January 20, 2014

A busy day in the towers


No one knows if Doku Umarov is still alive. Last week Peter Haring argued in The Arabist 2011 may bring good things to those who wait. Daghestan's man in Moscow. Everyone gathered for Ban Ki-moon comments today on Syria. Even Iran receives invitation to Geneva talks on Syria ceasefire, but Assad says he's going nowhere. Western sanctions and uranium enrichment tempering in Iran. Can the international community achieve both stability and justice in Lebanon with Hariri assassination passing into history?  That's in the hands of the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon.



January 17, 2014

back from the grave


Modest step toward stability in Damascus-sponsored prisoner exchange. Syrian regime proposes a cease-fire as U.S. Sec. of State Kerry offers assurances. 'Geneva II' is the US/UN/Russian effort to bring both sides to the table and explore peace prospects in SyriaChallenges in today's Lebanon include the challenge of staying alive. Kabul suicide bombing reminds western diplomats who's likely to remain in charge of Afghanistan. Still, the Taliban's return to Afghan dominance will take its own pace. Here the International Crisis Group (ICG) calls for high-profile mediation in Southern Sudan before factions slip into civil war. 

September 04, 2011

promising new developments


Sec-Gen. Ban-Ki Moon seeks to end conflict and violence in and around the new South Sudan. U.N. post-conflict adviser will smooth the path and open doors for Libya transitional authority. Libyan rebels close in on last Qaddafi strongholds. Here are the International Crisis Group (ICG)'s recommendations for a Smooth and Peaceful Transition to Post Qaddafi Era. U.S. planners now anticipate rising Shia activities in Iraq. Author Thomas Sedlacek argues in this new book that we should take ownership of our collective economic lives. Tony Blair utilizes his envoy role to anticipate conflict that could envelop Palestinian efforts for statehood at the U.N.   




September 03, 2011

August 22, 2011

the eye of the needle


Collective relief among NATO leaders as Libya's rebels appear ready to challenge for Tripoli (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Combat air patrol over Libya will continue as long as is necessary according to NATO. In this context the Telegraph says: now is the time for us to plan Libya's future. Is there genuine euphoria right now among Libyan the people? The plan in Washington is to get tough on Syria and it's Assad regime. In Damascus, Assad tells interviewers his regime is stable again and back in the saddle

Once again the Balkans walk a tightrope as Kosovo-Serbia waltzes towards a moment of great risk. We begin to see the wider historical ripples of Ratko Mladic arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian civil war. J.L. Granatstein is confused about the new Canadian military-intellectual complex.    


August 20, 2011

as we approach the tipping point



Syria's Assad regime must wonder if repression can regain control. Defections and encroaching rebels are perilous signs for Qaddafi regime (1, 2, 3). The rebels say that Tripoli is surrounded. A short video about the August 1991 coup d'etat in Russia that nearly succeeded. What if it did succeed? Marc Grossman, U.S. envoy/viceroy in Afghanistan/Pakistan, reflects on 9/11 and Afghan leadership, stating nevertheless that the transition will go ahead on schedule. Rwandan genocide trials produce a tense reconciliation. Noth Korea's Kim Jong-il is received for brief and cool discussions in eastern Russia. In Russia, Syria has a rare friend. The cycle of murder and revenge returns to Gaza in August.   



August 16, 2011

in the western capitals ...


In Libya, signals of desperation and flight from Qaddafi regime (1,2,3), yet there remains one force in clear control of the capital Tripoli. The rhetoric and balance of force in Afghanistan remains the same throughout Afghanization efforts but now people on the ground pay the price. Washington's war has shifted eastward and skyward. Post-intervention state conflict in Libya is being decided primarily in western capitals, not by Libyans.

This is an editorial argument that Israel's democratic culture is nourished by Arab Spring transformations. In the Balkans, both conflicting signs (1,2), and signs of simmering conflict (1,2), make the continuing saga impossible to predict.        



August 07, 2011

no short supply of hypocracy


As Syrian government presses its assault, Damascus receives dressing down from neighbors Turkey and Saudi Arabia (1, 2). Who said ISAF operations were to wind down? The Taliban takes credit for helicopter attacks in Afghanistan. Roadblocks and border checkpoints return in Kosovo. Amid the famine, Mogadishu returns to the control of Somali troops.  Rebels claim Libyan town of Bir al-Ghanam. Will U.N. attention to Palestinian question bring about peace or 'unprecedented bloodshed'? The L.A. Times warns us of dangerous overconfidence after Bin Laden assassination.     

August 02, 2011