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News Roundup: 3 August - 9 August 2015 By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR Weekly | Aug 10, 2015

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Security Sector Reform Resource Centre

Urban Gangs Make Comeback as Political Goons in Haiti

In the latest contribution to our Academic Spotlight blog series, Moritz Schuberth provides a fascinating overview of his article, recently published in the journal Conflict, Security & Development. Schuberth argues that Haitian gangs are currently actors in the country’s political sphere, in contrast to the general perception of academics and supporters of the new wars thesis. Utilizing a functional perspective to analyze gang motives and aims, Schubert finds gangs to be ‘profit-orientated entrepreneurs’, who shift from criminal to political activities depending on the opportunities to improve their own life chances. Schuberth also highlights that during election periods, when political power is up for grabs, gangs automatically gain a ‘political function’; with politicians trying to gain the support of gangs, and vis versa, leading to increased violence across Haiti. In closing, Schubert provides recommendations on how to foster an ‘integrated strategy’ to address the structural causes of gang violence.

Haiti Elections 2015 - Security, violence and the rule of law

Following the long-delayed legislative elections on Sunday in Haiti and reports of violence and disruption at polling stations, the SSR Resource Centre project is highlighting recent blog posts and key reports on gangs, politics and violence as well as rule of law and policing in Haiti. Read and Share!



Haiti’s first election in four years marred by sporadic violence

Seen as a test for the Haitian National Police, the legislative elections were partially disrupted by violence on Sunday as “about 50 of 1,500 voting centres around the country were “affected” by a mixture of violence and bureaucratic problems.” - France 24.

NGO alert: Burundi human rights campaigner hospitalised by shooting

Leading human rights activist and outspoken government critic Pierre Claver Mbonimpa has been shot and seriously wounded, leading to increased street violence and tension. - Bibi van der Zee, The Guardian.

India signs peace accord with Naga rebels

‘India’s government has signed a peace deal with a leading Naga separatist group, bringing to an end one of the country’s oldest insurgencies.’ – BBC.

Russia Creates Powerful New Military Branch to Counter NATO

Russia has merged its air force and aerospace defense forces, at a cost of $60 billion, in an apparent response to NATO movements in Eastern Europe. - Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat.

Pro-Kurdish party leader calls for steps to halt Turkey violence

The leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP has urged the militant Kurdistan Workers Party and the Turkish government to halt a recent surge in violence. – Seymus Cakan, Reuters.

Afghanistan: Taliban attacks in Kabul ‘are likely sign of infighting’

‘Security has been stepped up in the Kabul after a series of bomb attacks killed more than 50 people, including a NATO soldier and eight contractors. – BBC.

Hamas calls for ‘open confrontation with Israel’ as Palestinian father dies from arson attack

Following the death of a toddler and its father, as a result of an attack by ‘Jewish extremists’, Hamas has called for renewed attacks on Israel. – AFP.

Mali hotel siege: Three foreign hostages among 12 people killed in attack

‘Three foreign hostages were among at least 12 people killed during a hotel siege in central Mali, according to a Malian army spokesman.’ – Alexander Sehmer, The Independent.

Brazilian anti-corruption radio DJ shot dead live on air

A Brazilian anti-corruption radio presenter has been gunned down live on air. His show targeted government and political corruption across Brazil. – David Millward, The Telegraph.

South Sudan security closes key media promoting peace

‘South Sudan security forces have shut down a key newspaper and radio station after they promoted a proposed peace agreement’. – AFP, Business Standard.

Afghanistan: sharp rise in women and children casualties in first half of 2015

As the dynamics of the conflict in Afghanistan have changed, fighting has moved toward residential areas, resulting in a sharp increase in civilian casualties, especially of women and children. – Sune Engel Rasmussen, The Guardian.

Three killed after Pakistani and Indian troops exchange fire in Kashmir

‘Pakistani and Indian border guards have traded gunfire and mortar shells along their disputed border in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing two Pakistanis and an Indian’.- Associated Press, The Guardian.

China’s major military reshuffle brings in younger officers

A reshuffle in the Chinese military has led to ‘young officers’ being promoted to the deputy military command, following a string of corruption allegations against senior officers.- Zhao Shengnan, China Daily, Asia One.

Top pro-Gbagbo security officials convicted in Ivory Coast trial

‘A military tribunal in Ivory Coast has convicted two top officials in former president Laurent Gbagbo’s security forces of crimes related to the West African nation’s 2011 civil war.’ – Ange Aboa, Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Pakistan empowers military courts to pass death sentences on civilians

‘Pakistan’s supreme court has ruled that secret military courts are legal and can pass death sentences on civilians, a move criticized for further empowering military elites’.- Reuters, The Guardian.

Gabon president’s chief of staff detained in Paris over corruption claim

‘The Gabonese president’s chief of staff has been briefly detained at a Paris airport on suspicion of corruption’. - Agence France-Presse, The Guardian.



Where next for youth in Yemen?

Elizabeth Bourne interviews Yemeni youth activist Mohammad Al Shami on the impact on and prospects for Yemen’s nearly 13 million residents under the age of 18. The wide ranging interview documents youth projects; the impact of the war on youth, including the difficulties youth face in conducting awareness raising activities on issues like accountability, good governance, peacebuilding and conflict management; and, how youth are utilizing technology to spread information and work with communities. - Elizabeth Bourne and Mohammad Al Shami, Saferworld.

Forgotten Conflicts - Southern Thailand: The Silent War

In this article, the ‘forgotten conflict’ raging in Southern Thailand is examined in detail. The death toll of over 6,000 since 2004 is examined along with a debate on why these casualties are rarely mentioned outside of Thailand. The article then examines the historic and modern ‘grievances’ fueling the conflict, including, ‘generations of discrimination of the ethnic Malay population and the impunity of government security forces’. Finally the ‘peace processes, security operations and economic development policies being implemented to try and secure peace are examined.– Phuong Tran, IRIN.

IS top command dominated by ex-officers in Saddam’s army

This article examines the extent to which former soldiers in Saddam Hussein’s army have joined ISIL. It notes and outlines how ‘Saddam-era military and intelligence officers were a ‘necessary ingredient’ in the ISILs stunning battlefield successes last year, accounting for its transformation from a ‘terrorist organization to a proto-state’.” – John-Thor Dahlburg, Hamza Hendawi and Qassim Abdul-Zahra, AP.

Things Are Not That Bad in Afghanistan

This article documents controversial comments and assertions made by General John Campbell, commander of Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan, along with his political advisor Matthew Sherman at the Brookings Institute. The piece highlights remarks on how Afghanistan is statistically only slightly more dangerous for civilians than the conflict in Colombia; and, that the continued problem of desertion in Afghan forces has not led to any increase in public support for the Taliban. – Michael O’Hanlon, The National Interest.

Bending the Arc: How to Achieve Justice at the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Given the low level of success emanating from the ICC, this article examines the possible causes of this lack of effectiveness, and examines the chances for change. The article finds a lack of political will to be the major hindrance to the ICC. However, it notes that as happened in trials in the former Yugoslavia, this political will can wane, giving the court an opportunity to pursue justice. - Jacqueline R. McAllister, Foreign Affairs.

Peace finds its place at the heart of the new global development framework

‘In this article, Saferworld’s Thomas Wheeler argues that the universal recognition of peace as a key development issue is a significant step forward. By turning the ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ agreement into concrete action, Wheeler argues it could become a conflict-prevention tool to help address the world’s interlinked development, humanitarian and security challenges.’ - Thomas Wheeler, Saferworld.

Key Global Events to Watch in August

The IPI Global Observatory provides a list of important events happening around the globe this month. These events include; the expected conclusion of peace talks in Myanmar; the deadline for South Sudan’s opposing factions to sign a peace agreement; and, the NGO Conference at the UN. - IPI Global Observatory.

Guatemala Calling: Lynchings and the Politics of Inequality

Matthew Klick notes the increase in ‘lynchings’ across Guatemala, and examines the use and origins of this form of rough ‘justice’. Klick argues that the lynchings stem from ‘civilian patrols that were created by the military during the civil war, fracturing communities and empowering a few to arrest, torture and kill their neighbors and whomever else they considered guerilla sympathizers’, while also arguing that they are not contained to indigenous communities, but are a widespread practice. – Matthew Klick, Political Violence @ a Glance.

Egypt’s journalists worry new anti-terror law could send them to jail

As Egypt’s proposed new counterterrorism law continues to stir up controversy, this article documents the concerns of journalists who fear the new law will be used to end free speech and political dissent in the media. – Mohamed Saied, Al-Monitor.

Shakeup expected for Turkish military leadership

The High Military Council (HMC) of Turkey is this week set to finalize its ‘shakeup’ of the top echelons of the military. The decision is regarded as pivotal for the Turkish military, considering the increased tension and violence with ISIL and the Kurdistan Workers Party. – Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor.

Amnesty International Criticizes Brazil Police Violence

Michael Lohmuller writes of a recent Amnesty International report that has criticised Brazilian military police for the habitual use of excessive force, particularly in Rio de Janeiro. Lohmuller, after documenting this reports argument, claims ‘that efforts to mitigate the problem of police brutality need to focus on reducing impunity for officers, as well as weeding out the harmful aspects of police culture that promote violence against suspected criminals.’ - Michael Lohmuller, InSight Crime.

Should El Salvador Renew the Gang Truce?

This article analyzes a recent study on Gang Truce’s, and there effectiveness, in the face of a possible second Gang Truce in El Salvador. The article argues that ‘a second truce raises the possibility of a cyclical effect, with periods of lowered homicide rates punctuated with periods of extreme violence.’ - Michael Lohmuller, InSight Crime.



Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium Meta-Review of Inter-Religious Peacebuilding Evaluations

This report examines the current trends in, and quality of, evaluations of inter-religious peacebuilding in various regions. While highlighting the strong and weak aspects of the programs, and forwarding recommendations on how to improve the processes. -

Jennie Vader, Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding.

Sharing the UN Peacekeeping Burden: Lessons From Operational Partnerships

This report provides ‘an overview of the different varieties of partnerships in contemporary UN peace operations and describes the major patterns apparent in a new database of forty-one operational partnerships from 2004 to 2014’. Through this examination, the ‘authors explore why some UN member states engage in operational partnerships or might do so in the future, arguing that the reasons include a wide range of both mission-specific concerns and broader political and security-related reasons.’ - Donald C. F. Daniel, Paul D. Williams, and Adam C. Smith, International Peace Institute.

An Appraisal of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act

‘This report assesses Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), the country’s main legislation governing the prosecution of terrorism. The law’s loose definition of terrorism has resulted in an overly broad application of the ATA to a host of criminal cases. The report is based on discussions in round table conferences, two with senior Pakistani police officers and one with lawyers, former judges, and academia; and research carried out on the subject in Pakistan.’ – Tariq Parvez, USIP.

Peace and Security Council Report No 72

ISS has published its latest report on the Peace and Security Council (PSC). The report documents the postponement of a proposed PSC field mission to Burundi, the holding of an emergency meeting on universal jurisdiction following the arrest of Rwanda’s security chief in London, and a debate on the Arms Trade Treaty. – Institute for Security Studies.

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