Weekly Links

By Taylor Marvin

Michelangelo Buonarroti, 'David and Goliath' (detail), 1509. Via Wikimedia.
Michelangelo Buonarroti, ‘David and Goliath’ (detail), 1509. Via Wikimedia.

The US has announced that it is sending an additional 150 troops and at least four tiltrotor aircraft to Uganda to aid in the mostly-African Union hunt for fugitive Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. The mission’s outlook remains unclear — a State Department statement notes the “significant challenges in pursuing small groups of LRA and protecting local populations across this vast, densely forested area that lacks basic road and telecommunications infrastructure,” though the unique and versatile tiltrotors will presumably be helpful. Hayes Brown puts the move in context within the troubled US-Ugandan relationship.

Elsewhere in Africa, questions about whether African Union countries can develop an effective African Standby Force, Nigeria’s new “soft approach” that intends to focus on the root causes — poverty, corruption, and abusive governance — of the Boko Haram insurgency, and the dilemma of whether Nigeria’s neighbors should step up targeting of Boko Haram on their soil and risk retaliation.

Ignoring global denunciation, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently took steps to shut down Twitter — measures that appear largely ineffective and, in Michael Koplow’s words, “not only shows how out of touch you are with reality, but what a laughingstock you are becoming.” Jillian C. York looks at Turkish citizens’ efforts to circumvent the block, Turks are using satirical images to mock the ban, and Al Jazeera interviews AKP member Burhan Kuzu, who justifies the ban by citing the “insults, swearing and porn” on Twitter.

Tying Russia’s now-formal annexation of Crimea to a quarter century of treating Russia as the Cold War’s loser, David M. Herszenhorn links Vladimir Putin’s actions to fears of a marginalized Russia and opposition to perceived American double-standards. On a similar note, Daniel Larison reminds that throwing Russia out of the G-8 may be doing Putin a political favor. Via James P. Rudolph, another look at Crimea and the R2P straw man.

Jasmin Ramsey passes along an interesting in-depth look at Hezbollah’s strategy in Syria. Turkey shot down a Syrian military jet that it claims strayed into its airspace this week, prompting renewed fears of spillover.

The destruction of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons continues, through not without controversy among Greeks afraid that the destruction of the weapons will taint their eastern Mediterranean home.

Media and self-censorship in Venezuela (via Patrick Iber). The death toll in that country’s ongoing unrest continues to rise, reaching at least 33 Sunday.

Updated to indicate that Turkey claims the Syrian aircraft violated its airspace; the Syrian government disputes this.

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