This Week in the Niger Delta: August 16 – 22, 2010

  • Citing the connection between education and economic development in the Delta, the Nigerian Federal Government announced plans to provide professional development training to 150 teachers in the region.1
  • In an attempt to curb kidnapping and other crime, Abia State has offered repentant perpetrators an amnesty similar to the one offered by the Federal Government in 2009. Only those who step forward to be registered will be offered the amnesty deal, raising concerns that they may be arrested once they do. Governor Theodore Orji urged the security services to honor the agreement and not detain any willing participants.2
  • Royal Dutch Shell claimed to be intensifying efforts to clean up an oil spill on Bonny Island that has persisted since August 2nd. Fishing and commuter vessels have been unable to operate, dealing a crippling blow to the island’s economy and inhabitants. Although Shell claims to be working as quickly as it can, it has been sharply criticized by the community and environmental groups for the small scale and slow pace of its efforts.3 Continue reading

Hezbollah

Author: Drew Stragar-Rice

The purpose of this analysis is to track the military trends and political developments associated with Hezbollah. Of particular interest is the paternal relationship extended from Tehran and Damascus toward the “Party of God.” The implication of this nexus impacts American interests pertaining to a non-nuclear Iran, a secure Israel, and ultimately a stabilized Middle East. Through careful analysis of Hezbollah’s actions we hope to provide a better understanding to some of the most essential obstacles toward stability in the region. Continue reading

This Week in the Niger Delta: August 9 – 15, 2010

  • Members of the Kokodiagbene community of Delta State protested against the state government and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDCC) for persistently neglecting their development needs. Community leaders called existing programs aimed at delivering a stable water supply to the local population inadequate and asked for new solutions.1 Similar complaints have been ignored by Chevron and the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) in the past, and it remains to be seen what impact the new action will have on the community.
  • The Nigerian Federal Government has begun a process that would employ new techniques to monitor environmental degradation and marine contamination on its southern coast. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Sam Ode spoke at an event in favor of the plan, stressing the role that environmental degradation plays in regional militancy.2 Elsewhere in the Delta, The Federal Government signed a Joint Venture Agreement with Titan Projects Nigeria Limited and the Rivers State government to clean up oil waste.3 Continue reading

Russia Regional Relations

Author: Matthew Regenbogen

Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the spread of democracy, market economies and civil society among former satellite states, Russia has not given up its aspirations for regional hegemony. The resulting conflict of interest between Moscow and its “near abroad,” has led many Eastern European nations to look to the West for security assurances. Currently, ten members of the now defunct Warsaw Pact have come under the protective umbrella of NATO, originally an exclusively Western institution.1 For Ukraine and Georgia, such an option is also appealing since Russian regional aspirations have threatened the security of both countries.2 For NATO these regional clashes raise concerns about energy security, instability and the overall relationship between the West and Russia.

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