Global News Journal

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India and Pakistan: finding the right forum for dialogue

February 23, 2010

agra"Peace," said Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw "is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous."  Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao begins that arduous process on Thursday when she meets her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir to try to break a diplomatic freeze that followed the November 2008 attack on Mumbai.

Greeks bay for blood but get committees

February 23, 2010

GREECEGreeks hit by a financial crisis threatening their salaries and pensions are baying for blood.

from Afghan Journal:

America attempting a more “humane war” in Afghanistan

February 21, 2010

(A U.S. Marine in Marjah, picture by Goran Tomasevic)

(A U.S. Marine in Marjah, picture by Goran Tomasevic)

One of the reasons the big U.S.-led offensive in Afghanistan's Marjah area has slowed down is because the Marines are trying to avoid civilian casualties at all costs, according to military commanders. So use of air power, the key to U.S. battle strategy, has been cut back because of the risk of collateral damage from strikes.

from Africa News blog:

When is a coup a good coup?

February 20, 2010

By David Lewis

Weeks after the African Union boldly announced the end of an era of coups on its continent, Niger’s military staged a spectacular overthrow.
Heavily armed in armoured vehicles soldiers blasted their way into the presidential palace, arrested the President Mamadou Tandja and dissolved every democratic institution in the uranium-exporting nation.
Niger’s new military rulers, the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (SCRD), faced the standard flurry of strongly-worded statements from Western nations and regional bodies that condemned people taking power through unconstitutional means.

But, more interestingly, there was no insistence on Tandja returning to his job. Instead, the focus appeared to be on looking towards elections and a new government. Tandja had drawn the ire of many Nigeriens and the international community over his successful campaign last year to change the constitution and extend his time in power by at least three years.
Spontaneous celebrations in Niamey after the military take-over were, therefore, not surprising. But, faced with the illegal ouster of a president many believed had become unconstitutional, the international community also seems to have been quick to recognize the opening the coup has offered.
Analysts cite members of the junta having been involved in a previous coup that swiftly led to elections as a reason for optimism. They also say Niger’s military is more professional than in place like Guinea, where soldiers have also grabbed power but failed to deliver elections despite over a year in power.
An aggressive, bold military operation has delivered a new dynamic that months of diplomatic and political wrangling failed to achieve.
Has the international community been too quick to jump at this opportunity? Or, if the politicians appear to be failing, should the military be allowed to play the role of arbitrator in crises like Niger’s?
Coups, especially in West Africa, seem to be alive and well. Niger’s takeover follows similar ousters in Mauritania and Guinea in 2008, and another one in Madagascar last year.
What impact are these actions having on confidence in a continent that is attracting unprecedented investment and is keen to draw a line under a violent and chaotic past?
Does swiftly accepting Tandja's ouster not set a dangerous precedent for crises elsewhere?

from Afghan Journal:

Ex-Guantanamo Bay prisoner the next Afghan Taliban commander?

February 18, 2010

(An Afghan soldier speaks at a flag raising ceremony in Marjah)

(An Afghan soldier speaks at a flag-raising ceremony in Marjah)

It is a measure of the shadowy nature of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan that it is hard to come up with even a couple of names of senior figures who could possibly succeed  top commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Barader following his capture in a joint U.S.-Pakistan raid.

How Reuters told the world about Tutanhkamun in February 1923

By Reuters Staff
February 17, 2010

It was on the November 26, 1922 that archaeologist, Howard Carter looked through a small opening chipped in a 3000 year old wall and saw the glittering chaos of the ante room of the tomb of the Boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s arrest of Mullah Baradar: tactics or strategy?

February 17, 2010

marjahThe arrest of Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Karachi leaves big unanswered questions about why Pakistan chose to act now against a man credited with giving operational coherence to Afghan Taliban (or Quetta Shura Taliban) operations in Afghanistan.

from Afghan Journal:

Afghanistan’s operation Marjah: taking on the Quetta shura

February 15, 2010

(U.S. Marines from Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines fires mortars in the town of Marjah in Nad Ali district of Helmand province February 14, 2010)

(U.S. Marines from Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines fires mortars in the town of Marjah in Nad Ali district of Helmand province February 14, 2010)

Security: Never safer, or close to the civil liberties abyss?

February 15, 2010

cctvAs an air crash survivor I know how long jitters about safety can last. Eighteen years ago I crashed in an old Dakota in a remote corner of Africa, where such tragedies are sadly still not that rare.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pune bombing unlikely to derail India-Pakistan talks

February 15, 2010

german bakeryThis weekend's bombing which killed nine people in the Indian city of Pune -- the first major attack since the 2008 assault on Mumbai -- is unlikely to derail plans for the foreign secretaries, or top diplomats, of India and Pakistan to hold talks on Feb. 25.