Freitag, 29. Mai 2009

The Scarcity of Land in Somalia

I have long argued that the conflict in Somalia and its violent offsprings - like piracy and insurgencies against ill-fated transitional governments - have been fuelled by the scarcity of fertile land. In the Somali setting, land has effectively become a source of conflict, fostered by oftentimes violent competition over access to fertile grounds. The Bonn International Center on Conversion (BICC) published one of my latest pieces on the Somali conflict, in which I try to explain the link between the Somali conflict and the land issue. It can be obtained at:
http://www.bicc.de/uploads/pdf/publications/papers/occ_paper_03/occasional_paper_III_04-09.pdf

Montag, 25. Mai 2009

Liz Cheney Defending the Past in the Present

Liz Cheney made the strangest of all arguments on this weekends CNN State of the Union, repeating her fathers talking point that the release of the torture memos made the US less safe by enabling terrorists to prepare for these techniques. But I was left wondering: Would it not make sense to have the terrorists train for so called enhanced interrogation techniques that the United States are unlikely to employ ever again so that terrorists would at least be tied up for the time being and stop training for suicide attacks?

On a more serious note: The two Cheneys managed to redirect the debate on torture, away from the prosecution of those who decided to conduct torture to whether or not the current administration is headed down the right path. Having such a debate is laudable but at the end of the day there should be no doubt: It is not pendering to Europe to uphold the principles of the rule of law. If Cheney indeed thinks that it is, someone needs to redirect the debate to the issue of prosecution.