While reporting her WPR feature story, The FARC’s Last Stand, Anastasia Moloney visited La Macarena, a mountainous jungle region in Colombia’s southern province of Meta. The rebel guerillas have turned the difficult terrain into their final stronghold in their efforts to withstand Colombia’s increasingly effective counterinsurgency campaign. A bird’s eye view of the Macarena jungle (Anastasia Moloney). Colombia’s elite counterinsurgency OMEGA force (Anastasia Moloney). Soldiers on patrol in Macarena (Anastasia Moloney). Soldiers on patrol in Macarena (Anastasia Moloney). Brig. Gen. Alejandro Navas, commander of OMEGA forces (Anastasia Moloney).
LA MACARENA, Colombia — Seen from the air, the sweeping mountains of the Macarena jungle in Colombia’s southern province of Meta stretch interminably towards the hazy horizon. The muddy Guayabero River snakes through this green land of deep canyons and forested valleys. It is here that Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), clings to its last stronghold. Colombia’s southern provinces are the front line in the U.S.-backed counterinsurgency campaign against the guerrillas, the site of daily clashes between government troops and the FARC. Looking down from above on the rugged mountainous terrain, it is clear […]
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Standing on the HESCO barriers that ring Forward Operating Base Morales-Frazier in Kapisa Province, just north of Kabul, one can see three enormous, beautiful valleys. To the north lies the Nijrab, whose “fingers” are home to a mainly Tajik population, with some Pashtun areas. To the east sits Afghanya Valley, which hosts Pashtuns in its lower half and Pashai in its upper half. And to the south is Tagab Valley, an almost entirely Pashtun area that has become famous for its entrenched insurgency. FOB Morales-Frazier, the soldiers it hosts, and the area it stands watch over […]
Many of America’s actions in its post-9/11 campaign against al-Qaida have served to increase Muslim and Arab radicalism, rather than to dampen it as intended. The invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, the detainment of captured terrorists at Gitmo and subsequent revelations regarding the use of water boarding and other torture techniques all served to amplify negative perceptions of the United States in the Islamic world and facilitate the radicalization of potential recruits for the terrorists’ cause. But two recent developments have led many Americans to believe that al-Qaida and the threat it posed might be on the verge of […]
DENPASAR, Indonesia — Not very long ago, many observers considered Aceh, Indonesia’s formerly war-torn separatist province, a success story. But a recent rise in political violence has led Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Aceh Governor Yusuf Irwandi to warn against potential spoilers of Aceh’s peace process. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, who brokered the 2005 deal between the former secessionist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and Jakarta, has also emphasized that a long-term resolution is far from ensured. Tucked in the westernmost corner of the Indonesian archipelago, Aceh’s conflict ended in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami that […]
Something small but historic happened on the shores of the Red Sea on Monday. As delegates to the Palestinian donors’ conference in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh gathered for lunch, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem was standing near the door to the banquet room. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walked by, and instead of staring straight ahead or finding a reason to turn in the opposite direction as an American diplomat might have done during the Bush era, she walked straight towards Moualem, shook his hand, and held a brief conversation. That was the moment when Washington […]
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A failure by donors to pay up on financial pledges has pushed the Khmer Rouge tribunal perilously close to the brink of bankruptcy and overshadowed a sensational start to the historic trial of Pol Pot’s surviving lieutenants. Court spokeswoman Helen Jarvis initially told World Politics Review that the tribunal could not make March payroll. This was followed by a hastily arranged press conference where international judges warned earlier this week that corruption remained a key obstacle. “The problems mentioned concerning funding can be resolved once the international community is confident of a corruption-free environment in which […]