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Title Changed: Current news about Liberia.

 
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2003 11:22 pm
I think, most of the above mentioned IS in the news (perhaps not always on the frontpage).

At least here in Europe.

Besides Eritrea (some non-govermental agencies are doing a very good job there), Sri Lanka (>Taliban) has still big problems.

And ... ...
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jun, 2003 06:05 am
Yeah, Walter, it is in the news ... its just that, as you mention, its not always front page, and, of course, most developed-world folks don't dig too deep into the news ... A quick glance at the headlines, check the sports and TV listings, then on to the comics and maybe the lifestyle pages. Broadcast news being what it is more or less presents The News That Sells; reporting on corruption or routine day-to-day unrest in some backwater country which in no way affects the domestic economy or tranquility does nothing to up ratings and attract advertisers. Only when major humanitarian catastrophe looms does it begin to become "Interesting", "Important", "Topical", and, of course, "Cost effective to pursue". A car chase or a kitten too stupid to get itself down from a utility pole is bigger news than the chaotic, inhuman misery of The Third World.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jun, 2003 06:37 am
Interesting sidelight on Charles Taylor -- not only is he an indicted war criminal, but, should he ever come to Washington, DC, for a state visit, he can't set foot in Massachusetts. There are still outstanding warrants for his arrest on a number of state charges from when he was living in a Boston suburb back in the 1970s.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jun, 2003 08:33 pm
I dunno, the son in Nigeria is in some compound, they took his and his friend's clothes, they only have one towel to wear between them (can this be true?); she is trying to get money and clothes to him. They can get out to a phone, one wearing a towel, I guess. Well, I shouldn't be spreading rumors, I just don't know. Mom has spoken wrongly in the past, but not always.

Whatever the truth of this extended ex- but still family of mine, it ain't easy.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jun, 2003 08:35 pm
Oh, really, MA, I guess I need to read up on all this. Knew Taylor is thuggy, but not about his US sojourn.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jun, 2003 08:40 pm
Eritrea was absolutely not in the US news between when I knew my friend about 1977-80 and perhaps ten years ago, when it got in the news. But people had been fighting since the forties (I think). I ran across perhaps four articles in ten years, and I read more than most Americans (no competition for people here though), although I'm not as avid online as many, this was before online.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jun, 2003 11:58 pm
Well, in 1936 Emperor Haile Selassie I. of Abyssinia exiled to Great Britain.
Then, Eritrea was unified with Ethiopia and Italian Somalia and
creationed the "Africa Orientale Italiana" (dissolved 1941).


The start of the militant independence struggle is generally thought to have begun in September 1961.


Since it was in 1978, when the Eritrean liberation fronts lost against a Soviet-sponsored attack of the Ethiopian central government, there have been quite a few reports about it all the time in Europe.
Especially at that time, when there was nothing in the American news, as osso remarks.
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2003 08:00 am
Rescuing Liberia
The United States cannot send troops to pacify every international conflict or relieve every humanitarian emergency. But the United Nations' secretary general, Kofi Annan, makes a compelling case for dispatching an American-led international force to Liberia. Washington is the appropriate leader for any international effort to rescue Liberia, a troubled West African nation that was founded by freed American slaves and has longstanding economic and political links to the United States. The Bush administration is divided over the issue, and a decision by President Bush is expected imminently. He should respond positively to Mr. Annan's plea.
The case for an armed international rescue mission is humanitarian and geopolitical. A million frightened refugees are crammed into Liberia's capital, Monrovia. Accommodating them has strained basic services, and the city is experiencing cholera outbreaks. Liberia's turmoil also has a regional dimension. Continued mayhem there will feed further instability in neighboring Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Guinea. If the world fails to act now, the region's problems will probably grow worse, requiring more extensive, and expensive, intervention later. A multinational military force will provide no instant cure. But it can buy time for more lasting political solutions.
What is needed is a multinational contingent of about 5,000 soldiers, authorized by the Security Council to use force to safeguard civilians, protect relief supplies and impose a lasting cease-fire. It should be under American command and should include up to 800 American ground troops. Once a cease-fire was firmly established, the American-led contingent would be replaced by a more conventional U.N. peacekeeping force. The United States should sign on to the idea of an American-led force before Mr. Bush departs for Africa on Monday. That would let him use his trip to press for African military and political participation in rescuing Liberia's longer-term future.
One of his stops, Nigeria, will be crucial. Nigeria has been deeply involved in West African efforts to negotiate a cease-fire. It is likely to be a major contributor to the multinational force and the peacekeeping force that would succeed it. Help will also be needed from Nigeria, Ghana and other interested neighbors in establishing a new transitional Liberian government. Liberia's current president, Charles Taylor, has been indicted by a U.N.-backed tribunal for war crimes in Sierra Leone, and must depart. Unfortunately, all of his armed rivals for power are thuggish and ill suited to replace him. Rebuilding Liberia's institutions could take many years. The first step is an effective cease-fire, and an American-led force can make that happen.


Although I agree that an international force is needed in Liberia and in fact in the whole of Africa since the people seem unable to govern themselves. IMO it is time for the nations of the world to stand up and be counted. The US has more on it's plate than it can handle.
As far as Kofi Annon is concerned I would like to know when he became a member of the US administation. One screwup is enough.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2003 08:07 am
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2003 08:30 am
Walter
Quote:
And U.N. Ambassador Martin Chungong Ayafor of Cameroon, a Security Council member, suggested a U.S.-backed mission could win goodwill for the United States.
\"This could be a good face-saving measure for them, and show that they intervene for the sake of peace and security,\" Ayafor said.


Let France, Russia and Germany send troops and garner the "goodwill" along with the cost and the casualties. I should add goodwill is a very fickle commodity.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2003 08:34 am
"Liberian-Connection" This a US-Based website, I think, but it is of interest. The slant is very Anti-Liberian Administration, but then again, there isn't much about Taylor to be Pro on.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2003 10:36 am
Good site, Timber. Lots of interesting commentary. Thanx for posting it.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2003 11:01 am
From: Global Connections: Liberia
Quote:

In the span of 180 years, the relationship of the United States to Liberia has gone from one of parental nurturing to one of self-interested assistance to one of increasing disengagement. There are many views on whether the U.S. should have become more involved in the Liberian civil war, and how much assistance the U.S. should be providing to Liberia now. Some feel that the U.S. had a moral responsibility to prevent the massive destruction that took place in a country to whose creation it had been so instrumental. In this view, the U.S. should have intervened at the beginning of the war and, having not done so, should now at least be providing greater assistance to help promote a democratic system and stop the human rights abuses. Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo are examples of places in which the U.S. had minimal ties and yet offered significant postwar reconstruction assistance.
Others feel that U.S. interests in Liberia are peripheral, and that Liberia's destiny is best left in its own citizens' hands, whatever the cultural ties and affinities between the two nations. They point to the disastrous 1993 U.S. mission in Somalia which led to unnecessary U.S. casualties. They point to the economic and social problems at home which require political attention and funds.
In this globalized world in which countries, economies, and people are so connected, the question of the proper role of the United States in Liberia's past, present, and future is an increasingly complex one.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2003 06:01 pm
This from MSNBC.
They bring the point that Bush stated, while a candidate, that 'peacekeeping' was something he planned to avoid, if possible.

White House weighs U.S. role in Liberia amid mounting calls for military action
The rest of the article.

Agree or disagree with limited peacekeeping? Does Liberia's 'special status' change your view of US global peacekeeping in this instance?
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2003 06:11 pm
Link does not come up. However no need. IMO as I have said it is time for the rest of our 'partners" in the UN to stand up and be counted. Our plate is full enough. And while they are at it send troops to the rest of the African basket cases to stop the slaughter there as well.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2003 06:13 pm
For the record, the Brits invested heavily in a peace-keeping force for Sierra Leone . . .
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2003 06:17 pm
Yep. Sorry about the link. I checked it for mistakes, and it's correct. Don't know what the problem is.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jul, 2003 08:43 pm
report's a few days old, but its still interesting ...

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=express&s=ackerman070203

Quote:
[..] Of course, the fracturing of Liberia by itself poses no direct threat to U.S. security interests. But what Rumsfeld didn't recognize is that the hue and cry about Liberia is only about Liberia in the secondary sense. It's primarily about American power, and how Washington will marshal that overwhelming power in the aftermath of the Iraq war. Liberia would be a case of America leading the world in the export of security to beleaguered and neglected regions, essentially underwriting stability in places where no vital national interest, classically defined, is at stake. It would be a powerful example to a skeptical world that U.S. hegemony truly is as benevolent as Washington claims--and proving that point should be a first-order priority for U.S. foreign policy. [..]

Consequently, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan did everything but beg the Bush administration to send peacekeepers. After calling for an international security force led by an unspecified permanent member of the Security Council, Annan coyly pointed out, "that is a sovereign decision for [the U.S.] to take--but all eyes are on them." All eyes are, indeed. At the gates of the U.S. embassy in Monrovia, an 18-year-old who called Americans his "big brothers" told The New York Times, "We want troops to be here," while the crowd around him chanted, "George Bush, we liiiiike you." Ghanian President John Kufuor quickly pledged up to 5,000 peacekeepers from West African countries to join in any multinational effort. Finally, Mohamed ibn Chambas of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summed up the regional perspective on Sunday: "We can provide the manpower. But we need material support and participation of some of the members of the Security Council, especially the United States of America." [..]

[N]otice that only since the calls for U.S. intervention--calls that have been building for a month--reached a crescendo last week has the world jumped to its feet on the Liberia issue. Looking approvingly on Kufuor's pledge was French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, the architect of obstruction at the Security Council this winter. Stalwart ally Britain has also encouraged the United States to intervene. In short, the world is waiting to see if two things will happen: First, whether the United States will flex its muscle in the service of moral principle when U.S. economic and security interests are not directly at stake; and, second, whether concerted international outcries can spur the United States into multilateral action it would not otherwise take. If the Bush administration meets the test, it could find itself with something it doesn't have much of right now political capital to call upon the next time the United States seeks to address a security threat the world would rather ignore--say, in Iran or North Korea. Leaving aside the compelling human rights issues at stake, that would be quite a bargain for the 2,000 U.S. peacekeepers that ECOWAS is requesting.

But judging by Rumsfeld's comments, too many senior administration officials are treating Liberia as yet another heart-wrenching but ultimately insoluble African crisis rather than the challenge to post-Iraq U.S. leadership it represents. [..]
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2003 12:37 pm
A lot of this has already been covered, but at the end, highlighted by me, is the real news:

In 1821 a group of freed American slaves retraced the steps of their forebears to West Africa to start a new country. At first the Africans didn't want to turn over a huge hunk of land to the American blacks, but when a U.S. naval officer accompanying the group ordered the Africans at gunpoint to knock it off, they agreed to give it up for baubles and biscuits worth $300. The country of Liberia was founded.

The emigrants proceeded to organize a society around the only social structure they had experienced, that of the antebellum South. So just like Southern whites, they set up plantations, adopted the formal dress of Southern gentry, joined the Masons, sipped bourbon on the verandas, and sent their kids abroad to school. Liberia's main city, Monrovia, is named after President Monroe. As for the Africans who worked the plantations, the transplanted former American slaves called them "aborigines."

This is an admittedly thumbnail sketch of what President Bush last week referred to as Liberia's "unique history," which he said had created "a certain sense of expectations" about the U.S. getting involved in trying to stabilize it. During the 2000 election Bush came out against so-called nation building, but last week his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said the president thinks the stability of West Africa is "important" to our interests. Last week Rice told reporters Bush felt it necessary to "bring about reconciliation" between Africa and America due to their odd ties, i.e., slavery, which she has termed America's "birth defect."

For more than a century, the bizarre experiment of Liberia, described in animated detail by David Lamb in his book The Africans An increased supply of natural gas is a cardinal part of Bush's energy program. That in turn would mean carrying frozen natural gas across the ocean on special liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers and building ports and processing stations. This is a highly controversial venture because an LNG explosion, either accidental or deliberate, would be devastating.

Any sort of regular LNG tanker operations across the Atlantic from West Africa to the East Coast inevitably would be accompanied by vastly increased military operations in the sea and air to protect the fuel from terrorists' attacks.

Finally, Bush's foray into Africa carries meaning for his re-election campaign. The religious right is taking credit for getting the president into Africa. Moreover, for 20 years the GOP right wing has drooled over the idea of breaking the Democratic Party's grip on the black vote. Despite all his talk, Clinton did little for Africa, and indeed had to apologize for not acting in the Rwanda disaster. Should Bush actually get seriously involved in combating AIDS and poverty, and if he succeeds in stabilizing West Africa, he may at long last begin the process of pulling black votes from the Democrats.

Diamonds in the Rough
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2003 12:56 pm
I'm more than a little wary of sending troops to Liberia. I do feel we owe them something, due to our role in their existence, but going in anywhere without a clear, definable objective and exit policy is a messy, expensive (in human terms) misadventure.

The Powell doctrine is on target, in my estimation, and I'd love to know Colin's thoughts on this one. He's been oddly quiet on Liberia. Especially since Africa has been a 'pet project' for him.
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