Armed Conflicts

Unhinged with 5,800 Nuclear Warheads at his Fingertips

Between now and January 20,2021, the President of the United States has almost run out of arenas in which to impose his will. His reelection has soured in infamy. His concern for the COVID-19 pandemic faded long ago. There is only one last pursuit available to him to demonstrate that he is the most powerful man on earth, i.e. using the nuclear weapons at his disposal.

Stand Tall, UN Humanitarians

Most people around the world were glad to see the back of 2020: From the devastating bushfires in Australia to the plagues of locusts through East Africa stretching across Arabia to Pakistan, extreme weather, melting ice sheets at the poles, and Covid-19 that still engulfs the globe.

2020: A Yet More Devastating Year Closes With At Least Some Signs Of Hope

Despite its grim record of multiple natural disasters and a deepening climate crisis, one could be forgiven for looking back on 2019 with a degree of nostalgia. There is no disguising the extent of the calamity wrought this year by COVID-19, yet as we approach the end of 2020 we may also draw strength from positive developments emerging.

Afghanistan’s Historic Year: Peace Talks, Security Transition but Higher Levels of Violence

While Afghanistan ends a historic year, filled with the hope for peace as the government and Taliban sat down for almost three months of consecutive peace talks for the first time in 19 years, it was also a year filled with violence with provisional statistics by the United Nations showing casualties for this year being higher than 2019.

Biden’s Opportunity To End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Recently I had an opportunity to brief a group of European diplomats and journalists on a variety of conflicts, with a focus on the Middle East. During the Q&A I was asked which of the region’s conflicts Biden should tackle first.

Nyagoa’s Long Journey

Nyagoa Dak was born to a world in chaos. Her story is one of loss, of redemption, of struggle and of triumph. At a very early age, Nyagoa lost her parents to the conflict in South Sudan. As the conflict escalated, she escaped with her grandmother to Ethiopia in 2014. There they settled in the Pugnido refugee camp in Ethiopia’s Gambella region.

Autocracy on the Rise: Should we Expect Military Spending to Follow?

Autocracies are once again the global majority. The 2020 Democracy Report of the Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-DEM), ‘Autocratization surges, resistance grows’, raises the alarm that while the world in 2019 was substantially more democratic than it was in the 1970s, an ongoing trend of autocratization may reverse this scenario.

Does WFP Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

On 10 December, representatives for the World Food Programme (WFP) will in Norway receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the Oslo City Hall. This is taking place while the COVID-19 pandemic is causing lock-downs and suffering all over world, limiting agricultural production and disrupting supply chains.

Farmers Will (Again) Feed the World

Wealthier countries struggling to contain the widening COVID-19 pandemic amid protests over lockdowns and restrictions risk ignoring an even greater danger out there – a looming global food emergency.

A Potential Weapon Kills Over 1.5 Million Worldwide –Without a Single Shot Being Fired

The world’s major military powers exercise their dominance largely because of their massive weapons arsenals, including sophisticated fighter planes, drones, ballistic missiles, warships, battle tanks, heavy artillery—and nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

Despite Conflict and COVID-19, Children Still Dream to Continue Their Education in Afghanistan

As if four decades of war were not enough, then came the pandemic. For each of the past five years, Afghanistan has been identified by the United Nations as the world’s deadliest country for children and, despite progress made in peace talks between the government and the Taliban, child and youth casualties from the ongoing conflict continue to mount in 2020.

Peacekeeping is a Double-Edged Sword

UN peacekeeping dangerously overlooks the reality that peace operations have both unintended and negative consequences. Any intervention into the politics and culture of a community is bound to create tensions between local practices and foreign peacebuilding practices.

Q & A: Escalating Tensions in Ethiopia adds to Tenuous Refugee Setting

Already reeling from conflict, extreme weather events and growing displacement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, escalating tensions in Ethiopia’s Tigray region have placed the country on the brink of civil war and many are looking to Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to avert a potential humanitarian disaster.

Building Blocks for Nuclear Ban Treaty: NPT & Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will become binding law for participating states on January 22, 2021. Entry into force was triggered on October 24, the date marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, when Honduras become the 50th state to ratify the TPNW, reaching the threshold set by the treaty.

Nuclear Arms Control in Crisis While US Exerts Pressure on Treaty Signatories

Responding to a question, Albert Einstein, the German-born physicist who won the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics, predicted rather ominously: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

‘The Sahel – a Microcosm of Cascading Global Risks Converging in One Region’

The European Commission this week pledged $27.8 million in humanitarian support to the Sahel region as floods and the coronavirus pandemic exacerbate the stability in a region deeply in conflict. While the figure is less than 2 percent of the $2.4 billion that the United Nations has appealed for, Amnesty International researcher Ousmane Diallo told IPS that despite past donations from international development partners to Sahelian countries, the situation hasn’t improved over the years.

Mahatma’s Non-Violence: Essence of Culture of Peace for New Humanity

I will begin by presenting to you excerpts from the message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the International Day of Non-Violence.

Afghanistan, Hope Fading in the midst of Fear and Silence

Distant and blurred, as if it belongs to the past, the war in Afghanistan has never been so fierce and forgotten. On the 7th of October, the country entered the twentieth year since the United States announced the first airstrikes against the Taliban, adding a new chapter to the endless bleeding of this corner of Asia, where more than four decades without peace have left entire generations hopeless.

Q&A: Women in Mali Play Critical Role in Preventing and Resolving Conflicts

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the safety and sense of community for many women in Mali given the travel restrictions and lockdowns in place, Bassirou Gaye, an assistant researcher for a 2019 report on the role of Mali women in peacekeeping, told IPS this weekend.


Scaling Up SDG4 in Crises

Out of global crises spring opportunities for change. In crisis, change is not an option. It is a necessity. And, as Plato famously noted: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is an invention that sprang out of crisis and was borne of necessity.

The Lebanese Disaster

The 26th of September, the Lebanese prime minister Mustapha Adib stepped down after less than a month on his post. The president, Michael Auon, stated: ”Lebanon will be going to Hell if a new government is not formed soon.” The question is if his nation is not there already. A horrifying image of the state of the nation was provided on the 4th of August when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, stored in a dockside hangar, blew up in an explosion killing more than 190 people, injuring 6,500 and damaging thousands of buildings.

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