the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, have had to give up. Transparency International’s most recent Corruption Perception Index (measured in 2010) ranked Iraq as having 175th most …

The ongoing International Criminal Court trial into the so-called “Ocampo Six” is a reminder of how raw the violence around the 2007 Kenyan election remains. It now seems likely that the verdicts on the six won’t be announced until next year – until which time Uhuru Kenyatta, one of those accused of inciting ethnic violence, remains in the post of Deputy Prime Minister. Over 1100 were killed, and had the coalition agreement not come when it did, the spectre of fully-blown Civil War was a genuine possibility. The international community was in shock, having traditionally viewed Kenya as one of the least violent countries in Africa. Really, they shouldn’t have been. A brief history lesson into how Daniel Arap Moi …

As the Arab Spring continues to reverberate through the countries of the Islamic Middle East, attention has now turned to the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state of Yemen.  There the popular rising against President Ali Abdallah Saleh’s regime that began last February, inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, is now rapidly descending into a bloody civil war.   In a country where every second person owns a gun, the escalation of violence has been gradual but deadly.  Hundreds have been killed during September in heavy fighting on the streets of the capital Sana’a, as forces loyal to the government have sought to violently suppress street protests.  In response, army units that have defected are protecting the protestors.  As these well-armed military formations …

Everyone wants to see wrongdoers punished. But safe exile for bad rulers is often the least worst option. The violence in the Ivory Coast that has left more than 1,300 dead since last November’s presidential election may soon be coming to an end. Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to cede power after losing in the polls to Alassane Ouattara, is reportedly negotiating the terms of his surrender after a week-long offensive by pro-Ouattara forces. What’s puzzling about how this conflict is ending is why Gbagbo didn’t leave sooner, especially after African Union leaders had offered him immunity several times if he agreed to go into exile in South Africa. With 80% of Ivorian territory taken by pro-Ouattara forces and …

In his post of 30/03/11, Marko notes the debate surrounding whether the Coalition now taking military action in Libya can arm the rebels fighting in that country. This question is perhaps part of a broader question of whether the coalition can provide other military aid to the rebels, for example, by providing close air support for rebel advances into towns under the control of Col Gaddafi’s forces. As Marko notes, while the US and UK  have both denied that they have made a decision to provide arms to the rebels (see here and here), they have both argued that providing arms to the rebels would not be a breach of the arms embargo imposed by Security Council Resolution 1970. In fact media reports today …