Ivory Coast: the problem is not elections, but xenophobia

“It is convenient for the world to think that the ongoing Ivory Coast civil war and genocide is about election and election results, and removing recalcitrant Gbagbo from an office which he lost in the polls. “In reality, this is hypocrisy. The UN and the stakeholder-countries involved in Ivory Coast [know] that the problem is not Gbagbo and Ouattara, or elections. The primary issue in Ivory Coast is that of “North vs. South” which is now translating into perhaps Muslim North vs. Christian South. “ The result of sweeping this fact under the rug and pretending that it is not there is what we...

EU migration chief urges members to accept Libya refugees

European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has urged member states to resettle Eritrean, Somali, Ethiopian and other refugees fleeing Libya. See reports by Reuters here and the Jesuit Refugee Services here " We need to show an element of solidarity. There are ... people who have nowhere to go and with this we will have to help, to resettle them ," she said. "Most of them would like to stay in Libya if the conflict ended tomorrow. That's where they had jobs and families. But if the situation escalates, we will have asylum seekers. If they come to Europe, we will have to offer them...

Justice is the glue that binds any long term peace

“Peace versus Justice; it is an old question for prosecutors at the International Criminal Court and one they are hearing all over again as they plunge into investigations in Libya and Ivory Coast. “What price stability, the argument goes, if the new leaders find themselves in the ICC crosshairs? Peace, in other words, trumps justice. It is a short term solution, but it is the wrong one, and not just on moral grounds “ The real reason to back the ICC is practical. African history is littered with cases of rebels deposing tyrants only to become tyrants themselves; for the ordinary people, the...

Indian nuclear program to continue, joint review with Russia

Alarmed over the recent nuclear catastrophe in Japan, India and Russia have decided to jointly review the safety of nuclear reactors installed in India, but have also agreed not to impose brakes on ongoing projects. "We will do this exercise together. But nothing stops and it does not replace anything that we have already agreed in the long-term ,” National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon says. See ANI’s report here . Nuclear energy constitutes just 3 per cent of India's power generation. Delhi would like this share to go up to nearly 25 per cent by 2050. Over the next few decades, India...

Why breaking up states is becoming easier

“ For decades, international and regional organisations have resisted the partition of states . Despite the principle of self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter, this emphasis on non-interference and territorial integrity has preserved artificially created state entities, defined by colonial boundaries that disregard traditional homelands. “ Now, the international community is starting to change its posture . The process that leads to the formal secession of South Sudan from Khartoum … was sponsored, not just accepted, by the international community. “For too long the international...

Responding to R2P criticisms

Critics argue that we are inconsistent, even hypocritical, in our military interventions. After all, we intervened promptly this time in a country with oil, while we have largely ignored Ivory Coast and Darfur — not to mention Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. We may as well plead guilty. We are inconsistent. There’s no doubt that we cherry-pick our humanitarian interventions. But just because we allowed Rwandans or Darfuris to be massacred, does it really follow that to be consistent we should allow Libyans to be massacred as well? Isn’t it better to inconsistently save some lives than to...

Desmond Tutu: Sports boycott crucial to ending apartheid

Many of you will remember how effective the sports boycott of the 1970s and 1980s was in conveying to sport-crazy South Africans that our society had placed itself beyond the pale by continuing to organise its life on the basis of racial discrimination. Your refusal to kow-tow to racism was the sanction that hurt the supporters of apartheid the most, and for those of us who suffered the effects of discrimination nothing could have shown us more vividly the principal value enshrined in the preamble to the Spirit of Cricket, which Lord Cowdrey and Ted Dexter later helped to introduce to the...

US and UK may arm Libyan rebels

A US Air Force C130 transport aircraft at the Ramstein airbase in Germany, part of joint task force Odyssey Dawn, the US component of the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya. Photo US Africa Command The United States and Britain have raised the prospect of arming Libya's rebels if air strikes fail to force Muammar Gaddafi from power.

Not so long ago …

In September 2009, a delegation of three senior Libyan military officers visited the US military’s Africa Command headquarters as part of an orientation program. See Africom’s report here . The Libyan officers held meetings with senior US staff members to discuss Africom's programs and activities, met General William E. ward and his two deputies, and traveled to Ramstein Air Base to meet Major General Ron Ladnier, the US Air Force Africa commander, and his staff. Interestingly, Gen. Ward had earlier visited Libya twice in 2009, and also met the Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, in May. " It was...

A turning point for world politics?

From a speech by British Foreign Minister William Hague to the Times CEO Africa Summit on March 22, 2010. See the full text here . We are only in the early stages of what is happening in North Africa and the Middle East. It is already set to overtake the 2008 financial crisis and 9/11 as the most important development of the early 21st century , and is likely to bring some degree of political change in all countries in the Arab world. This is a historic shift of massive importance, presenting the international community as a whole with an immense opportunity. We believe that the international response to these events must be commensurately generous, bold and ambitious. But these momentous events do not stop at the borders of the Arab world .

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