International Efforts to Counter Al-Shabaab

February 21, 2012 by

Since the al-Shabaab (The Youth) took control of most of south and central Somalia in 2007, no Somali force or coalition of forces has developed the capacity to counter the al-Qaeda affiliated organization. Militias under the control of Somali warlords were largely a spent force before al-Shabaab seized much of Somalia. The international community has trained a significant number of Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, but they have not yet achieved the numbers, tenacity and ability on their own to challenge al-Shabaab. It does not help that periodically they are not paid, a problem that recurred recently for some of them.

Geopolitics of Technology and the Hydrocarbon Status Quo

February 21, 2012 by

The unrest in the Arab world, which has continued for over a year now, implies one important conclusion beyond any ongoing regional struggle for democracy. It is a reflection about globally important technologies, and even more about a crucial geopolitical breakthrough – an escape from the logic of a hydrocarbon status quo, which – after Copenhagen 2009 – failed again in Durban 2011. The Arab uprisings are being fuelled more by firearms than confidence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as a higher carbon-energy price everywhere else.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 6

February 21, 2012 by

During our Peace Corps stay Gondar was an important market town for much of Begemedir Province. The overwhelming majority of residents of the town and countryside met their daily needs by participating in the weekly Saturday market. The market was attended by thousands of people and took place on a large stony field about two miles from our house. On Saturdays when I wasn’t busy supervising students tending their gardens at the school I would enjoy visiting the market. I was there often enough so vendors knew me and were comfortable with my photographing them at work.