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News Roundup: 2 December — 8 December By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR Weekly | Dec 8, 2014

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China’s Former Security Chief Arrested Over Corruption

Zhou Yongkang, China’s former security chief, was placed under arrest last week. Mr Zhou, who is being arrested for accepting bribes, adultery, and leaking state secrets, is the most senior Chinese official to have been arrested as part of currentPresident Xi Jinxing’s anti-corruption campaign. —The National

Iraq Says it Found 50,000 ‘Ghost Soldier’s’ on Payroll

According to Iraq’s new government, the county has 50,000 ‘ghost soldiers’ on its payroll, a factor that likely contributed to the army’s inability to hold back rapidly advancing Islamic State militants during the summer. The Ghost soldiers were discovered during an investigation launched by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in September. –Reuters

Afghanistan: Ghani Resumes Backdoor Talks with Taliban

New revelations emerged last week that Afghanistan’s newly installed President, Ashraf Ghani, has resumed back-channel negotiations with the Taliban. —Syed Tariq Majidi, Tolo News 

Britain to Build First Permanent Middle East Base in Four Decades

Britain finalized a deal last week to establish a permanent military base in Bahrain. The new base will house a number of Royal Navy ships, including destroyers and aircraft carriers. —Chris Johnston, The Guardian

South Sudan Rebel Group Pledges to Demobilize Child Soldiers

Following a joint agreement between UNICEF, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and South Sudan’s disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) commission, over 2,000 child soldiers are being demobilized and placed in reintegration programs that will offer them “intensive support.” —World Bulletin

Kenya Arrests 77 Chinese Nationals in Cybercrime Raids

77 Chinese nationals were arrested in Kenya last week on suspicion of belonging to a cybercrime network that was planning to hack the country’s communication systems. —The Guardian 

NATO Prepares ‘Spearhead’ to Ward Off Russia

NATO is creating what officials are terming an ‘interim spearhead’, which will consist of a few hundred troops from Germany, the Netherlands and Norway to act as a quick reaction force that can be deployed on the alliance’s eastern border. —Bernd Riegert, Deutsche Welle

While Diplomats Fret, Burkina Backs Military to Drive Reform Agenda

While a number of diplomats from the international community have raised concerns about the military’s power grab in the country, residents of Burkina Faso seem willing to trust the military to protect the ‘revolution’ and implement their demanded reforms. —David Lewis, Reuters

US, Nigerian Forces Train for Maritime Security

US Marines and Coast Guardsmen conducted a series of joint training exercises last week with their Nigerian counterparts. The exercises were designed to build the capacity of the Nigerian Navy to deal with a range of maritime threats, including trafficking, piracy and illegal fishing. —Maida Kalic, United States Africa Command

The UN Backs Down a Little, Adds More Women to Its Peacekeeping Panel

Following a campaign of outside pressure, the United Nations has added several women to its High-level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations. However, despite the recent additions, the panel is still overwhelmingly male. —Barbara Crossette, The Nation

Top Kenyan Officials Sacked After Massacre

Following the death of 36 of its citizens last week in a terrorist attack, two top Kenyan security officials are being replaced, as part of a package of reforms designed to intensify the country’s war on terrorism. —Game Joselow, Voice of America

Great Lakes Envoys Outraged By Spate of Civilian Massacres in Eastern DR Congo

A coalition of special envoys, representing the United Nations, African Union and a number of large bilateral partners, voiced their outrage last week about the recent wave of civilian massacres that have take place across the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). —UN News Centre

Myanmar ‘Under Military Control’ Says US Admiral

The timing is not right for the US to expand military ties with Myanmar, a country ‘firmly under military control,’ according to an admiral slated to become the next commander of US forces in the pacific. —Matthew Pennington, Associated Press

Radical Reform Needed for Lesotho’s Political and Security Sectors

Lesotho’s future will be defined by political instability, lawlessness and violence, unless the country implements radical political and security sector reforms. —Moeketsi Majoro, Business Day

Turkey’s Women Expand Role in Military

Turkey’s armed forces are in the midst of a rapid transition, as extensive changes in personnel policies have led to a surge of new female officers and NCOs. —Metin Turcan, Al Monitor



Can Reforms Change Mexico’s Corrupt Police Culture?

Following the shocking disappearance of 43 Mexican college students, the country’s Congress is considering a set of reforms to the country’s security institutions, including placing central state commanders in charge of local police forces. However, some experts contend that these reforms will not be enough to fix Mexico’s embattled and corrupt police forces. —Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor

Lebanese Army Makes Strides in Tripoli

The Lebanese army secured the contested city of Tripoli last week, a development welcomed by all political parties in the country as a tangible demonstration of the armed forces’ ability to fight extremist organizations. —Sami Nader, Al Monitor

Myanmar’s Police Force Needs More Foreign Help to Reform

While there have been some positive developments in Myanmar’s attempts to reform its police forces, in order for deeper, more meaningful reforms to take place, the country will need a broad base of support from international partners and donor agencies. —Andrew Seth, The Interpreter



A Coup Ordained? Thailand’s Prospects for Stability

When Thailand’s military took power in May, it was merely the most recent incarnation of a familiar cycle of election, protest and inevitable government collapse. However, the military’s current governing style alongside the country’s looming royal succession process has created a sense of urgency to resolve the current political deadlock. —International Crisis Group