July 23, 2011
IPWG Newsflash of 23.07.2011
By Armenak Minasyants (Secretary of IPWG, AEGEE-Yerevan, Armenia)
After a little delay I and our lovely IPWG Newsletter are again back with the new energy, fresh ideas and enthusiasm. Yeah, yeah I truly hope that the most of our readers have already missed our Newsletter; at least on my personal example I may say that I have missed it too much.
So, we are again back in business. First of all, some question with which I face most of all during these last two months; why the newsletters have not been made during for two months? Answer is simple, we have had election in our International Politics Working Group and because of that, as well as because of knowledge transfer between the old and new Boards I was too busy and was not able to write something. Second most usually asked question; will I continue writing Newsletters even in the case that now I am already the Secretary of IPWG? Yes, yes I will continue doing it, as I believe that that I would manage to do it along side with my new responsibilities in IPWG.
So, we have passed the technical and organizational part and let’s better turn to the world headlines and see what is going on around the globe.
National Tragedy in Norway
A news headline which I really think has shocked everybody….What has happened in so peaceful and prosperous Norway???
At least 80 people died when a gunman opened fire at an island youth camp in Norway, hours after a bomb attack on the capital, Oslo, police say. Police are questioning a 32-year-old Norwegian man in connection with Friday’s attacks. The man was arrested on tiny Utoeya island outside Oslo, where police say he opened fire on teenagers. The Oslo bombing killed at least seven. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said government members were among the dead. Mr Stoltenberg, whose offices were among those badly hit by the blast, described the attacks as “a national tragedy”. The attacks were “like a nightmare” for Norway, he told a news conference in Oslo. He added that he was due to have been on Utoeya – “a youth paradise turned into a hell” – a few hours after the attacks began. He said he knew some of the dead in the Oslo attack. “Beyond that I cannot give further details while the police carry out their investigation.” Mr Stoltenberg said it was too early too comment on a possible motive for the attacks. No group has admitted responsibility for the attack but the suspect is reported by local media to have had links with right-wing extremists.
As you may know Norway has had problems with neo-Nazi groups in the past but the assumption was that such groups had been largely eliminated and did not pose a significant threat.
Earlier, the number of dead from the island shooting spree, which is among the world’s most deadly, was put at 10. Hundreds of young people were attending the summer camp organised by the ruling Labour Party on Utoeya island. Eyewitnesses described how a tall, blond man dressed as a policeman opened fire indiscriminately, prompting camp attendees to jump into the water to try and escape the hail of bullets. Some of the teenagers were shot at as they tried to swim to safety. Armed police were deployed to the island but details of the operation to capture the suspect remain unclear.
Police say they discovered many more victims after searching the area around the island. Police warned the death toll may rise further as rescue teams continued to scour the waters around the island. The gunman is reported to have been armed with a handgun, an automatic weapon and a shotgun. “He asked people to gather round and then he started shooting, so these young people fled into the bushes and woods and some even swam off the island to get to safety.”
One 15-year-old eyewitness described how she saw what she thought was a police officer open fire.
In Oslo, government officials urged people to stay at home and avoid central areas of the city. Shards of twisted metal, rubble and glass littered the streets of central Oslo left devastated by Friday’s enormous explosion. Windows in the buildings of the government quarter were shattered and witnesses described how smoke filled the atmosphere around the blast site. There are also concerns that more victims may still be inside buildings hit by the initial massive explosion. Emergency services have had difficulty accessing these buildings amid concerns about further possible explosions as well as fears the blast may have left buildings unstable.
Our prayers with Norway and its people…..
See more on topic here http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/07/23/norway.explosion/index.html?iref=BN1&hpt=hp_t1
Serbia got the last one from the list
War crimes suspect Goran Hadzic has been flown from Serbia to face the UN court at The Hague. Before being taken to the airport, Mr Hadzic, 52, was allowed to see his sick mother in northern Serbia.
Mr Hadzic led Serb separatist forces during Croatia’s 1991-1995 war and was arrested on 19 July after seven years on the run.
So who was Mr. Hadzic?
Mr Hadzic was a central figure in the self-proclaimed Serb republic of Krajina in 1992-1993, leading the campaign to block Croatia’s independence from Yugoslavia. He faces 14 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including persecution, extermination and torture. He is held responsible for the massacre of almost 300 men in Vukovar in 1991 by Croatian Serb troops and for the deportation of 20,000 people from the town after it was captured. After the war, Mr Hadzic lived openly in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad until 2004, when the Hague War Crimes Tribunal indicted him and he disappeared.
Mr. Hadzic is the last fugitive of 161 indicted for war crimes during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Serbian Justice Minister Snezana Malovic said she had signed the order for Mr Hadzic’s extradition on 20 July.
One in our previous Newsletter I have already talked a lot about war crimes in Yugoslavia and I have expressed my viewpoint concerning the International Criminal Court and its activities. At least for me it is obvious that ICC is very politically oriented institution and its last activities just proved my hypothesis. The issues relating to war crimes in Yugoslavia are closely connected with the political and economical integration of Serbia to the big European family. The authorities of Serbia are really willing to become part of that family and have already done some part of their obligations. Serbia hopes it will allow it to draw a line under the war crimes story and move closer to European Union membership. For years prosecutors in The Hague complained that Belgrade was not doing enough to track down top war crimes suspects, including Mr. Hadzic. That criticism delayed progress in Serbia’s EU bid.
His arrest comes less than two months after Serbia caught former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic.
Serbian President Boris Tadic told reporters that Mr Hadzic had been detained in the mountainous Fruska Gora region, north of Belgrade, near his family home.
Serbian prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said the breakthrough in the hunt for Mr Hadzic came when he tried to sell a stolen painting by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani.
But in this case concerning the future of Serbian European integration I’ve got another big question. So now Serbia has arrested everybody from the list, what would be the next demand from the EU to Serbia? I really consider that the next one would be related to the recognition of Kosovo, as the most of the EU member states has recognized its independence and at least for me it would be soooooooooo interesting to see what would do Mr. Tadic and his government when they face with this problem….
See more by the following link http://www.euronews.net/2011/07/22/last-fugitive-from-yugoslav-conflict-arrives-in-the-hague/
Libya and the future of the Colonel Gaddafi
Libyan rebels claim to have retaken much of the oil port of Brega. But more than 40 people on both sides were reported killed in a week of fighting. The news comes as it was revealed US officials have met Libyan envoys in Tunisia demanding that Muammar Gaddafi must go. Brega has for months marked the eastern limit of Gaddafi’s control and is not to be given up lightly.
Moussa Ibrahim – Libyan government spokesman said: “After they capture Brega they might stop. This tells you something: all they want is oil, well we will defend Brega until the death of the last attacker.” In Benghazi two rebel fighters killed in the Brega clashes have been buried. Benghazi is the base for the rebels’ National Transitional Council which is poised to run Libya once Gaddafi goes.
But Russia has recently launched a scathing attack on the US and others for recognising the council, accusing them of taking sides in the conflict.
Simultaneously, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi vowed not to negotiate with rebels over the future of the North African nation. He made his comments in an address to supporters in his home town of Sirte during a rally broadcast on Libyan state television. “I will not speak to them. There will not be any talks between me and them until Judgment Day,” Gaddafi said in an audio message. NATO has been carrying out airstrikes on Libya over the past four months but Gaddafi has clung on to power and rebuffed allied demands to step down. France has now softened its stance, suggesting he could be allowed to remain in Libya. The rebels also appear willing to accept a compromise that he stay on home soil.
Mahmoud Jibril, the head of the Transitional National Council, said that idea was “a possibility that can be worked on to try and make him leave power.” “If Gaddafi does not leave power, there is no room for an exchange of ideas,” Jibril said.
In Paris rebel leaders from Misrata have asked President Sarkozy for more help. Their hosts want to avoid a prolonged conflict. The French foreign minister, Alain Juppé, said one idea being studied was to let Gaddafi stay in Libya as long as he quits power.
While the French entertained the rebels, the Russians were meeting the Libyan government. In Moscow both countries’ foreign ministers held talks: Russia like the west seeking an end to the war.
Moscow, a strong critic of NATO’s military campaign against Gaddafi, says the talks were held at Tripoli’s initiative.
The Libyan leader has been stepping up his efforts to show off his support in the towns he still controls. Tuesday’s rally in al Azizyah town 40km southwest of Tripoli, the fifth in 12 days, heard him vow to fight on.
Besides that the Western and Arab leaders met in Istanbul to seek a political end to Libya’s civil war. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton are among the dozen or so foreign ministers participating in Friday’s conference. The meeting comes amid conflicting signals over whether Muammar Gaddafi intends to surrender power. Earlier this week, there were signs that the 69-year-old dictator was ready to step down if he could get a deal. A crucial question, if Gaddaffi does agree to leave office, is whether he would be allowed to stay in Libya or takes refuge in a third country. British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said that Friday’s meeting was “important to show the commitment of the world and to give the [Gaddafi] regime the sense that it has nowhere to go.”
The extended fighting in Libya has brought a French proposal that leader Muammar Gaddafi be allowed to stay in the country. In what is clearly a strategic minefield, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has said foreign powers are ready to let Gaddafi stay if he steps down. France is keen to prevent NATO-led military action in Libya from dragging on. In Madrid, Juppe said: “Gaddafi has to leave power, and give up any civil and military roles. That is a condition for us that could lead to a cease fire and a resumption of national dialogue.” Washington shared this view. The White House also said it is up to the people of Libya to decide whether to banish Gaddafi.
See more on Libya here http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/07/18/libya.talks/index.html
Afghanistan; land of freedom?
A symbol of Afghanistan’s post-Taliban rebirth in flames and under fire. Insurgents attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in the capital Kabul during a provincial governors’ conference there at the end of June. It took Afghan security forces – backed by NATO air support – more than four hours to flush them out in a bloody gun battle.
It is the latest evidence Afghan forces are far from ready to defend their country. Still, US President Barack Obama – facing eroding domestic support for the war and an election next year – has decided to proceed with a troop drawdown.
It reverses a surge that improved security in some areas, though at heavy cost. Other countries are also pulling troops out even though the Taliban are far from defeated. With Osama bin Laden dead, many see little strategic value in Afghanistan anymore. With thousands of lives and hundreds of billions already spent over a decade, the international community is fast losing patience with an Afghan government that still can not defend itself.
NATO’s gradual handover of security to Afghan control has continued with a ceremony in Mehterlam in the province of Laghman.
It is one of seven areas to be transferred in the build-up to a withdrawal of all foreign combat troops by the end of 2014. But Ashraf Ghani Ahmadadzai who is head of the Transition Commission tried to calm concerns that Taliban insurgents will carry out more attacks to try and disrupt the transition. “The world’s strong support is with us, no one should think that the transition means that the world is abandoning us.” Ahead of Wednesday’s handover of Lashkar Gar in Helmand province, security has been stepped up. Seven police officers were killed two days ago in an attack on a checkpoint. Helmand is a Taliban stronghold and Lashkar Gar’s transfer is a critical test of the readiness of Afghan forces to assume control. Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmond province, is due to pass back to Afghan but worsening violence has cast a shadow over the transition process. NATO forces have been hard at work trying to train enough Afghan soldiers and police to takeover security operations in the volatile area.
The Taliban claimed responsibility and the frequency and scale of the recent violence is a major concern for NATO personnel. On the day the Taliban carried out operations against Afghan security forces General David Petraeus handed over command of foreign troops in Afghanistan. And Taliban attacks show no sign of abating.
So we may see that not all is going to plan….
See more by this link http:/www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14257679
In this newsletter we would have three focuses…
The Very Demonstration of Gender Equality
July 21, 1960. Sirimavo Bandaranaike enters office as the prime minister of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), becoming the world’s first elected female head of government. Bandaranaike’s husband Solomon had been in the post but was assassinated by a Buddhist monk. Bandaranaike promised to continue her husband’s socialist policies and is remembered for public displays of emotion, including bursting into tears, which earned her the nickname “weeping widow” among her detractors. She served three periods in office, the last of which ended in August 2000. Her daughter Chandrika Kumaratunga went on to become Sri Lankan president between 1994 and 2005. Her son Anura Bandaranaike also served as the country’s foreign minister. So, all of us acknowledge the importance of gender equality and we would try to remember that July 21, 1960 was the day when the international community for the first time got a female leader.
Nelson Mandela – Living Legend
South Africans have been celebrating Nelson Mandela’s birthday. The icon of decades of struggle to overturn the country’s apartheid regime is 93. The man himself, who spent 27 years in captivity for his beliefs, remained quietly at home but millions of schoolchildren played a central role in the festivities. Members of his family helped with 67 minutes of voluntary work – one minute for each of the 67 years of Mandela’s political struggle. Bridget Masango from the Nelson Mandela Foundation said: ‘This day to me signifies the birth of a man who has not only changed the lives of South Africans, who has changed the lives of the entire world by saying to them “if you have a vision nothing will stop you achieving that vision just for as long as you don’t give up”.’ And throughout the country children sang Happy Birthday to the man they affectionately know as Madiba. Mr. Mandela is one of the greatest political figures of the last 4-5 decades and his legacy would live for centuries.
From the side of IPWG we join to all good wishes and wish Mr. Mandela health and new achievements in his life.
The Newest Member of the International Community
On 9 July 2011 it was Independence Day in South Sudan and citizens of the world’s newest nation took to the streets to celebrate.
Having voted to breakaway in a referendum, their dreams became reality at the stroke of midnight as Africa’s largest country split in two. While Khartoum was the first capital to recognize the independence of the south, border issues and other unresolved disputes with the north remain. Decades of north-south civil war were triggered by differences over ideology, religion, ethnicity and oil.
It ended with a peace deal in 2005 but an estimated two million people, most of them southerners, died in the fighting. As those they have left behind look to the future, international concerns remain about stability. And, on the eve of secession, the UN Security Council voted to establish a new peacekeeping force for the oil-producing but underdeveloped south.
So, from my side, I congratulate the newest nation in the world and wish them to establish democratic, good governance based on the rule of law and respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Author : ipwg