Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Few Items About Other Places

Israel-Lebanon-Gaza have pretty well knocked Iraq off the front page or as lead story in the major U.S. print and broadcast media.

But there is other news in the peace and security fields. Here are a few highlights from Africa and one from Asia.

The attempt to get negotiations started between the Islamist militias that defeated the U.S.-backed secular warlords and the UN-backed provisional government that has yet to get to the country’s capital was effectively derailed when the “government” side cancelled Friday’s meeting. Earlier in the week, the Islamist militias negotiated the turn over of Mogadishu’s ruined port, giving them control of the entire capital.

Further afield, the talks between Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Sudan almost broke down before starting because the LRA representative’s opening remarks were less then positive.

Darfur fighting flared again in early July, although this time it appeared to be among rebel factions trying to get control of territory. More than 80 people died in three days of combat. Meanwhile, the May agreement between the government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Army has yet to b e implemented. Reports from Northern Darfur describe the internecine fighting to be as brutal as that between the rebels and Janjuweed

The two-year old peace agreement between the Tamil Tigers and the government o Sri Lanka is coming undone. Since April, more than 800 people have died in renewed clashes, most of them civilians. In late June, the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff was assassinated. Moreover, when the European Union put the Tigers on its list of terror organizations, the Tigers refused to accept Europeans as part of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission that is suppose to oversee the ceasefire agreement.

There is some good news. The first nation-wide election in four decades is scheduled for the Democratic Republic of Congo on July 31. The UN and African Union are committed to ensuring that this event goes well. In a surprise move, one of the Congo’s rebel hold-outs, the Front of Nationalists and Integrationists, agreed to a peace deal and released the remaining four Nepalese peacekeepers abducted in May.

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