Flashpoints: June 2011
This journal covers ongoing global flashpoints that we monitor.
Jerusalem and the Israel/Palestine/Arab World conflict.
1. The peace process appears stalled. Both Fatah/Hamas and Israel claim to be ready to negotiate peace but equally claim the other guy isn’t talking. Israel says it won’t accept a government in which Hamas is a part.
2. There are noises about a Palestinian state being unilaterally declared, and requesting to be included in the UN in July.
3. Stratfor offers a very thorough analysis (free article) on why the pre-1967 borders are, in fact, defensible. (It doesn’t answer the question of whether this is what should happen—just points out that the pre-1967 borders were in fact more defensible than the later ones.)
4. Egypt is opening its border with the Palestinians, but that doesn’t mean they are friends (“keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is the proverb that applies here). Remember that the ruling council of Egypt used the protests to stage what was effectively a coup against Mubarak. While Mubarak is gone, nothing has changed. Some within Egypt realize this and protest it, but the vast majority of people are staying home. The council now seeks to keep the various factions fat and happy, or at least disconnected and mollified. Egypt’s action toward the Palestinians achieves the goal of (1) mollifying pro-Palestinian groups within its midst, (2) drawing the Palestinians closer to keep an eye on them, and (3) positioning itself as one perceived to be acting on the global stage. Like Jordan, Egypt has no interest in having Palestinian militants infiltrate its soil and use it as base to begin organizing, particularly when that organization could turn on Egypt itself.
5. Remember what we wrote about what happens if no one is interested in deep change? An article in Spiegel Online looks at how Israelis are increasingly resigned to life without peace. “Apathy is spreading.”
1. North Korea’s Kim Jong Il was in China. However, the meetings seem not to have gone as well as North Korea might have liked.
1. A sharp rise in the number of children injured in fighting in Somalia: heavy fighting near the main market resulted in over half of the 700+ casualties being under-5s. See: BBC, VoA, UN, AllAfrica.com, Reuters.
Central African Republic
1. The Lord’s Resistance Army continues attacks in Central Africa. Since 2008 it has killed 2,400 civilians and abducted 3,400. Since 2011, it has conducted 120 attacks (Associated Press).
Afghanistan & Pakistan
China & the world
Himalayas & Kashmir
The Central American Drug Corridor
1. The Mexican government has gone on the offensive against the drug cartels, and violence in certain areas of Mexico is severe. Other areas of Mexico are safer, so ministry in Mexico is a mixed bag. The least safe areas seem to be in the central states, along the border, and on the border of Guatemala.
2. The drug cartels have been systematically spreading their influence throughout Central America for several years. Their influence in Guatemala is becoming particularly strong. Most if not virtually all of the drugs trafficked from Mexico flow through Guatemala, particularly after the US and Colombia successfully disrupted trafficking through that state. Guatemala’s government is extremely weak and susceptible to nacro-influence. Missionary short-term trips to the area, once extremely frequent (Guatemala is a short plane hop from the United States and mired in poverty), have been greatly reduced, and long-term ministry in the area has been severely affected.
The West African Islam/Christianity Fault Line
Southeast Asia Corridor
Caucasus Ethnic Violence
Immigration to Europe