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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 28-Sep-2014
28-Sep-14 World View -- Central African Republican government asks UN to lift arms embargo

Web Log - September, 2014

28-Sep-14 World View -- Central African Republican government asks UN to lift arms embargo

Saudis prepare for MERS and Ebola at Hajj

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Saudis prepare for MERS and Ebola at Hajj


Hajj in Mecca, 1920 (Getty)
Hajj in Mecca, 1920 (Getty)

Saudis are preparing for a double-dose of danger at this year's Hajj on October 2-7, when millions of Muslims from around the world arrive for their once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Hajj pilgrims will be asked to wear face masks this year to reduce the risks of spreading MERS-CoV (the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus) or Ebola.

Both diseases have an incubation period of about 2-20 days, meaning that someone could be sick, spreading the disease, for several days without showing symptoms. Both diseases are spread by physical contact, with airborne contamination rare though not impossible. Health care workers are often the most vulnerable, since they become contaminated while treating infected patients.

The Saudi Ministry of Health last month banned Hajj visas for Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia the three nations most affected by Ebola this year with at least 5,800 cases. Nigeria, a country with one of the highest concentration of Hajj pilgrims in the world, was left out of the ban, because the 20 Ebola cases have all been isolated. Pilgrims arriving at the airport near Mecca are being screened by the health ministry. Vox and The Health Site and BBC

Central African Republican government asks UN to lift arms embargo

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, Central African Republic president Catherine Samba-Panza asked the United Nations to modify its imposed arms embargo to permit the CAR army to have weapons, so that the army will be able help the U.N. peacekeepers.

CAR's last generational crisis war was the 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion ("War of the Hoe Handle"), which was a very long time ago, putting CAR today deep into a generational Crisis era. The early stages of the new generational crisis war began last year when Muslim Seleka militias began committing atrocities. French Foreign Legion troops arrived to disarm the Seleka militias, but then the Christian anti-balaka militias "rushed into the vacuum," and began committing atrocities this year, for revenge.

In December, the Security Council imposed an arms embargo on the Central African Republic and the African Union sent a peacekeeping mission, now at 6,000 troops, to attempt to quell the spreading violence. The United Nations took over the AU peacekeeping mission last week, and plans to double the force to 12,000 troops.

The violence originally began in the capital city Bangui, but has been spreading to towns and villages across the country. Thousands of people have been killed, and rapes and mutilations have been reported frequently. The conflict has uprooted or affected millions of people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized CAR's health crisis as "Grade 3" - its highest level. The country's health infrastructure has broken down, with 50-75% of the health facilities no longer able to offer basic services.

However, a generational crisis war is a force of nature, and cannot be stopped by a few peacekeeping forces than a tsunami can be stopped by a bucket brigade. Many of the villages across the vast country are far out of reach of a few thousand peacekeepers, and the people in these villages have little motivation to stop fighting, when they can get revenge killings by the other side in other villages.

My guess is that it's unlikely that the United Nations will vote to end the arms embargo, since it's pretty clear that any weapons entering CAR for any reason will, sooner or later, be used by either the Seleka or anti-balaka militias to further the slaughter. Reuters and World Health Organization (WHO)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Sep-14 World View -- Central African Republican government asks UN to lift arms embargo thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Sep-2014) Permanent Link
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