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Showing posts from November 19, 2013

Open letter to the UN Security Council on the Central African Republic


The Security Council must take decisive action this month to prevent further deterioration in the Central African Republic (CAR). Since the coup by Seleka rebels on 24 March, the state has collapsed. Lawlessness and disorder prevail throughout the country, including in the capital city, Bangui.

The CAR faces four main challenges:
A security crisis: Banditry is rife in the provinces but also the capital, where Seleka fighters attack civilians, hijack vehicles belonging to UN agencies and NGOs and recently shot an African peacekeeper and a humanitarian worker. This banditry has triggered the establishment of local self-defence groups and clashes between Muslim and Christian communities that fuel insecurity and deepen the risk of violence against civilians.

A humanitarian crisis: The humanitarian situation is rapidly worsening, with mounting reports of large-scale human rights abuses. According to OCHA, more than 1.6 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance, includ…

Sri Lanka’s Potemkin Peace: Democracy Under Fire


Sri Lanka’s ethnically-exclusive regime continues to close political space and consolidate its power. Recent moves that create a perception of progress have not weakened the power of the president, his family or the military or brought reconciliation, ended human rights abuses or reduced impunity. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won a landslide victory in September’s long-awaited northern provincial council elections. Yet, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration is reluctant to allow devolution to begin, preferring to maintain de facto military rule in the north. It faces increasing social and communal pressures elsewhere, too. Journalists, human rights defenders and critics of the government are threatened and censored. With opposition parties weak and fragmented, continued international pressure and action are essential to stem the authoritarian turn and erosion of rule of law, realise the devolution of power promised in the constitution a…

Dubai Air Show 2013: Algeria shows interest in MALE UAV from UAE

The Adcom Systems Yabhon United 40 Block 5 MALE UAV being exhibited at the Dubai Air Show 2013. Source: IHS/Gareth Jennings

Algeria is considering the Adcom Systems Yabhon United 40 Block 5 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to fulfill its medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) requirement, a company official said at the Dubai Air Show 2013.

Speaking to IHS Jane's on 17 November, CEO and general designer Ali Al Dhaheri said an Algerian delegation had been to view the aircraft in the static display area with a view to procuring it.

The North African country is looking for an unmanned platform to track militants and traffickers in its vast southern desert regions, and while Algerian media has previously revealed that the air force is interested in the US-made General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GAASI) Predator/Reaper platform, this is the first time the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-developed Yabhon United 40 Block 5 has been touted as…

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of Nov. 18, 2013


Editor's Note: The following is an internal Stratfor document listing significant meetings and events planned for the next week. Stratfor analysts use this to stay informed of the activities and travel of world leaders and to guide their areas of focus for the week.

Nov. 18: EU agriculture and fisheries ministers will meet in Brussels.
Nov. 19: EU foreign ministers will meet in Brussels.
Nov. 19: The EU-Japan summit will take place in Tokyo.
Nov. 19: In France, trade unions plan to hold a strike to protest planned pension reforms.
Nov. 20: Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program are expected to take place in Geneva.
Nov. 21: In Portugal, police forces are expected to protest cuts in salaries and healthcare.
Nov. 21: The European Central Bank governing council will meet in Frankfurt.
Nov. 21: The EU-China summit will take place in Beijing.
Nov. 22: Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels.
Nov. 23: Unions will hold anti-tax protests in Brittany, in northwestern Fr…

Turkey: How Conscription Reform Will Change the Military

Turkish soldiers commemorate the anniversary of Victory Day in Ankara on Aug. 30. (ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)


A large, conscripted military may no longer be the most appropriate way for Turkey to protect its interests and defend against external threats. Ankara appears to have acknowledged as much Oct. 21, when it voted to reduce the length of time conscripted soldiers are required to serve. The measure, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2014, will effectively shrink the military by 70,000 members. This is no small diminution, considering that Turkey, with its 750,000 soldiers, has the second-largest military among NATO members. Political and economic considerations may have informed Ankara's decision, but ultimately the move was made to reflect the changing geopolitical conditions under which Turkey now finds itself.


Historically,Turkey's location and geography has necessitated a robust military. Located at the crossroads between Asia and Europe, the country wa…

Libya's Government Uses Public Pressure Against Militias

Members of the Tripoli Rebels Brigade militia man a checkpoint in Tajoura, near Tripoli, on Nov. 16. (MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)


The Libyan government will likely try to capitalize on public discontent to turn the tide in its ongoing negotiations with the powerful local governments, tribal leaders and their respective militias. Tensions in Tripoli are high after members of the Misrata militia fired on protesters Nov. 15, triggering an exchange of gunfire that left 40 dead and hundreds injured, many critically. The protests were in response to earlier clashes between the Misrata militia and local armed groups -- clashes that were themselves the result of a Nov. 6 incident in which a Misrata militia commander was killed at a security checkpoint.

Organized by Tripoli's religious and political leaders, the Nov. 15 incident reveals that the government, typically depicted as having few options to limit the role of militias in post-revolutionary Libya, is attempting to turn p…