13 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2022
    1. Western states are doing little to stop or dissuade their citizens from going. The sight of scores of young men traveling abroad to fight for a righteous cause with little except for feeble statements to temper their enthusiasm is again unsettlingly reminiscent of the early days of the Libyan and Syrian revolutions.

      This just feels like simplistic copy&paste: motivations and structures to include fighters in professional force are completely different.

  2. Dec 2021
    1. William Nordhaus (2018: 345, 359), estimates that ‘damages are 2.1 percent of global income at 3°C warming and 8.5 percent of income at 6°C’, while also warning that the longer the delay in taking decisive action, the harsher the necessary countermeasures.

      Nordhaus has produced and stands by mostly discredited models that only work with problematic (read: unrealistic) assumptions. One good 'debunking' is https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14747731.2020.1807856

    1. Those interventions seem distant from the reality in Viento Libre, where teachers suggest a different set of solutions: opportunities, food, and basic well-being. “We need to work on prevention,” said Lucia, a teacher of older students. “We need to show these children other examples.” For now, few examples are in sight outside the walls of the classroom.

      Building positive peace that translates into resilience to initial recruitment and whatnot vs reacting to a hydra of profitable violence and crime.

    2. Although schools are open again and lockdowns lifted, recruitment’s momentum is proving difficult to stop. Indigenous authorities in Cauca said armed groups have already penetrated community life. More and more families have a member who has been recruited or joined, rendering them in various ways dependent on the armed groups for economic survival. Anyone who dares to speak out faces serious repercussions.

      Once these dynamics start: how do you interrupt them? There is no return to a previous status quo, there is a need for 'deradicalization', eventually (young) men experienced in violence... many dynamics that are hard to undo on a systemic level. +Monopoly of violence seemingly with the groups

    3. As they swept across new areas, they found untended and bored young people wherever they looked. Outside large cities, few students had access to internet or any sort of virtual classes, so when schools closed, teachers could only provide occasional paper lessons and worksheets. Professors lost touch with pupils in some cases. Armed groups stepped in to fill young peoples’ free time. “They created football clubs, taught classes—many students stopped their official studies and chose a different path,” said a female Indigenous leader from Caloto municipality. “The students who [stayed] with their [virtual] studies were threatened.”

      As everywhere, armed groups are smart about local dynamics and politics, and move faster than official responses. Smart and depressing each time.

    1. Commanders displaced hostile populations, rewarded loyal constituencies with NGO development projects, and attacked opponents under the guise of disarmament and demobilization campaigns. If in Juba the international community dined out on imported wine and mozzarella in restaurants next to the Nile, in the rest of the country, the civil war continued.

      The answer to how DRR programs can get hijacked, and questions about what resources would have been necessary to do this differently (and if they would ever have been raised).

    2. Oil revenues and donor funds went into the pockets of commanders who built a rentier economy predicated on the redistribution of external income to armed supporters.

      At that stage, anything else would create instability, or so goes the DRR argument. The continued violence and instability followed anyway.

    3. Rebel movements in Sudan have always been reliant on manipulating external supporters. Garang could appear Marxist to the SPLM’s Ethiopian backers and then, following tectonic regional shifts and the collapse of the Derg regime in Addis Ababa, miraculously become the paragon of national self-determination that his American cheerleaders wished him to be.

      'Local' actors are not at the mere whim or victims of outside powers. The interface of the two often reverses that power-dynamic to some degree, and integrates it into the long-history of 'local' power struggles across recent and not so recent history. But then enough outside powers know this, they just lack imagination and tools to do more than a certain minimum and 'progress will sort this out' approach.

    1. Suddenly, it was no longer responsive to the communities that had brought it legitimacy in the first place. Within four years, having expanded too rapidly and been beset by accusations of corruption, LPI effectively closed all its programs in the DRC.

      Not doubting the veracity, just unable to find any articles on this.

    2. I wonder if they are trying to have us start a war so that we finally get aid projects!

      Reminds me of aid-dependency issues everywhere: in the context of extreme poverty and hardship, attracting 'investment' into the community is a form of entrepreneurship.

      Memories of local activists being backed off moving a rubbish dump because others expect an NGO to show up and put money into the community. The romanticisation of the Local.

    3. The local simply offers an immediate unproblematic moral good onto which they can grasp to justify their work. Just as James Scambary could be cloaked in self-righteousness for living among the locals, so too can the entire industry save its soul through local peacebuilding.

      In Afghanistan, this represented the 'turn to the local' and doing 'bottom-up / small p peacebuilding' etc.. In Yemen it's the push for 'peace writ small' whose terminology only gets updated. Other examples abound, but still: there is legitimacy to this approach, it is just often not entirely sincere or thought-trough how this may link local to national efforts (espc with regard to national-level accountability to the local...)

      The academic literature on 'everyday peace' (MacGinty et al.) and 'turn towards the local' has stalked all this since at least mid 2000s, but arguments for it go back way way farther. Critiquing liberal peacebuilding is still en vogue but hasn't advanced us other than providing a tool to articulate the need to engage 'the local'. And then this article's critique comes back to bite and haunt us. Everything is political, even if technocrats and principles would like it to be different.

    1. Still, Van der Lijn, the researcher, called such programmes an “afterthought”. He said European states “refuse to condition” their military support on respect for human rights in Niger and neighbouring countries because they “fear losing influence” to new actors in the region, such as Russia.

      Russia playing its part, and Europeans too callous to do much about it.

    2. Despite the abuses, a lot more funds are likely to be invested in Niger as its geopolitical influence grows. The country is expected to become the main hub for foreign forces in the Sahel as France closes its military bases in neighbouring Mali – part of a wider restructuring of its regional military footprint that is already underway.

      Local, national and international politics mixing and playing into the hands of (military-)elites over civilian interests. Impunity and abuses in the name of security and fighting terrorism, whether acknowledged or not, haunt our post 9/11 world, and more specifically the continued global 'War on Terror'.