Hariri Center Director Michele Dunne and Senior Fellow Amy Hawthorne reflect on US policy toward the Middle East and North Africa in the two years since President Barack Obama promised to make it a top priority to support democracy and human rights in the region.
J. Peter Pham, director the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, was one of four experts invited to address a high-level international conference on the crisis in the Sahel region convened today in The Hague.
Rudolph Atallah, senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, testified at a House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on “The Growing Crisis in Africa’s Sahel Region.”
On the heels of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to the United States, Energy & Environment Program Associate Director Mihaela Carstei joins CTV to discuss the Keystone Pipeline project that would transport tar sands oil from Canada and the northern United States to refineries in the Gulf coast of Texas.
On Tuesday, December 9, the EU's policing and justice mission in Kosovo, EULEX, assumed responsibilities from UNMIK. The deployment met resistance in November when plans for a separate police force for ethnic Serbian towns within Kosovo were protested by Kosovar officials, who said the proposal was a violation of the country's sovereignty. RFE/RL:
Starting December 9, hundreds of European Union and U.S. personnel will assume responsibility for bringing Kosovo's rule-of-law institutions in line with European standards. They will take the place of UNMIK, the United Nations mission in Kosovo, which has administered the territory since 1999.
"We're at initial capacity. We'll have about 1,300 or so people here," deputy chief Roy Reeve said in describing the European Union Rule of Law Mission, commonly known as EULEX, which when it reaches full capacity will represent the EU's largest civilian mission to date. "We will have a couple of months to build up to the full operational strength of the mission, which is the 1,900, plus 1,000 national staff working with us," Reeve said.
The December 9 transfer from UNMIK to EULEX was meant to be a high-water mark in Kosovo's evolution from a former Serbian province to a UN protectorate to an independent state. Instead, the chaotic lead-up to the deployment has prompted fears the EULEX mission may ultimately lead to the de facto partition of the ethnically divided territory.
The WSJ cited other difficulties the new mission will face, including organized crime:
This unprecedented mission in a country recognized as a major conduit for smuggling drugs and weapons into Europe faces steep challenges. A bombing in Kosovo's capital of Pristina and a murky spy affair involving German agents highlight some of the diplomatic difficulties as the EU begins the ambitious effort in the Balkans.
"It's an extremely difficult situation for the EU," says Dusan Reljic, a fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. "They are testing their capability for state-building in an area that is riven by factions and crime."
For now, EULEX will receive €205 ($264.3) million for the next 16 months, but this is predicted to be extended for at least several years. As for the risk of de facto partitioning Kosovo's ethnic Serbian areas, the details of the mission remain foggy, according to RFE/RL:
The role of EULEX deployment in Serb areas like north Mitrovica is unclear. Some 100 EULEX officials will be deployed in north Mitrovica, including a handful of police and border officers at administrative crossings into Serbia. The border crossings were the scene of violence following Kosovo's independence declaration in February.
The deployment of EULEX, analysts say, is critical to bringing both Kosovo and Serbia closer to the EU.