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Syria air strikes: How we got to this point – BBC Newsbeat

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This is what Syria looks like now.

Source: Syria air strikes: How we got to this point – BBC Newsbeat

More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed, including nearly 12,000 children, according to the United Nations.

More than half of the county’s population have had to leave their homes.

Four million are living as refugees in other countries.

Others soldier on…

How to Fight ISIS – The New York Times

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“The mass murder of civilians in Paris has inevitably reignited the debate over using military force in the Middle East to attack the Islamic State. The debate, like anything that gets tangled up in American presidential politics, is divorced from reality. The United States, and other nations, is already engaged in military action with some ground forces in Iraq and Syria.

The panicked reactions, fanned by right-wing politicians in the United States and Europe, to “declare war” on the Islamic State are mostly just noise. None of those proposing that kind of response offer the slightest idea of how it would be done; all they have is an understandable desire, which we share, to obliterate the terrorist group also known as ISIS.

President Obama struck the right note in his remarks on Monday: Military action can be only one part of a broader strategy that the United States and its partners will have to pursue over many years. Important Muslim nations, notably Saudi Arabia, will simply have to stop paying for and politically enabling the mosques, imams and paramilitary groups that fuel extremists and their virulent perversions of Islam. Moderate Muslims need to redouble efforts, begun after 9/11, to ensure that their vision of a more tolerant and inclusive Islam prevails…”

Source: How to Fight ISIS – The New York Times

ISS Africa | Beyond rhetoric: the role of women in sustainable peacebuilding

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ISS Africa | Beyond rhetoric: the role of women in sustainable peacebuilding.

“A high-level review of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1325, expected to be released in October this year, provides an opportunity for policymakers to move beyond the rhetoric of gender mainstreaming and start putting words into practice. Resolution 1325 underlines the need for gender-sensitive approaches to peace and stability in post-conflict contexts.

Although the inclusion of women in peacebuilding processes has gained momentum in policy discussions over the last 15 years, the number of women in decision-making positions remains relatively small. Peacebuilding is the foundation for creating sustainable human security and equitable development in countries emerging from conflict. UNSC resolution 1325 recognises that women are disproportionally affected by conflict, and to address this, women should play a key role in achieving lasting peace after conflict…”

Where Terrorism Research Goes Wrong – NYTimes.com

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Where Terrorism Research Goes Wrong – NYTimes.com.

“TERRORISM is increasing. According to the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland, groups connected with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State committed close to 200 attacks per year between 2007 and 2010, a number that grew by more than 200 percent, to about 600 attacks, in 2013.

Since 9/11, the study of terrorism has also increased. Now, you might think that more study would lead to more effective antiterrorism policies and thus to less terrorism. But on the face of it, this does not seem to be happening. What has gone wrong?

The answer is that we have not been conducting the right kind of studies. According to a 2008 review of terrorism literature in the journal Psicothema, only 3 percent of articles from peer-reviewed sources appeared to be rooted in empirical analysis, and in general there was an “almost complete absence of evaluation research” concerning antiterrorism strategies…”

‘Small girl’ with explosives strapped to her kills five

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‘Small girl’ with explosives strapped to her kills five.

A young girl with explosives strapped to her killed five people and wounded dozens at a security checkpoint outside a market in the northeast Nigerian town of Potiskum on Sunday, witnesses said.

“(She) refused to be checked at the gate to the market and an argument ensued,” witness Ibrahim Maishago said. “She let off the bomb, killing herself and five others, while many were injured.”

No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, which bore the hallmarks of Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The insurgents have suffered a string of defeats in a military offensive by Nigeria and neighbours Cameroon, Niger and Chad

African Nations Show Progress in Uniting to Beat Back Militants in Nigeria – NYTimes.com

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African Nations Show Progress in Uniting to Beat Back Militants in Nigeria – NYTimes.com.

African leaders are stepping up their response to Boko Haram, with Chadian soldiers chasing the militants from a northern Nigerian town and the African Union calling for a 7,500-member regional force to tackle what it called “a serious threat” to the continent.

A communiqué adopted by the peace and security council of the African Union, which is meeting this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, calls on Nigerian soldiers and their counterparts from four neighboring countries — Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger — to “prevent the expansion of Boko Haram,” search for those abducted by the group and conduct joint patrols at their borders. It does not specifically authorize the most sensitive step: cross-border operations.

According to a Chadian military spokesman, Nigerian news media reports and officials in Niger, Chadian forces took control on Thursday of Malam Fatori, a northern town that Boko Haram had held since October….

U.N. Set to Cut Force in Darfur as Fighting Rises – NYTimes.com

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U.N. Set to Cut Force in Darfur as Fighting Rises – NYTimes.com.

UNITED NATIONS — Under intense pressure from the government of Sudan, the United Nations is planning to shrink its floundering peacekeeping force in Darfur, even though renewed fighting there has chased more people from their homes this year than during any other in the past decade.

The withdrawal plans come right after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, announced that she had decided to suspend the genocide case against Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, because world powers have done nothing to secure his arrest.

The twin retrenchments are emblematic of the limits of international attention at a time when Darfur has been overshadowed by newer crises and conflicts around the world, from the civil wars in Syria and South Sudan to the Ebola epidemic…

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