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News Roundup: 19 January - 25 January By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR | Jan 26, 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.

Extending the FDLR disarmament deadline will only prolong the agony

Stephanie Wolters examines past 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 yet to demonstrate 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

South Sudan: Going South?

Security Governance Group Senior Associate David Law explores the multiple and complex challenges of security sector reform in South Sudan. Centrally, he argues South Sudan illustrates that effective security sector reform requires a complete and nuanced understanding of a multitude of factors, notably the conflict environment.

Publication Summary: The UN Mission in South Sudan’s Growing Challenges

Margarita Yakovenko reviews the Stimson Center’s report “Will they Protect Us for the Next 10 Years?” Challenges Faced by the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan. She highlights the report’s review of historical grievances, and UNMISS’ challenges amid a worsening humanitarian crisis. She subsequently highlights the report’s valuable recommendations for future UNMISS operations.



Buhari’ll Reform the Army — Fashola

Governor of Lagos State, Nigeira, Babatunde Fashola, stated at opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) rally that presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari would reform Nigeria’s military if elected in February. This statement comes in the wake of a brutal insurgency devastating northern Nigeria. — Femi Akinola, Daily Trust 

President rejects constitutional reform dialogue

Burmese President Thein Sein has rejected parliament’s call for dialogue on charter reform. Observers continue to express concern about the political inclusiveness and national reconciliation process in the country as conflict in Kachin and Shan states rages on. Many argue amending the constitution would loosen the military’s control over the state and pave the way for effective nation-building. — DVB

SPLM-N calls on Islamic forces to wash their hands from the Sudanese regime

Following recent measures to ban opposition National Umma Party (NUP), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has called on Islamic forces in Sudan to denounce the war crimes and repression by security and military apparatuses in the country. — Sudan Tribune

NATO ACT promotes global gender perspective training

In a recent United National Security Council Report NATO was recognized for having “strengthened the gender training delivered through the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations.” NATO gender adviser Maj. Nicol highlights that the promotion of gender perspective has been integrated into all training and doctrines. — Amanda L. Kilpatrick, DIVIDS

Trying to end gang bloodshed in El Salvador

The ‘Safe El Salvador’ plan was announced as central to the government’s five-year strategy to curb rampant violence in the most dangerous country in the world. The plan includes the creation of parks, sports facilities, education and training programs for the country’s most violent municipalities, as well as improvements to the country’s worst prisons. — Nina Lakhani, Al Jazeera

Coup Fears Rise in Yemen as Rebels Storm Palace

The Houthi rebel militia’s takeover of the presidential palace and residence has raised fears of a coup in Yemen, one of the world’s most insecure states. The further deterioration of the security situation in the country has many Western governments and diplomats concerned for how this will affect regional, and global security. — Shuaib Almosawa and Kareem Fahim, New York Times

Turkish court sentences policemen to 10 years in prison for killing of Ali Ismail Korkmaz

A Turkish court has sentenced two police officers to ten years in prison for the killing of 19-year-old Gezi protester, Ali Ismail Korkmaz. The victim’s family and lawyers however remains furious, expecting longer sentences. Protests erupted throughout the country in response to the verdict, with police attacking protesters in Ankara and Kadiköy. — Hurriyet Daily News

Hope for Libya after first round of talks

UN-sponsored mediation for Libya by Special Envoy Bernardio Leon has managed to compel warring factions to agree to an immediate ceasefire, marking tangible progress in the deteriorating conflict situation in Libya. Nevertheless, major challenges remain, notably the full-participation of Libya Dawn leadership and the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) in the mediation process. —  Mustafa Fetouri, Al Monitor.

South Sudan warring factions sign new peace deal in Tanzania

Peace talks hosted by Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete has displayed positive progress, with rival SPLM faction signing a peace agreement in Arusha, Tanzania. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar and former cabinet minister Deng Alor Kuol were present to sign the agreement, which is expected to diffuse the 13-month conflict in the country. —  The East African

Ukraine to carry out new military draft

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has announced plans to draft over 50,000 citizens over the next three-months to help fight the Russian-backed separatist insurgency in the east. Officials note this number could increase if conflict escalates. Authorities have also reinstated the mandatory term of service. —  Andriy Berehoviy, Southeast European Times

Myanmar’s military says it will not unilaterally stage a coup

Myanmar’s military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has assured the military would not stage a coup. He highlight however, that groups could incite violence ahead of the general elections planned for the end of the year, and that the military would not hesitate to intervene to restore law and order if requested by the president. — Channel NewsAsia

Peshmerga seeking greater independence from Baghdad: commander

Peshmerga Ministry Secretary General Lt. Gen. Jabbar Yawar stated Kurdish Peshmerga forces are moving towards greater independent from central government in Baghdad. Yawar said “We are continuing to organize, train, equip, arm, and unify Peshmerga forces in order for them to be the official force.” He further highlighted Peshmerga leadership have been able to form some 14 infantry brigades as part of their military ‘unification’ process. —  Dalshad Abdullah, Asharq Al-Awsat

Thailand’s Military Junta Impeaches and Bans Former Prime Minister Yingluck

Thailand’s junta-appointed legislature has impeached former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, banning her from politics for five years. The impeachment and criminal charges are tied to corruption allegations in the Yingluck government’s rice subsidy program. Yingluck in turn has argued the allegations are politically motivated. — Chris Blake and Sunttinee Yuvejwattana, Bloomberg

Yemen suffers power vacuum after president, premier quit

Article discusses the shocking resignation of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi following the Houthi takeover of his residence and presidential palace. His resignation has left a large power-vacuum in the country, and risks sending the country into further turmoil. —  Yara Bayoumy and Mohammed Ghobari, Reuters

Iraqi politicians work toward national consensus

This article assesses the Iraqi government’s attempts at building national consensus and unity after years of tensions and division. Ultimately, the author argues that despite the tenuous security context, recent political developments suggest President Haider al-Abadi has begun to foster consensus in Iraqi political circles. — Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Al Monitor

US Announced Plans to Deploy Military Advisers to Ukraine

Head of the United States Army Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges announced a contingent of US soldiers will be deployed to Ukraine in the spring of this year to train four companies of the National Guard of Ukraine (NGU). — Niles Williamson, Global Research

US troops headed to Middle East to train Syria rebels

Pentagon press secretary Admiral John Kirby said US troops will be deployed to countries outside of Syria to begin training moderate Syrian opposition forces. — Al Jazeera



Myanmar: Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement and War with Kachins - Analysis

Article reviews Myanmar’s tenuous and challenging peace process, noting the string of postponements for the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. While 14 of 16 ethnic groups have signed the ceasefire agreement, two, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (NLA), have yet to agree. Beyond this absence of signatures, peace talks have been further challenged by continued fighting between government forces and ethnic armies in Kachin and Northern Shan States. —  C.S. Kuppuswamy, Eurasia Review

Child soldiers and Burma’s long road to reform

Article discusses the child soldiers problem in Burma since the transition to civilian power in 2011. Author notes the child soldier issue is one of the most pressing problems President Thein Sein faces, although resolution will be difficult amid ongoing fighting in Kachin and Shan states. —  Sonya Carassik Ratty, DVB

Yemen: The New Afghanistan

Robin Wright discusses the current crumbling political situation in Yemen, arguing that in the violent and volatile context the country risks becoming a failed state, dominated by warlords and extremists. —  Robin Wright, Wall Street Journal

Backdrop to Boko Haram: What We Should Understand about Youth in Nigeria

Nicole Goldin discusses the youth aspect of crisis in the Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria, highlighting their central role in the perpetuation, or stemming of conflict in the region. — Nicole Goldin, Center for Strategic and International Studies

In Impeaching Ex-Premier, Junta Revives Thailand’s Divisions

Thomas Fuller analyses the recent decision by Thailand’s military junta to impose a five-year political ban and charge for criminal negligence on former Prime Minister Yingluck Shiwatra. Fuller argues this decision will perpetuates divisions and conflict in the country, prolonging the series of street protests, military coups, and violence. — Thomas Fuller, New York Times

The ungovernable Yemen

Martin Reardon explores the history of Yemen’s current political crisis, discusses Houthi demands in the context of the President’s resignation, and assesses the possibility of desirable scenarios such as power-sharing agreements are made, or less desirable ones in which violence escalates to intractable civil war. — Martin Reardon, Al Jazeera

Drones have forever changed us

Neve Gordon explores the ways in which drones are changing the nature of warfare, domestic security politics and international relations. — Neve Gordon, Al Jazeera



Syria Calling: Radicalisation in Central Asia

This Crisis Group policy briefing discusses the growing numbers of Central Asian citizens travelling to the Middle East to support the Islamic State (IS). The briefing discusses the root causes of their radicalization, from political marginalization to economic troubles, and the risk these citizens pose to the stability of Central Asia. —  International Crisis Group

Countdown to Nigeria’s Elections

This report discusses the pre-election violence that has already erupted throughout Nigeria ahead of the February presidential contest. Both government and opposition campaigns have relied on inflammatory rhetoric and violence. However, the authors argue it is still possible for Nigeria to build on its democratic progress since 2011, by ensuring parties perform with diligence, integrity, and respect for the democratic process. —  Jennifer G. Cooke and Richard Downie, Center for Strategic and International Studies 

“Stop Reporting or We’ll Kill Your Family”

This Human Rights Watch report highlights the harassment, intimidation, and attacks journalists in Afghanistan face, and the government’s failure to investigate and prosecute these crimes. — Human Rights Watch

Egypt: ‘Circles of Hell’ Domestic, Public and State Violence Against Women in Egypt

This Amnesty International report highlights the dramatic increase in violence against women and the government’s failure to meaningfully address the problem since the 2011 revolution. — Amnesty International

New Anchors for U.S.-Egypt Relations

This Center for American Progress report discusses the future of US-Egypt relations following the 2011 revolution. It highlights the need for greater cooperation between the two states, which extends outside of military cooperation and into stronger diplomatic ties. However, it emphasizes that without wide-ranging security and economic reforms by the Egyptian government little progress can be made in greater US-Egypt cooperation. — Brian Katulis and Mokhtar Awad, Center for American Progress