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News Roundup: 29 September – 05 October By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR | Oct 6, 2014

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Security Sector Reform Resource Centre

The Danger of Unfinished Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan

Although it is not entirely clear how the unity government in Afghanistan will function on a day-to-day basis, the arrangement was nonetheless a political victory. But the glow from this historic achievement will wear off soon enough. While a political catastrophe has been headed off for now, a stubborn security crisis is worsening by the day. —Mark Sedra.

New Developments along Mexico’s Southern Border

Until this summer, very little attention was paid to the 714-mile border that Mexico shares with Guatemala and Belize. But an unprecedented increase in Central American migrant children crossing the US border, primarily in south Texas, changed that. —Maureen Meyer, Clay Boggs and Rodolfo Cordova.

Kazakhstan: Wildflower Rising from the Steppes! —Part One

Kazakhstan’s population appears to be genuinely proud of what the country has accomplished in its quarter century as an independent state and more than prepared to buy into President Nazarbayev’s vision of Kazakhstan as a multinational construct undergirded by tolerance across its 130-odd ethnicities and focused on making the country one of the world’s top thirty economies by 2050 (currently ranked 57th). —David Law.

Kazakhstan: Conflict in the Making? —Part Two

In the first part of this blog post on Kazakhstan, it was argued that the country had every chance to rise to the challenge set by its president to become one of the world’s top 30 most developed countries by 2050 (now placed 53rd). That said, Kazakhstan will have to overcome several challenging moments along the way. —David Law.



UN: 9 Peacekeepers Killed in Northern Mali

A group of UN peacekeepers were ambushed in northern Mali last week, killing nine. This attack marks the deadliest yet on MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. –Baba Ahmed and Edith Lederer, Associated Press.

US eases ban on lethal arms sales to Vietnam

The US has partially removed a ban on weapons sales to Vietnam. The change in policy, interpreted as a sign of deepening relations between the two countries, will improve Vietnam’s maritime security and allow to better defend itself in the South China Sea. –Matthew Pennington, Associated Press.

Libya aid push constrained by insecurity

Amidst a deteriorating security situation, a coalition of international organizations have tabled an ambitious plan to provide humanitarian aid to 85,000 Libyans. However, there are already questions being raised about the feasibility of the plan. –IRIN News.

US allocates $17.68M for Philippines’ law enforcement, judicial reforms

The US is providing a big boost for security sector reform in the Philippines, announcing a new funding package designed to tackle extrajudicial killings and other human rights issues. –Patricia Lourdes Viray, The Philippine Star.

Turkey Votes to Allow Operations Against ISIS

Turkey’s parliament voted Thursday to expand its military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, including by allowing foreign forces to use Turkey as a base to launch operations. –Ceylan Yeginsu, New York Times.

Afghanistan: UK Combat Mission Will End This Year: Cameron

After over a decade of involvement, the UK will end its combat mission in Afghanistan this year. The move was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron last week while on a surprise visit to meet with the country’s new President, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. –TOLO News.

Libya’s parliament to open dialogue with members from opposing city

Libya’s elected parliament held its first round of discussions with members of a rival assembly last week, as the country’s security situation continued to deteriorate, and the potential for an  intractable Syrian-style civil war loomed on the horizon. –Reuters.

Venezuelan Government Launches Disarmament Plan

As part of a new disarmament campaign, the government of Venezuela has launched 72 new disarmament points across the country. Over 50 firearms were surrendered to authorities within the first hour of the campaign. –Telesur.

Mexico arrests suspected drug cartel boss

According to Mexico’s Ministry of the Interior, the country captured a suspected drug kingpin at a seafood restaurant in the state of Guanajuato. –Aljazeera.

U.S. warns South Sudan: Strike a peace deal or face UN sanctions

Senior US officials have warned South Sudan’s president that his country must participate in serious peace talks or face a harsh round of UN sanctions. Fighting in South Sudan has been ongoing since December. –Michelle Nichols, Reuters.

Key Homeland Security official urges passage of cybersecurity bill

There is a “dire need” to pass new cybersecurity legislation as a first step in strengthening US efforts to combat cyberattacks, according to a top Department of Homeland Security official. –Jerry Markon, The Washington Post.

Colombian bill on military criminal justice ‘major setback’ for human rights, say experts

A new law being considered on the jurisdiction of military courts in Colombia could have significant negative human rights implications and undermine the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, according to a group of independent UN human rights experts. –UN News Centre.



Turkey’s Syria Spillover Problem: Why the War Across the Border Will Shake Up Domestic Politics

Despite assurances from Turkey’s leaders, events in Syria and Iraq may carry significant implications. The country’s leaders will have to determine not only how they want to handle the situation with their international allies, but also how to manage the effects on Turkey’s domestic politics. —Michael Koplow, Foreign Affairs.

Ebola and Counterinsurgency—A Struggle for Legitimacy

This article argues that the fight against Ebola is strikingly similar to counterinsurgency in that the struggle is for the general population, legitimacy is the main objective, unity of command is essential but difficult to achieve, and any victory requires a long-term commitment. —Colonel Clint Hinote, Council on Foreign Relations.

Homeward Bound? Don’t Hype the Threat of Returning Jihadists

While the Islamic State has been successful at attracting Western volunteers, the danger that these foreign fighters pose to their home countries has been exaggerated. Though some may return radicalized, most western states know how to deal with these types of issues. —Daniel Byman and Jeremy Shapiro, The Brookings Institute.

Is It Too Late for Libya?

As Libya continues to unravel this article presents an interview with Tripoli-based journalist Mary Fitzgerald. According to Fitzgerald, Libya’s current disarray is a function of regional, economic and social cleavages. —Berard Gwertzman and Mary Fitzgerald, Council on Foreign Relations.

A Revolution in Green: The Rise of Venezuela’s Military

There are emerging cracks in the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro, as top military officers—often longtime allies Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chávez—continue to consolidate power. —Peter Wilson, Foreign Affairs.


Building the capacity of the Malian police

The UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, bears general responsibility for supporting the government of Mali in its attempts to reestablish state authority in the country’s north. However, the mission is rapidly loosing popularity with ordinarily Malians, especially for its inability to rebuild the country’s security sector, including the police. —Gustavo de Carvalho and Lizelle Kumalo, Institute for Security Studies (ISS).