By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) – When representatives of 194 States and the European Union, which are parties to one of the landmark global conventions, meet in the Namibian capital Windhoek from September 16 to 27, they will focus on intensifying efforts for ushering in a world free of poverty generating DLLD – desertification, land degradation and drought.
The significance of this herculean task lies in the fact that unlike flood disasters and tsunamis, whose catastrophic impact is easily brought into drawing rooms around the world, land degradation befalls soil like creeping cancer and its appalling dimensions often elude the eye of a camera.
By Jeremy R. Hammond* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TAIPEI (IDN) – When the Obama administration announced on July 25 that it was free to violate U.S. law by continuing to finance the Egyptian military to the tune of $1.5 billion annually, even though it was responsible for overthrowing the democratically elected president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, in a coup d’tat on July 3, the message was understood loud and clear in Cairo. Two days later, the Egyptian military massacred over 70 demonstrators who were protesting Morsi’s ouster.
By Alemayehu G. Mariam* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
Zimbabwe had its presidential elections on August 3. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said these were “seriously compromised”. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai described the polls “a huge farce” and a “sham that does not reflect the will of the people.” Among African Union observers, only Botswana called for an investigation. Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam asks whether elections in Africa are a colossal exercise in futility, but is convinced that change in inevitable – perhaps through the expression of the ‘tornadic’ wrath of the people as seen in the ‘Arab Spring’.
By Manuel Montes* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
GENEVA (IDN) – The big attraction of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), or at least the first seven of these, was their near universal acceptability. It mobilized both resources and politics, nationally and internationally, in pursuit of reducing poverty, hunger, gender inequality, malnutrition and disease.
Since they were introduced, the excitement over the MDGs fully occupied the space for development thinking. The MDG discourse – in international agencies and in national settings – appears to have crowded out the basic idea that development is about economic transformation.
By James Stafford of Oilprice.com* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
LONDON (IDN) – The 2010 Kalamazoo spill and the 2013 Exxon leak in Arkansas are the most glaring incidents, but these are just the big leaks that are found right away and reported.
Most leaks are found eventually – but there is money to be saved and damage to be avoided by catching them at the smallest rupture. Right now, we rely on pigs in the pipeline to do this.
It’s called “pigging”. Pigs are inspection gauges that can perform various maintenance operations on a pipeline – from inspection to cleaning – without stopping the pipeline flow. The first “pigs” were used strictly for cleaning and they got their name from the squealing noise they emitted while travelling through the pipeline. The current generation of “smart pigs” can detect corrosion in the pipeline and are thus relied on for leak detection.
By Jamsheed K. Choksy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BLOOMINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) – Hassan Rouhani took charge of Iran with its socioeconomic safety nets unraveling, thanks to deleterious policies exacerbated by tightened sanctions from the West. Addressing the parliament on July 14, while president-elect, he acknowledged that the nuclear impasse is far from the only factor transforming the Islamic Republic of Iran negatively with impact on other countries. Iran’s challenges pose severe consequences at home and abroad.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
GENEVA (IDN) – The 15-member UN Security Council has pledged to promote closer and more operational cooperation between the world body and regional and sub-regional organizations in the fields of conflict early warning, prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
In a statement on August 6, the Security Council also recognized the need to enhance the coordination of efforts to strengthen the global response to current threats to international peace and security posed by illegal trafficking, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, among others.
By Suzane Mneimneh*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis | Geopolitical Monitor
DETROIT (IDN) – The struggle against al-Qaeda in Yemen stands as an unheralded though critical front in the global war against terrorism. This fight has taken the form of violent hit-and-run operations against the Yemen Army, itself backed by U.S. drones, and the establishment of territorial bases that are often in flux.
Most recently the battle has shifted to Hadramaut province, which was already largely controlled by al-Qaeda, after the Yemen Army managed to regain control of Abyan province and expel Ansar al-Sharia. Despite these ostensible gains, al-Qaeda forces have proven adept at moving in to fill gaps in central authority and capitalizing on endemic instability, poverty, unemployment, and political division in Yemen- the very factors that provide the most fertile ground for spreading the group’s extremist beliefs.
By Jerome Mwanda | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
DAKAR (IDN) – Burkina Faso, a landlocked country of the SaheI, has since 1987 been ruled by President Blaise Compaoré, who established a semi-authoritarian regime, moving from a repressive military rule to a formal multiparty democratic system, but one fully controlled by the president. This enabled him to stabilise a country marked by five coups between 1960 and 1987.
With less than three years left for presidential elections due in 2015, a new report is asking President Compaoré to facilitate a smooth transition and at the same time calling upon international partners, in particular Western allies, to focus no longer exclusively on mediation role in Mali and the monitoring of security risks in West Africa.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
GENEVA (IDN) – When long forgotten African leaders set up the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, coordinating and intensifying regional cooperation in order to achieve a better life for the people of the newly liberated continent was an important item on their agenda.
Fifty years later, a UN report says that efforts to date to spur jointly reinforcing economic growth on the continent have relied on a “textbook” and “linear” approach to regional cooperation that does not fit with the situation in Africa, world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent with than one billion people.