While the world focused on the Geneva II Conference on Syria, worried about the apparent intractability of that conflict, a very different sort of development has taken place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On Saturday the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front concluded sixteen years of negotiations seeking to putting an end to an armed conflict, which originated in 1968.
"If you can't stop the war then at least send us steel shelters so children have somewhere to hide, and send us some food so that people don't starve. The children in Syria are so hungry they are eating mud." These are the stark words of 12-year-old Syrian refugee Zeina to world leaders ahead of peace talks this week, which will determine her country's fate.
There is no ultimate victory in any of this. Why? - Here are two out of many reasons: First, because the effects of punishment on other peoples' behaviour are unpredictable in comparison to the effects of reward. This is why smacking kids is much less effective at shaping their behaviour than rewarding them.
Abdul said they had lost loved ones from three generations of their family, and showed us a framed picture of his late wife, daughter, son and four grandchildren - all casualties of this brutal war. I was almost speechless. What words of comfort can you offer to a bereaved elderly man like Abdul Karim breaking down with grief.
Last week Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, called for a ceasefire with the Turkish state. The announcement garnered widespread international coverage largely because the announcement was made to coincide with the Persian/Kurdish New Year and not long after the government announced it was in direct talks with Ocalan himself. But will this lead to a meaningful lasting peace?