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News Roundup: 22 June - 28 June 2015 By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR Weekly | Jun 29, 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!



Security Sector Reform Resource Centre

With Elections Looming, will Haiti’s Urban Gangs Re-emerge as Political Actors?

Geoff Burt and Timothy Donais analyze the role Haiti’s nexus between politics and organized crime has, and may play, in shaping electoral outcomes, and the government interventions aimed at limiting the nexus’ influence. Based on their recently published article in the Conflict, Security & Development (CSD) Journal  ‘Peace-building in Haiti: the case for vertical integration’, they argue that to alter the system of political elites manipulating Haiti’s urban poor through gang violence and intimidation, a system of top-down and bottom-up reforms are needed. This article is available free and open-access exclusively on the SSR Resource Centre as part of a new partnership with the CSD Journal.

Reading List: DDR, De-radicalisation and Countering Violent Extremism

Dean Piedmont—Director for the Peacebuilding, Reintegration and Stabilization Group, and a disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), and countering violent extremism (CVE) consultant—provides readers with an in-depth reading list covering the expansion and use of DDR throughout the past 25 years, and the related emergence of interim stabilization measures and CVE.

Violent Non-state Actors and Complementary Governance: What ISIS, Hizballah and FARC Have in Common

In this blog, Annette Idler and James J. F. Forest, analyze the formulation and roles of ‘complementary governance’ systems in areas lacking strong state structures. In challenging existing logics surrounding why this governance structure arises and the perception that it creates ‘inherent competition for power amongst non-state actors’, the authors argue that such system of governance—where transactional relationships, strategic alliances or pacific coexistence—unite divergent violent non-state actors into one unified ‘governance actor’.


Centre for Security Governance

The Centre for Security Governance published its latest eSeminar Summary, ‘Is Peacebuilding Dying?’, from the its first seminar in the new series ‘Contemporary Debates on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding’. The report outlines the positions of leading academics, Dr. Paul Jackson, Dr. Anna Jarstad, and Dr. Roger Mac Ginty, on topics varying from how to best reform approaches to peacekeeping, to the fault lines that exist between academic and policy discourses.



HMIC concern over accountability of PSNI’s Legacy Investigations Branch

The body responsible for police oversight in the UK and Northern Ireland has raised concerns relating to oversight at the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Legacy Investigations Branch. Following poor implementation of previous reforms, the board called for improvements in the areas of staff vetting to ensure independence, the management of intelligence, and openness and accountability. – Colletta Smith, BBC NI.

Myanmar parliament votes to keep military veto

“A vote in Myanmar’s parliament has failed to remove the army’s veto over constitutional change, dealing a blow to hopes for fuller democracy”. Making it clear that the military is only willing to allow reforms when they do not impact on its political power. – Jonah Fisher, BBC.

Somalia attack: Al-Shabab ‘kills 30′ at AU military base

At least 30 people were killed during an attack by al-Shabab on a military base in Leego. The base is manned by Burundian soldiers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), which has more than 20,000 troops in the country. – BBC.

Colombian rebels say escalating violence poses threat to peace talks

FARC rebels have said that the recent increase in violence across Colombia could threaten ongoing peace talks. FARC leaders have called on the Colombian president to halt military operations, or risk a further descent into violence. - Nelson Acosta, Thompson Reuters Foundation.

African Union extends UNAMID mandate, calls to resume talks on exit strategy

The African Union Peace and Security Council has extended, for a period of 12 months, the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur, and called for the resumption of talks on an exit strategy. Activists have begun a campaign to stop exit strategy talks, saying the exit would leave civilians without protection. – Sudan Tribune.

 UN troops help ‘neutralize’ DR Congo militia

The UN has announced that ‘around one quarter of the Congolese militia group the Patriotic Revolutionary Forces of Ituri (FRPI) had been “neutralized” after a three-week military operation.’ The mission involved Congolese troops backed by UN peacekeeping troops. – AFP.

NATO to Assess Fighting Season before Deciding On Afghan Mission’s Future

Local security forces are set to be given a trial run during this summers ‘fighting season’ to see how well they cope with insurgents, before NATO decides on how quickly to scale back its forces in Afghanistan. – Reuters and Radio Free Europe.

Sri Lankan soldier sentenced to death for wartime murders

Following pressure from the UN and the international community, Sri Lanka has sentenced former army officer, Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake, to death for murdering four Tamil adults, three teenagers and one five-year-old, in 2000. – Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez, Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Burundi: Civilians being disarmed ahead of possible refugee returns, claims government

‘The disarmament of civilians has gotten under way in Burundi, amid calls from the international community for an immediate demilitarization, with the government saying it is open to foreign help in the process’. - Elsa Buchanan, The International Business Times.

European Parliament urges Ukraine to conduct reforms on occasion of anniversary of signing Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement

The EU has called upon, and offered assistance to Ukraine to further: constitutional reform, decentralization, the fight against corruption, the enhancement of the judiciary, reform of the energy sector, and reform of the civilian security sector. - Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv Post.

Mediator proposes new “compromise” peace plan for South Sudan

The chief mediator in South Sudan has proposed a compromise proposal which he hopes will end the country’s conflict. The proposal is said to allow for the continued establishment of the transitional government of national unity for 30 months, and the allocation of a vice presidential role to the rebels. - Aaron Maasho, Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Saving lives: Improving community security through arms control in Kenya  (video)

This video by SaferWorld provides an analysis of how arms controls, however simple, can be used to improve security. The video specifically looks at pastoral regions of Kenya, and the introduction of digital databases to track government weapons. – SaferWorld.



Who Are the Urabeños Leaders Indicted by the US?

The United States has unsealed indictments against over a dozen alleged leaders of the Urabeños, the most powerful criminal organization left standing in Colombia. David Gane writes that the ‘indictments show the US government has set its sights squarely on the Urabeños, in what is described as a coordinated strike against Colombia’s largest and most influential” drug trafficking organization’. The fight against the Urabeños consists of over 1,000 Colombian military and police personnel. – David Gagne, InSightCrime.

Autonomous Security Provision in Peru

Steven T. Zech analyzes the role civilian defense forces have held, and continue to hold in Peru. Zech also debates what constitutes the primary security challenges to Peruvian communities protected by these forces, how civilian defense forces have responded to these threats, and what the future holds for civilian defense forces across Peru. Zech notes that the Peruvian government must ‘proceed carefully’ if increased tensions between central security services and civilian defense groups are to be avoided. – Steven T. Zech, Political Violence @ a Glance.

Fighting Phone Scams, Violence in Jamaica

Pablo Bachelet looks at the ‘citizen security program’ in Jamaica, and an increase in ‘virtual’ crime. The most intriguing part of Bachele’ts piece is his description of the unconventional community policing tactics, based out of the Farm Heights Community Center. - Pablo Bachelet, InSightCrime.

Saving Somalia (Again)

Vanda Felbab-Brown analyzes how far the security situation in Somalia has come since the civil war of the 1990’s, while also highlighting how an increased distrust of the Somali government amongst the general population risks undermining this progress. Felbab-Brown points to the slow progress of political and security reforms as fueling public distrust. - Vanda Felbab-Brown, Foreign Affairs.

Past Murders Resurface in Burkina Faso as Activists Push for Justice and Transparency

Following a ruling by the African Court on Human and People’s Rights that the government of Burkina Faso must pay reparations to the beneficiaries of slain journalist Norbert Zongo, Alex Thurston writes that the government still has to thread carefully when it comes to managing his memory, due to the role his killing played in provoking major urban riots. The reparations amounted to the “most extensive measures of reparation ever to be considered or issued by the African Court.” – Alex Thurston, IPI.

Isis, a year of the caliphate: How powerful is the ‘Islamic State’ and what threat does it really pose to West?

Adam Withnall and Danny Romero analyze the strength and growth of IS, a year after the declaration of a caliphate. The authors draw on remarks from leading figures in the study of IS to show the groups strength and threat not only to security services in Iraq, but also in the ‘West’. - Adam Withnall and Danny Romero, The Independent.

 Finding Peace for Men in the DRC

Alexa Hassink draws attention to the problems faced by men in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Hassink highlights how conflict has distorted the social roles of men in the region. Hassink draws attention to the psychological issues facing men in the region, and how their insecurity can be improved. – Alexa Hassink, Building Peace Forum.

Understanding Pakistan’s Baloch Insurgency

Karlos Zurutuza draws attention to the Baloch peoples who live in a territory the size of France that crisscrosses the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Zurutuza argues that repressive security policies, particularly from Pakistan, have caused the Baloch insurgency, leading to the establishment of three armed groups. To help end the insurgency, Zurutuza points to an alteration of repressive security policies that are used to garner support and justify Baloch military operations. - Karlos Zurutuza, The Diplomat.

El Salvador Proposed Security Tax Stirs Controversy

As controversy over a newly proposed security tax highlights the deep divides over what path El Salvador should take in its ongoing fight against organized crime, Sam Tabory highlights the need for government to make a stronger case for how this extra funding would be used. Tabory also questions whether the funds would go towards a ‘hardline and militarized approach’ to increasing security, or whether the government would change tactics to ‘implement more preventative security reforms’. – Sam Tabory, InSightCrime.

 The dilemmas of working with Iraqi militias

Mark Lynch analyzes the moral and political implications of the US backing of Shia militias in Iraq. Following strong criticism from Sen. John McCain, the moral issue with sharing military bases and equipment with those who were killing US troops less than a decade ago have posed new challenges to the Obama government. However, Lynch argues that the real test of whether this policy will last is the impact it has on America’s end goal of a unified Iraq under central authority. – Mark Lynch, Monkey Cage Blog.

 Will police leaders survive the findings of the Marikana Commission?  [podcast]

This podcast by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) provides analysis of the evidence given at the Marikana Commission in South Africa. The podcast’s speaker, Gareth Newham, head of Governance, Crime and Justice at ISS, argues that police leadership acted with a lack of honesty and integrity during the commission. – ISS.

 Women’s empowerment undervalued in peacebuilding process [podcast]

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson speaks of how and why women remain undervalued and underrepresented in UN peacekeeping processes. Mr. Eliasson states, that: “The Secretary-General has established a target that 15 per cent of all UN peacebuilding resources should focus on the empowerment of women. I regret to say that the Peacebuilding Fund is still failing to meet this figure.” - Dianne Penn, United Nations Radio.



Why We Fail: Obstacles to the Effective Prevention of Mass Atrocities

This International Peace Institute report analyses existing obstacles to the prevention of mass atrocities. Of particular interest is Chapter 3 (pp. 13-18) of the report, which focuses on how to effectively overcome barriers to peacekeeping operations. The barriers mentioned, and the solutions suggested, could allow peacekeeping operations to pave a path for successful, local, security sector reforms. – Alex J. Bellamy and Adam Lupel, International Peace Institute.

The case for contact: new challenges of mediation with armed groups

This report by Juan Garrigues explores the issues presenting themselves to mediators in modern conflicts, the increasing interaction of both official and non-official mediators, and the risks and dilemmas that this shift implies, before finally examining what basic guidelines are needed in the future. – Juan Garrigues, Clingendael Institute.

Shifting the donor narrative in South Sudan

This report by Jort Hemmer and Nick Grinstead, of the Clingendael Institute, argues that a shift in donor narratives in South Sudan is needed if ‘donor engagement is to stop being based on a flawed situational framing, informing a dominant theory of change that disregarded key elite interests, misjudged the main conflict driver, promoted a culture of appeasement, and obscured symptoms of a deeply rooted crisis of governance.’ The report states that ‘donors should prepare and plan for working in an environment where armed conflict is cyclical, with limited opportunities for constructive engagement’. - Jort Hemmer and Nick Grinstead, Clingendael Institute.

The Central Sahel: A Perfect Sandstorm

This report by International Crisis Group analyses the current situation in the Central Sahel region. The report finds that due to a security vacuum, criminal networks, and an increase in ‘salafisation’, the region could be on the road to further instability. The report also debates the merits of a ‘holistic approach’ to change the regions path away from insecurity. - International Crisis Group.

Understanding Burundi’s predicament

This Egmont Institute report by Tomas Van Acker analyzes the anatomy of the current crises, from its beginnings in the 2010 election, through the Arusha Agreement, a militarization of politics, through the calling for a ‘coup’. Van Acker also argues that the attempts by Burundi’s president to run for a third term are only part of the reason for the recent violence, citing long standing and deep rooted grievances and frustrations are major contributing factors. - Tomas Van Acker, Egmont Institute.