Just Foreign Policy News
January 24, 2011
Urge Obama to Support UN resolution on Israeli settlement expansion
A resolution is before the UN Security Council that opposes Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, echoing longstanding U.S. positions. But President Obama is under pressure to veto the resolution from political forces that seek to maintain the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Urge President Obama to support the UN resolution.
Is this potentially a winnable fight? We argue it is:
Can US Support UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements? Yes We Can!
This is a winnable fight if we move the debate beyond the usual suspects.
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Miami Herald runs full-page statement calling for the return of Aristide
Signers included Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, actor Danny Gloverand Reverend Jesse Jackson.
GOP Lawmakers Planning Meeting To Explore Alternatives In Afghan War
Are you represented by a Republican in the House? If so, ask your Rep. to go to this meeting.
Amnesty International, "USA: Open letter to Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense",
"The conditions under which PFC Manning is held appear to breach the USA’s obligations under international standards and treaties."
Video: "Occupation Has No Future"
Through conversations with Israeli conscientious objectors, former soldiers, and Palestinians living under occupation, the film creates a survey of the current atmosphere in the State of Israel and the West Bank.
1) The "people power" rebellion in Tunisia made Washington’s effort to lobby against consideration of a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements more difficult, Time Magazine reports. The substance of the resolution largely echoes the Administration’s own stated positions, Time notes. Washington had hoped that signaling its intention to veto such a resolution would force the Palestinians and their Arab backers to hold it back. But they went ahead and placed it on the Council’s agenda, putting the U.S. on the spot.
2) "Some countries" [who might that be?] are threatening to try to declare the Haitian government "illegitimate" if it does not agree by Feb. 7 to schedule a run-off election, the Miami Herald reports. Last week, the Obama administration stepped up pressure on Haiti by revoking U.S. visas "for a number of" Haitian government officials and citizens close to President Préval. In recent days, Haitian authorities have floated the idea of canceling the presidential elections and holding a first and second round before May 14. [The MH report implies, but does not explicitly say, that holding a completely new election isn’t acceptable to these unnamed countries, which one guesses may include the US, France, and Canada – JFP.]
3) The disclosure of secret documents on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, in which Palestinian negotiators appeared willing to compromise what were publicly thought to be Palestinian red lines, could discredit among Palestinians the very notion of negotiation with Israel and the two-state solution that underpins it, writes Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian. Hamas will now be able to claim that diplomacy not only has failed to bring results, it has brought national humiliation. But the documents blow apart what has been a staple of Israeli public diplomacy: the claim that there is no Palestinian partner. The optimistic view will hope these papers act as a wake-up call, jolting the US – exposed here as far from the even-handed, honest broker it claims to be – into pressing reset on its Middle East effort, beginning with a determination to exert proper pressure on Israel, pushing it to budge.
4) The Istanbul talks with Iran have ended without positive results, write Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett. It seems clear that the discussion came to a dead end over two issues: Iran wanted explicit recognition of its right to enrich uranium which the US was not prepared to do; and the US proposed a plan for refueling the Tehran Research Reactor that was more demanding on and less rewarding for Iran than the plan advanced last fall. Public discourse in the US is already turning to a consideration of non-diplomatic "next steps," the Leveretts write, including an accelerating campaign to remove the MEK from the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. The Leveretts suggest the campaign to rehabilitate the MEK in Washington, as part of a broader, regime-change-in-Iran strategy, "rhymes" with a similar campaign in the 1990s and early 2000s to promote Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress to overthrow the Iraqi government.
5) Tea party groups say if the government is going to cut spending, the military’s budget needs to be part of the mix, AP reports. "The widely held sentiment among Tea Party Patriot members is that every item in the budget, including military spending and foreign aid, must be on the table," said Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, leaders of the group FreedomWorks, recently wrote in a Wall Street Journal editorial that "defense spending should not be exempt from scrutiny." On Defense Secretary Gates’ proposed savings of $145 billion over five years, they said, "That’s a start." Gates’ proposals would increase military spending 3 percent over inflation, AP notes.
6) Many within Haiti note that Haiti’s constitution says nothing to prevent former President Aristide’s return, DPA reports. Outgoing President Preval has said Aristide should be allowed to return. ‘The constitution forbids exile,’ Preval said Saturday. A South African newspaper said South Africa has been negotiating Aristide’s return for a year, but the US is blocking it. "’If Aristide returns and by 2015 stands as a candidate, in case the constitution allows that, he will win the election in the first round, if there is a fair and transparent electoral process," Amnesty International’s Haiti expert Gerardo Ducos said.
7) Hizbullah on Monday had the support needed for its candidate to become Lebanon’s prime minister, effectively ending the Western-backed rule of U.S. allies who came to power more than five years ago, the Washington Post reports. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt is expected to support Hizbullah’s candidate. "If justice is at the detriment of stability, I prefer stability," Jumblatt said. "The people in Washington have nothing to lose. We’re the ones who have to lose. They don’t give a damn if it leads to sectarian warfare." He added that he once supported the international tribunal on the Hariri assassination before it became a tool to "exert pressure on the Syrians and Iranians under the pretext of justice and impunity."
8) Thousands of Yemenis fed up with their president’s 32-year rule demanded his ouster Saturday in a noisy demonstration that appeared to be the first large-scale public challenge to the strongman, AP reports. "Get out get out, Ali. Join your friend Ben Ali," the crowds chanted. Like other entrenched regimes in the Arab world, Yemen’s government shows little tolerance for dissent and the security forces – bolstered by U.S. military aid – are quick to crack down, AP says. Nearly half the population lives below the poverty line of $2 a day and doesn’t have access to proper sanitation, AP notes.
1) U.N. Resolution on Israeli Settlements Puts Obama in a Diplomatic Bind
Tony Karon, Time Magazine, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011
It was always going to be a struggle for the U.S. to dissuade its Arab allies from going ahead with a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. But last week’s "people power" rebellion in Tunisia has made Washington’s effort to lobby against the plan more difficult. Tunisia has given the autocratic leaders of countries such as Egypt and Jordan more reason to fear their own people. For those regimes, symbolically challenging unconditional U.S. support for Israel is a low-cost gesture that will play well on restive streets.
Going ahead with the resolution, which was discussed on Wednesday at the Security Council and demands an immediate halt to all Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, is, of course, a vote of no-confidence in U.S. peacemaking efforts. And it creates a headache for the Obama Administration over whether to invoke the U.S. veto – as Washington has traditionally done on Council resolutions critical of Israel. The twist this time: the substance of the resolution largely echoes the Administration’s own stated positions.
Washington had hoped that signaling its intention to veto such a resolution would force the Palestinians and their Arab backers to hold it back. But they went ahead and placed it on the Council’s agenda (a vote is unlikely for a few more weeks), putting the U.S. on the spot. After all, the Obama Administration has demanded that Israel end settlement construction to allow peace talks to go forward. After a 10-month partial moratorium expired last September, Israel resumed vigorous construction, and has resisted pressure from Washington for any further freeze. U.S. Deputy U.N. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo said on Wednesday that the U.S. opposed bringing the settlement issue to the Council "because such action moves us no closer to a goal of a negotiated final settlement" and could even undermine progress toward it. But that argument is unlikely to convince most of the international community, given the obvious stalemate in the peace process – there are no negotiations under way, and the Palestinians have refused to restart them until Israel halts its settlement construction. Initial responses at the Security Council reflect unanimous international support for the demand that Israel stop building settlements. If a vote were held today, the U.S. would be the only possible nay.
Long before the Tunisia events, the Arab leaders most invested in the peace process had begun to realize that the strength of Israel’s support in U.S. domestic politics had undermined Washington’s ability to operate as an evenhanded peace broker. The move to the U.N. has actually been months in the making. That, and the growing chorus of countries in Latin America and elsewhere recently recognizing Palestinian statehood on the 1967 borders reflect a mounting international frustration with a U.S. peace effort whose operating principle has largely been to remain within the bounds of what the Israeli government will accept.
The Security Council resolution is not an alternative to peace negotiations, its sponsors say. In fact, the text urges the parties to resume final-status talks based on existing frameworks, which require a settlement freeze. The Obama Administration has repeatedly described the ongoing settlement construction as illegitimate and an obstacle to peace. The resolution uses the term illegal because existing Security Council resolutions have declared all Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be in violation of international law. But whether the Obama Administration vetoes a resolution whose contents it is substantially in agreement with may be settled by a domestic political debate.
2) Haiti’s Préval under pressure to schedule runoff election
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, January 23, 2011
Port-Au-Prince – With just 14 days left in his presidential term, Haitian President René Préval could find himself deemed illegitimate and his government not recognized by the international community unless runoff elections to choose his successor are announced before Feb. 7, diplomatic sources say.
In ongoing discussions within the international community Sunday, it was agreed that should Préval try to pull the plug on the presidential elections and stay on beyond Feb. 7, some countries would request the Organization of American States to start consultations at the Permanent Council level in order to declare him illegitimate based on the Democratic Charter of the Americas.
"No recognition of him as president, Jean-Max Bellerive as prime minister after that," said a diplomat, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter.
In recent days, Haitian authorities have floated the idea of canceling the presidential elections and holding a first and second round before May 14. Earlier this year, Haitian senators agreed to allow Préval to remain in office until May 14, five years to the day he assumed power in 2006, if his successor had not been elected by Feb. 7.
[…] Last week, the Obama administration stepped up pressure on Haiti by revoking U.S. visas "for a number of" Haitian government officials and citizens close to Préval. More visa cancellations can come in the coming days.
Also, Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, warned a quake-ravaged Haiti could lose international support unless it moves forward.
[…] On Saturday evening, Préval made a surprise trip to the Dominican Republic. Some believe he’s trying to get Leonel Fernandez to help mediate the political crisis, along with former presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil and Bill Clinton of the United States.
3) Palestine papers: Now we know. Israel had a peace partner
The classified documents show Palestinians willing to go to extreme lengths and Israel holding a firm line on any peace deal
Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian, Sunday 23 January 2011
Who will be most damaged by this extraordinary glimpse into the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process? Perhaps the first casualty will be Palestinian national pride, their collective sense of dignity in adversity badly wounded by the papers revealed today.
Many on the Palestinian streets will recoil to read not just the concessions offered by their representatives – starting with the yielding of those parts of East Jerusalem settled by Israeli Jews – but the language in which those concessions were made.
To hear their chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, tell the Israelis that the Palestinians are ready to concede "the biggest Yerushalayim in Jewish history" – even using the Hebrew word for the city – will strike many as an act of humiliation.
[…] But something even more profound is at stake: these documents could discredit among Palestinians the very notion of negotiation with Israel and the two-state solution that underpins it.
And yet there might also be an unexpected boost here for the Palestinian cause. Surely international opinion will see concrete proof of how far the Palestinians have been willing to go, ready to move up to and beyond their "red lines", conceding ground that would once have been unthinkable – none more so than on Jerusalem.
In the blame game that has long attended Middle East diplomacy, this could see a shift in the Palestinians’ favour.
The effect of these papers on Israel will be the reverse.
They will cause little trouble inside the country. There are no exposés of hypocrisy or double talk; on the contrary, the Israelis’ statements inside the negotiating room echo what they have consistently said outside it. Livni in particular – now leader of the Israeli opposition – will be heartened that no words are recorded here to suggest she was ever a soft touch.
Still, in the eyes of world opinion that very consistency will look much less admirable. These papers show that the Israelis were intransigent in public – and intransigent in private.
What’s more, the documents blow apart what has been a staple of Israeli public diplomacy: the claim that there is no Palestinian partner. That theme, a refrain of Israeli spokesmen on and off for years, is undone by transcripts which show that there is not only a Palestinian partner but one more accommodating than will surely ever appear again.
Where does this leave the peace process itself? The pessimistic view is that what little life remained in it has now been punched out. On the Palestinian side these revelations are bound to strengthen Hamas, who have long rejected Fatah’s strategy of negotiation, arguing that armed resistance is the only way to secure Palestinian statehood. Hamas will now be able to claim that diplomacy not only fails to bring results, it brings national humiliation.
[…] The optimistic view will hope these papers act as a wake-up call, jolting the US – exposed here as far from the even-handed, honest broker it claims to be – into pressing reset on its Middle East effort, beginning with a determination to exert proper pressure on Israel, pushing it to budge.
4) With "Engagement" Failing, Washington Voices Urge Obama To Embrace The Mek And Remove Its Terrorist Designation
Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, Race for Iran, January 23rd, 2011
Predictably, the Istanbul talks have ended without positive results. And, it seems clear that the discussion came to a dead end over two issues:
-the Islamic Republic wanted explicit recognition of its right to enrich uranium which the United States (at least) was not prepared to do; and
-the United States proposed a plan for refueling the Tehran Research Reactor that was more demanding on and less rewarding for Iran than the plan advanced last fall.
As it is not clear when the P-5+1 might meet again with the Iranians and the Obama Administration’s efforts to "engage" Tehran are increasingly being written off as a failure, public discourse in the United States is already turning to a consideration of non-diplomatic "next steps". The Obama Administration will almost certainly push to expand U.S. and international sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Beyond that, we also anticipate that there will be increasing calls for the Administration to embrace "regime change" as the declared goal of America’s Iran policy.
On this front, one of the more noteworthy developments is an accelerating campaign to remove the mojahedin-e khalq, or MEK, from the U.S. Government’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. Over the last few months, a number of prominent Republicans-including John Bolton, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former White House homeland security and counterterrorism coordinator Fran Townsend, and new House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen-have been publicly agitating to delist the MEK. But this effort has now gone bipartisan and big time, including engaging the services of a Washington, DC consulting firm.
To document this last point, we link here to the video of an event held in Washington last week, clearly designed to build public support for delisting the MEK as part of a U.S.-led campaign for regime change in Tehran. The event was organized by Executive Action, LLC, which describes itself as "a McKinsey & Company with muscle, a private CIA and Defense Department available to address your most intractable problems and difficult challenges". (Exactly who engaged Executive Action’s services for this event is not clear.) Featured speakers included not only Republican figures like Mukasey, but also retired U.S. Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni; former New Mexico Governor, Clinton Administration cabinet officer, and Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson; former Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli; and retired Marine Corps General James Jones-who just stepped down, in November 2010, as President Obama’s first national security adviser. All of the speakers argued for bringing down the Islamic Republic and forging a new political order in Iran-and for embracing the MEK as the foundation of a new Iranian "opposition" capable of bringing about both of these objectives.
History, Mark Twain allegedly observed, doesn’t repeat itself-but it does sometimes rhyme. We are struck by how much the ongoing campaign to rehabilitate the MEK in Washington, as part of a broader, regime-change-in-Iran strategy, "rhymes" with a similar campaign in the 1990s and early 2000s to promote Ahmad Chalabi’s expatriate Iraqi National Congress (INC) to overthrow the Iraqi government.
5) Tea partiers say defense in mix for budget cuts
Donna Cassata, Associated Press, Monday, January 24, 2011; 2:18 AM
Washington – Back home, tea partiers clamoring for the debt-ridden government to slash spending say nothing should be off limits. Tea party-backed lawmakers echo that argument, and they’re not exempting the military’s multibillion-dollar budget in a time of war.
That demand is creating hard choices for the newest members of Congress, especially Republicans who owe their elections and solid House majority to the influential grass-roots movement. Cutting defense and canceling weapons could mean deep spending reductions and high marks from tea partiers as the nation wrestles with a $1.3 trillion deficit. Yet it also could jeopardize thousands of jobs when unemployment is running high.
Proponents of the cuts could face criticism that they’re trying to weaken national security in a post-Sept. 11 world.
House Republican leaders specifically exempted defense, homeland security and veterans’ programs from spending cuts in their party’s "Pledge to America" campaign manifesto last fall. But the House’s new majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., has said defense programs could join others on the cutting board.
The defense budget is about $700 billion annually. Few in Congress have been willing to make cuts as U.S. troops fight in Afghanistan and finish the operation in Iraq.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in a recent pre-emptive move, proposed $78 billion in spending cuts and an additional $100 billion in cost-saving moves. While that amounts to $13 billion less than the Pentagon wanted to spend in the coming year, it still stands as 3 percent growth after inflation is taken into account.
That’s why tea party groups say if the government is going to cut spending, the military’s budget needs to be part of the mix.
"The widely held sentiment among Tea Party Patriot members is that every item in the budget, including military spending and foreign aid, must be on the table," said Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. "It is time to get serious about preserving the country for our posterity. The mentality that certain programs are ‘off the table’ must be taken off the table."
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, leaders of the group FreedomWorks, recently wrote in a Wall Street Journal editorial that "defense spending should not be exempt from scrutiny." On Gates’ proposed savings of $145 billion over five years, they said, "That’s a start."
6) Aristide, extra uncertainty for Haiti’s political crisis
Silvia Ayuso DPA, Jan 24, 2011, 18:19 GMT
Port-au-Prince – If former dictator Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier could make it back to Haiti, why can’t former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide do the same?
The international community is watching with great concern what many see as the potential ‘last straw’ in Haiti’s ongoing political crisis, the possible return of yet another highly influential and potentially destabilizing man.
Aristide, who fled an armed uprising in 2004 for exile in South Africa, has publicly announced his intention to return. If he were to follow through, it would arrive on the heals of Duvalier, whose arrival last week prompted waves of concern inside and outside Haiti.
[…] And yet many within Haiti note that the Caribbean country’s constitution says nothing to prevent such a return, meaning Aristide could come back too. ‘Starting with the principle that Aristide, being as he is a Haitian citizen, has the right to return to his country, it is the Haitian state that is at fault here by not allowing him to return,’ Amnesty International’s Haiti expert Gerardo Ducos told the German Press Agency dpa.
[…] Even outgoing Haitian President Rene Preval – a former friend of Aristide’s who the Aristide camp now points to as the main obstacle for him getting a passport – has said that he should be allowed to return. ‘The constitution forbids exile,’ Preval said Saturday in Santo Domingo.
[…] The South African daily The Times said this weekend that the government of Jacob Zuma ‘has been negotiating with Haitian authorities, with the help of the Cuban government, since last year for Aristide’s departure.’
‘But his return has been delayed by US concerns that the former Catholic priest would destabilize the country,’ the daily said.
[…] The expert described Aristide as the only man in Haiti who has managed to build a power base for himself. ‘If Aristide returns and by 2015 stands as a candidate, in case the constitution allows that, he will win the election in the first round, if there is a fair and transparent electoral process. He does not need manipulation of any kind, because popular support for Aristide remains alive in Haiti,’ Ducos predicted.
7) Hezbollah-backed candidate has votes to become Lebanon prime minister
Leila Fadel, Washington Post, Monday, January 24, 2011; 11:30 AM
Beirut – The Shiite armed movement Hezbollah on Monday had the support needed for its candidate to become Lebanon’s prime minister, effectively ending the Western-backed rule of U.S. allies who came to power more than five years ago.
The parliamentary support apparently seals the nomination of Najib Mikati, a Sunni self-made billionaire known as a moderate who has good relationships with Syria, Turkey, Arab neighbors and the West.
But despite Hezbollah’s calls for a unity government, caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said Monday he would not participate in a government led by the Hezbollah-backed candidate.
His announcement reinforces the potentially dangerous standoff between the Sunni leader and Hezbollah that has stoked fears of civil unrest and even war. Even if Mikati is nominated, Hariri’s rejection of his candidacy will likely stall government formation.
[…] Hariri’s government, which was backed by the United States, collapsed earlier this month when a Hezbollah-led alliance pulled out in protest over Hariri’s refusal to renounce the U.N. tribunal investigating his father’s assassination five years ago. The tribunal’s sealed indictment is expected to accuse some Hezbollah members of the crime, allegations angrily denied by the organization.
If a Hezbollah-backed candidate comes to power, U.S. officials will likely stop their cooperation with the Lebanese government; some Lebanese officials and other observers dismissed this possibility as irrelevant to the government’s formation.
"The West’s record of democracy in the Middle East if anything should be called shameful," said Hassan Khalil, the publisher of the left-leaning Lebanese daily Al Akhbar. "Mikati is not coming to power by force, a coup or by civil unrest. Mikati is coming to power by the parliamentary system of Lebanon."
Mikati, who was ranked the 374th richest man in the world by Forbes magazine last year, officially announced his candidacy Sunday night. The businessman educated in Lebanon and the U.S. served as Lebanon’s prime minister briefly in 2005. He was likely chosen as someone who would have credibility in the Sunni community after Hariri’s ouster.
[…] Mikati announced his nomination only after a visit to Syria where officials say he received the blessing of President Bashar al-Assad, a major backer of Hezbollah. On Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters that regional interference must stop. [LOL! But French and US interference is OK. – JFP]
The Mikati nomination will likely bring with it some Sunni parliamentarian votes, along with those of seats controlled by Druze patriarch Walid Jumblatt. Last week, Jumblatt announced his support for Hezbollah and Syria, which led to the collapse of his government coalition. He and six others are expected to vote for Mikati along with a few independent Sunni lawmakers. This would give Mikati the majority needed to become prime minister.
"If justice is at the detriment of stability, I prefer stability," Jumblatt said in an interview last week. "The people in Washington have nothing to lose. We’re the ones who have to lose. They don’t give a damn if it leads to sectarian warfare." He added that he once supported the international court before it became a tool to "exert pressure on the Syrians and Iranians under the pretext of justice and impunity."
8) Thousands demand ouster of Yemen’s president
Ahmed al-Haj, Associated Press, Saturday, January 22, 2011; 2:00 PM
Aden, Yemen – Drawing inspiration from the revolt in Tunisia, thousands of Yemenis fed up with their president’s 32-year rule demanded his ouster Saturday in a noisy demonstration that appeared to be the first large-scale public challenge to the strongman.
Clashes also broke out Saturday in Algeria, as opposition activists there tried to copy the tactics of their Tunisian neighbors, who forced their longtime leader to flee the country more than a week ago.
The protests in Yemen appeared to be the first of their kind. The nation’s 23 million citizens have many grievances: they are the poorest people in the Arab world, the government is widely seen as corrupt and is reviled for its alliance with the United States in fighting al-Qaida, there are few political freedoms and the country is rapidly running out of water.
Still, calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down had been a red line that few dissenters dared to test.
In a reflection of the tight grip Saleh’s government and its forces have in the capital – outside the city, that control thins dramatically – Saturday’s demonstration did not take place in the streets, but was confined to the grounds of the University of Sanaa.
Around 2,500 students, activists and opposition groups gathered there and chanted slogans against the president, comparing him to Tunisia’s ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose people were similarly enraged by economic woes and government corruption.
"Get out get out, Ali. Join your friend Ben Ali," the crowds chanted.
One of the organizers, Fouad Dahaba, said the demonstration was only a beginning and they will not stop until their demands are met.
"We will march the streets of Sanaa, to the heart of Sanaa and to the presidential palace. The coming days will witness an escalation," said Dahaba, an Islamist lawmaker and head of the teachers’ union.
Making good on that pledge will be difficult. Like other entrenched regimes in the Arab world, Yemen’s government shows little tolerance for dissent and the security forces – bolstered by U.S. military aid intended for fighting the country’s virulent al-Qaida offshoot – are quick to crack down.
Police fired tear gas at the demonstrators, whose grievances include proposed constitutional changes that would allow the president to rule for a lifetime. Around 30 protesters were detained, a security official said.
[…] Nearly half the population lives below the poverty line of $2 a day and doesn’t have access to proper sanitation. Less than a tenth of the roads are paved. Tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes by conflict, flooding the cities.
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