Latest Developments, March 29

In the latest news and analysis…

Treaty postponed
Carol Giacomo of the New York Times calls on America’s president and lawmakers to resist opposition from domestic heavyweights and sign/ratify a proposed international arms trade treaty, assuming it receives majority approval at the UN General Assembly after failing to obtain consensus support from member countries:

“The opposition included the conservative Heritage Foundation and the National Gun Rifle Association. As usual they ginned up dark visions of how any limits on conventional arms sales would deprive Americans of their weapons, which is totally false: The Obama administration bent over backwards to make sure the treaty excluded domestic sales and, in any event, as the American Bar Association affirmed, the treaty did not and could not infringe on Americans’ constitutionally-guaranteed Second Amendment Rights.

The world is awash in conventional weapons with a market valued at upward of $70 billion a year. These arms are fueling conflicts and killing innocents in Syria, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and beyond. But while trade in virtually every major commodity, from oil to bananas, is subject to strong international agreements, conventional arms, absurdly, are not. The treaty would require states to review all cross-border arms contracts, establish national control systems and deny exports to purchasers who might use the weapons for terrorism or violations of humanitarian law.”

Not going anywhere
The Associated Press reports that French troops will remain in Mali “at least through the end of this year”:

“[French President François] Hollande said on France-2 television Thursday night that the first of France’s more than 4,000 troops in Mali will pull out in late April.
By July, he said about 2,000 French soldiers will still be in the former French colony, and at the end of the year ‘1,000 French soldiers will remain.’ He said the French troops would likely be part of a U.N. peacekeeping operation that France is pushing for.”

International corporate liability
Global Diligence reports that International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda recently stressed her commitment to investigating “business institutions” that contribute to war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity:

“She said that it had always been the [Office of the Prosecutor’s] strategy to investigate the link between international crimes and business. Conflicts are driven either by financial enrichment or ideology: a thorough investigation of the finances behind a conflict therefore helps to identify suspects and develop a more complete picture of responsibility.
‘We need to look beyond the structures that commit the actual atrocities … to the broader network around the criminal organization,’ Bensouda said. In other words, examining who is responsible for arming, supplying and equipping the troops committing the atrocities. Prosecutors should also scrutinise the exploitation of trade and natural resources, such as the minerals used in communications and technology devices, in order to trace the direct and indirect financial influence on the course of a conflict.”

Lawyering up
Reuters reports that the government of Guinea has assembled a stable of international lawyers to “help review and, if need be, renegotiate” mining contracts signed before the country’s first democratic elections were held in 2010:

“The review, pledged by President Alpha Conde after he came to power in 2010, will scrutinise contracts with companies such as BHP Billiton, Vale, Rio Tinto, RUSAL and BSGR to ensure the mineral-rich but impoverished West African nation is benefiting sufficiently from deals.
‘Our objective is to point out to our partners areas in their contracts where the country is at a flagrant disadvantage, and discuss openly with them,’ [review head] Nava Toure told Reuters.”

Coast to coast
The Associated Press reports the US is considering applying anti-piracy tactics used in Somalia to the Gulf of Guinea off Africa’s west coast:

“No final decisions have been made on how counter-piracy operations could be increased in that region, and budget restrictions could hamper that effort, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about emerging discussions between senior U.S. military commanders and other international leaders.

After repeated urgings from military commanders and other officials, shipping companies increased the use of armed guards and took steps to better avoid and deter pirates [off Somalia’s coast].”

Military non-intervention
Le Figaro’s Alain Barluet argues the French decision to send only a few hundred troops to the Central African Republic during recent violence is an example of France’s new policy of “non-interference” in Africa:

“French military engagement was limited to sending 300 troops to Bangui over the weekend, as reinforcements for the 250 soldiers already on the ground, to protect French, European and American citizens.

With the Central African crisis, we see an example of the policy outlined last October in Dakar by [French President] François Hollande who had announced, once again, the end of ‘Françafrique’. [Deposed CAR President] François Bozizé ‘did not receive our military support, any more than any other African president will from now on,’ according to a source close to Hollande.
But these same sources insist non-interference is not the same as indifference. The head of state is ‘involved’, he had phone conversations with a number of African presidents, including two with South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, according to an Élysée source.” [Translated from the French.]

The Future of R2P
Mount Holyoke College’s Jon Western and American University’s Joshua Goldstein argue the international community must “decouple” regime change from the responsibility to protect:

“The [R2P] doctrine will lose legitimacy if it is seen purely as an instrument of neoimperial adventurism. In an effort to prevent such misuse, Brazil, in 2011, introduced the concept of Responsibility While Protecting (RWP), which calls for increased UN Security Council monitoring and review of R2P actions. Brazil’s proposal was initially met with a tepid response by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, who feared it would lead to slower international responses to mass atrocities. But the concept is now gaining support; Ban endorsed it in a July 2012 report. Mitigating concerns that R2P will be misused, RWP might help the international community strike the right balance between maintaining the support of the UN Security Council and effectively responding to mass atrocities in a timely manner.”

Cyber limits
Al Jazeera explores America’s policies on and alleged commission of attacks on computer networks:

“Now a 300-page manual commissioned by NATO and written by legal scholars and military lawyers from member countries suggests the [Stuxnet] attack was an act of force prohibited under the United Nations charter.
After months of the US national security establishment sounding the alarm on the need to defend against potential cyber threats, questions are again being raised about how far the US itself is pioneering offensive cyber policy.”

Latest Developments, June 12

In the latest news and analysis…

Uranium politics
La Tribune reports that France’s new socialist president, François Hollande, has said he wants to see uranium production stepped up in Niger, where French state-owned company Areva is trying to get its new Imouraren mega-project up and running:

“In making this statement, François Hollande is following in the footsteps of his predecessors who supported the efforts of Areva to ensure the supply of uranium to France. A difficult task. Tensions are recurring with Niamey, which has been trying for years to get a bigger share of mining revenues. In 2007-2008, during the renegotiation of mining terms, Niger accused Areva of supporting the country’s Tuareg rebellion and expelled the local director. In trying to break Areva’s monopoly, Niamey has granted more than a hundred exploration licenses since 2006 to Chinese, Canadian, Indian, South African and Anglo-Australian companies.

In April, Nigerien staff at the Imouraren site undertook a seven-day warning strike to protest labour conditions, saying they were working 12 hours a day. Areva countered that this sort of disruption would make it difficult to begin production as anticipated in 2014.” (Translated from the French.)

Water grabbing
A new report by GRAIN warns that the “current scramble for land in Africa” has important implications for access to the continent’s water sources:

“Those who have been buying up vast stretches of farmland in recent years, whether they are based in Addis Ababa, Dubai or London, understand that the access to water they gain, often included for free and without restriction, may well be worth more over the long-term, than the land deals themselves.

‘The value is not in the land,’ says Neil Crowder of UK-based Chayton Capital which has been acquiring farmland in Zambia. ‘The real value is in water.’
And companies like Chayton Capital think that Africa is the best place to find that water. The message repeated at farmland investor conferences around the globe is that water is abundant in Africa. It is said that Africa’s water resources are vastly under utilised, and ready to be harnessed for export oriented agriculture projects.
The reality is that a third of Africans already live in water-scarce environments and climate change is likely to increase these numbers significantly. Massive land deals could rob millions of people of their access to water and risk the depletion of the continent’s most precious fresh water sources.”

US soldiers in Africa
The Army Times reports that at least 3,000 American soldiers will do tours of duty in Africa next year as part of the US military’s “new readiness model”:

“Africa, in particular, has emerged as a greater priority for the U.S. government because terrorist groups there have become an increasing threat to U.S. and regional security.
Though U.S. soldiers have operated in Africa for decades, including more than 1,200 soldiers currently stationed at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the region in many ways remains the Army’s last frontier.”

Corruption cover-up
The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a scandal that has engulfed Australia’s central bank as a result of bribery allegations involving some of its subsidiaries:

“[Note Printing Australia], which is fully owned and supervised by the Reserve Bank, and Securency, half-owned by the RBA, were also charged with allegedly bribing officials in Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal and Indonesia in order to secure banknote supply contracts.
The companies make and print Australia’s banknotes and export them to more than 30 countries.
The scandal has embroiled the leadership of the RBA, with senior central bank officials receiving explicit evidence of bribery back in 2007 but choosing to handle the matter internally rather than go to police.”

Digging a deeper hole
Reuters reports that Indian authorities are investigating whether a Swiss-based arms company tried to avoid being blacklisted for corruption by attempting to bribe government officials:

“An Indian businessman was charged on Saturday with attempting to bribe government officials in connection with allegations that Swiss-based Rheinmetall Air Defence AG paid him $530,000 to use his influence to stop the company from being blacklisted.

India’s Defence Ministry has put in place strict guidelines for arms deals in an effort to crack down on bribery and corruption at a time when Asia’s third-largest economy is on a weapons-buying spree to modernise its military. India is the world’s largest arms buyer.”

Valuing nature
The UN Environment Program’s Achim Steiner writes that a so-called green economy will require changes to “our current economic thinking at a systemic level”:

“Why, for example, does the world pursue a paradigm of economic growth that rests upon eroding the very basis of earth’s life-support systems? Can wealth be redefined and reframed to include access to basic goods and services, including those provided by nature free of cost, such as clean air, a stable climate, and fresh water? Is it not time to give human development, environmental sustainability, and social equity an equal footing with GDP growth?”

Myth of apolitical human rights
STAND’s Sean Langberg blogs about the global human rights movement’s “four dominant schools of thought” as identified by the University of Buffalo’s Makau Mutua who puts certain multilateral institutions in the same category as a former Congolese dictator:

Political Strategists or Instrumentalists are primarily individuals within government or institutions that exist to serve the interests of a state. Mutua takes exceptional issue with these advocates and believes they only employ a human rights narrative when it serves to better their cause. He cites Mobutu Sese Seko, NATO, and the World Bank as individuals or institutions that profess(ed) an allegiance to civil rights, but do/did so in rhetoric only. Mutua believes that instances of this disconnect are becoming more common as human rights movement continues to be ‘apolitical’ and ‘universal.’ ”

Victors’ justice
Trinity College’s Vijay Prashad criticizes NATO’s lack of transparency regarding its military campaign in Libya last year:

“The scandal here is that NATO, a military alliance, refuses any civilian oversight of its actions. It operated under a U.N. mandate and yet refuses to allow a U.N. evaluation of its actions. NATO, in other words, operates as a rogue military entity, outside the bounds of the prejudices of democratic society. The various human rights reports simply underlie the necessity of a formal and independent evaluation of NATO’s actions in Libya.”

Latest Developments, September 21

In the latest news and analysis…

The problem with nation states
The Institute of Development Studies’ Lawrence Haddad looks at the lessons the recent and ongoing global crises hold for development thinking on issues such as economic growth, civil society and nation states.
“Several case studies showed how national self interest will continue to undermine collective action that is in the long-term interest of all. From the G8 to the G20 to the G193, issue-specific coalitions of countries (there are 193 states recognised by the UN), and the membership of those coalitions, is probably best explained by national politics. We need to understand these national coalitions more than ever.”

Debt-collection dangers
British House of Lords member Robert Skidelsky sees in the history of interwar Europe an argument for debt forgiveness in the eurozone.
“Germans today would say that, unlike reparations, the Greek and Mediterranean debts were voluntarily incurred, not coerced. This raises the question of justice, but not the economic consequences of insisting on payment. Moreover, there is a fallacy of composition: if there are too many debt collectors, they will impoverish the very people on whom their own prosperity depends.”

The scramble for goals
The Overseas Development Institute’s Claire Melamed argues that simply replacing the Millennium Development Goals with a new set of post-2015 goals would be missing the opportunity to rethink global cooperation and development for a world that has changed substantially since the 1990s.
“The MDGs can be seen as an agreement between donor and recipient countries about a set of priorities for collaboration and a monitoring framework. The goals and targets approach worked well for that.  But the world is different now. Most poor people live in countries that are both donor and recipient, or neither. Why should their governments be interested in a global agreement? What would be in it for them? Something that was all about aid would probably bypass the majority of the poorest people in the world.”

Robbing the rich to give to the bureaucrats?
Oxfam’s Max Lawson writes that the European Financial Transactions Tax, or Robin Hood Tax, now looks like a sure thing but the battle over where the resulting revenue will be channelled is heating up.
“Controversially, the Commission wants to use the FTT to finance the [European Commission] budget, none of the revenue raised would be used for climate change or development. Given the unpopularity of EU bureaucrats, this has won no support from France or Germany. Instead [French] President Sarkozy, in a speech the week after the joint Franco-German announcement [that the two countries would push for a European FTT at November’s G20 summit], again reiterated his belief that the revenue should help fight poverty and climate change.”

EU migrant abuse
Human Rights Watch has released a new report that accuses the EU’s border security agency of contributing to “inhuman and degrading” treatment of migrants.
“Frontex has become a partner in exposing migrants to treatment that it knows is absolutely prohibited under human rights law,” according to the group’s refugee program director, Bill Frelick. “To end this complicity in inhuman treatment, the EU needs to tighten the rules for Frontex operations and make sure that Frontex is held to account if it breaks the rules in Greece or anywhere else.”

Silicosis lawsuit
The BBC reports 450 former South African gold miners are alleging in a UK lawsuit that mining giant Anglo American is responsible for their lung diseases.
“Black miners at South African mines undertook the dustiest jobs, unprotected by respirators or – unlike their white counterparts – with access to on-site showers,” according to the miners’ London lawyers.
“Dust levels were high and they suffered massive rates of silicosis, a known hazard of gold mining for the last century.”

NCD baby steps
University of Toronto political scientist John Kirton says world leaders took “baby steps” towards tackling non-communicable diseases at this week’s UN summit but argues a comprehensive strategy would be good for both the world economy and its people’s health.
“The next opportunity to act comes in early November, at the G20 summit in Cannes. It’s tailor-made to address and advance the prevention and control of NCDs. The G20 summit governs critical interconnected economic, development and health issues through a comprehensive, coherent approach. It must control NCDs and thus soaring health-care costs to meet the commitments made at the 2010 Toronto summit to cut their fiscal deficit in half as a share of GDP by 2013 and to contain the global sovereign debt crisis erupting in Europe, too.”

The G20’s fifteen minutes
The McLeod Group’s John Sinclair asks if an “overconfident” G20, which initially seemed to embody a new era of greater international cooperation, is already in decline.
“It has quickly slipped into the flawed G8 mode of endless technical debate between finance and central bank officials. It has fallen into a quagmire of competing plans for avoiding a repeat banking crisis, with Americans and Europeans squabbling over whose regulations are the best (or rather, the least bad).”

Bad aid in Afghanistan
The International Crisis Group’s Sophie Desroulieres argues that heavily militarized international aid to Afghanistan is in urgent need of a rethink if it is actually going to help the country and its people.
“A decade of investment in security, of development aid and humanitarian assistance – $57 billion spent between 2002 and 2010 over and above the war effort, according to Afghanistan’s finance ministry – has not resulted in a politically stable or economically viable country. State institutions remain fragile, unable to provide good governance. Instead of going through Afghan institutions and reinforcing their legitimacy, 80 percent of aid went around the Afghan state. In 2010, Kabul and donors agreed that at least half of reconstruction and development aid should go though Afghan institutions by 2012. But the loss of credibility, the corruption and the nepotism corroding the regime of President Hamid Karzai have already undermined that agreement.” (Translated from French)

Selective principles in Libya
Embassy Magazine’s Scott Taylor argues NATO seems to have forgotten, or never believed in, the humanitarian values it cited to justify its Libyan intervention.
“Frustrated at their inability to make advances against the city of Bani Walid, former rebel commanders have told reporters they intend to shell the city with heavy artillery. Given the fact that there are still an estimated 75,000 civilians living there, this act would inevitably result in the death of many innocent Libyans. This, of course, is exactly what NATO claims it intended to prevent.”

Latest Developments, August 25

In today’s latest news and analysis…

Amnesty International says Libya’s Transitional National Council, which has now been recognized by the Arab League and is relocating to the capital Tripoli, is legally obligated to hand Moammar Gadhafi over to the International Criminal Court if and when he is captured. But Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations says the principle of “complementarity” means the ICC “can claim jurisdiction on one of only two conditions: when the country lacks a functioning judicial system, or when state authorities have manifestly failed to carry out a credible investigation into alleged atrocity crimes.” He argues, however, “if there were ever a strong case for ICC jurisdiction, it is Libya–a country with no functioning judicial system after four decades of arbitrary, dictatorial rule.” But as ICC lawyers wrapped up their first ever war crimes trial, the Christian Science Monitor’s Scott Baldauf asks if the fledgling Court is capable of trying Gadhafi, given its short but shaky history. And South Africa’s deputy president, Kgalema Motlanthe, wants the ICC to investigate possible human rights violations by NATO. He also said the military alliance’s disregard for UN Security Council resolutions was having a ripple effect in the region: “Because of this situation created in Libya, the Security Council has not been able to agree on how to intervene in Syria.”

While not going as far in its criticism of NATO, a Globe and Mail editorial argues the “improvised air” of Operation Unified Protector “is not a good precedent for future applications of the United Nations’ responsibility-to-protect doctrine – which they interpreted very broadly.” But author David Rieff thinks what you see is what you get: “R2P may not have been designed as the latest version of humanitarian intervention, but with the Libyan action, that is what it has become.” In fact, as with the “humanitarian intervention” in Somalia during the 1990s, he believes the mission creep in Libya was entirely predictable: “This militarization may not be what [Gareth] Evans and the other architects of R2P intended. But then it is rare that a doctrine with the power to command people’s hearts and minds ever survives in the pure form those who first promulgated it imagined.”

The African Union no doubt felt the absence of its largest financial backer, Moammar Gadhafi, – though he was in good company as only four heads of state showed up – at a special summit to raise emergency relief funds for the Horn of Africa’s food crisis. Although pledges reached $351 million, the African Development Bank’s medium-term loans and grants represented the lion’s share of that amount. The actual cash total for immediate assistance appears to be $46 million. As a result, there was no shortage of criticism, especially for continental giants Nigeria and South Africa whose governments promised a combined $3.3 million in new money. “If we truly believe in ‘African solutions for African problems‘, we need to demonstrate this very clearly, not just in words but in actions,” according to Africans Act 4 Africa. On the other hand, EU humanitarian aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva offered a more positive spin: “This is the first such summit held by a young organization with little humanitarian experience and a small but dedicated team. It will improve in the future.”

The wider community is not doing much better, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. So far governments have provided or promised only about a third of the $161 million it needs for its plan “to restore livelihoods and build the resilience of populations in the face of climate and other shocks” in East Africa.

A new study suggests a link between climate and violence, as the 93 tropical countries examined were twice as likely to experience internal conflict in El Niño years as they were in La Niña years. Lead researcher Solomon Hsiang of Columbia University “thinks the Niño analysis shows an example of a clear link between climate and conflict, and that this puts a new onus of proof on anyone saying that no such link will be at work as the climate changes in the future, even if it does not show what that future link might be,” according to the Economist.

Alena Buyx of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics lays out five principles for ethical biofuels, according to which their production must not violate people’s “essential rights” relating to food, water, health, etc.; they must be environmentally sustainable; they must reduce greenhouse gas emissions; their exchange must accord with fair trade practices; their costs and benefits must be shared equitably. To which she adds a sixth principle: “If the first five principles are respected and if biofuels can play a crucial role in mitigating dangerous climate change then, depending on certain key considerations, there is a duty to develop such biofuels.”

Swedish clothing company H&M says it is investigating after nearly 300 people collapsed at a supplier’s factory in Cambodia over a period of three days. According to a Reuters report, “deputy provincial police chief Ly Virak blamed the mass faintings on the “weak” health of workers and said the factory suspended operations until next week to allow its 4,000 workers to rest.” About 300 workers also fell ill last month at another H&M-affiliated factory in the capital Phnom Penh. The garment industry is Cambodia’s biggest source of foreign currency but has experienced sometimes violent strikes in recent years as workers demand better pay and working conditions. The latest “faintings” began on the same day as Greenpeace released a new report entitled “Dirty Laundry II: Hung Out to Dry” in which  the NGO says it found “hormone-disrupting chemicals” in the clothing of 14 global brands, including H&M. Helena Helmersson, the company’s head of corporate social responsibility, countered that the amounts found were well below EU restricted levels and that, in any case, the chemicals in question are not dangerous for humans. The first “Dirty Laundry” report came out last month and linked H&M, among others, “to suppliers in China who were found to be releasing a cocktail of chemicals into the Pearl and Yangtze River deltas.”

Oxfam’s Duncan Green looks at a report on the impact of cash transfers which, he says, are “all the rage, especially those handed over directly to women, who are widely thought to use the money more responsibly (spending it on food, rather than booze and fags etc).” While the Oxfam/Concern study identified a number of positives resulting from cash transfers, it also raised some serious concerns. Some of these related to poor project planning and execution, but others appear to run deeper: “Where cash was given in response to a food crisis, it is clear that while food aid was shared, cash was not. This was a major concern among recipients. Community sharing is critically important to women who tend to have a range of lending and borrowing strategies, with neighbours, family, shops and so forth, that enable them to cope when things get tough. Harming these coping strategies is potentially counter-productive for women who may find themselves increasingly vulnerable and less resilient to food insecurity in the long term.”

Latest Developments, July 19

In the latest news and analysis…

With the food crisis in the Horn of Africa intensifying and the United Nations expected to declare the food shortage in southern Somalia a famine as early as tomorrow, Kenya has agreed to accept imports of genetically modified maize. The decision, which came in the face of anti-GMO protests, was a first for the country. The government insists the maize will be turned into flour at the point of importation so as to prevent the seeds from getting into the market, but it is unclear at this point what additional measures, if any, it will take to ensure containment.

The Center for Global Development’s David Wheeler examines investment in renewable energy sources by 174 countries over the last two decades. His findings “contradict the conventional view of North-South conflict that has dominated global climate negotiations, because they show that developing countries, whether by intention or not, have been critical participants in reducing the carbon load all along.  Furthermore, they indicate that poor countries have borne their fair portion of global carbon alleviation expenditures, measured as shares of income per capita.”

Wheeler’s colleague Charles Kenny defends his own suggestion that $100 billion in annual cash transfers would suffice to bring about “a world free of poverty,” by which he means that amount could raise everyone living in a poor country to the World Bank’s $1.25 a day poverty line, which the institution admits is a “frugal” figure.

Nick Dearden, director of the Jubilee Debt Campaign argues Western-style free trade – currently being pushed as the key to African prosperity by British prime minister David Cameron and the business delegation accompanying him on his trip to Africa – is the last thing the continent needs. Instead, he argues, African governments should look to “protecting industries, developing alternative and complementary means of trading, control of food production and banking, progressive tax structures, controlled use of savings, and strong regulation to ensure trade and investment really benefits people.”

While speaking in Nigeria, Cameron also called for the EU to adopt “legally binding measures to require oil, gas and mining companies to publish key financial information for each country and project they work on.” He explained: “We want to disclose the payments our companies make to your governments so you can hold your governments to account for the money they receive.” According to estimates by Global Financial Integrity, Nigeria lost $130 billion dollars between 2000 and 2008 due to illicit outbound financial flows, much of it in the energy sector. And real growth of such flows during that nine-year period was 21.9 percent in Africa. Christian Aid welcomed the prime minister’s words, pointing out that poor countries lose 50 percent more to transnational corporate tax avoidance each year than rich countries provide through aid. “But EU legislation needs to go further,” the group said. “In order to ensure companies are paying the right amount of tax, we need more information on how the taxes they do pay relate to the profits they make.” Christian Aid also wants to see a political push for greater transparency in all industries, not just the extractive ones.

JKL Energy, a Ghanaian company has announced it plans to start work on a $300 million oil and gas project. The venture, which has support from investors in Malaysia and Dubai, will contribute to “ensuring that indigenous companies actively participate in the development of Ghana’s oil and gas industry, seen by many as a major driver of the economy over the next 30 years,” according to a press release.

And Liberia could be the next African country to deal with the double-edged sword of oil production as Chevron is set to start offshore exploration later this year. The US expects a quarter of its oil imports to come from West Africa by 2015 and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has said she hopes her country can avoid the “oil curse.”

A day after a call for a new Marshall Plan in South Sudan, a week after an argument for a Greek Marshall Plan and 18 months after a plea for a Haitian Marshall Plan, a Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network blog post asks if it is time for a “21st Century Marshall Plan” in the Arab world.

Al Jazeera’s Sebastian Walker investigates the debates and motives behind American military involvement in Libya, which he describes as “a victory for the so-called humanitarian interventionists,” such as secretary of state Hillary Clinton, ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and National Security Council advisor Samantha Power.

An online fundraising plan is set to kick off this week to cover the costs of enacting Arizona state legislation calling for prisoners to build 130 km of fence along the US-Mexico border to keep out would-be illegal migrants. The MSNBC article portrays opposition to the planned construction as being largely practical and logistical – one county sheriff considers it “well intentioned” though ultimately futile – but it also mentions one group taking a moral stand. While Defenders of Wildlife “are in support of effective border security,” they believe in freedom of cross-border movement for imperilled species, such as the Chiricahua leopard frog and the Sonoran pronghorn.