In this report the Power and Interest News Report website traces the increasing role Iran has been playing in Afghanistan since 2001. It argues that Afghanistan and its ethnic and religious mosaic is a "paradigmatic case" of the importance that trans-state identities play in the geopolitical configuration of the Greater Middle East. It points out that Iran has been the traditional backer of Afghanistan's Shi'a, such as the Hazaras, the Qizilbashs and the Farsiwans, and that this involvement on the part of Iran is only likely to increase.
A discussion of Garrett’s newest Foreign Affairs article:
A flood of public and private money has started to flow to the developing world, funding a vast array of efforts to combat AIDS, TB, malaria, and other killer diseases. Unfortunately, writes Garrett, much of that “is leaking away without result,” doing little to improve basic public health on the ground.
U.S. policy toward Africa under President Bush has stressed development and humanitarian aid. But recent U.S. military action in Somalia raises the specter of a more intrusive approach, particularly in the Horn of Africa. Is it a harbinger of things to come?
The Hudson Institute released its Index of Global Philanthropy. The second edition of the Index also includes new data and trends in European private giving. While giving data are nowhere near as fully studied as those in the U.S., there is growing interest in measuring Europe's philanthropic flows more carefully. The 2007 Index also presents comparative private giving, remittances data, and government aid for the 22 donor countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
This link is to a paper outlining the strategic framework for European assistance to Lebanon, as established before the outbreak of the recent conflict between Israel and Lebanon. The European Union has been a major donor to Lebanon in support of its attempts to build a democracy in the Middle East.
John Danilovich, chief executive of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, says the organization has become more aggressively engaged with developing nations in pressing economic reforms and is now disbursing aid more efficiently. Congress is on course to provide its highest funding levels yet for the program.
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee argues that filling out aid forms and geographically coordinating where aid goes could improve the efficiency and efficacy of aid. Banerjee's primary example is the earthquake in Pakistan where some villages ended up with many trunks of aid from different donors whiles others were left waiting for their first consignment. Economists argue that coordination is urgent and not very difficult.
Warren Buffett's pledge to give more than 30 billion dollars to the Gates Foundation has enormous implications for promoting global health. This year's portion of the donation alone is roughly equal to the amount UNICEF spends annually.
Text of the statement before the House International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia by Jon B. Alterman (Director, Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies) arguing that US aid to Egypt remains a valuable part of US policy in the Middle East despite dissatisfaction on both sides.
A series of events—the latest an Israeli shelling Tuesday which killed at least nine—has shattered the relative calm between Israel and the Palestinians since the election of Hamas in January. Responding to an earlier shelling which Israel denies, Hamas called off a self-imposed truce and raised fears of a new round of Palestinian-Israeli violence.
Judith Kipper says the economic boycott of the Hamas government has created a major crisis in the Palestinian territories: "The situation is extremely dangerous because the humanitarian despair is really, really drastic, particularly in Gaza: people are hungry and dying." She says both Israel and the United States miscalculated when they sought to cut off the newly-elected Hamas government from international aid.
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