What Do the Afghan Peace Talks in Moscow Mean?

The talks in Moscow between the Taliban and Afghan opposition politicians reflect a new world order, in which Russia is recognized as a global superpower. Even though the Afghan government remains on the sidelines, the talks may become an important part of the unpredictable Afghan peace process.

A ceremonial march at the onset of Soviet troops withdrawing from Afghanistan, 1986 (the last troops left on 15 February 1989). Credit: RIA Novosti archive, image #644463 / Yuriy Somov / CC-BY-SA. Via Wikimedia Commons.

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This Week in South Sudan – Week 6

Monday 4 February South Sudan and Uganda formed a join technical border committee to address and resolve border tensions. Tuesday 5 February The UN envoy for South Sudan, David Shearer, said fighting in South Sudan “has diminished greatly” since the signing of the revitalised peace agreement. The parties of the revitalized peace agreement agreed to… Read more »

Russia Is Set to Support Maduro to the Bitter End

All smiles during Maduro’s first visit to Russia in January 2015. Photo RIA-Novosti

Russia has positioned itself as the main supporter of Nicholas Maduro regime in Venezuela, taking the risk of turning a crisis in a far-away country into an embarrassing political defeat. Official propaganda has amplified this issue, so that 57 percent of respondents in a recent poll confirmed that they were following the developments, but only 20 percent of those who were interested believed that the US “provocation” was behind the crisis (VTsIOM, February 8). While Russia’s firm stance could turn out to be a mistake, it is determined by more than just “friendly feelings” toward Venezuela, so the appeal of US National Security Adviser John Bolton to Russia to change its course would hardly be heard. A third of readers of the business-oriented daily Kommersant tend to believe that frustrating the US policy is the main motivation of Russia’s course, but in fact, there are at least four underlying drivers in it.

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This Week in South Sudan – Week 5

Tuesday 29 January The editor-in-chief of the newspaper Al-Watan, Michael Christopher, fled South Sudan after being warned not to cover the protests in Sudan. Read more about this situation in our previous posts from week 3 and week 4. Wednesday 30 January The SPLM Former Detainees announced it will reunite with the ruling SPLM party… Read more »

Can President Trump Bring Peace to Afghanistan?

The negotiations between the United States and the Taliban may represent the most important turning point in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led intervention. But the path to an internal Afghan peace process is difficult, and only history will tell whether these negotiations marked the onset of a sustainable Afghan peace process or became just a fig leaf that enabled American withdrawal.

Photo: Sven Gunnar Simonsen / PRIO

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This Week in South Sudan – Week 4

Monday 21 January Inter-communal fighting in a South Sudanese refugee camp in Ethiopia. An unknown number of people were killed or injured, and thousands were displaced. President Kiir replaced the governor of Tonj state Anthony Bol Madut with Mathew Mathiang Magordit, and governor of Western Lakes state Matur Chut with John Deng Mamer. No reason… Read more »

The EU-Turkey Refugee Deal Cost Refugees the Most

Note: On 18 March 2016, the EU and Turkey agreed on a deal to stop refugees from crossing the Mediterranean. At that time, Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert and Pinar Tank warned that the agreement was advantageous for Europe and Turkey but not for the refugees whose rights to protection were severely compromised.

Three years later the situation for displaced populations in the region remains, although there is only a trickle of refugees able to enter the European Union, which has prioritized border security over protection as a preferred response. Doctors Without Borders, the UNHCR and numerous other humanitarian organizations are warning about the traumas experienced by refugees stuck in overcrowded camps in Greece waiting for clarification on their status as a part of the agreement.

In light of these developments over the last three years, we are re-posting an op-ed that Jumbert and Tank wrote in March 2016 about the deal whose consequences are disastrous for the refugees it claimed to protect.

Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrive from Turkey to Skala Sykamias, Lesbos island, Greece. Photo: CC-BY via Wikipedia

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This Week in South Sudan – Week 3

Thursday 17 January The Technical Committee of Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism has not been able to secure a 2019 budget. Major General Desta Abiche Ageno explained that they had received insufficient international donations. President Kiir travelled to Egypt to discuss bilateral cooperation, and he urged the Egyptian president al-Sisi to… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 2

Tuesday 8 January President Salva Kiir pardoned 48 detainees in prisons in Wau, Juba, Torit, Turalei and Kuacjok. So far, media has reported on releases from Wau, Gogrial in Warrap State and Mayendit in Unity State. South Sudan media regulator ordered national media outlets to ignore ongoing anti-government protests in Khartoum. Wednesday 9 January The… Read more »

Norway Has Chauvinistic Tunnel Vision When It Comes to Congo. The Country Has Great Possibilities.

On 10 December, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Nadia Murad and to Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynaecologist. For 10 years though, the Norwegian media and politicians, including the prime minister, have viewed the Democratic Republic of the Congo as Joshua French’s prison.*

This view derives from a chauvinistic tunnel vision. We will celebrate Mukwege best by acknowledging that this view is historically, geopolitically, and ethically unacceptable.

Hill fields in North Kivu, DRC. The Kivu Provinces have been the site of frequent conflict, partly due to being rich in minerals. Photo: LM TP via Flickr

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