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Personalised recommendations. Averting this scenario will require Washington and Moscow separately or in tandem to persuade Turkey not to launch an assault on YPG-held territory, to persuade the YPG to lower its armed profile, and to facilitate a deal between Damascus and the YPG that entails the return of the Syrian government to the northeast coupled with a degree of Kurdish self-rule in the area. Such an outcome would simultaneously allow Syria to restore its sovereignty, reassure Turkey by limiting YPG authority and firepower, and protect the Kurds from military attack.
It might be too late to achieve this goal. It is not too late to try.
Women line up to cast their votes during the Osun State gubernatorial election in Ede, southwest Nigeria, on Sept. Nigerians will go to the polls in February to elect a president and new federal legislature, and again in March to choose state governors and lawmakers.
Conflicts and Wars
Nigerian elections are traditionally violent affairs, and conditions this time around are particularly combustible. The presidential contest between incumbent Muhammadu Buhari and his main rival, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, will be hard fought. Such protests have a troubled precedent: Demonstrations after the polls morphed into attacks on minorities across northern Nigeria in which more than people died. The election comes atop other challenges. Levels of violent crime and general insecurity remain high across much of the country.
Civilians in parts of the northeast bear the brunt of the brutal conflict between government troops and a resilient Islamist Boko Haram insurgency. Though that bloodshed has calmed over past months, it has frayed intercommunal relations—especially between Muslims and Christians—in those areas, which are likely to see fiercely fought elections, as ballots from there could swing the national presidential vote.
Already, politicians are stoking divisions for political ends, including by using inflammatory, identity-based language against rivals. The immediate priority for the government must be to avert an election crisis by beefing up security in vulnerable states and taking steps to ensure that security forces act impartially, while all parties pledge to campaign peacefully and handle disputes lawfully. But it would be a necessary start. In September, President Salva Kiir and his main rival, the former vice president-turned rebel leader Riek Machar, signed an agreement to hold fire and rule together until elections in Most importantly, it has reduced violence.
For now, this is reason enough to support the accord. Yet the odds remain stacked against it ushering in a new era of stability. First, the deal is worryingly similar to a pact the two men signed in August , which collapsed the following year, triggering a surge in fighting. By envisaging elections in , the deal perpetuates the Kiir-Machar rivalry until then, paving the way for another showdown.
It also remains a work in progress. Most alarming, security arrangements for Juba, the capital, remain contested, as do plans for unifying a national army. In Sudan, meanwhile, Bashir faces what could be a serious challenge to his own rule. In mid-December, protesters took to the streets in many towns and cities decrying high prices and urging the president to step down. But a prolonged crisis in its northern neighbor could be hugely destabilizing for South Sudan.
Finally, donors, wary of funding deals that have collapsed in the past, are now mostly sitting on the sidelines. The United States, which until recently spearheaded Western diplomacy in South Sudan, has stepped back.
Others are waiting to see tangible steps forward by Kiir and Machar before opening their checkbooks. Such caution is understandable. But if this deal fails, it is not clear what would replace it, and the country could collapse into major bloodshed again. Some form of third-party shuttle diplomacy among regional heads of state, who back different sides and largely focus on protecting their own short-term interests, will be necessary. Without that, the fragile opportunity for peace that currently exists could evaporate.
Cameroonian soldiers secure the perimeter of a polling station in Lysoka, near Buea, southwestern Cameroon, during the presidential election on Oct. The tempo of the crisis has escalated steadily since , when Anglophone teachers and lawyers took to the streets to protest the creeping use of French in the education and legal systems.
A disputed presidential election this October, which President Paul Biya, aged 85 and in power for 36 years, won and in which few Anglophones voted, hardly helped. Nearly 10 separatist militias now battle government forces, while two organizations provide direction from abroad: the interim government of Ambazonia the putative name of the self-proclaimed Anglophone state and the Ambazonia Governing Council. Criminal gangs in Anglophone areas have taken advantage of the chaos to expand their activities. At least civilians have died in the violence.
Defusing the crisis will first require confidence-building measures. These steps could pave the way for talks between the government and Anglophone leaders, followed by some form of national dialogue in which options for decentralization or federalism would be on the table. Cameroonian authorities made a welcome move in mid-December when they released Anglophone detainees, though hundreds, including separatist leaders, are still behind bars. It remains unclear whether this signals a genuine change of heart by the government, which has appeared determined to crush insurgents rather than address Anglophone concerns.
Nor is it clear whether the release can, on its own, persuade hard-line separatists to talk rather than fight. Without meaningful, mutual compromise, Cameroon is in danger of sliding toward a major and destabilizing conflict.http://faberlicfashon.com/modules/67.php
The Top Conflicts to Watch in Iran | Council on Foreign Relations
Tens of thousands of far-right activists and veterans of the conflict between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists in the east of Ukraine walk through Kiev, lighting flares and shouting slogans, during a rally on Oct. The war in Ukraine continues to smolder with no end in sight. The latest flash point is the Sea of Azov, where in November Russian and Ukrainian vessels clashed and Russia effectively blocked access to the Kerch Strait, at the mouth of the sea. The confrontation suggests that neither side sees any advantage in compromising. As Kiev sees it, the attack on Ukrainian military ships and seizure of two dozen sailors is the culmination of months of Russian attempts to squeeze Ukrainian boats out of those waters, violating a bilateral treaty that guarantees both countries free shipping.
Moscow claims the boats were entering its coastal waters and that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko provoked the skirmish to shore up Western backing and his domestic base ahead of presidential elections scheduled for March Meanwhile, fighting in the Donbass continues, and civilians living along front lines—abandoned by both Kiev and the separatists—are paying the price. Neither Ukraine nor Russia has taken steps to end the war.
Kiev refuses to devolve power to Donbass—something it pledged to do as part of the Minsk agreements that set out a path to end the war—until Russia withdraws arms and personnel from separatist-held areas, which Moscow shows scant willingness to do. Proposals for possible peacekeeping missions have not gone far. Absent a meaningful shift in tack by either side, will most likely see more of the same. Russia may chafe at the cost of keeping separatist-held areas afloat, but it is unlikely to give up influence in the Donbass any time soon.
The Ukrainian elections or domestic developments in Russia might bring opportunities for peacemaking. But as the Azov spat shows, the danger of escalation is ever present. Members of the Bolivarian militias take part in the launching ceremony of the Plan Republica, the security operation for the presidential election, in Caracas, Venezuela, on May Home to enormous oil reserves, Venezuela ought to be the envy of its neighbors.
Poverty and malnutrition are rampant. Once-eradicated diseases, such as diphtheria, have made a comeback. On Jan. For its part, the opposition is paralyzed by infighting, with a vocal faction mostly in exile calling upon foreign powers to topple Maduro by force. The Trump administration has made similar hints. There are few good policy options. Peru and others suggest cutting diplomatic ties, but that would isolate Venezuelans as their plight worsens. If concerned outsiders are to help while discouraging talk of armed intervention, they should press for a peaceful transition, likely involving negotiations on political and economic reform between the government and opposition and some form of transitional administration.
Maduro has little incentive to agree to such a step, of course. It is unknown if the navies of the other nuclear powers yet today deploy tactical nuclear weapons at sea. The US Nuclear Posture Review emphasised the need for the US to have sub-strategic nuclear weapons as additional layers for its nuclear deterrence.
Areas of Expertise
Nuclear terrorism by non-state organizations or actors even individuals is a largely unknown and understudied factor in nuclear deterrence thinking, as states possessing nuclear weapons are susceptible to retaliation in kind, while sub- or trans-state actors may be less so. The collapse of the Soviet Union has given rise to the possibility that former Soviet nuclear weapons might become available on the black market so-called 'loose nukes'.
A number of other concerns have been expressed about the security of nuclear weapons in newer nuclear powers with relatively less stable governments, such as Pakistan , but in each case, the fears have been addressed to some extent by statements and evidence provided by those nations, as well as cooperative programs between nations. Worry remains, however, in many circles that a relative decrease in security of nuclear weapons has emerged in recent years, and that terrorists or others may attempt to exert control over or use nuclear weapons, militarily applicable technology, or nuclear materials and fuel.
Another possible nuclear terrorism threat are devices designed to disperse radioactive materials over a large area using conventional explosives, called dirty bombs.
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The detonation of a "dirty bomb" would not cause a nuclear explosion, nor would it release enough radiation to kill or injure a large number of people. However, it could cause severe disruption and require potentially very costly decontamination procedures and increased spending on security measures. The predictions of the effects of a major countervalue nuclear exchange include millions of city dweller deaths within a short period of time.
Related Conflicts and Wars: Their Fallout and Prevention
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