I had the pleasure of participating in France 24’s panel discussion program, The World This Week, last Friday. The other panelists were the IHT’s Anne Bagamery, AFP’s Dave Clark and RTL 4’s Stefan de Vries. Topics included the EU debt crisis agreement, Tunisia’s elections and the emergence of democratic Islamism in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and the end of NATO’s mission in Libya. Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here. It was a fun and informative discussion. I was especially surprised to learn from Stefan, who was in Brussels covering the EU summit, […]
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — For the past month, the word on everyone’s lips across Kyrgyzstan has been “raskol,” meaning “schism,” as voters nervously await a presidential election on Oct. 30 that will be an important test for the unity of the state. With the wounds of last year’s revolution and ethnic violence still fresh, fears of a national conflict along north-south lines are running high, a possibility that holds important implications for regional politics and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Eighteen months after the April 2010 revolution that toppled authoritarian President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Kyrgyzstan is struggling to consolidate its democracy in […]
Long before Afghanistan was an Islamic country, Buddhist settlements dotted its mountains and deserts. While the Taliban infamously destroyed the giant Buddhist statues of Bamyan Province in 2001, many archeological riches remain. This U.S. government-run Voice of America report examines efforts to preserve such riches.
With President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of this year, most Americans breathed a sigh of relief. Lost in those headlines was the collective shudder of national security experts and practitioners who know Washington’s dirty little secret: More than 10 years after the war against violent extremism began, the United States still lacks true deployable civilian power. The handover in Iraq from the Defense Department to the State Department at the end of this year will showcase this Achilles’ heel, one that will haunt U.S. foreign policy until […]
The new Libya is considering how it will live by Islamic Sharia law, which includes some traditional practices which some countries consider inhumane. Libyan National Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil has offered mixed remarks on the topic in recent days. While he has asserted that for Libyans “Sharia as the basic source of the law,” Jalil has also attempted to assure the international cummunity Libya is a nation of “moderate Muslims.”
The Yemeni government and a dissident general signed a ceasefire on Tuesday, amid continued violent unrest in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. Security forces opened fire and sprayed water cannons on a protest march in the capital prior to the ceasefire and witnesses said five civilians including a child were killed in crossfire between state troops and opposition fighters in the city of Taiz.
The battle to define the lessons of the Western intervention in Libya began almost as soon as the first Tomahawk missiles started hitting that country’s air defense network back in March. Many of the arguments have focused on the viability of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine of international humanitarian intervention and how it might apply to such countries as Bahrain or Syria. However, defense analysts also subjected the military character of the campaign to scrutiny, with some now suggesting the fight in Libya indicates that airpower has finally fulfilled its decisive promise, having matured to the extent that it can […]
Turkey’s ongoing military operation on both sides of its border with Iraq highlights the recurring problem confronting the Turkish government and military in their fight against Kurdish terrorists: The insurgents’ area of operations, like the Kurdish population itself, straddles Turkey’s borders with Iraq, Iran and Syria. The governments of all four countries share an interest in suppressing Kurdish separatism and violence, but each has at times also found Kurdish terrorism to be a useful tool to pressure the others. This transnational component to the problem means that the current Turkish military operation, which followed coordinated attacks by the Kurdistan Workers’ […]
This report produced by the U.S. Department of Defense explores the U.S. militaries ongoing strategy of training Afghan policy and security forces and mentoring the leadership of Afghanistan’s Department of the Interior.
Since 2001, Afghanistan has become synonymous with the term “narcostate” and the associated spread of crime and illegality. Though the Afghan drug economy peaked in 2007 and 2008, cultivation this year still amounted to 325,000 acres, and the potential production of opium reached 6,400 tons (.pdf). Narcotics production and counternarcotics policies in Afghanistan are of critical importance not only for drug control there and worldwide, but also for the security, reconstruction and rule of law efforts in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, many of the counternarcotics policies adopted during most of the past decade not only failed to reduce the size and scope […]
Paraguay deployed troops into its northern provinces earlier this month in an attempt to contain an outbreak of guerrilla attacks. In an email interview, David Spencer, a professor at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at National Defense University, discussed Paraguay’s guerrillas. WPR: What is the background of the guerrilla movements in Paraguay? David Spencer: There is currently one group of guerrillas active in Paraguay, the Paraguayan Popular Army (EPP). The movement began in the historically neglected area around Concepcion in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Alfredo Stroessner government. Leftist opposition groups supporting land reform on behalf of […]
When Israeli officials confirmed they had reached a deal with Hamas that would result in the freeing of the captured soldier Gilad Shalit, the reaction in the country was one of joy mixed with a heavy dose of apprehension. Israel had no good choices left when it agreed to make the lop-sided trade, which involved the release of more than a 1,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, many of them serving sentences for involvement in horrific terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. And yet, the widely held view is that the deal, while compelling on humanitarian grounds, will not only bring […]
The return of Gilad Shalit to Israel in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners this week signaled a cooperation not seen between Israel and Hamas for nearly a decade. According to Daniel Levy, who co-directs the New America Foundation’s Middle East Task Force in Washington, the deal may well discredit ongoing narratives that it is simply not possible to deal with Hamas. However, says Levy, outside observers should take care not to read too deeply into the swap in the context of the wider conflict between Israel and Palestine. “I think it says almost nothing — and almost certainly […]
In Turkey, security sources say Kurdish guerrillas from the PKK separatist group have attacked military posts in the Cukurca district in the south east of the country. Latest figures indicate 26 soldiers have been killed and 22 injured.
The deployment of 100 U.S. troops to advise in the fight against Central Africa’s Lord’s Resistance Army has triggered speculation about the precise role such troops will play and the extent to which they may engage in combat without express congressional approval. It’s generally agreed the troops are Special Forces sent to help Ugandan and Congolese soldiers gather intelligence and coordinate logistics. But questions remain about how far they’ll go toward using more robust U.S. capabilities, like UAV drones, to potentially take down the LRA’s notoriously violent leader, Joseph Kony. “A possible scenario,” according to Geoffrey Corn, a former military […]