Sunday, 28 November 2021
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humanitarian issues

By George Friedman

On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation's planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.

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By Scott Stewart

Looking at the world from a protective-intelligence perspective, the theme for the past week has not been improvised explosive devices or potential mass-casualty attacks. While there have been suicide bombings in Afghanistan, alleged threats to the World Cup and seemingly endless post-mortem discussions of the failed May 1 Times Square attack, one recurring and under-reported theme in a number of regions around the world has been kidnapping.

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By Andrew Mok

When a little-known logistics officer emerged as leader of Guinea's 2008 coup, some were hopeful that his clique of military officers would finally bring democratic governance to Conakry. Dadis Camara's bloody suppression of opposition protests last September dimmed those hopes, but not the international and domestic calls for immediate transition to civilian government via democratic elections.

This democratic zeitgeist has bred a new intolerance for extra-legal military coups from Madagascar to Mauritania. However, it places an ill-conceived faith in the miraculous power of a quick transition to procedural elections and civilian rule. Such transitions have not prevented further instability and coups in West Africa.

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James Wood Forsyth Jr. and B. Chance Saltzman

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dominate security discourse. With thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent, few issues merit more attention. Yet it is worthwhile to remember that these wars, like all wars, will end. And when they do, policy makers will come to terms with a harsh, albeit forgotten, reality: The ruling of distant peoples, as George Kennan so aptly put it, is not "our dish." TheUnited States should steer clear of "an acceptance of any sort of paternalistic responsibility to anyone be it in the form of military occupation, if we can possibly avoid it, or for any period longer than is absolutely necessary." Simply put, intervention might have been our fate, but it should not be our policy.

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By Elayne Jude, Great North News Services

Somewhere in Afghanistan a man kneels in front of an open suitcase. He's a figure of some power and influence locally; may be the village headman, or the patriarch of a particular clan. The suitcase been handed to him by an American. Inside, row after row of crisply banded dollar bills, of a denomination that can be usefully brandished in the world's sixth poorest country.

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By George Friedman

Word began to flow out of Mexico the weekend before last of well over 150 deaths suspected to have been caused by a new strain of influenza commonly referred to as swine flu. Scientists who examined the flu announced that this was a new strain of Influenza A (H1N1) derived partly from swine flu, partly from human flu and partly from avian flu strains (although there is some question as to whether this remains true). The two bits of information released in succession created a global panic.

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UNICEF says that its latest available data indicates that:

 An estimated 90,000 people have been displaced, including 50,000 children.

 Fewer than 500 displaced people were seeking refuge in three UNRWA emergency shelters, compared to 51,000 people, including 28,560 children, during the peak of displacement (OCHA). Since the resumption of schools on 24 January, the shelters are now in youth centres and other non-school facilities. Most of the displaced are staying with host families, many of whom are overstretched and face shortages of food, non-food items, such as mattresses and blankets, as well as water and electricity.

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