James Copnall was the BBC’s Sudan correspondent between 2009-2012, and reported on the events leading up to South Sudan’s independence, as well as the subsequent clashes between Sudan and South Sudan. His new book, which offers a compassionate, yet understated account of the two Sudans’ “common past, interwoven present and mutually dependent future” could not [...]Continue Reading →
The unfortunate truth is that for many people Sudan means the conflict in Darfur and little more. Despite experts on the now two countries being chest-deep in complexity with the proverbial water still rising, superficial knowledge of the region’s humanitarian crisis remains the limit of public understanding of the area even in the aftermath of [...]Continue Reading →
Despite its impressive logistics, the army makes only a marginal contribution to international disaster relief—and often makes things worse. Nor do soldiers “fight” pathogens—and the language of warfare risks turning infected people and their caretakers into objects of fear and stigma. But, because of America’s politics of public finance, the army is the only tool we have. If civilian health programs were properly funded, they could have prevented the disaster.Continue Reading →
How did perhaps the most reviled African head of state of his generation manage to rehabilitate himself as a statesman? This act of political escapism—a “stay out of jail free” card—is the greatest accomplishment of former Blaise Compaoré, former president of Burkina Faso. A more appropriate title for him—and one that better captures his ability [...]Continue Reading →
International peacekeeping operations are deployed to complicated and troubled places. Often, reliable information is scarce, rumors and poorly-founded allegations are common, and interpretation of events is highly politicized. Recent controversies around what is going on in Darfur illuminate the need for much better data.
A former UN official, Aicha Elbasri, has made much-publicized allegations that [...]Continue Reading →
Commissioners, I am now faced with a difficult choice. How should I respond to your subpoena?
I am mindful of the fact that the arms deal has wrought havoc on the lives of ordinary South Africans and corrupted our politics for the past 15 years. It has profited international arms corporations while weakening our democratic state institutions. It has profited the rich at the expense of the poor.
I am also mindful that the cover-up that followed the arms deal has put in place a system of patronage with the purpose of keeping alleged corrupt elites out of prison. It allows them to continue benefiting from the spoils of an unequal society. I have regretfully come to the conclusion that this Commission will provide no remedy to this situation.
For these reasons, I can no longer in good conscience participate in a hearing of the Arms Procurement Commission.Continue Reading →
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