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January 22nd, 2015

Imminent Offensive Against FDLR Raises Old Grudges and New Fears

Evan Gray, Blog Writer

Since January 2nd, the deadline for the surrender of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), UN and Congolese forces have begun preparations for a major military offensive against the Hutu rebel group, which has wreaked havoc in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since its formation in 2000. With the 3,000-strong United Nations Force Intervention Brigade and the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) readying to lead the assault against the 1,500 or so remaining FDLR rebels, the stage is set for a major confrontation. Yet, at the time of writing, the DRC’s president, Joseph Kabila, has still not signed off on the joint agreement that would allow UN and FARDC forces to begin their operation.
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December 23rd, 2014

Lack of Cooperation Stymies International Criminal Court Investigation in Darfur

By Evan Gray

On Friday, the 12th of December, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, officially shelved the Court’s investigation into war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region until further notice. Despite over 9 years of investigation and the existence of 5 outstanding arrest warrants in the case, Bensouda, blaming the UN Security Council’s refusal to enforce ICC decisions regarding Darfur, declared her decision was necessary in order to shift the court’s resources to “other urgent cases.” Unlike the ICC’s recent decision to drop charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, this decision does not prevent alleged war criminals like Sudan’s current president, Omar al-Bashir, from facing charges in the future. However, the announcement does point to serious problems with the ICC, in particular its lack of enforcement capabilities and its increasingly dysfunctional relationship with African leaders and governments.

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December 17th, 2014

Potential for “Slow-Burning Genocide” in Burma

By Sho Shibata, Blog Writer

While much of the world applauds Myanmar for its recent policy shifts towards a democratic system, the Rohingya Muslim population continues to face systematic extermination. The Rohingya are increasingly in danger of a “slow-burning genocide,” and so it is imperative that world leaders speak out against those responsible. Other nations have hardly taken Myanmar’s government to task for its segregationist policies and a situation increasingly reminiscent of apartheid. Such policies are not recent developments either – they are, in fact, very old news.

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December 9th, 2014

Tabit Mass Rape Allegations Provoke Backlash Against Darfur Peacekeepers

By Evan Gray, Blog Writer

Last month, local media outlets in Sudan’s Darfur region reported horrifying allegations of a mass rape committed by Sudanese soldiers in the town of Tabit. According to these reports, more than 200 women and children were subjected to sexual violence on the orders of a Sudanese army commander, who mistakenly believed the villagers to be responsible for the disappearance of one of his men. The recent events in Tabit have refocused international attention on the ongoing violence and insecurity in the Darfur region – a serious problem that had fallen out of the public eye in recent years. However, widespread criticism of the response by UNAMID’s, the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, has also created a parallel controversy, calling into question the effectiveness of the world’s largest peace-keeping operation.

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December 2nd, 2014

Building a Syrian State

By Chad Rickaby, Blog Writer

Subaltern Realism, as proposed by Mohammad Ayoob, is an interesting re-conceptualization of international relations which pushes the margins of society to centre stage. When applied to the situation in Syria, the theory encourages us to consider the experience of the subaltern (un-empowered people on the margins of post-colonial societies) in the context of state-building. As we will see, Subaltern Realism provides an explanation for Syria’s recent trend of political divisiveness, which progressed quickly into anarchy. Syria’s longstanding inability to develop a unified national identity (which included its subaltern groups) created opportunities for groups like ISIS to garner support and control of the volatile area.

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