IPSI's Peace & Security Report (PSR) is a concise weekly e-publication intended to keep busy students, academics, advocates, and practitioners in the conflict management community briefed on pertinent global news, events, and trends. Meticulously researched and written by IPSI, the PSR empowers us all to take a step back from our immediate deadlines each Friday and gain a greater understanding of the week's global events.


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PEACE & SECURITY REPORT
IPSI's Peace & Security Report (PSR) is a concise weekly e-publication intended to keep busy students, academics, advocates, and practitioners in the conflict management community briefed on pertinent global news, events, and trends.  Meticulously researched and written by IPSI, the PSR empowers us all to take a step back from our immediate deadlines each Friday and gain a greater understanding of the week's global events.


Featured Article
Really Bad Week: Egypt Edition; The world leaders (outside of Egypt) who are freaking out the most
Really Bad WeekWhile the political earthquake rumbling through the Middle East began in Tunisia, when the people took to the streets in Egypt, unrest became a trend rather than an isolated event. In addition, Egypt's unique role among states in the region -- historically and due to the size of its population -- amplified the importance of the demonstrations that have filled the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and the rest of the country for this past week.

Even before President Mubarak's decision to end his 30-year rule, Egypt's crisis had earned the undivided attention of leaders across the Middle East. King Abdullah of Jordan's sacking of his cabinet and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's announcement that he too was not going to seek to extend his three-decade-long tenure in office indicated that both men recognized the fuse that was lit in North Africa was connected to stacks of dynamite on which they were sitting. READ FULL ARTICLE & VIEW IMAGES >>

  

Africa
NIGER: Niger holds elections to restore civilian rule

On Monday, Niger voted for a new president and members of parliament.  The elections come after the military ousted President Mamadou Tandja because he altered the constitution to stay in power after his term ran out; Tandja is currently in prison facing corruption charges.  Despite problems at some polling stations, the country's government, European, and African election observers approved the elections; they asked candidates to stay calm and only use legal means to handle disputes. Comment: Elections are an essential step in transitioning the government from military rule to a civilian government.  A successful election could give Niger the opportunity to effectively use its mineral and oil resources to promote economic growth. (Reuters, VOA, BBC)  

 

UGANDA: Man arrested for murdering gay rights activist

On January 28, David Kato, a prominent Ugandan gay rights campaigner, was beaten to death in his Kampala home. The incident occurred after an anti-gay newspaper in October "outed" Ugandan homosexuals, including Kato, with the words "hang them." Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, and a 2009 bill proposed the death penalty for homosexuality.  After his arrest on Wednesday, Nsubuga Enock confessed to the murder, stating Kato's death was over a personal disagreement.  On Thursday, the Ugandan police chief told journalists Enock killed Kato because he reneged on an agreement to pay for sex.  Fights broke out during Kato's funeral after the pastor condemned gay people and villagers refused to bury the coffin. Comment: Homosexuality is taboo in many African countries, and the subject has the propensity to lead to conflict when influential actors in society like the media, religious leaders, and political figures make intolerant statements.  (Reuters, BBC, AFP

 

SUDAN: Sudanese demonstrators protest in Khartoum

Inspired by the events in Egypt, and with the use of electronic media like Facebook, Sudanese demonstrators organized a series of protests in Khartoum beginning on Sunday.  The protestors, whom were mainly students, objected to high prices and demanded the government resign.  The protests began on Sunday and have so far resulted in beatings and the arrests of more than a 100 people including journalists.  In addition, according to activists, security forces beat a student to death, but the police claim they have no report of the death.  Despite attacks from the police, demonstrators plan to continue gathering and protesting.  Comment: The cost of living in the north increased after an import bill led to inflation, compelling the government to remove subsidies on petrol and sugar. (Sudan Tribune, BBC, Reuters)  


Researched/Written
by Haja Kakay



Americas
BOLIVIA: Flash Flood kills 20
In a secluded area about 200 km from Sucre, floodwaters killed at least 30 people last Friday, but due to the remoteness of the area, news was not received until days later.  A bus attempted to cross a normally dry riverbed, but was caught in a flash flood.  Rescuers are still searching the area for additional victims, and regional officials have asked for resources from the national government in order to better examine the area for casualties.  Historically, January is the peak of the rainy season in Bolivia, and floods are common.  Comment: The flooding in Bolivia is the latest in a series of natural disasters that has struck the region.  Last month, mudslides and flooding killed hundreds in Brazil. For the past few years, in January and February, Bolivia has suffered flooding disasters, including in 2010 when President Morales declared a state of emergency.  (AP, Reuters, El Colombiano)

 

HAITI: Aristide to Return

Monday, Haitian officials announced that the government is prepared to issue a passport to exiled former president Aristide.  Even though Aristide was ousted in 2004, he remains popular in Haiti.  Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party is banned from the current presidential election, prompting some to declare the elections undemocratic.  Western donors are concerned that Aristide's return could further disrupt the ongoing elections, which were already delayed after the discovery of voting irregularities.  Comment:  Aristide's potential return follows the controversial return of ex-dictator Duvalier in January.  This event may serve as an additional distraction for a country that is rebuilding and in the midst of an election controversy.   While Aristide was Haiti's first democratically elected president, he struggled to maintain power throughout his presidencies, facing coups and exile twice. (Reuters, AP, BBC)

 

VENEZUELA: Cholera spreads from Haiti

144 Venezuelans are receiving treatment for Cholera after being exposed in the Dominican Republic on January 22.  Those exposed are part of a larger group of 450 who attended a wedding in the Dominican Republic where food was contaminated.  The Dominican Republic's neighbor, Haiti, is in the midst of a cholera outbreak that has reportedly killed thousands.  Venezuelan authorities have not confirmed whether all exposed attendees are accounted for.  Health officials encourage all of those who attended the wedding to get tested, as the disease can be asymptomatic.  Comment:  This strain of the disease is believed to have originated in Bangladesh and spread to Haiti from aid workers.  Some food at the wedding was purchased from a town on the Dominican border with Haiti.  While the majority of those exposed are Venezuelan, there were guests from the U.S., Spain, and Mexico. (El Universal, AFP, AP)  

 

Researched/Written by Michael Prather


East Asia
AUSTRALIA: Cyclone Yasi devastates northern Queensland, moves inland
The largest cyclone to hit Australia in almost a century slammed into the coast of northern Queensland province Wednesday, packing winds of up to 186 miles an hour. The category five cyclone tore off roofs, uprooted trees, knocked over power lines and cut off power to at least 100,000 people. More than 10,000 residents and tourists packed into 20 evacuation centers around the region. The cyclone has since been downgraded to a category three storm as it moved inland, but Australian authorities continue to classify it as dangerous. No deaths have been reported. Comment: The Australian agriculture industry suffered devastating losses over the past several months due to widespread flooding. Cyclone Yasi compounded these problems by ripping through valuable sugar and banana plantations, a lucrative industry for Queensland. (The Sydney Morning Herald, BBC, Reuters)

 

INDONESIA: Prosecutors charge senior Muslim cleric with terrorism
Abu Bakar Bashir, founder of the Southeast Asian Islamist group, Jemaah Islamiyah, was formally charged with financing and coordinating a militant group in the northern Sumatran province of Aceh Wednesday. Bashir was originally detained in August of last year, but prosecutors had yet to formally charge the alleged terrorist. The charges were announced on the same day that Bashir's defense attorney's filed a constitutional challenge to Bashir's protracted detention. Prosecutors have confirmed that they will seek the death penalty if Bashir is convicted. Comment: This is the third time in the past ten years that Indonesian authorities lodged terrorism charges against Bashir, including in 2003 when he was charged with masterminding the 2002 bombing of nightclubs on the island of Bali, which killed 202 people, mostly western tourists. The newest charges are perceived to be supported by a stronger case, as the prosecutors have already lined up over 100 witnesses. (The Jakarta Globe, The Sydney Morning Herald, The New York Times)

 

MYANMAR: Parliament nominates three pro-military candidates for president
In what is perceived to be a merely cosmetic change in leadership, the newly-elected parliament chose three Vice Presidents on Thursday, one of which will go on to become President in a parliamentary vote on Friday. All three nominees are from the military junta's political wing, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Out-going Prime Minister, Thein Sein, a close ally of top military general Than Shwe, is one of the three candidates and is widely expected to win the vote and become a figure head for General Shwe's continued rule. Comment: The first general elections in two decades took place last November in what the military Junta said was a transfer from military to civilian rule; however, the vote was widely condemned by Western nations and boycotted by much of the opposition for being neither free nor fair. (Reuters, BBC, AFP)

 

THAILAND: Attack on market leaves five people dead
At least six gunmen in a pick-up truck opened fire on a group of Buddhist villagers outside a grocery store in the southern province of Pattani Thursday, killing five people and injuring two others. The shooting was one of several recent attacks in three restive Muslim provinces in southern Thailand, including a roadside bomb that killed nine people and a much larger highly-coordinated attack on a Thai military compound last month. Comment: More than 4,300 people have been killed in similar attacks in Thailand's southern three provinces over the past seven years. Attacks in this region are often attributed to separatist forces who seek greater autonomy for the Muslim majority in the south. The Thai government has been accused of failing to address grievances of minorities there. (MCOT, BBC, Reuters)

 

Researched/Written by Paul Rothman


Europe & Central Asia

FRANCE: Serb war criminal arrested near Lyon
A Serbian paramilitary suspected of participating in the Srebrenica massacre was arrested in France on January 31.  Milorad Momic, found in the French Alps living under a false identity and working in construction, is currently in French custody while his extradition to Serbia is being processed through the court system.  Momic was allegedly part of a paramilitary group called The Scorpions, a group which actively sought the extermination of non-Serbs.  Comment:  ICTY officials have video of Scorpions opening fire on captured Muslims at Srebrenica.  Four other members of The Scorpions were tried at the ICTY in 2007 and received prison terms between five and twenty years. (AFP, Southeast European Times, AFP)  


IRELAND: Demonstrators hold final Bloody Sunday march
On January 31, thousands of people marched in Belfast on the 39th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.  Organizers have said this will be the final march following the release of the Saville Report, which led to an apology by Prime Minister Cameron.  The majority of the victims' families signed a statement, although some of the families believe the statement is premature.  Comment:  In June, a report by Lord Saville of Newdigate found that all of the victims were innocent, although no soldier was ever charged in a court of law. (AFP, Belfast Telegraph, BBC)


RUSSIA: Four police officers killed in Kabardino-Balkaria
Two masked gunmen open fired on off-duty police officers in the Caucasus on February 2, killing four.  The suspects escaped by hijacking a taxi.  Local police have opened an investigation into the murders.  Comment:  Tension in the region is increasing after last week's suicide bombing of Domodedovo airport.  Russian police suspect the bomber is from the Caucasus, although no group has taken responsibility.  (Washington Post, The Moscow News, ITAR-TASS

 

Researched/Written by Daniel Pechtol 


Middle East & North Africa

EGYPT: Demonstrators gather for "Day of Departure"
 
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square on February 4 for what is being called the "Day of Departure." Mass demonstrations throughout Egypt commenced after Friday prayers as the country entered its eleventh day of unrest. The army's presence increased in Cairo's Tahrir Square in efforts to secure the perimeter, and appeared to be on good terms with protesters after two intense days of fighting between pro-Mubarak and pro-democracy demonstrators. During his first interview since the uprising began, President Mubarak told ABC News he would like to resign immediately as he is "fed up" with being in power, but does not want to leave Egypt in chaos. Comment: Egypt's health ministry reported eight people dead and more than 800 injured during clashes between pro-Mubarak and anti-government demonstrators.  The UN, on the other hand, is reporting at least 300 dead while 4,000 injured since the unrest began. High level negotiations are under way with top officials from both the U.S. and Egyptian government. The U.S. is calling for a swift and peaceful transition of power. According to The New York Times, a suggested plan calls for Mubarak to resign immediately and hand power to a military-backed interim under Vice President Omar Suleiman. (Al Jazeera, BBC, Reuters, Ynet News)

 

ISRAEL: Awaiting a post-Mubarak era
At a news conference alongside Chancellor Merkel on January 31, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Egypt could wind up with a radical Islamic regime as in Iran. The Prime Minister has followed the events in Egypt with "vigilance and worry," and even called on the U.S. and Europe to curb their criticism of President Mubarak in efforts to preserve stability in Egypt and the Middle East. On February 2, Netanyahu continued to reiterate Israel's concern over a post-Mubarak radical Islamist regime, and called for a bolster in "Israel's might." Seemingly, he stressed Israel's support for democratic reform in Egypt. Comment: The unrest has thrown the Israeli government into turmoil, with military officials holding extensive strategy sessions to asses a post-Mubarak Egypt. Israel and Egypt have been allies for more than 30 years.(Al Jazeera, Reuters, Ynet News, BBC
)

 

JORDAN: King Abdullah appoints new prime minister
On February 1, King Abdullah dismissed his cabinet and appointed Marouf Bakhit, a conservative former army general, as the new prime minister in efforts to mollify widespread protests inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The protesters blamed former Prime Minister Rifai for Jordan's economic problems and demanded the right to elect a new prime minister. In an issued statement, the palace said the new prime minister's mission is to make practical and quick political reforms to enhance Jordan's "democratic drive and ensure safe and decent living for all Jordanians." However, Jordan's powerful Islamist opposition movement, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), did not welcome Bakhit's appointment and demanded his resignation. Comment: Unlike the mass demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, the rallies in Jordan have yet to target the country's top leader, King Abdullah. Throughout history, Jordanian monarchs have dismissed cabinets in efforts to defuse tensions in times of crisis. According to reporters, Jordanians are not looking for a regime change, but rather a change in the behavior of the regime since the king is well liked. (BBC, Reuters, AP
)

 

YEMEN: Thousands protest during "day of rage"
President Ali Abdullah Saleh called for an emergency parliament session on February 2 in efforts to ease tension among Yemenis. Saleh, who has been in power for 30 years, declared he would not seek to extend his presidency in 2013 and pledged not to pass on power to his son. However, more than 20,000 anti-government protesters congregated on Thursday in Sanaa for a "day of rage" against President Saleh, shouting "no to corruption, no to dictatorship." The demonstrators rejected President Saleh's offer to step down in 2013 and are calling for a change in government. Similarly, pro-government supporters rallied in Sanna's central Tahrir Square. Comment: In January, Saleh proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow him to stand for re-election. In response to the unrests in Tunisia and Egypt, Saleh expediently stated his opposition to hereditary rule. As a result to propositions by the government, the "day of rage" was organized by civil society groups and opposition leaders who are angered by Yemen's mounting poverty and lack of political freedoms. Pro-Saleh supporters are also calling for political and economic reforms, but they believe that only Saleh can warrant security and stability and do not want him to step down now. Both demonstrations ended peacefully around mid-morning. (
Al Jazeera, BBC, The Christian Science Monitor, Saba News)

 

Researched/Written by Carla Avendano


South Asia
BANGLADESH: Fourteen year old girl lashed to death
On February 1, fourteen year-old Hena Begum died after receiving 100 public lashings at Naria in Shariatpur issued as a result of a Fatwa decreed by a local village court; Hena was accused of having an illicit relationship with a 40 year-old married man. The circumstances surrounding the alleged affair remain unclear; while several media sources corroborate that 40 year-old Mahbub was Hena's cousin, sources do not agree whether Hena was a victim of rape or a consensual partner. Four people, including one Imam, have been arrested and officials are looking for 14 others in connection with the sentence. The High Court issued a suo moto rule on Wednesday asking the local government, officials, and representatives to submit reports on the incident within 15 days. Comment: Local officials are waiting for the post-mortem report to determine Hena's exact cause of death, as she was apparently beaten by Mahbub's family the day before the lashings. Although Hena lost consciousness after being whipped over 80 times and was taken to a nearby hospital, media sources report that villagers pressured hospital authorities to discharge her. This is the second reported fatality since fatwas and Sharia Law punishments were banned by the Bangladeshi government.  (BD News, BBC, The Daily Star)

 

MALDIVES: Article reveals Maldivian connection to Mumbai; Indian backlash

Released in mid-January, an article in "The Week" magazine implicated two Maldivian terrorists in the 2008 Mumbai bombings. The impact of the article is causing national and international security concerns. Most recently, a Maldivian traveler en route to India received a stamped warning from Indian immigration indicating the bearer could only travel to India after two months. On February 2, the Maldivian Adhaalath party condemned the article and the Maldivian ministers who were interviewed for it. The party argued that irresponsible comments made about terrorist activity stemming from Maldives challenges religious scholars, threatens Maldivian families living in India, and damages tourism. Previously, The Islamic Foundation of the Maldives raised concerns about the article's impact on perceptions of internal security, stereotypes of the Maldivian people, and potential surveillance by foreign governments. To date, no responses by Indian officials have been found. Comment: "The Week" article implies that India originally dismissed Maldivian security concerns at the time of the Mumbai bombings in order to focus the attention on Pakistani terrorist networks. Maldivian ministers interviewed in the article argued that warnings about Maldivian terrorist recruits were not adequately investigated by Indian authorities. This information applies to present-day relations as peninsular India could be at risk of terrorist attack because of its position in Maldivian waters.(Minivan News, Adhaalath.org, Haveeru)

 

INDIA: India accused of terror suspect abuse

In a security report released Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) alleged that Indian security forces committed acts of arbitrary arrests, religious discrimination, and torture of terrorism suspects. Researchers revealed that suspects were held for weeks without registration and were subjected to electric shocks, beatings, and forced into stress positions. In addition, the families of detainees were also threatened or mistreated in order to coax confessions. The report noted increases in the instances of abuse following the 2008 bombings in Delhi, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad. In an interview, a co-author for the report indicated that so long as terrorism remains and abusive counter-terrorism tactics are employed, there is risk of Muslim resentment and the alienation of local populations. The report urged the Indian government to reform its anti-terrorism tactics lest they backfire. Comment: The HRW report expresses concern that the use of fear-based, violent tactics may recruit violent retaliation. It also acknowledges that police capacity to collect and analyze forensic evidence is minimal and that Hindu suspects were also subjected to abuse by security forces. Contiguous with their policy, the Indian government refused to respond to the report.(RTT News, BBC, Pakistan Defence

 

Researched/Written by Jennifer Clemens


February 4, 2011
Go to IPSI's Homepage
In This Issue
Featured Article
Africa
Americas
East Asia
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & N. Africa
South Asia



 

IPSI Symposiums 
2011 Bologna Symposium 

The regular decision and scholarship application deadline for the 2011 Bologna, Italy Symposium at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Bologna Center is

March 14.

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IPSI News 
Dr. Valerie Rosoux

Valerie Rosoux, IPSI Board of Advisors, writes the following USIP Peace Brief: Belgium, from Model to Case Study for Conflict Resolution

 

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IPSI News 
John Prendergast

John Prendergast, IPSI Symposium contributor, co-writes the following ENOUGH report:

 Why a Certification Process for Conflict Minerals is Urgent: A View... 

 

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IPSI News 
Daniel Pechtol

IPSI International Programs Intern, Daniel Pechtol, writes the following thinkpiece in Foreign Policy Digest: "Cy-bear" Warfare: Russia's 21st Century Approach to Fusing Technol... 

 

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Betty Bigombe 
Jan Eliasson
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Amb. Jacques Paul Klein
Peter Kyle 
Dr. Jean Paul Lederach
Jeffrey Mapendere
John Marks 
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Dr. Joyce Neu

Dr. Valerie Rosoux 
William Stuebner 
Dr. Ruth Wedgwood

Dr. Craig Zelizer

 

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Comment by ilukol evelyn on February 7, 2011 at 2:54am

I thank you so much for this security up date, i will be away for one week, working with the council of Elders on the peace road between the Karimojong and the Pokot clans. The road is meant to improve the inter ethnic relationship between the two conflicting Pokot tribe and the Karimojong tribe and also to promote easier communication in the conflict affected communities.

Thank you in advance we keep in touch.

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