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.
Opinion: How not to resolve the Venezuelan crisis
Venezuela’s constitutional coup has cleared the way from President Nicolas Maduro to suppress the opposition. But with the economy in tatters, the death toll in street protests rising, and the officer corps on the verge of splintering, the government may be more open to international mediation than first appears. The only way this works, however, is if the United States stays out.
Opinion: The United Nations – missing in action
Dag Hammarskjold was one of the great secretary generals of the United Nations. The Swedish economist-turned-diplomat died in a plane crash in 1961, while trying to negotiate a ceasefire in the Congo. More than half a century later, his courage is missed. Is there any way for Hammarskjold's successors to reconnect the UN with its mission?
State fragility fuels crisis in Central African Republic
In the Central African Republic, nearly half of the country’s 4.7 million people are in dire need of aid. It is one of the world’s most fragile states, with more than half its territory under the control of rebel groups. The crisis reflects poor governance and widespread violence, but also unfavorable geography. Even under a best-case scenario, it will take decades to build a sovereign and functioning state.
South Sudan heads from bad to worse
Political conflict, ethnic violence and man-made famine have turned South Sudan into Africa’s worst disaster since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The crisis shows the limits of humanitarian aid and will have devastating long-term effects. It also poses a test for the international community, which must decide whether to intervene at a time when multilateralism is out and realpolitik is in.