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News Roundup: 12 January - 18 January By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR Weekly | Jan 19, 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.


Military should be involved in elections for two years

Thailand’s national Reform Council member Pairoj Promsam said that for electoral reforms in the country to be effective, military involvement in the election process would be necessary for another two years.  — The Nation

PLA Moves to reshuffle grassroots officers

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has reshuffled military posts, swapping political and military personnel. The move is reportedly intended to improve military effectiveness and political awareness of military officers at the grassroots level.  — Global Times

Poroshenko approves Ukraine’s development strategy till 2020

Ukrainian President has approved the ‘Ukraine-2020’ strategy for sustainable development in the country. The strategy comprises over 60 reforms, with priority given to reforms in the defense and national security, judicial and law enforcement systems, among others.   —  TASS

Rudy Giuliani Will Advise El Salvador on Security, Justice Reform

At the end of this week, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will begin to analyze the effectiveness of the Salvadoran law enforcement strategy, and advise on security and judicial sector reform. Giuliani was hired by El Salvador’s business community in early December to advise the Salvadoran government on how to tackle high crime and rampant corruption.  — Latin America News Dispatch

Libya’s warring factions in crunch peace talks

The UN-sponsored talks between Libyan factions in Geneva were launched on Wednesday 14 January; however major actors remain reluctant to participate in mediation attempts. While the internationally recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni has agreed to attend, rulers of Tripoli have postponed their decision to come to the table in Geneva.  — Tom Miles, Reuters

Bulgaria mandate-holder to launch reform in security sector

Tsvetan Tsvetanov, chairperson of the Bulgarian parliamentary Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB), stated security sector reform is one of the group’s priorities this year.  — FOCUS News Agency

NATO, EC Experts At Conference On Serbian Security System Reform

Conference discussing Serbia’s security sector reform will be held in Brussels on 21 January. The event will bring together experts of the European Commission, NATO and various NGOs.  — InSerbia News

China enlists citizens to patrol border with North Korea – state media

China’s state media has announced it will be sending civilian militias to patrol its border with North Korea, following the alleged killing of two Chinese citizens by North Koreans. Analysts say this move risks straining the country’s relationship with Pyongyang, Beijing’s major ally.  — Sui- Lee Wee and Megha Rajagopalan, Reuters

Vigilance Key to Protection Gains made by Cote d’Ivoire in Stability, Prosperity, Special Representative Tells Security Council

Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane, Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) told the Security Council that despite Côte d’Ivoire’s progress towards sustainable peace and economic recovery, challenges remain. Specifically, she highlights incomplete security sector reform as potentially threatening continued stability in the country. — PressZoom

Security Council reaffirms peacebuilding as key element of UN post-conflict assistance

UN Security Council President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile, Heraldo Munoz, stated the Council’s commitment to peacebuilding as the foundation for sustainable peace in post-conflict nations. — UN News Centre

Security Sector Heads Visit Marib, Meet With Tribal Leaders

Following a meeting with Tribal leaders on Tuesday 13 January, the leaders of Yemen’s security apparatuses conducted sweeps of military sites in Marib on Wednesday 14 January. Ayesh Awas, Chairman of the Defense and Security Directorate within the President’s Office noted the sweeps of military bases were intended to assess the battle readiness of troops. — Ali Ibrahim Al-Mohski, Yemen Times

US troops to train Syrian rebels combat ISIL

The United States has announced it plans to send support personnel and 400 troops to train moderate Syrian rebels in their fight against the Islamic State. Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have reportedly offered to host the training. — Al Jazeera

Japan approves record defence budget

Japan’s cabinet approved a nearly $42 billion defense budget, the country’s largest, stating plans to purchase surveillance aircrafts and F-35 fighter jets. This move is intended to improve the country’s defences of disputed islands amid China’s recent assertiveness in the region. — Al Jazeera

Hundreds flee new fighting in Myanmar’s north

Some 800 people have been forced to flee amid fighting in Kachin state, Myanmar following a government offensive against ethnic rebels of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in the north of the country. This violence threatens ongoing peace talks in the fragile state.  —  Al Jazeera

Shia armed groups gain strength in Iraq

The Shia militias supported by the central government have merged under the central banner of the ‘Popular Mobilisation Forces’, and are reportedly growing stronger every day. — Al Jazeera

Boko Haram Crisis: Chad sends troops to help Cameroon

The government of Chad has announced it will send troops to help fight cross-border attacks into Cameroon by Nigerian Islamic insurgent group Boko Haram. — BBC

Egypt’s cybersecurity council prompts privacy concerns

Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab established the High Council for Cyber-Security (HCC) in mid-December. While the HCC mandate is to develop a strategy to counter cyberthreats, political groups and activists fear it might infringe on citizen’s privacy and curtail free speech. — Amr Abdelatty, Al-Monitor.



Sunnis in Iraq Are Kept Waiting for Reforms, and Word on Loved Ones

This article explores the lack of reform in Iraq’s criminal justice system, arguing it is further fuelling Sunni minority grievances. — Tim Arango, New York Times.

Restoring Law and Order in Mexico

This article discusses the challenges, and possibilities, of reforming the security and judicial systems in Mexico. Ultimately, it concludes that despite a recent security sector reform draft, more comprehensive initiatives are required to address the complex issues the country faces. — Daniel Kapellmann and Jamie Stark, World Policy

Nigeria has to reform to neuter threat of terrorism

Following the recent attacks by Islamist group Boko Haram in Baga, northern Nigeria,  analyst Zama Ndlovu, highlights the weakness of the Nigerian state and its security sector, highlighting that without wide-ranging institutional and military reform there is little the Nigerian state can do fight the insurgency. – Zama Ndlovu, BusinessDay Live

Is Iran Capable of Reaching a Nuclear Deal?

The article discusses the possibility of reaching an agreement in the ongoing P5+1 discussion in Geneva this week. Author Robert Einhorn notes the ongoing negotiations have caused internal divisions within Iran, highlighting that without the Supreme Leader Khameini’s support of adjustment in Iran’s negotiating position, an agreement will not be reached. – Robert Einhorn, Brookings

UN and DRC forces prepare for war

Caroline Hellyer explores the political, humanitarian and military implications of the imminent operation against Congo rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) by the UN peacekeeping contingent MONUSCO and the Congolese army (FARDC). MONUSCO and FARDC announced the upcoming military operation following the rebel’s failure to meet a 2 January disarmament deadline. – Caroline Hellyer, Al Jazeera.

Why Nigeria’s military is losing the battle against Boko Haram

In the wake of the Baga massacre, Chris Stein analyses the Nigerian military’s weakness in the fight against Islamist insurgents Boko Haram. Stein notes a lack of unified command structure, poor equipment, low troop morale, and corruption allegations, hampering the army’s effectiveness. – Chris Stein, Al Jazeera

Governing Lagos: Unlocking the Politics of Reform

This report examines the reforms effectively implemented by the Lagos State government, which have transformed a once chaotic and violent African city into “a widely cited example of effective African governance.” – Diane de Gramont, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Extending the FDLR disarmament deadline will only prolong the agony

Stephanie Wolters examines previous decisions by the South African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR) to postpone disarmament of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in eastern Congo. She notes the rebels have never demonstrated genuine commitment to disarm, failing time and again to meet deadlines. She concludes that the SADC and ICGLR should avoid another postponement, as it would only lead to further humanitarian disaster. – Stephanie Wolters, ISS Today

The Afghan Cops Who Never Were

Siobhán O’Grady examines the ongoing fraud within the U.S. funded Afghan National Police (ANP). She highlights that continued fraud within the police force, occurring through the creation of fake identification cards, threatens the security of police bases, and stability more generally, throughout the country. — Siobhán O’Grady, Foreign Policy

Mending Iraq: Can Abadi Bridge the Country’s Sectarian Divide?

Muhamed H. Almaliky explores the capacity of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to unite a divided country in the face of a growing Islamic insurgency. – Muhamed H. Almaliky, Foreign Affairs.

Why Colombians don’t believe a deal with the rebels will make a difference

Stephanie Nolen explores citizens’ perception of prospect for peace amid ongoing negotiations between the Colombian government and Farc rebels. She highlights the perception that even with a signed agreement, peace and justice will take more than a signed agreement to become a reality in the conflict-ridden state. – Stephanie Nolen, The Globe and Mail



Azawad and the rights of passage: The role of illicit trade in the logic of armed group formation in northern Mali

This report examines the micro-level processes by which illicit economies have reshaped political and armed mobilization in northern Mali. Ultimately, the report highlights how in the context of illicit trade, nationalism and jihadism mask acute social tensions in the Azawad. – Francesco Strazzari, NOREF Report

Flawed Accountability: Shortcomings of Tunisia’s Trials for Killings during the Uprising

This Human Rights Watch report explores the shortcomings of Tunisia’s efforts to bring justice to victims of excessive force by police that occurred between December 2010- and January 2011. – Human Rights Watch

Just what were they thinking when they shot at people? Crackdown on anti-government protests in Burkina Faso

Amnesty International’s newest report investigates the excessive and lethal use of force by former President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré’s Presidential guard (RSP), gendarmes and military personnel during the 30 October – 2 November popular uprising that led to Compaoré’s resignation. – Amnesty International

The Security Sector Legislation of Ukraine – 2012-2014 Updates

This DCAF reports presents an update on security sector legislation in Ukraine, including new legislation and regulations on national security and defense issues passed in Ukraine between 2012 and 2014. – O. Litvinenko, M. Koziel and P. Fluri, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF)