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Abstract: Three years after their August 2008 war over the South Ossetia region, tension is growing again between Russia and Georgia, and talks are needed to restore stability and create positive momentum in a situation that is fragile and potentially explosive. Diplomatic relations are suspended, and the two have only started limited negotiations, with Swiss mediation, on Russia’s World Trade Organisation membership. Yet, they share interests in improving regional security, trade and transport and should start discussions on these rather than continuing to exchange hostile rhetoric that only makes renewed dialogue more difficult.
Lack of contact has increased distrust since the fighting ended. For Georgia, Russia is an occupier who is undermining its sovereignty and security. While almost the entire international community regards South Ossetia and Abkhazia as parts of sovereign Georgia, Russia recognised both as independent shortly after the war. Moscow maintains an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 combat, security, and border forces in those two territories and is building and refurbishing permanent military bases there, in violation of the ceasefire brokered by the EU presidency in 2008. Some 20,000 persons displaced that year have been prevented from returning home, and casualties still occur along the administrative border lines.
Abstract: Transnistria, a sliver of land on the east bank of the river Nistru, broke away from the rest of Moldova in 1990. Although there was fighting after that, there have been no fatalities since 1992. This is not really a conflict: it is a stand-off which benefits the business interests of those who are close to ruling elites, and suits some external players.
Transnistria has little prospect of being recognised, even by Russia. Meanwhile Moldova has little hope of eventual EU membership while the Transnistrian problem remains. To escape this stalemate, Moldova and Transnistria need to find a solution. Moldova needs to show Transnistrians that a resolution will be good for them, just as the EU works with Russia to show that a solution does not harm Russia.
This study is timely in that it comes at a moment when Moldova is reaffirming its EU perspective, while elections in Transnistria may also presage some change. The problem of Transnistria is now on the borders of the EU: Transnistria is the EU's problem. A German-EU initiative in 2010 sought to address the Transnistrian issue at a strategic level, engaging the key external player, Russia.
This study brought together focus groups of ordinary people both in Transnistria and in the rest of Moldova. It is the first such study. The focus groups provide non-elite input, important when some in the elite have a personal interest in maintaining the status quo. The focus group perspectives have been reinforced by interviews with politicians and experts in Chisinau, Tiraspol and Berlin. The study is in three sections: a conflict analysis, an examination of the players, and themes from the focus groups. At the end, the report provides detailed policy and programme recommendations to the European Union.
The People’s Peacemaking Perspectives project is a joint initiative implemented by Conciliation Resources and Saferworld and financed under the European Commission’s Instrument for Stability. The project provides European Union institutions with analysis and recommendations based on the opinions and experiences of local people in a range of countries and regions affected by fragility and violent conflict.
Abstract: The Arctic has returned with a vengeance as an area of international contention. Beginning in 2007, Russia has continued to make aggressive moves and claims regarding territory in the Arctic Ocean. These moves undoubtedly have been prompted by global climate change and the importance of energy, with which Russia believes the Arctic is lavishly supplied. These moves apparently were intended to compel other Arctic states, like Norway, to come to terms with Russia. Nonetheless, the tendency to invoke military and security issues and instruments in this region of the world continues apace. These essays, taken from SSI's 2010 conference on Russia, fully explore the Russian and international competition for influence and rights over the exploration and commercial exploitation of the Arctic.
Abstract: Russia’s political leaders are currently pushing a state- and society-wide process of modernization. The Russian military, a deeply conservative institution, is being asked to accept fundamental changes that threaten the very livelihoods of those being asked to implement them. New structures can be created and new equipment and technologies procured, but the crucial element is the degree to which such changes are accepted by the human element. This is often the most difficult aspect in any process of organizational change. It is no wonder that the military modernization process is progressing slowly in Russia. The Russian ground forces will not be very different in the next few years than they are now. Time and future investment will eventually produce the more refined army that a host of Russian politicians have wished to see. But it will take time and investment.
Abstract: Although Chechnya no longer makes international headlines, instability persists and has actually spread within the wider North Caucasus region. Degrading socio-economic conditions, an unstable political situation, and increasing religious tension have made the North Caucasus susceptible to Islamist insurgency and terrorist activity. The modernisation strategy for the North Caucasus launched by Moscow in 2008 has failed to reverse the situation so far. Turning into an arc of insecurity, the region poses a growing challenge to stability within Russia and beyond.
Abstract: Women in Chechnya and Palestine do not become suicide bombers because they are Muslim.
Women in Chechnya and Palestine become suicide bombers because human security levels decrease
during long-term conflict and allow rogue collectives to gain power in the absence of authority. This
research explores how the experience of female suicide bombing is constructed as a response to
foreign occupation, how gender and religion are secondary concerns to supporters of violent
resistance, and how the history of human insecurity in Chechnya and Palestine has resulted in an
‘economy of conflict’ that has little stake in peace.
Abstract: The Examples from the Ground are concrete illustrations of ways in which a gender perspective has been integrated in different security sector institutions around the world. They range from measures to counter human trafficking in Kosovo, to women’s organisations’ involvement with security institutions in Nepal, to female parliamentarians’ contribution to post-conflict reconstruction in Rwanda. These examples can help policymakers, trainers and educators better understand and demonstrate the linkages between gender and SSR.
The examples are organised around the following nine themes, for which a short introduction is provided:
• Police Reform and Gender
• Defence Reform and Gender
• Justice Reform and Gender
• Penal Reform and Gender
• Border Management and Gender
• Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender
• National Security Policy-Making and Gender
• Civil Society Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender
• SSR Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation and Gender
Individual examples can also be downloaded individually, in English or in French, at: http://gssrtraining.ch/index.php?option=com_content&view;=article&id;=4&Itemid;=131〈=en
Abstract: Russia and Mexico, two of the world’s most murderous countries for the press, are heading in different directions in combating deadly anti-press violence, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in its newly updated Impunity Index. The index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population, found improvement in Russia as journalist murders ebbed and prosecutors obtained two high-profile convictions. But deadly anti-press violence continued to climb in Mexico, where authorities appear powerless in bringing killers to justice.
Colombia continued a years-long pattern of improvement, CPJ’s index found, while conditions in Bangladesh reflected a slight upturn. But the countries at the top of the index—Iraq, Somalia, and the Philippines—showed either no improvement or even worsening records. Iraq, with an impunity rating three times worse than that of any other nation, is ranked first for the fourth straight year. Although crossfire and other conflict-related deaths have dropped in Iraq in recent years, the targeted killings of journalists spiked in 2010.
“The findings of the 2011 Impunity Index lay bare the stark choices that governments face: Either address the issue of violence against journalists head-on or see murders continue and self-censorship spread,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Convictions in Russia are a hopeful sign after years of indifference and denial. But Mexico’s situation is deeply troubling, with violence spiking as the government promises action but fails to deliver.”
CPJ’s annual Impunity Index, first published in 2008, identifies countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. For this latest index, CPJ examined journalist murders that occurred between January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2010, and that remain unsolved. Only the 13 nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been obtained.
Impunity is a key indicator in assessing levels of press freedom and free expression in nations worldwide. CPJ research shows that deadly, unpunished violence against journalists often leads to vast self-censorship in the rest of the press corps. From Somalia to Mexico, CPJ has found that journalists avoid sensitive topics, leave the profession, or flee their homeland to escape violent retribution.
Abstract: The United States is at a strategic inflection point in South and Central Asia. The death of Osama bin Laden, together with the projected transition to a smaller U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, presents a new opportunity for the United States to protect its enduring interests in the region. In Beyond Afghanistan: A Regional Security Strategy for South and Central Asia, CNAS authors Lieutenant General David W. Barno, USA (Ret.), Andrew Exum and Matthew Irvine identify key priorities for the United States and the key components of a regional strategy in light of fast-changing current events.
This report culminates a year-long project examining the future of U.S. strategy in South and Central Asia given the pending drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Barno, Exum and Irvine examine U.S. relationships with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and offer immediate and long-term policy recommendations for protecting U.S. interests in the region.
Abstract: The phrase “Cherkessian Factor” usually refers to the influence exerted by the ethnic solidarity of the Cherkessian (Abkhaz-Adyg) peoples, both those located in the Russian Federation and the Cherkessian diaspora in Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Egypt. This influence is felt on political, social, and cultural processes in the Caucasus and in countries with a large Cherkessian population. It is increasingly likely that this Cherkessian factor will lead to further destabilization in the North Caucasus.
The Carnegie Moscow Center, as part of the Black Sea Peacebuilding Network, hosted a discussion on the Cherkessian factor. Alexander Skakov of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Nikolay Silaev of the Center for Caucasian Studies, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, spoke on this factor and its potential influence. Carnegie’s Andrei Ryabov moderated.
The speakers concluded by discussing possible avenues for resolving the tensions created by the Cherkessian factor in the North Caucasus, including full-scale privatization of land ownership; implementation of the provisions of federal law for municipalities; and effective action against corruption. They argued that such reforms would “permit a significant portion of the population to return to normal economic activity, which is currently impossible, and would thus automatically reduce the unhealthy interest in politically charged questions of ethnic identity … and in radical Islamism.” However, they warned the Russian government does not seem to recognize the necessity of such reforms to help stem the increasing violence in the region.
Abstract: The world’s worst online oppressors are using an array of tactics, some reflecting astonishing levels of sophistication, others reminiscent of old-school techniques. From China’s high-level malware attacks to Syria’s brute-force imprisonments, this may be only the dawn of online oppression.
In reporting news from the world’s most troubled nations, journalists have made a seismic shift this year in their reliance on the Internet and other digital tools. Blogging, video sharing, text messaging, and live-streaming from cellphones brought images of popular unrest from the central square of Cairo and the main boulevard of Tunis to the rest of the world. Yet the technology used to report the news has been matched in many ways by the tools used to suppress information. Many of the oppressors’ tactics show an increasing sophistication, from the state-supported email in China designed to take over journalists’ personal computers, to the carefully timed cyber-attacks on news websites in Belarus. Still other tools in the oppressor’s kit are as old as the press itself, including imprisonment of online writers in Syria, and the use of violence against bloggers in Russia.
To mark World Press Freedom Day, May 3, the Committee to Protect Journalists is examining the 10 prevailing tactics of online oppression worldwide and the countries that have taken the lead in their use. What is most surprising about these Online Oppressors is not who they are—they are all nations with long records of repression—but how swiftly they adapted old strategies to the online world.
In two nations we cite, Egypt and Tunisia, the regimes have changed, but their successors have not categorically broken with past repressive practices. The tactics of other nations—such as Iran, which employs sophisticated tools to destroy anti-censorship technology, and Ethiopia, which exerts monopolistic control over the Internet—are being watched, and emulated, by repressive regimes worldwide.
Here are the 10 prevalent tools for online oppression.
Abstract: Is Afghanistan a playground for the India-Pakistan conflict? Or, are the countries in South Asia – Pakistan in particular – the recipients of unrest that spills over from Afghanistan? Alternatively, is the larger neighbourhood, South Asia and Afghanistan included, a mere victim of rivalry between global powers? Views on the relationship between Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries vary widely, with fundamental consequences for how one understands the conflict, and what policies one finds constructive. Cognizant of the roles of actors in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf region, and excluding neither the importance of Afghan domestic factors nor global forces, this paper focuses on the way that the India-Pakistan conflict – the primary security dynamic in the South Asian region – informs the two countries’ engagement in Afghanistan.
The paper argues that because the problem of Afghanistan is at the periphery, rather than at the core, of the security problems of the South Asian Security Complex, any ambitions for influence in the future of Afghanistan that Pakistan and India, as the key players of South Asia, may have are related to resolving their own internal insecurities, their own security dilemmas within the South Asia region and their own global ambitions rather than in ‘entering’ Afghanistan and replacing the US and NATO troops after they depart. If both want influence there, it is primarily because they seek solutions to their own insecurities, as well as guarantees from the US against each other. This means that as long as the core insecurities within the South Asia RSC are not resolved, negative influences may continue to hamper stabilization efforts in Afghanistan.
Abstract: This Security Policy Brief looks at the vote
on the UNSC resolution on Libya and tries
to see in it some signs of the new
international order in the making. Why did
the BRIC countries abstain? Why was the
US so shy? What does it all mean for the
Abstract: The war in Afghanistan has added considerably to the strategic significance of Central Asia due to its proximity to the conflict. Moreover, the continuation of the war increasingly involves the vital interests of many other actors other than the U.S. and NATO forces currently there. This monograph, taken from SSI's conference with European and Russian scholars in 2010, provides a comprehensive analysis of the means and objectives of Russia's involvement in Central Asia. It also provides Russian perspectives concerning the other actors in Central Asia and how Moscow views the policy significance of those efforts.
Abstract: Continued violence and unrest in the North Caucasus have created a major area of instability for the Russian Federation. Although Chechnya is relatively more stable, for now, under the brutal dictatorship of Ramzan Kadyrov, neighboring republics including Ingushetia, Dagestan, and others have experienced significant increases in the frequency of violence. The entire region is plagued by extreme poverty, high unemployment, and corrupt and often incompetent governance. Additionally, the prevalence of radical Islamic influences as well as growing competitive nationalist identities further increases the challenges for governance and stability.
The Russian federal government seeks to insulate the rest of the country from the overflow of violence in this volatile region, but terrorist attacks in the past year on the Moscow Metro and again on the train between Moscow and St. Petersburg demonstrate how hard this is to manage. Kuchins, Malarkey, and Markedonov examine the socioeconomic trends in the region, the role of Islam and rise of radicalism throughout the Caucasus, nationalism and growing ethnic tensions, and the external factors influencing the North Caucasus.
Abstract: • Since the stabilization of the Georgian-Russian conflict, no further progress has been achieved and the conflict is in danger of freezing again.
• Leaders on both sides are taking full advantage of the tension that exists between them, while the people living on the boundary line are paying a heavy price because of the conflict.
• The EU has assumed considerable responsibility for the resolution of the conflict, but due to insufficient coordination at the operational level and a lack of coherent political support, it has been increasingly ignored by both parties.
• The Georgian-Russian conflict offers a great window of opportunity for the EU to define its overall strategy for the conflict management it so desperately needs.
Abstract: From 2003 to the war with Russia and financial crisis of 2008, Georgia achieved impressive macroeconomic results. Government reforms reduced corruption and criminal violence markedly. Rapid progress was made in the delivery of public goods. The investment climate improved. President Mikheil Saakashvili has weathered the fallout of the war with Russia. Weak opposition and substantial Western aid have enabled the government to stabilize the economy and consolidate its political position. However, positive headline macroeconomic results may not be sustainable and mask persistent concerns regarding poor performance in combating poverty, unemployment and increasing inequality.
Russian Analytical Digest No. 93 Russian Analytical Digest // German Association for East European Studies // George Washington University // Research Centre for East European Studies, University of Bremen // Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich // University of Basel
Abstract: This issue of the Russian Analytical Digest discusses the issues of terrorism, xenophobia, ethnic conflict, immigration and the role of the media in Russia’s interethnic relations. The paper is supplemented by opinion polls on Russian attitudes on terrorism and nationalism in contemporary Russia.
Abstract: The events in Libya have once again put focus on Belarus as an arms exporter. Belarus has admitted that it sold or delivered weapons worth an estimated US$1.1 billion in 1999-2006 according to the Congressional Research Service. A significant number of these sales went to state-sponsored terrorism, extremist groups or states involved in conflict. Belarus is also one of the top arms exporters to rogue states.
Abstract: Damaged by shelling during the 1992 conflict, the Gura Bicului Bridge, which
spans the Dniestr river, was reconstructed in 2001 with money from the
European Union. The bridge—along the main highway between the Black Sea
and the Baltic coast—should facilitate trade and contacts between Moldova and
the break-away region of Transdniestria. But it has never been reopened: only
pedestrians and bicyclists are allowed to cross. It stands as a potent symbol of how
hard it has been, for the past twenty years, to bridge the two sides of the Dniestr.
Abstract: Popular revolt continued to convulse the Arab world in February. The rapid spread and escalation of unrest underlined the magnitude of events, but their pace makes the direction of change uncertain.
After almost three weeks of massive protests Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February. The Supreme Military Council took control and promised presidential and parliamentary elections within six months. On 22 February a new civilian cabinet was sworn in.
Just days after Mubarak's downfall protests broke out in Libya against Muammar Qaddafi's four-decade rule. Hundreds of civilians were feared killed and thousands injured as Qaddafi launched a brutal crackdown, prompting senior members of the regime and military to defect. By the end of the month Libya was in the throes of a full-scale rebellion, with large parts of the country under opposition control. The UN Security Council unanimously voted to impose sanctions and refer Libya to the International Criminal Court.
Protests intensified in Yemen, where dozens were killed in daily clashes between protesters and security forces from the middle of the month. Demonstrations for political reform in Bahrain also saw several protesters killed by security forces. Following international condemnation of the crackdown Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa ordered the withdrawal of security forces and offered dialogue with the opposition. In Afghanistan, the standoff continued between President Hamid Karzai and the opposition over the flawed September parliamentary election. A controversial special tribunal set up by Karzai - which the opposition condemns as unconstitutional - has started recounting votes in several provinces. Three Muscovite tourists were killed in a guerrilla attack on a North Caucasus ski resort, one of several attacks in the region's Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. The attack underlined the degree to which the previously relatively peaceful republic has become a target of Islamic guerrilla activity.
Conflict in Somalia escalated as government troops backed by AU peacekeepers battled against Islamic militant al-Shabaab in Mogadishu, and Ethiopian troops were reportedly involved in border clashes. In Somaliland, tensions increased in oil-rich Sool, Sanaag and Cayn region as government forces fought with rebel militia.
The collapse of a six-year ceasefire led to heightened tensions in Côte d'Ivoire and further warnings of an outbreak of civil war. The situation in Thailand also deteriorated as hostilities broke out along the border with Cambodia in the disputed area near Preah Vihear temple. Compromised elections in Uganda saw President Yoweri Museveni win a fourth term.
Abstract: Historic events in the Arab world gripped the world’s attention in January. In Tunisia weeks of escalating riots and demonstrations over dire economic conditions, corruption and government repression culminated in the ouster of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January. He was replaced by an interim government which announced the country’s first free elections since independence.
The direction of Tunisia’s transition, and its significance for the region, are not yet clear. But, assuming a successful transition, this could mark the first genuine popular revolt leading to a democratic government in the Arab world.
Inspired by the Tunisian uprising yet fuelled by their own long-standing grievances, hundreds of thousands took to the streets across Egypt towards the end of the month, protesting against authoritarian rule and poor living standards, and calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down. Over 135 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured during the initial police response. The army was deployed at the end of the month to curb increasing chaos and looting, but vowed not to use force against the protesters. Events in Tunisia and Egypt have fuelled anti-regime protests elsewhere, including in Yemen, Jordan, Algeria and Sudan.
In the South of Sudan, preliminary results of the landmark self-determination referendum indicate 99 per cent of voters in favour of secession. The peaceful conduct of the vote drew praise from international observers and President Omar al-Bashir pledged to support an independent South.
Elsewhere in Sudan the situation deteriorated, however, as clashes between the government and Darfur rebel groups intensified. A deadly attack at Moscow’s main airport killing at least 35 people was blamed on a suicide bomber from the Caucasus. In Albania, three people were shot dead and over a hundred injured during clashes between police and opposition supporters during anti-government protests.
CrisisWatch again identifies a conflict risk alert for Côte d’Ivoire as former president Laurent Gbagbo refused for a second month to hand over power to the elected president Alassane Ouattara.
Abstract: Tensions in the arms sales relationship between Russia and China have been visibly on the rise in recent years. Yet, in November 2010, Moscow and Beijing announced a large new package of arms sales that appear to have turned a new leaf in this relationship. Much of the tension stemmed from the Chinese defense industry's practice of reverse engineering Russian weapons technology, indigenizing it and then reselling it in third party markets in competition with Moscow. In negotiations, China has long demanded that Russia sell it advanced technologies in its defense platforms or advanced weapons, something that Moscow has been loath to do regarding both the weapons and their components. Russia has also always been concerned that China might ultimately employ these advanced technologies and systems against it or its friends in Asia. For example, in 2006 it refused to sell certain sensitive space technologies to China (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Newsline, December 27, 2006). Nevertheless the restoration of arms sales appears to be connected with a new turn in Sino-Russian relations in China’s favor. The fifth round of Sino-Russian strategic talks took place from January 23-25 and Russia’s arms sales organization, Rosoboroneksport, has announced that it sees China as Russia’s chief partner in Asia (Interfax, January 19). This turn in Sino-Russian ties, probably dictated form the highest levels of both governments, appears to have overridden Russia’s mounting concerns about Chinese military developments.
Abstract: While no group has yet claimed responsibility, the Domodevo bombing earlier this week appears to demonstrate the continued ability of Chechen separatists to strike terror deep in the heart of Russia. Largely overlooked by commentators, however, is the resource driving the 16-year old conflict: oil.