Peace & Security Report - 11/19/2010 APPLICATIONS OPEN!

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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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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DRC: Military solution failing
A report released by the International Crisis Group (ICG) on November 16 suggests that, despite two years of military cooperation between Rwanda and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Congo (DRC), there is still no stability in the eastern part of the DRC. Neither the government military nor the rebel groups have the strength to win a military victory, but both possess the means -- often gained from control of mining operations -- to prolong the conflict indefinitely. A day after the release from the ICG, reports came out of the DRC of an attack on a civilian truck that left between 3 and 23 dead. Comment: The eastern DRC, where a 10-year civil war left over 5 million dead, shows few signs of recovery. Poor control by the central government allows rebel militias and government soldiers to exploit civilian populations in harsh mining conditions. The situation is gaining increasing media and political attention in the West, with both leaders and activists pushing for better mineral standards and peaceful resolution to the violence. (ICG, AFP, CanadianPress)

GUINEA: Violence erupts following election results
The acting President of Guniea, General Sekouba Konate, declared a state of emergency following violent protests. Opposition leader Alpha Conde was declared the victor on November 16, a day after clashes between security forces and supporters of losing candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo left at least one dead and dozens wounded. Three more deaths from violence were reported following the official announcement of results. Conde, who trailed going into the run-off, said in a victory speech that he hopes to be a president of reconciliation. Comment: Guinea's first-ever elections were delayed multiple times before finally being held on November 7. Although tense, the elections were generally peaceful. (Reuters, AfricanElectionsProject, RFI)

MADAGASCAR: Voting on new constitution ends in attempted coup
Madagascar went to the polls on November 17 to vote on a new constitution designed to end a political impasse. Nearly 7 million of the country's 20 million inhabitants were registered to vote on the referendum, but the day ended with military leaders claiming they had taken control of the government. President Andry Rajoelina declared that he was still in power and that the mutineers would be swiftly dealt with. On November 18, both sides said they were in talks to end the attempted coup. Comment: In 50 years of independence, Madagascar consistently struggles to establish a viable democracy. Rajoelina took power at the head of a military coup last year and exiled the former president to South Africa. Western donor states have frozen all but emergency humanitarian aid to the country, and the infrastructure and conservation efforts are suffering. Critics allege that the new constitution is written to allow Rajoelina to maintain power indefinitely. (TheGuardian, Independent, RFI, RFI)

Researched/Written by Matthew Hughes

HAITI: Anti-UN riots in response to cholera outbreak
Anti-UN riots spread across cities and towns in Haiti on November 15 as protesters barricaded roads and exchanged gunfire with UN soldiers. The protesters blamed Nepalese peacekeepers for the cholera outbreak that has killed over 1,000 people and hospitalized close to 15,000. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) dismissed the riots as politically motivated in light of the upcoming November 28 presidential elections, further stating that the riots were aimed at creating a climate of insecurity. The Dominican Republic reported its first cholera case this month and has stepped up border controls and health checks. Comment: The cholera outbreak has created a backlash against the 12,000 member UN military mission in Haiti. Doctors Without Borders and other medical aid groups have warned the outbreak could eventually sicken hundreds of thousands of people. (AP, Reuters, BBC)

GUATEMALA: CICIG meets resistance from elites
The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a UN-backed investigative team responsible for dismantling security groups and ending criminal impunity is meeting stiff resistance from Guatemala's political and business elites. The team is comprised of police and prosecutors from 25 nations and has successfully placed senior officials behind bars; however, the commission is being accused of "going out of control" for filing extra-judicial execution charges against top officials from the government. Comment: Nearly half of Guatemala is now reportedly controlled by drug gangs and other criminals, and more than 96 percent of murders go unsolved. Guatemala is experiencing murder rates of 53 per 100,000 people, higher than Mexico. (AP, The Guardian, Siglo XXI)

U.S.: Push for ratification of nuclear treaty
The Obama administration is pushing for Senate ratification of the new START nuclear treaty with Russia during the current lame duck session of Congress. Some Republicans, most notable Senator Kyl, in the Senate are against ratifying the treaty until next year, although the administration is concerned that failure to vote on the pact now may undermine relations with Russia. The Russian Parliament will not ratify the treaty until Senate approval is certain. Comment: The new Start treaty would reduce both countries' nuclear arsenals from 2,200 to 1,550 and allow each to inspect the other's facilities - both countries would be allowed 18 surprise visits per year. Without Republican Senator Kyl's support, the Democrats will most likely be unable to secure enough votes to ratify the treaty in the current Senate. (BBC, AP, Reuters)

Researched/Written by Carla Avendano
East Asia
JAPAN: Japan to attend Nobel Peace Prize ceremony
On November 17, the Japanese embassy in Oslo, Norway announced that its ambassador will attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to be held on December 10. This year's Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. China stated that the selection is an interference in its internal matters and has pressured countries to not attend the ceremony. Six countries, including Russia and Iraq, have turned down the invitation to attend the ceremony. Comment: The announcement by Japan could further raise tensions between the two Asian powers. The two countries were in a diplomatic row last month after a Chinese fishing boat collided with Japanese patrol ships near disputed islands in the East China Sea. (Washington Post, AFP, Reuters)

MYANMAR: Aung San Suu Kyi released from detention
Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest on November 13. In one of her first interviews to the media, she stated "I think, firstly, we have to start talking affably (with the junta) - real genuine talks." World leaders hailed the release of the democracy icon and several governments urged Myanmar to free more political prisoners. Suu Kyi has been in detention for a large part of the last twenty years. Comment: The international community has long asked for Suu Kyi's release. Her release can be seen as an attempt by the ruling military junta to gain some credit for its much criticized political process. (Reuters, Washington Post, Straits Times)

SOUTH KOREA/NORTH KOREA: North Korean defectors on the rise
On November 15, South Korean officials announced that defections from North Korea have increased markedly in recent years. 2,900 people defected to the South last year and 2,000 have defected so far this year. The government also announced that on November 11, a North Korean woman became the 20,000 person to defect to the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953. 10,000 defectors have arrived since 2007 alone. Comment: Defections from the North to the South accelerated after the North suffered a massive famine, estimated to have killed 2 million people in the mid-1990s. Severe economic hardships continue, and the UN announced this week that North Korea is in dire need of food aid. (Yonhap Agency, Guardian, Korea Times)

Researched/Written by Megha Swamy
Europe & Central Asia
BELGIUM: Turkey, NATO, at odds over missile shield
This week, Turkish officials expressed desire to be in control of a NATO proposed missile defense base to be placed in Turkey. The ruling political party, the Justice and Development Party (APK), considers itself to be defenders of Muslim civilization, claimed the shield is directed at Syria and Iran, and currently blocked the installation of the sites. NATO officials hope to find a resolution by the end of the weekend at the summit being held in Lisbon. Comment: Since joining NATO in 1952, this is the first time Turkey has stood in defiance of the alliance. Ankara has shown closer diplomatic ties in recent months, voting against UNSC sanctions last June. There are plans to install bases in Poland and Romania as well. (WSJ, Reuters)

ENGLAND: London pays Guantanamo inmates in settlement
The British government announced on November 17 that up to 30 million pounds will be paid out to a group of 15 terror suspects formerly held in Guantanamo Bay and one terror suspect not yet released. The payment is to settle allegations of torture and unlawful imprisonment; however London insists that this is in no way an admission of guilt. According to one source, the payments come at a time when MI-5 and MI-6 feel their secret intelligence divisions are "flying out of control." Comment: The case was ready to be heard in British courts, however the settlement was reached after the British government calculated the hearings would have taken between three and five years and cost up to 50 million pounds. While Britain states they are not admitting any guilt in the matter, many MPs and politicians believe that the payouts will, in fact, be seen as such. (Telegraph, Washington Post, Daily Mail)

GERMANY: Germany on high alert; sees serious indications of attack
This week, amongst increased intelligence and credible information, Germany has raised its terror alert level in anticipation of a possible attack by the end of the month. Intelligence officials received word from their American counterparts that between two and four operatives have arrived or will soon arrive in the country with intentions of executing a Mumbai-style terrorist attack. German police have tightened security around train stations, airports, and tourist attractions. Comment: German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has warned the public about the attack, but his involvement may signal the severity of the threat, as he has been known to play down talks of terrorist attacks. A German bakery in Puna, India, was the site of a terrorist bombing earlier this year, and the mastermind behind that attack has been linked to the most recent reports. Reports similar to this have been coming out frequently over the last month. (The Times of India, New York Times, Radio Free Europe)

SERBIA: Belgrade requests Interpol assistance in tracking down war criminals
On November 16, Serbian politicians officially requested Interpol's help in tracking down the two remaining ICTY war criminals, Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic. Earlier this month, Serbian police conducted several raids which produced actionable intelligence and new leads as to the whereabouts of the two men. Comment: The request for Interpol's assistance may indicate Serbia no longer believes Mladic is in the country and needs to extend their net; or it may symbolize Serbia's increased efforts to show cooperation with EU and ICTY prosecutors. The capture of Mladic would be a major step forward in Serbia's bid to join the EU. (AP, Southeast Europe Times, AFP)

Researched/Written by Daniel Pechtol
Middle East & North Africa
ISRAEL: Israel pulls out from Ghajar
Israel's security cabinet on November 17 approved the withdrawal of its troops from northern Ghajar, a village split between Israel and Lebanon by a de facto UN blue line and whose residents mainly belong to the minority Alawite sect of Shia Islam. Israel plans to hand over control of northern Ghajar to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil). The cabinet did not set a date, but will be in talks with UN peacekeepers to work out the details of the plan over the upcoming weeks. Israel will not negotiate with Lebanon or the villagers. Comment: Israel captured the village from Syria in the 1967 Six Day war. After Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, a UN demarcation of Lebanese territory enveloped northern Ghajar, while the southern part remained under Israeli control; however, Israel recaptured the northern half in the 2006 Lebanon War. Around 2,000 people live in Ghajar. Many still consider themselves Syrian, but hold Israeli citizenship and would reportedly rather remain under Israeli occupation than face the "uncertainty of Lebanese rule." (BBC, BBC, Haaretz, Reuters)

ISRAEL/U.S.: New moratorium proposal for Middle East peace talks
In an effort to jumpstart the stalled Middle East peace process, the U.S. proposed a 90-day Israeli settlement construction moratorium on November 17. Israeli officials requested the new ideas in writing in order to put the new proposals to a cabinet vote, but Secretary of State Clinton declined to comment whether Washington would comply with the Israeli request. The new moratorium, according to Israeli officials, will be the last time Israel is willing to renew building limitations. Comment: Israel's ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, whose vote is crucial to the deal, will not support the proposals unless the U.S. states the new moratorium will not apply to east Jerusalem. However, Palestinians will not resume negotiations unless Israel stops building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - territory they claim for their future state and capital. (AP, Foreign Policy, BBC, Reuters)

IRAN: Flexing military muscle
On November 17, Iran staged a mock interception of enemy warplanes as part of a five-day nationwide set of military exercises. The exercises are reportedly meant to test the country's ability to deter air strikes and confront any possible threats to its air space and nuclear centers. Security forces also carried out full combat military drills near nuclear facilities. Senior military personnel announced that Iran would soon be testing its own version of the S-300 ground-to-air missiles, since Russia refused to deliver the S-300 following the most recent round of UN sanctions. Comment: The U.S. and Israel have not ruled out preemptive strike to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons; however, U.S. Defense Secretary Gates argued against any military option since it would only offer a short-term solution. (AFP, Reuters, Ynet News)

Researched/Written by Carla Avendano
South Asia
AFGHANISTAN: Hezb-e-Islami offers truce terms
The Afghan insurgent group Hezb-e-Islami stated it would agree to a ceasefire provided the U.S.-led coalition forces stayed in their main bases after announcing a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. The son of leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said that his father was willing to stop fighting if U.S. forces withdrew, adding that Hezb-e-Islami knew that war was not a solution. Mullah Omar, chief of the Taliban, said this week that his group will not negotiate with the Afghan government. He stated reports of negotiations were part of western propaganda to cover up their military defeat. Comment: The Hezb-e-Islami is the second most important rebel group in Afghanistan after the Taliban. The two groups share common interests, but have engaged in bitter fighting against each other in the past. (BBC, BBC, UPI)

BANGLADESH: 200 injured, 300 arrested after riots
Supporters of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) rioted in Dhaka on November 14. Over 200 were injured and police stated they arrested over 300 people in protests that carried on for two consecutive days. The supporters were calling for a general strike to protest the eviction of opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia from her residence following a high court ruling that stated she was occupying the space illegally. Comment: The rioting is reminiscent of the political street battles that plagued the nation three years ago when civil disturbances eventually forced a temporary military takeover of the government, delaying elections. A state of emergency was declared in early 2007, and the 2008 elections were postponed as security forces battled street protests by rival political groups. (UPI, BBC, Independent)

NEPAL: Peacekeepers reinforced after attacks in Haiti
On November 16, the Nepalese army said it had reinforced protection of its peacekeepers in Haiti after they were attacked by crowds angry over the devastating cholera outbreak blamed by some on the troops. The army spokesperson in Kathmandu said, "We are concerned. Our positions are being reinforced and Haitian police are helping the peacekeepers to protect themselves from attack." He also added that the accusations on the Nepalese troops were "false rumors." Comment: Nepal has more than 1,000 soldiers working with the United Nations mission in Haiti. Two people were killed in the rioting that followed the cholera outbreak. (AFP, BBC, Foreign Policy)

Researched/Written by Megha Swamy

November 19, 2010
Go to IPSI's Homepage
In This Issue
Special Announcement
East Asia
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & N. Africa
South Asia

IPSI Speaker News
John Prendergast in Bologna 2010
IPSI Speaker John Prendergast writes the following op-ed with actor George Clooney: "Not too late to stop another war in Sudan"
Read Article >>

IPSI Advisor News
Jan Eliasson, IPSI Advisor
IPSI Advisor Jan Eliasson writes the following op-ed: "Cholera Is the Just Tip of the Iceberg: How Millions of Lives Can Be Saved"
Read Article >>

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