Monday, December 6, 2010

Serbia’s Non-recognition of Kosovo’s Independence Sets New Precedence in International Law

On November 2, 2010, interim Kosovar President Jakub Krasniqi of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) dissolved the government through a vote of no confidence.1  Immediate elections were required to be held within 45 days of the vote – on December 12, 2010 – two months earlier than expected.2  Krasniqi announced that negotiations with Serbia will now be held after election.

Serbia and Kosovo were set to begin negotiations in the fall of this year on technical issues surrounding Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February 2008. Kosovo fought for independence from Serbia in 1997 after years of suffering grave human rights abuses, alien subjugation, domination, and exploitation, only to acquire an interim government run by the United Nations (UN) in 1999.

When Kosovo declared independence in 2008, Serbia took the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) . In July, the ICJ ruled Kosovo’s independence in accordance with international law. Yet, Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo’s “unilateral declaration of independence.”

With these recent snap elections, opposition to compromises is removed. Without opposition, uncompromising issues fall on Serbia’s shoulders revealing Serbia’s attitude to humiliate and snub Kosovo by preventing independence. Kosovo’s reliance on Serbia’s mercy to allow independence sets new precedence in international law. This need for recognition redefines state sovereignty to require recognition from a mother country in cases of secession. 

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The Crusade of Salafiyya

On October 2, 2010 the United States announced plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, a decision that will have harsh consequences for Afghanis, who may very well come under the Taliban rule once again.  After nine years of fighting to destroy al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the US has little to show for the war. 

Nonetheless, the U.S. has improved the human rights situation for many Afghan citizens.  The US essentially contained the Taliban’s oppressive practices to a limited sphere. However an American troop withdrawal would give the Taliban the ability to regain not only Afghanistan, but the Fergana Valley and Pakistan as well.  If the Taliban regains control over these areas, their oppressive practices will create an even more dismal situation for human dignity to flourish. The chances are high that they will violate international human rights law once again.

The US invaded Afghanistan to destroy the terrorist group al-Qaeda, who was based in Afghanistan.  Yet, the ruling government at the time – the Taliban – would not give up al-Qaeda.  Therefore, the US attacked the Taliban to get to al-Qaeda.  In the midst of the war, the US added another mission – to bring democracy to Afghanistan – but now that the US intends to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, this secondary goal has been sidelined. 

The US has considered negotiating with the Taliban, who will inevitably take control over the country.  However, an alternate solution exists – collaborating with Russia and Pakistan.

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Did Goldman Sachs’s Alleged Fraud Cause Greece’s Debt?

Two major, seemingly unrelated, financial predicaments are taking place on two continents.  The first is the fraud case being brought against Goldman Sachs – a former investment bank.  The second is Greece’s excessive debt, which has resulted in the bailout by the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).  

 These two problems seem unrelated on the surface.  Nonetheless, they are connected.  The current financial crisis has been caused in part by investment banks, like Goldman Sachs, encouraging lenders to sell bad mortgages that they knew would default.  Goldman Sachs is now under investigation for a more complex version of this problem (explained below). 

In a globalized world, finance move swiftly across borders, and countries can be brought down by the policies of an investment bank.  Greece’s problems though are rather complex; their debt has escalated in part because of hedge funds betting against the country and in part because of irresponsible spending.

This news analysis will address the factors affecting Greece’s economic collapse and the charges against Goldman Sachs.

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