On the ninth of July, the former Republic of Sudan split to form Sudan and the new Republic of South Sudan. It is inevitable that some people will disregard this ‘unimportant nation’ as no news of any concern at all but I think that is pitifully naïve, and here is why. First, before it split, it was the largest country in Africa, with a potentially huge emerging market for businesses and entrepreneurs who were willing to go into the warzone. Secondly, since the current president of Sudan (the old president of the two combined countries) is wanted for crimes against humanity and genocide against the South Sudanese.
This split is, if nothing else, a triumph of diplomacy to avoid such mass scale killings. Thirdly, the combined international importance of the oil wealth in South Sudan alongside being blacklisted by USA as a sponsor of Continue reading
President Barack Obama has announced that he is withdrawing 33,000 troops from Afghanistan to be completed by summer 2012, just months before the presidential election in November. He said that 10,000 of those leaving Afghanistan would start this month. This will leave about 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan along with a coalition of other nations.
In his speech announcing the withdrawal, he restated quite clearly that the “goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply: no safe-haven from which Al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland, or our allies”. Continue reading
Britain is to become, in the words of International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, a “foreign aid superpower”. The Department for International Development’s (DfID) budget of £7.9 billion is one of a few select areas of government spending being ring-fenced from the coalition’s cuts programme, and David Cameron recently committed to increasing the budget still further.
It is known that a lot of DfID money is misspent, often given to despots without any real oversight (or serving to worsen the situation the aid is trying to repair, as occurred in the case of Ethiopia). However, this cannot and should not obscure the fact that some of it is spent well and, in those instances, it saves lives. Continue reading