International Current Affairs - 2019

Latest International Current Affairs 2019 with news summaries and current events in International developments, geopolitical, organizations, groupings and fora related updates for India and world with all important national news updates and events for the year 2019.

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US Air Force General Tod Wolters appointed as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander

The United States Air Force General Tod D. Wolters was sworn in as top military officer of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), at NATO’s military headquarters in Mons, southern Belgium.

Tod D. Wolters

  • Service: He is a former US pilot who has served as commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces in Africa. He has also served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • He will succeed U.S. Army General Curtis M. Scaparrotti to become new Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) for a term of two to three years.
  • He will also be a commander of U.S. forces in Europe.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe

  • A SACEUR is commander of NATO’s Allied Command Operations (ACO). He is based at SHAPE in Casteau, Belgium.
  • He also heads Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). SHAPE is ACO’s headquarter.
  • SACEUR is second highest military position within NATO. In terms of precedence It is only after Chairman of NATO Military Committee.
  • Importance: NATO’s SACEUR post has always been held by an American military officer.
  • A SACEUR position is dual-hatted i.e. one who serves as SACEUR also holds role of Commander of United States European Command.
  • It is one of most challenging and most important military positions in world.

NATO

  • It is an intergovernmental military and political alliance based on North Atlantic Treaty (also known as Washington Treaty) signed in 4 April 1949. It is also known as North Atlantic Alliance. It consists of 29 independent member countries across North America and Europe.
  • It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium and Headquarters of its Allied Command Operations in Mons, Belgium.
  • Importance: It constitutes a system of collective defence by which its independent member states agrees for mutual defence in response to any attack on any member by any external party.

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Afghans call for ceasefire as “Loya Jirga” Peace Summit wraps up

Afghanistan on 29 April 2019 convened rare “Loya Jirga”, a four day long grand assembly or massive meeting for delegates from across country to discuss war and efforts of United States to forge a peace deal with Taliban. At the end of huge peace summit in Kabul, Afghan officials called for immediate and permanent ceasefire.

Loya Jirga

  • It is a centuries-old tradition in Afghanistan which is usually convened at times of national crisis or to settle national issues.
  • It means “grand council” in Pashto. It is a 4 day long grand assembly held at Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • Participants include ethnic, religious and tribal leaders, politicians and representatives from all over the country.
  • In past it has been used to approve new constitution, declare war, choose a new king, or to make social or political reforms.
  • In Loya Jirga 2019, more than 3,000 participants gathered under tight security to discuss possibility of peace, cease-fire and women’s rights in keeping with tenets of Islam.
  • Several committee leaders favored an immediate pause in violence, which still continues across Afghanistan even after various peace summits taking place.

Recent Developments

The Taliban, who were earlier not at talks, are meeting separately with US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha in May 1st week. It is seen as an effort to make a deal with US that could see withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

Issue:

  • The Taliban has frequently refused to talk to Afghan government, as it views government as a puppet regime. This means that even if US and Taliban agrees on deal to end war and set timetable for eventual withdrawal of troop, the insurgents may still forge some kind of an accord with Afghan politicians and tribal elders before an enduring ceasefire could start.
  • Most people of Afghan society worry that if US does make a deal with Taliban, then militant Islamists would try to seize power and undo advances in women’s rights, media freedoms, and legal protections.

Note: Taliban is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan currently waging war within the country.

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