Can Boko Haram Be Defeated?


The New York Times

ABUJA, Nigeria — Last December, Muhammadu Buhari, the president of Nigeria, declared that “technically we have won the war” against Boko Haram, the insurgent group that has been terrorizing the country for seven years. Mr. Buhari’s comments came after the military dislodged Boko Haram from territory it had seized in 2014 and 2015. But five months later, it’s clear that the president’s pronouncement of victory was premature.

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Africa has to go through its own industrial revolution

Kingsley Moghalu

Financial Times

The continent is in thrall to orthodoxies suited to more mature economies, writes Kingsley Moghalu

Capitalism is failing Africa. A relatively small number of entrepreneurs have prospered on the continent in the past decade, becoming the face of the “Africa Rising” narrative. But hundreds of millions more have remained poor and unemployed, and lacking electricity, good schools and access to adequate healthcare.

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Monopoly’s New Era

Joseph E. Stiglitz
Project Syndicate

NEW YORK – For 200 years, there have been two schools of thought about what determines the distribution of income – and how the economy functions. One, emanating from Adam Smith and nineteenth-century liberal economists, focuses on competitive markets. The other, cognizant of how Smith’s brand of liberalism leads to rapid concentration of wealth and income, takes as its starting point unfettered markets’ tendency toward monopoly. It is important to understand both, because our views about government policies and existing inequalities are shaped by which of the two schools of thought one believes provides a better description of reality.

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We may have already committed ourselves to 6-meter sea-level rise

by Systemic Disorder

Even if humanity were to stop throwing carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere today, a catastrophic rise in sea levels of six meters may be inevitable. Two previous prehistoric interglacial periods, in which the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere was believed to be about what it is today, resulted in dramatic rising of the oceans.

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Noam Chomsky: How Imperial Violence Backfires – Lessons from the Middle East

Excerpts from his new book, Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books).

In brief, the Global War on Terror sledgehammer strategy has spread jihadi terror from a tiny corner of Afghanistan to much of the world, from Africa through the Levant and South Asia to Southeast Asia. It has also incited attacks in Europe and the United States. The invasion of Iraq made a substantial contribution to this process, much as intelligence agencies had predicted. Terrorism specialists Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank estimate that the Iraq War “generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third.” Other exercises have been similarly productive.

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‘De-Ba’athification was a recipe for disaster’

The Hindu

Zalmay Khalilzad on the successes and failures of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq

Afghanistan-born Zalmay Khalilzad has been the highest-ranking Muslim in the U.S. administration and has worked under President George W. Bush in various capacities. He was Ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq during the U.S.-led invasions, and played a major role in shaping the U.S.’s policies in West Asia. His memoir, The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey Through a Turbulent World, has just been published, offering fresh insight into the American conduct of the wars.

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Time to End the Greek Debt Tragedy

The New York Times

It’s the season when Greece’s continuing debt saga approaches what has now become a familiar summer climax, with citizens protesting austerity cuts and international creditors squabbling over the terms of loans. It’s time to exit this cycle and face reality: Without relief, Greece’s economy will never recover, with repercussions the European Union can ill afford.

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A surprising number of Americans dislike how messy democracy is. They like Trump.

By John R. Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse
Monkey Cage
The Washington Post

Donald Trump’s candidacy – or more to the point, his substantial and sustained public support — has surprised almost every observer of American politics. Social scientists and pundits note that Trump appeals to populists, nativists, ethnocentrists, anti-intellectuals and authoritarians, not to mention angry and disaffected white males with little education.

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The Microcredit Summit Campaign: A Legacy of Impact, On a Shoestring

Alex Counts


When I sat down with Larry Reed a few weeks back and learned of the significant changes in store for the Microcredit Summit Campaign, two decades of memories were stirred up. I tried to imagine what the world would be like had the original Microcredit Summit not taken place and even more important, if the Campaign that followed it had been stillborn or less robust.

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A borderless economy that will be controlled

Parminder Jeet Singh
The Hindu

Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has proposed a new business-led initiative for framing global e-commerce rules. Announcing it at the Boao Forum for Asia, he said: “Let businesses drive it with governments and NGOs and other organisations participating”. Mr. Ma’s proposed setting up what he calls the World e-Trade Platform (WeTP). The WeTP is supposed to complement the World Trade Organisation which can remain in charge of global rules for offline trade. Alibaba will present this plan in the G-20 meet later this year in Hangzhou, China, where it is headquartered. In short, this means that those who run e-commerce businesses are proposing to draft the rules for e-commerce too, because in their view, they know best.

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s Cowardly Stance on the Rohingya

The New York Times Editorial Board

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar that has been systematically denied the most elemental rights: citizenship, freedom of worship, education, marriage and travel. Tens of thousands of the Rohingya were driven from their homes by violence in 2012; last year many tried to flee persecution and deprivation in desperate sea voyages.

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Germany is the eurozone’s biggest problem

Martin Wolf

Financial Times

The monetary union will fail if it is run for the benefit of creditors alone

Why is conventional German thinking on macroeconomics so peculiar? And does it matter?

The answer to the second question is that it matters a great deal. A part of the answer to the first is that Germany is a creditor. The financial crisis has given it a dominant voice in eurozone affairs. This is a matter of might, not right. Creditors’ interests are important. But they are partial, not general, interests.

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Greece, the Punching Ball of Germany

By Roberto Savio*

ROME, May 2016 (IPS) – Greece is again in the media, because a new negotiation is due between the embattled country and its creditors. The North-South divide of Europe is coming back with force (while the East-West relationship is increasingly looking as beyond repair). The German minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble , has come back with his peculiar view of the economy as a branch of moral and ethical discipline, and not as a reading of reality. He has asked the Greeks “to not get distracted” by the refugees crisis, and not forget their primary task, which is to pay their debt. The request is to cut 2% of the Gross National Product; in case there will not be a 3.5% budget surplus within 2018.

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How Water Corruption Leaves Millions Mired in Misery

Callum Clench Executive Director, International Water Resources Association – Paris

Huffington Post

On Thursday May 12, British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to burnish his credentials as the world’s anti-corruption tsar when he hosts an international summit aimed at stepping up global action to crack down on corruption.

The backdrop to the summit is the recent release of the Panama papers. The team of investigative journalists behind the Mossack Fonseca exposure will surely use the anti-corruption summit to reveal further damning material, no doubt designed to cause plenty of embarrassment, perhaps even to some of those attending the London conference. But it would be a missed opportunity if the conference were to simply focus on tax havens, offshore trusts and other issues highlighted by Panamania.

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Identity Politics?

By Huma Yusuf
May 2016 (Dawn, Pakistan)

Sadiq Khan is London`s new mayor.

Today is his first day in office. Or, as the world`s press would have it, he is London`s first Muslim mayor; the first Muslim mayor of a European capital. As results rolled in on Friday, to show that he had beat the Conservative Party`s Zac Goldsmith 57pc to 43pe, global news headlines began trickling in, with Khan`s religious identity inevitably the adjective of choice.

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Islamophobia is a Political Tool

By Roberto Savio, founder and president emeritus of the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency and publisher of Other News.

ROME, May 2016 (IPS) – When the blasphemous anti Islam cartoons published in 2006 by a Danish newspaper left 205 people dead, the then Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ekmeleddin Mehmet Ihsaoglu, went to see Javier Solana who was responsible for foreign affairs of the European Union. The position of the EU was that there was no islamophobia at all, and this was an isolated incident. Since then, this has been more or less the position of the European institutions.

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