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The South Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations, Akuei Bona Malwal, described the violence as part of his country’s ‘learning curve.’ It’s his job to put a brave face on disaster. But the learning curve surely needs to be that South Sudanese citizens can no longer afford a political elite whose greed, ambition and bellicosity have driven their country to ruin. The long-suffering people of South Sudan need to have their own voices heard directly in the next peace process, so that they can find ways to bend that curve towards peace.

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The challenge facing the African Heads of State and Government as they meet in Kigali is not whether but how to act in South Sudan. Africa’s leaders have the authority and means to act to protect the lives of tens of thousands of South Sudanese people and prevent the nation from descending into war, atrocity and famine.

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Clémence Pinaud writes: “Much remains uncertain, but the future of South Sudan looks grim, and it is not just Juba. Other state capitals such as Malakal in Upper Nile and Bentiu in Unity state have seen troops movements and are incredibly tense. Just five years after independence, and less than one year after a peace agreement was signed, a phase of a third South Sudanese civil war seems to have begun.”

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Al Jazeera Inside Story hosts a discussion of the new fighting in South Sudan, featuring Alex de Waal with Ateny Wek Ateny, Spokesman for South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Justin Lynch, Editorial Fellow at the New America Foundation who has worked extensively in South Sudan. Video available online. For more background on […]

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Published by The Boston Review, June 29, 2016.

Brexit is bad news for world peace.

Four years ago the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee said that the EU has “contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” The award was justified. Because of […]

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Starting at the top, one of the most striking things about the Horn and the Red Sea is that there is no regional organization that can grapple with its security challenges. The African Union does not cross the Red Sea. The InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) includes the countries of the Horn, but not Egypt — an historic powerbroker, with strategic interests in the Nile and the Red Sea — and also is confined to the African shore. The Arab League is not effective, which is one reason why the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has taken the lead in the Yemeni intervention, and is using financial muscle to win African countries to support its operations, rather than multilateral diplomacy. Ethiopia, the pivotal state of the Horn, is landlocked and keenly fears being surrounded by hostile states backed by historic rivals such as Egypt.

In the absence of any Red Sea forum or similar peace and security mechanism, the EU can play a role as convenor of the overlapping multilateralisms of the various regional organizations that between them could provide the needed forum for defining and addressing the region’s problems.

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