Publication of the Research/Action Team on Nonviolent
Large Systems Change,
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Vol. XX, No.3 Spring 2006
Nonviolent Change Journal helps to network the peace community: providing dialoguing, exchanges of ideas, articles, reviews, reports and announcements of the activities of peace related groups and meetings, reviews of world developments relating to nonviolent change and resource information concerning the development of human relations on the basis of mutual respect.
Compiled by Steve Sachs
Spring has arrived finding the world facing increasing difficulties with only a few clear advances, some of which are significant. The January issue of CrisisWatch (http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3856&l=1) found that 11 conflict situations around the world deteriorated in December.
A surge of violence in
Nuclear negotiations with
In Colombia, despite an optimistic start to government talks with leftist ELN rebels, the Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia (FARC) killed 37 in two of the worst attacks in years against security forces.
The situations also deteriorated in
The Democratic Republic of Congo held its first democratic vote in four decades as an overwhelming majority of the population approved a draft constitution.
For January, CrisisWatch
No new Conflict Resolution Opportunities were identified for January.
The simmering conflict in eastern
To help secure the province, the UN Mission (MONUC) should
deploy several thousand more peacekeepers to
In its March report, ICG
found eight conflict situations around the world deteriorated in February,
Security deteriorated in
Two conflict situations showed improvement in February. In
Then on March1, ICG reported that 10 conflict situations around the world deteriorated in March (Crises Watch, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=4057).
In summary, "heavy
The presidential election in
The situation also deteriorated
Four conflict situations showed improvement in March 2006.
Prospects for Côte d‚Ivoire's
long-delayed peace process improved as Forces Nouvelles leader Guillaume Soro
For April 2006,
The possibility of stopping nuclear weapons proliferation may well
have reached the point of impossibility. Negotiations continue with
Keir A. Lieber and
Daryl G. Press stated, in the April-May 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs, that in the absence of Cold War restraints,
because of mutually assured destruction (MAD), the Bush administration is engaged in a revitalized nuclear program as
part of its strategy to remain, for the foreseeable future, the only
superpower and to prevent the emergence of a peer competitor to replace the
Soviet Union. That requires
substantially changing the rules of arms control and nonproliferation.
"Now that MAD and the awkward equilibrium it maintained are about to be
upset, the argument has become deadly serious. Hawks will undoubtedly see the
Doves, on the other hand, are fearful of a world in which the
Owls worry that nuclear primacy will cause destabilizing
reactions on the part of other governments regardless of the
The deal announced in New Delhi, in March, under which India will be allowed access to U.S. nuclear technology and fuel in exchange for subjecting the non-military part of its nuclear program -- 14 of its 22 atomic facilities -- to international inspection has been favorably received by some, including International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohammed ElBaradei, as a visionary breakthrough that will strengthen non-proliferation efforts on the basis of contemporary realities.
Others, including a number of members of Congress (which has yet to approve or vote down the agreement) and many nuclear arms experts, condemn it as undermining the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT), while encouraging nuclear arms development by Iran, North Korea and other potential nuclear arms developers by sending the message that the best way to win acceptance as a nuclear power is to go ahead and build and test weapons, giving some indication of an intent to manage them responsibly.
Iran quickly stated that there was hypocrisy in the U.S. agreeing to supply fuel and technology to a country staying out of the NPT, that used its nuclear energy program to build nuclear weapons, while denying the rights of Iran, an NPT signatory, that has refrained from building atomic weapons (though intelligence indicates that Iran is moving to do so).
Many critics believe that the
The International Crisis Group cautioned,
at the end of January, that the
ICG states, however, that "
No other country has the interest and political position in
In a panel discussion
at the Middle East Institute, December 5, Imperial
Hubris author Michael Scheuer argues that the
Zbigniew Brezinski made similar observations, in December, in
criticizing President Bush's 'Islamophobia' in the President's efforts to
compare Islamist radicalism with communism. It should be noted that there is a difference of interest and
policy between internationally oriented Jihadists, like el Qiada, and
nationally oriented islamists, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and
The publishing of cartoons, on their face
mocking the Prophet Muhammad, by a Danish newspaper and reprinted in various
European newspapers, triggered extended and often violent protests across the
In late February civil war clearly exploded in Iraq, as insurgents blew up the Golden Dome, the most sacred Shiite Mosque in the country, leading to Shiia counter attacks immediately against 27 Sunni Mosques, and later against hundreds more as sectarian fighting expanded to involve many thousands of people in the streets, with 150 dead and a great many injured in the first two days.
The government attempted to end the violence with a curfew, while leading Shiite clerics, including Ayatollah Sustani called for restraint, with protest channeled into peaceful demonstrations, while numerous Shiite and Suni clerics called upon their congregations not to attack each other's mosques; but the sectarian conflict continues at a slightly lower level, while the Iraqi Parliament has long been unable to form a government, faced with severe differences of views by the leading factions.
The New York Times reported, April 2, that thousands of Iraqi civilians have fled mixed neighborhoods to take refuge in areas dominated by their own sect or ethnic group, often protected by its own militia. It is largely at the neighborhood level, rather than on the political stage, that the civil war is taking place.
Juan Cole, in Informed Comment, March 6, explained
the centrality of the city of
Kurds are powerful, so Jaafari reached out to
At this point, the divisive forces in
groups are united on the basis of a common Iraqi nationalism, in opposition
to the presence of Coalition forces, and to Kurdish attempts to take
commentators (TIME.com, February 23) view Sadr, who's Mehdi Army has twice
launched insurrections against the
The International Crisis Group states, "The U.S. and its allies seem to know little about the enemies they are fighting in Iraq, despite volumes of information on insurgent web sites, chat rooms, magazines and videos, which are a large part of their communication with each other and their constituents.
Analysis of this undervalued communication suggests armed
insurgency groups are less divided between nationalists and foreign jihadis
than commonly reported, and are increasingly coordinated, confident and
information-savvy. The better the
Coalition forces should take what the opposition says seriously, rather than dismiss it as propaganda, and adjust political strategy accordingly. An anti-insurgency approach based squarely on reducing the insurgents‚ perceived legitimacy - rather than, as at present, on military destruction and dislocation - is likelier to succeed". For the full report go to: www.crisisgroup.org.
Meanwhile, corruption in
In March, a reporter who had written that over 7000 Iraqis had been killed by death squads that month, had to flee the country because the death squads were unhappy about his publishing that fact. A study by the Iraq Body Count (IBC) project suggests that 12,617 Iraqis were killed over the past year, prior to the upsurge in deadly violence triggered by the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque. This is the highest annual death toll since George Bush declared the Combat stage of the invasion over in May 2003. The report indicated that sectarian violence is responsible for a growing number of deaths.
Only 370 of last year's death toll could be direct attributed to US-led forces, compared with 2,231 from what IBC called anti-occupation activity against coalition and Iraqi government targets (http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=354752006). Meanwhile, the economic and service situation remains terrible, fueling unrest, with very high unemployment, public utilities erratic in their functioning, and the fabric of daily life remaining disrupted in much of the country.
Daniel Jordan and Neil Wollman, "Why the war is a waste," in the
several reports indicate that, at the invasion's third anniversary, more than 250,000 Iraqis have died from violence or the breakdown of basic health care and other infrastructure. Poverty, childhood malnutrition, inflation and unemployment are skyrocketing.
Academics and other professionals have left the country after
being targeted for murder or kidnapping, draining
Stephen Biddle argues, in Foreign
Affairs, March-April, 2006, that the U.S.
is mistakenly waging a Vietnam type war in Iraq, employing tactics designed
to combat a Maoist "people's war," where Iraq is now a low
intensity civil war.
Knowledgeable commentators are divided about
what the best course now is for the
One proposal is for the coalition
forces to redeploy just outside of
A major shift has taken place in the with Palestinian Elections Middle east situation. Hamas won the majority of seats in Palestinian Parliamentary elections, and with no other parties willing to join it in a government, has formed its own government headed by a Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya, considered pragmatic in his approach, by many.
Fatah member Abas remains President. While his not being a member of Hamas may make it easier for Israel and some other governments to negotiate, through him, with the Palestinian Authority, the government is firmly controlled by Hamas.
Well more than a majority of Palestinians do not accept Hamas' view that Israel should be destroyed, but the combination of continuing corruption and narrow old guard leadership in Fatah, the splits in that party, the non-existence of a real peace process, continued Israeli repression and worsening conditions in the very poor economy all contributed to Hamas coming to power.
A sign of that much of the vote
for Hamas was a protest vote, is that Hamas gained a larger percentage of the
balloting in previously Fatah majority areas, than in areas in which it
previously claimed a majority of voters. Al-Jazeera.net reported
on a poll conducted by the Ramallah-based Near East Consulting Institute in
late January. The poll found that
almost three-quarters of Palestinians want the newly elected Hamas movement
to drop its call for the destruction of
Because of Hamas stance on the
destruction of Israel, the United
States, Israel and some western
European governments have considered cutting off funding to the Palestinian
Authority, and a few have done so, unless Hamas declares that Israel has
the right to exist. This is very unlikely for the foreseeable future. A broad
cut off of finances from
Many commentators believe that
such an action would strengthen, rather than weaken Hamas (as indiscated by
Fatah's sharp criticism of the proposal), while increasing support from
radical Islamists. The International Crises Group recommends, "There are risks, but the West needs to adopt a
policy of gradual, conditional engagement to encourage Hamas to choose
politics over violence. Incorporation into local and national governance may
cause it to move away from the military path by giving it a stake in
stability and emphasising the political costs of a breakdown. The EU, with
more flexibility than the
In February, Jimmy Carter (See, "Don't Punish the Palestinians, http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022106Z.shtml) urged "It would not violate any political principles to at least give the Palestinians their own money; let humanitarian assistance continue through UN and private agencies; encourage Russia, Egypt and other nations to exert maximum influence on Hamas to moderate its negative policies; and support President Abbas in his efforts to ease tension, avoid violence and explore steps toward a lasting peace."
Violence may be on the rise. At the end of March, a member of the Popular
Resistance Committees was killed when a bomb destroyed his car. A spokesman
for the Committees blamed the Palestinian security forces of collaborating
The most important problem the new Hamas government will have to
deal with is security, bringing order to the Palestinian territories, and
preventing attacks on
The Israeli elections appear to have put the centrist
party Kadima in position to lead the government, if it can form a
collation, which will likely be with Labor and two religious parties. The main
result of the elections is that the hold of the nationalistic-religious bloc,
which had dominated
All the right-wing parties together won 32 seats, the religious parties 19. With 51 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, the rightist-religious wing can no longer block all moves towards peace. Significantly, the "National Union", the party that is completely identified with the settlers, won only 9 seats - more or less like last time.
After the destruction of the
At first glance, the election victory of
Hamas, and the continuation in
The International Crises Group stated, in mid-February, that
"with further violent unrest in
Western policies meant to support development of political and economic openness have failed". The new focus should be on a strategy to maintain political activity, civil society and educational opportunities in the expectation of future change to a more reasonable government; and a plan to reduce the impact instability in Uzbekistan would have on its neighbors" (For the full report:http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3952).
In late March ICG
reported that the unresolved conflicts
in the South Caucasus could explode into full-fledged wars at
"With its reputation as an 'honest broker', the EU has a
greater role to play, and especially since the 2004 enlargement brought the
In a late March briefing on Papua, ICG
warns that, "The Papuan People's
Council, the key institution charged with easing tensions between Papuans
and Indonesia's central government, may be about to collapse, with grave
consequences given the region's current volatility. Created in late October
2005 as the centerpiece of the autonomy deal, the Council was almost
immediately confronted with two major crises: stalled talks over the legal
status of West Irian Jaya and riots over the giant
If the Council can now
maneuver its way through the two crises, it may yet be able to take on other
outstanding grievances and become what Papua has always lacked, a genuinely
representative dialogue partner with
A major element in widening unrest in
In the most serious unrest in Turkey since the forming of the Turkish Workers Party (now illegal) in 1984, a number of Kurds have been killed by police gunfire in protests and riots over high unemployment, poverty and the failure of the government to provide more autonomy to Kurdish areas. A bombing at a bus stop, attributed to Kurdish separatists, also occurred in March. In recent years, the Kurdish language has been made legal to speak and the Turkish government has allowed more Kurdish cultural freedom.
announced in December that it will
establish four military bases in
The International Crises Group (ICG) stated, in February, that, "To create a stable Kosovo, the international community must dare to impose independence rather than attempt finessing Pristina and Belgrade's differences with an ambiguous and unstable settlement. While agreement between all parties remains desirable in theory, it is extremely unlikely that any Serbian government will voluntarily acquiesce to the kind of independence, conditional though it is likely to be, which is necessary for a secure, long-term solution".
However, Kosovo‚s Albanian majority must first agree to guarantee Serbian and other minority rights. The EU and its member states should commit additional resources to the Western Balkans. In addition, the international community will have to remain in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo to avoid a violent breakdown after independence.
ICG found in January, "
ICG, stated in a March report on France that, "The riots of October-November 2005 and the jihadist militancy in its Muslim population are the product of not only discrimination and exclusion but also the absence of political representation and a resulting sentiment of abandonment, all of which France must urgently address."
round of talks among the political parties began in
ICG has found that
"The failure of the Annan Plan to
Given that no settlement process is in sight, and that attempts to negotiate interim confidence building measures seem likely to be an unproductive diversion, the only way forward is a series of unilateral efforts by the relevant domestic and international actors aimed at sustaining the pro-solution momentum in the north, inducing political change in the south, and advancing inter-communal reconciliation.
External players should exert pressure upon the political elites of both communities for immediate recommencement of negotiations. The key to unblocking the situation is for the Greek Cypriot leadership to re-engage with the process in a meaningful way".
Recent International Crises Group (www.crisisgroup.org). Reports urge
the need for rapid strong international action in several places in
The government and donors need to
concentrate on several crucial points: following-through on the Governance
and Economic Management Assistance Plan (GEMAP); training the new army;
reforming the judicial sector; and rebuilding basic infrastructure. Donors
should realise that money spent on
The security services, quickly, must be made able to maintain order during national elections in the spring, while reducing the staggering death rate from armed conflict. Far more must be done to create an effective unified army with a single chain of command. Police reform must transform a patchwork approach that largely neglects the countryside.
"All other development and progress -
from elections to humanitarian assistance to economic activity - depend on
establishing and maintaining a secure environment". "Only a
comprehensive international strategy will halt the brutal insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army in
Governments committed both to ending the war and achieving accountability in Uganda need to devise and apply a far-reaching plan that complements and reinforces the International Criminal Court (ICG) indictments and the peacemaking efforts of Betty Bigombe, including: apprehending ICC inductees; pressing Uganda and neighboring states to co-operate to fight LRA incursions; getting the Ugandan military to focus on protecting civilians; supporting Bigombe‚s moves to renew dialogue with the LRA including incentives for its non-indicted leaders; pushing for a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) program; establishing a truth and reconciliation commission; and providing for the basic humanitarian needs of displaced persons. All these pieces have to be substantially enhanced and fit together to make peace".
is increasing in
In January, the Zapatista National Liberation Army of
Details of the campaign are available from Global Exchange: http://www.globalexchange.org/countries/americas/mexico/dispatches
The investigative reports of Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho and the attempts to silence her (she was in Jail in Arizona, as of March 1, in the midst of extradition proceedings to send her to Mexico) are illuminating the Mexican "international pedophile rings, drug trafficking and its related violence, the brutal exploitation and abuse found in the off-shore assembly plants that make our clothes and our televisions. All form part of the underbelly of globalization where illegal activities have increased on a par with trade in legal goods and services". the full report is in the Interrnational Relations Center (IRC) Americas Program report at: http://americas.irc-online.org/am/3132.
On February 7 after considerable violence, and indications that some of the vote that should have gone to the winner were stolen, Haitian voters elected Rene Preval president by a large margin. However, Haitian elites, with support from the international community, undercut the victory, in negotiating a deal that boosted Preval, over the 50% of the vote, to avoid a runoff election.
"By choosing to negotiate the process instead of confirming the clear winner through a fair count, it provides leverage for those seeking to delegitimize Mr. Preval's presidency and block the progressive social and economic policies that he was elected to implement," says Brian Concannon, Jr. (CrossBorder UPDATER, March 1, 2006, http://americas.irc-online.org/updater/3133).
The International Crises group reported
a finding on
While the July 2005 Justice and Peace Law has serious shortcomings that make it difficult to end impunity and establish the truth for grave crimes committed by demobilized individuals and to achieve fully satisfactory reparations for victims, it can be an important vehicle for protecting Colombia's democracy against dangerous paramilitary and criminal interference.
It needs, however, to be revised and implemented effectively." In March, Columbian voters gave a substantial parliamentary victory to a center-right wing coalition supporting President Uribe, and increasing the strong likelihood of his being reelected to the Presidency in May. Columbia's annual National Peace Prize was awarded in 2005 to the Diocese of Quibido in Chaco Province for nonviolent defense work to safeguard indigenous and Afro-Columbian people.
In late March, thousands of Indigenous Ecuadorians were blockading roads and
highways, threatening to overthrow President Alfredo Palacio’s government if
he signs a free-trade pact with the
Faced with protests, visits to executives homes, barrages of e-mails and years of unfavorable press, Bechtel corporation gave up its $50 million law suite against Bolivia at a secrete international trade court run by the World Bank, to recover claimed damages from cancellation of its water privatization contract at Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2000.
Ecologist Gretchen Daily has been a
spokesperson for an approach to ecological preservation that is gaining
support: considering farms and forests
as ecological assets that must not be squandered (See, "Investing in
Green," Newsweek, June 6,
2005). Examples of this approach include Costa Rica establishing a system of
payments for watershed services, such as drinking water quality, maintaining sediment-free
water to hydro-electric dams; Pierre Vitel in France paying farmers to
maintain water quality and for supplying the farmers. Another example is a
proposal to reclaim the
British Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a report, in January, based on government funded research, finding that the threat from global warming is "greater than we thought," and green house gasse are being produced at a "rate that is unsustainable."
A Federal District Court in Northern California, in September, decided that a suite, brought by two environmental groups, can proceed against federal government agencies for damage caused by global warming, resulting from their financial investments.
Julian Delasantellis wrote in
"US living on borrowed time - and money," Asia Times, March 28 http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12537.htm
, that the Treasury International Capital (TIC) report shows that the world is beginning to resist loaning
additional money to the United States as a result of its huge deficit and
continually growing imbalance of payments. So far, the refusal is small, but
it indicates the beginning of a likely quickly expanding trend that, if not reversed by the
The current-account data report how
With a projected $975 billion government budget deficit for 2006, the income of foreign capital is no longer enough to cover the rising deficit. Many commentators believe that only the large surplus of foreign investment has kept interest rates low, propelling real-estate sales and increases in stock equity prices. The projected shortfall is only $5 billion for this year, which after the large surpluses may only have a moderate effect, but if the shortfall increases, the impact is likely to be extremely damaging.
While violent and other crime is generally occurring at reduced rates