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PEACE & SECURITY REPORT
IPSI's Peace & Security Report (PSR) is a concise weekly e-publication intended to brief busy students, academics, advocates, and practitioners in the conflict management community 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 Event  
IPSI Featured Article


Africa
GUINEA-BISSAU: AU suspends Guinea-Bissau after coup
On Tuesday, the African Union suspended Guinea-Bissau's membership after a coup last week led by the state's military chiefs. Soldiers toppled the government last Thursday over its alleged plans to reduce the size of the army; they dissolved all existing institutions and declared a National Transitional Council together with opposition parties. According to an agreement, the nation will have a two-year transition period before presidential and legislative elections are held. Former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes, interim President Raimundo Pereira, and several former ministers are believed to be in the soldiers' custody. Comment: Gomes is the only candidate in the second round of presidential elections scheduled for April 29, which were called after the death in January of President Malam Bacai Sanha. Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has weathered successive coups, attempted coups, and a civil war. (Al Jazeera, BBC, AFP, France 24)

MALI: Interim prime minister named
On Tuesday, astrophysicist and Microsoft Africa Chairman, Cheick Modibo Diarra, was announced as interim Prime Minister of Mali. His appointment is part of an accord between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Malian coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo on the transition to civilian rule, which stipulated that the prime minister appointee not have any links with former President Amadou Toure. As Prime Minister, Diarra will have to deal not only with the military, but also with the northern Taureg rebellion. Comment: ECOWAS has signaled they are ready to send troops with a mandate to prevent further Taureg rebel advances, rather than help Mali win back lost territory. Observers are concerned about the military's role in Malian politics. (Al Jazeera, France 24, BBC)

ZIMBABWE: Mugabe urges peaceful elections
In an Independence Day speech in Harare on Wednesday, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe urged political parties to ensure a peaceful atmosphere as the country heads towards possible elections. Mugabe called for the expediting of a constitution revision process, keeping with his timeline for elections this year. He reversed his earlier plans to hold elections without a new constitution contrary to the demands of regional leaders. Zimbabwe's coalition government is divided over the three key issues of devolution, dual citizenship, and the death penalty, blocking the completion of the long-delayed new draft constitution. Comment: The coalition parties disagree on how to break the deadlock; the management committee, consisting of chief negotiators from all the parties, has been unable to break the impasse. (Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera, Reuters, Voice of America)
 
Researched/Written by James Asuquo-Brown III

Americas

ARGENTINA: Renationalization of oil company sparks outrage from Spain

On Monday, Argentina's President Fernandez de Kirchner announced plans to renationalize Argentine oil company YPF, a subsidiary of Spain's Repsol.  Following the announcement, Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy expressed disdain for the expropriation that occurred "without any justification and without economic reason."  Repsol has a 57.43 percent stake in YPF; an estimated USD 10.5 billion could be expropriated with Argentina's renationalization.  The Senate of Argentina approved the bill to renationalize the firm, and will vote next week on the 51 percent take-over of YPF.  Comment:  Spain is expected to petition the EU to file a complaint with the WTO.  If the complaint follows through, evidence must be proven that Argentina acted "against public interest" in its renationalization of YPF, in accordance with a bilateral investment treaty between both countries.  If the renationalization efforts succeed, Repsol's stake will be reduced to six percent, instead of the 57 percent it currently possesses. (Reuters, Latin American Herald Tribune, CNN, Wall Street Journal)

 

BRAZIL: Prison hostages released

More than 100 hostages were released on Monday after rioting inmates held prison visitors, guards, and several wardens hostage for 26 hours.  All 470 prisoners of the Advogado Antonio Jacinto Filho jail in the northeastern city of Aracaju began rioting Sunday afternoon, demanding "better treatment," "speedy trials," and "new administrators" of the jail.  No serious injuries or deaths were reported.  According to the Law Enforcement Department, the rioting ended after officials "agreed to investigate complaints" about suspected maltreatment and beatings from prison guards.  Comment: The Brazilian prison system has been criticized for overcrowding and sub-standard treatment.  In 1992, 111 prisoners were killed in Brazil's Carandiru Penitentiary, the largest prison in Latin America at the time.  Housing nearly 7,000 prisoners, the jail closed in 2002. (CNN, Associated Press, Associated Press, BBC)   

 

HONDURAS: Thousands demand land redistribution, "occupy" regions of country

More than 3,500 farmworkers and their families have occupied approximately 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) of agricultural lands across Honduras.  In solidarity with International Peasant Day of Struggle on Tuesday, the thousands of unarmed protestors seized land in the provinces of Yoro, Cortes, Santa Barbara, Intibuca, Comayagua, Francisco Morazan, El Paraiso and Choluteca.  According to the farmworkers and activist groups, the lands are public, giving small farmers the legal right to cultivate and grow crops in these provinces.  Farmworkers and Honduras' elite agrarian class have contested the land for decades; the latter has stated the lands were legally purchased from the government.  The Honduran government stated the seizures are illegal.  Comment: Numerous farmworkers have been killed over the past few years, particularly in the Northern Aguan Valley.  In 2011, peasant leader Secundino Ruiz was murdered, providing further impetus for the land reform movement. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America, 72 percent of rural homes live below the poverty line. (Al Jazeera, Associated Press, BBC)

 

REGIONAL: Secret Service investigation continues to unfold, overshadows Summit

Three Secret Service agents were dismissed earlier this week following the investigation of a prostitution scandal during the Summit of the Americas, held in Cartagena Colombia.  In total, 11 agents are under investigation for severe misconduct a week prior to the Summit, and 10 members of the U.S. military are being questioned for potential involvement.  More dismissals are expected.  According to various sources, a dispute ensued over payment in Hotel El Caribe between a Secret Service member and a female escort.  Comment: President Obama called for a "rigorous" investigation of all accusations of misconduct.  The House Oversight Committee of the U.S. Congress demanded the Secret Service release information about the incidents.  A review board will investigate if this is an "isolated" case or large scale problem with the Secret Service.  In Colombia, the solicitation of prostitution in "most cases" is legal for consenting adults; however, the Secret Service considers such acts a violation of the agency's conduct code.  Additionally, military law prohibits engagement with prostitutes. (CNN, Associated Press, NY Times)   

 

Researched/Written by  Melissa Mahfouz

East Asia
AUSTRALIA: Afghanistan mission to end in 2013
On April 17, Australian Prime Minster Julia Gillard announced that most of the 1,550 remaining Australian troops in Afghanistan were expected to return home by the end of 2013. Australian forces have mainly been stationed in the central Uruzgan province, where they trained an Afghan national army brigade to take responsibility for security. Opinion polls in Australia have shown declining support for the country's presence in Afghanistan; 32 Australian soldiers have died since the U.S.-led invasion to oust the Taliban in 2001. Comment: Australia's departure would be the largest non-NATO alliance nation to leave Afghanistan ahead of the proposed international withdrawal deadline set for December 2014. (Al Jazeera, RTTN, LAT)

NORTH KOREA: Nuclear deal with U.S. declared void
On April 18, Pyongyang released a statement citing that North Korea is no longer bound to a February moratorium agreement with the U.S. on missile and nuclear tests. The statement came soon after the UN Security Council condemned the Southeast nation's failed rocket launch last week, viewed by many as a ballistics missile test. The North Korean statement rejected the UN's condemnation and accused the U.S. of violating the February agreement; however, the U.S. argues the deal fell apart due to North Korea's failure to halt its nuclear program. Comment: The U.S. has emphasized that North Korea remains bound to UN Security Council resolutions imposed after a similar launch in 2009. (Banglanews, Sinhalanews, BBC)

PHILIPPINES: Joint military drills with U.S. in South China Sea
On Monday, 7,000 American and Filipino troops began two weeks of annual naval drills while a territorial stand-off persists between China and the Philippines, as the United States seeks to reinforce its influence across the Asia-Pacific. U.S. and Philippine officials maintained that China, which in the past has protested military drills involving American forces near the disputed region, was not a target in the exercises. Instead, they emphasized the drills would mostly focus on humanitarian missions and disaster preparedness including a simulation based on the retaking of an oil rig seized by terrorists near the South China Sea. Comment: Twenty years after voting to remove the American bases, the Philippines wants to grant U.S. forces more access to its ports and airfields to halt China's increasing assertiveness in the region. (Reuters, AFP, BBC)

Researched/Written by Jared Bell

Europe & Central Asia
MACEDONIA: Clashes between police and youth protesters
Ethnic tensions are high in Macedonia, with several hundred youth protesting Monday in the central square of the capital city of Skopje. The youth shouted nationalist and anti-Albanian chants and were prevented by police from entering a section of the city populated mainly by Albanians. The demonstrations came four days after five men were discovered murdered outside of Skopje. Rumors are swirling that the men were killed by Albanians, although police say there is no evidence to support these claims. Leaders in the Albanian community, which makes up approximately one-fourth of Macedonia's population, are urging Macedonians to see past ethnic divisions and work for communal peace. Comment: Ethnic tensions have been high in Macedonia since armed conflict in 2001 between government security forces and ethnic Albanians. Last month, in the largest show of violence since 2001, two weeks of clashes between Macedonian and Albanian youth left dozens wounded and heightened ethnic tensions. (BBC, RFE/RL, Balkan Insight, SE Times)

NORWAY: Breivik pleads not guilty to killing spree
The trial for Anders Breivik, who has admitted to killing 77 people last July, began on Monday. Breivik acknowledged committing the crimes, but does not accept criminal responsibility; he claims the actions were done in self-defense. The 33-year-old went on to refer to a lengthy jail sentence as a "pathetic punishment," citing acquittal or the death penalty as the only acceptable outcomes of the trial; capital punishment is illegal in Norway. Comment: Breivik claims to be a member of the "Knights Templar" organization, a militant anti-Muslim nationalist group. Prosecutors doubt the existence of the organization and have found no evidence linking Breivik to a wider network. (BBC, Euronews, Telegraph)

SWITZERLAND: Government imposes immigration quotas
The Swiss government announced on Wednesday that it would re-impose quotas on visas to citizens from certain eastern European EU member states. Such quotas had been abolished a year ago. 2,000 total permits will be given per year for immigrants from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, down from 6,000 given out last year. The EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called the policy a "breach of the free movement agreement between Switzerland and the EU." Comment: The Swiss economy has been doing relatively well in comparison to that of the rest of Europe, drawing in large numbers of immigrant workers. The immigrants have helped stimulate Switzerland's economy, but Swiss officials are concerned about integration and protection of Swiss workers' jobs within the country. (Reuters, BBC, Deutsche Welle)

Researched/Written by Kate Elci

Middle East & North Africa

BAHRAIN: Protests continue to pressure Formula One race

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters marched through a village outside Manama on Wednesday, the latest in a week of demonstrations ahead of this weekend's hotly disputed Formula One grand Prix. Also on Wednesday, a smaller number of protestors confronted Bahrain's crown prince, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and shouted anti-government slogans following a funeral in Sanabis, a neighborhood that has been an opposition stronghold during the 14-month uprising. The Formula One Race, which was cancelled last year due to popular protests, is scheduled for Sunday. Comment: Nearly 50 people have been killed since February 2011 in violence between security forces and protesters from Bahrain's Shiite majority, which seeks to break the near monopoly on power by the island nation's Sunni monarchy. Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone denied all knowledge of protests and violence in Bahrain. (Washington PostAFP, Kuwaiti Times)

 

EGYPT: Ten presidential candidates disqualified

The Presidential Elections Commission disqualified ten presidential candidates on Saturday, including the three front-runners. Islamist Abu Ismail's disqualification followed reports by the election commission earlier this month that his late mother held U.S. citizenship, a violation of current election rules. Former spy chief and vice president Omar Suleiman failed to authenticate the minimum required number of votes, while Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat al-Shater was reportedly rendered ineligible by Mubarak-era convictions on terrorism and money-laundering charges. Comment: The Muslim Brotherhood has confirmed that they will be running a second candidate, Mohamed Morsy, whose main competition is expected to be Abdel Monem Abol Futuh, a former Brotherhood supporter and political moderate, and ex-Arab League chief Amr Moussa; presidential elections are scheduled for May and June. (TimeBBCAl Jazeera)

 

SYRIA: UN mission arrives as violence continues

Syria's foreign minister Walid al Muallem pledged on Wednesday to respect UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan and to cooperate with a UN team sent to monitor a fragile ceasefire between government forces and opposition fighters. Hopes for the observation mission are low due to the failure of the earlier Arab League mission, which was hampered by government restrictions on movement. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has demanded his monitors be given free access; however, Syrian security forces opened fire Wednesday on anti-regime demonstrators surrounding the cars of the UN monitors in the suburb of Arbeen, just northeast of Damascus, wounding eight. Violence also continued on Wednesday, with regime forces shelling opposition areas.  Free Syrian Army rebels have also confirmed attacks against security forces, killing ten. Comment: On Monday, Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, said the chances of Annan's plan succeeding were "no higher than three percent" and that Syrians should not be supported through peaceful means but "with arms." Other members of the Arab League have also expressed doubts regarding the plan, noting that none of the six points stipulated have been fulfilled in the week since the plan was accepted. (AP,Al Jazeera,BBC) 

 

Researched/Written by Colleen Michelle Rossmiller

South Asia
AFGHANISTAN: Diplomatic missions attacked in Kabul
Suicide bombers linked to the Taliban's Haqqani Network struck diplomatic missions across Kabul on Sunday, hitting British, U.S., German, Russian, and Japanese embassies. The Afghani Parliament and military bases surrounding the capital were also targeted. Officials from the Afghan Interior Ministry reported that eight Afghan security forces were killed along with three civilians and at least 36 militants. Taliban spokesman Zaibhullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for Sunday's events, which were "...the beginning of the spring offensive," and have been in planning for months. Sunday's attacks are deemed as the most successful executed by the Taliban in over a decade. Comment: General John R. Allen, Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, credited the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) with stabilizing Kabul by Monday morning. President Karzai, however, called the attacks a failure for Afghan intelligence and "especially" for NATO. (NYTimes, AP, Reuters, Dawn, BBC)

AFGHANISTAN: Schoolgirls poisoned in Northeast
At least 150 schoolgirls between the ages 14 and 30 were hospitalized in the Northeastern province of Takhar after drinking poisoned water on Tuesday. Forty of the girls were quickly dismissed with minor cases of nausea, but at least 100 are still in urgent care. The district governor of Takhar, Mohammed Hussain, suggested that it was an attack by radicals aimed at stemming the education of women. Haifizullah Saifi, the head of the public health department in Takhar, added that the illness in the schoolgirls was not natural, and that the department is "100 percent sure that that the water they drunk in their classes was poisoned." After further investigation, it was found that only one of the two tanks at the school was contaminated. Comment: No group has claimed responsibility for the poisoned water yet, but the Taliban has lead successful attacks on girls' schools in the past. (Daily Mail, BBC, AFP)

MALDIVES: President sets date for next election
The office of Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed Hassan released a statement Wednesday calling for a presidential election in July of 2013. "President Waheed is fully committed to strengthening democratic processes," the letter said. Questions still remain over the February 7 coup that ousted former president Mohamed Nasheed, but the current president maintains that Nasheed voluntarily stepped down due to a lack of support from the country's military and police. Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, spokesman for Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party, responded to the government's statement by calling for immediate elections. Comment: Former president Mohamed Nasheed was the Maldive's first democratically elected official following decades of authoritarian rule. (Reuters, Dawn, BBC)

PAKISTAN: Hundreds of criminals set free in Northwest
Around 150 Taliban militants stormed a prison in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Monday morning, setting free 384 prisoners. At least 22 of the prisoners were serious offenders with links to insurgent groups, including Adnan Rasheed who attempted to assassinate Pakistani President Musharraf in 2003. Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban, claimed responsibility for the insurgency, and Pakistani intelligence officials admitted that the group had warned the government of an eminent jailbreak without specifying a location. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's provincial government removed four high level officials for failure to respond effectively to the incident, which is the worst of its kind in Pakistan's history. Comment: Eighty-eight of the freed prisoners returned voluntarily to the prison, and authorities arrested several more in disparate locations. (Dawn, Daily Times, AFP, Tribune)

Researched/Written by Tarek J. Nasser

April 20, 2012
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In This Issue

Featured Event

Africa

Americas

East Asia

Europe & Central Asia

Middle East & N. Africa

South Asia

IPSI News 
IPSI
You have THREE DAYS until the final application deadline for the 2012 Bologna Symposium on Conflict Prevention, Resolution, & Reconciliation!
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IPSI News 
IPSI Fatou Bensouda
Hague Symposium Keynoter ICC's Fatou Bensouda named in 100 most influential people in the world by TIME.
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IPSI News 
IPSI Jan Eliasson 
Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General and IPSI Advisor, moderated a high-level UNICEF meeting this week for Sanitation and Water for All (SWA).
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IPSI News 
IPSI Betty Bigombe
Betty Bigombe, Former mediator between the LRA and the government of Uganda and Bologna Symposium Faculty, stated this week that failure to address land disputes could lead to "another conflict like [the one with] the LRA.".
Read Article >> 

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Jan Eliasson
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Peter Kyle 
Dr. Jean Paul Lederach
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Tags: conflict, nonviolence, peace, reconciliation, resolution, security, war

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Comment by James Osemene on April 21, 2012 at 6:06am

West Africa in endless political instability? The military should stay out of power. 

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