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News Roundup: 23 February - 2 March 2015 By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR Weekly | Mar 2, 2015

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Security Sector Reform Resource Centre

Defense and Security Sector Oversight in the Fight Against Corruption

Jean Pierre Chabot discusses the necessity of oversight in the effective implementation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. He notes how the central objectives of the treaty, namely “to set a high standard for the legitimate trade in arms between states [and] to prevent and eradicate illicit trade of arms […]”, can be undermined by corruption, hence the need to ensure effective oversight of defense and security sectors.

Terrorism: Learn To Live With It. Why Canada and its partners need to focus on defining, mitigating and managing – not eliminating – terrorism

Valarie Findlay discusses the issue of terrorism amid increased global media and government attention to counter-terrorism and radicalization issues. She argues centrally that the common generalizations and knee-jerk reactions have prevented, and will continue to prevent, effective policy in managing and mitigating terrorist activity.




U.S. considers slowing military withdrawal from Afghanistan

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and US Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter stated they are reconsidering the pace of U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the “scope and frequency of U.S. counterterrorism raids”, and the future of U.S. bases in the country. — Craig Whitlock, Washington Post.

Poroshenko signs law ratifying reform of civilian sector in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Poroshenko signed the law “On ratification of the Ukraine-EU Agreement on the status of EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine)”. According to the agreement, the EU mission would be civilian, and would initially focus on support for a revised security strategy and implementation of reforms. — Interfax - Ukraine

Questions remain over Turkey’s training of Syrian opposition

Semih Idiz discusses the recently signed agreement between Ankara and Washington to train moderate Syrian rebels. He looks specifically to the reasons for Turkey’s engagement in the deal, arguing it likely concerns Turkey’s desire to improve relations with the U.S. — Semih Idiz, Al Monitor

UNSC extends sanctions on those threatening Yemen’s security, political process

The UN Security Council adopted on Tuesday 24 February a unanimous Resolution No. (2204) to extend sanctions on those threatening peace, security and stability in Yemen. The Sanctions have been extended for one year, until 26 February 2016. — SABA, Yemen News Agency

Uneasy unity between Kurds against ISIS, says report

Fatuh Semsetting discusses a recent Al Jazeera report on the complexity of relations between Kurds and Islamic State (IS) militants. — Fatih Semsetting, Daily Sabah

DRC Launches Offensive Against Rwandan Hutu Rebels

The Democratic Republic of Congo launched on Tuesday 24 February its long awaited offensive against FDLR Hutu rebels in eastern DRC. —Voice of America

Yemen Houthis take over special forces army camp in Sanaa

Armed members of Yemen’s Houthi group overtook a Special Forces army camp on Wednesday 25 February in the country’s capital Sanaa after a night of fighting. —Reuters

Flurry of IS attacks divert Iraqi army’s attention

Mushreq Abbas discusses how recent series of attacks from Islamic State (IS) are part of the militant group’s strategy to capitalize on the absence of unified command within the Iraqi army. — Mushreq Abbas, Al Monitor

United Nations warns on Myanmar reform ‘set back’

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein stated Myamar’s continued violation of minority rights and suppression of free speech presents a ‘set back’ in the country’s reform process. He further warned politicians against “flanning the ‘flames of prejudice’” for political gains ahead of coming elections. — BBC

Ukraine ‘starts heavy weapons withdrawal’

As part of the Ukrainian truce deal, Ukrainian forces have begun withdrawing heavy weapons from the front line in the country’s conflict-ridden eastern region. — BBC

Kurdish rebel leader in Turkey calls for disarmament congress

Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed Kurdish militant leader, has called on his followers to lay down arms. Kurdish rebels in Turkey have praised the move as an historic step to resolving the 30-year insurgency. — Ayla Jean Yackley, Reuters 

EU vows to help Somalia fight insecurity

The European Union has reaffirmed its support in the fight against insecurity in Somalia. The EU noted it has already trained over 4,000 Somali soldiers since 2010, and will continue to do so to stem the threat of Islamist group Al Shabaab in the region. — World Bulletin

Afghan Taliban: We are ready for talks with Afghan govt

Mullah Omar, the Afghan Taliban chief, has stated he is ready to engage in peace talks with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. Discussions are set to begin in Kabul next week. — World Bulletin

Mali’s main rebel group asks for delay on peace deal

While the Malian government signed a peace agreement with some northern rebel groups, the main Tuareg armed coalition has requested more time to consult before signing the agreement. — AFP



Working to keep the peace: The impact of job schemes on ex-rebels

Obinna Anyadike discusses the practical effects of job schemes on the  reintegration of former combatants. The author looks to both the theory of job-schemes within the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) process, and the real-life application of these programs in Liberia and elsewhere. — Obinna Anyadike, IRIN 

Why was the UN sidelined in “joint” DRC operation against rebels?

Chritoph Vogel discusses why the MONUSCO forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo were sidelined, allowing the country’s armed forces FARDC to carry our their offensive against Hutu rebels in eastern Congo unilaterally. — Christoph Vogel, IRIN

UN peacekeeping review: change, or more of the same?

Gustavo de Carvalloh discusses the state of UN peacekeeping following the UN’s High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations meeting in Addis Ababa from 11 to 13 February. — Gustavi de Carvalloh, ISS Today

THINK AGAIN: Pushing the reset button on Lesotho’s democracy

Simon Allison explores the current instability in Lesotho and what events led to the holding of snap elections in late-February. — Simon Allison, ISS Today

Turkey’s coming police state

David Lepeska analyses the state of political affairs in Turkey, from the passing of articles from the controversial domestic security reform package, to the country’s recent incursion into northern Syria over concerns of an Islamic State (IS) attack on an ancient tomb. Ultimately he suggests recent developments suggest Turkey is turning into a police state. — David Lepeska, Al Jazeera

Olena Tregub: The necessity of reform during war

Olena Tregub discusses he importance of continued efforts at political, judicial, and security reform in Ukraine, despite the ongoing conflict and violence in the east. — Olena Tregub, Kyiv Post.

EU can still protect the spirit of Ukraine’s revolution

Iskra Kirova discusses the EU’s role in Ukraine, arguing that despite the union’s inability to prevent conflict in eastern Ukraine, it can still “protect the spirit of Ukraine’s revolution” by providing all the necessary support to build a stable democratic state. — Iskra Kirova, Al Jazeera

Don’t Doubt the Ceasefire

Michael Kofman discusses the Minsk II agreement for a ceasefire in Ukraine, nothing that while many observers remain skeptical about its prospects to prevent further bloodshed it could, he argues, effectively freeze conflict. — Michael Kofman, Foreign Affairs.

The importance of Sunni unity in Iraq

Mustafa al-Kadhimi explores questions and debates over Sunny unity in Iraq amid the ongoing Islamic State (IS) insurgency. He centrally argues that concerted efforts among politicians should be made to ensure unity within Iraqi ranks in the fight against IS, in order to avoid sectarian partition. — Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Al Monitor

Is Myanmar’s Peace Process Unraveling?

Joshua Kurlantzick discusses the current state of Myanmar’s peace process in light of recent weeks of violent clashes between the state’s army and several ethnic minority militias. — Joshua Kurlantzick, Council on Foreign Relations

What does the domestic security reform package entail?

Osman Can explores and analyses the details of Turkey’s controversial domestic security reform package.  — Osman Can, Daily Sabah

Ukraine’s Military Needs More Than Just Arms

Derek Chollet discusses how and why the U.S. should provide arms, and more general support for the Ukrainian military amid ongoing violence in the east of the country. — Derek Chollet, Defense One

Should the United States Arm Ukraine?

Foreign Affairs presents their recent expert poll concerning whether or not the U.S. should arm Ukraine in the fight against Russian-backed separatists in the east. — Foreign Affairs

Obama’s Libya Debacle

Alan J. Kuperman discusses the 2011 U.S. intervention in Libya, and its implications for ongoing violence and conflict in the country. — Alan J. Kuperman, Foreign Affairs

Lesotho’s Day of Truth

Will McGrath discusses the climate of uncertainty and instability ahead of Lesotho’s 28 February elections. — Will McGrath, Foreign Affairs



Back from the Brink: Saving Ciudad Juárez

This new Crisis Group report discusses the social programs and institutional reform that helped Ciudad Juárez in Mexico, the former “murder capital” of the world, stem its serious insecurity issues. —International Crisis Group

Libya: Getting Geneva Right

This new Crisis Group report discusses the status of conflict and prospects for peace in Libya following negotiations in Geneva, and amid ongoing violence. —International Crisis Group

From violence to politics? Transforming non-conventional armed groups

This report discusses the question of using political incentives with non-conventional armed groups in an effort to stem organized violence and crime. —Katrin Planta and Véronique Dudouet, Clingendael Institute