On the trail of Joseph Kony

Map of the LRA's area of operations

By Hanna Ucko Neill, Global Conflicts Analyst

Can the #StopKony campaign really bring a reviled warlord to justice this year? The 30-minute Kony 2012 video posted on YouTube last week about the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its abuse of children has been viewed more than 75 million times – and subsequently criticised and defended in the media. But few people have set eyes on LRA leader Kony himself since late 2006, when he met with United Nations humanitarian chief Jan Egeland in southern Sudan just across the border from his hideout in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

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Norway to freeze China out of the Arctic?

By Jens Wardenaer, Research Analyst and Editorial Assistant

Relations have been frosty between Oslo and Beijing since October 2010, when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded a jailed Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, that year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Is the two countries’ row now spilling over into the Arctic, a strategic region in which China has a growing interest?

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What is Iran hiding at Parchin?

Map of Iran nuclear sites © IISS. Click for larger view

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors on their second visit to Iran in a month have been turned away from a military base in Parchin, immediately raising questions about the activities being carried out there.

The IAEA last had access to Parchin, about 30km southeast of Tehran, in early 2005. According to the 2011 IISS dossier on Iran’s nuclear capabilities: ‘The site contained test bunkers and diagnostic buildings, which US officials suspected might be used for high-explosive tests related to nuclear weapons development. Such tests are commonly used to develop the high-explosive lens system for implosion designs [ie. bombs].

‘In January 2005, Iran allowed the IAEA to visit and take samples at one of four locations in Parchin to which it had requested access. In March 2005, the IAEA reported that it “saw no relevant dual-use equipment or materials in the location visited”. Environmental samples taken at the selected site did not indicate the presence of nuclear materials.’

The director of the IISS non-proliferation programme, Mark Fitzpatrick, has said today that it is ‘very disappointing’ for the IAEA to come back from Tehran with nothing to show for it for a second time – and an ‘own goal’ by the Iranians.

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