Sound smart at your dinner party tonight: Read the Peace & Security Report to catch-up on this week's global events

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.

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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
REPORT: Levels & Trends in Child Mortality
UNICEF / WHO / World Bank / UN Population Division
IPSI Featured Article
The pace of reducing child deaths has accelerated sharply since 2000, according to new data released today by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the UN Population Division.

An annual report by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN-IGME) shows that in 2011, an estimated 6.9 million children died before their fifth birthday, compared to around 12 million in 1990. Rates of child mortality have fallen in all regions of the world in the last two decades - down by at least 50 per cent in Eastern Asia, Northern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South-eastern Asia and Western Asia.

And progress is accelerating: Between 2000 and 2011, the annual rate of reduction in the global under-five mortality rate jumped to 3.2 per cent, up from 1.8 per cent in 1990-2000. Sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the greatest challenge in child survival, has doubled its rate of reduction, from 1.5 per cent per year in 1990-2010 to 3.1 per cent in 2000-2011.
 


East & South Africa
KENYA: More killed in Tana River dispute
The latest of multiple clashes between the Orma and Pokomo communities resulted in the deaths of over 30 people on Friday in the poor coastal province. Three hundred individuals (believed to be Orma) armed primarily with spears and machetes surrounded the village of Kilelengwani and attacked. The cause of these increasing retaliatory attacks between the two tribes is rooted in grazing rights and water use, and has resulted in over 100 deaths within the last month. Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa pleaded with both communities to stop the attacks and resolve the issue peacefully. Comment: Coastal Police Commissioner Samuel Kilele claims that while police officers were nearby, inadequate infrastructure coupled with rough terrain prevented immediate action. The Kenyan military may soon become involved to help the local authorities quell the escalating conflict. (The Daily Nation, All Africa, Global Post, CNN)

SOMALIA: New president elected
On Monday, the Parliament of Somalia elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in the first election held inside Somalia since the civil war in 1991. President-elect Mohamud, representing the Peace and Development Party, which he founded, received 190 of the 271 Parliament votes cast and bested 21 other candidates, including incumbent President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. Although President Mohamud does not have a background in politics, he is an educator and one of the founders of the Mogadishu based SIMAD University. Comment: This election is part of a UN roadmap to introduce a permanent federal government in Somalia, a nation frequently cited as among the most corrupt in the world and one that has never before utilized a federal system. President Mohamud's focus on peace and education helped him garner support and praise from the international community. In addition to his support from those outside of Somalia, it is apparent that he has considerable popular support from the Somali people. (The East African, All Africa, Reuters, BBC)

SOUTH AFRICA: Unrest in mines spreading
The strike for a wage increase that started in the mines of the Marikana area has now spread to the platinum mines owned by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) in Rustenburg, and the efforts to subdue the resulting conflict caused three deaths. The clash between the strikers and the police at the Marikana mines last month also resulted in 45 deaths. Amplats representatives claim that workers are not on strike at all, but are simply too intimidated to come into work. Comment: The police shooting at Marikana was the largest security incident in post-apartheid South Africa. These events have hurt the relationship between foreign companies and the South African government. Additionally, political opposition to the ruling African National Congress contends that current national leadership is unfit to solve the problem and should be removed from power. (Business Day, Reuters, Aljazeera)

Researched/Written by Sean Barrett

West & Central Africa

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Rebels ambush envoy
On Tuesday, rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) ambushed a Central African army convoy on its way to the eastern border town of Obo. The attack left one soldier dead and six others wounded. The group is said to belong to Uganda's Lord Resistance Army. Comment: Last month, the nation's last armed rebel group, the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace, and the government signed a peace deal, which ended the violence from the Central African Bush War from 2004-2007; however, the LRA also remains active in the East of the country, despite some successes by the U.S.-backed Ugandan armed forces (UPDF) in their fight against the organization. (Reuters, AllAfrica, Euronews)

GABON: Opposition TV station attacked
On Tuesday, six unknown assailants attacked the television studios of Gabon's main opposition leader, André Mba Obame, in the capital Libreville. The attackers tried to access the building where TV+ transmitters were located, but fled upon seeing 20 guards on duty. This follows a similar event on August 16, where unidentified gunmen stormed TV+ and burned down its transmitters. Comment: The opposition has refused to recognize the 2009 election, which saw Ali Bongo succeed his father Omar Bongo, who died earlier that year after 42 years in power. Gabon's information minister, Blaise Louembe, said the opposition staged the attacks on the station to discredit the government. On Wednesday, President Bongo rejected the call for a national conference by the opposition in a session of parliament. (AllAfrica, AFP, AFP, Le Soleil)

MALI: Government troops kill 16 civilians
On September 15, government soldiers killed 16 people in the central Malian region of Segou; among the dead were two Malians and 14 Mauritanian nationals. The incident occurred overnight in the town of Diabali, and authorities initially said those killed were Islamist fighters. Mauritanian sources identified the civilians killed as preachers from the Dawa Islamist Sect, which supports a fundamentalist ideology but does not advocate violence. The preachers were believed to have been heading to a religious conference in the capital. On Sunday, Bamako expressed its condolences over the killings, and announced a probe into the incident. Comment: On Tuesday, Mali's Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly arrived in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott for talks over the issue. Since the March coup in Bamako, Mali has lost control of its entire northern region, and Islamists have imposed sharia law over the area. (France 24, Al Jazeera, AFP, RFI) 

 

Researched/Written by James Asuquo-Brown III

Americas

CHILE:  September 11 marches end in violence

Marches in Santiago commemorating the 39th anniversary of Chile's coup d'etat, which deposed the military dictator, General Pinochet, ended in violence on Tuesday night. Protesters burned public buses to barricade streets, looted stores and houses, set fires, and threw metal chains over power lines. Police dispersed the crowds using tear gas, paint balls, and water cannons. The violence left one officer dead and 26 injured, disabled public transportation, and left 58,000 homes without power. Comment: During General Pinochet's 17-year military dictatorship, over 30,000 people were imprisoned or tortured, and 3,000 people were murdered or vanished. General Pinochet was never prosecuted for these crimes. (APBBCSantiago Times)

 

COLOMBIA: Colombian government rejects FARC's call for ceasefire

On September 7, Colombian President Santos rejected FARC's plan for a bilateral ceasefire during peace negotiations scheduled for next month in Olso, Norway, announcing that the military will intensify military operations against the insurgent group. Last Tuesday, FARC blew up two trucks at Cerrejon's coal mine in the northern province of La Guajira. No injuries occurred, but Colombian air force responded last Wednesday with a bombing, which killed a high-level member of FARC, Danilo Garcia. Comment: Analysts suggest that President Santos rejected the cease-fire due to concerns that FARC would use the time to scale-up drug trafficking activities without fear of interference from the Colombian military. A similar scenario played out during the previous round of peace talks from 1988 to 2002. In order to conduct negotiations, the government created a demilitarized zone the size of Switzerland, but FARC used this area to strengthen military operations and expand  trafficking operations. (ReutersBBCAP)

 

MEXICO: 16 dead bodies found in van in Guerro

Police found 16 bodies in a van on Monday in Guerrero, Mexico; the victims were shot multiple times and showed signs of torture. The local media reported that a sign on the truck indicated the drug-gang "La Familia" took responsibility for the murders. The incident is one of several in a surge of violence in Guerro. The area is one of the most violent regions in Mexico due to a bloody struggle between "La Familia" and it's offshoot "The Knights Templar." Comment: Guerrero's surge of violence coincides with the upcoming transition from President Calderon to President-elect Nieto who will take office on December 1, 2012. Nieto pledged to reduce violence, which increased significantly during President Calderon's term in office. Despite President Calderon's military crackdown on drug cartels, over 55,000 deaths from drug-related violence occurred during his six-year term in office. (ReutersBBCAP)

Researched/Written by  Rachel Goldberg

East Asia
AUSTRALIA: Police arrest man after counter-terror raids in Melbourne
On September 12, an Australian Joint Counter Terrorism Team conducted a series of raids in six Melbourne suburbs and arrested a 23-year-old man suspected of terrorism offences. Officers seized firearms, computers, and a USB drive allegedly containing extremist materials. The raids targeted those connected with the Al-Furquan Islamic Information Centre, an Islamic bookstore associated with radical Muslim preacher Sheikh Harun. Comment: Authorities likely acted with the cooperation and assistance of the local Muslim community who regarded the Al-Furquan centre as a fringe organization. The arrested man may be charged with "collecting or making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts." (Canberra Times, The Age, The Australian, AP)

CAMBODIA: Anonymous hacks government site following deportation of Pirate Bay co-founder
Hacker group Anonymous targeted Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on September 11, successfully breaking into the government website to leak sensitive documents. Anonymous announced it was acting in retaliation for Cambodia's extradition of Swedish citizen Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, co-founder of the large and widely popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. Mr. Warg had failed to attend a Swedish court hearing in 2010 before Cambodian authorities arrested him last Sunday. Comment: The leaked documents appear to include papers from Nepal, India, and Ukraine. Last week, hacking group NullCrew also reportedly broke into several Cambodian websites. (Phnompenhpost, CBC, Washington Post)

PHILIPPINES: Philippine government renames South China Sea
President Aquino signed Administrative Order 29 on September 5, changing the name of the South China Sea to the West Philippine Sea. The new name describes waters off the West coast of the Philippines and covers the potentially resource-rich Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal. President Aquino ordered the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority to publish new maps and furnish a copy to the United Nations and other international organizations. Comment: Renaming the South China Sea to the West Philippine Sea ostensibly expands Philippine territory but has created controversy as other states, including China and Taiwan, also claim close historical and culturally-based ties to the area. Three Chinese vessels remained deployed off the Scarborough Shoal on Wednesday. (Inquirer, Philstar, Xinhua)

REGIONAL: East China Sea island dispute continues
On September 11, Japan confirmed its purchase of three uninhabited - but historically contentious - islands in the East China Sea. The move has prompted protests from China and Taiwan, both of whom also claim the islands. Hong Lei, China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, called the purchase invalid and warned China would take measures to protect its sovereignty. Comment: Known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, the islands are uninhabited but located close to shipping lanes and suspected oil reserves. Tensions continued as China conducted military drills and dispatched two patrol ships near the islands. (JapanToday, Xinhua, Yomiuri, BBC)
 

Researched/Written by Grant Gill

Europe & Central Asia

ARMENIA/AZERBAIJAN: Armenia ready to go to war after release of murderer
Last week, Ramil Safarov was transferred from a prison in Hungary to his home country Azerbaijan. Safarov was convicted in 2004 for killing an Armenian soldier with an axe. He claimed the soldier insulted Azerbaijan which was at war with Armenia during the 1990s. Instead of continuing his prison sentence, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan gave Safarov a pardon, military promotion, an apartment, and income lost during his incarceration. Comment: Tensions remain high between the nations because of past fighting for the region of Nagorny Karabakh. The conflict began when the Armenian population in the region voted for independence and secession from Azerbaijan. Since the end of the war in 1994, peace talks have been ongoing and overseen by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said that his nation does not want a war, but "if we have to, we will fight and win." (BBC, Al Jazeera, Reuters)

NORTHERN IRELAND: Sectarian riots injure over 50 police officers
Last week, over 50 police officers were injured in three days of rioting in North Belfast. The riots began after loyalist bands marched and played provocative music through a Catholic area where Protestant groups had previously been banned from parading. A Parades Commission exists to settle disputes over controversial parades, but not every party accepts the Commission's authority. Comment: Violence between Unionists and Republicans has largely ended since the 1998 ceasefire; however, parading is still a common occurrence during the summer months in Northern Ireland. The Parade Commission had prohibited the Unionists from parading along this route, but the ruling was ignored. Relations between Catholics and Protestants are still tense in Northern Ireland. (BBC, Reuters, The Telegraph)

TURKEY: Suicide bomber kills police officer in Istanbul
On Tuesday, a suicide bomber entered a police station in Istanbul, threw a hand grenade, and detonated a bomb attached to his body, killing himself and one police officer. The grenade failed to explode but police officers were unable to prevent the man from detonating his bomb, despite shooting him twice. Bulent Ozkan, the police officer killed, was to be married five days after the incident. Comment: The Turkish leftist group, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, who are deemed to be a terrorist organization by the United States and Turkey, opposes the current regime and wants to create a socialist state. Although the DHKP-C has targeted Turkish officials before, their strength has diminished due to a number of key figure arrests. (BBC, Hurriyet, Reuters)  

 

Researched/Written by A. Max Jones

Middle East & North Africa

IRAN: Russia and China agree to support International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Resolution against Iran

On Wednesday, Russian and Chinese diplomats agreed, along with Britain, France, and Germany to support a U.S.-backed IAEA resolution requiring Iran to halt activities allegedly linked to the development of nuclear arms. The resolution criticizes Iran for ignoring UN Security Council resolutions to suspend uranium enrichment, refusing to allow IAEA inspectors into the Parchin military base, and for possibly removing evidence of nuclear weapons research. Comment: While the resolution cannot be enforced by IAEA, it signifies diplomatic progress after months of impasse. The timing of the consensus for the resolution is said to be critical, since there was increasing speculation Israel may bomb Iran's atomic facilities in the face of perceived Iranian threats and its impatience with failed diplomacy. (Al Jazeera, Haaretz, AFP)

IRAQ: Wave of 21 attacks kills 73, wounds 213
On Sunday, a wave of 21 separate bombings and shootings hit 11 cities throughout the country, killing an estimated 73 and wounding 213 people. In one incident, gunmen attacked an Iraqi Army outpost in the town of Dujail, killing 10 and wounding eight soldiers. A sequence of bombs detonated around areas of Baghdad, including multiple Shia neighborhoods, killing 42 and wounding 120. While no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the targeting of security forces and predominately Shia neighborhoods are usually tactics of the Islamic State of Iraq, the al-Qaeda branch in the country. Comment: Journalist Ahmed Rushdi reporting from Baghdad told Al Jazeera it was not only al-Qaeda behind the attacks, but also a coordinated multiple-group insurgency against the government and its political parties. He said, "It is another day in the major failure of the security forces in Iraq. The people here are asking themselves; what is the government doing to regain control of the situation? There seems to be no real intelligence data concerning these attacks." (Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN, Huffington Post)
LIBYA: Unidentified assailants attack U.S. consulate, killing U.S. Ambassador and three others
On Tuesday night, a group of unidentified armed assailants attacked and set fire to the U.S. consulate in Benghazi with handmade bombs, killing U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, three consulate staff members, and wounding five others. The attack was allegedly in protest of an amateur film produced in the U.S. considered offensive to Muslims by depicting images of the Prophet Mohammed. According to Al Jazeera, a group self-named "Islamic Law Supporters" carried out the attack, while a Libyan security official told Reuters the Sunni Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia was responsible. Thousands of protestors also congregated near the U.S. embassy in Cairo the same night, where the U.S. flag was torn down and replaced with a black Islamic flag. Comment: The attack raises questions about U.S. and Libyan government relations, the unstable security situation in Libya post-Ghaddafi, and whether the film will incite more protests throughout the Muslim world. President Obama assured the public the attack would not weaken U.S. relations with the new Libyan government. (Al Jazeera, BBC, Reuters)

SYRIA: Diplomatic progress amidst fighting in Aleppo and Idlib province
On September 8, the EU agreed on the need to increase sanctions against the Assad government as well as announced a USD 54 million aid package for internally displaced persons. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced Russia will ask the UN Security Council to endorse the stalled Geneva peace plan agreed to by world powers on June 30, but rejects U.S. demands for more economic pressure on Syria. Meanwhile, heavy fighting between the Assad army and opposition continued on Wednesday in city of Aleppo and the northern Idlib province, where 18 government soldiers were killed by a car bomb. At least 136 people were killed across the country on Friday, including 73 civilians, 38 soldiers, and 25 opposition fighters. Comment: The international peace envoy Lakdhar Brahimi visited exiled opposition leaders in Cairo on Wednesday in preparation for a planned meeting with President Assad in Damascus next week. (Al Jazeera, AP, Washington Post)

Researched/Written by Anna Cecilia Moriarty

South Asia
AFGHANISTAN: Parwan detention center handover
On September 10, the U.S. officially handed over control of the "Bagram Prison," a U.S. military prison, to Kabul. This long awaited transfer for the Parwan detention center, the facility's official name, occurred despite disagreements between the U.S. and Afghan officials over terror suspects held there. Hundreds of detainees are still in U.S. custody, due to fears that Afghan authorities may simply let some of them go. This group apparently includes 50 non-Afghan prisoners and other foreign nationals. Comment: Many saw the transfer as a victory, including President Karzai; however, a few hours after the handover ceremony, a suicide bomber in Kunduz killed and wounded 40 people, which is being linked in the media to the prison transfer without clear evidence of a connection. It is uncertain whether the prisoners in question will be released to the Afghan officials belatedly or not at all. Parwan garnered international attention due to a Quran burning incident earlier this year, sparking anti-American protests across Afghanistan and leading to six U.S. soldiers' deaths. (NPR, CNN, Boston Globe)

INDIA: Cartoonist focused on fighting sedition laws
Indian Cartoonist, Aseem Trivedi, was released on bail on September 12 after being held for charges of sedition and insulting national honor. The sedition law, 124A of the Indian Penal Code, is a product of the 1860 British colonial government that prohibits written and spoken words that could incite dissatisfaction with the government. Trivedi was arrested for his cartoons attacking corruption in Indian politics; if convicted, he may be jailed for life. The case will be heard before the Mumbai High Court in the coming weeks. Comment: The cartoonist's arrest has prompted debate both locally and internationally about the state of free speech in the world's largest democracy. Other prominent civil liberties activists in India have since met with Trivedi, including Binayek Sen, who has also long supported the appeal of the sedition laws. The fight against corruption, which came to the forefront in April 2011, has led to a larger conversation of democracy and its corollary rights in India. (The Hindu, CNN, New York Times)

PAKISTAN/INDIA: Signing of a new visa agreement
On September 8, Pakistan and India signed a new visa agreement in Islamabad, which will ease previously strict restrictions. Notably, the agreement will exempt children under 12, elders over 65, and businessmen from police reporting requirements. The agreement was made during the Indian minister for external affairs', S. M. Krishna, three-day trip to Pakistan where he met with his Pakistani counterpart, Hina Rabbani Khar, for the second time since resumption of peace talks in February 2011. Despite this forward step, security remains a great concern for India, and Pakistan still seeks a resolution on the disputed Kashmiri territories. Comment: The new visa regime is thought to be significant due to the historically fraught relationship, which has remained tense since the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. The visa changes are intended to improve the relationship by allowing for increased interactions between groups of people from the two nations, including civil society members. (New York Times, Bloomberg, Times of India)
 

Researched/Written by Maanasa Reddy

September 14, 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 - Cameron M. Chisholm
IPSI President Cameron M. Chisholm named as one of the "Top 99 under 33" most influential global foreign policy leaders. 
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IPSI News
IPSI - Roshan Paul
IPSI Bologna Symposium faculty Roshan Paul's new NGO, The Amani Institute, is teaming up with TechChange to teach a course on Technology, Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. 
See Details >>

 

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IPSI News
IPSI - Juan Mendez
IPSI  faculty Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, condemns use of torture for confessions in Egyptian court. 
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Tags: conflict, justice, nonviolence, peace, reconciliation, resolution, security, war

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Comment by Rey Ty on September 14, 2012 at 4:36pm

With all due respect, I was shocked to read a catchy title inappropriate to the content of PSR: "Sound smart at your dinner party tonight." Surely, we need to be catchy to attract the attention of readers. However, when we talk of child mortality, killing, violence, dead bodies, to "sound smart at your dinner party tonight" to boost one's ego insensitively exploits the suffering of people in the world, mostly in the poorer countries of Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Europe. Just my humble opinion.

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