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Isis Inc: how oil fuels the jihadi terrorists – FT.com

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“This is the land of Isis, the jihadi organisation in control of swaths of Syrian and Iraqi territory. The trade in oil has been declared a prime target by the international military coalition fighting the group. And yet it goes on, undisturbed.

Oil is the black gold that funds Isis’ black flag — it fuels its war machine, provides electricity and gives the fanatical jihadis critical leverage against their neighbours.

But more than a year after US President Barack Obama launched an international coalition to fight Isis, the bustling trade at al-Omar and at least eight other fields has come to symbolise the dilemma the campaign faces: how to bring down the “caliphate” without destabilising the life of the estimated 10m civilians in areas under Isis control, and punishing the west’s allies?

The resilience of Isis, and the weakness of the US-led campaign, have given Russia a pretext to launch its own, bold intervention in Syria.

Despite all these efforts, dozens of interviews with Syrian traders and oil engineers as well as western intelligence officials and oil experts reveal a sprawling operation almost akin to a state oil company that has grown in size and expertise despite international attempts to destroy it…”

Source: Isis Inc: how oil fuels the jihadi terrorists – FT.com

Ibrahim Index: Democracy in Africa remains stagnant as Zimbabwe makes progress | Africa | DW.COM | 05.10.2015

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Mauritius has retained its top slot as the leading democracy in Africa, while Somalia lagged at the furthest end, according to the 2015 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG).

Source: Ibrahim Index: Democracy in Africa remains stagnant as Zimbabwe makes progress | Africa | DW.COM | 05.10.2015

The Troubles Are Back – The New York Times

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Peace in Northern Ireland relied on a flawed power-sharing deal that set sectarian divisions in stone.

Source: The Troubles Are Back – The New York Times

LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland — IT is widely assumed that the Northern Ireland conflict was settled in 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. The war was over and the good guys had won.

Many Americans may even derive satisfaction from the role played by American presidents and political grandees — notably, President Clinton’s point man, George J. Mitchell, who presided over the negotiations leading to the agreement.

Yet the deal delivered by Senator Mitchell contained the seeds of its own destruction. In effect, the Good Friday Agreement assigned every person in Northern Ireland to either the unionist or nationalist camp, and the decision-making institutions it created, the Northern Ireland Assembly and its accompanying Executive, were designed to be balanced between the two camps. The plan was not to eliminate sectarianism, but to manage its manifestations…

EU Gives Africa U.S.$2 Billion to Stop Migration

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Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are among African countries that will benefit from a $2.04 billion (€1.8 billion) emergency fund set up by the European Union to address the causes of migration and displacement of persons on the continent.

The fund, to be officially launched before the end of the year, will help the countries address socio-economic challenges that force people to migrate from their original homes.

“The EU will work to help African countries achieve economic development that tackles unemployment and prevents migration and radicalisation,” said the EU Commissioner for International Co-operation and Development Neven Mimica at a press briefing in Nairobi.

Other countries expected to benefit from the fund are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan. In the Sahel region and Lake Chad area, the beneficiaries will be Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. In North Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt will also be part of the group…

Source: EU Gives Africa U.S.$2 Billion to Stop Migration

Parsing the Iran Deal

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Parsing the Iran Deal.

“On July 14, 2015, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) concluded a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) concerning the future of Iran’s nuclear program. The deal, which is the outcome of more than two years of negotiations, includes limits on Iran’s nuclear program as well as provisions for verification, implementation, procurement, sanctions relief, and peaceful nuclear cooperation. It singles out specific nuclear sites in Iran for particular scrutiny and restrictions, including the enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow and the heavy-water reactor, with its supporting facilities, at Arak. Unsurprisingly, the deal is complex—the text and its five annexes stretch to over 100 pages.

Our aim here is to analyze the deal as impartially and objectively as possible…”

Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/08/06/parsing-iran-deal/iec5?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoguKjPZKXonjHpfsX66uskUK%2Bg38431UFwdcjKPmjr1YUBTMN0aPyQAgobGp5I5FEIQ7XYTLB2t60MWA%3D%3D

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…”

Billion dollar ivory and gold trade fuelling DR Congo war: UN – Times LIVE

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Billion dollar ivory and gold trade fuelling DR Congo war: UN – Times LIVE.

“Militarised criminal groups with transnational links are involved in large-scale smuggling” of “gold, minerals, timber, charcoal and wildlife products such as ivory” of up to $1.3 billion each year from eastern DR Congo, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said.

The revenues finance at least 25 armed groups — but up to 49 according to some estimates — that “increasingly fuel the conflict” in the war-torn region, the report read.

Control over the mineral-rich areas is a key factor in the conflicts that have raged in eastern DR Congo for decades.

“These resources lost to criminal gangs and fuelling the conflict could have been used to build schools, roads, hospitals and a future for the Congolese people,” said Martin Kobler, UN chief in DR Congo, and head of the 20,000-strong UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO….

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…”

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