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News Roundup: 6 January - 12 January 2015 By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR Weekly | Jan 12, 2015

Want to keep up to date on the SSR field? Once a week, the CSG’s Security Sector Reform Resource Centre project posts pertinent news articles, reports, projects, and event updates on SSR over the past week. Click here to sign-up and have the SSR Weekly News Roundup delivered straight to your inbox every week!


Centre for Security Governance

Free eSeminar – “Is Peacebuilding Dying?”

On January 28 from 1:00PM to 2:30PM EST, the Centre for Security Governance will host a free online seminar asking the question “Is Peacebuilding Dying?” This event will will be free to attend and open to the public. It will be held on the Spreecast platform, and will feature live panel presentations and an open discussion period where you can interact with the panelists:

- Professor Paul Jackson, University of Birmingham
- Professor Roger Mac Ginty, University of Manchester
- Professor Anna Jarstad, Uppsala Universitet

For more information and to register for the event, please visit the Centre for Security Governance’s website. 


Security Sector Reform Resource Centre

Security Sector Reform in North Africa: Why It’s Not Happening

Security Governance Group Senior Associate Robert M. Perito examines the absence of security sector reform in North African states undergoing regime change following the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring. Highlighting the multitude of security threats and challenges these new and fragile governments face, he argues policy prescriptions and reform programs must be approached with a comprehensive understanding of the security reality in the volatile North African context.

A Window of Opportunity for Reforms in the Congo’s Security Sector?

CSG Senior Fellow Nina Wilén discusses the brief window of opportunity available for meaningful change and effective DDR/SSR processes in the conflict-ridden Democratic Republic of Congo. She notes that while 2012-2013 saw radical changes in conflict dynamic, the situation in the DRC now risks falling back into a status quo, closing the window for DDR/SSR progress.



Kenya’s security act threatens refugees

Kenya’s controversial Security Amendment Act, a central pillar of the state’s newest anti-terrorism security legislation, poses a threat to hundreds of thousands refugees residing in the country. The bill places a 150,000-person limit on refugees, while experts estimate Kenya is host of over 600,000 refugees. — IRIN

Myanmar’s Military Still Hold the Purse Strings

An Internal Revenue Department (IRD) review of Myanmar’s top 1000 taxpayers shows the state’s wealthiest citizens are still deeply tied to military and government corruption. Despite the country’s move away from military authoritarianism, report suggests the lines separating political and military spheres remain blurred. — T. F. Rhoden, Asia Sentinel

Disarmament exercise in the offing says Nkaissery

Security forces in Kenya are beginning the disarmament process in northern regions. They will be collecting illegal firearms in an effort to stem insecurity in the north. — John Kioria, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

Uganda army confirms rebel LRA commander surrendered

Ugandan army officials confirmed US and African forces in the Central African Republic have detained a senior commander of the Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The detainee, Dominic Ongwen, surrendered himself to officials, his detention is said to be a “’historic blow’ to the LRA’s command structure.” — Elias Biyabarema, Reuters

U.S. Officer Seeks to Increase Military Aid to Iraq

Top US army official, Army General Martin Dempsey said the U.S. military is seeking to provide greater military aid to Iraqi security forces. Dempsey noted Iraqi troops might not yet be adequately prepared for the imminent offensive against the Islamic State (IS) in northern and western Iraq. —  Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Peace process in Mali at ‘crucial stage’ UN peacekeeping chief tells Security Council

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous noted the Malian peace process has reached a critical phase, calling all parties to the negotiations to push for quicker progress ahead of February talks. The peace talks thus far have been slow to produce a decisive settlement, and the security situation in the north remains highly volatile. —UN News Center

United Nations Says Kabila Ready for Offensive on Congo Rebels

DRC President Joseph Kabila will act against Rwandan rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), following the rebel’s failure to meet last week’s voluntary disarmament deadline. MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping contingent in the country, is said to be working with political authorities in preparation for an offensive against rebels. — Sarah McGregor, Bloomberg News.

Tunisia’s Military Receives U.S. Aircraft to Bolster Defense

Tunisia’s defense minister announced the country has received second C-130 military transport from the U.S. to support its efforts to defend its frontier and fight terrorism. — Associated Press

Tanzania backs disarmament of Rwanda rebels in DR Congo

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kilwete declared the country’s support for disarmament efforts against Rwandan rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. President Kilwete had previously been accused of supporting FDLR rebels in the region. — AFP

African Union says military still weakening Somalia’s al Shabaab

An African Union (AU) special envoy has noted the success of a recent military offensive by Somali and African Union forces against Islamist militant group al-Shabaab. AU forces in Somalia, known as AMISON, have reportedly re-captured some 85 percent of territory formerly under al-Shabaab control. — Aaron Maasho, Reuters.

Rights groups urge United States to seek UN arms embargo on South Sudan

International rights groups, including Amnesty International, Humanity United and Human Rights Watch, are urging the United States government to call on the United Nations for an arms embargo on South Sudan. Analysts warn conflict risks escalating in the coming dry season. — Kieran Guilbert, Reuters.

Cameroon appeals for international military aid to fight Boko Haram

President Paul Biya has requested military aid to support the country’s fight against Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The militants announced this week intentions to increase cross-border attacks into Cameroon from Nigeria. — Reuters

Colombia: Farc’s truce ‘threatened by military action’

Representatives of Colombia’s largest rebel group, Farc, said the government’s ongoing attacks threaten the rebel’s unilateral truce declared in December. On 20 December the rebels announced an indefinite cessation of hostilities. The government meanwhile has refused the truce, alleging Farc rebels are using this time to rearm. — BBC

Sudan: Rebels Call for International Support to Sudan’s Dialogue

Sudanese rebels are demanding international pressure on the Sudanese government to postpone the upcoming April general elections. Secretary General of rebel group SPLM-N, Yasir Arman, urged the international community not to recognize election results without a viable peace process to end conflict and a credible plan for democratic reform. The government in turn rejected calls for postponement, saying it would create a “constitutional vacuum and lead to political chaos.” —Sudan Tribune

Libya: Rival Factions to Participate in UN-Backed Talks in Geneva

The UN has announced a new round of peace talks between warring Libyan militias, to be held in Geneva next week. The UN stated the objective would be to increase stability and begin the process of creating a national unity government. — Deutsche Welle

IGAD champions integration of Somali forces

The final resolution of the 53rd extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held in Mogadishu, calls on the federal government of Somalia to engage with federal states and interim administrations to agree on both a timeline for the integration of Somali forces, and the creation of regional police units. — APA

Taliban ‘reject offer of Afghan government posts’

New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in an effort to put an end to the insurgency that continues to threaten the stability and recovery of the state, offered Afghan government posts Taliban affiliates. The Taliban however has reportedly rejected the offer over disagreements with central government policy, notably on the presence of international troops. — David Loyn, BBC.

Mexico police held over abduction of journalist Sanchez

Thirteen municipal police officers have been detained in the Mexican state of Veracruz over the 2 January kidnapping of a journalist. — BBC 



New Courts Offer Pakistan’s Generals the Power they Used to Seize

Following the brutal attack by Taliban gunman on schoolchildren in Peshawar, the Pakistani government has intensified its anti-terrorism campaign and security policy. The parliament passed a constitutional amendment bill on 6 Jan empowering military courts to try suspected Islamist militants. The amendment serves to expedite the judicial process, however analysts note this increased power in the hands of the military could signal a shift to heightened military control of the state. — Declan Walsh, New York Times.

Turkey: Do increased police powers signify desertion of democracy?

Analyst discusses Turkey’s recent security bill, adopted into law at the beginning of December, noting it marks a definitive shift away from democracy, towards authoritarianism. — Melissa Deorio, Open Democracy.

Let the Iraqi Army have its day

The article discusses the possibility, and desirability, of a strong and unified Iraqi army. Tracing the history of Iraqi security forces and their role in the fuelling of sectarian division in the country, it acknowledges the challenge of rebuilding the Iraqi army, but argues it is critical for the country’s success in the fight against the Islamic State.  — Michael Knights, Al Jazeera.

Weapons of mass destruction: the time to act is now

The article highlights the important progress made by the African Union, in coordination with the UN, on the development of non-proliferation policies in Africa. The author notes however that attention must continue to be paid on the nuclear issue, given the risk these weapons pose if placed into the hands of terrorist, and the importance of non-proliferation for economic growth and industrial development. — Nicolas Kasprzyk, Institute for Strategic Studies.

State Ambivalence Towards Jihadi Groups in Pakistan

The article highlights that despite the appearance of increased efforts to fight the Taliban in Pakistan, the major obstacle to the defeating the insurgents remains the ambivalence of the Pakistani military towards eradicating terrorism. —Frederic Grare, Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Protecting the Gains in Afghanistan

Article highlights important progress made by international forces since 2001, and centrally argues for the development of a long-term strategic partnership as a means to ensure the protection of the hard fought victories in the country. — Candace Karp and Michael O’Hanlon, Wall Street Journal: Washington Wire.



Transition in Afghanistan: Losing the Forgotten War?

This Centre for Strategic and International Studies report hones in on the successes and failure of the Afghan political transition, and the implications of these developments on the re-shaping of American strategy in Pakistan and Central Asia. The report examines recent trends and challenges in Afghan governance, the progress made in the Afghan security forces, and the increasingly troubled Afghan economy. — Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Mapping Women, Peace and Security in the UN Security Council for 2013-14: Trends and Recommendations

This policy brief reviews the UN Security Council’s work on the inclusion of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda in its country-specific agenda items. The analysis concludes the Security Council should do more to live up to its commitment to the WPS agenda. — NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.