|International Peace & Security Institute
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.
Cyprus: Bridging the Property Divide
The property issue is one of the most intractable knots in the settlement of the Cyprus dispute, without which stability in the Eastern Mediterranean remains fragile. Greek and Turkish Cypriots own tens of thousands of buildings and parcels of land on both sides of the divided island. A convincing plan to resolve conflicting claims would give great support to reunification efforts and persuade external partners of Cypriots' will to find a compromise, even as the 2011 electoral calendar sets what is in effect a deadline for the present negotiations.
But as Cypriot politicians and Turkey fail to come to terms, the property question is increasingly being atomised by individual actions and the courts - a process that will be more expensive, slow and inefficient for all than a comprehensive property settlement. With a comprehensive deal proving elusive, heavy court and administrative penalties and the actions of Cypriot individuals mean that the property issue can no longer be ignored or avoided. New ideas are urgently needed. READ MORE >>
Originally published by the International Crisis Group on 12/09/2010
COTE D'IVOIRE: Both candidates sworn in; international actors move to forestall violence
Although opposition Presidential candidate Allasane Ouattara was declared the victor of the November 28 run-off, sitting President Laurent Gbagbo continues to refuse to relinquish power after the Constitutional Council overturned the official result. Gbagbo was sworn-in in an official ceremony on December 4, and Ouattara responded by conducting his own swearing in ceremony just hours later. Both have named their cabinets. ECOWAS suspended Cote d'Ivoire and demanded that Gbagbo step down, a call that has been echoed by the AU, UN, and other international actors. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is in Cote d'Ivoire to try and negotiate a peaceful settlement. Comment: The rapid influx of international actors will hopefully be enough to prevent a descent into violence; many civilians are reportedly fleeing the country in anticipation of a possible confrontation between supporters of the respective candidates. (UPI, RFI, GhanaianJournal, AlJazeera)SUDAN: Referendum less than a month away
Yesterday marked one month until the January 9 referendum on South Sudanese independence and the close of voter registration. Nearly 3 million voters registered, but the Abyei issue is still deadlocked. On December 7, a U.S. official said that the Abyei referendum would be delayed as no agreement has yet been reached, and Khartoum is refusing to make any concessions. Comment: The high voter registration is encouraging, although the deadlock of Abyei threatens to return to the country to war. Khartoum is insisting that the Misseriya, a nomadic tribe that spends part of the year in Abyei be allowed to vote on whether Abyei will remain a part of the North or join the South; the Southern Sudanese argue that the Misseriya, not permanent residents, should not be allowed to vote. (AFP, RFI, SudanTribune, SudanTribune)UGANDA: Mysterious disease kills 38
An unknown disease has already killed at least 38 people in the Kitgum region of Northern Uganda. Initial reports suggested that it could be the bubonic plague or a new strain of Ebola, but both have now been ruled out. Officials from Uganda and neighboring states, as well as the U.S. and World Health Organization, are scrambling to identify the disease. Ugandan health officials say that they have found a treatment that is so far preventing further deaths. Comment: Kitgum, and the wider Acholi region, are still struggling to recover from over two decades of terror at the hands of the Lord's Resistance Army. While the rest of the country -- especially Kampala and the area around the capitol -- experienced widespread development under President Yoweri Museveni, the North has been slow to follow suit, with most of the areas inhabitants forced to live in camps until recently. An effective response to this outbreak, however, could improve Acholi perceptions of the government in Kampala. (AFP, DailyNation, NewVision)
ARGENTINA: Palestine recognized as a free, independent state
On December 6, Argentina recognized Palestine as a free and independent state according to its 1967 borders, just days after Brazil announced Palestine should also co-exist peacefully alongside Israel. Foreign minister Timerman said that Argentina was frustrated with the results of the 1991 Madrid talks and 1993 Oslo Accords, and claimed it was time to recognize Palestine as a free, independent state in response to the slow progress of current talks. Comment: Israel immediately called the decision by both Brazil and Argentina as "regrettable" and claimed that there were other ways to contribute to peace than "by a purely rhetorical gesture." Uruguay announced on December 6 its plan to recognize a Palestinian state by next year. (Miami Herald, Al Jazeera, La Nacion)HAITI: Haitians angered over presidential election results
On December 8, thousands of protesters set fire to the headquarters of Haiti's ruling party and hurled stones in response to contested results from the presidential elections. The protestors accused the ruling party of rigging the vote in favor of its candidate, Jude Celestin. Preliminary results from the November 28 elections, announced on December 7, showed former first Lady Manigat and Celestin going through to the January run-off. The run-off will exclude Martelly, a heavily favored and popular musician; however, voting returns previously cited by the media and Haitian election observers stated that Manigat and Martelly were the two run-off qualifiers. Comment: Numerous domestic and international observers cited inconsistencies with vote counts. Celestin is regarded as President Preval's hand-picked successor. (BBC, Reuters, El Nuevo Herald)VENEZUELA/COLOMBIA: Thousands displaced by floods, mudslides
Tens of thousands of people abandoned their homes this week, while dozens were killed as floods and mudslides ravaged parts of Colombia and Venezuela. Hundreds more are being evacuated due to a continued risk in many towns. Families are staying at shelters throughout their respective countries, including military installations. In Venezuela, some 100,000 people have been displaced from their homes. Comment: Colombian President Santos declared a state of emergency, which would grant his government more power to address the crisis through loans and taxes. Venezuelan Present Chavez claimed his government would take over private property to build new houses for those forced to abandon their homes. Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Brazil offered their help. (Miami Herald, AP, BBC)
CAMBODIA: Relations with Thailand normalized, states Prime Minister
On December 6, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that relations with Thailand have returned to normalcy. Sen stated that the situation along the Thai-Cambodia border was back to normal after more than two years of dispute. Sen attributed the success to four of his meetings with the Thai Prime Minister Vejjajiva. However, he added that certain issues including demarcation the border, clearing of land mines and opening of new checkpoints still need to be resolved. Comment: Tensions over the 11th century Preah Vihear temple forced the closure of a border crossing near the temple two years ago. Sporadic border clashes have since taken place killing seven soldiers from both sides. (AP, Phnom Penh Post)CHINA: 19 countries to boycott Nobel prize ceremony
19 countries, including China, are set to boycott this year's Nobel Peace prize ceremony to be held in Oslo, Norway on December 10. Russia, Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia are among those who will not attend the ceremony. The prize will be awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiabao. Liu is currently serving an 11-year sentence for subversion of state power and for his authorship of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for democratic reform in one-party China. Comment: The Chinese media labeled the ceremony as a "farce". China criticized the Nobel Prize Committee on the selection and undertook diplomatic efforts to discourage countries from attending the ceremony. (IB Times, Mirror, Reuters)THAILAND: Extradition request if Shinawatra visits U.S.
On December 8, Thai officials announced that the government would appeal for an extradition if ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra visits the United States. The U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (USCSCE) has invited Shinawatra to speak in a panel on December 16 on human rights violations in Thailand. Shinawatra's spokesman stated that he plans to present evidence to the USCSCE about human rights violations during the Red-shirt protests earlier this year that killed 89 people and detail his views on reconciliation. Comment: Shinawatra was ousted in 2006 by the military. He has lived overseas since 2008 after fleeing a two-year sentence for abuse of power during his reign as Prime Minister. (Bangkok Post, Bloomberg, MCOT)
|Europe & Central Asia
|RUSSIA/CHECHNYA: Chechen violence leaves nine dead
This week, a raid on a militant safehouse in Chechnya claimed the lives of six militants, one police officer, and one child. According to officials, a police task force surrounded the house, and upon entry, shots were exchanged, and a ricochet bullet killed the child. In a separate attack in Khasavyurt, a gunman opened fire on a tax officer who was sitting in a cafe. The officer died on the way to the hospital. Comment: The attacks come one week after Chechen leaders suggested Chechnya should host the World Cup, as they are currently building a large sports complex in Grozny. (Deutche Press-Agentur, The Hindu, Reuters)THE HAGUE: Convicted Serb officer gets reduced sentence
Serbian army officer Veselin Sljivancanin's prison sentence was reduced on Wednesday by the ICTY in light of new evidence. Sljivancanin was originally sentenced to seventeen years in jail for participating in, and aiding and abetting those responsible for, the 1993 Vukovar massacre, in which 200 Croats died. The sentence has been reduced to ten years, reversing judgment on the murder charge after testimony revealed Sljivancanin did not give the order to kill. Comment: This is the first time the ICTY has reversed a sentencing, and also comes at a time when ICTY officials are pressing Serbia harder to find remaining war criminals. (AFP, Deutche Presse-Agentur, Reuters)UNITED KINGDOM: Julian Assange taken into custody, supporters launch cyberattacks on websites
On December 7, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange surrendered to New Scotland Yard after a warrant for his arrest was issued last week. Assange, wanted for sex crimes in Sweden, has been the center of media attention over the last two weeks due to his release of U.S. diplomatic cables. In response to his arrest, supporters have allegedly launched attacks on websites that severed ties to Wikileaks, including MasterCard and Amazon.com. Comment: The leaks have been of great controversy since they began in 2006. This latest episode, however, is the first time that supporters have attacked major international financial institutions in defense of Assange. (The Guardian, New York Times, CBS)UNITED KINGDOM: Woman detained on suspicions of espionage, spying for Moscow
Last week, a Russian woman was arrested in London as an alleged spy for Moscow. Ekaterina Zatuliveter, an assistant to a member of parliament, was detained by MI-5 on the grounds of her presence being "not conducive to national security." Zatuliveter's counsel claims she is the victim of a bungled investigation, and launched a challenge to her deportation. Comment: Russian officials claim that this is a PR stunt to take focus away from Wikileaks and Britain losing the World Cup bid to Russia this week. (Moscow Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph)
|Middle East & North Africa
EGYPT: Ruling party sweeps parliament elections
Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) secured about 80 percent of parliament seats in this year's elections. Opposition parties denounced the elections as rigged. The Muslim Brotherhood, NDP's biggest and strongest opposition, boycotted the second round after winning zero seats in the first round of elections. According to the elections commission, voter turnout was 35 percent in the first round and 27 percent in the second round, while Egyptian rights groups put it at 10 and 5 percent respectively. Comment: Analysts voiced that the 2010 parliament elections are "certainly the most illegitimate" elections in recent Egyptian history. Opposition and independent monitors said both rounds resulted in ballot box stuffing, voter intimidation, and other abuses. (Al Jazeera, BBC, AP)
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: U.S. suspends efforts in Middle East talks
The U.S. suspended its demand for Israel to renew a freeze on settlement building in the West Bank on December 7, claiming the peace talks had gone nowhere. In efforts to broker a new moratorium, the U.S. concluded that there was no "firm basis to work towards [a] shared goal of a framework agreement." The U.S. promised to continue to unblock the Middle East peace process through indirect talks when Israeli and Palestinian negotiators visit Washington next week. Comment: President Obama re-launched direct negotiations in September in efforts to find a final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within a year. To Palestinian President Abbas, a U.S. defeat means an end to the peace process, since the U.S. was the only country monopolizing control of the talks. He expressed hopes that the EU will one day play a stronger role alongside the U.S. (Al Jazeera, AFP, Al Jazeera, NPR)SAUDI ARABIA: Leak reveals proposal to attack Hizbollah
On December 7, a leaked U.S. cable revealed a Saudi proposal to control Hizbollah with the help of the U.S., UN, and NATO. The cable quotes Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal saying in a meeting with U.S. ambassador to Iraq, David Satterfield, in May 2008 that a "security response" in the form of "an Arab force" was needed to fight off Hizbollah's influence in Lebanon. Comment: Hizbollah is backed by Iran, whose influence in the region is troubling to many neighbors. The cables revealed that an Arab force would create and maintain order in and around Beirut to secure peace in a country where political unrest is increasingly becoming a security issue. (Al Jazeera, BBC, Reuters)
BANGLADESH: Pirates seize ship off the coast of India
On December 5, suspected Somali pirates hijacked a Bangladeshi ship off the coast of India in the Arabian Sea. MV Jahan Moni, with a crew of 25 Bangladeshis, was headed from Indonesia to Greece carrying 41,000 tons of nickel ore. Bangladeshi government officials sought help from anti-piracy teams from Dubai and Singapore. Somali pirates currently hold 22 ships and 521 crew members hostage. Comment: It is the first Bangladeshi-owned ship to be hijacked. If the pirates are indeed from Somalia, this incident indicates that Somali pirates have the capability to travel more than 1,245 miles from the Somali coast. (BBC, Daily Star, Reuters)INDIA: Blast kills 1 in the holy city of Varanasi
On December 7, a blast rocked the holy city of Varanasi in northern India killing 1 and injuring 25. Many others were also injured in the ensuing stampede. The blast was close to the site of another attack that took place in 2006. Prime Minister Singh appealed for calm following the attack. The terror outfit, the Indian Mujahideen (IM) claimed responsibility for the attack, and seven were detained in the city of Mumbai in connection with the blast. Comment: The attack signals the re-emergence of the IM as a tangible threat despite recent arrests of its members. (IBN, PTI, Times of India)SOUTH ASIA: SAARC celebrates 25th anniversary
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) marked its 25th anniversary on December 8. SAARC was formed in 1985 and consists of 8 South-Asian nations. The countries are home to nearly 1.5 billion people or about 22 percent of the world's population. SAARC was created to promote peace, stability and progress of the South Asian region by fostering mutual understanding, meaningful cooperation and good neighborly relations among member states. Comment: An article of the SAARC charter states "Bilateral and contentious issues shall be excluded from the deliberations." The ever-present India-Pakistan tensions have therefore marred the effectiveness of SAARC. (Daily Times, Himalayan Times, Samachar Today)
Seven weeks until the Early Decision application deadline for IPSI's 2011 Bologna, Italy Symposium
|IPSI Advisor News
IPSI Advisor Jan Eliasson
discusses his belief in a "Culture of Prevention."
|IPSI Advisor News
IPSI Advisor John Marks talks about Search for Common Ground's prolific series "The Team."