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Abstract: Yemen has suffered from internal conflicts and clashes for several years, resulting in severe disruptions of services, lack of security for the population and a large number of internally displaced people. The internal security threats include three distinct elements: a conflict in the north; a secessionist movement in the south; and the threat posed by terrorist elements.
Abstract: Conflict continues to pose one of the biggest
threats to the survival, development and well being
of a significant number of children across the world.
In the past decade, 2 million children have died
directly as a result of conflict and 6 million have
been permanently disabled or seriously injured.
Explosive weapons were responsible for the death
and injury of thousands of children in a number of
conflicts in 2009, including Operation Cast Lead
in Gaza, the final stage of the war in northern
Sri Lanka, and the intensification of conflicts in
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. In these
latter four countries, as well as in the occupied
Palestinian territory and Iraq, the use of explosive
weapons continued through 2010. Children were
often the victims in these conflicts, with too little
attention paid to minimising the risk to them or to
ensuring that their fundamental human rights, such
as the right to life,were not violated.
As well as governments’ use of explosive weapons
in populated areas, recent decades have seen
a rising number of non state actors using more
sophisticated explosive weapons. For instance,
information leaked from Afghanistan indicates that
the Taliban has used shoulder launched surface to
air missiles, which are more technologically
advanced than the rocket propelled grenades they
frequently use. Improvised explosive devices
have also become more sophisticated and more
deadly over the past two decades.
Section 1 of this report describes the impact
of explosive weapons on children and their
communities. Section 2 outlines the international
human rights and legal framework that could
and should be implemented to protect children.
In Section 3, Save the Children proposes three
steps towards minimising the impact of explosive
weapons on children and makes recommendations
to the international community, governments and
Abstract: IKV Pax Christi strives to enhance the protection of civilians in conflict. In the report, IKV Pax Christi expresses her concern about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
From relatively simple improvised explosive devices to advanced aircraft-delivered bombs and missiles, all explosive weapons share certain characteristics that make their use in populated areas especially dangerous for civilian populations. By projecting a blast wave and shrapnel, explosive weapons indiscriminately damage the area around the point of detonation, making no distinction between soldiers or civilians. Furthermore, explosive weapons can also destroy critical infrastructure and frequently pose a long-term risk to populations in the form of unexploded ordnance. For these and other reasons, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas urgently needs to be addressed.
The report provides an overview of recent debates on the use of these weapons, existing agreements in International Humanitarian Law, and the consequences of the use of these weapons for civilians when used in populated areas.
Abstract: The recent political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa region have exposed growing concerns about conflict risk, political stability, and reform prospects across its societies. Given the prevalence of oil and gas resource endowments in the region, which a voluminous literature suggests can be associated with adverse development consequences, this paper examines the interplay between their associated rents and political economy trajectories. The contribution of the paper is threefold: first, to examine the quantitative evidence of violent conflict in the region since 1960; second, to provide a nuanced review of the regional case study literature on the relationship between resource endowments, political stability, and conflict risk; and third, to assess how prospective political transitions have implications for the World Bank Group's work in the region on public sector management and private sector development. The authors find that resources and regimes have intersected to provide stability and limited violent conflict in the region, but that these development patterns have yielded a set of policy choices and development patterns that are proving increasingly brittle and unsustainable. A major institutional challenge for reforms will be to consolidate a requisite degree of inter-temporal credibility and stability in these regimes, while expanding inclusiveness in state-society relations.
Abstract: Summary points
- Yemen’s power structures are under great strain as the political elite struggles to adapt to
nationwide grassroots demands for a more legitimate, responsive and inclusive government.
- Dramatic political change in Yemen could lead to violent upheaval and a humanitarian
crisis, against the backdrop of the country’s deteriorating economic and security
conditions. It might also result in a new, more legitimate political configuration.
- In 2010, Western governments initiated a partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) states to address the security risks posed by the situation in Yemen. This was
based on the recognition that these states have significant financial resources, strong
cultural ties to Yemen and important connections within its informal power networks.
- Ambivalence and limited bureaucratic capacity initially constrained the Gulf states’ potential
to respond strategically to instability in Yemen. However, growing domestic opposition to
Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh, coupled with his diminishing international support,
triggered a collective GCC response in 2011 aimed at mediating a political transition.
- Saudi Arabia maintains extensive transnational patronage networks in Yemen. Many Yemenis
believe it is trying to influence the outcome of political change and that succession dynamics
within the Saudi royal family are affecting the calculations of Yemeni political actors.
- The ‘Arab Spring’ has generated reformist pressures and divergent regime responses
within the Gulf monarchies themselves. This increases the complexity of the policy
landscape regarding Yemen.
Abstract: This policy brief focuses on a case study. It is suggested that an environmental disaster during the summer of 2010 in the Black Sea region triggered in winter 2011 a food crisis in the Arab World; in turn, this led to massive riots, revolts, political instability, a NATO operation and, alas, an oil crisis that accentuates an already suffering global economy. Coextensively, it may be suggested that an environmental crisis triggered a political crisis, which escalated in a series of conflicts that are of major concern for traditional security structures in Europe and beyond. In sum, the argument is made that as a result of this experience, the human security agenda must have a direct effect on our traditional security agenda. The question addressed at this point is how these interrelated chains of events affect the security establishment and our notions of a ‘high strategy.’
Abstract: This report is the culmination of a six-month project commissioned
by the Women’s Refugee Commission and co-funded by the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to address the
rights and needs of displaced persons with disabilities, with a
particular focus on women (including older women), children and
youth. Based on field research in five refugee situations, as well as
global desk research, the Women’s Refugee Commission sought to
map existing services for displaced persons with disabilities, identify
gaps and good practices and make recommendations on how to
improve services, protection and participation for displaced persons
with disabilities. The objective of the project was to gather initial
empirical data and produce a Resource Kit that would be of
practical use to UN and nongovernmental organization (NGO) field
staff working with displaced persons with disabilities.
Abstract: On June 2, 2011, Peacebuild, with the financial support of the International Development
Research Centre, convened a day-long discussion on the tumultuous changes taking place in the
Middle East and North Africa.
Objectives for the roundtable were to share up-to-date information on current and longer-term
political issues and dynamics, to assess areas for possible support for democratic transitions in
the region, identify areas of relevant Canadian expertise – diaspora, NGO, academic, business
sector, governmental -- and, based on the discussion, generate a set of policy options and/or
recommendations for people-to-people support, NGOs, academics and the Government of
Participants in Cairo, Ottawa and Montreal were linked into a wide-ranging discussion, which
first focused on hearing activist and expert views from the epicentre of regional change – Egypt.
Among the questions explored with human rights activist Hossam Baghat, strategic analyst
Mustafa El-Labbad, activist author May Telmissany and IDRC regional expert Roula El-Rifai were
the makeup of the reform movements in the region and their objectives, what is the real extent
of political Islam’s influence in the Middle East and what has been the role of the armed forces
in the transitions?
Abstract: The Oxford Research Group’s Recording of Casualties of Armed Conflict Project in their first discussion
paper identified all of the elements of the international legal responsibility to identify, bury and record
civilian casualties of armed conflict in the same way as military casualties are treated. The project team
in the second phase of the project has conducted research which involves applying this international
legal obligation to record civilian casualties of armed conflict to the drone attacks that are currently being
conducted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan and Yemen. The standards
identified in the previous discussion paper are repeated and applied to this current conflict situation.
The project team determined that this situation represents an egregious example of the violation of the
various components of the obligation to record civilian casualties. It is complicated by the fact that there
are various participants involved in these attacks, all who share the legal obligation. These include the
United States government, the Pakistani authorities, the Yemeni government and the non-state actors
involved in acts of terrorism being perpetrated in both Pakistan and Yemen.
Abstract: Ten days after President Saleh flew to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, the fate of the Yemeni government still hangs in the balance. Tensions remain high and there are fears that without progress on forming a new government, a civil war could break out.
In a Q&A;, Christopher Boucek argues that what sets Yemen apart from the other countries facing protests is that it is home to the world’s most dangerous al-Qaeda affiliate. The sooner Yemen can move past the current political crisis, the sooner the problems of poor governance, unemployment, resource depletion, and a collapsing economy can be tackled. Without addressing these systemic challenges, Yemen will continue to be a critical threat to America’s national security.
Abstract: This analysis documents the national development and humanitarian situation in Yemen and identifies the core issues contributing to Yemen's ongoing fragility. Designed as a collaborative process and as a product this analysis will form a coherent and integrated evaluation of existing national priorities and needs in Yemen with the framework of the Millennium Development Goals and the other commitments, goals and targets of the Millennium Declaration, in addition to the declarations and programs of action adopted through major UN conventions and at international conferences and summits.
Abstract: In testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, Daniel Byman, Director of Research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, addresses key security issues, including the danger from the Al Qaeda core after the death of Osama bin Laden, the impact of the Arab Spring on counterterrorism, and overall security of the U.S. homeland.
Abstract: Crisis Watch summarises briefly developments during the previous month in some 70 situations of current or potential conflict, listed alphabetically by region, providing references and links to more detailed information sources (all references mentioned are hyperlinked in the electronic version of this bulletin); assesses whether the overall situation in each case has, during the previous month, significantly deteriorated, significantly improved, or on balance remained more or less unchanged; alerts readers to situations where, in the coming month, there is a particular risk of new or significantly escalated conflict, or a particular conflict resolution opportunity (noting that in some instances there may in fact be both); and summarises Crisis Group’s reports and briefing papers that have been published in the last month.
Amid mounting tensions between North and South Sudan over the disputed border area of Abyei, clashes broke out between the two sides at the beginning of the month. Northern Sudanese forces invaded Abyei on 20 May and asserted control in breach of existing peace agreements. Tens of thousands are reported to have fled south. The attacks threaten renewed conflict and weaken confidence between North and South as critical post-referendum arrangements remain unresolved.
Tensions also increased over military control and the presence of armed forces in the transitional areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, and CrisisWatch identifies a conflict risk alert for North Sudan for the coming month.
Violence escalated further in Yemen, where military forces loyal to President Saleh battled on several fronts, renewing fears that the continued political stalemate could erupt into civil war.
President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria continued to use troops and tanks to violently suppress the ongoing revolt, with hundreds of protesters feared killed, thousands detained, and widespread reports of torture.
In Pakistan, the U.S. killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad at the beginning of the month again raised questions about the military's possible involvement with jihadist groups.
Local elections in Albania on 8 May proved even more troubled than anticipated as the race for the Tirana mayor's seat ended deep within the margin of error.
In Guatemala, the Mexican Los Zetas cartel killed and decapitated 27 farm workers in the northern Petén department.
In Serbia, war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military leader accused of commanding the Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, was arrested after 16 years on the run. He was extradited to The Hague, where he will stand trial for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Abstract: Foreign fighters fuel the world’s conflicts. They
make conflicts more costly for host nations and
peacekeepers. These extremists come from all over
the world and believe they need to fight for their
ideological survival. The best way to combat the
use of foreign fighters is to stop them as close to the
source as possible. This can be difficult, especially if
the U.S. is lacking diplomatic, informational, military,
and economic relations with the source country.
The U.S. government, especially military and
political agencies, needs to be aware of the foreign
fighter phenomenon and plan for it when developing
new contingency and campaign plans as well as
further developing bilateral and regional relationships
in foreign fighter source and transit countries.
This paper will discuss and highlight, from the
national security perspective, the potential military
actions for interdicting foreign fighters. The foreign
fighter problem set, terminology, and life cycle are
defined and discussed. Foreign fighters in current
conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Somalia
are discussed as well. Finally, potential solutions
are introduced as well as actions the U.S. military
can take to stem the flow of foreign fighters within
stability operations framework.
Abstract: Political negotiations in Yemen have reached an impasse. On May 1, President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to sign a deal aimed at ending the political unrest that has threatened to further destabilize the state. The prospect of regime change or even state collapse in Yemen undermines the entire basis of U.S. counter-terrorism operations and brings to the fore the danger posed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group that has already attempted multiple attacks on U.S. soil.
AEI's Critical Threats Project has conducted the Yemen Strategic Exercise to explore likely scenarios of regime-transition and state-collapse in Yemen in addition to the possible American responses to these scenarios.
Abstract: The popular uprisings that swept the Arab world in early 2011 have been compared by some commentators to the fall of the Berlin Wall. In an exhilarating push for democratic change, long-term rulers have been ousted and others challenged seriously for the first time. But despite what has been achieved, many voices from the region have urged caution: even in those countries which have seen the greatest changes, the internal security apparatus and other structures of repression have remained largely intact and the struggle for real constitutional reform continues. The ability of a state to undergo political change without violence is widely considered a hallmark of a mature democracy (although the record shows that democracies, even very old ones, are hardly immune from violent conflict). Which combination of circumstances, then, makes the onset of mass killing more likely and which conditions lower the risk of a state, even an autocratic one, descending to bloody violence? It is to help answer such questions that Minority Rights Group International has developed the Peoples under Threat index. Since 2005 Peoples under Threat has pioneered the use of statistical analysis to identify situations around the world where communities are most at risk of mass killing. On numerous occasions since the index was first developed, countries that have risen sharply up the table have later proved to be the scene of mass human rights violations.
Abstract: Confronted with the sudden death of a leader, terrorist groups become cornered animals. When wounded, they lash out. Not only in hopes of surviving, but also to demonstrate their remaining power and continued relevance. Al-Qa`ida is no different. Al-Qa`ida will thus keen for its leader by killing. It will not necessarily attack soon. Yet the United States should brace itself once the 40-day mourning period that some Muslims observe ends. The dual prospect of punishing the United States and re-igniting fear and anxiety following a time of celebration and relief must surely figure prominently in al-Qa`ida’s calculus.
This special issues contains:
Bin Ladin’s Death Through the Lens of Al-Qa`ida’s Confidential Secretary;
Bin Ladin’s Killing and its Effect on Al-Qa`ida: What Comes Next?;
Bin Ladin’s Location Reveals Limits of Liaison Intelligence Relationships;
How Bin Ladin’s Death Will Affect Al-Qa`ida’s Regional Franchises;
Special Operations Forces and the Raid Against Bin Ladin: Policymaker Considerations in Combating Terrorism;
The Impact of Bin Ladin’s Death on AQAP in Yemen;
The Impact of Bin Ladin’s Death on AQIM in North Africa;
Abstract: The wave of popular uprisings sweeping across the Arab world has caught the region’s most entrenched authoritarian regimes off guard. Yet unlike Tunisia, Egypt, and other custodians of an undemocratic status quo, Yemen is no stranger to instability. Long before protesters took to the streets of Sana`a on January 20, 2011 to demand political reforms, the 32-year-old regime of President Ali Abdullah Salih was already struggling to contain a daunting array of security, economic, and governance challenges. Yet Yemen’s current political crisis has been heightened by the convergence of numerous security threats, the cumulative effect of which may soon overwhelm the government in Sana`a. With government security forces already overextended by the challenge of containing mass demonstrations, AQAP is taking advantage of the opportunity to consolidate its position in Yemen by proclaiming solidarity with anti-government protesters and intensifying its attacks on security targets.
This issue covers:
Accuracy of the U.S. Drone Campaign: The Views of a Pakistani General;
Haqqani Network Influence in Kurram and its Implications for Afghanistan;
Recent Highlights in Terrorist Activity
The Factors Behind Rebellion in Iranian Kurdistan;
The Risks of Supporting Tribal Militias in Pakistan
The Unraveling of the Salih Regime in Yemen;
Using Google Insights to Assess Egypt’s Jasmine Revolution
The Sentinel is a monthly, independent publication that leverages the Center’s global network of scholars and practitioners to understand and confront contemporary threats posed by terrorism and other forms of political violence.
Abstract: Efforts to promote “deradicalization,” or to rehabilitate
detainees charged with terrorism-related
offenses, have taken multiple forms in a wide range
of countries, often as part of broader counterradicalization
strategies that seek to prevent the
adoption of violent extremist ideologies or
behaviors in the first place. Some are more formal
rehabilitation programs, with well-defined agendas,
institutional structures, and a dedicated full-time
staff, while others are a looser combination of social
and political initiatives. Programs vary in their
objectives, their criteria for participation, and the
kinds of benefits and incentives they might offer.
The cumulative lessons learned from several states’
experiences in dealing with violent extremist
groups are of growing interest to countries now
facing similar challenges.
With its global membership, neutral “brand,” and
powerful convening capacity, the United Nations
has the potential to play a powerful role in setting
global norms and shaping international legal
frameworks regarding counterterrorism, as well as
in providing a platform for the exchange of
information and technical assistance for practitioners
This paper draws lessons learned from case
studies of deradicalization initiatives in eight
Muslim-majority countries, which corroborate the
experiences of countries in other regions that have
grappled with violent extremist groups. The paper
concludes by making recommendations
concerning how the UN could help to facilitate the
provision of knowledge and resources to key
stakeholders interested in establishing or strengthening
their own rehabilitation programs.
Abstract: Child soldiers recruited by the Yemeni army are now being used by a breakaway unit to protect anti-government protesters, Human Rights Watch said today. The United States and other governments should call for an immediate end to the use of children as soldiers or in other security forces, whether for the Yemeni government or the opposition.
Human Rights Watch has encountered dozens of armed soldiers who appeared to be younger than 18 years old in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, since February 2011, when protesters began demonstrating against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. On April 12 Human Rights Watch interviewed 20 soldiers in Sanaa who gave their ages as 14, 15, and 16, and said they had been serving in the army for one to two years. All were members of the Yemeni army's First Armored Division, whose commander, Gen. Ali Muhsin, defected to the opposition in March and has deployed his troops to protect anti-government protesters.
Abstract: National security is normally seen in terms of military strength and internal security operations against extremists and insurgents. The upheavals that began in Tunis, and now play out from Pakistan to Morocco,. have highlighted the fact that national security is measured in terms of the politics, economics, and social tensions that shape national stability as well. It is all too clear that the wrong kind of internal security efforts, and national security spending that limits the ability to meet popular needs and expectations can do as much to undermine national security over time as outside and extremist threats.
It is equally clear that calls for democracy are at best only the prelude to dealing with critical underlying problems, pressures, and expectations. It is far from certain that even successful regime change can evolve into functional democracies and governance. Countries with no political parties and experienced leaders, with no history of checks and balances in government, with weak structure of governance led by new political figures with no administrative experience, will often descend into chaos, extremism, or a new round of authoritarianism. Even the best governments, however, are unlikely to change an economy and national infrastructure in less than half a decade, and existing demographic pressures will inevitably go on for at least the next decade.
Abstract: The international community must play a more active role if Yemenis are to get accountability for the bloody killings of recent weeks, Amnesty International said as it released a new report into human rights violations in Yemen over the last year.
Moment of Truth for Yemen documents the brutal repression of a wave of protests against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh which has left 94 dead according to the organization’s latest figures. The protests have been fuelled by frustration at corruption, unemployment and repression of freedoms.
Abstract: Glevum Associates, a firm run by FPRI Senior Fellow Andrew Garfield, has just released a report of probably the most extensive survey to date of Yemen's population.
The survey dealt with how Yemenis feel toward their government, Jihad and violence, and the role of the United States in the Middle East. The survey was conducted over a one week timeframe in late January and polled a representative sample of 1,005 Yemeni adults from eight city regions.
1. President Saleh still enjoys some support in the country.
2. Support for US intervention in Yemen is almost zero.
3. AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) has a disquieting level of support within Yemen.