Kenya’s Somali North East: Devolution and Security

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Devolved government in Kenya’s newly formed north-eastern counties, designed to address decades of political marginalisation and underdevelopment, has been undermined by dominant clans monopolising power and growing corruption. ICG – Nairobi/Brussels – OVERVIEW – Africa Briefing N°114 Violent clan competition and antipathy between elected county elites and the remaining national administrative structures have allowed the violently extremist Al-Shabaab movement to expand and operate with relative impunity across large areas of the North East. Its attacks exposed security-service disarray and caused ... Read More »

How to solve Lebanese civil war disappearances

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BEIRUT — In the Shiite neighborhood of Zqaq el-Blat in Beirut lives Fatima Fneish, who has agonized over the disappearance of her brother Hussein Fneish, 16, who went missing in 1976 during Lebanon’s civil war on his way to school. Al-Monitor Author: Ash Gallagher * Summary: The International Committee of the Red Cross has a plan to identify the remains of those who went missing during Lebanon’s civil war, but support from the government is agonizingly slow. Fneish, 60, invited Al-Monitor to her home ... Read More »

Israeli cafe gives Jews, Arabs 50% off if they eat together

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It’s for lovers of peace and cheap hummus. The OPTIMIST – #Winning A cafe in the coastal town of Netanya in Israel is fighting back against the recent spate of Israeli-Palestinian violence by appealing to people’s stomachs and wallets. According to ABC News at least nine Israelis and 41 Palestinians have died this month. Reaching out to their fans on Facebook, the Humus Bar posted details of a special deal: “Scared of Arabs? Scared of Jews? With us we don’t have Arabs! But ... Read More »

Tehran won’t get sanctions relief from US until next year under Iran nuclear deal

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New York: The United States was set to issue conditional sanctions waivers for Iran on Sunday, though it cautioned they will not take effect until Tehran has curbed its nuclear program as required under a historic nuclear deal reached in Vienna on July 14. Louis Charbonneau Several senior US officials, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said that despite Washington’s move on Sunday, actual implementation of the deal was likely several months away. That means the sanctions relief Tehran ... Read More »

Colombian government and Farc rebels reach deal on disappeared

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Colombia’s government and Farc rebels have agreed measures to find people who disappeared during the country’s decades-long civil war. BBC – The government estimates more than 50,000 people are still missing. The two sides will work together in a specialised unit to recover remains of those killed from unmarked mass graves and locate those still alive. The issue was a key sticking point in negotiations to agree a broader peace deal. The International Committee of the Red Cross will also ... Read More »

What South Africa leaving the International Criminal Court would mean

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The call by South Africa’s governing party to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has implications for the rest of the continent. But it is not going to happen any time soon. By Milton Nkosi, BBC News, Johannesburg When South Africa joined the ICC in 1998 the country had just emerged from the scourge of apartheid. South Africans were fresh victims of gross human rights violations and had hoped that the rest of the world would join the ICC. ... Read More »

Social Dialogue Under The Gun in Tunisia

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Tunisia’s democratic transition has been idealized as the bright light of the Arab Uprisings. In addition to avoiding the bloody crackdowns of Egypt, Libya, and Syria, the country held the promise of making real gains on the issues of social justice—low wages, unequal development, and crony neoliberal capitalism—that triggered the uprising. Jadaliyya – by Ian M. Hartshorn Led in part by the country’s powerful trade union, the democratic transition was supposed to provide a re-energized economy, tripartite negotiation on wages ... Read More »

Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet Set a Powerful Example

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The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award its annual peace prize to Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet is an occasion to celebrate what this extraordinary group of labour unions, business and civil society organisations accomplished. ICG – By Issandr El Amrani | @boumilo Today, it is easy to be complacent about the coalition government in Tunis, which is a direct result of the groundwork laid by the Quartet in 2013. One can lament the security, economic and political challenges that Tunisia still faces. ... Read More »

World View: Dayton Accord offers a possible route out of Syrian disaster

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US brokered deal was imperfect and based on exhaustion and impasse rather than justice. But it stabilised the region The Irish Times – Paul Gillespie Could Russia’s military intervention in Syria be the prelude to – or even enable – a regional peace deal similar to the 1995 Dayton Agreement, which brought an end to fighting in the former Yugoslavia? That Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian civil war killed 100,000 people and was stoked by regional and global powers. Dayton was an imperfect peace ... Read More »

Game On Between Uganda’s Former Liberation War Allies

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John Patrick Amama Mbabazi (known as JPAM), the former prime minister and secretary general of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), is tired. ICG – By Magnus Taylor * He had an early meeting and then, indignity of indignities, he got stuck in traffic. We’re in Crested Towers, the high office block from where he used to run government business. Now it’s home to his nascent presidential campaign. The cause of the traffic jam was his estranged political partner, President Yoweri ... Read More »

Peace needs truth, not punishment

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Retribution will not heal old wounds in Colombia, warns Leonardo Goi. New Internationalist – By Leonardo Goi Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Commander Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri last week issued a historic joint statement. A transitional justice framework will be established, through which those responsible for the atrocities committed in the 51-year conflict between the state and the guerrillas will be prosecuted. Santos and Londoño (who goes by the alias ‘Timochenko’) announced that the ... Read More »

UN’s highest court to take up century-old dispute between Chile and Bolivia

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Bolivia – South America’s poorest country – became landlocked after losing a war against Chile at the end of the 19th century and wants to regain Pacific access The Guardian – AFP in the Hague The UN’s highest court has agreed to take up a century-old dispute between Chile and Bolivia, saying it could rule in the case as La Paz seeks to regain access to the Pacific. The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ), which oversees disputes between countries, ... Read More »

Statement on the Transitional Justice Agreement between the Colombian Government and FARC

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The agreement on transitional justice reached by the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and publicly announced yesterday in Havana is a major breakthrough in the four-year peace talks. In effect, it anticipates the termination of the 51-year armed conflict. In an unprecedented personal meeting, President Juan Manual Santos and FARC’s maximum leader, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry (“Timochenko”), agreed that a final peace agreement would be signed within six months. Bogotá/Brussels | ICG The agreement establishes ... Read More »

To what extend is optimism for a solution to the Cyprus problem justified, if at all?

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Eftyhia Andreou – Journalist Dr Giorgos Kentas – Assistant Professor at the Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs – University of Nicosia Read More »

‘We Want a Massacre’: Turkish-Kurdish Tensions Escalate as Election Looms

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Earlier this summer, tit-for-tat violence between the Turkish government and the country’s Kurdish minority began undermining years of peace negotiations. With clashes now intensify, Turkey is in danger of descending into outright civil war. Spiegel – By Hasnain Kazim Cemile just wanted to get some fresh air and escape the feeling of confinement that the curfew in Cizre had brought with it. It was shortly after 8 p.m. on Sept. 4. Darkness had fallen over the city in southeastern Turkey. ... Read More »

Myanmar’s Peace Process: A Nationwide Ceasefire Remains Elusive

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Yangon/Brussels, ICG – Asia Briefing N°146 OVERVIEW After more than six decades of internal armed conflict, the next four weeks could be decisive for Myanmar’s peace process. The process, which was launched in August 2011, enjoyed significant initial success, as bilateral ceasefires were agreed with more than a dozen ethnic armed groups. But signing a nationwide ceasefire and proceeding to the political dialogue phase has been much more difficult. Four years on, with campaigning for the November elections already underway, ... Read More »