Monthly Archives: July 2008
>>Zimbabwe – President Mugabe’s negotiators have left power-sharing talks in Pretoria to return to Zimbabwe for a fresh round of consultations, what most analysts have declared a sign of near collapse. The sticking point is over opposition leader Tsvangirai’s position in the new government. Mugabe’s negotiators are only authorized to offer him the vice presidency, a position the MDC finds untenable. There is no word on when or if talks will resume.
>>Pakistan/India – Soldiers from Pakistan and India engaged in a 12-hour gunfight last night, in what some have called the most “serious violation” of the ceasefire agreement in five years. India claims that the fighting was sparked by a raid by Pakistani soldiers that left an Indian soldier dead. Pakistan claims that Indian troops were attempting to build a post on Pakistan’s side. Some analysts have suggested that this may simply be an attempt by Pakistan’s military to grab power from the new government by making it look weak on national security.
>>Australia – Australia will no longer immediately detain asylum seekers who arrive without visas. This controversial policy had left many immigrants in jail for up to three years while their status was being resolved. The UN has censured Australia 14 times for the policy.
What do you do if you’re a “blue helmet” without a blue helmet? Some enterprising members of the UNAMID force have had to resort to wrapping their helmets in blue plastic bags, according to a report released by the Darfur Consortium (hat tip FP Passport).
The lack of helmets is just the tip of the iceberg. The Consortium:
The failure of world leaders to keep their promises on peacekeeping has condemned millions of Darfurians to more fear and suffering, without protection from violence.
Need I say more?
Apologies to all for the late dive in, but I’d like to pick it up from this deceptively simple and much underestimated fact pointed out by Alistair Millar: “No matter how much the US spends militarily or otherwise, America cannot be everywhere at once”. Thus, one priority for the new president, as far as I can see from the other side, will be to acknowledge the major mistakes of the Bush admin’s approach to the “war on terror”, starting perhaps with this very title. Two major issues will have to be examined without delay: First, how to retrieve some of the moral high-ground that America has lost miserably and UNNECESSARILY, and second, how to devise a smarter strategy through which we can (seriously this time) isolate terrorists from the rest of a given society and contain wannabees.
Has the responsibility for counter-terrorism fallen mainly under the purview of the military? It has been argued that this perception has been created in part because key positions are held by current and former military officials fill many counterterrorism-related positions in the US Government, for example, Gen. Michael V. Hayden (CIA); retired Navy Vice Adm. J. Michael McConnell (director of national intelligence) and Dell L. Dailey, an Army lieutenant general (State Department CT Coordinator). The official use of the term “Global War on Terrorism” also tends to overemphasize the military’s role.
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.