In the war in Syria, the two globally most militarily active superpowers – Russia and the United States – have soldiers actively deployed on opposite sides on the same battlefield. This is the first time this has happened since the end of World War II, and it is a dangerous situation.
At the same time, we see that the Cold War “hotline” – a direct line of communication between Moscow and Washington – continues to function. This seems to have been vital during the Western military response, on 14 April, to the use of chemical weapons in Douma a week earlier, when Russia and the United States managed to prevent further escalation of conflict between them.
The ruins of the 2018 American-led bombing of Damascus and Homs. Photo: Tasnim News Agency / Wikimedia Commons
From a Norwegian vantage point this is important. The Syrian conflict is the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of our time. In itself, it is an extremely complex war involving a large number of parties, within Syria, from the region, and beyond. But a confrontation between Russia and the United States, given that each directly supports a different side in the conflict, could also have implications for Norway’s relationship with the superpowers and, in the final analysis, for Norway’s own security. Accordingly, it is good news for Norway that the mechanisms for preventing escalation continue to function.
There is little doubt that the missile strikes defied international law. None of the established justifications for a military attack on another country’s territory were in place. When the Norwegian government expresses its ‘understanding’ for the attack, without entering into further discussion of the international law implications to which one otherwise attaches such great importance, it is a reflection of a small state that feels increasingly vulnerable at the interface between a more aggressive Russia and a less predictable United States. Read More
Donald Trump is the unknown factor in the South Korean president’s peace diplomacy.
President Moon and Chairman Kim share conversation during the walk on the Footbridge (Dobodari) on April 27. Official photo / Korea.net
Friday 27 April 2018 was a new historic day for Korea. Even before he had completed the first year of his five-year term as president of South Korea, the 65-year-old human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in succeeded in holding a summit with the young North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. During their meeting in the “Peace House” in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, Kim promised that Moon would no longer have his sleep disturbed by nuclear weapons tests and missile tests.Read More
Tuesday 24 April Nepalese UN peacekeeping troops are accused of child rape. Wednesday 25 April The Government of South Sudan appointed the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Martin Elia Lomuro, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which opens questions concerning the status of the current Minister, Deng Alor. Thursday 26 April An armed group… Read more »
Monday 16 April International Crisis Group: “Keeping the Hotline Open Between Sudan and South Sudan. ” (published 13 April) SPLM-IO claims to have seized Nhialdiu, Doau and Tharkan in Unity. The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) denies this. Tuesday 17 April The GoSS has shut down the BBC relay station in Juba and Wau. Reportedly,… Read more »
Elizaveta Gaufman, Security Threats and Public Perception: Digital Russia and the Ukraine Crisis, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 222 pp.: 9783319432007 (hbk) Book Review by Bohdana Kurylo The transformation of the Russian state under the presidency of Vladimir Putin, which has culminated in the current crisis in Ukraine, has been of great interest to security studies… Read more »
By Philippe M Frowd and Adam J Sandor International security interventions in Sahel are multiplying. Military actions such as France’s Operation Barkhane, a Chapter 7 United Nations stabilization mission – MINUSMA, and increasing American military involvement in the region give these actions in the Sahel a ‘hard’, militarised image. Yet the number and scale of… Read more »
The recent displacement of civilians and rebel fighters from the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta signals an important victory for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In the face of these successes, it is worth remembering that the imminent downfall of Assad’s regime was proclaimed several times since the onset of violence in Syria in late 2011. Each time, Assad… Read more »
Monday 9 April Paul Malong Awan announced the formation of a new opposition movement called South Sudan United Front. Tuesday 10 April Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir ordered the release of political prisoners. The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) granted ex-army chief Paul Malong $5 million to pursue the country’s opposition leader Riek Machar during… Read more »
Constant war drove Fazle, his wife and four children away from their home and farm in the Khyber region of Pakistan eight years ago. They loved their home, but with all the shooting and the armed extremist groups, he had to leave or endure the death, destruction and instability that comes with war. But seven… Read more »
Constant war drove Fazle, his wife and four children away from their home and farm in the Khyber region of Pakistan eight years ago. They loved their home, but with all the shooting and the armed extremist groups, he had to leave or endure the death, destruction and instability that comes with war.
David Beasley chatting with Fazle, a farmer and father of five who fled his home for 7 years because of conflict in Pakistan. Photo: WFP Asia-Pacific
But seven years later, Fazle came back home, where I talked to him while visiting the area shortly after Easter, and he’s doing well. After getting six months of food aid, he got into a program that helped him set up a nursery. Now he’s earning about (US)$130 a month, four times his previous income.
What’s happening to Fazle and the area where he lives is an important sign of progress for how humanitarian efforts can build peace and long-term stability in countries where conflict and hunger intertwine
In the year since I became the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, I’ve travelled to many of the areas with the highest food insecurity – Yemen, South Sudan, northeast Nigeria, Somalia. I have met many people who worry about food, but they often ask me first for help in creating peace.
It’s easy to see why. Ten out of the 13 largest hunger crises in the world are conflict-driven, and 60 percent of the people in the world who are food insecure live in conflict zones.
The price is highest on children. Hunger, malnutrition and poor health often lead to stunting – a phrase used to describe severely impaired growth in these young bodies. Three out of every four stunted children in the world lives in a conflict area