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Showing posts from May 28, 2013

Justice at the Barrel of a Gun: Vigilante Militias in Mexico

A rapid expansion in 2013 of vigilante militias – civilian armed groups that claim to fight crime – has created a third force in Mexico’s ongoing cartel-related violence. Some of these militias contain well-meaning citizens and have detained hundreds of suspected criminals. However, they challenge the government’s necessary monopoly on the use of force to impart justice. As the militias spread, there is also concern some are being used by criminal groups to fight their rivals and control territory. The Peña Nieto administration needs to develop a coherent policy for dealing with the vigilantes, so that it can work with authentic community policing projects while stopping the continued expansion of unregulated armed groups; this also requires demonstrating that the state has sufficient capacity to restore law and order on its own. If the government fails to deal with this issue, militias could spread across the country, triggering more violence and further damaging the rule of law.


Women in uniform: Duma mulls equal opportunity for female recruits in conscription law

State Duma MPs are discussing a proposal to allow Russian women to perform military service. The relevant amendments have been submitted to the Ministry of Defense for evaluation, Izvestia daily reports.

The law on military service would feature a new subpoint that reads: "female citizens aged between 18 and 27…” may join the Russian services on the same grounds as men should they express a desire. For men of the same age group military service of one year is obligatory.

According to the representative of the Ministry of Defense, quoted by the newspaper, “female military contractors are already serving in the armed forces, so there’s nothing wrong in this idea.” The other thing is that the law should be correctly worded so that it doesn’t provoke a negative reaction in the community," they added.

About 50,000 women are already serving in the Russian Armed Forces. However, the main idea of the proposal to endorse the female military conscription is to equalize women's rights…

'Secret deal with Israel': UK newspaper claims Russia cancels alleged S-300 sales to Syria

The media hype around Russia's alleged sale of S-300 missiles to Syria is still mounting, with UK press claiming Moscow shelved its agreement with Damascus because of a "deal" with Tel Aviv. Israeli media has shrugged off the report as "a fairytale."

The Sunday Times claimed that Russia agreed not to supply the S-300 long-range surface-to-air missiles under a contract with Syria after a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.

The newspaper said the two leaders struck a secret deal in which Russia cancels the delivery of the advanced hardware to Syria and Israel refrains from committing further airstrikes in the war-torn country. The report cited an anonymous senior Russian official as its source who quoted "the large Russian community in Israel" as "a major factor in our attitude to Israel”.

The S-300 is a series of Russian long-range surface-to-air missile systems designed to interce…

No extension of EU arms embargo on Syrian rebels

British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the European Union has agreed to lift its arms embargo on the Syrian opposition. However there will be no immediate arms supplies.

The news comes after the failure by EU governments to agree on extending the arms embargo, effectively freeing their hands to supply the Syrian opposition with weapons, said the British Foreign Secretary on Monday in Brussels.

The collective sanctions leveled at Syria were set to expire on June 1.

“Tonight EU (European Union) nations agreed to bring the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition to an end. This was the outcome that the United Kingdom wanted. It was a difficult decision for some countries, but it was necessary and right to reinforce international efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria,” Hague said.

He added that Britain has no immediate plans to engage in any weapons supplies just yet. Other members appeared to agree on this. However, Hague also said that the move "sends a ve…

Pentagon: The Chinese stole our newest weapons

The designs for more than two dozen major weapons systems used by the United States military have fallen into the hands of the Chinese, US Department of Defense officials say.

Blueprints for the Pentagon’s most advanced weaponry, including the Black Hawk helicopter and the brand new Littoral Combat Ship used by the Navy, have all been compromised, the Defense Science Board claims in a new confidential report.

The Washington Post acknowledged late Monday that they have seen a copy of the report and confirmed that the Chinese now have the know-how to emulate some of the Pentagon’s most sophisticated programs.

“This is billions of dollars of combat advantage for China,” a senior military official not authorized to speak on the record told Post reporters. “They’ve just saved themselves 25 years of research and development.”

“It’s nuts,” the source said of the report.

The Defense Science Board, a civilian advisory committee within the Pentagon, fell short of accusing the Chinese of stea…