Links to Start Your Week 11/2/14

Middle East

Since the end of WWII, there has been more global interest in investigating and prosecuting war crimes, which ultimately led to the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC.) However, the ICC only investigates after conflicts end, which can lead to evidence being lost or destroyed. So NGOs in Syria are working to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes committed by all sides in Syria’s ongoing civil war.

A Palestinian-Israeli citizen writes about her experience returning to her country.

On a related note: the UN Human Rights Committee, which conducts periodic reports on signatory countries, recently concluded their report on Israel and listed several concerns, including violations of the rights of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories, the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and “institutionalized ill-treatment of Palestinian children” in Israeli detention facilities, to mention just a few.

A writer over at one of my favorite blogs, War on the Rocks, looks at how ISIL may be overreaching.


Liberia has quarantined an entire slum to fight Ebola. Moves like that are great to demonstrate to a worried public that you are doing something to fight Ebola, but absolutely worthless at actually fighting Ebola. In fact, it increases the danger by making it harder for supplies and medical professionals to access the people who are actually sick in the slum (West Point,) and puts both the sick and healthy people (all 70,000 of them) now trapped there in greater danger. Riots followed the decision, and a teenager who tried to leave West Point was shot and killed.

Burkina Faso has experienced a military coup. Protesters are in the streets demanding a return to civilian rule.

Latin America

On September 26, 43 Mexican students training to be teachers disappeared. Authorities now believe that 22 corrupt police officers captured the students and turned them over to a local gang. The police officers and the leader of the gang, the Guerreros Unidos, have been arrested. So far one student has been found dead.


The U.S. and coalition troop drawdown in Afghanistan continues, but there are no signs that the drone war in the region will abate. Also, NATO decided to classify a report assessing the abilities of the Afghan security forces, which seems problematic, and the opium economy there is booming, possibly supported by recent irrigation projects. Also, apparently the U.S. still gives government contracts to people who they know are active members of the Afghan insurgency, for reasons that remain unclear to me and to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.


The U.S. Department of Defense has called climate change a “threat multiplier.” Essentially, the idea is that although it can be difficult to directly link a conflict to climatic events, they can place greater stress on already unstable societies. Here are five historical examples.


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