This week in the PSR: Somali pirates kill Americans; Sudan’s Bashir will not seek reelection; Zimbabwe activists charged; Obama pressures Cuba; Peru cuts ties with Libya; Venezuela hunger strike; China death sentences; Earthquake in NZ; Border monitors in Thailand/Cambodia; Greek protests; Displaced persons in Italy; Kosovar PM reelected; Protests in Bahrain; Libya violence; Yemen protests; Afghan tensions; Mumbai gunman sentence; Maldives security.

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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
The Mexican Cartel Debate: As Viewed Through Five Divergent Fields of Security Studies 
Mexican Drug Cartels
The Mexican cartel debate is becoming increasingly more important to U.S. national security, however, it is also becoming ever more confused, heated, and at times downright nasty, with little agreement about what is taking place in Mexico or in other regions of the Americas, such as Guatemala, Honduras, and even this side of the U.S. border.

To shed some light on this critical debate -- a debate we need to have now and not later -- it is the contention of this author that, since the Mexican cartel phenomena is being looked at by scholars from divergent fields of security studies and since each field of study brings with it its own key assumptions and concerns, preferred responses, terminology, works, and authors, those analyzing the problem are often talking at cross-purposes which is unproductive. Additionally, dissention among those within each individual field of study about the threat the cartels represent-the divergences among those who study insurgencies as but one important example- adds another layer of confusion to this debate. READ FULL ARTICLE >>  


SOMALIA:  Four Americans killed by pirates on hijacked yacht
On Tuesday, Somali pirates killed the guests and owners of a private yacht hijacked Friday in the Indian Ocean.  Soon after shots were fired, U.S. forces boarded the yacht, killed two pirates, found two dead, and arrested the remaining 15.  The incident occurred while the pirates were negotiating the release of the hostages with the U.S. Navy.  The pirates are being held on a U.S. warship while the government investigates the killings and determines next steps.  Comment: As one of the deadliest incidents involving kidnapped Americans, the pirates will likely be sent to the U.S. to face a trial.  In the past year, at least six accused Somali pirates have been convicted in U.S. courts. Last week, a Somali pirate was sentenced to 33 years in U.S. prison.  (CNN, Reuters, BBC

SUDAN: President Bashir will not seek re-election
President Bashir will not run for re-election in 2015, Mr. Abdel-Aati a senior official in the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) announced on Sunday.  According to Abdel-Aati, Bashir wants to "allow for the transformation of power to a new generation... and establish a real democratic system in our country."  Last week, Bashir, 67, mentioned to the younger members of his party that he would retire if the NCP adopted a retirement age of 60 for political figures.  Comment: Abdel-Aati denied that the changes were connected with the recent revolts in the Arab world that dismantled deeply entrenched regimes in Egypt and Tunisia; however other Sudanese have dismissed the announcement as an attempt to subdue potential mass protests.  (Sudan Tribune, NY Times, Reuters)

ZIMBABWE: 46 activists charged with treason
This Wednesday, 46 political activists and union members arrested last week were accused of plotting Egyptian-style protests against President Mugabe; a charge that carries a possible death sentence.  The 46 Zimbabweans were arrested for watching videos of recent uprisings and discussing possible demonstrations against Mugabe who has been in power for 31 years; other sources say the accused were attending a lecture on the unrest in the Arab world.  Comment: The arrests indicate the government's fears of an uprising, especially since Mugabe shares similarities with the recently ousted leaders.  Similar to Mubarak and Ben Ali, Mugabe has remained in power for decades while being accused of rigged elections and instituting repressive laws.  (CNN, Reuters, BBC)

by Haja Kakay

CUBA: Obama urges the release of dissidents
President Obama on Wednesday urged the release of imprisoned dissidents in Cuba.  His comments come on the first anniversary of the death of Orlando Zapata, an opposition leader who became a symbol of the fight against the government after he died in an 85-day hunger strike.  In order to prevent commemoration of Zapata's death, the Cuban government jailed at least 40 dissidents.  Human Rights Watch also commented on the detentions, highlighting the denial of basic freedoms.  The Cuban government has not indicated whether they will head Obama's urgings.  Comment: Last year, Zapata's death caused outrage throughout the world, drawing scrutiny to the Cuban government's handling of activists.  Jailing of dissidents is not uncommon in Cuba; this instance, however, has drawn greater scrutiny, in part for its connections with Zapata. (AFP, BBC, Miami Herald) 
PERU: Diplomatic relations with Libya cut
Peru cut ties with Libya on February 22, becoming the first country to do this in light of the growing protests.  The announcement came after increasing violence on the part of Gaddafi against the Libyan people.  President Garcia condemned the violence and the repression of the people, and stated his hopes that other Latin American countries will follow suit in cutting ties and condemning the actions of Gaddafi.   Comment: Beyond the comments President Garcia made, he also appealed to the UN Security Council, suggesting that they impose a no-fly zone over Libya in order to avoid further usage of fighter jets against the civilian population.  (El Commercio, BBC, La República)
VENEZUELA: Student hunger strike ends
Tuesday marked the end of a 23-day hunger strike by an estimated 80 students protesting the detention of people they believed to be political prisoners.  Lorrent Saleh, the leader of the strike, indicated that the protestors and government came to an agreement on a number of issues.  Some of the prisoners will be released, medical attention will be provided to others, and there will be future dialogue to discuss the issues further.  Comment:  While protests took place throughout the country, a large contingent was stationed outside of the Organization of American States building in Caracas, demanding that its Secretary General come to Venezuela to investigate the human rights violations.  The protests occurring throughout the Middle East have made the government sensitive to the possibility of a similar scenario in Venezuela.   (Miami Herald, APEl Universal 


Researched/Written by Michael Prather

East Asia
CHINA: Four men sentenced to death for Xinjiang attacks
China's Supreme Peoples' Court upheld death sentences Wednesday for four Uighur men convicted of attacks in August and November of last year in China's northwestern Xinjiang province. The men are collectively accused of a bombing attack that killed seven people and wounded several others, as well as attacks that killed a police officer and two civilians. In addition, all four men were accused of being Uighur separatists seeking independence for Xinjiang province. Comment: In July 2009, riots broke out in the provincial capital of Urumqi between ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese and quickly spread to other parts of the province, resulting in about 200 deaths and the detainment of 1000 people. Xinjiang province is a serious point of concern for the Chinese government as separatists in the region are linked with external Islamic fundamentalist organizations such as Al Qaeda. (BBC, Herald Sun, Bloomberg)
NEW ZEALAND: Earthquake devastates Christchurch, killing over 100 people, many more missing
A 6.3-magnitude earthquake rocked New Zealand's second largest city Tuesday causing buildings to collapse during the early afternoon hours in the country's worst natural disaster in 80 years. Local authorities say 103 bodies have been recovered so far, and the death toll is expected to rise significantly over the next few days. At least 2,000 people are being treated for injuries and an estimated 80 percent of the city's residents are without running water. Comment: Tuesday's earthquake comes six months after a 7.0 earthquake struck the same area causing significantly less damage. Rescue and recovery crews from the U.S., UK, Australia, and Japan arrived Thursday to assist in the aftermath. (New Zealand Herald, Guardian, Reuters)
THAILAND/CAMBODIA: Both sides agree to border monitors in ASEAN-brokered deal
Thailand and Cambodia agreed Wednesday to allow 40 military and civilian observers to monitor a cease-fire after violence broke out near the long contested area of land surrounding the Preah Vihear temple earlier this month. All observers will be supplied by Indonesia, whose ASEAN presidency is largely credited with the agreement. Comment: The agreement is considered a significant boost to Indonesia but also for ASEAN, a regional organization that has long been accused of being ineffective in settling regional disputes. (Reuters, VOA, Canadian Press)


Researched/Written by Paul Rothman

Europe & Central Asia
GREECE:  Thousands protest austerity measures in Athens, demonstrations turn violent
On Wednesday, thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens to demonstrate against government service cutbacks recommended by the EU and IMF.  Violence broke out between police and rioters, as police used tear gas and arrested 26 protesters, while one demonstrator threw a molotov cocktail at an officer.  Fifteen policemen and ten protesters were injured.  Comment:  The protest came on a day when the majority of the country was paralyzed by massive strikes across several industries.  Greece's unemployment rate sits at 13 percent.  (LA Times, ABC,
ITALY: Italy braces for massive immigration
Italy is bracing for a massive influx of North African refugees this week, said Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.  Early estimates of 300,000 were later revised to over 1.5 million expected migrants, prompting Italy to call for extensive EU resources and funds.  North Africans living on the coast of eastern Libya may also attempt to reach Greece due to its proximity.  Comment: Some European nations are reluctant to sign up for Italy's proposals; Sweden pointed out that last year it accepted 32,000 refugees and is a country of nine million. Italy has 50 million residents and only had to deal with about 6,000 refugees last week; so while a difficult situation, Italy is not yet in crisis.  (Telegraph, Deutsche Press, Bloomberg)
KOSOVO: Thachi elected for second term amidst organ donor controversy
This week, Kosovo re-elected Prime Minister Hashim Thachi for a second term in office.  Thachi, who led the KLA during the 1990s, is accused of running an organized crime and organ trafficking ring in Kosovo from 1999-2000.  Comment:  Thachi's new government dropped many corrupt officials and installed a Kosovo Serb as deputy prime minister; however, the new president, Behjet Pacolli, is a former businessman whose close ties to Russia, are viewed with great suspicion by many Kosovars, as Russia was an opponent of Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence.  (Irish Times, BBC, Moscow Times)


Researched/Written by Daniel Pechtol

Middle East & North Africa
BAHRAIN: Tens of thousands join first organized rally
On Tuesday, tens of thousands of Bahrainis joined the first organized anti-government rally in Manama since protests erupted last week. The protesters called for the release of prisoners, the resignation of the current government, an investigation into the deaths of protesters, and political reforms. The latest marches come a day after pro-government Sunnis rallied at a Mosque in Monama, pledging their loyalty to the royal family. They urged anti-government protesters to engage in dialogue with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad. On Tuesday, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa ordered the release of 50 political prisoners, including 23 Shia activists accused of plotting to overthrow the dynasty. Though seen as a positive move by the government, dozens still remain in jail. Comment: The kingdom's foreign minister said on Thursday that Bahrain is seeking national dialogue in response to the country's current unrest. The expected national dialogue will start within days, and the Shiite Haq movement leader, Hassan Mushaimaa, could return to the country. Mushaimaa is among 25 people charged last year over the alleged coup plot and was charged in absentia. (Reuters, BBC, Al Jazeera)


LIBYA: Gaddafi struggles to maintain power
On February 24, Gaddafi announced during a televised speech that al-Qaeda is responsible for the uprising in Libya. Speaking from an unspecified location, the Libyan leader explained that Osama bin Laden manipulated young protesters, many of whom, Gaddafi claimed, were under the influence of drugs. In addition, he argued that unlike people in Libya's neighboring countries, Libyans have "no reason to complain whatsoever." Gaddafi is currently struggling to maintain authority, especially now that pro-demonstrators took control of eastern Libya. Analysts claim that while a civil war is unlikely, conflict and violence are a real possibility since protesters are now armed. Comment: Gaddafi's government gradually faltered over the week with the defection of a number of high profile officials and intense international pressure. Soldiers ordered to control the protesters switched sides and refused to support Gaddafi's government. European countries announced a set of economic sanctions against Libya, while President Obama condemned the "outrageous" force used against protesters. The number of casualties is unclear, but many human rights organizations put the number between 640 and 1,000. The Libyan minister on Wednesday, however, claimed the death toll is only 308 people. (Al Jazeera, BBC, The Christian Science Monitor)

YEMEN: President issued directive for protection of protesters
President Saleh issued a directive on February 24 ordering his security forces to protect demonstrators. The statement comes after at least 15 people died in the country's recent unrest.  Saleh stressed full protection for anti- and pro-government demonstrators, and vowed the government would continue to protect the rights of its citizens to assemble peacefully. Thousands of protesters camped out for a fifth day outside Sanaa University, demanding that Saleh resign. Comment: President Saleh made significant concessions to the opposition, including his promise to step down in 2013; however, opposition parties are doubtful of his promises because of continued violence used against protesters. Although 80 percent of legislators still back President Saleh, 11 members of his ruling party and 28 legislators of his General People's Congress party resigned in protest of government violence. (Al Jazeera, BBC, Reuters, Yemen Post)

Researched/Written by Carla Avendano

South Asia
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan tensions rise after civilians die in NATO-led air strike
Tensions in Afghanistan increased this week after a NATO-led air strike on February 17 and 18 claimed the lives of civilian women and children in Ghazi Abad. Currently, reports on the number of civilian deaths are difficult to corroborate. While the Afghan presidential palace statement indicated more than 50 civilians were killed, other estimates fall between 35 and 64 civilian deaths. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) questioned the reported death toll, saying it will begin an investigation on February 28. Following the NATO-led operation, the Afghan government accused General Petraeus of callously dismissing concerns that the strike resulted in civilian children hospitalized with burns; however, the U.S. military denies the accusations.  On February 20, Petraeus met with Afghan officials to address the issue, but the remarks from the meeting are difficult to evidence and remain contested among media sources. The issue of civilian deaths is a frequent point of discussion between the two governments. Comment: A United Nations report released in 2010 found that civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose 20 percent in the first 10 months of 2010 compared with 2009, with more than 75 percent killed or wounded by insurgents. The report found that of the 6,215 civilian casualties during the period, including 2,412 deaths, 12 percent were caused by "pro-government" forces. Other rights agencies report similar figures. (Reuters, CNN, NY Times)
INDIA: High court upholds death sentence for Mumbai gunman
On February 21, the Bombay high court upheld the death-by-hanging sentence for lone surviving Mumbai gunman, Pakistani national, Mohammed Amir Amjal Qasab. Qasab was one of 10 gunmen who coordinated and carried out the 2008 attacks on India's key landmarks in Mumbai, which killed 160 people over 3 days. According to Qasab's lawyer, he will appeal Monday's conviction in India's Supreme Court. Qasab may also file a mercy petition with the country's president if the Supreme Court turns down his plea. Comment: Qasab's initial sentence was handed down on May 6, 2010. Earlier this month India and Pakistan agreed to resume formal peace talks after New Delhi broke off negotiations following the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan acknowledged the attacks were plotted and partly launched from its soil; so far the Pakistani government placed seven suspects on trial. (Reuters, CNNAFP, Arab News)
MALDIVES: Maldivian government takes strides to increase national security 
On February 22, the Maldivian government, with assistance from the United States, began a second workshop dedicated to drafting a national security framework. In his speech at the beginning of the workshop, political advisor to the Maldivian president, Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, described the workshop as a "ground breaking effort," emphasizing the necessity of the framework in combating serious threats to Maldivian national security. Zaki identified Somali pirate activities, environmental hazards, and the extremism as rising threats to the nation. In addition, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony will visit the Maldives in August to begin the process of bringing the country into India's security grid. The coastal radar chain in Maldives will be networked with the Indian coastal radar system. The two countries already have a security cooperation agreement against sea-borne terrorism and piracy. Comment: The first national security workshop was held in October 2010 with the aim of identifying core issues in security. The second workshop aims to scrutinize and restructure the country's security strategy and is expected to end on February 24. (Haama DailyHaveeruMaldives Today) 


Researched/Written by Jennifer Clemens

February 25, 2011
Go to IPSI's Homepage
In This Issue
Featured Article
East Asia
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & N. Africa
South Asia


IPSI Symposiums 
2011 Bologna Symposium 

The Regular Decision deadline for the 2011 Bologna, Italy Symposium at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Bologna Center is only TWO WEEKS away!

  Learn More >> 



IPSI News 
Betty Bigombe

Betty Bigombe, IPSI Board of Advisors, is elected as Woman MP for Amuru district in Uganda.



IPSI News 
Luis Moreno Ocampo

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, IPSI Lecturer, tells the Aegis Trust "I have the most important mission in the world." 



IPSI News 
John Prendergast

Ruth Wedgwood, IPSI Board of Advisors, 

contributes to the following article, What Will Be the Next Middle East Shock?



IPSI Leadership 


Cameron M. Chisholm

Dr. I. William Zartman 
Dr. P. Terrence Hopmann 
Alexander Little 
Nadim Salti
Pamela Aall 
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah
Betty Bigombe 
Jan Eliasson
Gareth Evans 
Dr. Ted Robert Gurr
Amb. Jacques Paul Klein
Peter Kyle 
Dr. Jean Paul Lederach
Jeffrey Mapendere
John Marks 
Susan Collin Marks 
Dr. Joyce Neu

Dr. Valerie Rosoux 
William Stuebner 
Dr. Ruth Wedgwood

Dr. Craig Zelizer


About Us >>



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