After Gaza: Israel's last chance

The war in Gaza that began on 27 December 2008 reaches the end of its third week with its human toll still rising: by the end of 16 January 2009, more than 1,100 people had been killed (including over 300 children) and 5,100 injured (including over 1,500 children). The Israel Defence Forces (IDF's) air attacks intensified as the three-week mark approached, and its tanks and armoured vehicles moved closer into the crowded urban areas where the majority of the strip's 1.5 million Palestinians live.

Somalia: piracy and politics

The increased hijacking of international vessels off the Horn of Africa reflects the world's neglect and misjudgment of Somalia's internal conflicts, says Georg-Sebastian Holzer of

Ever bolder pirate attacks have - out of nowhere, it has seemed - put Somalia on the frontpages and screens of international media. This world attention has a bitter aftertaste, for it comes after a long period of neglect by this selfsame media of persistent internecine warfare and humanitarian crisis in the country.

The war on terror: seven years on (part two)

The previous column in this series reflected on the first seven years of the post-9/11 conflict, and highlighted three of its significant if less prominent aspects - the performance of United States troops, the impact of Washington's relationship with Israel, and the fate of the US-led coalition (see "The war on terror: seven years on - part one"). This second part of the retrospective also looks ahead, to assess the prospects for the emergence of a different security strategy and way of thinking in the coming years.

The war on terror: seven years on (part one)

The United States responded to the attacks of 11 September 2001 by launching a global "war on terror". Two weeks after 9/11, Paul Rogers began to track that war in a weekly column on the web site In the first of a two-part retrospective, Paul Rogers reflects on these seven years: mistakes made, lessons learned and paths not taken.

Israel Moves To Judaise East Jerusalem

The Israeli government is attempting to Judaise Palestinian East Jerusalem, and maintain a Jewish majority against the demographic threat of a higher Palestinian birth rate. By Mel Frykberg, Inter Press Service

East Timor: Who shot J R Horta?

DILI - Turbulent East Timor may go through its own Watergate, or at least a watershed political moment depending on which version of the 11 February assassination attempt on President Jose Ramos Horta finally emerges as the truth. Conflicting accounts, questionable evidence and reversed recollections continue to cloud an alleged assassination attempt on the president and prime minister that sent a popular rebel leader to an early grave.  
By Simon Roughneen, Asia Times

Brain Drain, Western Gain

The Millenium Development Goals on maternal health stipulate that developing countries must “reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) [of 1992].” Malawi is one such country. Its MMR in 1992 was 620 per 100,000 births; it is now 1,100. In 2008, 6,600 Malawian mothers will die in childbirth.

Nelson Mandela 'speaks out' on Zimbabwe

There has been a great deal of irritation in Britain that South Africa has failed to bring Robert Mugabe to heel. President Thabo Mbeki is blamed for this because he has steadfastly (and sensibly) refused to denounce Mugabe in public. But there has even been some veiled criticism of ex-President Nelson Mandela for failing to “speak out” on this matter.