With the global spotlight unwaveringly focused on the momentous changes in the Arab world, subtle shifts taking place in another strife-torn Muslim-majority region in Asia have escaped the world’s attention. Jammu and Kashmir, the object of a longstanding territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, has been ravaged for the past two decades by a violent, Pakistan-backed Islamist insurgency that has exploited popular grievances among Kashmiris. But almost a year after turmoil in urban Kashmir led to the deaths of 112 unarmed civilians in police actions last summer, the situation has been completely peaceful this year. But there is more to […]
The U.S.-led economic reconstruction projects in both Afghanistan and Haiti, as well as similar United Nations efforts in Africa, the Balkans and Timor Leste, highlight the dismal track record of post-Cold War efforts to help countries transition from war or other forms of chaos to peace. Despite a few success stories, roughly half of the countries facing such transitions, according to the U.N., relapsed into conflict or chaos, leading to further human tragedy, large number of refugees and internally displaced populations (IDPs), and huge costs in new military interventions and peacekeeping operations. Furthermore, failed states have become incubators for terrorism, […]
JUBA, Sudan — It’s not every day that a new nation is born, even if the prospect is not unheard of in sub-Saharan Africa’s recent history. For south Sudan, the long and bitter struggle for autonomy and freedom from a series of oppressive Khartoum governments has made the looming reality of the Republic of South Sudan — as the state will be known after it becomes independent on July 9 — all the more meaningful for its diverse population. As was evident in the immediate, jubilant aftermath of the January referendum that decided south Sudan’s fate, this historic moment is […]
With the United States and Europe behind the curve on so many fronts — from the economic meltdown to the Arab Spring — observers have noted that U.S. President Barack Obama hoped his trip to Europe this week would inspire a new era of U.S.-European cohesion toward solving the world’s problems. “There are a whole variety of issues that he’s probably not going to solve on this trip, but he’s got to lay the groundwork that we need a united front,” says James Joyner, managing editor of the Atlantic Council in Washington. “At a minimum, he needs to overcome a […]
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir called on north Sudan to withdraw its forces from the disputed Abyei region. The oil-rich region was forcefully taken over by North Sudanese forces last week.
Support for alleged war criminal Ratko Mladic is not restricted to Serbia. Serb nationalists were out on the streets of Pale in Bosnia Herzegovina on Thursday night. The town was the administrative centre of the breakaway Republika Srpska during the Bosnian War.
BELGRADE, Serbia — The arrest of Ratko Mladic offers Europe some closure on a horrific period of its recent history, and is a substantial boost for Serbia and its president, Boris Tadic. But obstacles remain ahead for Serbia on its long journey back to the European family. After 16 years of evading near misses and false leads, Mladic came quietly. The former head of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) was found not in a mountain redoubt in Bosnia, but in an innocuous town on the northern Serbian plains. Mladic has been indicted on 15 counts, including genocide and crimes against […]
When President Barack Obama laid out his vision for moving forward on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process last week, he — like the Clinton and Bush administrations before him — emphasized trying to settle the question of borders first, while deferring negotiations on more contentious issues, like the status of Jerusalem, for later. Indeed, at first glance, the question of Jerusalem appears to be insolvable, given both sides’ starting points for negotiation. Speaking before the U.S. Congress this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu declared, “Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know […]
News coverage of the fighting that erupted this week in Abyei, capital city of the province of the same name that lies on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, has largely blamed the violence on North-South friction over oil fields and undying tensions between ethnic tribes in the area. But Eric Reeves, a leading Sudan researcher at Smith College in Massachusetts, called the Sudanese army’s seizure of Abyei “extortion,” and says it is part of a growing strategy by the government in Khartoum to wring financial concessions out of South Sudan ahead of its official independence slated for July […]
When President Barack Obama addressed the world’s Muslims from Cairo in 2009, his message, to put it bluntly, added up to, “Please love America — or at least stop hating it.” Two years later, when Obama took the podium once again to address the restive Middle East, his message was much different, but just as stark. This time he seemed to be saying, “Please believe that America still matters.” Obama’s May 19 speech from the State Department in Washington represented a desperate attempt at relevance. The president was essentially trying to demonstrate that during this transformative phase in the region, […]
Seventy years ago yesterday, the Royal Navy battlecruiser the HMS Hood was destroyed by the German battleship the Bismarck, striking the British national security apparatus with panic. Although the Hood was 20 years old when it faced off against the Bismarck, it was still one of the largest, fastest and most powerful warships in the world. It was also the most visible symbol of British naval power, having conducted many “show the flag” cruises during the interwar period. The loss of the Hood inspired an intense, emotional desire for vengeance on the part of the Royal Navy, as well as […]
The debate over whether President Barack Obama violated the 1973 War Powers Resolution by committing U.S. forces to Operation Odyssey Dawn, including the drama of outraged legislators condemning yet another president for disregarding this curious law, was predictable. This most recent effort, like others before it, will probably come to nothing. But the legislation itself is dangerous, and the attempts to invoke it should stop. Republicans and Democrats now have an opportunity to remove the War Powers Resolution from our national life, and they should seize it. There is an unavoidable tension in the Constitution between the president’s role as […]
Just more than a week ago at the United Nations saw the close of the Meeting of Governmental Experts on the Implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects — an elaborate name for an initiative whose progress has been marred by bureaucratic chaos, slow implementation and unequal state capacities. The Program of Action, created in 2001, is a series of recommendations on small arms and light weapons, ranging from destruction of surplus arms to changing national laws to regulate the arms trade. The […]
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visited Russia earlier this month for broad-ranging strategic talks. In an email interview, Rouben Azizian, a professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, discussed Russia-Pakistan relations. WPR: What is the recent history of Pakistan-Russia relations? Rouben Azizian: For decades, Moscow and Islamabad viewed each other as adversaries because of the Cold War’s impact on South Asia, Russia’s special relations with India and the U.S.-Pakistan alliance. The withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan briefly opened the door for improved bilateral relations, but Pakistan’s support for the Taliban government in Afghanistan and the presence of Chechen […]