Most recent bulletins on peace and security
August 26, 2021 Mozambique/Global: “Most Egregious Corruption Case of the 21st Century”
“In my view the hidden debt scandal is the most egregious corruption case of the 21st century. In dollar terms, the Malaysian 1MBD case is larger, but Malaysia is far wealthier than Mozambique, ranked 47th out of 185 countries on GDP per capita whereas Mozambique ranks 180.“ - Richard Messick, senior contributor to the Global Anticorruption Blog and pro bono legal counsel to the Budget Monitoring Forum, a civil society coalition in Mozambique.
July 27, 2021 USA/Global: Let Cuba Live!
The Biden administration has now been in office for six months,
along with a narrow Democratic majority in Congress. So it seems an
appropriate time for a report card. I offered my evaluation in another AfricaFocus Bulletin sent out today, entitled “Building Back Better? Or Not?” But as I was finalizing that Bulletin, I realized that the rising U.S. attacks on Cuba are a key indicator of how things are going.
July 27, 2021 USA/Africa: Building Back Better? Or Not?
Last week marked six months for the Biden administration and for the
narrow Democratic majority in Congress. So it seems an appropriate
time for a report card on U.S. Africa policy. And that also means a
review of U.S. policies on today's most pressing global issues, on
which the negative effects fall disproportionately on Africans on
the continent and in the diaspora.
May 31, 2021 Mozambique/Global: War, Intervention, and Solidarity
“No amount of international military assistance will, within two years, create a fighting force that can combat the insurgency. Two other factors complicate external support. Foreign intervention is likely to provoke a response from Islamic State to provide weapons and training to the insurgents. And the fight is already underway between factions in Frelimo over the upcoming 2024 elections. Cabo Delgado politics and economics, the police and military, and the war itself are already caught up in the bitter infighting. Thus the war seems likely to escalate and continue until a new president is in place in 2025.” - Joseph Hanlon
May 31, 2021 Mozambique/Global: Fossil Fuels, Debt, and Corruption
“The scandal of Mozambique’s “hidden debts” has already cost the
country at least 11 billion US dollars, and has plunged an
additional two million people into poverty, according to a detailed
study of the costs and consequences of the debt published on Friday
by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP),
and its Norwegian partner, the Christian Michelsen Institute. The
term “hidden debts” refers to illicit loans of over two billion US
dollars from the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia in 2013 and
2014 to three fraudulent, security–linked Mozambican companies –
Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), and MAM (Mozambique
Asset Management).” - report by Centre for Public Integrity
(Mozambique) and Christian Michelsen Institute (Norway)
March 22, 2021 Sahel: Questioning Counterterrorism?
“In the context of complex and protracted conflicts, it is time to
rethink the role of the international community and acknowledge its
limits. Today, success depends first and foremost on the willingness
(much more than on the capacity) of corrupt leaders to reform and
renew their social contract with citizens, especially in rural areas.
International efforts will fail as long as impunity prevails and
local armies can kill civilians and topple governments without
consequence.” - Chatham House Research Paper
February 8, 2021 Ethiopia: No End to War in Devastated Tigray
“It feels strange to write about a humanitarian crisis in this day and age with barely any pictures, videos or witness testimonies from the ground. But that is what the situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region has come to. Since the conflict between the federal government, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and the regional government’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), began in November 2020, access to the region has been extremely limited. Internet and telephone connectivity was cut off as soon as the fighting began, disconnecting about 5 million people. Months later, the internet remains down and telephone communication has only been restored in a few main towns. Journalists and human rights monitors are still denied entry and cannot report to the world the full scale of the violence which has left at least hundreds of people dead and more than 470,000 displaced, according to the UN.” - Vanessa Tsehaye, Amnesty International
November 30, 2020 USA/Africa: Build Back Better on Africa Policy
“President Trump's overt contempt for Africans is encapsulated in
his famously crass remark about African countries. But the
principal damage to Africa has stemmed from his administration’s
broader policy choices, such as the disastrous rejection of the
World Health Organization (WHO) and the Paris climate accords;
harsh curbs on legal immigration and asylum; and gutting of gender
equality programs. … Nevertheless, the Biden administration should
not merely go back to the pre-Trump status quo. … We argue that an
even more fundamental questioning of U.S. Africa-related policy is
needed.” - Imani Countess and William Minter
November 18, 2020 Ethiopia: Not Too Late to Step Back from War?
“We, the undersigned citizens of countries of the Horn of Africa,
condemn in the strongest possible terms the outbreak and escalation
of open warfare in Ethiopia. We are saddened by the attendant
losses of life, property, infrastructure and opportunities. We
deplore in equally strong terms further stoking of the conflict. …
This conflict will not have winners; the only winners in war are
those who are wise and courageous enough to avoid it.”
October 23, 2020 Nigeria: A New Generation Steps Up
“The protest is for our lives, it’s for our future. We want SARS to
end but SARS is just the beginning. They should just wait for us.
We’re not quiet anymore.” [This response appears] typical of the
critical mass of protesters who are around 18-22 years old, are
particularly fearless, and are protesting for the first time. -
Ayodeji Rotinwa, Deputy Editor of African Arguments
September 28, 2020 USA/Global: Millions Displaced by US Post-9/11 Wars
“Wartime displacement (alongside war deaths and injuries) must be
central to any analysis of the post-9/11 wars and their short- and
long-term consequences. Displacement also must be central to any
possible consideration of the future use of military force by the
United States or others. Ultimately, displacing 37 million—and
perhaps as many as 59 million—raises the question of who bears
responsibility for repairing the damage inflicted on those
displaced.” - Brown University Costs of War Project
September 23, 2020 USA/Global: Overhauling U.S. Foreign Policy
The most consequential election year in most of our lifetimes has
featured stark crises unspooling against a backdrop of vigorous
activist mobilizations and simmering public outrage. While the
first essential step for progressives is to prevent the reelection
of President Trump, that will not be enough. We need fundamental
change rather than a return to the status quo ante.