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Friday, April 30, 2010

War in Afghanistan and its Reasons

Friday, April 30, 2010 - 0 Comments

The War in Afghanistan (2001 – present) began on October 7, 2001, having been launched in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States of America. This marked the beginning of the Bush Administration’s campaign known as the War on Terrorism. The stated purpose of the invasion was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe honour to al-Qaeda. The U. S. and the U. K. led the aerial bombing campaign, with ground forces supplied primarily by the Afghan Northern Alliance. In 2002, U. S. and British infantry joined the attack. Later NATOK troops were added. The U. S. military’s name of the conflict was Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

Background

From May 1996, Osama bin Laden had been living in Afghanistan along with other members of al-Qaeda, operating terrorist training camps in a loose alliance with the Taliban. Following the 1998 US embassy bombings in Africa, the US military launched submarine-based cruise missiles at these camps with limited effect on their overall operations. The UN Security Council had issued Resolutions 1267 and 1333 in 1999 and 2000 directed towards the Taliban which applied financial and military hardware sanctions to encourage them to turn over bin Laden for trial in the deadly bombings of two U. S. embassies in Africa in August 1998, and close terrorist training camps.

The 9 – 11 attacks

After the September 11, 2001, attacks, investigators rapidly accumulated evidence implicating Osama bin Laden. In a taped statement, bin Laden publicly acknowledged his and al-Qaeda’s direct involvement in the 9 – 11 attacks. In an audiotape posted on a website that the U. S. claims is “frequently used by al-Qaeda”, on May 21, 2006, bin Laden said he had personally directed the 19 hijacker.

  • On 20 September 2001, in an address to a joint session of Congress, U. S. President George W. Bush delivered an ultimatum to the Taliban, to:
  • Deliver al-Qaeda leaders located in Afghanistan to the United States.
  • Release all imprisoned foreign nationals, including American citizens.
  • Protect foreign journalists, diplomats, and aid workers in Afghanistan.
  • Close terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and “hand over every terrorist and every person and their support structure to appropriate authorities”.
  • Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps to verify their closure.

The Taliban refused to directly speak to Bush, stating that talking with a non-Muslim political leader would be an insult to Islam. But they made statements through their embassy in Pakistan: the Taliban rejected the ultimatum on September 11, 2001, saying there was no evidence in their possession linking bin Laden to the September 11 attacks. On September 22, 2001 the United Arab Emirates, and on the following day, Saudi Arabia withdrew their recognition of the Taliban as the legal government of Afghanistan, leaving neighbouring Pakistan as the only remaining country with diplomatic ties. On October 4, 2001, it is believed that the Taliban covertly offered to turn bin Laden over to Pakistan for trial in an international tribunal that operated according to Islamic Sharia law. Pakistan is believed to have rejected the offer.

Moderates within the Taliban allegedly met with American embassy officials in Pakistan in mid-October to work out a way to convince Mullah Muhammad Omar to turn bin Laden over to the U. S. and avoid its impending retaliation. President Bush rejected these offers made by the Taliban as insincere. On October 7, 2001, before the onset of military operations, the Taliban made an open offer to try bin Laden in Afghanistan in an Islamic court. This counteroffer was immediately rejected by the U. S. an insufficient. It was not until October 14, 2001, seven days after war had broken out, that the Taliban openly offered to hand bin Laden over to a third country for trial, but only if they were given evidence of bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11.

The UN Security Council did not have to authorize the sue of force in the NATO-led military operations in Afghanistan as it was an act of collective self-defence provided for under Article 51 of the UN Charter. The Security Council has, however, authorized the International Security Assistance Force to use force in its mission of securing the country.

Timeline of the War

2001: Initial attack

At approximately 16:15 UTC (12:15 p. m. EDT, 20:45 local time) on Sunday October 7, 2001, America and British forces began an aerial bombing campaign targeting Taliban forces and al-Qaeda. Strikes were reported in the capital, Kabul (where electricity supplies were severed), at the airport and military nerve-centre of Kanadaha (home of the Taliban’s Supreme Leader Mullah Omar), and also in the city of Jalalabad (training camps). The U. S. government justified these attacks as a response to the September 11, 2001, attacks and the failure of the Taliban to meet any U. S. demands. The Taliban condemned these attacks and called them an “attack on Islam”.

At 17:00 UTC, President Bush confirmed the strikes on national television and British Prime Minister Tony Blair also addressed the UK. Bush stated that at the same time as Taliban military and terrorists’ training grounds would be targeted, food, medicine, and supplies would be dropped to “the starving and suffering men, women and children of Afghanistan CCN released exclusive footage of Kabul being bombed to all the American broadcasters at approximately 5:08 pm October 7th, 2001 A number of different technologies were employed in the strike. US Air Force general Richard Myers, chairman of the U. S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that approximately 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles, launched by British and U. S. submarines and ships, 25 strike aircraft from US aircraft carriers, USS CARL VINSON (CVN – 70) and USS ENTERPRISE (CVN – 65) and US Air Force bombers, such as B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortres were involved in the first wave. Two C-17 Globe-master transport jets were to deliver 37,500 daily rations by airdrop to refugees inside Afghanistan on the first day of the attack.

Main Issues between Israel and Palestinian Conflict

Main Issues; in 1980, Israel outright annexed East Jerusalem. The United Nations rejected this annexation on August 20 of that year Israel has never annexed the West Bank or Gaza Strip, and the United Nations has demanded the “termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force” and that Israeli forces withdraw “from territories occupied in the recent conflict” – the meaning and intent of the latter phrase is disputed. See United Nations Security Council Resolution 242#Semantic dispute.

It has been the position of Israel that the most Arab-populated parts of West Bank (without major Jewish settlements), and the entire Gaza Strip must eventually by part of an independent Palestinian State. However, the precise borders of this state are in question. In 2000, for example, Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat an opportunity to establish an independent Palestinian State composed of the entire Gaza Strip and 92% of the West Bank. Due to security restrictions and Barak’s opposition to a broad right of return, Arafat refused this proposal Some Palestinian claim they are entitled to all of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Israel says it is justified in not ceding all this land, due to security concerns, and also because the lack of any valid diplomatic agreement at the time means that ownership and boundaries of this land is opens for discussion. Palestinians claim any reduction of this claim is a severe deprivation of their rights. In negotiations, they claim that any moves to reduce the boundaries of this land are a hostile move against their key interests. Israel considers this land to be in dispute, and feels the purpose of negotiations is to define what the final borders will be.

A Peace Proposal/roadmap Presented by United States and United Nations

2001-Present

One peace proposal, presented by the Quartet of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States on September 17, 2002, was the Road map for peace Israel has also accepted the road map but with 14 “reservations The current Palestinian government rejected the proposal because of these 14 reservations. Israel implemented a controversial disengagement plan proposed by former Primer Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005, when Israel removed all of its civilian and military presence in the Gaza Strip, (namely 21 Jewish settlements there, and four in the West Bank), but continued to supervise and guard the external envelope on land excepting a border crossing with Egypt, which is jointly run by the Palestinian National Authority in conjunction with the European Union. Israel also maintained exclusive control in the air space of Gaza, and continued to conduct military activities, including incursions, in the territory. The Israeli government argues that “as a result, there will be no basis for the claim that the Gaza Strip is occupied territory,” while others argue that the only effect would be that Israel “would be permitted to complete the wall (that is, the Israeli West Bank Barrier) and to maintain the situation in the West Bank as is”. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has stated that further unilateral withdrawals from some West Bank settlements may be undertaken if the peace process continues to be stalled.

After repeated Qassam rocket attacks against Israeli civilian populations and the kidnapping of the 19-year-old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Israel launched Operation Summer Rains which effectively reinstituted Israeli dominance over the Gaza Strip. Although some Israelis interpret the 2006 Israel-Gaza conflict as proof that the Palestinians are not able or willing to govern themselves without resorting to terrorism and kidnappings and therefore the disengagement was a serious miscalculation, key members of the Knesse including Prime Minster Olmert said “that Israel has no intention of recapturing the Gaza Strip and that IDF forces will eventually retreat.” Hamas’s victory in the 2006 elections for Palestinian Legislative Council, and Ismail Haniyeh’s ascension to the post of Prime Minister, further complicated the peace process. Hamas openly states that it does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, although they have expressed openness to a hudna in early 2007, Hamas and Fatah met in Saudi Arabia, and reached agreement to form a new unity government. Haniyeh later resigned, and a new unity coalition government of both Fatah and Hamas took office in March 2007. Various foreign governments and organizations continued to debate as to whether the PNA had become a credible negotiating authority, and whether economic and diplomatic sanctions should be lifted.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Recent Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Repercussions on the Region

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 0 Comments

After World War Two, the conflict between the Arab and Jewish population of the British mandate of Palestine became a major international issue. The United Nations, the United State, and the Soviet Union were determined to initiate a two-state solution. The UN-mandated partition was put into effect in 1948, but was rejected by the Palestinians and every Arab state. Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948. Almost immediately, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq declared war on the nascent nation. By the conclusion of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Israel had greatly expanded its borders, and signed ceasefire agreements with all its Arab neighbours. A significant exodus of Palestinians from Israel occurred during this time, coupled with an even greater Jewish exodus from Arab lands. These changes in demographics helped lay the long-term groundwork for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since it drastically increased the size of the Jewish population of Israel, and created a problem of Palestinian refuges. By the end of 1949, only 150,123 Palestinians remained within Israel. For this reason, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict took a back seat to the broader Arab-Israeli Conflict during this time. Palestinians played a crucial role in the Egyptian-Israeli conflict during this time beginning in 1950; Egypt began using fedayeen to conduct a war of proxy against Israel. These units of Palestinians—often trained and equipped by Egypt—would infiltrate across what was then the Israeli-Egyptian border at Gaza, and conduct guerrilla raids against Israeli targets (mostly civilian in nature in the first five years of the 1950s, “884 Israelis were wounded or killed by” Palestinian fedayin trained and sent into Israel by the Egyptians. The fedyain attacks were cited as being among the factors leading up to the Israeli decision to participate in the Sinai Campaign in 1956.

The scope of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict again broadened after Israeli conquered the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt during the Six-Day War. A peace movement poster: Israeli and Palestinian flags and the words peace in Arabic and Hebrew. Similar images have been used by several groups proposing a two-state solution to the conflict.

In 1993, Israeli and Palestinian leaders from the Palestine Liberation Organization strove to find a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict known as the Oslo peace process. Perhaps the most important milestone of this period was Yasser Arafat’s letter of recognition of Israel’s right to exist. The crux of the Oslo agreement was that Israel would gradually cede control of the Palestinian territories over to the Palestinians in exchange for peace. The Oslo process was delicate and progressed in fits and starts, but finally came to a close when Arafat and Barak failed to reach agreement. Robert Malley, special assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs, has confirmed that Barak made no formal written offer to Arafat. Consequently, there are different accounts of the proposals considered. However, the main obstacle to agreement appears to have been the status of Jerusalem.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in the Light of History

Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is part of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is an ongoing dispute between two peoples, Jewish Israelis and Arab Palestinians, who both claim the right to sovereignty over the Land of Israel / Palestine in whole or in par. Throughout history, there have been many conflicts in this area between peoples inhabiting it. This particular conflict can be traced to the late 19th century, when Zionist Jews expressed their desire to create a modern state in the ancient land of the Israelites, which they considered to be their rightful homeland. The Zionist Organization sought to realize this goal by encouraging immigration thither, and purchasing land in the region, then controlled by the Ottoman Empire. After decades of the British Mandate, numerous attempts to partition the land and hostilities, the State of Israel was established. Local Arab nations started the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, in which Israel prevailed, and won control over borders which remained in place until the Six Day War. For decades after 1948, Arab governments refused to recognize Israel. They contended that Israel had engaged in unfair practices towards local Arabs, and that its creation was based on unfair diplomatic decisions.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964, before Israel occupied any of the lands of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Six Day War. The PLO’s central original tenet was complete non-recognition of Israel in 1998, Yasser Arafat stated that he recognized Israel’s right to exist, thus providing the first step needed to enable negotiations between Israel and the PLO. During the Oslo Peace Process which began in 1993, the Palestine Liberation Organization was permitted autonomy to run Palestinian affairs in the Gaza Strip and West Bank in the form of the Palestinian National Authority with the understanding that it would uphold recognition of and mutual co-existence with Israel. However there was continual contention over whether actual events and conditions proved that there was greater acceptance of Israel’s existence by Palestinian leaders. In 2006, Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council, where it remains the majority party. Its charter openly calls for the destruction of Israel, and seeks to create a Palestinian state encompassing all of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip. This has greatly impeded any diplomatic progress, as Israel declines any contact with Haas, as long as the latter calls for the destruction of Israel.

Most Palestinians accept the West Bank and Gaza Strip as at least a part of the territory of their future state. Most Israelis also accept this solution. An attempt to achieve this solution was seen in the Oslo peace process, where Israel and the PLO negotiated, unsuccessfully, to come to a mutual agreement. Vocal minorities on both sides advocate other solutions, most of which contradict the goal of ‘two states for two peoples.’ In both communities, some individuals and groups advocate total removal or transfer of the other community. A small minority advocates a one state solution, where all of Israel, the Gaza Strip, and West Bank would become a bi-national state, providing equal citizenship to all of its current residents.

One central question of this conflict is the degree to which Palestinians are willing and able to accept the right of Israel to exist, and are willing to uphold acceptance of this principle. Similarly, another central question is the degree to which Israel feels conditions exist in which it is possible to allow Palestinians to achieve sovereignty. Israel asserts that one major condition of Palestinian sovereignty must be acceptance of mutual co-existence and elimination of terrorism. Some Palestinian groups, notably Fatah, a political party founded by PLO leaders, claim they are willing to foster co-existence if Palestinians are steadily given more political rights and autonomy. However, Hamas, which is currently the majority ruling party in the Palestinian Legislative Council, openly states that it completely opposes Israel’s right to exist.

Role of US for Middle East Peace Process

US Policy toward the Middle

While US President Bill Clinton achieved a number of successes in his Middle East policy during his first term in office—most noticeably the Oslo peace agreement between Israel and the PLO that was signed on the White House lawn in September 1993 – during his second term US Middle East policy has proved much more problematic. (1) Not only has the Oslo peace process run into serious difficulty, but the US “dual containment” policy toward Iran and Iraq which he inherited from the Bush Administration and then intensified during his first term, had also come close to collapse. The US has also encountered problems in peripheral areas of the region, such as Cyprus, while also becoming beset by the problem of terrorism.

Compounding the President’s difficulties was a Republican-dominated Congress that became increasingly assertive as President Clinton became bogged down in the Lewinsky affair, which after January 1998, began to seriously threaten his presidency. This essay will examine US policy toward the Middle East in the first two years of Clinton’s second term, looking first at what American goals were at the time President Clinton was re-elected in November 1996, and then assessing the administration’s success or failure in meeting these goals by January 1999. In particular, this essay will concentrate on the US role in the Arab-Israeli peace process and US policy toward Iraq and Iran.

The Arab-Israeli Peace Process

US goals for the Middle East in the period just before the 1996 US Presidential election were clearly and concisely spelled out by then US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Robert H. Pelletrau in a speech before the Fifth Annual Southwest Asia symposium of the US Central Command (CENTO).

“Securing a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbours remains a cornerstone of our overall foreign policy. A successful peace process will enhance regional stability, remove a rallying point for fanaticism, and enhance prospects for political and economic development. The United States is engaged in several fronts to advance peace negotiations, an engagement which in turn helps achieve our other objectives in the Middle East. These include preserving Israel’s security and well-being; maintaining security arrangements to preserve stability in the Persian Gulf and commercial access to its resources; combating terrorism and weapons proliferation; assisting US businesses, and promoting political and economic reform.

Pelletrau’s emphasis on the peace process as the key to overall US policy in the Middle East reflected a realization that had become concretized in US policy over the past two decades: that it was very difficult for the US to simultaneously maintain good relations with Israel and with friendly Arab states – especially the oil producers of the Persian Gulf – unless the US was working both assiduously and successfully to bring about a peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours. While much of the Arab world, seeing a direct threat from Iraq, did rally around US efforts to repel Iraqi aggression against Kuwait in the August 1990-March 1991 period (during a time when the Arab-Israeli peace process was making little progress); during Clinton’s second term the US was to have a great deal of difficulty rallying Arab support against Iraqi violations of UN Security Council Resolutions in November 1997 and January/February 1998, at least in part because of the near collapse of the Arab-Israeli peace process. Conversely, once the US got the peace process back on track with the Wye Agreement in October 1998, Clinton got far more support from Arab states during the mid-November 1998 confrontation with Iraq, although as Wye faltered in December 1998, this was to negatively affect popular opinion in parts of the Arab world when the US finally decided to bomb Iraq.

Role of US for Middle East Peace Process

US Policy toward the Middle

While US President Bill Clinton achieved a number of successes in his Middle East policy during his first term in office—most noticeably the Oslo peace agreement between Israel and the PLO that was signed on the White House lawn in September 1993 – during his second term US Middle East policy has proved much more problematic. (1) Not only has the Oslo peace process run into serious difficulty, but the US “dual containment” policy toward Iran and Iraq which he inherited from the Bush Administration and then intensified during his first term, had also come close to collapse. The US has also encountered problems in peripheral areas of the region, such as Cyprus, while also becoming beset by the problem of terrorism.

Compounding the President’s difficulties was a Republican-dominated Congress that became increasingly assertive as President Clinton became bogged down in the Lewinsky affair, which after January 1998, began to seriously threaten his presidency. This essay will examine US policy toward the Middle East in the first two years of Clinton’s second term, looking first at what American goals were at the time President Clinton was re-elected in November 1996, and then assessing the administration’s success or failure in meeting these goals by January 1999. In particular, this essay will concentrate on the US role in the Arab-Israeli peace process and US policy toward Iraq and Iran.

The Arab-Israeli Peace Process

US goals for the Middle East in the period just before the 1996 US Presidential election were clearly and concisely spelled out by then US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Robert H. Pelletrau in a speech before the Fifth Annual Southwest Asia symposium of the US Central Command (CENTO).

“Securing a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbours remains a cornerstone of our overall foreign policy. A successful peace process will enhance regional stability, remove a rallying point for fanaticism, and enhance prospects for political and economic development. The United States is engaged in several fronts to advance peace negotiations, an engagement which in turn helps achieve our other objectives in the Middle East. These include preserving Israel’s security and well-being; maintaining security arrangements to preserve stability in the Persian Gulf and commercial access to its resources; combating terrorism and weapons proliferation; assisting US businesses, and promoting political and economic reform.

Pelletrau’s emphasis on the peace process as the key to overall US policy in the Middle East reflected a realization that had become concretized in US policy over the past two decades: that it was very difficult for the US to simultaneously maintain good relations with Israel and with friendly Arab states – especially the oil producers of the Persian Gulf – unless the US was working both assiduously and successfully to bring about a peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours. While much of the Arab world, seeing a direct threat from Iraq, did rally around US efforts to repel Iraqi aggression against Kuwait in the August 1990-March 1991 period (during a time when the Arab-Israeli peace process was making little progress); during Clinton’s second term the US was to have a great deal of difficulty rallying Arab support against Iraqi violations of UN Security Council Resolutions in November 1997 and January/February 1998, at least in part because of the near collapse of the Arab-Israeli peace process. Conversely, once the US got the peace process back on track with the Wye Agreement in October 1998, Clinton got far more support from Arab states during the mid-November 1998 confrontation with Iraq, although as Wye faltered in December 1998, this was to negatively affect popular opinion in parts of the Arab world when the US finally decided to bomb Iraq.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Criticism of the War on Terrorism against Terrorism

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - 0 Comments

Critics argue it has been used to justify unilateral preemptive war, perpetual war, human rights abuses, and other violatiosn of international law. Opponents have also heavily criticised the Iraq War, and USA PATRIOT Act. Criticism of the War on Terrorism addresses the issues, morals, ethics, efficiency, economics, and other questions surrounding the War on Terrorism. Arguments are also made against the phrase itself, calling it a misnomer.

The notion of a “war” against “terrorism” has proven highly contentious, with critics charging that it has been exploited by participating governments to pursue long standing policy objectives, reduce civil liberties, and infringe upon human rights. Some argue that the term war is not appropriate in this context (as in War on Drugs), since they belive there is no tangible enemy, and that it is unlikely international terrorism can be brought to an end by means of war. Others note that “terrorism” is not an enemy, but a tactic; calling it a “war on terror”, obscures differences between conflicts. For example, anti-occupation insurgents and international jihadists. Some have also alleged that the tactics used are counterproductive to the goals. The US media has also received criticism for its coverage of the War on Terrorism. The Bush administration’s use of the War on Terrorism to justify the invasion of Iraq has been particularly controversial, as the link asserted between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein was disproved, even by Bin Laden himself. In 2007, Presidential hopeful, John Edwards, called the War on Terror a “bumper sticker, not a plan”.

Decreasing international support

In 2002, strong majorities supported the US led War on Terrorism in Britain, France, Germany, Japan, India, and Russia. By 2006, supporters of the effort were in the minority in Britain (49%), France (43%), Germany (47%), and Japan (26%). Although a majority of Russians still supported the War on Terrorism, that majority had decreased by 21%. Whereas 63% of the Spanish population supported the War on Terrorism in 2003, only 10% of the population indicated support in 2006. 19% of the Chinese population supports the War on Terrorism, and less than a fifth of the populations of turkey, Egypt, and Jordan support the effort. However a major exception is India, where the support for the War on Terrorism has been stable. Andrew Kohut, speaking to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, noted that, according to the Pew Center polls conduced in 2004, “majorities or pluralities in seen of the nine countries surveyed said the US led war on terrorism was not really a sincere effort to reduce international terrorism. This was true not only in Muslim countries such as Morocco and Turkey, but in France and Germany as well. The true purpose of the war on terrorism, according to these sceptics, is US control of Middle East oil and US domination of the world.”

International Campaigns and Operation Against Terrorism

Campaigns and theatres of operation

Africa

Horn of Africa

In October 2002, the Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) was established in Djibouti at Camp Le Monier. It contains approximately 2,000 personnel including US military and Special Operations Forces (SOF) and coalition force members, Coalition Task Force 150 (CTF-150). The Primary goal of the coalition forces is to monitor, inspect, board and stop suspected shipments from entering the Horn of Africa. The regions and areas of Operation Iraqi Freedom Included in the operation is the training of selected armed forces units of the countries of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia in counter terrorism and counter insurgency tactics. Humanitarian efforts conducted by CJTF-HOA include rebuilding of schools and medical clinics as well as providing medical services to those countries whose forces are being trained. Somalia became the mother of all operations as the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an Islamist faction campaigning on a restoration of “law and order” through Sharia Law, had rapidly taken control of much of southern Somalia, displacing other militia and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. On July 1, 2006, a Web-posted message purportedly written by Osamam bin Laden urged Somalis to build an Islamic state in the country and warned western states that his al-Qaeda network would fight against them if they intervened there. On December 14, 2006, the US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer calimed al-Qaeda cell operatives were controlling the Islamic Courts Union, a claim denied by the ICU After seeing their power limited to the city of Baidoa, the TFG was attacked in a final ICU offensive aimed at destroying it in December 2006. But Ehtiopia intervened, defending the TFG and forcing the ICU to retreat. The ICU abandoned conventional warfare, instead opting for guerrilla combat, turning the battle to an insurgency as Ethiopia began aiding the TFG restore order. The Prime Minister of Somalia claims that 3 terror suspects from the 1998 Embasssy Bombings were in Kismayo. On 30 December 2006, al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called upon Muslims worldwide to fight against Ethiopia and the TFG in Somalia. The United States carried out several strikes against al-Qaeda targets within Somalia during 2007.

War against Terrorism

The War on Terrorism (also known as the War on Terror) is a campaign initiated by the United States government under President George W. Bush which includes various military, political, and legal actions ostensibly taken to “curb the spread of terrorism,” following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The War on Terror was authorized by the United States Congress under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists passed on September 18, 2001. Both the phrase “War on Terrorism” and the policies it denotes have been a source of ongoing controversy, as critics argue it has been used to justify unilat.

Overview

Terrorist organizations carried out attacks on the US and its allies throughout the latter part of the 20th century, prompting occasional military responses. Following the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, United States President Bill Clinton launched Operation Infinite Reach, a bombing campaign in Sudan and Afghanistan against targets associated with al-Qaeda. In October of 2000 the USS Cole bombing occurred, followed by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The latter attacks created an immediate demand throughout the United States for a response. The first aspects of the campaign came in the freezing of assets terrorist organizations and associated groups. The United Nations Security Council also adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 which obliges all States to criminalize assistance for terrorist activities, deny financial support safe haven to terrorists and share information about groups planning terrorist attacks. NATO began Operation Active Endeavor on October 4th, which stepped up security checks in the Mediterranean. After the Taliban rejected an ultimatum to turn over the al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, the United States and NATo allies began air strikes against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets on October 7, 2001. The Afghan Northern Alliance and allied militia, added by elements of the United States Special forces, began a ground offensive that succeeded in capturing most of Afghanistan by early 2002. While operations continued in Afghanistan, the campaign was expanded into the Philippines, where United States Special Forces assisted the Philippine army against elements of al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, and Abu Sayyaf. It was expanded further into the Horn of Africa, where NATO allies began training Ethiopian and Djiboutian armed forces in anti-terror and counter-insurgency methods.

On March 20, 2003, the United States, United Kingdom and a coalition expanded the campaign into Iraq, seeking to topple Saddam Hussein for his alleged possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction and state sponsorship of terror. By May 1, they had succeeded in doing so, though an insurgency developed supported by al-Qaeda and other militant elements. Likewise, the Taliban insurgency continued in Afghanistan, and their frequent border crossings into Pakistan prompted the nation to expand the campaign further into Waziristan in 2004, to remove Taliban and al-Qaeda elements. In 2005 the Security Council also adopted resolution 1624 concerning incitement to commit acts of terrorism and the obligations of countries to comply with international human right laws. Although both resolutions require mandatory annual reports on counter terrorism activities by adopting nations the United States and Israel have both declined to submit reports.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reform Programs of United Nations

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - 0 Comments

Reform Programme

An official reform programme was begun by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan soon after starting his first term on 1 January 1997. Reforms mentioned include changing the permanent membership of the Security Council (which currently reflects the power relations of 1945); making the bureaucracy more transparent, accountable and efficient; making the UN more democratic; and imposing an international tariff on arms manufacturers worldwide.

In September 2005, the UN converted a World Summit that brought together the heads of most member states, calling the summit “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions in the areas of development, security, human rights and reform of the United Nations”. Kofi Annan had proposed that the summit agree on a global “grand bargain” to reform the UN, revamping international systems for peace and security, human rights and development, to make them capable of addressing the extraordinary challenges facing the UN in the 21st century.

World leaders agreed on a compromise text with such notable items as: the creation of a Peace building Commission to provide a central mechanism to help countries emerging from conflict; an agreement that the international community has the right to step in when national governments fail to fulfil their responsibility to protect their citizens from atrocious crimes; a Human Rights Council (agreed 15 March 2006 and first meeting 19 June 2006); an agreement to devote more resources to UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services; several agreements to spend billions more on achieving the Millennium Development Goals; a clear and unambiguous condemnation of terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations”; a democracy fund; an agreement to wind up the Trusteeship Council due to the completion of its mission.

Although the UN member states achieved little reform of UN bureaucracy, Annan continued to carry out reforms under his own authority. He established an ethics office, responsible for administering new financial disclosure and whistleblower protection policies. As of late December 2005, the Secretariat was completing a review of all General Assembly mandates more than five years old. That review is intended to provide the basis for decision-making by the member states about which duplicative or unnecessary programmes should be eliminated.

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