Tag: Kenya

Peace Picks February 10-14

1. Iran’s Tumultuous Revolution: 35 Years Later

Monday, February 10 | 11am – 12:30pm

6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center; 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW


Presented by The Middle East Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Shaul Bakhash
Clarence J. Robinson: Professor of History, George Mason University 

Mehdi Khalaji
Senior Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

John Limbert
Distinguished Professor of International Affairs, United States Naval Academy

Karim Sadjadpour
Senior Associate, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Haleh Esfandiari
Director, Middle East Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

There will be a live webcast of this event.

2. Aghanistan Development Goals: 2014 and Beyond

Monday, February 10 | 12:15pm – 1:45pm

New America Foundation, 1899 L Street NW Suite 400


The drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan, together with the forming of a new Government of Afghanistan following the upcoming elections scheduled for this April, will present new challenges for the United States in how it can most effectively deliver assistance in Afghanistan.

What are the challenges and how will the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) approach them? How will USAID build on the successes it has achieved over the past ten years? Furthermore, as USAID assistance transitions to longer-term development with a focus on health, education, gender, and economic growth led by agriculture, how will the agency continue to conduct effective oversight and monitoring in an ever evolving environment to ensure that U.S. taxpayers’ funds are used effectively?

One of the people that can help address those concerns is Donald “Larry” Sampler Jr., who was recently sworn in as the Assistant to the Administrator for USAID’s Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, officially taking over responsibility for two countries with the largest USAID budgets. Mr. Sampler will make remarks regarding these issues, which will be followed by a panel discussion to explore these and other questions further.  For the discussion, Mr. Sampler will be joined by the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Jarrett Blanc, who works on international partnership, reconciliation, and political transition issues.

The New America Foundation is pleased to host this dialogue about the U.S. government’s development goals in Afghanistan both in 2014, a year of many transitions in the country, and beyond.

Donald “Larry” Sampler, Jr.
Assistant to the Administrator, Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, U.S. Agency for International Development

Jarrett Blanc
Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. Department of State

Omar Samad
Senior Central Asia Fellow, New America Foundation
Former Afghan Ambassador to Canada and France

There will be a live webcast of this event here.

3. Champions for Justice: Bahrain’s Prisoners of Conscience

Hosted by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain and Creative Peace Initiatives

Tuesday, February 11 | 11am – 1pm

Abramson Founders Room, SIS Building, American University; 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW 

To RSVP, please e-mail events@adhrb.org

Dr. Jeff Bachman, SIS Professor and Director of Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs Program

11 – 11:30am – Q&A segment featuring:

Matar Ebrahim Matar
Political activist, Former Opposition Leader and Member of the Bahraini Parliament

11:45 – 1pm – Panel featuring:

Joshh Colangelo-Bryan, Pro Bono Attorney for Imprisoned Human Rights Activist Nabeel Raja, Consultant for Human Rights Watch

Brian Dooley, Director of Human Rights Defenders Programs at Human Rights First

Dr. Shadi Mokhtari, SIS Professor focused on Human Rights, Middle East Politics, and Political Islam

4. Understanding the Continuing Violence in Iraq

Tuesday, February 11 | 12pm

Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute; 1000 Massachusetts Ave NW


More than three years after the departure of U.S. combat troops from Iraq, a determined insurgency rages against the government led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Violence has claimed thousands of lives. Some question whether the Iraqi government can maintain control of several major cities, including Fallujah, the scene of some of the toughest fighting during the eight-year-long U.S. war in Iraq. Some of Maliki’s critics accuse him of stoking the unrest by refusing to make concessions to minority groups in Iraq, in particular Iraq’s Sunni Arab community. Others say that the prime minister should firmly reassert his authority by going after violent extremism and deterring others from supporting the insurgency. The panelists will consider several questions, including: What explains the continuing violence in Iraq? Can Iraq’s disparate communities unite behind a strong central government? And what role, if any, should the United States play?

Douglas Ollivant
, Senior National Security Fellow, the New America Foundation

Harith Hasan, Author of Imagining the Nation: Nationalism, Sectarianism and Socio-political Conflict in Iraq 

Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute

Moderated by
Justin Logan, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

Watch this event online at http://www.cato.org/live

Luncheon to follow this event.

5. Achieving Greater Inclusion in post-Arab Spring Countries

Tuesday, February 11 | 2pm – 3:30pm

Saul/Zilkha Rooms, Brookings Institution; 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW


The Arab Spring was about political and economic inclusiveness. Three years later, the outcomes of the revolutions have been mixed. In Morocco, the king responded by revising the constitution, carrying out free parliamentary elections and letting the winning party form a new government. In Tunisia, political parties debated on a new constitution for nearly three years and now a neutral government has been appointed to supervise elections. Meanwhile, in Egypt, the struggle between Islamists and secular-nationalists has turned violent, weakening economic growth and increasing unemployment.

On February 11, Global Economy and Development at Brookings will host a discussion on inclusive growth in the post-Arab Spring countries. The discussion will be based on a series of papers on the political economy of the Arab transitions and efforts to foster inclusive growth in the region. The papers are authored by Brookings scholars and their colleagues from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and present case studies from Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia.

Kemal Derviş
Vice President and Director, Global Economy and Development and The Edward M. Bernstein Scholar

Hafez Ghanem
Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development

Daniela Gressani
Deputy Director, Middle East and Central Asia International Monetary Fund

Akihiko Koenuma
Director-General, Middle East and Europe Department Japan International Cooperation Agency

6. Inside Aleppo: New Tools for Understanding the Syrian Conflict

Thursday, February 13 | 8:30am – 9:30am

American Security Project, 1100 New York Ave NW

REGISTER by Wednesday, February 12th

The American Security Project will host Dr. David Kilcullen and Mr. Nate Rosenblatt of Caerus Associates who will provide a briefing on findings from what may be the most detailed, publicly available assessment of the ongoing conflict in Syria to date.

Findings will be based on four months of in-depth, time-series research from within Aleppo, Syria’s largest, most diverse, and most economically relevant city. Today, Aleppo is one of the most divided cities in the country. Tomorrow, its future may resemble that of other, large, non-capital cities in post-conflict Middle Eastern states such as Libya’s Benghazi or Iraq’s Mosul.

The presentation will examine research findings that suggest that while the national picture in Syria looks bleak, important insights gained at the city-level can help policymakers and scholars think of new ways of examining the trajectory of Syria’s conflict. In addition to findings specific to Syria, the presenters will be joined by Mr. Matt McNabb of First Mile Geo, who will discuss how innovative technologies can be leveraged for collecting, visualizing, and analyzing high-fidelity data from the first mile of conflict affected parts of the world.

Moderated by Stephen A. Cheney, Brigadier General USMC (Ret.)

Breakfast snacks and refreshments will be served at 8:00am

7. Soft Power in Countering Extremism from the Horn of Africa to the Western Sahel

Thursday, February 13 | 9am – 11am

Lindner Commons (Room 602), The Elliot School of International Affairs; 1957 E Sreett NW


The rise of radical Islamism and its ideological force have migrated from Somalia in the early 1990s westward through the northern part of Africa known as the Sahel. Crises related to religious extremism, including jihadism and the application of Shar’ia law, have spread rapidly from Somalia to Kenya and across the Sahel to Nigeria, Mali and Algeria with evidence of propagating radicalizing even diaspora populations living in the West.

The panelists, all experts in the role of communication and soft power in countering radicalization, will discuss and debate the strategic influence of Western powers, in particular the US and the UK, in changing the narrative toward stability, tolerance, and democratization.

About the Panelists
Sir Robert Fry
 is chairman of Albany Associates and former Deputy Commanding General of Coalition Forces in Iraq of the Royal Marines. He is involved in a number of boards and advisory roles to companies in the security and banking sectors throughout Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Currently, he is a visiting professor at Reading University and a visiting fellow at Oxford University.

Simon Haselock is co-founder and chief operating officer of Albany Associates. From 1995-96, he served as the NATO spokesman in Sarajevo and later as Media Commissioner in Kosovo. He went on to lead the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for Media Development in Iraq.

Alberto Fernandez is the coordinator of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications at the U.S. State Department. Previously, he served as U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea and chargé d’affaires to Sudan. His other posts include senior level public diplomacy positions at the embassies in Afghanistan, Jordan, and Syria. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Fernandez speaks fluent Spanish and Arabic through his training at the Defense Language Institute.

Todd Haskell is the director for Press and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department. Previously, he served as a Public Affairs Officer in Santo Domingo, Johannesburg, and Ouagadougou. Other overseas assignments include Pakistan, the Philippines, Israel, and Mexico. He is a graduate of Georgetown University. 

8. A Mixed Picture: the Political and Economic Future of the Arab Transitions

Thursday, February 13 | 3:30pm – 5pm

12th Floor, Atlantic Council; 1030 15th Street NW


The last few tumultuous years in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen present a complex picture of progress and setbacks. Three years after Egyptians successfully toppled a thirty-year old dictatorship, there are fears of a return to military-backed rule. In contrast to the bleaker picture from Cairo, Tunisians have successfully navigated political deadlock and approved a new constitution. Yemenis have concluded an inclusive National Dialogue process, and Libyans are gearing up to elect a constitution-drafting body and initiate their own national dialogue. While there are significant challenges ahead and security issues are paramount, citizens of all four countries are unlikely to continue to tolerate the corruption, mismanagement, and exclusion that characterized the pre-revolution era. Given this dynamic, what are we likely to see in the next few years?

Lina Khatib will describe key political trends that will shape the next phase of these transitions and Mohsin Khan will discuss the economic state of affairs and how these economies will fare moving forward. Placing the Arab awakening within the global context, Ellen Laipson will compare the Arab transitions to other previous cases of political and social upheaval.

This event also marks the release of two major Hariri Center publications: Mohsin Khan‘s Issue Brief, “The Economic Consequences of the Arab Spring,” and a report on “The State of the Arab Transitions” by Mirette F. Mabrouk and Stefanie Hausheer.

Lina Khatib

Carnegie Middle East Center

Ellen Laipson
President and CEO
Stimson Center

Mohsin Khan
Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
Atlantic Council

Moderated by
Mirette F. Mabrouk
Deputy Director for Regional Programs, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
Atlantic Council

Please use the West Tower elevators when you arrive.
The event will be followed by a wine & cheese reception.

A live webcast of the event can be seen here

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The end is nigh, once again

2013 is ending with a lot of doom and gloom:

  • South Sudan, the world’s newest state, is suffering bloodletting between political rivals, who coincide with its two largest tribes (Dinka and Nuer).
  • The Central African Republic is imploding in an orgy of Christian/Muslim violence.
  • North Korea is risking internal strife as its latest Kim exerts his authority by purging and executing his formally powerful uncle.
  • China is challenging Japan and South Korea in the the East China Sea.
  • Syria is in chaos, spelling catastrophe for most of its population and serious strains for all its neighbors.
  • Nuclear negotiations with Iran seem slow, if not stalled.
  • Egypt‘s military is repressing not only the Muslim Brotherhood but also secular human rights advocates.
  • Israel and Palestine still seem far from agreement on the two-state solution most agree is their best bet.
  • Afghanistan‘s President Karzai is refusing to sign the long-sought security agreement with the United States, putting at risk continued presence of US troops even as the Taliban seem to be strengthening in the countryside, and capital and people are fleeing Kabul.
  • Al Qaeda is recovering as a franchised operation (especially in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and North Africa), even as its headquarters in Pakistan has been devastated.
  • Ukraine is turning eastward, despite the thousands of brave protesters in Kiev’s streets.

The Economist topped off the gloom this week by suggesting that the current international situation resembles the one that preceded World War I:  a declining world power (then Great Britain, now the US) unable to ensure global security and a rising challenger (then Germany now China). Read more

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The world according to CFR

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) survey of prevention priorities for 2014 is out today.  Crowdsourced, it is pretty much the definition of elite conventional wisdom. Pundits of all stripes contribute.

The top tier includes contingencies with high impact and moderate likelihood (intensification of the Syrian civil war, a cyberattack on critical US infrastructure, attacks on the Iranian nuclear program or evidence of nuclear weapons intent, a mass casualty terrorist attack on the US or an ally, or a severe North Korean crisis) as well as those with moderate impact and high likelihood (in a word “instability” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq or Jordan).  None merited the designation high impact and high likelihood, though many of us might have suggested Syria, Iraq  and Pakistan for that category. Read more

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Peace picks, December 16-20

DC is beginning to slow down as the holiday season is fast approaching, but there are still some great events this week.  We won’t likely publish another edition until January 5, as the year-end doldrums will likely last until then:

1. The Middle Kingdom Looks East, West, North, and South: China’s Strategies on its Periphery

Monday, December 16 | 9:00am – 10:30am

Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Fifth Floor


China’s recent declaration of an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea and its territorial claims over 80% of the South China Sea are focusing renewed American attention on Chinese strategy.  To understand China’s policies, deployments, and ambitions in the Western Pacific, we must analyze China’s attitudes toward all of its 14 border States and Pacific neighbors, and toward its near and more distant seas.

The Kissinger Institute’s 2013 series of public programs will conclude with a talk by renowned author Edward Luttwak, who will lead a discussion of China’s strategy throughout its periphery, with an emphasis on the Diaoyu/Senkakus and other regional disputes.

Read more

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Somalia’s New Deal, or not

Decades of instability and war have transformed Somalia into a hotbed for extremist activity. Despite international and regional efforts to foster progress on security and development, the militant Islamist group al-Shabaab plays a significant role in the country. On Tuesday, the Woodrow Wilson Center hosted a panel discussion on the future of security and development in the impoverished nation. Read more

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No idyll

The Kenyan Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission has finally reported on its five-year effort.  While some of its findings will be contested, the overall picture is all to clear.  Anyone still thinking of Kenya as idyllic should peruse the executive summary:

The Commission finds that between 1895 and 1963, the British Colonial administration in Kenya was responsible for unspeakable and horrific gross violations of human rights. In order to establish its authority in Kenya, the colonial government employed violence on the population on an unprecedented scale. Such violence included massacres, torture and ill-treatment and various forms of sexual violence. The Commission also finds that the British Colonial administration adopted a divide and rule approach to the local population that created a negative dynamic of ethnicity, the consequences of which are still being felt today. At the same time the Colonial administration stole large amounts of highly productive land from the local population, and removed communities from their ancestral lands.

The Commission finds that between 1963 and 1978, President Jomo Kenyatta presided over a government that was responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights. These violations included:

  • in the context of Shifta War, killings, torture, collective punishment and denial of basic needs (food, water and health care);
  • political assassinations of Pio Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya and J.M. Kariuki;
  • arbitrary detention of political opponents and activists; and
  • illegal and irregular acquisition of land by the highest government officials and their political allies

The Commission finds that between 1978 and 2002, President Daniel Arap Moi presided over a government that was responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights. These violations include:

  • Massacres;
  • unlawful detentions, and systematic and widespread torture and ill-treatment of political and human rights activists;
  • Assassinations, including of Dr. Robert Ouko;
  • Illegal and irregular allocations of land; and
  • economic crimes and grand corruption.

The Commission finds that between 2002 and 2008, President Mwai Kibaki presided over a government that was responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights:

  • unlawful detentions, torture and ill-treatment;
  • assassinations and extra judicial killings; and
  • economic crimes and grand corruption

The Commission finds that state security agencies, particularly the Kenya Police and the Kenya Army, have been the main perpetrators of bodily integrity violations of human rights in Kenya including massacres, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, and sexual violence.

The Commission finds that Northern Kenya (comprising formerly of North Eastern Province, Upper Eastern and North Rift) has been the epicenter of gross violations of human rights by state security agencies. Almost without exception, security operations in Northern Kenya has [sic] been accompanied by massacres of largely innocent citizens, systematic and widespread torture, rape and sexual violence of girls and women, looting and burning of property and the killing and confiscation of cattle.

The Commission finds that state security agencies have as a matter of course in dealing with banditry and maintaining peace and order employed collective punishment against communities regardless of the guilt or innocence of individual members of such communities.

The Commission finds that during the mandate period the state adopted economic and other policies that resulted in the economic marginalization of five key regions in the country: North Eastern and Upper Eastern; Coast; Nyanza; Western; and North Rift.

The Commission finds that historical grievances over land constitute the single most important driver of conflicts and ethnic tension in Kenya. Close to 50 percent of statements and memorandum received by the Commission related to or touched on claims over land.

The Commission finds that women and girls have been the subject of state sanctioned systematic discrimination in all spheres of their life. Although discrimination against women and girls is rooted in patriarchal cultural practices, the state has traditionally failed to curb harmful traditional practices that affect women’s enjoyment of human rights.

The Commission finds that despite the special status accorded to children in Kenyan society, they have been subjected to untold and unspeakable atrocities including killings, physical assault and sexual violence.

The Commission finds that minority groups and indigenous people suffered state sanctioned systematic discrimination during the mandate period (1963-2008). In particular, minority groups have suffered discrimination in relation to political participation and access to national identity cards. Other violations that minority groups and indigenous people have suffered include: collective punishment; and violation of land rights and the right to development.

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