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In South Sudan, a new approach in ending child soldiers’ use

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In South Sudan a new approach in ending child soldiers use

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — After coming face to face with “unpredictable” gun-waving children almost 25 years ago, the former commander of the failed U.N. peacekeeping mission during the Rwandan genocide dedicated his life to eliminating the use of children as weapons of war.

In an interview with The Associated Press in civil war-torn South Sudan, Romeo Dallaire, who is widely known for warning the U.N. about Rwanda’s massacre in 1994, said the current approach to combatting child soldier recruitment is not “sufficient.” Local security forces must be part of the solution, he said.

“My personal experiences of having to negotiate with, having to face children with weapons … may not have been the right way of doing it,” Dallaire said.

His visit marked the launch of a three-year-program by the Canada-based Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. The $2.2 million project funded by Global Affairs Canada aims to work with at least 1,200 South Sudanese soldiers, police and prison personnel. The first round of training will include 50 senior army officers.

With 19,000 children associated with armed groups, South Sudan has one of the world’s highest rates of child soldiers, according to the U.N.

Almost 6,000 child soldiers were recruited by government and opposition forces in the past four years of fighting, according to a U.N. report released in September.

“The figures are unacceptably high,” Virginia Gamba, the new U.N. chief for children and armed conflict, said during a recent visit.

South Sudan leads the world with the highest number of child soldiers released, but rapid rates of recruitment are stifling progress. In the last two years UNICEF facilitated the release of over 900 child soldiers yet more than 1,650 children were recruited by armed groups over approximately the same period, according to the U.N.

“These kids’ families were poor when they left and they’re still poor when they go back, so kids return to the army once released,” William Deng Deng, chairman for South Sudan’s national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration commission, told AP. While it’s not government policy to recruit children, Deng said it happens because youth socialize with armed groups in their communities.

In an attempt to break this cycle, the Dallaire initiative keeps in mind the realities that both soldiers and children face in conflict. By providing guidance to soldiers on how to interact with children in specific scenarios, the training focuses on behavior change, said Shelly Whitman, the executive director.

“We don’t come in to do the finger-pointing. We come in to say, ‘How can we help change that?’” Whitman said.

One expert said that while persuading armed groups not to recruit children is an important step, the issue can only be addressed as part of a broader protection strategy.

“That’s the mistake that international donor governments continue to make, to believe that complex development challenges like the phenomena of child soldiers can be addressed with one-off interventions and innovations over a short funding cycle. It can’t,” said Samantha Nutt, founder of War Child USA, an organization that supports children and families in war zones.

The Dallaire initiative comes during South Sudan’s latest fragile attempt at peace, with opposition leader Riek Machar once again to serve as President Salva Kiir’s deputy in their third attempt at working together since the country gained independence in 2011.

Dallaire said he hopes his initiative, which already operates in several countries and plans to launch in Nigeria, Sudan and Congo, will advance the peace efforts. He said any force in South Sudan that even considers working with child soldiers should instead see children as a “liability to their engagement in the peace process.”

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Foreign Affairs

As Benjamin Netanyahu meets with world leaders, focus centers on Iran in Syria

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As Benjamin Netanyahu meets with world leaders, focus centers on Iran in Syria

The threat represented by Iran in the war-torn nation of Syria manifests in multiple ways. Other Middle Eastern nations are concerned that if Iran’s military is allowed to get entrenched in Syria, they will have too much direct access to the region in ways that threaten the peace. The United States and western allies are concerned that exerting control over the Syrian regime will turn them into a puppet state that will not solve the problems faced by the Syrian people.

Meanwhile, Israel faces the greatest threat as the nation that wants to wipe them off the map would be next door neighbors if they continue to fortify themselves in Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows this all too well and has not been shy about expressing these views to the world. In fact, he did it today in meetings with 60 world leaders and followed up by sharing his perspectives on Twitter.

Iran is not Israel’s problem alone. They are a problem for all freedom-loving countries in the region as well as powers throughout Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. Israel needs our support as well as the support of others who realize the threat Iran poses to us all.

 


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Guns and Crime

Former counterintelligence agent Monica Elfriede Witt charged for allegedly conspiring with Iran

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Former counterintelligence agent Monica Elfriede Witt charged for allegedly conspiring with Iran

What motivates people to defect from the United States to work with nations opposed to our way of life? We may never know what Monica Elfriede Witt was thinking when she defected to Iran in 2013, but one thing is certain. If the charges against her are true, her treachery may have put American lives in danger.

Though she defected in 2013, it’s unclear when her loyalty shifted away from the United States. She ended her official and contractor duties in 2010 after serving in a counterintelligence role since 1997, but it’s possible she was operating covertly even after that point. It’s conspicuous that a trip to Iran in 2012 was where she made contact for arrangements to move her to Iran permanently.

“The alleged actions of Monica Witt in assisting a hostile nation are a betrayal of our nation’s security, our military, and the American people,” said Special Agent Terry Phillips of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. “While violations like this are extremely rare, her actions as alleged are an affront to all who have served our great nation.”

My Take

This is thankfully quite rare in the United States today… or at least we hope. Perhaps it should concern us that we’re just now hearing about her even though she defected nearly six years ago. No, I don’t expect the intelligence community to reveal their leaks while in the middle of an investigation, but it still seems a bit too long in the modern era for charges to be filed after it seemed pretty clear she had access to sensitive data and her defection was made known when it happened.

There’s no way to prevent every single potential spy or defector from infiltrating our intelligence services or sharing information with our enemies. If someone wants in, they can go through the long process of participating, pretending to be loyal while hiding their true feelings. Then, there’s the risk of radicalization; those exposed to the enemy may grow sympathetic to them over time.

It may be very scary to think someone with access to sensitive information, including the identities of current operatives, could be working with the enemy. Thankfully, these cases seem to happen less frequently in America than in other nations.

 


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Conspiracy Theory

Camp Century: The problem nobody wants to discuss

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Camp Century The problem nobody wants to discuss

What if I told you there was a nuclear waste dump buried beneath the ice in Greenland? What if I told you the United States military put it there and after leaving it, has not taken responsibility for its cleanup? What if I then mentioned it’s becoming a hot topic for climate change alarmists who are using it as one way to pressure the government into abiding by the Paris Climate Accords or some other variation of global warming adventurism?

What I’m talking about is Camp Century, and it’s going to be making the news more and more in coming years. Why? Because it was buried under snow and ice, but that snow and ice is melting. Unless conditions change, it’s going to be in open air soon enough, allowing for the possibility of contamination and nuclear challenges that can reach the entire northern hemisphere.

Before we get too deep into the dangers associated with Camp Century, let’s address the fearmongering. Those who do not believe that man-made climate change is legitimate need not worry too much about it. If the models continue to support the conclusion that temperature rising and falling is cyclical, then Camp Century will remain safely under the ice indefinitely. Recent evidence is pointing to this trend, though you may not know this based on headlines.

As our EIC pointed out on Twitter:

To elaborate on this, the headlines following the release of 2018 temperature numbers were generally negative, pointing to the alarmists’ narrative that global warming keeps making things bad for us. They made headlines like the one mentioned above, but buried deep in the stories was the truth: 2018 was actually COOLER than 2015, 2016, and 2017.

It’s important to note that I’m not a climate change denier. I do, however, believe climate change cannot be attributed directly to the carbon emissions of man, and moreover reduction of carbon emissions will not reverse the trend based on the scientific studies I’ve read. I believe it’s a cycle. I’m an environmentalist at heart who believes in protecting the world around us, but I’m not ready to go into a downward fiscal spiral over carbon emission alarms.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s say Camp Century is uncovered as a result of climate change or any other means. Should we be concerned about a natural disaster causing unnatural consequences? Yes, but not just because of the nuclear waste buried beneath the ice. It’s possible there’s much worse things down there to uncover.

Project Iceworm

Little known to the public is a plan to use Camp Century for more than its stated goal of arctic research. Project Iceworm was actually the primary goal of the United States military. Their hope: To place nuclear weapons in Greenland that could reach our Cold War enemies very quickly.

The project was allegedly scrapped when ice shifts happened much more rapidly than initially projected. Again, this is great fodder for global warming alarmists, but even if we argue the ice shifts were caused by global warming six decades ago, it goes against the other narratives that the ice has been melting dramatically for only about two decades.

Nevertheless, there may be more buried under the ice than just diesel fuel and some spent nuclear rods.

This video is made with a climate change alarmist spin to it. Don’t let that take away from the other information in it, which is very good and somewhat important. At the very least, it’s interesting to know we were trying to “nuke up” Greenland in the past.

 


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