Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Not really sure if this means anything but the media is making a bit deal out of it. I especially like this quote:

"The late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin once labelled Peres an "indefatigable schemer" for his political manoeuvring. Political satirists saw him as a lifelong loser for failing to win a decisive election in the five times he ran for prime minister."

Think it´s too late to take back that Nobel Prize?

(Note: Israel has a parlamentary system meaning that the post of President is largely symbolic.)


Forgive me if this doesn´t bring a whole lot of confidence.

As someone who has studied the UN, at least in some capacity, peacekeeping hasn´t meant a whole lot in the last 15 years. Just as those in Bosnia, Sbrenica, Rwanda, etc. Oh wait, you can´t ask them because they died when the UN didn´t step up to stop the violence (something that would have been exceedingly easy, at least in the case of Rwanda).

At any rate, I do find that a peacekeeping force in Darfur is a good first step. But this statement doesn´t ring like the truth to me:

"After months of negotiations, Sudan accepted on Tuesday a joint U.N.-AU peacekeeping force of at least 20,000 troops and police. Khartoum's delegation chief insisted on Wednesday there were no conditions."

Why don´t I believe the Sudanese government? Well, quite simply, they´ve lied their way to this point and the world has let them due to their oil resources (See China, People´s Republic and Security Council). Among the litany of lies:

- Khartoum says 9,000 people have died. Low estimates put the number at 200,000.
- Khartoum has denied a role in the genocide. A wealth of evidence has proven the government to be complicit, if not directly involved (weapons, uniforms, etc).
- Sudan has signed a number of agreements in the last 4 years, none of which have ever been fully implemented. In fact, it´s more likely that after signing the agreements, the government has actively worked to undermine them.
- Their ambassador to the US is a bad joke at best.

So let´s just say I´m not uncorking any champagne just yet.

I am, however, particularly excited about the increasingly widespread use of satellite data to verify genocide, forced migration, and culpability. This is something I researched almost 10 years ago, presented in my master´s program, and have monitored over the years. Governments aren´t likely to lift a finger in a place like Darfur unless the global civilian community gets mobilized and it seems like more particiption from the citizenry is now possible.


The more things change, the more the stay the same. The FARC is insisting on a De-Militarized Zone as a prerequisite to prisoner exchange and further peace negotiations. The motivation for this is two-fold:

1. It´s a matter of respect. Remember, this is a Latin country. Pride, machismo, and respect are all core values and the FARC is no different. They have felt and continue to feel that the Colombian government treats them as an insurgent group (which is true) and not as a legitimate force that controls a percentage of the country.

2. The FARC wants to be treated like a government and they point to other conflicts (civil wars) that have been negotiated with DMZs (like Korea). For them, the establishment of a DMZ legitimizes their "government" and strengthens their negotiating position.

Given that it would be innanely stupid to create a DMZ (been there, done that), don´t expect much to happen on this front. Uribe is a lot of things, but he ain´t stupid.


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