Monday, February 20, 2012

Center Of Right In Justice We work according International Human Rights Law o PEACE & SECURITY REPORT 10/2/2012 o By Peace & collaborative Development Network o 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 Why the Syrian Rebels Should Put Down Their Guns by Daniel Server, The Atlantic It is remarkable how quickly we've forgotten about nonviolence in Syria. Only a few months ago, the White House was testifying unequivocally in favor of nonviolent protest, rather than armed opposition, against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime's awful crackdown. Even today, President Obama eschews military intervention. Yesterday, Yahoo News' Laura Rozen offered the views of four experts on moving forward in Syria. While one doubted the efficacy of arming the opposition, none advocated nonviolence. When blogger Jasmin Ramsey wrote up a rundown of the debate over intervention in Syria, nonviolence wasn't even mentioned. There are reasons for this. No one is going to march around Homs singing kumbaya while the Syrian army shells the city. It is correct to believe that Syrians have the right to defend themselves from a state that is attacking them. Certainly international military intervention in Bosnia, Kosovo, and arguably Libya saved a lot of lives. Why should Syrians not be entitled to protection? Isn't it our responsibility to meet that expectation? Read Full Article >> Africa LIBERIA: Alleged war criminal to be deported On Monday, a United States immigration judge in New York ordered the deportation of former Liberian rebel leader George Boley, Sr. The ruling was based on Boley's alleged use of child soldiers and ordering of extra-judicial killings during Liberia's 1990s civil war. The Liberia Peace Council (LPC) headed by Boley was among the largest of the seven armed groups fighting during the conflict. The U.S. government cited "credible reports" that Boley authorized the executions of seven of his soldiers on November 14, 1995. Comment: In 2009, Boley testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Liberia and has maintained there must have been two groups calling themselves the LPC. Former TRC chairman Jerome Verdier said Boley could be a free man after he returns since no cases have been brought forward. An estimated quarter of a million people died during Liberia's 1989-2003 conflict. (AFP, Voice of America, BBC) MALI: United Nations expresses concern over fighting in north On Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Turaeg rebels to halt their offensive in the Azawad region of northern Mali. The separatist Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and other rebels made significant gains on Wednesday after they seized the strategic border town of Tinzawatene and forced Malian troops to withdraw into Algeria, leaving one soldier dead and two wounded. Ban urged the rebels to immediately stop fighting and engage in dialogue with the Malian government to resolve their grievances. Comment: The Malian government has accused the MNLA of being proxies for the terrorist group al-Qaeda; however, the rebels have denied the accusations. The attacks come as the Malian government is implementing an emergency action plan to distribute food to parts of the country affected by drought. Aid agencies are concerned that the Tuareg rebellion could hamper efforts to distribute food in northern parts of the country. (AllAfrica, Reuters, The Guardian, Daily Nation) SUDAN: Darfur Regional Authority launched On Wednesday, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, formally inaugurated the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) in Al-Fashir in North Darfur. Bashir said his government wants internally displaced peoples and refugees to return to their original areas and emphasized the importance of rebuilding local communities and bringing criminals to justice. He also announced the release of all prisoners from the Liberty and Justice Movement (LJM), which signed last year's Doha agreement; the gesture was not extended to the other major rebel movements that rejected the agreement. Comment: The 2006 Abuja Darfur Peace Agreement first established the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority in April 2007. It was reformed as the DRA after the signing of the Doha Darfur Peace Agreement in July last year; the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and factions of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) were not signatories. Observers believe the DRA shares many of the weaknesses of the previous Darfur administration. (UN News Centre, Sudan Vision, Sudan Vision, BBC) Researched/Written by James Asuquo-Brown III Americas BRAZIL: Striking police end building occupation Nearly 250 striking police officers left the state legislature building of Salvador de Bahia on Thursday, following a week of protests demanding higher wages, improved benefits, and amnesty for the walkouts. The building has been occupied since January 31 by striking police and family members. Nearly one-third of Bahia's 30,000 police force is estimated to have walked off the job for the duration of the protests. Due to a lack of police presence on the streets, Salvador's homicide rate doubled since the protests began, reaching nearly 100 homicides. Comment: Negotiations have been underway with Bahia's Governor Jacques Wagner to address the demands of protestors. The Brazilian government deployed 3,500 troops to regain access to the building and quell the ensuing violence. Additionally, an estimated ten percent of tourists have cancelled trips to Salvador, a hotspot for Carnival festivities that draws tens of thousands of tourists annually. More than 9,000 new police personnel have been recruited across Bahia as part of the Brazilian government's wider campaign to reduce violence prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2014 World Cup. (CNN, CNN, BBC, AFP, Bloomberg) FALKLAND ISLANDS/ISLAS MALVINAS: Tension escalates, Argentina appeals to the United Nations On Wednesday, Britain stated it will rule out talks over the status of the disputed Falkland Islands/Malvinas Islands with Argentina's President Fernandez de Kirchner following weeks of bitter exchanges between the two countries. On Tuesday, President Kirchner said the government of Argentina would submit a formal complaint to the UN Security Council over the "militarization" of the Islands. Britain recently announced the deployment to the area of one of its most advanced naval destroyers. Prince William, second in line to the throne, was also recently deployed with the Royal Air Force to serve a military tour at an air base on the Islands. The British Foreign Office released a statement that it will negotiate with Argentina only if prompted to do so by inhabitants of the Islands. Comment: In 1982, Argentina and Britain fought a ten-week war, known as the Falklands War, in which Britain upheld control of the Islands. Argentina claims the Islands were "stolen" 180 years ago by the British. The 3,000, inhabitants of the Islands are considered to be British, yet debate ensues regarding sovereignty of the Islands between the British and Argentine governments. (CNN, NY Times, AP, BBC Mundo) MEXICO: Conservative party nominates first female candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota received the presidential nomination on Sunday by Mexico's right-wing Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) after gaining 55 percent of party votes. Vazquez Mota is the first woman to be nominated for President by one of Mexico's main political parties. She previously served as the former Secretary of Education and Secretary Social Development. PAN is Mexico's current ruling conservative party and has been in power for 11 years under the Fox and Calderon administrations. Comment: Presidential elections will be held on July 1, as President Calderon cannot seek re-election for a second six-year term according to the Mexican Constitution. The Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) poses significant opposition to PAN's bid for office. Former Governor of Mexico Central State Enrique Pena Nieto, PRI's presidential candidate, leads in recent polls. Vazquez Mota has pledged to combat cartels and reduce violence state-wide, echoing pledges of President Calderon. Calderon's administration has received criticism for ineffectively battling cartels in Mexico. (Al Jazeera, AP, Reuters) Researched/Written by Melissa Mahfouz East Asia JAPAN: No deal with U.S. to transfer thousands of Marines to Okinawa Island On February 8, the U.S. and Japanese governments, bowing to local pressure, agreed to scale back a long-controversial plan to relocate American military forces on the southern island of Okinawa. The change will set aside plans made six years ago to build a new Marine Corps base on the island, as well as move the Futenma airbase in Ginowan city to a less populated part of the island. Comment: 18,000 U.S. marines are stationed on Okinawa out of a total military deployment of about 50,000 in Japan. (BBC, Reuters, WS) MYANMAR: Prominent monk detained for questioning On February 10, Myanmar authorities detained activist monk, Shin Gambira, only weeks after he was released from years of imprisonment. Gambira was among the leaders of the so-called Saffron Revolution, a 2007 anti-government uprising against the military junta, and since his release from prison, he has publicly spoken out against the new government, which took office last March. The men who detained Gambira did not give details on where they were taking him or why. His brother noted that the men said that they were not arresting him but wanted to talk to him. Comment: Gambira's detention comes after widespread international attention on Myanmar, where the nominally civilian government has recently received subtle praise for a multitude of reforms. (BBC, MH, CNN) THAILAND: Massive car bomb kills 1, injures 13 On the morning of February 9, a car bomb exploded in front of the Provincial Public Health Office in downtown Pattani province, killing one man and injuring 13 bystanders, including two young girls. Authorities stated that defence volunteers who were scheduled to gather at the Pattani provincial hall that morning, but were detoured, were the likely targets of the blast. The truck that carried the bomb bore fake license plates and was reported stolen on November 27 of last year. The Pattani Provincial Police commander believes that a local insurgent group led by Abdulhalem Puteh was responsible for the attack. Comment: The Pattani region of Southern Thailand has experienced escalating violence from a separatist insurgency since January 2004, claiming more than 5,200 lives. The National Security Council in Bangkok recently approved a policy for peacekeeping operations in the South to be implemented in the next three years. (BP, Xinhua, The Nation, TAN) Researched/Written by Jared O. Bell Europe & Central Asia GREECE: Greek coalition comes to agreement over bailout deal After weeks of failure to meet deadlines for presenting the EU with a plan of austerity measures required to secure a bailout, Greek politicians were able to reach consensus in negotiations with their creditors Thursday afternoon. The talks ended with no compromise on the issue of pension cuts, which had been the final point of contention; however, alternative cuts were agreed to. Had Greece been unable to agree to the budget cuts set forth by the EU, the European Central Bank, and the IMF, they likely would have faced bankruptcy by early March. The country is now set to receive a EUR 130 billion loan from the three creditors. Comment: The austerity measures have been extremely unpopular in Greece. Labor unions representing approximately 50 percent of Greece's workforce are calling for strikes Friday and Saturday to protest the reforms that an official of the ADEDY union claims "create misery for the youth, the unemployed and pensioners." (Reuters, Guardian, BBC, Washington Post) ROMANIA: Prime Minister Boc resigns amid unrest Following weeks of protests against austerity measures introduced by PM Emil Boc and controversial reforms of the healthcare system, the Romanian Prime Minister stepped down on Monday. Boc had introduced a number of austerity measures, including a five percent sales tax increase and a 25 percent decrease in public workers' salaries, as part of a requirement for a EUR 20 billion bailout from the IMF and the EU. Romanian President Traian Basescu appointed foreign intelligence chief Mihai Razzvan Ungureanu Prime Minister later on Monday. Ungureanu vowed to continue the measures put into place by his predecessor. Comment: The anti-government protests have allowed the opposition parties to gain significant support. According to recent polls, the opposition Social-Liberal Union is currently supported by 53.4 percent of Romanians. (Balkan Insight, RFE/RL, CNN, Deutsche Welle) RUSSIA: Anti-Putin protests draw large crowds Two months after major protests began in Russia for the first time in over ten years, tens of thousands of Russians from across the political spectrum rallied February 4 on Bolotnaya Square near the Kremlin for fair elections and the ousting of prime minister and presidential candidate Putin. Saturday also marks the first time the Kremlin organized counter-protests. Comment: Estimates for the number of protesters at both the pro- and anti-Putin demonstrations varied greatly. Russian police estimated that the opposition rally attracted just 38,000 protesters, while up to 140,000 turned out in support of Putin. The Moscow Times, which is known for taking a more critical stance on the government, gave estimates of 50,000 opposition protesters and 25,000 pro-Putin demonstrators. (RFE/RL, RIA Novosti, Moscow Times, Washington Post) Researched/Written by Kate Elci Middle East & North Africa EGYPT: Egyptian government cracks down on U.S.-funded NGOs Kamal el-Ganzouri, Egypt's military backed Prime Minister, said Thursday that the campaign against U.S.-funded NGOs will not be swayed by Washington's threat to withhold USD 1.3 billion in foreign aid. 43 NGO workers, 19 of them U.S. citizens, face up to five years in prison for refusal to pay taxes, entering the country on tourist visas, and training political parties. The evidence presented in the case includes cash, maps, and videos taken of churches and military facilities. The evidence is "ridiculous" and "laughable" according to Sherif Mansour, a Freedom House employee based in Washington and one of the charged. Comment: In 2004, the U.S. Congress demanded that bilateral aid be used to fund democracy-building civil society groups such as NDI and IRA (both of which are currently being investigated in the case). The recent crackdown, spearheaded by Faiza Abou el-Naga, the current minister of Planning and International Cooperation which oversees distribution of international aid, is seen as a backlash against similar U.S. policies. A number of political parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as leading military figures have shown support for the NGO investigations. (Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Reuters) SYRIA: Security Council Resolution blocked, Russia claims Assad committed to end of violence Russia and China blocked the Security Council Resolution that would have called for Assad's abdication of power in favor of a transition civilian government on Saturday, February 4. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Assad on Tuesday to discuss current developments, including the ongoing military onslaught against the city of Homs that has already killed hundreds of people. Lavrov stated that Assad was committed to ending the violence and would soon set a date for holding a referendum on a new constitution. Comment: Members of the Arab League and multiple Western countries, including the U.S., Britain, Italy, and France, have cut diplomatic relations with Damascus. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan sent a delegation to Washington on Wednesday to discuss sanctions against Assad's regime. (Huffington Post, Al Arabiya, NYTimes) WEST BANK/GAZA: Abbas/Meshaal sign Doha Declaration Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal signed an agreement on Monday, February 6 in Qatar that would open the door for a unity government. Abbas will head the unity government as Prime Minister and prepare the Palestinian Territories for general elections in the late spring or early summer. The agreement states that the new Palestinian government will comprise "independent technocrats," and will also be responsible for overseeing reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip. Comment: The two leaders reached a reconciliation deal last year to end more than four years of separate governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel has condemned the agreement, stating that peace talks are threatened by the inclusion of Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the U.S. The EU supported the political merger, although its continued support will be based on Hamas's recognition of Israel, denunciation of violence, and a commitment to the Mideast peace plan. (Al Jazeera, BBC, Haaretz) Researched/Written by Colleen Rossmiller South Asia INDIA: Indian state Uttar Pradesh first to start round of assembly elections Voting in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) commenced on Wednesday in an election battle for assembly seats. State elections in UP take place in a series of seven phases for several weeks, after which final ballots are cast on March 3. Current Chief Minister Mayawati of Uttar Pradesh, who is head of the Bahujan Samaj Party, is running against Rahul Gandhi of the Indian National Congress Party, as well as Akhilesh Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party. Gandhi is attempting to court Muslim voters via promises of affirmative action programs, while Yadav vows to augment opportunities for members of lower castes. In the last election in 2007, Mayawati won 206 of the available 403 assembly seats in UP. Comment: Maywati's voter base is UP's large population of Dalits, what were in traditional Indian society known as "untouchables;" however, scandals have marred her tenure as Chief Minister. Amidst accusations of political corruption, Mayawati has also been criticized of misusing funds to excessively build parks and statues, as well as mismanaging loans from the World Bank. (NYT, BBC, BBC, Times of India) MALDIVES: Coup ousts Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed resigned from office on Tuesday and was replaced by his former vice president, Mohamed Waheed Hassan. His resignation comes after rioting en masse in Male resulted in the hospitalization of an estimated 50 opposition protestors. The riots commenced after Nasheed removed a top judge following his decision to release a prisoner "loyal to the opposition." On Wednesday, Nasheed supporters marched on the capital with aims to reinstate the former president; "I was forced to resign at gunpoint," said Nasheed. Opposition supporters have since taken control of Maldivian state broadcasting, renaming the network after Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the Maldives for 30 years. Comment: The connection between newly appointed President Hassan and the opposition is still unclear. Hassan promised on Wednesday to reinstate democratic rule of law after thanking the Maldivian National Defense Force (MNDF) for their "great sacrifices in defending the constitution." Mohamed Nasheed was the first democratically elected president of the Maldives. (BBC, LA Times, Minivan News) PAKISTAN: Pakistan discusses border security with NATO, Afghanistan The Pakistan army met on Wednesday with NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Afghan National Army in Torkham to discuss issues of border security. Pakistani General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed was present in the first such talks among the three groups since the deadly November 26 U.S.-led airstrikes on two border posts. Reports suggest that the U.S. is debating a formal apology for the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers, which Pakistan claims were "deliberate at some level." Pakistan closed supply routes on the Pakistani-Afghani border after the strikes, but the government has promised to reopen the routes under the premise it will charge higher fees. Comment: The border security talks are largely centered on the issue of U.S. drone missions in the region, which were highlighted Wednesday after a U.S. strike killed ten presumed insurgents in the city of Miranshah, North Waziristan. (Dawn, AP, Tribune, Voice of America)

No comments:

Post a Comment