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In this week’s PSR: Justice in Libya; Kenyan troops in Somalia; UK aid to Malawi withheld; Malaria vaccine; Bolivia judicial reform; Cuban opposition; New Haiti PM; Philippine clashes with MILF; Woman self-immolates in Tibet; Tuvalu drought; Greek protests; ETA announces cessation of hostilities; Turkish military in Iraq; No weapons for Bahrain; Israel/Palestine prisoner swap; Tunisian protests; French troop withdrawal in Afghanistan; Clinton visits Af/Pak; Indian PM meets Burmese President. 

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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   

Make Justice a Foundation of the New Libya 

ICTJ 
 

IPSI Featured Article ImageAs gunfire dies down over Sirte and fighting ceases across Libya, the new Libyan authorities will be coming to terms with enormous dilemmas about the hierarchy of priorities in building a new society. Their offices will see long processions of emissaries from near and far in the coming days and weeks. Some will be sternly pressing for issues of security to be immediately addressed and others will demand that business and development concerns precede all else, while there are also bound to be those advocating for justice to be done first and quickly.


While understanding various interests and merits driving such monothematic agendas that presume separation and sequencing of priorities, Libyans should resist pressures to adopt ad hoc solutions and instead go for the ultimate goal-building a new, just society. Looking to experiences spanning tectonic changes from Berlin of 1989 to Cairo of the present, the makers of a new Libya are perfectly positioned to know that justice is as crucial to the future of their country as it is inextricably linked to stability, security, and development.  

 


Africa
KENYA/SOMALIA: Kenyan troops cross border, move toward al-Shebab stronghold
Kenyan troops crossed the Somali border on Sunday to confront al-Shebab, the Islamist group that has controlled much of southern Somalia since 2007. Kenyan authorities blame the militants for the ongoing kidnapping and murder of tourists and aid workers along its northern coast, which is likely to negatively impact the country's lucrative tourism industry. Air and ground forces are now approaching the town of Afmadow, 120 kilometers north of the port city of Kismayo, where al-Shebab garners profitable customs revenues. Comment: Although Kenyan forces have in the past made brief forays across the Somali border, Sunday's deployment marks Kenya's most significant foreign military action since its independence in 1963. Kenya's troops are said to be coordinating with Somali forces against al-Shebab, which was driven out of Mogadishu by African Union forces in August. Al-Shebab, for their part, has denied responsibility for the kidnappings and piracy. They have threatened to bomb Nairobi in retaliation if Kenyan troops do not withdraw. (The Standard, Reuters, AP, BBC)

MALAWI: UK to withhold aid due to human rights violations
British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on October 10 that the UK will suspend its aid package to Malawi for failing to improve its human rights record. Malawi's treatment of GLBT persons has been singled out as particularly oppressive; in May 2010 a court sentenced a man and a transgender woman to 14 years in prison for holding an engagement party. Although the pair was later pardoned by President Mutharika, Malawi remains a dangerous place to be openly homosexual. Comment: Although the UK has sent £200 million in aid to Malawi over the past three years, the threat to withhold funds was met mostly with disdain. Official persecution of homosexuals is a widely supported policy in Malawi, and some gay rights advocates have expressed concern that harassment may actually worsen if GLBT persons are blamed for the lack of aid. The UK also named Ghana and Uganda as culprits; they may similarly see their aid cut. (Face of Malawi, Reuters, BBC, The Star)

REGIONAL: Promising results in trial of new malaria vaccine
A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine reports a 47 percent success rate in protecting young children against malaria after the administration of a newly developed vaccine called RTS,S developed by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in cooperation with PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Although the clinical trial is not set to end until 2014, preliminary results are promising; a sequence of three doses protected nearly half of the children in the study. Comment: Malaria is present in 90 countries and infects at least 10 percent of the global population, making it second only to tuberculosis in its impact on world health. The illness is estimated to kill around 780,000 people each year, most of whom are children in Africa. In addition to the enormous human toll, malaria is also estimated to cost Africa some $12 billion a year in lost productivity. (Reuters, BBC, Wall Street Journal, New York Times)

Researched/Written by  Nori Kasting

 


Americas
BOLIVIA: Judicial reform fails
On Sunday, Bolivian citizens had the opportunity to vote for judicial officials for the country's top tribunals. Congress had initially predetermined the list of candidates on the ballot. Traditionally, political parties appoint judges, making this direct vote for judicial officials the first attempt of its kind in Latin America; however, early estimates indicate that 60 percent of the ballots were purposefully left blank by the voters, nullifying the results. Comment: Analysts say ballots were left blank to convey popular discontent with President Morales and his cabinet. The elections come at a trying time for the president whose approval ratings have fallen sharply since his landslide re-election in 2009. (BBC, Merco Press, Guardian)

CUBA: Opposition leader dies
Laura Pollen, co-founder of the Cuban female dissident group, Ladies in White, died on Friday after being hospitalized for the past week. The group, created in 2003 to speak on behalf of political prisoners, organized a march last Sunday despite Pollen's death. Comment: The group's activities involve raising awareness about the plight of imprisoned men, withstanding "acts of repudiation" by government supporters, and dressing in white to symbolize the peace and innocence of political prisoners. While Pollen's death has gained international attention, the official state newspaper Granma has yet to report it. (Latin American Herald Tribune, VOA, Havana Times)

HAITI: New government progress
On Tuesday, after 14 hours of debate in parliament, 17 new cabinet members and a new Prime Minister, Garry Conille, were sworn into the Haitian government. The new government has pledged to re-launch the economy and boost growth to nine percent annually. In order to attract investment, Conille plans to create 1.5 million jobs through improved infrastructure and urban and rural development projects, including a national-house building program. Comment: The new government comes into office as the United Nations reduces its peacekeeping force in response to reported security improvements. President Martelly has been talking of "rebranding Haiti" since his inauguration. Conille was President Martelly's third nomination for PM. His acceptance provides Haiti with a fully staffed government to address the country's reconstruction. (BBC, Haiti Libre, Reuters)

Researched/Written by  Laura Castelli

East Asia
PHILIPPINES: 25 killed in clash with insurgents
On Tuesday, 25 people were killed during a clash between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) separatist group on southern Basilin Island causing thousands to flee the area. Both sides have accused the other of breaking a seven-year truce. The government's chief peace negotiator, Marvic Leonen, indicated that he considers this to be an isolated incident. Comment: The MILF's insurgency has lasted over 40 years killing 120,000 people and displacing two million. This week's violence is setback for the Malaysian-led peace talks between MILF and the government. (Guardian, Global Times, AP, Aljazeera)

TIBET: First Woman Self-Immolates
On Monday, Tibetan nun Tenzin Wangmo self-immolated near the Kirti monestary in Ngaba calling for the freedom of Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. She is the ninth person to self-immolate this year and is believed to be the first woman to self-immolate since the Dalai Lama fled China in 1959. Comment: China condemns the self-immolations and has arrested people for assisting others to self-immolate. China has called self-immolations "terrorism in disguise" and accused the Dalai Lama of inciting the demonstrations. Chinese police killed two Tibetan protesters on Monday who were participating in a small pro-Tibet protest in the Khekor township of Serthar. (NY Times, BBC, Citizen, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Asia)

TUVALU: Severe Drought Continues
Severe drought prompted the government to declare a state of emergency earlier this month and it has since restricted each household, typically including extended family, to 40 liters of water per day. New Zealand's defense forces have repaired Tuvalu's desalinization unit and brought an additional unit with them, but the energy needed to run the units is draining the economy. Weather forecasters do not predict any rain for Tuvalu until January. Comment: Experts say that climate change is causing higher tides, which cause salt water to seep underground and contaminate fresh well water. The Tuvaluan government is now seeking assistance through the United Nations' multi-billion dollar fund to help small countries deal with problems associated with climate change and rising sea levels. (AP, Aljazeera, BBC, New Zealand Herald)

Researched/Written by Caitlyn Davis 


Europe & Central Asia
GREECE: Violent clashes break out during two-day strike
A nationwide strike turned violent Wednesday night after the parliament approved austerity measures in the initial round of voting. An estimated 50 police officers were injured by petrol bombs; one protester was killed in the fighting. Over 100,000 people from both private and public sector unions marched in Athens against the newest austerity measures which would raise taxes, cut salaries, suspend labor contracts, and cut 30,000 jobs in the public sector. The IMF, European Central Bank, and the EU are demanding the implementation of new measures before lending money from the €110 billion bailout deal to Greece. Comment: The strike follows only days after the global "Day of Rage," part of the Occupy movement, where tens of thousands gathered in European cities protesting national austerity measures and the financial sector. Portugal had one of the largest turnouts of over 40,000 people. The majority of protests were peaceful; although in Rome, 105 police officers and 30 protesters were injured. (Reuters, AP, BBC)

SPAIN: ETA announces end to armed campaign
In response to a peace conference held in the Basque region on Monday, the separatist group, ETA, says it has called a "definitive cessation" to its armed campaign and also requested a direct dialogue with the Spanish and French governments. At the conference, international leaders, including former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, gave statements calling for an end to violence and to allow for an opportunity for discussion. They also urged Spain and France to welcome a dialogue if the ETA agreed to end violence. The Spanish government and the ETA were not officially represented at the conference. Comment: Spain is reluctant to reenter peace negotiations with the ETA unless the group renounces violence and demobilizes. The ETA has killed more than 800 people over the last 40 years, but no deaths have been reported since the signing of a permanent ceasefire last January. The ETA has broken previous ceasefires, including the permanent ceasefire in 2006 by detonating a car bomb at Madrid's airport killing two people. (BBC, Reuters, CNN)

TURKEY: Military sends troops into northern Iraq
On Wednesday, members of the Kurdish Worker's Party (PKK) killed 24 Turkish soldiers and injured 18 during an attack against military sites in southeastern Turkey. Turkey's military responded to attacks by sending 10,000 troops into northern Iraq seeking out PKK bases, killing at least 21 Kurdish militants. President Gul issued a warning, "No one should forget that those who inflict pain on us will endure far greater pain." The U.S. and NATO expressed support for Turkey to combat terrorism, while Iraq remains cautious regarding possible instability in the region once U.S. forces leave Iraq. Comment: Turkish lawmakers recently approved extended authorization for the military to carry out attacks against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. Tensions remain high in the region after five police officers and three civilians died in an explosion on Tuesday in the same region. Over 40,000 people have died as a result of the conflict between Turkey and Kurdish rebels since 1984. (Hurriyet, Reuters, AP, BBC)
 

Researched/Written by Erin Bobst


Middle East & North Africa
BAHRAIN: No deal on weapons purchase
On Wednesday, the Obama Administration announced that it is delaying a USD 53 million arms deal with Bahrain pending the outcome of a local investigation into human-rights abuses since the February uprising. The King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ordered an independent committee to investigate the alleged human rights violations and their report is due on October 30, 2011. At least 35 people have died since the kingdom's Shia majority began protests 8 months ago. Comment: Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th fleet, is considered a strategic U.S. ally and has previously received U.S. weapons; however, the State Department's postponement of the deal coincides with a recently published report by Amnesty International addressing the arms sales by the U.S. to Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. The report criticizes the U.S. for supplying large amounts of weapons to repressive governments in the Middle East "despite having evidence of a substantial risk that they could be used to commit serious human rights violations." (Reuters, Aljazeera, BBC)

ISRAEL/PALESTINE: One for a thousand; historic prisoner exchange
On Tuesday, Israeli authorities released 477 of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners as part of an exchange deal for the return of one Israeli soldier. The Israeli Sergeant, Gilad Shalit, crossed the border after spending more than five years in the Gaza Strip where Hamas held him incommunicado. Dozens of Palestinian prisoners departed the Israeli jails for Gaza and the West Bank. Some others were sent abroad to Turkey, Syria, and Qatar. Comment: The Palestinian and Israeli people celebrated the return of their captives and dubbed them as heroes. Some analysts warn that the release of the Palestinian prisoners, and their return as heroes, could mean the strengthening of the cause of militant activities against Israel. A number of the prisoners released have previously been accused of attempting suicide bomb attacks. (Reuters, Aljazeera, Elaph)

TUNISIA: Thousands face tear gas in a peaceful protest
On Sunday, thousands of irate Tunisians gathered to protest and express their outrage over a TV movie aired on the Nessma channel. The French-Iranian animated movie, "Persepolis," violates Islamic law by depicting God in the human form. The protests were initially peaceful with more than 10,000 Muslims gathering to demand the implementation of Islamic law. The protests turned violent after security forces used tear gas to disperse the angry crowds. These protests so far are the largest by Islamic groups in the capital. Comment: Next Sunday, competitive multiparty democratic elections will be held for the first time since uprisings started last January. Restricted in practicing their religion and victims of oppression by the previous regime, Muslim conservatives are expected to win more votes. Analysts predict that the Renaissance Party, home to Muslim conservatives, will win a majority against more than 80 parties. (Reuters, Tunisia Live, WSJ, NY Times)

Researched/Written by Ibrahim Al-Hajjri


South Asia
AFGHANISTAN: France begins troop pullout
On Wednesday, France pulled out 200 troops from Afghanistan as part of the scheduled troop withdrawal announced in July by President Sarkozy; 200 more are expected to be withdrawn before Christmas, and a total of 1000 by the end of 2012. French troops are based mainly in Kapisa and Sorobi districts of the capital Kabul. The French foreign minister announced that its withdrawal is proportional to the planned U.S. troop pullout by 2014. France currently has 4,000 troops and has lost 75 soldiers since 2001. Comment: France is the fourth-largest troop contributor in Afghanistan. NATO plans to end combat missions by 2014, aiming to hand over the country's security to Afghan forces. (BBC, Dawn, RTT)

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN: Clinton visits Afghanistan, Pakistan
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Afghanistan and Pakistan this week, calling for a new partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the U.S. in fighting militancy. Clinton met with Afghan President Karzai and other parliamentarians on Thursday in a visit aimed at boosting reconciliation attempts in the country. During her visit to Pakistan, she is expected to hold talks with the government on dismantling terror sanctuaries in the north-western region. Comment: The visit comes as differences between U.S. and Afghan officials increase on how to pursue peace with the Taliban. Relations with Pakistan are fragile as well, and Clinton aides state that she will deliver a blunt message that Pakistan must do more to counter terrorism in the region. (BBC, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post)

INDIA: Burmese President meets Prime Minister Singh
Burmese President Thein Sein met with Indian Prime Minister Singh last Friday; the two leaders discussed security -- mainly the issue of insurgency on India's north-east bordering Burma -- and energy cooperation. India announced a USD 500 million credit line to Burma to help develop its infrastructure and agreed to expand cooperation in oil and gas exploration. Singh also congratulated Sein on the country's recent transition to democracy and welcomed efforts towards political reform. Comment: Analysts state that India is looking to deepen ties with energy-rich Burma in order to counter China. India's trade with the Burma stands at USD 1.2 billion whereas neighboring China accounts for half of Burma's bilateral trade at USD 4.4 billion. (AFP, Times of India, Wall Street Journal)

Researched/Written by Megha Swamy

 

October 21, 2011
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In This Issue

Featured Article

Africa

Americas

East Asia

Europe & Central Asia

Middle East & N. Africa

South Asia

 

 


IPSI News 
John Prendergast
IPSI contributor John Prendergast pens the following report: "Ending the Lord's Resistance Army."

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