Top stories from DAWNS Digest

Somalia Has a New Constitution. Now What?

Somali lawmakers approved a new constitution after years of negotiation. So what change might the new constitution bring? Not much says BBC Analyst Mary Harper. “The new constitution promises many things. It says every citizen shall have the right to free education up to secondary school. It describes female circumcision – widely practised in Somalia – as tantamount to torture, and bans it. It says children should not be used in armed conflict. All well and good. But the constitution appears to exist in a parallel universe, a fantasy land, when compared with the reality on the ground in Somalia. Although security is improving in some parts of the country, Somalia is more a patchwork of semi-autonomous statelets than a unified territory. The Islamist militia al-Shabab occupies significant parts of Somalia, and carries out terror attacks in Mogadishu and other places no longer under its full control.Contentious issues remain unresolved, including the allocation of power and resources between the centre and the regions. This is where ferocious arguments are likely to develop, and possibly become violent. If this happens, the transition process – in which so much time, money and hope has been invested – would simply cause the complexion of the Somali conflict to change, rather than bringing it to an end.” (BBC http://bbc.in/OKcCG2) And a very quick run-down of “Who will do What” under the new constitution. (AFP http://bit.ly/OKcbvr)

Turkish Warplanes Attack Kurdish Positions

So far, the fighting is happening inside Turkish territory. But recent troop movements to the Syrian border, plus warnings from Turkish officials about a growing Kurdish militant presence inside Syria means something to closely monitor. “Turkish warplanes and attack helicopters pounded Kurdish rebel positions Thursday in a rugged southeast region, a clash that comes as Turkey grows increasingly concerned that Kurdish rebels may be trying to expand their reach by establishing bases in conflict-ridden Syria.Thursday’s fighting pitted Turkish troops against Kurdish rebels who were allegedly planning to seize the town of Semdinli. The town sits on a high plateau, about 14 kilometers (9 miles) north of the border with Iraq. It is located in an area where the borders of Turkey, Iran and Iraq converge…Turkish Kurdish rebels have established hideouts and bases in northern Iraq. More recently, Turkey says the rebels have managed to seize a handful of towns in Syria, another neighboring country. The Turkish military has repeatedly targeted Kurdish rebel bases in northern Iraq, and Turkey has hinted it would not hesitate to go after the rebels in Syria.” (WaPo http://wapo.st/Renn1r)

Ban Ki Moon Names Post-Millennium Development Goals Panel

The Millennium Development Goals are set to expire in 2015. The big question is what to do after their target dates pass. To figure out this thorny question Ban Ki Moon appointed a panel of 26 eminent persons from every corner of the globe. “In May, Ban named UK prime minister David Cameron, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, of Indonesia, as co-chairs of the panel. The MDGs, agreed at a UN conference in New York in 2000, helped galvanise anti-poverty efforts by setting out eight goals, including one to halve the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day and who suffer from hunger. But with less than three years to go, many of the goals will be missed. Social inequality is also becoming a pressing issue following the Arab spring. The advisory panel includes representatives of governments, the private sector, academia and civil society from rich and poor countries. It includes John Podesta, former White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, Yingfan Wang, a Chinese career diplomat currently on the advocacy group that promotes the implementation of the MDGs, and Andris Piebalgs, the EU’s development commissioner. Twelve of the panelists are women.” (Guardian http://bit.ly/OKd33k) And here’s a list of all 26 (UN *PDF* http://bit.ly/OKd47r)

Money Quote from a Donor: From Hillary Clinton’s speech in Dakar: “Some people back home say we shouldn’t bother. That we should just focus on America’s immediate economic or security interests and not worry so much about the slow, hard work of building democracy elsewhere,” Clinton said. “But I think that is short-sighted. It’s also in our interest to have strong and stable partners in the world. And democracies are by far the strongest and most stable partners. So this isn’t altruism. This is a strategic commitment to shared prosperity, to common security.” (VOA http://bit.ly/RekQo6)

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