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Libya’s fragile peace can degenerate into major conflict

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The Libyan Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB), a coalition comprising mostly fighters from Benghazi opposed to strongman General Khalifa Haftar and including members of jihadist group Ansar Sharia, took over key oil terminals at Sidra and Ras Lanuf in early March.General Haftar’s Libyan National Army had taken them back later and pushed the BDB back to Jufra to the south west. Meanwhile, in Tripoli in the west, rival armed factions clashed in several neighbourhoods and fighting could escalate if forces from Misrata step in to confront local groups.Fighting

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 124

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Fighting Boko Haram in Chad: beyond military measures

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Since 2015, the conflict between Chad’s armed forces and Boko Haram has destabilised the Lake Chad region in the west of the country. Defeating this resilient insurgency requires the state to go beyond a purely military campaign and relaunch trade, improve public services and reintegrate demobilised militants.Since early 2015, attacks in Chad by the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram have killed hundreds, displaced more than 100,000 and damaged the regional economy of the Lake Chad basin. Violence peaked in 2015 with suicide bombings in the capital

Features | Crisis Group | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 122

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Uzbekistan: the hundred days

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On 4 December 2016, for the first time in the history of independent Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov was not elected as the country’s president. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, prime minister since 2003 and acting president following Karimov’s death on 2 September, received 88.61 per cent of the vote after a campaign “devoid of genuine competition”. As acting president, he said he would stay true to Karimov’s course, yet he made several statements and gestures that suggested he would deviate from some of his predecessor’s policies.These included promises to improve

Features | Crisis Group | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 130

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Twelve Points for the New African Union Commission Chairperson

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Africa is experiencing the highest number of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. As the new chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, takes office, International Crisis Group suggests how he can strengthen the organisation’s response to threats to continental peace and security.Moussa Faki Mahamat, the new chair of the African Union Commission (AUC), takes office in mid-March as the continent faces its worst spate of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. The most alarming is in the Lake Chad basin where more than eleven million

Features | NorthSouth | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 112

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War must not become the new normal

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With the proliferation of conflicts, weakening international institutions, and rising nationalism, the world faces daunting times ahead. A new coalition of states must come together to promote our collective interest in peace and security, writes Jean-Marie Guéhenno, President & CEO of Crisis Group. The pessimists were right, at least in the short term—things are getting worse.Terrorism and armed conflict have increased in the past decade and the post-World War II vision of a cooperative international order, which seemed to get a second

Features | Jean-Marie Guéhenno | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 122

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Terrorism: what US fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda should avoid

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This report examines President Trump’s emerging counterterrorism policies, the dilemmas his administration faces in battling ISIS and al-Qaeda across the Middle East and South Asia, and how to avoid deepening the disorder both groups exploit. In pledging to destroy the Islamic State (ISIS), U.S. President Donald J. Trump looks set to make counterterrorism a centrepiece of his foreign policy.His administration’s determination against groups that plot to kill Americans is understandable, but it should be careful when fighting jihadists not to play

Features | Crisis Group | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 112

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Solar energy and salt water power vegetable farms in desert

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With scorching summer temperatures and little rainfall, the barren scrublands around the port of Aqaba in Jordan, one of the world’s most arid countries, might seem ill suited to cultivating cucumbers, writes Umberto Bacchi Yet a Norwegian company is setting up a solar-powered, 20 hectare (50 acre) facility that promises to grow a variety of vegetables without wasting a drop of fresh water.“We take what we have enough of - sunlight, carbon dioxide, seawater and desert - to produce what we need more of - food water and energy,” said Joakim Hauge,

Features | NorthSouth | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 111

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UN convenes Rohingya abuse investigation, but Myanmar refuses to cooperate

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The UN ’s main human rights body is assembling a team to probe alleged atrocities against Myanmar’s Rohingya, even as the government appears set to deny investigators access to areas where crimes against humanity may have occurred, writes Sara Perrie of IRIN. While the resolution sponsored on 24 March by the European Union at the UN Human Rights Council called for “ensuring full accountability for the perpetrators and justice for victims”, Myanmar has no obligation to cooperate with the fact-finding mission and has strongly signalled that it won’t.

Features | NorthSouth | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 112

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Burundi’s army in crisis

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Two years on, the Burundi crisis shows little sign of resolution. Political and ethnic polarisation are now tearing apart the integrity of the army, long seen as the primary achievement of the Arusha peace agreement in 2000 which brought an end to protracted civil conflict.Two years in, the Burundi crisis shows little sign of resolution. Following the July 2015 re-election of President Nkurunziza, whose April decision to run again sparked the troubles, and with no progress made in the mediation, the crisis has turned into a low intensity conflict.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 125

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Venezuela’s social and political crisis deepens

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Political demonstrations brought to 26 the number of fatalities in April’s protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government. In more than three weeks of chaos since Venezuela’s opposition launched street protests, 15 people have died in violence around demonstrations and 11 others in night-time lootings, the state prosecutor’s office said.Political activists and Venezuelan media have reported more deaths, but those have not been confirmed. The ruling Socialist Party accuses foes of seeking a violent coup with US connivance, while

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 118

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The growing tension between the US and North Korea

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A conflict between the US and North Korea is becoming more likely after the US sent an armada of battleships off the Korean Peninsula as part of efforts to deter more nuclear tests by Pyongyang, writes Franklin Adesegha North Korea has called the US deployment an act of provocation that could have ‘catastrophic consequences.’ If the US and North Korea go to war, what will happen? Analysts say technically, either US could attack North Korea, or North Korea could attack South Korea, at any point without warning.However, if either nation was keen

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 2 May 2017 | Hits: 115

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Military spending up in US and Europe and down in Gulf States

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Total world military expenditure rose to $1686 billion in 2016, an increase of 0.4 per cent in real terms from 2015, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Military spending in North America saw its first annual increase since 2010, while spending in Western Europe grew for the second consecutive year.The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible at www.sipri. org. World military expenditure rose for a second consecutive year to a total of $1686 billion

Features | NorthSouth | 30 April 2017 | Hits: 108

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Under-nutrition and obesity cost Latin America billions, report

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The combined impact of undernutrition and overweight/ obesity, also known as the “Double Burden of Malnutrition,” contributed to the loss of billions of dollars to the economies of Latin America, according to a groundbreaking report. The research, “The Cost of the Double Burden of Malnutrition: Social and Economic Impact”, revealed that malnutrition – comprising both under-nutrition and overweight/ obesity—has significant negative impacts on sickness and mortality rates, educational outcomes and productivity, and therefore carries huge economic

Features | NorthSouth | 30 April 2017 | Hits: 102

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Al-Sisi attempts to acquire further powers to erode the judiciary

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ratified legal amendments that allow him to make judicial appointments to the country’s top courts, a move judges said would erode the independence of the judicial system. Parliament passed the amendments late in April but some judges had called on Sisi to hold off on ratifying them, calling the amendments an unconstitutional breach of separation of powers.Elected in 2014 after leading the military’s 2013 overthrow of the democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi, Sisi has deflected Western criticism

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 30 April 2017 | Hits: 113

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Urgent action needed to stave ‘hunger crisis’ in Iraq

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Warning that deepening food insecurity in Iraq could leave more than half the population facing “unprecedented levels” of vulnerability, the United Nations emergency food relief agency called for improving nutrition awareness and strengthening social safety nets and livelihoods in rural areas, to avoid a hunger crisis in the country.In its Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis, prepared jointly with the Iraqi Government, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) also underlined the need to improve access to education, especially for girls,

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 30 April 2017 | Hits: 116

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Is Ethiopia’s recurrent famine due to drought or authoritarianism?

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Once again Ethiopia’s food crisis is topping the headline. As seasonal rain fails in Eastern and Southern parts of the country, famine is threatening millions of Ethiopians. The UN estimates over 10 million are in need of emergency food aid. The country is once again affected by the drought hitting East Africa.But external resources are difficult to come by with so many crises around the world. Ethiopia is still reeling the effects of 2016’s devastating drought exacerbated by El Nino – a warming of sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean –

Cover Stories | Alan Brown | 30 April 2017 | Hits: 111

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Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis

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Afghanistan has suffered from one the most protracted humanitarian crises in the world. The Afghans plight is of unspeakable proportion since 2001 when Ben Laden sought refuge in the Bora Bora Mountains of this vast country. The insurgency led by the Afghan Taliban has gained strength since the withdrawal of most of the international combat troops at the end of 2014. The Taliban is believed to be stronger than at any point since it was driven from power by US -backed forces in 2001. Ahead of the start of the annual spring offensive, the Taliban

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 30 April 2017 | Hits: 123

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The continued plight of Syrians

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At a United Nations-supported conference in the Belgian capital, Brussels, forty-one donors pledged a combined $6 billion for critical humanitarian programmes in 2017 and another $3.7 billion for 2018 for the people of Syria reeling under a devastating conflict since 2011. UN Secretary-General António Guterres drew attention to the plight of those suffering as a result of the conflict in the war-ravaged country and urged the international community to increase support for both people within Syria as well as for the millions seeking refuge beyond

Cover Stories | Alan Brown | 30 April 2017 | Hits: 120

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Countries at risk of starvation and famine

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Across Africa, lack of food caused by drought, uprisings and wars means millions of children and families face starvation, writes Franklin Adesegha. According to the United Nations, the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the founding of the organisation in 1945 with more than 200 million people in four countries at risk of starvation and famine.UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien told the UN Security Council that “without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death” and “many more will suffer and

Cover Stories | Franklin Adesegha | 30 April 2017 | Hits: 121

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Famine and Agriculture in Africa

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Africa does not produce anything like the level of food it needs though the potential to do so exists. An increasing number of peasants leave their rural villages and move into the cities and urban areas and doing so they reduce the production of basic food crops such as maize, rice and wheat while concentrating upon commodities for export.Parallel with these exports Africa imports more than $20 billion worth of basic foods per year and the demand for such imports increases on a yearly basis. Historically food production has been taken for granted

Cover Stories | Guy Arnold | 30 April 2017 | Hits: 116

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