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Showing posts from April 11, 2014

The Deterioration of Egypt

by Ramsey Clark and Abdeen Jabara

- We recently visited Egypt leading a delegation of lawyers to observe the situation of human rights in that country. We were troubled by what we saw and heard. We are also troubled by the United States’ support for a government installed by a military coup.

The United States and more than 160 States have agreed to respect and ensure the right to participate in one’s government, for example, by agreeing to article 25 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. Nevertheless, as this right came under serious attack in Egypt, the United States continues to support the Egyptian military as it imposes its will on the Egyptian people. This support should stop until and unless the freely and fairly elected government is restored.

The military coup that took place in Egypt on 3 July 2013 is a serious violation of the right to participate in one’s democracy. It is a violation of the rights of the majority voters in the Egypt’s presidential and p…

Attacks on Colombia's Energy Infrastructure

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A recent escalation in militant attacks on oil pipelines in eastern Colombia has taken about 3 percent of Colombia's daily oil production offline, according to government figures. Amid the escalation, Colombian state energy firm Ecopetrol on April 7 declared force majeure on some shipments of crude oil. The renewed targeting of oil infrastructure is probably tied to the ongoing negotiations between Bogota and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also known by its Spanish acronym, FARC. The rebel group, likely in conjunction with the smaller National Liberation Army, or ELN, is probably using the attacks as leverage ahead of the country's presidential election on May 25.

Although rebel groups have used explosives to target Colombia's oil pipelines for decades, the recent attacks against the pipelines in the Colombian departments of Norte de Santander and Arauca -- combined with protest activity -- have proved particularly disruptive. On April 7, a loca…

Germany Prepares for the Next Challenge in the Eurozone Crisis

Members of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany arrive for a hearing on Feb. 11.(ULI DECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


The rise of nationalist parties such as the National Front in France and Jobbik in Hungary has been well publicized, but a more subtle challenge to European integration is emerging from constitutional courts and national parliaments. Reports that Berlin is investigating potential reforms to gain greater parliamentary control over the German constitutional court show that the main economic and political force in Europe can already foresee much larger institutional hurdles in its attempts to stabilize the eurozone.

With no end in sight for the eurozone crisis, Europe's perennial tension between integration and national sovereignty will only intensify. EU member states will eventually begin serious negotiations to reform the bloc's institutional framework. These negotiations will be contentious at the EU level, but for Germany they could also ignite serious deba…

Russia Looks at Protests in the Baltics

Foreign ministers from the Nordic, Baltic and Visegrad countries meet in Narva, Estonia, on March 7 to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.(MARKO MUMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Despite their strong Western integration, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are vulnerable to Russian destabilization tactics via energy, trade, political and cultural links. It is highly unlikely that Russia would intervene militarily in Estonia, a NATO member, to protect ethnic Russians. More concerning than a military conflict with Russia is the prospect of trade blockades, a step that could quickly damage the Baltics economically, with little Western allies could do to help. But Moscow's most likely move is to use the ethnic Russian minority living in the Baltic states -- a minority that constitutes more than a quarter of the population in Estonia and Latvia and around 6 percent in Lithuania -- to attempt to destabilize the three countries.

Analysis


In light of Russian actions in Ukraine allegedly designed to protect…