Monday, March 09, 2009

Around the World: Darfur/Sudan, the United Kingdom, France, Iran, and Turkey

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Here's our latest ATW round-up -- all very interesting stories, make sure to check them out:

1) Darfur/Sudan: Darfur's Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the leading anti-government rebel group, is taking the fight directly to Khartoum. JEM is supported by Chad and is now much stronger than it was just a few years ago.

"If the international community fail to act... we will go to Khartoum and topple the regime ourselves -- we are quite capable of that,” said Ahmed Hussein, a spokesman for the group and a member of its Executive Leadership Office. I realize that there is a lot of blame to go around in Darfur and Sudan, and that JEM is not without its faults, but it is hard not to support any effort that seeks to bring down the thugocracy of President Omar al-Bashir.

2) United Kingdom: A group called the Real IRA has claimed responsibility for the recent attack on Britain's Massereene military base. Two soldiers were killed in the attack: "The soldiers are the first to be murdered in Northern Ireland since Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was killed by an IRA sniper in 1997."

In response, Prime Minister Gordon Brown had this to say: "I think the whole country is shocked and outraged at the evil and cowardly attacks on soldiers serving their country. We will do everything in our power to make sure that Northern Ireland is safe and secure and I assure you we will bring these murderers to justice. No murderer will be able to derail a peace process that has the support of the great majority of Northern Ireland." Like Blair, Brown can sound a lot like Bush in his depiction of the world as the struggle between good and evil. Regardless, he is right to stand firm against such terrorism.

3) France: Oenophiles of the world unite! In Givry, a small village in Burgundy, just south of Dijon, residents are fighting back against a new industrial waste facility that threatens their centuries-old traditions, not to mention their famous wine.

"The source of the Givry winemakers' outrage, which has driven them into the courts, is a small problem in terms of the number of people it affects. The population in the village, where the church steeple is still the tallest structure around, is 3,600. But it is part of a broader struggle throughout France, the struggle to balance tradition and modernization, that goes deep into the country's soul and is proving more challenging as the years go by." I don't know much about the specifics, but my inclination, in this case, is to side with the old against the new.

4) Iran: President Mahmoud Ahmad(man)inejad has apparently been the target of a shoe-throwing attack in the Iranian city of Urmia. He deserves far worse.

Meanwhile, Iran has tested a new missile. I have long been in support of high-level diplomacy with between the U.S. and Iran, and I generally reject the warmongering rhetoric of the neocons and their ilk, but Iran is evidently asking for trouble with its military posturing.

5) Turkey: The Turks are still in denial over the Armenian genocide, to the extent that they know anything about it at all. It is state policy to deny, deny, deny -- and, where possible, not to mention it at all. But there are positive signs that the truth is spreading. Make sure to read this, especially if you don't know much about what happened.

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  • In response to the Northern Ireland attacks, I think it's a cowardly move by the "Real IRA" and I think they are just trying to get attention because their story has been dormant for so long that people have forgotten about it. For more info on the story,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:28 PM  

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