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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hosted a meeting on Global Food Security Sept. 26 in New York, with leaders from 130 countries. Ban and Clinton jointly introduced a proposal at the meeting titled “Partnering for Food Security: Moving Forward.” The thrust of the initiative is to take a more preventative and less reactive approach toward food security. “We will continue of course to invest in the crises and emergencies, but we want to begin to try to alleviate the crises and the emergencies by once again enabling people to feed themselves,” Clinton said at […]

NEW DELHI — With the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) decimated in the northern provinces of Sri Lanka, India is now seeking greater involvement in the welfare of the Tamils in the island country. New Delhi is looking to supply electricity, rehabilitate and resettle displaced Tamils, and rebuild infrastructure in general. And this month, Rahul Gandhi, the general secretary of the ruling Congress party and son of the all-powerful Sonia Gandhi, emphasized that India will do everything in its power to protect the rights of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. “The central government is applying as much pressure […]

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Everywhere in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, posters featuring smiling soldiers holding rocket launchers and machine guns celebrate the recent end to the nation’s 26-year civil war. But in the government-run camps that still house more than 250,000 ethnic Tamils displaced by the war’s fighting, the mood is far from celebratory. In late August, heavy rains at the largest camp, Manik, flooded tents and led to unsanitary conditions. According to aid worker K Thampu, “The situation was heartbreaking. Tents were flooded and mothers, desperate to keep their children dry during the night, took chairs and […]

When I was in Ecuador two years ago, a businessman named Ivan excoriated me about the limits Washington placed on business that local fishing firms could do with the U.S. The conversation went on for a while, but when it ended, he promptly introduced me to his teenage daughter and pleaded with me to speak to her so that she could practice her English. In fact, she spoke eloquently and fluently, but the irony was no less striking: The gringos to the north offered little opportunity to Latin America, but the best chance for Ivan’s daughter to succeed — leaving […]

In August, fighters from the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group rampaged through Ezo, a county of autonomous South Sudan that borders the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The rebels burned and looted homes, churches and health facilities, killed an undetermined number of civilians and kidnapped as many as 10 young girls, according to press reports. The LRA, which Washington has officially labeled a terrorist group, often forces children to become soldiers or sex slaves. The violence in Ezo displaced as many as 80,000 people, in a part of the world that’s already over-burdened by an estimated […]

Eight years ago, a small number of U.S. personnel, working in tandem with local Afghan leaders, entered Afghanistan with a defined aim: to punish al-Qaida and overthrow the Taliban regime that harbored them. Over the past year, that mission has morphed into the much broader objective of rebuilding the Afghan state and protecting Afghan villages. Most recently, America’s top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, said a new strategy must be forged to “earn the support of the [Afghan] people . . . regardless of how many militants are killed or captured.” Such an undertaking, amounting to a large-scale social-engineering […]

Amid devastated Somalia, a country mired for two decades in unforgiving conflict, Somaliland glows as an ember of hope. A moderate peace has held for 10 years in the autonomous region, reflecting a decade of efforts to expand governance, security and social institutions. Yet, despite it being a minor success in a sea of failure, regional and international organizations will not grant Somaliland status as an independent state, or give it a seat at the international roundtable. As another transitional government in Mogadishu fractures in the face of insurgent forces, and the international community scrambles to update policy positions, Somaliland […]

The U.S. is determined to implement a counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and one of the most important concepts of counterinsurgency is securing the people: Insurgents and counterinsurgents alike must appeal to the people they’re fighting amongst in order to deny the other popular support. But what does it mean to “secure the people” of Afghanistan? Some of the U.S. government’s best thinkers about defense policy and counterinsurgency, many of whom cut their teeth on the urban battlefields of Iraq, have finally begun to consider this question. But although Iraq is vastly different from Afghanistan, there seems to be no end […]

Here’s a radical proposition: Withdraw from Afghanistan. That’s just what stalwart nationally syndicated columnist George Will called for on Tuesday, setting off a week of stormy debate that culminated in the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff responding to his Washington Post op-ed, titled, “Time to Leave Afghanistan.” With deliberations in Washington set to begin in earnest about a newly delivered strategy by the new commander on the ground, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Will has opened up the most fundamental question the country faces in foreign affairs today: Should the U.S. be in Afghanistan in […]

On the eve of his retirement on Aug. 26, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur, declared an end to the war in Sudan’s southern province. “As of today, I would not say there is a war going on in Darfur,” Agwai, a Nigerian, said at a press conference in Khartoum. Agwai’s joint U.N.-African Union force, deployed in 2007, numbers around 15,000 soldiers and police. “Militarily there is not much” going on in Darfur, Agwai said. “What you have is security issues more now. Banditry . . . people trying to resolve issues over water […]