This Week in South Sudan – Week 38

Monday 15 September The South Sudan government announced that all foreign workers in the country have to depart by 15 October. Upper Nile citizens complained about contaminated drinking water. The SPLM-in-Opposition denied recruiting child soldiers. Violence broke out on the Uganda-South Sudan border. The South Sudan health ministry launched a food and drug authority. Bahr el-Ghazal… Read more »

Development Consequences of Internal Armed Conflict

The development consequences of armed conflict are profound and far-reaching.

A village health post in Darfur, destroyed by Jingaweit militia.
By United States Agency for International Development [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

While the direct victims of war understandably receive most attention, the effects of conflict extend far beyond battlefield casualties and refugee camps. Research has shown that conflict affects all aspects of development covered by the Millennium Development Goals, and that conflict has been an important impediment to achieving these goals. Read More

State Briefing: Central Equatoria State

Population: 1,103,592  State capital: Juba Internally Displaced People (IDP) sheltering in the state: 59,500 Central Equatoria State is the smallest state in South Sudan, but with the second highest population. The capital, Juba, is located in the state which has been a political and military battleground during the current conflict. The first signs of the violent… Read more »

The pause in the Ukraine war is not Putin’s victory

This picture from Ilovaisk captures the fragility of and the desperate need in the ceasefire.


The tragic battles around Donetsk and Luhansk (collectively known as the Donbas region) have taken a pause, and as civilians try to rebuild a semblance of normal life, leaders are figuring out how to now move forward. In his first 100 days, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has shown the ability to absorb hard blows, but now he needs to find both resolve to rebuild confidence in his shell-shocked country and caution to avoid a full-blown war with Russia. It is, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin who is finding himself in an impossible and entirely self-made jam. He has avoided a humiliating defeat in eastern Ukraine by sending in thousands of Russian troops and has effectively dictated the terms of the ceasefire. But now he has to balance these slim gains against heavy and mounting losses (, September 10). What aggravates this negative balance is Moscow’s complete lack of achievable aims and sustainable strategy.

For more look in the Eurasia Daily Monitor, 15 September 2014.

High season for military activities in the High North

The new round of US and EU sanctions targets very specifically exploration projects in the Arctic, so both Exxon-Mobil and Statoil announce postponements and cancellations in their respective partnership plans with Rosneft. The Western majors hardly have ay regrets about it – doing business in Russia in general, and with Rosneft in particular, becomes bad for business… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 37

Monday 8 September South Sudan’s Presidential spokesperson accused IGAD of being impartial. The South Sudan Information Minister described journalists reporting the SPLM/A-in-Opposition’s view as “rebels and agitators”. At least 40 people were killed in clashes in Warrap State. UNMISS started construction work on the Bor-Juba road to improve security. Unity State youths announced that they… Read more »

War Breeds War

As a result of civil wars, some of the world’s least developed nations are now further away from achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals than they were when the goals were first adopted. 

13 years after the civil war is over, a school dormitory in Mozambique looks like this. Photo: Adam Valvasori via Flickr

The UN General Assembly adopted the Millennium Development Goals in September 2000. Following lengthy debate, the assembly agreed on eight goals that the whole world could endorse. The eight goals centred on poverty and hunger; child mortality; maternal mortality; education; HIV/AIDS; equality; sustainable development; and global partnerships for development. The deadline for achieving the goals is the end of 2015.

Many countries have now achieved all eight goals. In particular this is true of a group of Asian countries that have experienced impressive socio-economic growth in recent years. Unfortunately, the world’s least developed countries are generally failing to achieve the goals. Some of these countries, for example the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and Nigeria are now further from achieving the goals than they were when the goals were adopted.Read More

Is it Acceptable to Lie for a Good Cause?

Humanitarian organizations may easily succumb to the temptation to misuse numbers and statistics in order to promote their own causes. Does the end justify the means?

Illustration: Espen Friberg / Morgenbladet

Disasters are most dangerous for moms
reported Save the Children’s Carolyn S Miles in Huffington Post when presenting the organization’s State of the World’s Mothers report for 2014. The claim was followed by a number: women and children are ‘14 times more likely to die in a disaster than men’. A sky-high number when one is talking about differences in death rates and a colossal injustice if the information is reliable. But it’s not.Read More

This Week in South Sudan – Week 36

Monday 1 September The Eastern Equatoria governor removed Yei County leaders. The SPLM Juba branch asked the parliament to endorse a transitional government. The South Sudan government asked for support for the IGAD protocol on agreed principles. Riek Machar appointed diplomats to represent SPLMiO. Health workers in South Sudan threatened to strike. Tuesday 2 September The… Read more »

Assaulting Ukraine, Putin dares the West to respond


Just 75 years ago, the devastating war arrived to Europe – and this brave Polish cavalry perished fighting tanks. These days tanks are again rolling – and Europe needs to find a way to stop them.

The summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that opens in the Welsh Celtic Manor resort tomorrow (September 4) will feature the Ukraine crisis as an agenda item of top priority and extreme urgency. Only a week ago, this crisis appeared manageable as Russian President Vladimir Putin shook hands with his Ukrainian counterpart, President Petro Poroshenko, in Minsk under the watchful eye of Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The next day, however, Russian tanks rolled into the border city of Novoazovsk, catching the Ukrainian forces in the rear and altering the course of hostilities in eastern Ukraine (Kommersant, August 28). For weeks prior to that direct intervention, the rebel forces had been in retreat toward the strongholds in Donetsk and Luhansk, but the arrival of reinforcements from Russia set off a counter-offensive, in the course of which several Ukrainian battalions were surrounded (, August 29).

The pro-Russia forces have not made any further advances so far, not even toward the strategically significant but defenseless Mariupol. Thus, the Russian intervention has stopped just short of a full-blown invasion for the time being, although some 10,000 troops are standing ready along the border with Ukraine (Novaya Gazeta, August 28). Putin has thus delivered a hard blow that is supposed to prove his point: Kyiv cannot win the war against the separatist forces in Donbas. At the same time, however, he has not committed himself to an overt war with Ukraine, which is far from popular in Russian public opinion (, August 28). Apparently, no one in the Kremlin realizes that this strong move has hamstrung the Ukrainian leadership from being able to pursue any kind of political compromise, because doing so would amount to Kyiv capitulating to external aggression. Consequently, the road-maps discussed in Minsk have been effectively canceled (Vedomosti, August 28). Poroshenko presented his case at the EU summit in Brussels, on August 30, explaining that the “anti-terrorist operation” (never an accurate term) has been transformed into a desperate defense against Russian intervention—as a result, he secured an increase in aid as well as a decision to enforce new sanctions (, August 31).

The rest of the article is in EDM, 3 September 2014.