As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

World Report

This has been a long time coming.

• Gaza: Gazans are quickly rebuilding the smuggling tunnels, making one wonder why 1,300 Palestinians had to die in what amounts to a large war crime, for no strategic gains. This of course hurts the chances for peace from Israel's perspective as well, as Bibi Netanyahu can demagogue that the current leaders "didn't finish the job" in Gaza, and as Prime Minister, he would. It's a sad pattern that wars embarked upon by "liberal" Israeli politicians do nothing but strengthen the hand of neoconservatives. I find the American engagement into the peace process promising, but without any partners, its success will be limited.

• Zimbabwe: Yet another failure to form a unity government while the countryside suffers from hyper-inflation and cholera attacks. Mugabe simply won't give up power, and the long-term crisis under his rule have to be a factor in the other nations in the region forcing his removal. I can't see how he stays on. There's a Southern African Development Conference summit this week - the other nations have a responsibility to the Zimbabwean people, let's see if they commit to it.

• Iraq: I have no idea what Ryan Crocker thinks he's accomplishing with this statement, warning against an "abrupt troop withdrawal" while simultaneously assuring everyone that Obama isn't doing that. Thanks, Ambassador, for boldly warning against the impact of a non-existent takeover of the government from a non-existent liberal hippie brigade calling for a non-existent immediate airlift of every US soldier. God, these guys are incompetent.

• Somalia: Nobody could have predicted that, when the Ethiopians invaded Somalia, they would soon pull out and leave the country to the same Islamists they went in to "vanquish." I hope the new Administration learns that you work for peace with the elements in a country who can actually enforce it. Creating "transitional authorities" never works.

• China: Man, the Chinese authorities don't mess around when their corporate executives screw up, do they? The death penalty for the head of the dairy implicated in the tainted milk scandal? Ouch.

• Congo: This is very good news in the bloodiest conflict in the world (also the bloodiest one you never hear about):

It seems the government of Rwanda cut a deal with the government of Congo to form an agreement to crack down on Hutu militias the Rwandans don’t like and have Rwanda turn on its proxy, the rebel leader Laurent Nkunda who Rwanda used to fight the Hutus but who’d been making all sorts of trouble and attempting, as Rwanda-backed rebels in Congo tend to, to overthrow the central government.

This is generally seen as an unexpected but positive move. Among African nations who are weary of war, perhaps Congo is the weariest.

• Sri Lanka: It looks like the Sri Lankan army is going to wrap up a successful counter-insurgency, now seizing Tamil Tiger strongholds and breaking the back of the rebels. Somebody should pay a visit to Colombo and find out how they did it. Hopefully the civilian casualties in this long-running war will stop.

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