Military action, limited or otherwise, is not the answer to the much more fundamental problems that the region faces and poses. It is likely not even part of that answer. The quicker we move beyond the narrow debate over military responses to a more comprehensive strategy, the better for Syria, the Arab Spring, and ultimately for us.
The key challenge for the rival factions in Egypt is to learn the right lessons from its so-far disastrous post-Mubarak transition and find the courage to right the wrongs committed by both sides.
The current rank of being the fourth most failed state in the world that South Sudan occupies on the state failure index does not come as a tremendous surprise and there is little reason to celebrate this second anniversary of South Sudan’s statehood. At best, it is an achievement that the situation has not deteriorated further into civil war or an all-out military confrontation with Sudan.
The significance of Syria, from a regional perspective and apart from the worsening humanitarian crisis, is that the intensely bloody conflict there may be a sign of what the region as a whole may yet experience. Syria is a likely catalyst for such a regional escalation and a definite battle field for the proxy wars already happening.
Managing expectations inside and outside of Yemen about what the National Dialogue can accomplish will enable broadly acceptable outcomes to be achieved by participants in the conference and their subsequent sustainable implementation by all stakeholders.
The international community’s capacity for conflict management remains a potentially highly effective, albeit not flawless, instrument for managing a wide range of security challenges, which, however, will be applied, as it always has, selectively and in line with the national interests of the great powers.
Two rather sobering conclusions are difficult to escape one year after South Sudan’s independence: the situation in the country has hardly improved for the majority of its population and most challenges that have plagued South Sudan have their causes in local leadership failures.
The recent attacks in Afghanistan underscore that the situation in the country continues to represent a major challenge for internationalised peacebuilding and state building efforts and that the fundamental problem remains wide-spread insecurity.
The 2011 Bonn Conference needs to make clear that the Afghan government and people and their partners in the international community are united in their efforts to make tangible and sustainable progress towards a more stable Afghanistan in an equally more stable region.