Global Insider: Tacit U.S. Approval Key to Australia’s Afghan Withdrawal

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced last week that Australian troops will withdraw from Afghanistan in 2013, a year ahead of schedule. In an email interview, Anthony Bubalo, the West Asia program director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia, discussed Australia’s mission in Afghanistan. WPR: Was participation in the Afghanistan War seen as consistent with Australia’s key strategic priorities or in competition with them? Anthony Bubalo: Australia’s participation in the war in Afghanistan has been consistent with the history of Australia’s use of its military forces beyond its immediate region, especially in the Middle East. That […]

Large Blast Rips Through Building in Hama, Syria

An explosion tore through a building in Hama, leaving at least 12 people dead and wounding dozens according the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. World News Videos by NewsLook

Is Either Side Interested in Long-Term Ceasefire in Syria?

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called for more peacekeepers and aircraft to be deployed in Syria to monitor the truce there. This report by Russian government-owned Russia Today questions whether the major forces in the conflict are truly interested in a long-term ceasefire. World News Videos by NewsLook

A few weeks ago, in discussing how Hezbollah might respond to an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program, I mentioned that both the United States and Hezbollah are more or less held hostage to the drama unfolding between their respective allies. For the United States, part of that dynamic includes the uncertainty it faces concerning whether or not Israel will in fact strike Iran’s nuclear program and, if so, when. The United States is Israel’s closest ally in the world. The United States has provided Israel an average of $3 billion in grants, almost all of it military aid (.pdf), […]

String of Attacks Rock Afghan Capital, Provinces

The Taliban launched a series of coordinated attacks across the Afghan capital and at least three eastern provinces on Sunday, targeting NATO bases, parliament and foreign embassies in a complex assault. World News Videos by NewsLook

Afghan Amputees Reflect More Powerful Bombs

With some 6,000 new patients every year, an orthopaedic centre in Kabul highlights the growing number of civilians severely injured by bombs that have grown more powerful than ever before. World News Videos by NewsLook

Mali’s New Leader Sworn in, Supported by Bamako Residents

Mali’s new interim leader threatened to wage total war on Tuareg rebels and Islamists controlling the north of the country as he was in sworn in Thursday, ending a brief stab at military rule. World News Videos by NewsLook

A few months ago, I penned an essay for a WPR feature issue on counterinsurgency arguing that the U.S. Army was adrift as it transitioned out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In terms of the Army’s direction, that remains the case: While the U.S. Navy and Air Force have already crafted a narrative for how they can help the United States meet the security challenges of the 21st century, the Army is still pining for the days when the Soviet Union and its armies, poised to storm across the Fulda Gap, presented an intellectually simpler problem to solve. […]

Even If It Fails, North Korean Satellite Launch Is a Threat

In the midst of commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung, North Korea is apparently preparing to fire a ballistic missile. While Pyongyang insists the rocket launch is for the sole purpose of sending a satellite into orbit, most analysts say the launch is an effort to develop ballistic missile technology to support North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons program. The satellite launch is seen as a clear violation not only of United Nations resolutions requiring North Korea to suspend activities — including launches — related to its ballistic missile program, but also of […]

There’s a warlord in the news again. With 86 million views and counting, the “Kony 2012” web video and its recently released sequel brought unprecedented attention to Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The videos are part of a campaign orchestrated by the U.S.-based NGO Invisible Children to rally international support for Kony’s capture. The major news outlets responded in kind, with ABC, CNN and the New York Times casting Kony as a warlord. The problem is, warlords don’t exist. At least not as Invisible Children and its growing audience think they do. The existence of warlords may […]

In Libya, Post-Conflict Phase Is More Construction Than Reconstruction

As clashes between rival Libyan militias continue, with a particularly violent battle erupting earlier this week, the fighting that has left hundreds dead or displaced threatens to divide the country. The violence also poses a problem for reconstruction efforts, in part because of its potential to undermine the country’s upcoming elections, currently scheduled for June 20. “These clashes have complicated things in a number of ways. The biggest is that international workers and programs and organizations will have to assess what’s going on in Libya in terms of safety and operability before they send people out, and, for a country […]

As tensions over Iran’s nuclear program rise, assertions that Israel’s increasing closeness to Azerbaijan, a predominantly Muslim state on Iran’s northern border, represents the emergence of an anti-Iran “tag team” are gaining currency. But despite undoubtedly warming ties between the two countries, there is no indication that Baku is in any hurry to sacrifice its national interests by participating in a conflict that could possibly drag it into a regional conflagration. Though a recently signed $1.6 billion arms deal has put the Israel-Azerbaijan relationship in the spotlight of late, an article on the Foreign Policy website, vaulted the South Caucasus […]

NAIROBI — As conflict continues to rage along the poorly demarcated, oil-rich border separating Sudan and South Sudan, international parties are scrambling to avert full-scale war. The African Union (AU) hosted reconciliation talks Monday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. In a result reflective of the AU’s two-year mediation, however, Northern and Southern Sudanese officials failed to reach any tangible resolution. The current crisis constitutes the largest scale of violence between the two national armies since South Sudan officially seceded in July 2011. Each side blames the other for instigating the aggression. South Sudan claims its northern neighbor continues to […]

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