Thursday News Headlines

Will The Syrian Conflict End Like The Spanish Civil War?
While most analysts have drawn comparisons to the civil wars in Rwanda or Bosnia, Rand Institute scholar Scott Savitz sees greater similarities with another conflict in the Mediterranean.

Savitz notes that both found a large number of foreigners clamoring to the fight, including volunteers from all over Europe and the Americas who also have taken sides by joining various groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“It is unclear how the civil war in Syria will close. We do know that the war in Spain ended with four decades of oppression under Franco, as well as the displacement of millions of Spaniards abroad. Moreover, the war in Spain has been retrospectively called a “dress rehearsal” for World War II, in which fascists, republicans and Marxists of various stripes explored the new technologies and tactics that would shape the latter war. Whether the war in Syria contributes to a larger conflagration, or merely to refinement of individual and national capabilities for use in other contexts, remains to be seen,” he writes.

Boko Haram Reemerges With A Vengeance
ISIS continues to garner the headlines by virtue of its dynamic terror attacks and its effective use of media and propaganda videos showing the beheading of Westerners, but the lesser-known Boko Haram is more deadly and in recent months has become more active.

Part of the reason why Boko Haram fails to garner the same attention is that its terror is largely confined to Nigeria and, writes Tolu Ogunlesi of the New York Times, their victims are often “nameless” in the eyes of the global media.

“The first recorded such attack here took place in June 2013. Since then, there have been more than 30 by women and girls, while thousands of civilians have been killed by Boko Haram fighters. More than two million people have been displaced by the conflict, but the world is largely oblivious, perhaps because these refugees are not a threat to Europe’s security and Western civilization,” he notes.

Central African Republic Faces Long Road To Reconciliation
The Central African Republic was one of the handful of nations on the agenda during Pope Francis’ recent trip to Africa and while he was warmly received, the country faces substantial obstacles to overcome before reconciliation can be achieved.

Since the outbreak of violence in 2013, around 6,000 people have been killed and a quarter of the population has been displaced, with more than four hundred thousand refugees and three hundred thousand internally displaced persons. Although mediation efforts supported by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) resulted in the signing of the Brazzaville Ceasefire Agreement in July 2014, parties on all sides of the conflict have violated the accord.

The nation’s future will depend on addressing divisions beyond the religious Muslim-Christian conflict. Reconciliation in the Central African Republic needs to happen on multiple levels, including between urban and rural populations as well as between the country’s political elites and average citizens, experts believe.




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