Keyword in Focus Humanitarian Issues

Keyword in Focus: Uganda & Conflict

A view of Kampala.  Photo: hamoid/flickr

On Friday, the 14th of October, the State Department announced that the US was sending 100 military advisers to Uganda.  Their purpose: to help African troops pursue the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its leader, Joseph Kony, whom the ICC accuses of 21 counts of war crimes and 12 counts of crimes against humanity.  The deployment follows the unanimous passage and signing into law last year of legislation which makes it American policy to kill or capture Joseph Kony and defeat his army.

Keyword in Focus

Building a New Libya: What Do ISN Partners Say?

Patronizing or just supportive? David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy walking Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the Transitional National Council (TNC), during their visit to Tripoli on 15 September; image: The Prime Minister's Office/flickr

On 15 September, a ‘new Libya‘ was welcomed among the members of the international community: first by Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, who visited Tripoli that day; then by the UN General Assembly, which recognized the Transitional National Council as Libya’s rightful representative the following day. The African Union (AU) reluctantly accepted the new reality on 20 September.

Even though Libya has regained its diplomatic status, it is only starting to rebuild itself. In this context, three main questions emerge: What are the problems the new Libya faces? How should these problems be addressed? And finally, what role should external actors play in rebuilding the country?

In the following paragraphs, I will give an overview of how some of the ISN’s partners have begun to answer these questions.

Keyword in Focus

Keyword In Focus: Space

The forgotten frontier? photo: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center/flickr

One of they key commons of tomorrow and an out-of-sight battleground for geopolitical rivalries and national aggrandizement, space deserves a lot more attention than it gets. To put the spotlight on this overlooked issue, we present to you the ISN Digital Library holdings on the keyword ‘Space‘- let us know what you found particularly interesting and enjoy exploring the true frontier of international affairs.

Some highlights include:

  • Another ESPI paper on how to combat piracy using space applications.
Keyword in Focus

Keyword in Focus: Tunisia

Too few jobs or too many graduates? Image: courtesy of Stefano Benetti

“A socio-economic oasis in a political desert”: this is how Diogo Noivo describes Tunisia in a 2009 briefing paper for the Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security (IPRIS). It got about by now that the notorious tourist destination is not a paradise for critical spirits and democratically-minded people. But now it seems that even the socio-economic oasis Tunisia was supposed to be is drying out.

A desperate, unemployed university graduate, who was denied the right to have a vegetable stall on the local market in a provincial town and slapped and insulted by the police, burnt himself in protest. Demonstrations organized by otherwise loyal trade unions were not crushed by the government’s security forces for a change and the autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali reacted to the protests by firing his youth minister and allocating more money for the country’s youth programs. However, the angry crowd didn’t let itself calm down by this and Ben Ali returned to his old methods: guns and batons.

In this excellent report, the German-language Swiss public radio reveals the socio-economic causes of this unrest: Tunisia’s good education system brings out tens of thousands of university graduates every  year, which the country’s low-tech industries such as textiles and cheap tourism can’t absorb.

Keyword in Focus

Keyword in Focus: Euro

Europe on a shoestring, photo: Howard Lake/flickr

With Spain next on the list of eurozone countries on the brink of financial abyss, nerves about the future of the great European experiment are at an all-time high. The narrative of the euro’s crisis seems self-fulfilling as  markets move from one financially challenged euro country to the next, and after the Irish bailout, Portugal and Spain seem to be next in line, with cups in their hands and market speculators on their backs.

The collapse of the Spanish economy, with its overstretched banks, chronically high unemployment and a much larger economy than previous recipients of EU/IMF bailout money, is a particularly worrying prospect, yet European leaders seem committed to saving the euro. Even Britain’s George Osborne, the deeply euro-skeptic Chancellor of the Exchequer, acknowledged last week that despite not joining the euro (and still thinking it was a bad idea- “Hah, I told you so!”), it is in Britain’s interest to help with the bailout efforts and to ensure that neighboring countries like Ireland are repaired and revitalized.

With the air of crisis set to loom over Europe for months to come, EU leaders and Europhiles everywhere must be asking themselves: How do we get out of this mess (and how did we get into it in the first place)? Because as much as Americans or even the Brits might enjoy gloating in the face of this largely self-inflicted mess, the EU and its experiment with a common currency are here to stay.

For an excellent set of resources on this highly topical issue, check out our Euro keyword.