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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 Article
Bangladesh: Discriminatory Family Laws Fuel Female Poverty 
HRW
IPSI Featured Article
Bangladesh's discriminatory personal laws on marriage, separation, and divorce trap many women and girls in abusive marriages or drive them into poverty when marriages fall apart, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. In many cases these laws contribute to homelessness, hunger, and ill-health for divorced or separated women and their children. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have recorded significantly higher levels of food insecurity and poverty among female-headed Bangladeshi households.
 


East & South Africa 
SOMALIA: African Union troops and Al Shabaab square off in Kismayu
The Somali National Army and AU forces continue to face opposition from Al Shabaab, an organization affiliated with al-Qaeda, as more rebels entered the city of Kismayu on Wednesday. The southern port city has been under the control of Al Shabaab for months, and leaders of the organization have made it clear that they have no intention of losing their stronghold. AU troops delayed a full takeover of the city to allow time for a political arrangement on how the city would be run after the removal of the Al Shabaab presence. Until that time, they will remain roughly 40 km outside the city. Comment: Kismayu is the largest remaining Al Shabaab haven and has been the focal point for the allied forces for the past few months. Worried about being caught in the potential crossfire, an estimated 4,000 civilians have fled Kismayu since Monday. (The East African, All Africa, Reuters)

SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN: Progress on negotiations to ease relations
A series of AU-brokered Ethiopia-based negotiations occurred last week between Sudan and South Sudan focusing on oil exports and security issues. Tensions have been high since South Sudan shut down its oil output in January due to a disagreement with Sudan over transport costs to Red Sea ports. Additionally, the states are negotiating the establishment of a framework for demobilizing and reintegrating combatants in South Sudan. Comment: The demilitarization framework will provide skills-training for the ex-combatants such as road maintenance and other development-based projects. Thabo Mbeki, chairman of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan, is leading the security talks and has been heavily involved in the relationship between the two nations since South Sudan gained independence in July of 2011. (Sudan Tribune, All Africa, Reuters)

ZAMBIA: Chinese manager killed in mine protest
Miners in southern Zambia pushed a coal trolley over their Chinese manager earlier this week during a wage protest, which resulted in his death. The miners demanded their pay match the new minimum wage established for laborers in Zambia. China has invested more than USD 400 million in Zambia, and most of the coal and copper mines in the country are owned by China. According to Human Rights Watch, working conditions in mines owned by China within Zambia are measurably worse than conditions in other foreign owned mines. Comment: China is influential in the mining industry of Zambia, which accounts for 70 percent of Zambia's exports. Violence between Zambian miners and Chinese management has occurred in the past, as Chinese owned mines in the area are frequently accused of mistreating workers. Current Zambian President Michael Sata ran on an anti-China platform, although he has backed away from the rhetoric now that he is in power; relations between the two nations are strained. (Telegraph, NY Times, BBC) 
 

Researched/Written by Sean Barrett

West & Central Africa

THE GAMBIA: Government halts executions
On Saturday, President Yahya Jammeh suspended the pending executions of 37 inmates sentenced to death. Jammeh's action follows numerous appeals from social organizations and youth groups after the execution of nine prisoners last month. The executions were the first in The Gambia in 27 years, and human rights groups report mostly political prisoners died. On Tuesday, two jailed U.S.-Gambian dual nationals were released following the intervention of the U.S. Civil Rights leader, Reverend Jesse Jackson. Comment: Jammeh, a former military officer who seized power in a 1994 coup and won a fourth term in office in November 2011, has been criticized by organizations for human rights abuses. Many top officials have found themselves charged with treason, often related to coup plots. (Al Jazeera, AllAfrica, Afrique en Ligne)

NIGERIA: Boko Haram kills Borno and Bauchi officials
On Tuesday, unidentified gunmen killed the Borno State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Zannah Mallam Gana, and a former Comptroller General of the Nigerian Prisons, Alhaji Ibrahim Jarma Katagun, in Bauchi State. No one has claimed responsibility, but the deaths came amid reports of the killing of a senior Boko Haram member. On Monday, the Nigerian military arrested two Boko Haram militants and killed the group's media spokesman Abu Qaqa. Comment: In its campaign to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, the sect has been assassinating top government officials as well as politicians. It has carried out gun and bombing attacks in northern and central Nigeria that have left over 1,400 dead since 2009. (Al Jazeera, Afrique en Ligne, BBC, AllAfrica, BBC)

SENEGAL: Vote to abolish senate
On September 12, the Senegalese National Assembly voted to scrap the country's Senate and turn over its annual budget of almost eight billion CFA francs (EUR 12 million, USD 16 million) to dealing with the impact of deadly floods. At least 13 people have been killed in several weeks of flooding and thousands left homeless. The legislation will now go before the 100-member Senate before being signed into law by President Sall. Comment: Supporters of former President Abdoulaye Wade's Senegalese Democratic Party voted against the bill, suggesting that the decision of President Sall to abolish the Senate was not due to the floods, but instead pressure from his coalition partners. Observers say the aim is to weaken the opposition, as a majority of the senate reportedly still supports the ex-president. (AllAfrica, AFP, BBC) 

 

Researched/Written by James Asuquo-Brown III

Americas

MEXICO: Computer hackers protest recent elections

On September 16, Mexico's Independence Day, Mexican computer hackers protested recent elections with a takeover of ten websites including those of political parties, media outlets, and government agencies. The hackers identified themselves as "Mexican Cyber Protests" and replaced the websites' content with claims that the recent elections were fraudulent, listing grievances about corruption, drug-related violence, and economic problems. The group claims the cyber protest is peaceful and is merely a platform for voicing their concerns. Comment: The cyber protest is part of a larger movement challenging the legitimacy of the presidential elections on July 1, 2012. Following the announcement of election results, tens of thousands of protestors gathered in the streets accusing President-elect Nieto of co-opting the media and buying votes. Evidence of election fraud remains inconclusive, but many Mexicans claim they were awarded supermarket credit in exchange for votes for Nieto. NGOs and election observers disagree about whether or not the elections were free and fair. (BBC, The Guadalajara Reporter, Al Jazeera, BBC)

MEXICO: 132 prisoners escape from Mexican jail
On Tuesday, 132 inmates escaped from a prison in the Mexican city of Piedras Negros, close to the border of Texas. The prisoners escaped through a 23-foot tunnel running from the prison's carpentry workshop to an outside security fence. The prison director and two employees are being held on suspicion of complicity. At the time of the escape, only 12 officers were guarding 734 inmates. Comment: Underguarded prisons are part and parcel of larger issues in the Mexican prison system. As a result of several escapes coordinated between prisoners and prison guards, the government instituted massive background checks for guards in 2006. The average failure rate of the 36,000 officer force is 33 percent; 302 have been fired, and 600 are under investigation. Mexico's President-elect Nieto pledged to reform prisons after he takes office in December, but many experts suggest that prison reforms will be ineffective until the justice system as a whole is reconfigured. (BBC, Reuters, AP)
VENEZUELA: Colombian drug 'kingpin' arrested
Colombian officials arrested drug 'kingpin' Daniel Barrera on Wednesday in San Cristobal, Venezuela. Colombian President Santos classified Barrera as one of the "most wanted" drug lords, offering USD 2.7 million for his capture in addition to the USD five million reward offered by the United States. His arrest was secured with the help of intelligence from the U.S. and Great Britain, as well as cooperation from the Venezuelan government. Comment: Barrera's arrest is part of an overall crackdown on his drug cartel in the past few weeks, including the arrest of 36 members of his gang as well as the seizure of five tons of drugs and 21 aircrafts. (Al Jazeera, BBC, Reuters, AP, Colombia Reports)
 
Researched/Written by  Rachel Goldberg

East Asia
CHINA: Anti-Japan protests continue
Protests occurred in at least 125 cities across China this week in response to Japan's purchase of three disputed East China Sea islands. Further demonstrations ensued on September 18, an evocative day that is often bitterly remembered in China as the anniversary of Japan's 1931 invasion of Manchuria. Protests were large and occasionally destructive as some demonstrators targeted Japanese businesses. Comment: The Chinese government has described the protests as emblematic of the state's resolution to protect its sovereignty in the East China Sea, but has also deployed 300,000 police nationwide to limit violence. Tuesday was the eighth consecutive day of protests against Japan. (Japan Times, Japan Today, Xinhuan, The Globe and Mail)

MYANMAR: Government releases 514 prisoners
On September 17, President Thein Sein granted amnesty to 514 prisoners, including at least 87 political detainees. In the first year of his tenure, following nearly 50 years of military rule in the country, the President promised socio-economic reforms including the release of political prisoners. The EU responded by lifting its import restrictions on Myanmar, and the United States removed President Sein from a list of "Specially Designated Nationals" that sanctions individuals for links to terrorism, narcotics, or other illegal activities. Comment: Influential democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi is currently visiting the United States, and President Sein plans to address the UN General Assembly on September 24, prompting speculation that the release was timed to garner political favor with outside states. Critics argue that hundreds of political prisoners are still behind bars and that the President is using detainees as pawns to reduce sanctions. Until last year, Myanmar denied that it held any political prisoners. (Bangkok Post, Democratic Voice of Burma, Myanmar President Office, AP, Reuters)

NORTH KOREA: Russia forgives 90 percent of North Korea's debt
On September 17, Russia signed an agreement to restructure North Korea's Cold War era debt that wrote off 90 percent of the USD 11 billion Pyongyang owed to the former Soviet Union. The remaining USD one billion will be managed by Vnesheconombank, Russia's state development bank, and used in a Russian-North Korean "debt-for-aid" program focused on investments in education, energy, and developmental aid. Negotiations related to the debt originally began in August 2011 and had reportedly stalled until recently. Comment: The deal may be a sign of closer ties developing between the two states and could reflect policies of reform and openness from new North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Analysts also believe the agreement reflects Russia's interest in increasing its presence in Asian economies. (Arirang, Xinhuan, Reuters, Wall Street Journal) 
 

Researched/Written by Grant Gill

Europe & Central Asia

RUSSIA: Thousands attend anti-Putin rally
On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators shouting "Russia without Putin" marched through Moscow calling for early elections. Protestors released balloons and doves, and wore t-shirts with the images of imprisoned punk band Pussy Riot. Putin is four months into his new mandate which is set to expire in 2018. Comment: Official numbers suggest Putin's popularity is falling due to a lack of social justice and freedom. The rally was given impetus when Gennady Gudkov was expelled from Russian Parliament last week for alleged conflict of business interests; demonstrators claim his expulsion was because of his opposition to Putin. (Reuters, Al Jazeera, The Guardian)

TURKEY: Seven soldiers killed and at least 50 injured in convoy attack
On Tuesday, militants attacked a Turkish army convoy killing seven and wounding at least 50 soldiers while it was traveling between the Bingol and Mus provinces. In retaliation, the army launched an operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Comment: The PKK has been fighting for its own ethnic state since 1984 with 40,000 killed in the process. The group is deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 500 Kurdish rebels had been "rendered ineffective" this month; a phrase often used by the government to mean killed. (BBC, Reuters, Al Jazeera)

UNITED KINGDOM: Senior Police Officer to face inquest after cover up at football stadium disaster
On Wednesday, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) received a referral from West Yorkshire Police over the alleged conduct of Sir Norman Bettison during the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Bettison is believed to be "involved in the production and supply of misleading information for the various inquiries that have been undertaken into the Hillsborough disaster" after an internal investigation. Comment: In 1989, 96 people were crushed to death while attending a football match. Police and investigators "found" supporters attending the game were to blame for the disaster; however, an independent investigation and released government documents revealed police covered up and lied about the events. The investigation brought closure to many families who had been seeking justice for 23 years. (BBC, The Guardian, AP) 

 

Researched/Written by A. Max Jones

Middle East & North Africa

BAHRAIN: Seven police officers charged with torture and maltreatment offenses

On Monday, public prosecutors charged seven police officers for torture and maltreatment of Shia Medics detained after anti-government protests last year. Two of the Lieutenants that face the "most serious" charges have been directed to the High Criminal Court. Six of the medics report they had been tortured to force confessions, which were later dismissed during trials. The appeals court acquitted nine of the medics in June and shortened the jail sentences for nine others last Thursday. Comment: The charges mark the toughest action thus far against offenses committed by Bahrain's security forces against the Shiite majority protestors pursuing greater political representation in the Sunni-led ruling system. On Wednesday, Bahrain pledged to implement 158 of 176 human rights recommendations from a recent UN report, such as improving its treatment of political activists, preventing violence against ethnic and religious communities, and using torture. (Ahram, Al Jazeera, Washington Post, BBC, Al Jazeera)

SYRIA: Amnesty International accuses Syrian forces of "indiscriminately" targeting people; rebels take Tal Abyad border crossing
On Wednesday, based on first-hand field investigations and video recorded in early September, Amnesty International accused Syrian government forces of "indiscriminate" and "relentless" aerial bombing and artillery attacks on civilian residential areas. The report claimed attacks from "battlefield weapons" have killed "166 civilians, including 48 children and 20 women, and injured hundreds in 26 towns and villages" in northwestern regions of Idlib, Jabal al-Zawiya and the northern Hama area. On the same day, Syrian rebels seized control of Tal Abyad -- the third of seven Turkish-Syrian border crossing posts -- after a day of clashes with government forces. Heavy fighting between opposition and the government army continues in Damascus and Aleppo. Comment: The Local Co-ordination Committees claim roughly 170, mostly civilians, were killed on Tuesday, and at least 62 died on Wednesday. According to Reuters, an estimated 27,000 people have been killed from the conflict since the initial uprising in March 2011. (Al Jazeera, BBC, Reuters)

REGIONAL: Mass Protests against "anti-Islam" film spread throughout Middle East and North Africa
This week, mass protests against the amateur film "Innocence of Muslims" spread to several countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Protestors attacked U.S., Swiss, British, German, and Dutch consulates and other properties across the region and clashed with police outside the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen on September 13, killing four and injuring 34. An estimated 224 people were wounded during protests in Egypt, while four were killed in clashes with police outside the U.S. embassy in Tunisia; two were killed in Lebanon. Hundreds of Palestinians also staged a peaceful sit-in protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah. On September 17, leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, made a rare public appearance in Beirut calling for a week of protests. Comment: Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdul Al reports only four people have been detained for the September 11 attacks of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, while another 50 may be under investigation. The recent events further strain relations between the U.S. and the Middle East and North Africa region, already made tenuous by U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear program, the Syrian civil war, and aftershocks from the Arab Spring. (Reuters, Al Jazeera, BBC, Al Jazeera) 
 

Researched/Written by Anna Cecilia Moriarty

South Asia
INDIA: Economic reforms cause loss of parliamentary majority
On Thursday, just a few days after new economic and policy changes were passed, the Trinamool Congress departed the coalition government leaving the ruling Congress party with only a minority of seats in Parliament. Policy changes included increases in fuel prices and a lessening of restrictions on foreign retailers. The controversial new rules allow states to opt-out of allowing foreign retailers, like Wal-Mart, from entering their markets, although even if allowed, foreign retailers can only operate in cities with a population greater than one million. Moreover, such companies are required to invest at least USD 100 million in rural areas and source 30 percent of goods from smaller local suppliers. To retain power, the Congress party will need to find new governing partners to fill the Trinamool party seats. Comment: The policy changes are an effort by the President and ruling Indian National Congress party to revive the economy and increase the Congress party's popularity. The leader of the Trinamool party said that the changes would lead to the loss of local jobs, and that the price increases in fuel would make life harder for the poorer citizens of the country. (BBC, Reuters, Washington Post).

PAKISTAN: Bomb blast in Peshawar
On September 19, 2012, a car bomb detonated in the middle of a busy intersection in Peshawar near the Badaber Air Base killing 10 people and injuring 27; at least eight of the dead were civilians. The blast was allegedly aimed at a military vehicle. A senior government official in Peshawar, Javed Marwat, said the bomb, which was planted in a parked car contained 66-88 lbs. of explosives, appeared to be triggered by remote control. Comment: Peshawar is close to Pakistan's tribal belt, which is thought of as a Taliban and al-Qaeda militant stronghold. No group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attacks. (BBC, New York Times, Washington Post)

REGIONAL: "Anti-Islam" video protests spread
Protests over the amateur film depicting images of the Prophet Mohammed, which started September 11, 2012, in Libya and Egypt, have since spread to South Asia. In Pakistan, protests erupted in Peshawar, Islamabad, and Lahore. Many of the protests targeted U.S. institutions, such as consulates and other diplomatic enclaves. Pakistan and Bangladesh blocked access to YouTube to prevent access to the video. Anti-video protests also spread to Kashmir and Dhaka, Bangladesh. In Kabul, Afghanistan, Islamic militants carried out a suicide bombing, killing 12 people, as revenge for the film, and encouraging protestors there to attack U.S. diplomats. Comment: A spokeswoman for an Afghan militant group, Haron Zarghoon, said, "The anti-Islam film hurt our religious sentiments and we cannot tolerate it." Many militant groups appear to be taking advantage of the anger over the video to encourage the use of violence. (Bloomberg, New York Times, Washington Post) 
 

Researched/Written by Maanasa Reddy

September 21, 2012
Go to IPSI's Homepage

In This Issue

Featured Article

East & South Africa

West & Central Africa

Americas

East Asia

Europe & Central Asia

Middle East & N. Africa

South Asia


IPSI News

IPSI - Juan Mendez
IPSI Faculty Juan Mendez in AFP: "UN envoy meets Morocco ex-political prisoners"
Read Article >>

 

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IPSI News
IPSI - Betty Bigombe
IPSI Faculty Betty Bigombe is heralded as "The woman who dared Kony." 
Read Article >>

 

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IPSI News
IPSI - John Prendergast
IPSI Faculty John Prendergast in New York Times on Africa "It's Not an Either/Or Question."
Read Article >> 

 

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IPSI News
IPSI - Renad Mansour
IPSI  alumnus Renad Mansour writes the following Al Jazeera report: "Role of Iraqi Kurdistan in the Syrian-Kurd Pursuit of Autonomy". 
Read Article >>

 

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IPSI Leadership 

 

Cameron M. Chisholm

Dr. I. William Zartman 
Dr. P. Terrence Hopmann 
Alexander Little 
George Foote
Pamela Aall 
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah
Betty Bigombe 

Dr. Francis Deng
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

 

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