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CFC Complex Coverage Review, 04 December 2012

CFC Complex Coverage Review, 04 December 2012

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This document provides complex coverage of global events, with hyperlinks to source material highlighted in blue and underlined in the text.
This document provides complex coverage of global events, with hyperlinks to source material highlighted in blue and underlined in the text.

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CIVIL
-
MILITARY FUSION CENTRE
 
Comprehensive Information on Complex Crises
Complex Coverage
04 December 2012
Iraq 1Mali 2Syria 3IED & Demining 4The Civil-Military Fusion Centre(CFC) is an information and knowledge management organisa-tion focused on improving civil-military interaction, facilitatinginformation sharing and enhancingsituational awareness through theCimicWeb portal and our weeklyand monthly publications.CFC products are based upon and link to open-source informationfrom a wide variety of organisations,research centres and media outlets.However, the CFC does not en-dorse and cannot necessarily guar-antee the accuracy or objectivity of these sources.
CFC publications are inde-pendently produced by DeskOfficers and do not reflectNATO policies or positions of any other organisation.
 
The CFC is part of NATO Allied Command Operations.For further information, contact:
Complex Coverage Team Leader
Linda Lavender
Complex Coverage Desk Officer
 
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
 
DISCLAIMER
 
CONTACT THE CFC
 
This document provides complex coverage of global events from
 27 November 
03 December 
 , with hy- per-links to source material highlighted in blue and underlined in the text. For more information on thetopics below or other issues pertaining to events in the region, contact the members of the Complex Cov-erage Team, or visit our website at www.cimicweb.org
.
I
raq
 
Linda Lavender
 linda.lavender@cimicweb.orgAmerican officials told the
 New York Times
 
(NYT)
 
that Iraq’s 
failure to inspect Iranian flightstravelling though Iraqi airspace continues to allow for major weapons transfers to PresidentBashar al Assad. the United States has request
ed that Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki
closely monitor Iranian flights through Iraqi airspace. The corridor is heavily relied upon forthe transport of weapons shipments, containing rockets, anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelledgrenade and mortars from Iran to Syria. Additionally, intelligence experts have asserted thatIraqi officials have given Iran advance notice in the few instances when Maliki did request thatan Iranian cargo plane land for inspection. One former Iraqi official, who asked not to be iden-tified, stated that some officials in Baghdad were
doing “the bare mi
nimum to placate the Unit-ed States and were in fact sympathetic to the Iranian ef 
forts in Syria”. Officially, Iraq has sta
t-ed they will remain neutral in the conflict, supporting neither the Assad regime nor the opposi- tion, according to
 Associated Press (AP).
Negotiations between Iraqi and Kurdish officials attempting to diffuseArab-Kurd tensions over the disputed territories in northern Iraq stalled last week, according to
 Agence France-Presse (AFP)
. Talks ended over Baghdad’s r 
efusal to di
spense with the Iraqi military’s Tigris
Operations Command, which Maliki asserts was set up to oversee the disputed territories. Mal-iki dismissed the idea of US troop redeployment to help ease the tensions between the parties,stating
that it is “the re
sponsibility of the Iraqi government and the (Kurdistan) region to work to end their problems without the assis
tance of a third party”.
 
 
04 December 2012 Page 2
Attacks within Iraq increased in November 2012 contributing to 166 deaths compared to 144 in October, according to
 AFP
. Despitethe increase, the
 Ashura
commemorations in which dozens of pilgrims have been killed in years past were largely free of violence. On27 November, three car bombings 
killed 23 Shi’it
es in Baghdad, reports
 Reuters
.
 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
reports on thesame day three other car bombs exploded in various locations in the Kurdish region of Iraq killing four ethnic-Kurds. Gunmen entered a rural home north of Baghdad killing seven family members on 28 November, according to
CNN 
. The motive for the killings in thepredominately-Sunni neighbourhood was unknown. Also, two Iraqi soldiers were killed and three were critically wounded when asticky-bomb attached to the military vehicle exploded in the predominantly Sunni-town of Fallujah
.
A series of attacks in Baghdad,Fallujah, Karbala, and Mosul left sixteen dead and seventy others wounded on 29 November, according to the
 NYT 
. On the same day adouble suicide car bombing kille
d 32 and wounded 138 people in the southern Shi’ite city of Hilla. On 30 November, twenty young
New Iraqi Army recruits were abducted from a bus travelling from Mosul to Baghdad, according to
CNN 
. Iraqi security forces reportthat six SUVs carrying over fifteen gunmen surrounded the bus and forced the driver to head toward an unknown location.Lukoil, a Russian public oil company, could expand operations in the West Qurna Iraqi oilfield, according to
UPI.
Baghdad consid-ered bringing Lukoil and Gazprom Neft into the West Qurna project in southern Iraq in favour of Exxon after a controversial agree-ment was struck between Exxon and the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq. Also, on 28 November,
 Iraq-Business News
 reports Lukoil purchased Kurdistan oil,in defiance of the central Iraqi government. Sources report that Lukoil is the third company to purchase Kurdish condensate (very light oil), along with companies Trafigura and Vitol.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged member states to accept former residents of Camp New Iraq, according to
 Reuters
. Bansaid,
I appeal to member states to offer resettlement opportunities to residents with international protection needs as soon as possi-ble
.
The members of the People
s Mujahideen Organization (MKO) of Iran have lived in Iraq for decades but the group is no longer
welcome in Iraq under the Shi’ite Muslim go
v
ernment that came to power after the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Ban further stated “Without the strong
commitment of member states to accept former residents of Camp New Iraq, no sustainable solution can beachieved
”. In other humanitarian news,
 BBC 
reports that the sheer number of Iraqi orphans has created a social crisis in a country which has only 200 licensed social workers and psychiatrists. Crit
ics assert that “the government has not grasped the size of the pro
b-
lem” and needs to pass welfare legislation to address the crisis. However, sectarian “squabbling” has held
up the legislation.
Iraq’sDeputy Minister for Social Affairs, Dara Yara, indicated that his ministry was doing its best in “difficult p
olitical circumstanc
es”. F
i-nally, a
 BBC 
report reveals that 25 years after the chemical attacks that killed at least 5,000 people in Halabja Kurdistan, steps are un- derway to discover which country supplied Saddam Hussein
’s forces
with some of the chemicals. Kurdish officials hope to have theopportunity to identify those responsible for selling the chemical weapons to the Hussein regime by analysing collections of samplesof mustard gas chemicals in contaminated cellars in the town, as well as on bodies exhumed from mass graves,.
 
M
ali
 
Angelia Sanders
The President of the African Union (AU), Yayi Boni, urged the UN to take immediatemilitary action in northern Mali, in an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 29 November, reports
 AP
. Ban stat
ed that the AU plan “needs to be developed fu
r-
ther” because questions such as how the force will be led, trained and equipped had not been
clarified. Ban warned that a failed mili-
tary operation could result in human rights abuses and in addition, voiced concerns about the UN’s capacity to take on “ter 
rorist and
affiliated groups”. France stated that it wants a UN Security Council resolution on military intervention by 20 December and
 planned to “move forward fairly quickly” on the resolution, according to
 Reuters
. Foreign Ministry spokesmanPhilippe Lalliot
 played down Ban’s reservations about the plan, stating that it was normal that some details still needed
to be finalised.In a meeting with a Spanish delegation,
led by Spain’s Secretary o
f State for Foreign Affairs, Mr Gonzalo de Benito Secades, the Pres-ident of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, stated that ECOWAS is working with
 partners to resolve the crisis in northern Mali
not only because of its potential to destabilise neighbouring countries and the region, but also because of its link with criminality and extremism
”. Mr 
Secades assured Ouedraogo that Spain would study a request byECOWAS to support the deployment of the African-led force into Mali. In a videotaped message, a top Al Qaeda in the Islamic Ma-ghreb (AQIM) commander urged the people of Mali to reject 
foreign intervention, saying that the problems “can be solved internally,
through recon
ciliation between Muslims”, reports
al Jazeera
.The Malian government, Islamist group Ansar Dine and the Tuareg rebel group the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad(MNLA) are expected to meet in Burkina Faso fornegotiations during the week of 03 December, reports
 Agence France-Presse(AFP).
One issue to be decided is whether to include Ansar Dine in a potential political solution. Several Malian associations and po-litical parties rejected any negotiations with the MNLA and Ansar Dine, two groups that have recently held mediation talks in BurkinaFaso, according to
 AFP
. The Democratic Patriot Alliance for the End of the Crisis (ADPS), a coalition group representing about twen-ty par
ties, associations and movements, stated that the MNLA and Ansar Dine “are not
representative of the Tuareg of Northern Maliand the Tuareg themselves are a minority in northern populations
”. Th
e manifesto of ADPS rejects Burkinabe President Blaise Com-paoré as facilitator of negotiations
, rejects “the political platform of autonomy” of the MNLA, calls for the “
the organization of elec-ti
ons before the total liberation” of northern Mali “
and the return of the Adm
inistration and the Malian army”
in occupied regions.
 
 
04 December 2012 Page 3
Another group, the United Front for the Defence of the Republic and Democracy (FDR) continued to call for an international interven-tion.In regional security news, Algerian born jihadist, Moktar Belmoktar, announced that he was resigning as head of AQIM in order to create a movement spanning the entire Sahara desert, reports
 AP
. Belmoktar is one of the most prolific kidnappers operating in north-ern Mali. Oumar Ould Hamaha, an associate of Bel
moktar’
s
stated that they “want to enlarge our zone of operation throughout the
entire Sahara, going from Niger through to Cha
d and Burkina Faso”. Hamaha further stated that though they left AQIM, they would
remain under the orders of central al Qaeda. The announcement indicates that al Qaeda is seeking to expand its operation outside of the Maghreb region; however, security experts say that so far AQIM and other groups have been unable to establish long-term bases inin neighbouring countries such as Mauritania and Niger. Islamist groups Movement for Oneness and Jihad in Africa (MUJAO) andAnsar Dine said they pushed the secular MNLA out of the northwest town of Lere located 60 kilometres from the border with Mauri- tania, reports
 Associated Press (AP)
. The groups claim to now have control of the main towns bordering Mauritania and Niger. Thespokesman for Ansar Dine, Sanda Abou Mohamed, said that some members of the MNLA defected and joined the Islamist groups.The UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that the humanitarian situation 
in Mali “remains ser 
i-
ous” with an estim
ated 198,558 internally displaced people (IDPs) and more than 200,000 refugees. Access to vulnerable populationsin parts of the country remains a challenge; however, humanitarian actors are still managing to provide assistance to people in theNorth. Mali continues to be affected by a severe food and nutrition crisis, despite a relatively good rainy season. The Water and Sani-
tation (WASH) situation “remains critical” in northern Mali for both residents and livestock. Fun
ding continues to remain insufficientwith only sixty per cent of needed funding being met. With regard to human rights, on 29 November, six young men and women wereeach given 100 lashes for talking to each other on city streets in Timbuktu, reports
 AP
. Islamist groups have implemented strict Sharialaw in areas under their control in northern Mali.
S
yria
 
Linda Lavender
After receiving intelligence that suggested the Assad regime could resort to deploying ballistic missiles if the air campaign against rebel forces falters, Turkey requested that NATO deploy Patriot Missiles as a defensive measure, reports
The Guardian
. A seniorTurkish official indicated that his government had received reports that there is also the possibility Assad will use missiles fitted withchemical warheads. The
 New York Times (NYT)
reported on 01 December that Western intelligence officials have observed new signsof activity at chemical weapons sites 
in Syria, raising concerns that Syrian forces may be willing to use the weapons in a “last
-ditcheffort to save the government, or simply sending a warning to the West about the implications of providing more help to the Syrian
rebels”. Officials did ind
i
cate that the “most blatant steps toward using the chemical weapons” had not been carried out at this time.
On 03 December, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government againstits people would be con
sidered a
that would require a response
, according to the
 NYT 
. In response, an unnamed Syrian for-eign ministry official stat
ed
under any circumstances” would the government use chemical weapons on its own people, r 
eports
 AFP
.Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Istanbul on 03 December for talks with Turkish leaders about the Syrian conflict in addi- tion to exploring future business opportunities between the countries, according to
 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
. Turk-ish-Russian ties have been strained by the Syrian conflict as Turkey has openly called for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Moscow has remained Assad
’s staunch ally. In other di
plomatic news, the United States may be moving closer towardrecognising the recently formed National Coalition of the Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the legitimate representativefor the Syrian people, according to
United Press International (UPI).
The US announcement may come as soon as 12 December at ascheduled
Friends of Syria
meeting that will be attended by US Secretary of State Clinton in Morocco. The UK, France, Turkey andGulf Cooperation Council have already recognised the new coalition. In other news, flight records obtained by a non-profit investiga- tive journalist organisation, ProPublica, show that Syrian officials made multiple requests for Iraq to grant a cargo plane air access totransport refurbished attack helicopters from Russia, according to
Christian Science Monitor (CSM)
. Flights scheduled for 21 and 28November did not appear to materialise; however, reports show that upcoming flights are scheduled for 03 and 06 December 2012.Securing
Iraq’s permission for the flights to pass through its airspace
is critical for the Syrian government as it would facilitate arms
shipments and circumvent Turkey’s airspace.
 
Future Member of Parliament Oqab Saqr from Lebanon’s Future Movement has confirmed
the authenticity of a recent audio recording  implicating him in arms transfers to aid the Syrian opposition in its struggle against the Assad regime, reports
 Daily Star 
. Saqr stated,
“Yes. This is my voice and those
are my words. I am not in the habit of denying my words or voice and I am not ashamed of what Ihave done
and am doing”. One recording captures an unidentified man telling Sarq, “We need around 300 rocket
-propelled grenadesand 20 launchers. And if it is possible to provide 250,000 Russian rounds, 300 ma
chineguns and some special pieces of arms”. Also,
Lebanese soldiers stationed at a checkpoint in Masharih al Qaa traded fire with men suspected of working with the Free Syria Army smuggling weapons across the border on 02 December, according to
 Daily Star 
. On the same day in a separate incident, the
Lebanese

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