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News Roundup: 20 May – 25 May By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR | May 26, 2014

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Mali urges UN to demand disarmament of all groups

As Mali’s security situation remains volatile and in flux, the West African nation’s foreign minister was in New York this past week urging the UN Security Council to demand the disarmament of all armed groups in the country, including separatist Tuareg rebels. –The Washington Post

Balkan Floods Expose Deadly Mines from 1990s Civil War

The governments of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia are dealing with deadly side effects of the region’s worst flooding in over a century. In addition to the 40 people who have died so far and the hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes, land mines dating from the 1992-95 civil war have begun washing up, posing a series of new challenges. –Joanna Kakissis, NPR

Afghanistan: Insecurity in Badakhshan Could Prevent Voting

The Yamgan district in Badkhshan province has fallen into the hands of the Taliban, a development that carries potential ramifications for Afghanistan’s run-off presidential elections. According to the Independent Election Commission, it may not be feasible to administer voting in the region if security is not re-established. –

Turkey: Security co-operation in African broadens

Turkey continues to strengthen its diplomatic, commercial, and security ties across Africa. Its latest partnership will see its police forces partner with those of Niger to cooperate on counter-terrorism and the fight against organized crime. Last month, Turkey reached a similar security partnership with Kenya, an agreement whereby both countries increased their involvement in anti-terror operations in Somalia. –The Journal of Turkish Weekly

Libyan troops and militias take sides as crisis deepens

There is increasing worry in Libya that a recent revolt by a prominent dissenting general will prompt the country’s many militias to fragment and organize into rival factions. –Esam Mohammed and Maggie Michael, The National

Gambia: ‘Security a Prerequisite for Socio-Economic Development’

Gambian officials have spoken out on the importance democratic control of the security sector as a prerequisite to socio-economic development. Speaking before an ECOWAS conference, Interior Minister Ousman Sonko said that democratic control reduces conflicts, improves citizen security, and in turn creates an enabling environment for peace and stability. –Omar Wally, All Africa

Rassmussen: NATO ready to assist Libya in security sector

NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rassmussen voiced concern about Libya’s deteriorating security situation, and reaffirmed that the military alliance is ready, willing, and able to step in and help. According to Rassmussen, while NATO has had difficulties assisting Libya in the past due to its unstable security environment, it is willing to re-engage as soon as it is safe to do so. –Kuwait News Agency

Myanmar Moves to Curb Military Sway

In Myanmar, a parliamentary committee has put forward a proposal that would change the constitution by reducing the military’s influence and power to block amendments. However, the military—which makes up 25 per cent of parliament—is likely to try and block the motion. –Shibani Mahtani and Myo Myo, The Wall Street Journal

DRC: FDLR rebels greet latest disarmament plans with violence

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s largest rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), has escalated its campaign of violence against civilians in the country’s east, following the launch of a new disarmament strategy that aims to disarm and demobilize 54 rebel groups in the country. –Relief Web/ Christian Aid

Timor-Leste’s mobile courts promote access to justice

Timor-Leste is seeing growing success in increasing citizen access to justice by using “mobile courts” that travel to rural areas. First introduced in 2008, the mobile courts are present in four of the country’s districts, with plans for further expansion. –IRIN

DR Congo rebel jailed over village massacre

Germain Katanga, a notorious militia leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been convicted of leading a deadly village massacre in 2003. Katanga was sentenced to 12 years in prison by the International Criminal Court for his crime, though he will serve only five more (with seven years already spent imprisoned awaiting trial being deducted from his overall sentence). –Al Jazeera



US Military Engagement in the Hunt for the Nigerian School Girls, Its Size and Meaning

Several weeks into the hunt for missing Nigerian schoolgirls, the Obama administration has declared the Nigerian military corrupt and inadequate. Numerous officials in Congress are urging the government to do more. Within this context, ‘mission creep’ seems all but inevitable. –John Campbell, Council on Foreign Relations



Enhancing South Africa’s post-conflict development role in the African Union

With the creation of the South African Development Partnership Agency, South Africa is now poised to play a greater role in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction across the continent. This paper argues that South Africa should engage more intentionally with the African Union and use its unique influence to push the peacebuilding agenda forward. –Amanda Lucey and Sibongile Gida, ISS

UNDP’s Rule of Law Global Programme Annual Report 2013: Strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis-affected and Fragile Situations

This report highlights the work of the UN Development Program (UNDP) in assisting national governments improve their justice and security sectors. This year’s version also pays special attention to UNDP’s attempts to improve its monitoring and evaluation of program and project activities. –UNDP

EUISS Yearbook of European Security 2014

This report, the second edition of the European Union Institute for Security Studies’ (EUISS) security yearbook, includes a survey of the EU security “toolbox,” analysis of European defence spending, and an assessment of the changes and developments that have occurred in three Arab Spring countries. –EUISS

Venezuela: Tipping Point

Growing violence in Venezuela’s political crisis has made ending the country’s current conflict more difficult and urgent. Failure to do so soon could plunge the country into an even more deadly round of violence, leaving it unable to deal with its current economic slump and rapidly expanding crime problem. –International Crisis Group


Security Sector Reform Resource Centre

Reforming Libya’s Post-Revolution Security Sector: The Militia Problem

Libya’s post-revolution government has experienced growing political instability in recent months, while in recent days, military forces loyal to renegade former general Khalifa Hiftar attacked Islamist militias in Benghazi, and more ominously, the powerful Misrata militia has announced their intention to take back Tripoli, thereby raising the spectre of the country’s slide to civil war. Clearly, the government’s attempt to consolidate authority was dangerously undermined by the burgeoning number of militia groups following the 2011 revolution. –David McDonough

Al-Shabaab’s New Face in Kenya?

Terrorist attacks in Kenya have typically been less sophisticated than in other regions, often involving lobbed grenades or makeshift IEDs. Perpetrators have typically been sympathetic to al-Shabaab but lacking formal ties. But there are new signs that al-Shabaab’s leadership are beginning to take a more active role in Kenya, where the security climate has rapidly deteriorated over the past year. –Jay Bahadur

The Bear and the Panda: awkward but not impossible strategic bedfellows

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on 20 May 2014. This will be the fourth time that the two leaders have met since Xi Jinping became president in 2013. Most recently, the Chinese leader was in Sochi in February for the Olympics, an event that most Western leaders shunned, inter alia because of their concerns about human rights abuses in Russia, in particular the “anti-gay propaganda” laws passed by the Russian Duma. China is at one with Russia on this issue. This is just another in a series of questions where the two countries’ political leaderships apparently see eye to eye. –David Law