PW Español




PW Live



Very usefull links



PW
Bookstore





Institutional
links


OPEC







PW
Business Partners

 


IRAQ OIL THE FORUM

 


Blogspots

The Global Barrel

Tiempo Cultural

Gustavo Coronel

Iran Watch.org

Le Blog des
Energies Nouvelles

News Links

AP

AFP

Aljazeera

Dow Jones

Reuters


Bloomberg

Views and News
from Norway

 

 


Lagniappe

 

 

International Crisis Group:
Colombia: A Dangerous Setback


AFP/Luis Robayo

Colombian soldiers carry equipment of one of ten soldiers killed by the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, in the rural area of Buenos Aires,
department of Cauca, Colombia, 15 April 2015.

Colombia's attempt to end five decades of bloodshed could be at risk, after local Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) units appeared to have breached a four-month-old unilateral ceasefire by ambushing a military patrol 14 April, reportedly killing eleven soldiers and wounding another twenty. The deadliest guerrilla action since the peace negotiations began two and a half years ago is not likely to lead to a collapse of the talks, but the parties and the international community must now move quickly to prevent them from unravelling.

More questions than answers

According to official sources, the soldiers were ambushed with grenades, explosives and firearms near the municipality of Buenos Aires (Cauca), while carrying out an unspecified nightly “territorial control” mission. FARC has not given an alternative account but has called the incident a “legitimate reaction” to continued counter-insurgent operations against their troops. However, this sits uneasily with some of the facts on the ground. The stark disparity in the number of victims - just one guerrilla was reportedly killed - and the intensity of the combat make it appear rather to have been a premeditated attack, unlike the kidnapping of General Ruben Dario Alzate, which triggered a short suspension of the talks last year.

This has led many in Colombia to speculate that FARC may have tried to use an ambush to pressure the government into an immediate bilateral ceasefire. This is relatively unlikely. The government has repeatedly rejected such a deal ahead of a final agreement. But things were at least moving in the right direction, when President Santos last month temporarily stopped air attacks on guerrilla camps and renewed that decision just days ago. The immediate, predictable consequence of the Cauca attack was that Santos declared it a clear rupture of the ceasefire and ordered resumption of the bombing that over the last decade has inflicted significant losses on FARC.

This suggests the true problems run deeper than a mere strategic miscalculation. FARC's strong control over its organisation notwithstanding, the incident could be evidence that the negotiators in Havana, including several recognised commanders from Cauca, have problems controlling their troops and preventing them from reacting to continued military actions. If so, it would also suggest that the government's effort to stabilise the ceasefire by rewarding FARC with the suspension of air attacks may have failed to significantly change the situation on the ground.

A Process at Risk

The human tragedy apart, these developments put the process at serious risk. Re-activating bombing was perhaps necessary to give the government room to manage both the angry military and highly sceptical public opinion, but it must now withstand pressure for unrestrained retaliation. Despite shortcomings, including smaller violations over the last month, FARC's ceasefire had helped reduce the intensity of the conflict to a historic low. A major offensive would jeopardise these humanitarian gains and possibly drive FARC to call off its ceasefire, thus potentially paving the way for a new wave of violence in which the talks would struggle to survive.

The government should also resist the mounting political pressure to issue an ultimatum. As the negotiators labour to make headway on transitional justice, under discussion since mid-2014, patience has started to wear thin ahead of closely contested local elections scheduled for October, even among some supporters of the process. But a tougher line in Havana would not likely be helpful in reaching an agreement on transitional justice or the “end of the conflict”, the other remaining item on the five-point agenda. Both sides already face increasing time pressure, as they will need the remainder of Santos's term (ending in 2018) to begin implementing a final agreement. A deadline would have little added value, but it would significantly increase the risks of failure or of a shallow peace agreement that lacks the parties' full buy-in.

The Way Forward

There is no real alternative to a bilateral conflict de-escalation strategy ahead of a final agreement. Efforts in that direction have been underway since last year, culminating in an unprecedented agreement in March to begin joint humanitarian demining. Getting back on this track will not be easy. Cauca has probably wiped out what little confidence there was between FARC and the military. It could also prove a severe setback for efforts to get the military behind the process, emboldening hardliners and raising new doubts among troops about the credibility of government promises.

Repairing the damage will require, above all, rapidly clarifying what happened, as FARC has requested. Ideally, this should be done by independent and trusted third parties. Cuba and Norway, the two countries accompanying the talks, already played a key role in overcoming the crisis triggered by the kidnapping of General Alzate last November and are likely best placed to lead such an effort. Others, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), might help to facilitate communication on the ground. In order to minimise the chance of a future incident, changes in the management of FARC's ceasefire might be required, including continuous impartial verification, something the government has until now rejected. In addition to such measures, Colombia's international partners should publicly renew their support for the peace talks.

Both sides have invested much in this process, and there are no doubts that they remain committed to reaching a final agreement. It is positive that even most critics have not called for ending the process. But risks of an involuntary breakup due to military escalation or political backlash are real. Both the government and FARC will need to keep on course if they are to steer through this latest crisis

 

The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.

Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by The crisisgroup.org  on April 16, 2015. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers.

Follow us in : twitter / Facebook

All comments posted and published on Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of Petroleumworld. All comments expressed are private comments and do not necessary reflect the view of this website. All comments are posted and published without liability to Petroleumworld.

Use Notice: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues of environmental and humanitarian significance. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

All works published by Petroleumworld are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Petroleumworld has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Petroleumworld endorsed or sponsored by the originator. Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated

Petroleumworld News 04/17/2015

Follow us in : twitter / Facebook

Send this story to a friend

Copyright© 1999-2009 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.

We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source. Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors.Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated

Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments,
share your thoughts on this article, your feed. back is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.Write to editor@petroleumworld.com

By using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.

Any question or suggestions,
please write to: editor@petroleumworld.com

Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8 +/ 800x600 pixels



 







WGC Paris, June, 2015


TOP

Editor & Publisher:Elio Ohep F./Contact Email: editor@petroleumworld.com

Contact:
editor@petroleumworld.com/ phone: Office (58 212) 635 7252,
or Cel (58 412) 996 3730 / (58 414) 276 3041 / (58  412) 952 5301


CopyRight © 1999-2010, Elio Ohep F.- All Rights Reserved. Legal Information

- CCS Office Tele
phone/Teléfonos Oficina: (58 212) 635 7252

PW in Top 100 Energy Sites


Technorati Profile


CopyRight © 1999-2010, Elio Ohep F. - All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, posted online, rewritten or redistributed by any type of means, except with permission of the author/s

The information in this web site is proprietary and is protected under United States and International Copyright and Trademark laws. No part of this web site may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means whatsoever, except with permission of the author/s..

Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond
'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Any use of this site or its material, in any form, without the express prior written consent of the author, is prohibited by law and is subject to legal action. Legal Information

Top 100+

Technorati Profile
Fair use notice of copyrighted material:

This site is a public free site and it contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of business, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have chosen to view the included information for research, information, and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from Petroleumworld or the copyright owner of the material.