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  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Almost six years of intense security operations against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) by the administration of President Álvaro Uribe are beginning to produce tangible results. Government forces killed several important rebel field commanders in 2007 and two members of the central command in March 2008, including second-in-command Raúl Reyes, and have severely disrupted insurgent communications, prompting a loss of internal cohesion and decreasing illegal revenues. However, this progress has come at the cost of severely deteriorating relations with Ecuador and Venezuela and increased risk of political isolation after the controversial bombing raid on Reyes's camp inside Ecuador. Military gains can pay off only if combined with a political strategy that consistently pursues a swap of imprisoned insurgents for hostages in FARC captivity, reestablishes much needed working relations with neighbours along borders and strongly advances integrated rural development to consolidate security and broaden Colombia's international support.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America, Central America, Venezuela
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Kosovo's independence declaration on 17 February 2008 sent shock waves through Serbia's politics and society, polarising the former in a manner not seen since the Milosevic era. Rioting led to attacks on nine Western embassies, destruction of foreign property and massive looting. The government fell on 10 March, split over whether to pursue a nationalist or pro-Western path. Belgrade's efforts to create a de facto partitioning of the north of Kosovo threaten the new state's territorial integrity and challenge deployment of European Union (EU) missions there, and Serbian parliamentary and local elections on 11 May are unlikely to change the basic policy towards the new state, even in the unlikely event a pro-Western government comes to power. They may, however, well give Serbia's nationalist parties new leverage.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Nationalism, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Le risque d'une reprise des violences en Ituri est aujourd'hui limité du fait de la présence de la Mission des Nations unies (MONUC), du démantèlement de la plupart des groupes armés et de la lassitude de la population après des années de souffrance et de destructions. Cependant, les problèmes de fond à l'origine des violences extrêmes qu'a connu le district pendant la guerre – un accès équitable à la terre et une gestion transparente des revenus issus de l'exploitation des ressources naturelles et minières – restent entiers. L'absence de réconciliation intercommunautaire et l'impunité pour la grande majorité des crimes commis pendant la guerre sont également extrêmement inquiétants en perspective d'élections locales en 2009. Afin d'éviter toute reprise de la violence, dont les femmes seraient les premières à souffrir, les éléments fondamentaux d'une paix durable doivent être urgemment mis en place dans le cadre d'une stratégie intégrée impliquant les institutions nationales et provinciales avec le soutien actif de la MONUC et des bailleurs de fonds du Congo.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Civil War, Human Rights, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The 29 March 2008 elections have dramatically changed Zimbabwe's political landscape. For the first time since independence in 1980, Robert Mugabe ran second in the presidential voting, and the opposition – the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) – won control of parliament. The MDC went to the polls deeply divided, but Morgan Tsvangirai and his party regained their authority by winning despite an uneven playing field. Instead of allowing democracy to run its course, Mugabe has fought back by withholding the presidential results for five weeks and launching a countrywide crackdown. Zimbabwe is in constitutional limbo: it has no elected president or legally constituted cabinet, parliament has not been convened, and ZANU-PF and the MDC are challenging half the parliamentary results in court. African leaders, with support from the wider international community, must step in to stop the violence and resolve the deepening political crisis, ideally by facilitating an agreement establishing an MDC-led transitional government that avoids the need for the run-off now scheduled for 27 June.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Miriam Prys
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: South Africa's “quiet diplomacy” has been often used to reject the notion of South African leadership or regional hegemony in southern Africa. This article finds that this evaluation is founded on a misguided understanding of regional hegemony, which is based on conventional hegemony theories that are mostly derived from the global role of the United States after World War II. Alternatively, this article uses a concept of hegemony that, for example, takes into account the “regionality” of South Africa's hegemony, which both allows external actors to impact on regional relations and allows South Africa to pursue its foreign policy goals on the global level of international politics. This concept helps to systemically analyze South Africa's foreign policy in the Zimbabwean crisis and to better integrate this policy into the broader framework of its regional and global ambitions.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, South Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: U.S.-backed security operations in the southern Philippines are making progress but are also confusing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency with dangerous implications for conflict in the region. The “Mindanao Model” – using classic counter-insurgency techniques to achieve counter-terror goals – has been directed against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and has helped force its fighters out of their traditional stronghold on Basilan. But it runs the risk of pushing them into the arms of the broader insurgencies in Mindanao, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The U.S. and the Philippines need to revive mechanisms to keep these conflicts apart and refocus energies on peace processes with these groups. That imperative has become particularly acute since the Malaysian government announced withdrawal, beginning on 10 May, from the International Monitoring Team (IMT) that has helped keep a lid on conflict since 2004. If renewed attention to a peace agreement is not forthcoming by the time the IMT mandate ends in August, hostilities could quickly resume.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Philippines
  • Author: Mari Luomi
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The purpose of this study is to enhance understanding of the new geopolitical situation currently unfolding in Middle Eastern politics that has emerged since the onset of the United States-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The paper focuses on the notions of the Sunni-Shia divide and the Rise of the Shia.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Esther K. Ishengoma, Robert Kappel
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Ugandan micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) still perform poorly. The paper utilizes data collected in Uganda in March and April 2003 to analyze the business constraints faced by these MSEs. Using a stratified random sampling, a sample of 265 MSEs were interviewed. The study focuses on the 105 manufacturing firms that responded to all questions. It examines the extent to which the growth of MSEs is associated with business constraints, while also controlling for owners' attributes and firms' characteristics. The results reveal that MSEs' growth potential is negatively affected by limited access to productive resources (finance and business services), by high taxes, and by lack of market access.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Frank Bliss, Stefan Neumann
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: Participation has become one of the most important buzzwords in the international development discourse since at least the middle of the 1990s. In the same way as older key terms such as gender and socio-cultural conditions of development, or new concepts such as good governance and ownership, the increasing claims for participation (of target groups, of beneficiaries, of stake-holders etc.) are usually accompanied by a critical assessment of previous development cooperation which needs to be improved by stronger, more comprehensive or target-oriented participation. However, this positive connotation of participation shared by almost all actors in the field is increasingly challenged through critical remarks forwarded by theoreticians and practitioners alike.
  • Topic: Civil Society, International Cooperation, Politics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Central Asia
  • Author: Cintia Smith Pussetto, Nancy Janett García Vázquez, Jesús David Pérez Esparza
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: CONfines de Relaciones Internacionales y Ciencia Política
  • Abstract: Monterrey, capital city of Nuevo León, has distinguished itself for an outstanding peripherical industrialization process that started at the end of the nineteenth century and achieved its consolidation during the twentieth. Monterrey is an unique object of study in the extent that it links the industrial structures with the development of a conservative local bourgeoisie, which has showed resistance toward the centralizing trends of the Mexican State. This paper presents the results of a content analysis of the city's most important newspaper, El Norte, in order to determine its role as a broadcaster and reinforcer of the local bussiness ideology.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Spain