Month: July 2014

South Sudan Crisis: Is There Hope for a Durable Solution?

South Sudan is the world’s youngest nation, having come into existence on 9 July 2011. The state emerged from decades of civil war with Khartoum, which ended in 2005 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed. But with time, despair began to replace hope as Africa’s newest nation has slowly disintegrated. With citizens losing faith in the government, the nation is more divided than ever before.

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A War Too Far: Israel’s Military Campaign in Gaza

Since 1948, Israel has fought seven regional wars, has had to deal with two intifadas (with the possibility of a third) as well as three localised conflicts in and around Gaza after abandoning the territory in 2005. While Israel has a right to defend itself, it also has a responsibility to understand why a significant portion of the Palestinian population is prepared to endure unspeakable suffering to obtain what it feels is just.

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Backgrounder – Boko Haram and Political Instability in Nigeria

Boko Haram’s activities have been escalating steadily in Nigeria; the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Borno earlier this year being the most recent indicator of the group’s growing threat to Nigeria’s political stability. Indeed, the group is viewed by many experts as a direct challenge the state’s corrupt nature and its general inability to address the expanding economic North-South disparity within Nigeria.

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Surrender or Tactical Deceit – Has the FDLR Really Given Up the Fight?

Is the UN’s Force Intervention Brigade, which famously routed the M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last year, now snatching defeat from the jaws of a complete victory against all disruptive forces in the region? This is what many analysts fear after a controversial decision by regional leaders in Luanda earlier this month gave the other most troublesome armed group in the region six months to surrender and disarm.

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No Military Reform for Egypt

During the demonstrations that led to the fall of former Presidents Hosni Mubarak (2011) and Mohammad Mursi (2013), a majority called for the intervention of the army to their side. Today, their quest for a national solution encouraged them to choose a member of the military, Field Marshal Abdelfattah al-Sisi, to head the Egyptian state. The popular backing of the army can only grow when Egypt faces serious security challenges, whether externally or internally.

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ISIS’ Success in Iraq: A Testimony to Failed Security Sector Reform

The pace with which the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Shām (ISIS) was able to seize territory in Iraq since June 2014 has been mindboggling. What has been a stunning military success for the foreign mujahedeen of ISIS, can only be described as a humiliating defeat for Iraq’s security sector and points to a breakdown in the security sector reform (SSR) efforts in Iraq.

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The Impending Balkanization of Nigeria?

Balkanization has been frequently invoked to describe or predict the fragmentation of geopolitical regions beyond the scope of the Balkans. Recently, there have been forecasts of the impending Balkanization of Nigeria. Throughout 2013, the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram successfully carried out a slew of bombings and mass murders throughout Nigeria, inciting fear amongst the population and exacerbating ethnic and religious tensions.

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Security Sector Reform and Gender Equality

It is broadly agreed that local ownership, mainstreaming gender issues and promoting gender equality in security sector reform projects are recognised as essential to achieving successful programmes. And though the core principles of local ownership and gender equality are intertwined, there are cases where local actors may not share the Western liberal norms and values underpinning democratic governance, human rights and gender equality.

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Re-thinking Stabilisation and the Security Sector

Over the last few years, there has been a rapid expansion of stabilisation activity, much of which has been focused on the security sector in some form. Stabilisation has often been weakly defined, often allowing a whole range of activities to claim to be stabilising with little supporting evidence. In attempting to move SSR beyond its current modalities, it is important to reflect on how security sectors change and adapt in and through conflict.

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Iraq after ISIS: Uncoupling Sectarian Differences from Political Contention – Part Two

While ISIS has had considerable success in capturing land, weapons, and funds in Iraq, they now confront a wide coalition of forces emerging in opposition. It is hard to imagine their success continuing in the face of the support being offered by Iran, Syria, Russia, the U.S., and Iraq’s Shia militia. It is also unlikely that support by Saudi Arabia or the Gulf States will continue if ISIS emerges as a true proto-state.

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Iraq after ISIS: Uncoupling Sectarian Differences from Political Contention – Part One

There is perhaps no greater need for SSR than in a state on the verge of dissolution, as is the recent case of Iraq. Indeed, a good proportion of its security forces may have already left the field of battle in the face of foreign forces or insurgents. One way to assess this loss is to look to the legitimacy of the current Iraqi regime and the relationship between religion and the state.

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Security Sector Reform as Conflict Prevention in Yemen

Security sector reform (SSR) is urgently needed in Yemen in order to prevent the resumption or escalation of armed conflict.
In order to avoid a political-security crisis capable of throwing the country into the sort of nation-wide conflict it has not seen in recent years (even during the Arab Spring), the author lists a number of key points that should be considered in future SSR in Yemen.

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The Security Agenda for El Salvador’s New President

The current administration in El Salvador faces multiple challenges, including gang crime, violence, corruption, and the need for economic growth and tax reform. In addition to crafting a sustainable public policy on security, the administration must also create a culture of prevention. While this will not be easy to achieve, it is vital if El Salvador is to become the safe and thriving place that its citizens may have given up on finding.

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A Dearth of Demilitarization: The State of Security Sector Reform in 2014 Thailand

The May 22, 2014 coup marked the death knell to any possible progress toward security sector reform (SSR) in Thailand. SSR generally possesses: 1) active oversight by democratically-elected civilians; 2) institutionalized accountability, efficiency, and transparency under the rule of law; 3) civilian-monitored resources which are not overly budgeted; and 4) a role for civil society in monitoring the security sector. The coup destroyed any potential to achieve these objectives.

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