Estas en: Home


Crisis in Syria Escalating

Escribir un correo electrónico Imprimir PDF

altNow in their fifth month of protest, Syrian citizens remain determined to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The government has passed several reforms demanded by the Syrian people but has still failed to appease protestors who continue to voice their dissatisfaction throughout the nation. Over the past few days, however, pro-Assad security forces have crack-downed on dissidents from Damascus and other areas such as Barzeh and Hasrata. On Wednesday morning, Syrian soldiers killed an estimated 20 people and arrested 300 more in Damascus alone. The government’s newfound commitment towards quelling resistance comes on the wake of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and appears to be a desperate attempt to discourage further protests.


Despite the recent repression, Syrian protesters are optimistic that the end of al-Assad’s rule is near. Protest leaders were encouraged by the West’s recently announced recognition of the Libyan rebel government in Istanbul and met this week in the Turkish metropolis as well. Also this week, Israeli President Shimon Peres called on al-Assad to step down which confirmed to Syrian protestors that they indeed have supporters in the region. Protest leaders have expressed frustration, however, with the West’s unwillingness to intervene directly on behalf of protestors in Syria. The Obama administration and several other NATO countries have denounced al-Assad but due to the ongoing operation in Libya, it remains unlikely that the West will get involved militarily. Since March, over 1,500 people have been killed in Syria, making it the second bloodiest Arab Spring uprising next to Libya.







Más Información


Middle East: The Crisis in Libya

Escribir un correo electrónico Imprimir PDF

Origins of the Crisis alt

In 1969, Muammar Gadhafi and a group of army officers staged a coup d’état against King Idris I. The new regime promptly abolished the monarchy and declared Libya a republic. Gadhafi soon emerged as the leader of the new republic, which has come to be known as the Jamahiriya, or “the state of the masses.” Under the Jamahiriya, the creation of political parties is forbidden, as the expression of any political ideology that deviates from the current regime’s is deemed treasonous. As a result, Gadhafi has been able to stay in power for over 40 years and has established himself as one of the longest serving leaders in history. However, Gadhafi’s rule has been directly challenged by a popular uprising that began earlier this year.

The uprising began in January when Libyans in various cities such as Benghazi, Bani Walid, and Darnah protested out of frustration towards long delays in the building of government housing for poor families. Many Libyans also complained of a lack of basic services and widespread political corruption that has plagued the nation for years. In February, protests intensified after the arrest of human rights activist Fethi Tarbel. Protestors originally demanded that Tarbel be released, a request that was actually granted by the Libyan government just a few days later. Nevertheless, protests soon converted into anti-government demonstrations as Libyans drew inspiration from successful popular regional movements in Tunisia and Egypt, demanding a regime change and insisting on Gadhafi’s departure.

After police and security forces attempted to violently suppress these protests throughout the nation, opposition leaders called for a “Day of Rage” on February 17 and asked all Libyans opposed to Gadhafi to join in protest. Protests on this day were also met with violence as Gadhafi’s security forces and mercenaries opened fire on crowds in Benghazi, Darnah, Al Bayda, and Az Zintan. The violence used against protestors sparked outrage amongst Libyan citizens and led to the formation of rebel groups, effectively turning the conflict into a full-fledged civil war.

Internal Actors

The Libyan National Council: The National Council is the opposition’s newly established government. Officially formed on March 5, the council has vowed to liberate Libya from Muammar Gadhafi. The opposition militia is composed of teachers, students, merchants, and other volunteers, as well as soldiers from the Libyan Army who have defected.

The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya: The Gadhafi led government is clinging on to power, deploying loyalist armed forces in hopes of bringing an end to the rebellion.

External Actors

The UN: Unsurprisingly, the United Nations has condemned the violence in Libya and has demanded an immediate ceasefire. The UN Security Council has stressed that its primary objective is to protect Libyan civilians and have thus approved airstrikes against Libyan military targets. The UN Security Council also voted to impose a no-fly zone in March, meaning that all flights over the country’s airspace have been banned. In addition, the UN has authorized the freezing of Ghaddafi’s and other Libyan authorities’ assets. An arms embargo has also been mandated by the UN and is currently being enforced by NATO.

NATO: Since joining the conflict, NATO has pledged to enforce the UN mandate to protect Libyan civilians. Despite contest from Turkey and Germany, NATO officially took command of military operations in Libya on March 31. Member nations of NATO such as the United States, Great Britain, and France have launched airstrikes on pro-Gadhafi forces and air defenses, thereby effectively enforcing a no-fly zone. NATO has recently announced that it has sufficient resources to carry out its mission in Libya, which seems to suggest that the coalition will not cease operations until Gadhafi is ousted.

The Arab League: The Arab League endorsed the UN authorized no-fly zone, but later condemned the bombing campaign against pro-Gadhafi forces. The Arab League has also recently spoken out against France’s decision to airdrop arms to rebel fighters. However, the Arab League could play an important mediating role should the two sides seek a ceasefire agreement.


Current Situationalt
Following the capture of a few key cities, the rebels have remained locked in a stalemate with pro-Gadhafi forces for quite some time now. However, the opposition remains optimistic and determined to win the war. In fact, Libyan rebel diplomat Ibrahim Dabbashi asserted earlier this week that he believes Gadhafi will be gone by the middle of this month. The rebels seem to be encouraged by recent airdrops from the West, including a shipment of supplies and arms from France. This airdrop has caused controversy, however, as it violates the UN mandated arms embargo. While airdrops such as these undoubtedly aid the opposition’s efforts, many fear that supplying the rebels with arms could promote terrorism and regional conflict following the civil war.

Despite international intervention and numerous defections, Gadhafi remains defiant, vowing to fight to the death. The embattled leader is running out of options and may indeed have no other choice but to stay and fight, as it appears unlikely that any other nation will grant him political asylum at this point. The UN and NATO want Gadhafi out of the picture and a quick resolution to the conflict so as to avoid further casualties and stop the flow of refugees exiting Libya (over 70,000 refugees have already left the country).


More Information


Searching for a Plan for Libya

Escribir un correo electrónico Imprimir PDF


altWhile NATO continued its bombing campaign in Libya, the United States and 30 other nations met on Friday, July 15 in Istanbul where they outlined plans for a post-Ghadafi transitional Libyan government. The conference focused its discussion on the establishment of a national congress and an interim government following an end to the conflict. Most importantly, the attendees agreed to officially recognize the Libyan rebel government, the Libyan National Council, as the sole legitimate governing authority of the nation. Fortunately for the rebels, this means that the Obama administration can, and likely will transfer $33 billion in frozen Libyan assets to the anti-Ghadafi opposition. In addition, Germany just recently lent 100 million Euros (or U.S$144 million) to the rebels. This funding will undoubtedly serve as a major boost for an inexperienced army in desperate need of more weapons. With an increase in arms and continued aid from its NATO allies, the opposition believes that it can take the Libyan capital of Tripoli “within days,” according to a rebel spokesman.

Meanwhile, United States officials met with representatives from the Ghadafi regime to discuss a potential ceasefire agreement with the United States reportedly insisting that Ghadafi step down from power. France has also demanded that Ghadafi give up power but conceded that Ghadafi could stay in Libya as part of a ceasefire agreement so long as he steps away from political life. The United Kingdom and the United States also agreed that this is a possible scenario but have made it clear that this decision lies in the hands of the Libyan people. It seems at this point, however, that the vast majority of rebels, if not Libyan citizens, want Ghadafi put on trial for crimes against his own people and for sponsoring international terrorism.

More Information 

Food Crisis in Somalia

Escribir un correo electrónico Imprimir PDF

Antecedents of the Crisis

altSOMALIA has swayed from crisis to crisis since 1991, when the central government fell. In 1992, the same elements of drought and war set off a famine that killed hundreds of thousands of people and started a cycle of international intervention that, despite billions of dollars and more than a dozen transitional governments, has yet to stabilize the country. Today, pastures have dried up, and the animals that Somali nomads survive off of are dying in large amounts. Food prices are escalating, and after 20 years of anarchy, coping mechanisms are collapsing, with many families driven from their land and many breadwinners cut down in Somalia’s endless attempts at civil war. Many of those who can are fleeing the country. Thousands of Somalis have been streaming across the borders of Kenya and Ethiopia every day, and many children arrive too far gone to be saved.

In the past 20 years, only a handful of humanitarian emergencies have qualified as famines, including Sudan in 1998, Ethiopia in 2001 and Niger in 2005. According to the United Nations, a famine is declared when “acute malnutrition rates among children exceed 30 percent, more than 2 people per 10,000 die per day, and people are not able to access food and other basic necessities.” That is now the case in two regions of southern Somalia, southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle, both controlled by the militant group al Shabab. But throughout the country people are on the edge of running out of food. Not shockingly, the famine was neither sudden nor a surprise. Last year, weather forecasts financed by the American government predicted dangerously low rainfall in many areas of the Horn of Africa.


Famine in the Mist of the Global Food Crisis

Analysis by FEWSNET/USGS indicate that since the last quarter of 2010, most pastoral zones in the Eastern Horn of Africa experienced the worst drought in decades since 1950-51. In addition, the region has experienced two consecutive seasons of significantly below-average rainfall with far reaching socio-economic implications that include failed crop production (hence, reduced food access), significantly high livestock mortality, acute malnutrition, lack of water, mass migration, and high human mortality rates among others.

This situation coupled with the effects of the global food crisis, is likely to represent the most serious food insecurity situation in the world today, in terms of both scale and severity. Current humanitarian response is inadequate to meet emergency needs. Assuming current levels of response, evidence suggests that famine across all regions of the south of Somalia will occur in the coming 1-2 months. A massive multisectoral response is critical to prevent additional deaths and total social collapse, and most immediately, interventions to improve food access and to address health issues are much needed.


Deaths and Casualties

According to the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), population‐wide death rates are above the famine threshold (2 people per every 10,000 die per day) in two areas (Bakool agropastoral, and all areas of Lower Shabelle) and are elevated across the south. Under‐5 death rates are even higher ( on average 4 people per every 10,000 die per day) in all areas of the south where data is available, peaking at 13 to 20 deaths per every 10,000 people per day in riverine and agropastoral areas of Lower Shabelle. Tens of thousands of people have died in the past three months. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned on Sunday, July 17th, 2011 that malnutrition in Somalia reached the highest in the world, which means that one in 10 children is at risk of dying from fatigue. The Red Cross committee said that even in traditionally agricultural areas of the African country nearly 11 percent of children under five are at risk of starvation.


Humanitarian Action of the United Nations

Thousands of Somalis arrive daily at the UN refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia due to the famine they are suffering as a result of the strong drought in Somalia, the worst in 60 years. The United Nations delivered five tons of food and medicine supplies to assist malnourished children. Since early July, about 11,000 people have arrived in Ethiopia and more than 8,600 to Kenya. The average of daily arrivals in Ethiopia and Kenya is around 1,700 and 1,300 people, respectively, said UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres. The week of July 12th, 2011, the UN formally launched a calling to donors for 136.6 millions of dollars to meet emergency needs in the Horn of Africa, which is heavily affected by the severe climate change.


Worst Aspects of the Production Situation

The total failure of the October‐December Deyr rains (secondary season) and the poor performance of the April‐June Gu rains (primary season) have resulted in crop failure, reduced labor demand, poor livestock body conditions, and excess animal mortality. Local cereal prices across the south are far above average, more than 2 to 3 times 2010 prices in some areas, and continue to rise. As a result, both livestock to cereal and wage to cereal terms of trade have deteriorated substantially. Across all livelihoods, poor households (about 30 percent of the population) are unable to meet basic food needs and have limited ability to cope with these food deficits.

The current price inflation is due to, in addition to poor seasonal rain, depleting grain stocks in domestic markets, high demand, and accelerating retail prices of fuel. Thus, with an imminent poor seasonal crop production, prices are not expected to slow down in the short-run. Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary for African affairs at the State Department, said the American government was trying to alleviate the longstanding cycles of droughts and famines with a program called “Feed the Future”, which intends to raise agricultural productivity and help “populations in adapting to increasing erratic weather patterns.” However, local support and implementation has been low.


Worst Points of the Security Situation

The Islamist militants who forced Western aid organizations out of Somalia last year, right as the drought was looming, are now urging the groups to return. But aid officials are wary, citing the dozens of workers who have been killed in Somalia in recent years. Also hindering the emergency efforts, aid officials argue, are American government rules that prohibit material support to the militants, who often demand “taxes” for allowing aid deliveries to pass through. The effects of the drought are only getting worse due to the ongoing political and security instability in Somalia. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and allied militias are currently engaged in a campaign to wrest control of Southern Somalia from Islamic insurgent group al Shabab. If international aid does not reach the affected population soon, famine will only continue to spread and the food/humanitarian crisis will most definitely worsen. UN’s Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said on July 22nd, 2011, that “we can’t allow Somalia to starve”

More Information:



By Jatnna Garcia, CDRI Intern

Crisis Alimentaria en Somalia

Escribir un correo electrónico Imprimir PDF

Antecedentes de la Crisis

altSOMALIA ha saltado de crisis en crisis desde el 1991, cuando el gobierno central se derrumbó. En 1992, los mismos elementos de la sequía y la guerra provocaron una hambruna que mató a cientos de miles de personas y comenzó un ciclo de intervención internacional que, a pesar de miles de millones de dólares y más de una docena de gobiernos de transición, aún no ha estabilizado al país. Hoy en día, los pastos se han secado y los animales que los nómadas somalíes utilizan para sobrevivir se están muriendo en grandes cantidades. Los precios de los alimentos están aumentando, y después de 20 años de anarquía, los mecanismos de adaptación están colapsando, con muchas familias expulsadas de sus tierras en un intento sin fin de guerra civil en Somalia. Muchos de los que pueden, huyen del país. Miles de somalíes han estado fluyendo a través de las fronteras de Kenia y Etiopía, cada día, y muchos niños llegan demasiado damnificados para ser salvados.

En los últimos 20 años, sólo unas cuantas situaciones de emergencias humanitarias han calificado como hambrunas, entre ellas Sudán, en 1998, Etiopía en 2001 y Níger en 2005. De acuerdo con las Naciones Unidas, la hambruna se declara cuando "las tasas de malnutrición aguda entre los niños superan el 30 por ciento, más de 2 personas por cada 10,000 mueren por día, y las personas no son capaces de acceder a los alimentos y otras necesidades básicas." Eso es ahora el caso en dos regiones del sur de Somalia, el sur de Bakool y Bajo Shabelle, ambas controladas por el grupo militante de Al Shabab. Pero en todo el país la gente está al borde de quedarse sin alimentos. No sorprendentemente, la hambruna no fue ni repentina ni una sorpresa. El año pasado, las previsiones meteorológicas financiadas por el gobierno de Estados Unidos predijeron lluvias peligrosamente bajas en muchas zonas del Cuerno de África.


Hambruna en el Medio de la Crisis Alimentaria Global

Un análisis hecho por FEWSNET / USGS indica que desde el último trimestre de 2010, la mayoría de las zonas pastorales del Cuerno de África oriental sufrieron la peor sequía en décadas, desde 1950-51. Además, la región ha vivido dos temporadas consecutivas de lluvias muy por debajo de lo normal con implicaciones socio-económicas de largo alcance que incluyen la no producción de cultivos (por lo tanto, la reducción del acceso a alimentos), una significativamente alta mortalidad de ganado, desnutrición aguda, falta de agua, migraciones masivas, y altas tasas de mortalidad humanas, entre otras.

Esta situación, junto con los efectos de la crisis alimentaria mundial, probablemente represente la situación de inseguridad alimentaria más grave en el mundo actual, tanto en términos de magnitud y como en gravedad. La respuesta humanitaria actual es insuficiente para satisfacer las necesidades de emergencia. Asumiendo que los actuales niveles de respuesta continúen, evidencia sugiere que la hambruna se esparcirá por todas las regiones del sur de Somalia durante los próximos 1-2 meses. Una masiva respuesta multisectorial es fundamental para evitar más muertes y el colapso social total, y de manera más inmediata, intervenciones para mejorar el acceso a los alimentos y para hacer frente a los crecientes problemas de salud son muy necesarias.


Muertos y Damnificados

De acuerdo con la Unidad de Seguridad Alimentaria y Análisis Nutricional (FSNAU), las tasas de mortalidad en toda la población están por encima del nivel de la hambruna (2 por cada 10,000 personas mueren por día) en dos áreas (zona agropecuaria de Bakool, y todas las zonas del Bajo Shabelle) y se elevan continuamente en el sur. Las tasas de mortalidad para menores de 5 años son aún mayores (4 personas por cada 10,000 mueren al día) en todas las áreas del sur, donde se dispone de datos, alcanzando un máximo de 13 a 20 personas por cada 10,000 por día en las zonas ribereñas y agropecuarias de la Baja Shabelle. Decenas de miles de personas han muerto en los últimos tres meses. El Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja (CICR) alertó este domingo 17 de Julio del 2011 que la malnutrición en Somalia “alcanzó el nivel más alto en el mundo”, lo que significa que uno de cada 10 niños está en riesgo de morir de desfallecimiento. El comité de la Cruz Roja señaló que incluso en las zonas tradicionalmente agrícolas del país africano casi 11 por ciento de los niños menores de cinco años corren riesgo de morir de hambre.


Acción Humanitaria de las Naciones Unidas

Miles de somalíes llegan a diario a los campamentos de acogida en Kenia y Etiopía ante la hambruna que padecen producto de la fuerte sequía que azota a Somalia, la peor en 60 años. La Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU) entregó cinco toneladas de alimentos y medicinas para asistir a los niños desnutridos. “Desde principios de julio, unas 11,000 personas han llegado a Etiopía y más de 8,600 a Kenia. El promedio de llegadas diarias a Etiopía y Kenia está en torno a las 1,700 y 1,300 personas, respectivamente”, señaló el Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (ACNUR), António Guterres. La pasada semana del 12 de Julio del 2011, la ONU lanzó formalmente un llamamiento de 136.6 millones de dólares a los donantes para atender las necesidades urgentes en el cuerno de África, fuertemente afectado por el cambio climático.


Peores Puntos de la Situación de Producción

El fracaso total de las lluvias de octubre a diciembre de Deyr (segunda temporada) y el pobre desempeño de las lluvias de abril y junio de Gu (primera temporada) han dado como resultado la pérdida de cosechas, reducción de la demanda de trabajo, las malas condiciones del cuerpo de ganado, y el exceso de mortalidad de los animales. Los precios locales de cereales en todo el sur están muy por encima al promedio, más de 2 a 3 veces los precios del 2010 en algunas áreas, y siguen aumentando. Como resultado, tanto de ganado a cereales como de salarios a cereales, los términos del comercio de cereales se han deteriorado significativamente. Por lo tanto, los hogares pobres (alrededor de 30 por ciento de la población) son incapaces de satisfacer las necesidades alimentarias básicas y tienen una capacidad limitada para hacer frente a este déficit de alimentos.

La inflación de los precios actuales es debido, además de la pobre temporada de lluvia, al agotamiento de las reservas de cereales en los mercados nacionales, la alta demanda, y la aceleración de los precios al por menor de combustible. Con la inminente baja producción de cultivos estacionales, no se espera que disminuyan los precios en el corto plazo. Johnnie Carson, secretario adjunto para Asuntos Africanos del Departamento de Estado, dijo que el gobierno estadounidense estaba tratando de aliviar los ciclos de muchos años de sequías y hambrunas con un programa llamado "Feed the Future", que pretende aumentar la productividad agrícola y ayudar a "las poblaciones a la adaptación al aumento de los patrones climáticos erráticos." Sin embargo, el apoyo local y la ejecución del programa han sido muy bajos.


Peores Puntos de la Situación de Seguridad

Los militantes islamistas que obligaron a salir de Somalia a las organizaciones de ayuda occidentales el año pasado, justo cuando la sequía se avecinaba, ahora están instando a los grupos a que vuelvan. Pero los funcionarios se resisten a ayudar, citando las decenas de trabajadores que han muerto en Somalia en los últimos años. También obstaculizan los esfuerzos de emergencia, funcionarios de ayuda sostienen, las reglas del gobierno estadounidense que prohíbe el apoyo material a los militantes, que a menudo exigen "impuestos" para permitir la entrada a la ayuda. Los efectos de la sequía se empeoran cada vez más debido a la inestabilidad política y la inseguridad en Somalia. El Gobierno Federal de Transición (GFT) y las milicias aliadas están actualmente involucrados en una campaña para arrebatarle el control del sur de Somalia a un grupo de insurgentes islámicos llamados Al Shabab. Si la ayuda internacional no llega a la población afectada pronto, la hambruna sólo continuará extendiéndose y la crisis alimentaria / humanitaria empeorará sin duda. El secretario general de las Naciones Unidas, Ban Ki-moon, dijo el día 22 de julio del 2011, que “No podemos permitir que Somalia muera de hambre”.


Más Información:



Por Jatnna Garcia, pasante CDRI


Página 2 de 5