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National Liberation Army joins Colombia’s search for peace

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The Colombian government announced on 30 March the beginning of the formal phase of peace negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the second largest guerrilla group in Colombia. These talks, together with those nearing completion with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Havana, are the country’s greatest opportunity yet to end 52 years of armed conflict. But how different will this peace process be compared to the one with the FARC? What lessons can be learned from the latter,

Features | Kyle Johnson | 28 June 2016 | Hits: 5

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Iraq: On the Edge of Chaos

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The recent storming of Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone by protesters led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr brought to the surface a longstanding dilemma: the system which has governed the country since 2003 is in need of radical reform, but because the ruling political class has in many ways come to embody the system, it is highly resistant to genuine change. Street protests and recalcitrant politicians have created a combustible formula, paralysing state institutions and threatening to

Features | Maria Fantappie | 28 June 2016 | Hits: 6

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Nigeria: Buhari clarifies retirement of senior military officers

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Following accusations of premature retirement of senior military officers, the Buhari administration has condemned the publishing of “outrageous figures and names of serving officers as being retired,” Franklin Adesegha writes Allegations that those retired had strong ties with former president Goodluck Jonathan sparked controversy, prompting army spokesman Col. Sani Usman to explain that the affected officers,

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 28 June 2016 | Hits: 5

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Venezuela’s toxic combination: Too many guns, too little food

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By Phil Gunson, Crisis Group Venezuela is a country of almost 900,000 square kilometres with over 30 million inhabitants. But a few, run-down city blocks in the west of the capital, Caracas, carry a significance far beyond their size and population. Known as “el centro”, this part of Libertador municipality holds the presidential Miraflores palace, many ministry buildings, the Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, or TS J) and the headquarters of the electoral authority (Consejo Nacional Electoral, or CNE). In the past few days “el centro” has been the scene of a variety of events that speak volumes about the depth of the combined political,

Features | Crisis Group | 28 June 2016 | Hits: 5

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Can high-stakes diplomacy save Syria’s battered truce?

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The fragile Cessation of Hostilities in Syria, in place since 27 February, has unravelled in the north over the last few weeks, as fighting escalated around the strategic city of Aleppo. Forces loyal to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and allied Iranbacked foreign fighters mounted a new offensive aimed at encircling the armed opposition in Aleppo, the most valuable piece of northern territory currently dominated by non-jihadist rebel factions.

Features | Noah Bonsey | 28 June 2016 | Hits: 6

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Women in North Caucasus

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Women in the Russian republic of Chechnya have never been under such pressure as they are today. Yet not much has been written about their role, their place in society, and their rights in Chechnya and in other North Caucasus conflicts. For more than two decades since 1994, the armed conflict between Russian federal forces and the insurgencies of the North Caucasus has been among Europe’s deadliest,

Features | NorthSouth | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 10

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South Sudan: Five years on, refugees still fleeing conflict

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The United Nations refugee agency warned that tragically people are still fleeing violence in Sudan’s South Kordofan State, most crossing into neighbouring South Sudan, as the conflict marks its fifth year. According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNH CR), nearly 250,000 Sudanese refugees have fled to South Sudan, mostly to Unity and Upper Nile,

Features | NorthSouth | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 11

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A Wake-up Call for Eritrea and Ethiopia

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A 12 June clash between Eritrea and Ethiopia comes as the Horn of Africa’s two most implacable rivals face a crossroads, writes Cedric Barnes of Crisis Group As Asmara seeks ways out of its long isolation, and Addis Ababa seeks to maintain and expand its role on the global stage, they and their partners would be wise to turn this new outbreak of violence into an opportunity to seek a compromise settlement to their long-running border dispute. Otherwise the risk remains of sinking into a destructive new round of conflict in which both would lose.

Features | Crisis Group | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 9

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US Republican stalwarts berate ‘racist’ Trump

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Republican heavyweights had been falling in line behind their presumptive US presidential nominee, Donald Trump, when suddenly he put his foot in his mouth again, writes Franklin Adesegha This time, House Speaker Paul Ryan wasted no time branding Trump’s comment ‘racist’ when he suggested a Mexican-American judge was biased against him. Mr Trump had said that US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing a lawsuit against the now defunct Trump University,

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 9

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Nigeria’s challenge of military reform

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Nigeria’s military is in distress. Once among Africa’s strongest and a mainstay of regional peacekeeping, it has become a flawed force. The initially slow, heavyhanded response to the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency raised serious concerns, and its human rights record underscores a grave disconnect with civilians. President Muhammadu Buhari has taken some steps to

Features | Crisis Group | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 10

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The catastrophic Middle East and Russia’s new role

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The long lasting Syrian war has drawn in the United States and Russia, Britain and France, and NATO and Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Kurds. Despite peacekeeping efforts by the United Nations there is no sign of a peaceful solution. A set alliance system has been accepted for decades by all the players: The United States and Saudi Arabia, and the United States and Israel.

Features | Guy Arnold | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 9

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Brazil, a leading Latin American emerging market

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The leading country in Latin America, Brazil, is enduring yet another economic crisis. It ought to be the powerhouse for the whole subcontinent. It has space, with over 3 million square miles of territory it rivals the US A and it is a storehouse of minerals and has one of the largest developed industrial/commercial sectors in the world.

Cover Stories | Guy Arnold | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 11

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Brazil’s constitutional dilemma

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Brazil gained independence from Portugal in the early 19th century, and its government evolved from monarchy to military dictatorship to civilian rule. Today, Brazil is a democratic federal republic. Rich with natural resources, Brazil’s economy is active in the agricultural, manufacturing, mining and service sectors.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 9

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Brazil’s Olympic concern

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Considering a series of health, economic, security and political issues besetting Brazil, no one knows what to expect as the day draws near for the opening of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on 5 August, writes Franklin Adesegha. In a bid to dispel worries about the country’s Zika outbreak, Brazil’s new health minister Ricardo Barros has gone on the offensive pledging that the games, which will last 16 days, will be safe. He insisted that there’s practically “zero” risk of any of the 350,000-500,000 expected foreign visitors contracting the Virus.

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 10

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Temer and Cunha deny alleged link to Petrobras scandal

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Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer denied allegations that he sought campaign funds for his party stemming from a graft scheme at state oil company Petrobras, implicating him in the country’s biggest ever corruption scandal. A plea deal by former Petrobras executive Sergio Machado, made public by the Supreme Court, said a campaign contribution requested by Temer was made legally by

Cover Stories | Alan Brown | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 10

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Brazil faces political and economic uncertainty

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Under President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor and protégé, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian economy prospered, buoyed by global demand for commodities like soybeans and iron ore that vaulted millions of the working poor into the ranks of the middle class. Slowing growth in China helped bring the good times to an abrupt end, but critics say Ms. Rousseff’s flawed economic policies compounded the misery. Brazil has a population of 210 million, equivalent to 2.83% of the total world population.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 10

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Libyan forces claim Sirte port capture from Isis

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After capturing the airport, Libyan government forces fighting to oust Islamic State fighters from Sirte, 450 kilometres (280 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, have taken the strategic port area and pinned militants into a small part of the city centre. Libya’s UN -negotiated unity government forces offensive is driving Islamic State militants from the coastal city of Sirte and illustrates the fact that the unity government is making headway and at last establishing its credibility.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 27 June 2016 | Hits: 9

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