Author Archives: Vanessa Valenti
I do not think we are concentrating too much on terrorism, it legitimately belongs at the very top of the list of national security threats we face today. True, the nature of the transnational threats facing the world today is far different than the ones the U.S. and its allies faced on 9/11. But al-Qaeda itself remains a formidable opponent, with a resurgent core in Northwest Pakistan and affiliates and homegrown cells pose a growing threat as well.
Thanks, Matt, for following this thread.
On the definition issue, at risk of stating the obvious, the distinction between “terrorists” and “freedom fighters” is given weight it doesn’t deserve because of the inherently political nature of any discussion of who is and who isn’t a terrorist. The fact that the US only recently took Nelson Mandela off of its terrorist list is a reminder of this.
Eric raises excellent points. I’ll just add that on top of the question of whether the existing treaties do in fact cover the full waterfront on possible terrorist offenses, the lack of a common definition of terrorism has several other implications. Among them:
First, much of the debate over terrorism still focuses on the groups themselves and their underlying grievances or political objectives, not the actual acts of terrorism – the criminal terrorist offenses – they carry out. As such, the “terrorism v resistance” argument is given weight it does not deserve since the legal issue at hand is not why one carries out a criminal act of terrorism like a suicide bombing but the fact that such an act was carried out at all.
There’s a huge UN conference happening today in the Congolese capital Kinshasa on women’s rights:
Women’s rights ministers from 11 countries across Africa’s Great Lakes region are gathering today in Kinshasa for a United Nations-organized conference to take steps to set up a regional research and documentation centre on women’s rights.
The two-day meeting in the Congolese capital, jointly organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Ministry of Women’s Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), will also be attended by representatives of the African Union, the African Bank of Development and the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, as well as several UN agencies.
Check out UNESCO’s site for more details, but the goal seems to be that the Great Lakes research center will be based on a similar UNESCO-initiated women’s rights center created in 2006 in Ramallah in the occupied Palestinian territory. Sounds like a great and necessary initiative for the Great Lakes.
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.