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News Roundup: 9 December — 15 December By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR | Dec 15, 2014

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The Impact of Corruption on Security Sector Effectiveness, and What to Do About It


A string of recent global security failures has focused media and political attention on the impact of corruption on security sector operational effectiveness. Whereas corruption is often viewed by international actors as a costly annoyance with mostly local effects, there is increasing recognition of the significant risks it poses for both national and international security. —James Cohen



UN Envoy Balances Rival Factions in Risky Libyan Talks

In his latest attempt to balance the warring sides of Libya’s civil war, Bernardin Leon, head of the United Nations Mission in Libya, UNSMIL, is convening a new round of negotiations. This newest set of peace talks will recognize more than the country’s Tobruk-based elected parliament, whose authority has been hotly disputed. —Mustafa Fetouri, Al Monitor 

UN Security Council Renews Sanctions on Liberia

In a unanimously adopted resolution last week, the UN Security Council agreed to renew its sanctions on Liberia, declaring that the situation in the country is still tenuous and a potential threat to international peace and security. —Xinhua

Turkey: $8,700 Will Let Young Turks ‘Buy Out’ Their Military Service

A new revelation that young Turkish conscripts can purchase an exemption from mandatory military service has created controversy in the country. As a result of a recent government decision, potential conscripts over the age of 27 can pay $8,700 to buy out their service and avoid conscription. —Metin Turcan, Al Monitor

UN Sanctions Push for South Sudan Stalls on Arms Embargo: Envoys

Advocates of new UN sanctions on South Sudan have hit a roadblock over whether or not the prohibitions should include an arms embargo. —Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols, Reuters

Massacres Highlight Complexity of Violence in DRC’s Beni Territory

A number of recent massacres in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have led to 88,000 people fleeing their homes. However, the massacres have also led to confusion about precisely which armed group is responsible, as well as the nature of insecurity and armed violence in the DRC more generally. —Habibou Bangré, IRIN News

CAR in Critical Phase of Transition: UN Official

The Central African Republic is in a “critical phase” of its political transition a top UN official said last week, adding that many of the key issues associated with the country’s most recent violent civil war need to be addressed within a tight deadline. —PressTV

NATO Ceremonially Ends Afghan Combat Mission

Thirteen years after its member countries began their campaign to topple Afghanistan’s Taliban-led government, NATO has ceremonially ended its combat mission in Afghanistan. —Al Jazeera

PSC Field Visit to South Sudan Still Pending Despite ‘Enormous Suffering’

Despite the festering political and humanitarian situation in South Sudan, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) has not yet completed its planned field visit to the country. The field visit is being touted as an important step of the AU to learn more about the validity of the power-sharing deal signed in mid-November. —Institute for Security Studies (ISS)

US Sends Mixed Message to Myanmar Military

A number of human rights groups say that growing American engagement with Myanmar’s military is sending the wrong message to a country with a long track record of rights abuses and repression. —Matthew Pennington, Associated Press



The Resurgence of Arab Militaries

Though the ultimate goal of the Arab Spring uprisings was greater freedom, in many countries they have resulted in reverse remilitarization. The new role for Arab militaries has become a dangerous trend as these forces transition from ceremonial forces concerned primarily with the parade ground, to reinvigorated expeditionary forces to combat internal threats and internal “terror” in unstable neighbouring countries. —Robert Spingborg, Monkey Cage Blog (The Washington Post)

United They Stand: Can the Gulf’s Joint Military Command Live Up to the Hype?

Six nations in the Gulf, collectively comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council, recently announced that they were creating a joint military command to help them collectively respond to regional threats. This not the first such attempt, and there already questions emerging about whether or not it will meet the same ignominious end as every previous attempt to foster regional military cooperation. —Shashank Joshi, Foreign Affairs

Is it possible to meet the ‘Responsibility to Protect’?

A number of recent mass atrocities in Syria, Central African Republic and South Sudan have called into question the legitimacy of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. Despite the fanfare surrounding its endorsement by all member states of the United Nations in 2005, the future remains unclear for R2P. —Roland Paris, Monkey Cage Blog (The Washington Post)



Drugs, Gangs and Vigilantes

The growth in violence in Mexico since 2007 is a result of the consolidation and expansion of non-state armed groups taking advantage of a political and institutional climate characterized by criminal collusion, impunity and high levels of corruption. This report provides an overview of the Mexico’s non-state armed groups, paying particular attention to street gangs, self-defence forces and drug traffickers. —Gema Sanataria, Clingendael Institute