Filling the void in Libya
Libya continues to fall apart. Daily life is in a downward spiral, militias run Tripoli like criminal cartels, and as rival governments in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica vie for control, the desert interior is up for grabs. UN mediation has failed to overcome these centrifugal forces, and hopes for U.S. involvement – perhaps the best chance for reunification – were dashed by the troop pullout from Syria. As outside powers circle for advantage, Russia is only too eager to fill the power vacuum.
African migration: From polarization to win-win
With this year’s European Parliament elections, the EU may be approaching a watershed moment on migration. Voters and politicians are questioning the fundamental assumptions of globalized approaches like the UN Compact on Migration and the EU Trust Fund for Africa, which may do more to encourage than curb the migrant influx. But “outsourcing” management of migration flows to transit countries may only increase Europe’s vulnerability to political shocks in buffer states like Sudan, Libya or Algeria.
Opinion: The worrying faults of the UN migration compact
Countries are due to sign a United Nations pact on migration next week. However, its global, one-size-fits-all approach is dangerous. It risks many unintended consequences, including mass migration for welfare benefits and huge burdens on destination countries. Migration remains an important problem to be solved, but the answer is not to create yet another global bureaucracy.
Opinion: The wrong response to the Caravan
United States President Donald Trump has insinuated the migrant caravan heading from Central America to the U.S. constitutes an invasion and has deployed some 5,000 troops at the border to stop it. Now, the president has threatened to rescind aid to the migrants’ countries of origin. American aid programs are built to address the region’s terrible crime and lack of employment opportunities – the very reasons so many people are leaving their homes and heading for the U.S. in the first place.
Looking for a way out in Libya
The recent outbreak of fighting in Libya’s capital shows who are the real masters of the country – the militias. The international community’s focus on the reconciling the feuding governments in Tobruk and Tripoli ignores how they have already been captured by local warlords. Until the grip of these armed groups is broken, holding national elections is an enormous gamble.
In fractured Libya, it’s about oil
As Libya’s civil war sputters on, the country’s principal source of revenue remains its oil fields. The feuding Tripoli and Tobruk governments have allowed the National Oil Corporation to keep managing operations, with the Central Bank of Libya apportioning revenue among the various factions. Now, a power struggle is disrupting the flow of oil and cash as General Khalifa Haftar squares off against Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord.
Burundi’s downward spiral
President Pierre Nkurunziza’s grip on power has divided Burundian society to the point where armed opposition groups are in open conflict with forces loyal to the regime. Violence against civilians has forced thousands to flee their homes. The economy has been hit hard as well. But the fragmentation of the opposition and Burundi’s involvement in critical peacekeeping missions means Mr. Nkurunziza has the upper hand, for now.
Opinion: Corruption in Guatemala and why Central America won’t go away
If U.S. President Donald Trump really wants to stop illegal immigration, he would do well to look at its causes, like violence in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America. However, a one-size-fits-all approach will not solve the problem. Each country has its own specific difficulties. In Guatemala, it is corruption. The U.S. and the international community can play a key role in fighting corruption, which could reduce violence and therefore migration – but they must stop sending mixed signals.
Opinion: Catalonia, Kurdistan and the legitimacy of independence
Catalonia and Kurdistan will soon hold referenda on independence. The international community has been less than supportive of these regions’ right to make such a decision. But the right to self-determination is fundamental. Moreover, keeping regions in a country where they do not want to remain can be harmful. On the other hand, using democratic systems to allow independence votes can make governments more efficient and populations more unified.
Mongolia’s role in security on the Korean Peninsula
Mongolia might be one of the only countries with which North Korea could have a normal conversation: the countries have historically had friendly ties. And Mongolia has hosted negotiations between North Korea and Japan, for example, before. However, a wide gap remains between Pyongyang’s goals and the West’s. Until the sides come to the negotiating table, Mongolia will play its own role: showcasing an example of a country in Northeast Asia with communist roots that achieved security without pursuing nuclear weapons.