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In this week’s PSR: Kenyan forces in Somalia; Liberian run-off election results; New PM in Madagascar; Cuba personal property reform; Right-wing wins Guatemala’s presidency; Violence after Nicaraguan presidential elections; Occupy Wall Street marches to DC; Indonesia miners’ strike; riots in PNG; North Korean refugees in South; Belarus human rights activist on trial; Berlusconi to resign; Nationalists rally in Moscow; UK student protests; Bahrain king visits Mubarak; ICC in Libya; Syrian death toll at 3,500; India and Pakistan PMs meet; SAARC summit; Security upgrades in Pakistan.  

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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   

A Cautionary Tale: Plan Colombia's Lessons for U.S. Policy Toward Mexico and Beyond 
WOLA 

 

IPSI Featured Article Image In December 2006, Felipe Calderón began his presidency with a virtual declaration of war. As the new President of Mexico, his electoral mandate was weak after having barely won a plurality of the vote, less than a single percentage point over his opponent, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Seeking to bolster popular support and legitimacy, he seized on a political initiative engineered to take on one of Mexicans' central concerns-violence linked to drug trafficking and the country's deteriorating public security crisis.

More cocaine was transiting through Mexico from Andean source countries to U.S. drug users, and Mexican criminal organizations had taken over the highly lucrative business of transporting the drugs to the United States, supplanting Colombia's weakened cartels. Violence between these organized crime groups, and their deep infiltration and corruption of government institutions, were approaching emergency levels in several regions of the country.

 


Africa
KENYA/SOMALIA: Kenyan forces patrol Somali towns, coasts
The Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) estimates that approximately 50 percent of southern Somalia is now clear of Al-Shebab militants. On Tuesday, Kenyan soldiers began a door-to-door search for insurgents and weapons, warning Somali residents of a planned attack on the port city of Kismayo. Meanwhile, the Kenyan Navy claims to have eliminated piracy around the southern Somali coast. Comment: This is the third week of Kenya's invasion of Somalia, which has so far seen relatively little fighting. In addition to flushing out militants, the Kenyan forces plan to allow international humanitarian organizations into the southern towns, which are in desperate need of food and medicine. (Daily Nation, Capital FM News, All Africa, The Guardian)

LIBERIA: Run-off election follows deadly riots
Liberians voted Tuesday in the run-off election to decide the presidential race. Incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is widely expected to win; her main challenger, Winston Tubman, called for a boycott of the election, citing fraud. Monday saw the deployment of UN peacekeepers in strategic locations and rioting in Monrovia that left at least two dead. Comment: Voter turnout in the run-off appears far lower than the 71 percent participation rate of the initial election. The UN, the U.S., and the African Union denounced candidate Tubman's call for a boycott on the grounds that it would discredit what had been regarded as a mostly free and fair election. Liberia's foreign investment opportunities are viewed by analysts as largely dependent on the country's ability to conduct peaceful elections. (Reuters, AFP, BBC, Voice of America)

MADAGASCAR: New Prime Minister takes office
Madagascar's newly appointed Prime Minister, Omer Beriziky, took office in Antananarivo last week. On Tuesday he began consultations for various ministerial posts in an effort to lead the transitional government along a roadmap to democracy put forth by the South African Development Community (SADC). Beriziky, a former ambassador to the EU, stressed his commitment to the Malagasy people rather than any political party. Comment: Former president Marc Ravalomanana was ousted in a coup in 2009, which resulted in the withdrawal of much of Madagascar's foreign aid. The appointment of an inclusive transitional government is believed to be a critical step in the process towards free and fair elections. (Madagascar Tribune, All Africa, Radio Netherlands Worldwide)

Researched/Written by  Nori Kasting

Americas
CUBA: Housing legislation reform
Last week, Cuban President Raul Castro lifted a ban on the buying and selling of houses for citizens and permanent residents; the new rules took effect yesterday, November 10. Previously, Cuban citizens had to use a permuta system to move in, which involved finding someone with a property of approximately equal size and agreeing to swap. This new measure is not without limits, requiring people to prove where the money comes from and pay a four percent stamp tax. Comment: The amendment to the existing property law essentially creates a legal property market, overturning the norm in place since 1959 of all property belonging to the state. The money for property is expected to come from Cuban-Americans, leading to speculation that repatriation will increase and spark the return of citizens to the country. (Latin American Herald Tribune, Guardian, La Nueva Cuba)

GUATEMALA: Molina wins in run-off
Otto Perez Molina, a retired rightwing general who promised a crackdown on violent crime, won the Guatemalan presidential run-off election this past Sunday with 55 percent of the vote against businessman Manuel Baldizon. Mr. Molina narrowly lost four years ago to the outgoing president, Alvaro Colom; presidents in Guatemala are constitutionally limited to one term. Molina will take office on January 14 and plans to implement a new income tax, better security measures, and a "ZeroHunger" program. Comment: Analysts say Molina will have to promote national unity; voting patterns indicated the interior of the country opposed him and the urban population supported him. An ex-general, he is the first former military leader elected president in Guatemala since the end to military rule 25 years ago. (Prensa Libre, Guardian, La Hora, Siglo 21)

NICARAGUA: Presidential election aftermath
On Tuesday, the Guatemalan electoral council confirmed the landslide victory of Daniel Ortega for a third presidential term, sparking violent clashes between the supporters of the opposition Independent Liberal Party (PLI) and Ortega's Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN); four people were killed and 46 police officers injured. The elections were reportedly marred by irregularities and voter intimidation. Comment: President Ortega's re-election is controversial due to the repealing of law in 2009 by the Sandinista-run Supreme Court, which had previously banned re-election of candidates after an active term. The president's party now controls all four branches of government, which critics say is a path towards one man rule. (Latin American Herald Tribune, Al Jazeera, El Nuevo Diario)

UNITED STATES: NY Occupiers march to DC
On Wednesday, Occupy Wall Street protesters began a non-violent march to Washington, D.C. The group plans to arrive by November 23 in time to protest the meeting of a congressional committee set to decide whether or not to extend the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans. The NY Occupiers will stop at "Occupy" movements in Baltimore and Philadelphia, as well as other towns along the way to spread their message. Comment: The group received 3,000 USD from the Occupy General Assembly for travel expenses. The protesters believe that if the Bush-era tax cuts do not expire in 2012 as planned, the gap between the one percent of rich citizens and the other 99 percent will only increase. (Guardian, Washington Post, AFP)

Researched/Written by  Laura Castelli

East Asia
INDONESIA: Miners threaten to extend strike
This week, miners on strike from the Freeport Indonesia's Grasberg copper mine have threatened to extend the end date of the strike from November 15 to December 15. The miners are demanding that their minimum wage be raised from its current rate of 1.50 USD per hour to 4 USD per hour, but Freeport has indicated that its final offer is 3 USD per hour. Comment: The Grasberg mine, owned by the U.S. based Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc. is estimated to be the most profitable mine in the world. The strike has been going on since September 15 and gained increased public attention when two strikers were killed by police in October. Freeport remains positive about earnings and productivity despite the strike. Following the miners' example, Indonesian employees from Carrefour supermarket and Telkomsel mobile phone company have also gone on strike for salary increases and greater shares in the companies' profits. (Aljazeera, Reuters, Fox Business, Reuters)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Six people killed in ethnic riot
Six people were killed and 26 injured last Thursday when ethnic rioting broke out in the city of Lae. The police were finally able to control the riots on Sunday. It is believed that the riots occurred after a group of young people tried to deliver a petition to the local governor that objected to the rise in crime, which included two rapes of young girls, one who was 13. The ethnic groups involved are currently trying to negotiate a solution. Comment: Lae, PNG's second largest city, is a booming industrial and mining center, but unemployment and crime are both high. Businesses and schools have been closed since Thursday, and the government has indicated that it may declare a state of emergency. (BBC, AP, AP, ABC)

SOUTH KOREA: North Korean asylum seekers found off South Korean coast
Last Sunday, 21 North Korean asylum seekers were found floating in a boat off the South Korean coast, concealed amongst Chinese shipping boats. North Korea usually asks to have its citizens returned, but authorities have not indicated whether the refugees will be sent back. The public has also questioned why authorities waited six days before reporting the incident. Comment: This is the fourth incident of defection from North Korea this year. Extended famine has reportedly caused over 20,000 defections since the mid-1990s. (NY Times, Reuters, Korea Times)

Researched/Written by Caitlyn Davis 


Europe & Central Asia
BELARUS: Human rights activist on trial
Ales Belyatski, head of the human rights organization Vyasna, which monitors government activities against the opposition, is on trial in Minsk for tax evasion. Authorities received information from Poland and Lithuania regarding bank accounts in the two countries, an act for which Polish and Lithuanian officials later apologized in protest of the arrest. Belyatski confirmed the accounts fund the work of Vyasna because the government is blocking him from holding money within the country. Comment: President Alexander Lukashenko is in his fourth term as president after internationally disputed elections, causing the EU and U.S. to impose sanctions on Lukashenko and other officials. Several human rights groups say the government is trying to silence Belyatski by falsely accusing him. (New Europe, UDF, BBC)

ITALY: Government preparing for Berlusconi's resignation
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi agreed to resign upon the approval of financial reforms by parliament. With the continuing debt crisis, now over 1.9 trillion euros, coalition members and opposition leaders urged Berlusconi to step down. The PM won the budget vote, but lost majority in the lower house of parliament; 308 MPs voted in favor, none voted against, while 321 abstained. President Napolitano named Mario Monti a senator-for-life showing support for a possible successor to Berlusconi. Comment: Markets and analysts share concerns over the delay in forming a new government to implement the measures. The borrowing rate in Italy increased to over seven percent on Wednesday, which surpasses the level where Greece, Ireland, and Portugal were forced to seek bailouts. Italy is the third-largest economy in the eurozone and is considered too large for Europe to bail out. (Il Messaggero, BBC, AP, Deutsche Welle)

RUSSIA: Nationalists rally in Moscow
On Friday, approximately 7,000 nationalist and right-wing supporters rallied against the government in Moscow with calls for the Russian people to "take Russia back." Rising tensions among Russians over migrants and the amount of money sent by the government to the Caucasus are resulting in increasing support for nationalist parties. Comment: Since the beginning of Russia's National Unity Day in 2005, participation in nationalist rallies on the national holiday has steadily increased. Opposition parties, including the Communist party, are seeking the support of the growing number of nationalists in elections that will be held early next year. (RFE/RL, BBC, Al Jazeera)

UNITED KINGDOM: Students protest rising costs for education
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts estimated 10,000 student protesters, compared to police estimates of 2,000, demonstrated against the increase in university tuition fees on Wednesday in London. Annual university fees are expected to triple from 3,000 to 9,000 British pounds, limiting education based on economic class divisions. Approximately 4,000 police officers marched in and around the protesters to maintain order, arresting 24 people for public order offenses and breaching the peace. Comment: This will be the third major increase of tuition rates introduced by the government; the first to 1,000 British pounds in 1998 then up to 3,000 in 2004. Student protests from previous years have ended violently, including last year's attacks on the headquarters of the Conservative party and clashes between protesters and police. (BBC, AP, Reuters)

Researched/Written by Erin Bobst


Middle East & North Africa
BAHRAIN: Dispute over King's visit to Mubarak
Last Friday and Saturday, several news sources reported a surprise visit by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The alleged visit to Mubarak's medical prison suite occurred during al-Khalifa's official trip to Cairo, where he met senior military leaders to discuss bilateral relations. Reports further detailed how the Bahraini King obtained special permission from the Egyptian authorities to visit for half an hour, and how his visit could open the door for more princes to visit from the Gulf region. Representatives from the U.S. and British embassies allegedly visited Mubarak as well. Comment: The Bahraini Ambassador to Egypt denied the King's visit to Mubarak, stating that the King has not met with Mubarak since he was deposed last February. Al-Khalifa, who is still struggling with an uprising of his own, is facing wide criticism for the alleged visit to the Egyptian ousted president. Thousands of angry protesters gathered on Tuesday to denounce the visit. (Awsat News, Albawaba, Press TV, Ahram, Moheet)

LIBYA: ICC seeks justice for Libya
On Wednesday, the International Criminal Court's (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said that the arrest of Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam "is just a matter of time." The ICC has been investigating events in Libya since last February, and Saif al-Islam and former chief of intelligence Abdullah al-Senussi face charges of crimes against humanity during the crackdown against Libyan protests. The whereabouts of Gadhafi's son and al-Senussi are still unknown; however, different reports speculate that the fugitives are roaming in an area south of Libya between the borders of Niger and Mali. Comment: Moreno-Ocampo said he was also considering more charges against al-Senussi and others suspected of involvement in hundreds of rapes of women in Libya during this year's conflict. In May, there were reports of the use of male sexual enhancement drugs (Viagra) by Libyan troops with the aim of committing mass rapes. (Aljazeera, AFP, Reuters, CNN, Washington Post)

SYRIA: Death toll reaches 3,500; Arab peace deal in jeopardy
On Tuesday, the UN released a statement that more than 3,500 people have been killed since the Syrian government crackdown on protesters started last spring. Last week, the government agreed to an Arab League peace plan to stop the violence against its people; however, UN and opposition groups continue to report deaths and injuries by pro-Assad forces. According to human rights groups, 27 civilians were killed on Wednesday by Syrian troops. Comment: While the Syrian representative to the Arab League explains the government has "come a long way," pointing to the release of some 500 prisoners last week, many protesters believe the Arab League peace plan disregards them. Thousands of irate Syrians continue to oppose the Arab peace deal regardless of the opposition agreeing to dialogue. On Wednesday, Syrian protesters pelted a group of rival opposition leaders and accused them of playing along with Assad's government. Meanwhile, reports of an Arab proposed asylum deal for Assad is developing. (AFP, Aljazeera, AP, Reuters, Elaph)

Researched/Written by Ibrahim Al-Hajjri


South Asia
INDIA/PAKISTAN: Prime Ministers meet for bilateral talks
Indian Prime Minister Singh met his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani on Thursday on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Maldives where the two leaders pledged to begin a "new chapter" in the relationship between their countries. Singh and Gilani held a 90-minute meeting and discussed a range of issues, including the need for Islamabad to take action against the 2008 Mumbai attacks perpetrators and build on Pakistan's recent decision to grant the Most Favored Nation trade status to India. Comment: The meet is a push to normalize ties between the two countries. Talks were previously suspended following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks; however, the Indian Foreign Minister stated this week that that there was a "shrinking" trust deficit with Pakistan. (NDTV, RFE, Times of India)

MALDIVES: Heads of state attend SAARC Summit
The heads of states of 8 South Asian countries attended the 17th session of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) over Thursday and Friday in the city of Addu. The theme for this year's summit was "Building Bridges." The Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed called for better cooperation in trade, transport and economic integration, good governance, and combatting piracy and climate change. Leaders also pledged to make the SAARC an effective body for people's welfare. Comment: The SAARC is comprised of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The SAARC region is poorly integrated given the tense bilateral relationships between many of its members. (BBC, Dawn, Haaveru)

PAKISTAN: 8,000 to be trained to protect nuclear arsenal
Pakistani Military officials announced on Sunday that 8,000 additional people are being trained to protect the country's nuclear arsenal. The statement was released in tandem with the graduation ceremony of 700 of these trained personnel. Major General Muhammad Tahir, head of the Pakistani military's Strategic Plans Division that oversees the protection of nuclear assets, stated at the ceremony that, "...extensive resources have been made available to train, equip, deploy and sustain an independent and potent security force to meet any and every threat emanating from any quarter." Comment: A recently published article in The Atlantic, a U.S. magazine, accused Pakistan of having lax security measures to safeguard its nuclear arsenal. Pakistani Foreign Ministry officials called these allegations "pure fiction;" however, analysts state that Pakistan's statement may be in response to the article. (AP, Reuters, Daily Times)

Researched/Written by Megha Swamy

November 11, 2011
Go to IPSI's Homepage
In This Issue
Featured Article
Africa
Americas
East Asia
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & N. Africa
South Asia

IPSI News 
Gareth Evans  
IPSI Advisor Pamela Aall releases a new book with USIP Press: Rewiring Regional Security in a Fragmented World.

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IPSI News 
Gareth Evans
IPSI Contributor John Prendergast discusses finding that Sudan building up air bases near border with South Sudan.

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Gareth Evans
Dr. Ted Robert Gurr
Amb. Jacques Paul Klein
Peter Kyle
Dr. Jean Paul Lederach
Jeffrey Mapendere
John Marks
Susan Collin Marks
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Dr. Valerie Rosoux
William Stuebner
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Dr. Craig Zelizer

 

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