Syria, Libya and the US Presidential Election

Submitted by admin on Fri, 10/28/2016 - 00:52

 

Trump-Clinton
Photo Lesley Clark

 

Dear Friends,

The US presidential season is almost over - it is like the end of a mini-series, a television show that has run out of steam. November 8 is the final episode. What comes next is anyone's guess? Wikileaks' surprises from John Podesta's emails about Hillary Clinton come at a furious pace, but so too do erratic things from Donald Trump. It is a mess. My most recent Frontline report is out this week, and it is on the death knell of this campaign. The report ends, like all such bluster, with a whimper, saying that Hillary Clinton 'is a reliable candidate. Ther

Yemen and Libya

Submitted by admin on Wed, 10/19/2016 - 20:39

 

Mural on Al Saidi Street in Tripoli
Aimen Ajhani a.k.a. El Bohly

 

Dear Friends,

The focus of attention in West Asia is on the Iraqi (and allied) assault on Mosul (Iraq) as well as the Syrian (and allied) assault on East Aleppo. Here are focused the eyes of the world, as it were. An 11 hour ceasefire is in effect in Aleppo, to allow aid and relief to get through the frontlines. The assault on Mosul is ongoing. It appears that ISIS has either formed a citadel in sections of the interior of Mosul or has done what it did in other major fights - disappeared into rural areas to regroup again elsewhere.

Less attention is on Yemen,

Refugees, Portugal's Left & Death of the Nation

Submitted by admin on Fri, 10/14/2016 - 05:47

 

Chika Aniakor, The Elders, 1967
Chika Aniakor, The Elders, 1967

 

Dear Friends,

On October 13, the UN General Assembly - by acclamation - elected the former Portuguese Prime Minister and former head of the UN Refugees Agency António Guterres as the next Secretary General. Guterres has a difficult job ahead of him. The refugee crisis, which he knows a great deal about, shows no sign of abating. The core issues that drive this crisis - war and poverty - are not really on the agenda. Keep in mind that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom - are

Colombia, Afghanistan

Submitted by admin on Wed, 10/05/2016 - 22:25

 

Street art in Bogota
Street art in Bogota

 

Dear Friends,

The referendum in Colombia on the peace deal failed by a very narrow margin. My report - derivative of the mood in the country - appeared yesterday in The Hindu. The takeaway is in the last paragraph,

  • Gloom prevails across the country. If the vote had gone the other way, Colombia might have shown the world that even intractable civil wars can come to an end. It would have been a message to Syria and to the Congo, a message of the power of negotiation towards a new civic compact. But this did not come to pass. Even as President Santos and the FARC leader

American Elections, Colombian Peace

Submitted by admin on Thu, 09/29/2016 - 01:22

At a FARC camp.

 

Dear Friends,

Good news out of Cartagena, Colombia, where the FARC and the State signed a peace deal ending a 52 year civil war. But matters are still on the edge. This Sunday, on 2 October, the people of Colombia will go to the polls to vote on a referendum towards peace. A lot rests on this vote. It will be a dangerous situation if the vote goes against peace, although the mood suggests that peace is inevitable.

My report in Alternet is on the peace deal, between the signature and the referendum. The last paragraph is here:

  • October 2nd is Gandhi’s birthday. It is a fitting day for the