January 2, 2014 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - For nearly two decades, warfare in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has resulted in millions of deaths and cast the resource-rich region as the world capital of rape and crimes against humanity. One reason for the epidemic of violence is the greed that goes along with the gold, tin and coltan mined from its steep, green hillsides. An additional factor is the military interference by neighbors to the east, Rwanda and Uganda. Yet there's also an underlying cause that is rarely addressed: land rights, and conflicts over it, problems as enduring as the soil under one's feet, analysts say, complicated by factors present in so many of Africa's conflicts: years of chaos, fighting and displacement.
December 22, 2013 |
SAFID SHIR, Afghanistan - Astride his dappled gray stallion, Mohammad Karim looked like a weathered warrior, though he wielded a grain sack instead of a carbine. Decades ago, Karim was a mujahid, a mountain tribesman who took up arms against Soviet soldiers and, later, the Taliban. Now 45, with white whiskers beneath his pakol , a traditional Afghan hat, he is again prepared to fight if his beloved Panjshir Valley is threatened. "If the Taliban tries to come back, we'll fight them and kill them," he said, as he rode his horse near the shimmering blue Panjshir River and hillside trees streaked with autumn gold.
December 21, 2013 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - South Sudanese militias fired on two U.S. military aircraft Saturday, wounding four U.S. servicemen, one of them critically, according to American military officials. The two planes were headed to Bor, north of the capital Juba, the main town in the eastern state of Jonglei, which is under the control of a rebel military faction associated with sacked vice president Riek Machar. Intense fighting has been going on in the region as South Sudan's army struggles to take back the town.
October 10, 2013 |
CAIRO -- Libya slipped deeper into turmoil Thursday when gunmen staged a brief but brazen abduction of the country's prime minister, storming into a luxury hotel in the capital, Tripoli, and seizing him. He was freed hours later, Libya's state-run news agency reported. The circumstances of Prime Minister Ali Zidan's release were not immediately clear. [Updated, 7:53 a.m. PDT Oct. 10: At a Cabinet meeting following his release, Zidan thanked the "real revolutionaries " who helped to free him but provided no details, according to the BBC. ]
September 21, 2013 |
DAMASCUS, Syria - At age 70, Ahmad Saidi took up arms after the slaying of his son, a father of five who was killed when a remote-controlled bomb blew up his car. A neighbor suspected in the attack was later overheard bragging about his "gift" for the Saidi family. "This is our homeland," Saidi, a textile merchant, said this week as he stood in camouflage pants amid the shrapnel-scarred interior of the Zubair Mosque, where even a stack of Korans had been shredded by bullets. "We will die defending it. " The defiant septuagenarian with the patrician crown of snow-white hair and matching beard is not a soldier with the Syrian army or a militant in a rebel brigade.
September 14, 2013
Re "The real right to bear arms," Opinion, Sept. 8 The point was once frequently made that the National Guard was our "well-regulated militia" and that, therefore, there was no need for citizens to keep their muskets at hand. Today, National Guard units are organized at the state level. It sounds like a contradiction in terms to say Massachusetts National Guard or California National Guard, but the state units are our well-regulated militia. This point hasn't come up in recent years, so Joseph J. Ellis' examination of the language and intent of the Constitution is refreshing.