Monday, July 17, 2006

Current Events

Ok guys, here's the post for tonight...to post a comment, just click the "comments" link underneath this, and then scroll down to the bottom...

24 comments:

  1. Uganda and the LRA are trying to come to peace through talks.

    These peace talks are not going to work because Uganda is not giving the LRA anything that they want. If Uganda wants peace then they are going to have to make concessions. Uganda should come into the peace talks with some already thought of concessions that will look good to the LRA but will not have much effect on Uganda (except for maybe restoring peace!)

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  2. What should Uganda give to the LRA? They are already promising an amnesty, and the rest of the demands from the rebels are huge and will take some time.

    "We want compensation for losses... we want a programme of national reconciliation and national unity... we want a new national army," LRA spokesman Obwonyo Olweny told the BBC"

    The new national army might just be a ploy to weaken Uganda so that the LRA can return and retake power...even if that isn't the idea, changing the whole army and training a whole new officer corp will take a ton of time.

    The committee for national reconciliation is a possibility, but only in an empty sense; those types of commissions can't really work in a war zone. They need stability and time to be able to do any real investigations.

    The reparations that the LRA wants might be impossible to grant, because Uganda just might not have enough money...

    It seems to me that the LRA doesn't really want peace, just time to plan a new campaign...so why should Uganda give them exactly what they want, when they have already offered an Amnesty?

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  3. Thousands of British civilians are fleeing Lebanon, trying to evacuate from ports and airports. Their access to a way out is dangerous and people are becoming nervous.

    This evacuation is remarkably like that of the Vietnamese when the capital city of South Korea was taken over by communists. The mad rush for the one helicopter was a symbol for the final toppling of South Vietnam. The evacuation of the British may also be a symbol for the increasing instability of Lebanon.

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  4. Lila, I'm a little confused about where you're coming from...can you explain more? I think you're just providing a connection between Lebanon and Vietnam...but I don't think that the parrallel will hold up much. Vietnam took a very long time to develop...while it's true that the conflict between Lebanon (or more accturately, Hezbollah) and Israel has lasted a long time...this latest conflict has developed rather quickly.

    And, aren't more nationalities than the Brittish evacuating? I mean, it is a war zone...

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  5. At least 48 Iraqi civilians were killed today in a mostly Shiite market area by a group of gunmen belonging to the obscure Sunni guerrilla group Supporters of the Sunni People.

    This is the latest example of sectarian violence in Iraq, and with these two Muslim factions fighting more than ever, the country might fall into a civil war. The new Iraqi government obviously doesn't have a monopoly of coercion, and it might not long before Iraq can be considered a failed state. This use of guerrilla warfare by the Sunnis is questionable because according to Mao Zedong, guerrilla warfare must have the support of the masses to ultimately be successful.

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  6. Things are heating up in the Middle East. The Israeli/Lebonese war continues, though I'm not sure if the Israelis are fighting Hizbollah or Lebanon, or if they are one and the same. The invasion of Syria, should one occur, would have dire consequences; if Iran were to support Syria, the war might escalate beyond Israel's means, prompting U.S./western support, and probably escalating into a WWIII type conflict...perhaps it might be beneficial in that we could destroy Iran's nuclear program before they have a chance to develop weapons. Certainly enough going on in the Middle East to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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  7. Ben! I am saying that the British are leaving because they feel they are not safe any more. That says something for Lebanon. It sends the message (if it hasn't been sent already?) that the government is unstable. Lebanon is in the first throws of becoming a failed state if its government is being manipulated by a terrorist organization. Yes, Vietnam is an extreme connection, but it illustrates the point that a failed state no longer holds the confidence of its people. People leave when things are no longer safe.
    It's like the saying that you can tell the weather by whether the cows are standing or lying down. The people are the cows in this situation.
    PS I read an article about Great Britain. Therefore I wrote about the Britons.

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  8. Indonesia has been hit, yet again, with a tsunami triggered by an earthquake in the ocean. The 2 meter-high wave has killed over 100, injured another 100, and over 100 people are still missing. This is the third large-scale tsunami that has hit Indonesia in the past two years. While the direct damage and loss of this natural disaster is apparent, the future is also in unsteady hands. The buildings and businesses that were wiped out as a result of this, cause the world’s homeless and unemployed population to rise. Also, the shoreline that has eroded as a result of this is polluting our oceans and other freshwater sources. It is also possible that the various coral reefs surrounding Indonesia have been damaged—coral reefs are essential to ocean life and the plants that live there photosynthesize, helping to relieve the stress of climate change. While the many lives lost are detrimental, it is also important to remember the bigger picture of our world from an environmental standpoint.

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  9. In a terrorist attack in Iraq, 48 people are dead and at least 60 people are injured. The attack took place in the open air market in Mahmoudiya, south of Bagdad.

    Seeing as the attack was in a town of both Shia and Sunni muslims, so this was not a religious attack, but just an attack aimed at destabilization of the country, not that its destabilized enough already. These continued attacks by terrorist organizations in Iraq prove that violence can stem from failed states. With no clear authority, the population can fall into violence. The fighting in Iraq will continue until one party is gone or dead.

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  10. Ben, don't be so harsh on Lila - she's trying her best.

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  11. Nick N said...
    As a follow up to the article I wrote about the other day I found an intersting developement in the Congo. Peter Karim a Congolese militia chief who held U.N. Peacekeepers hostage has let them go and agreed to give up his weapons. Here is the intersting part, he is going to be made a colonel in the national army before the elections. Now I understand wanting to get the militia to stand down but if this guy becomes a military leader isn't that basically giving him a position of power and resopibility to abuse. I think decisions like this while they may seem to improve the situation in the present could cause issues in the future. Karim who is a war-lord seems like the type of figure that would attempt to overthrow the government by force and become an opressive dictator. I think people need to consider the immediate AND FUTURE implications of their decisions, and that what seems good right now could have seriuos consequences at a later time.

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  12. Andrew, are these really Guerrilla attacks? And does the group really feel they need the support of the population, or are they just trying to cause un-stability and a return to chaos so that they can enact revenge?

    What are the motives for this group, and how should we classify them? I think we should answer this before we decide how effective they are...

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  13. The air strikes and attacks on Lebanon are going to continue until the two Israeli soldiers are returned, according to the Israeli Prime Minister. He also proclaims that Hezbollah must be disarmed. Already, over 200 Lebonans have died and Hezbollah has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.

    This heavy conflict will not go on much longer. Despite its threats of continued warfare, Hezbollah is bound to make a deal. They are supposedly fighting for the good of their country and people, but right now their people and infrastructure are getting slaughtered by Israel. Either they will cut a deal or Israel will back down.

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  14. Rosie, I would refer you to some of my earlier posts, which explore the same questions that you are asking. I'd also like to know the intentions of Iran and Syria, but if some reports are to be believed, (NYT) then Iran is already using it's soldiers to fight against Israel.
    And in any case, we can safely assume that at least half of Lebanon is not allied with Hezbollah, although due to election procedures they have a bunch of supporters in the government.

    What do you think of Israel's cease-fire proposal which calls for a Lebanese army to patrol the border and react to any agression from Hezbollah?

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  15. Lila, thanks for the clarification...
    and that's an interesting point about Lebanon being a failed state.

    What do you think about the recent pro-democracy demonstrations in Lebanon (6ish months ago) and how do you think those events relate to the question of Lebanon being a failed state?

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  16. From Group of 8, Energy Focus Is on Oil

    The G8 has focused their talks on oil about how secure it for their own countries and get more of it into the market. But aren't they missing an important point? They should be focusing on how to save it, not use it. At this point oil can mean power for a country, but in the future power will be in the hands of those who can do without it. Oil has become a lake in the desert and something needs to be done about it.

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  17. Alyssa...thanks for bringing this to my attention! I hadn't seen it yet.

    How do you think this string of natural disasters will affect the various insurgent groups in the region? You bring up lots of good points that would add to the general unstability, but which side would potentially benefit from this chaos, or will both sides suffer too much for a relative plus to be worth considering?

    Also, had you read anything about attempts to build an early warning system in the region? I remember that they were talking about this when the first big one happened last year, (year and a half ago?) but I don't remember if they ever got around to fixing their differances and getting their (the various government's in the region) act's together.

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  18. Simon - you seem pretty cynical tonight. Do you seen any potential in this? Maybe even only that this possibly shows a move away from religious based violence and therefore away from a super-deadly and awful civil war down religious lines?

    And, I refer you to the comment I gave to andrew for some other thoughts...

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  19. Hey anonymous - (by the way, you won't get attacked for speaking freely here, so you don't really need to hide, but feel free to do so if you must)

    Do you have any thoughts to add to the subject? I wasn't trying to attack her, merely (?) to provoke some more thought...which her response definitely shows.

    So, what do you think about the whole evacuation subject?

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  20. Nick - thanks for that analysis of the situation, and I think you are right to call for a longer term view of events. However, can you tell me more about why they might want to include this guy?
    What do you think about the possibility that political responsiblity will have a calming effect on him? Overall, power doesn't seem to have done much for Hamas, but the leaders who were elected don't seem to be causing that much violent trouble...
    What are your thoughts?

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  21. Sovita - I think you are entirely correct to call down Bush for his comments - it was neither the time nor the place for such undiplomatic language, and while I don't think Hamas and Hezbollah care much about how Bush speaks, I do think this comment will come back to bite us.

    As far as your call for peace - I wish I could share your idealism. There is some form of a cease fire in the works, which I mentioned above somewhere, but what do you think about the statement from the leader of Hezbollah that said that even if Israel broke off attacks now, they wouldn't stop fighting. And, while I would love it if Iran and Syria would step up and take responsibility and more responsible actions, but I don't think it will happen. How would you respond to the fact that Iran and Syria allowed Hezbollah to initiate fighting against Israel, knowing that this would be Israel's response...

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  22. Dan - this is a pretty bold prediction? What kinds of events lead you to believe this is what will happen?
    What kind of a deal is Hezbollah going to accept? They know they are losing ground in Lebanon...most people there resent what Hezbollah stands for, and after this agression from Israel, I bet they will have fewer supporters. (Hezbollah's support comes from them saying that they will protect the Lebanese from Israeli agression - I think this conflict proves that they can't, and the Lebanese people, by a large, recognise that Hezbollah is the agressor here.)

    What are your thoughts?

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  23. Kate - excellent point. How does this truth relate to balance of power politics or any of the other theories from class? Can you tie this story into any of the other events happening in the world?

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  24. Yeah! The Dicovery made another successful landing. No damage was reported, which is very good news for the US space program. This is a major morale booster as work on the International Space Station basically stopped after the Columbia explosion. The actual mission itself wasnt as important as the confidence gained by both the crew and all of NASA. Now more missions can be planned and work on the ISS can be completed. Booyah! The US space program is on the move again.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5186964.stm

    7:18 AM

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