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Egypt Iraq Lebanon Libya Mali Nigeria Somalia Sudan & South Sudan Syria IED & Demining 1 2 3 5 5 6 6 7 8 10
15 October 2013
This document provides complex coverage of developments in regions of interest from 01 – 14 October 2013, with hyper-links to source material highlighted in blue and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to the region, please contact the members of the CFC, or visit our website at www.cimicweb.org.
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The interim Egyptian government extended its curfew for an additional two months as the violent crackdown on political dissent continues under Army General Abdel Fatah Sisi, reports the LA Times. Meanwhile, the United States froze aid to the current Egyptian regime on 09 October, reports Reuters. A spokesperson for the US State Department cited the recent subjugation of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was democratically elected last year. The State Department also pointed to a lack of progress in achieving an inclusive government roadmap that will restore democracy. The exact value of halted aid was not immediately clear but a hold was placed on hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, military equipment and cash transfers, according to NBC News. Tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles, as well as USD 260 million in cash, were immediately restricted; however, certain health, education and democracy-building forms of assistance will continue. The US decision counters the foreign policy of a close US ally, Saudi Arabia, which welcomed the removal of former president Mohamed Morsi and the weakening of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). The Saudi government, alongside fellow Gulf emirate states of UAE and Qatar, promised Egypt a comprehensive aid package worth USD 12 billion, which considerably outstrips the annual US price tag of approximately USD 1.55 billion, reports Reuters. Israel, which was involved in discussions with the Obama administration over the matter, expressed discontent over the aid cuts. It considers the US military and economic assistance integral to the country’s 1979 treaty with Egypt. According to New York Times, Israel fears that slashing the Egyptian aid budget could further erode the ability of Egyptian authorities to provide security in the already porous and criminal Sinai Peninsula, which abuts Israel and can be used to smuggle foodstuffs, humanitarian supplies, goods and weapons into Palestinian
territories. Civilian casualties spiked, as over fifty were killed and more than two hundred injured during sweeping protests that took place on 06 October, the fortieth anniversary of the start of the Egyptian war with Israel, reports LA Times. Crowds supporting the army and General Sisi came out en masse and clashed with Muslim Brotherhood sympathisers. BBC reports that thousands more have been detained in the last two months, reflecting the deep political divisions in the country and the heavy-handed approach taken by the army. Meanwhile, ousted former president Mohamed Morsi will stand trial for “inciting the killing of opponents” in a case that opens on 04 November, alongside fourteen other senior Brotherhood leaders, reports LA Times. Former president Hosni Mubarak appeared briefly in court on 14 September and will return on 19 October for a trial that will not be televised. He will be retried on charges that he killed protesters during the 2011 revolution that ended his thirty-year autocracy.
The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) reported that almost 1,000 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured in September violence, reports BBC. The UN reports that 5,740 Iraqis have been killed in 2013. Much of the recent violence has been blamed on Sunni Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda. The al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) said that violence against Shi’ites was committed in revenge for the “campaign of torture, displacement, detainment and liquidation” of the Sunni minority by the Shi’ite led government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. The US government intends to extend its special Iraqi visa programme for Iraqis who worked with US forces, risking their lives in quelling the insurgency, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Since 2007, the programme has relocated almost 12,000 Iraqis and family members to the United States for their safety. Currently, 2,000 special visas are still awaiting approval.
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While the Turkish government called for a truce earlier in 2013, efforts have stalled in the ongoing conflict with Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK1) militants, reports United Press International (UPI). Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told lawmakers on 04 October he sought an extension to a mandate allowing cross-border operations to fight PKK members in northern Iraq. Associated Press (AP) reported on 10 October that Turkey’s parliament extended the mandate for an additional year after PKK rebels suspended their planned pullout of Turkish territory, accusing the Turkish government of not keeping promises to afford greater rights for Kurds in Turkey. The 21 September Kurdistan parliamentary elections revealed that the current ruling party, Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), won the largest bloc in the regional parliament, securing 38 seats in September ’s vote, according to AP. Goran (or Change party), the main opposition to the KDP, won 24 seats while the Patriot Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by ailing President Jalal Talabani won only 18 seats. Ten seats went to other opposition parties such as the Islamic Union of Kurdistan, 21 to smaller opposition groups and eleven seats were reserved for ethnic minorities. On 07 October, the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), claimed responsibility for late September bombings in the Kurdish capital of Erbil that killed at least six people, according to RFE/RL. The statement issued by the group indicated the attack was in response to the Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani’s pledge to assist Syrian Kurds in their battle against Islamists in Syria. The tight security imposed after the attack has curbed tourism in the region ahead of the year’s Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha2, according to AFP. Hotel owners in Erbil complained of hundreds of cancelled reservations as a result of the terrorist attack. Those travelling to the region are subjected to lengthy searches and some are even refused entry. Numerous violent incidents were reported throughout the country during the previous two weeks: 02-Oct-13: An Iraqi helicopter was downed while providing cover for Iraqi troops engaged in a gun battle with militias in Tikrit, reports RFE/RL. 03-Oct-13: A bomb exploded near a football field in Madain, killing five people and wounding eleven others, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). It was the latest in a series of targeted attacks on football fields. 04-Oct-13: A series of suicide and roadside bombings in Anbar, Salaheddin and Diyala provinces resulted in seven deaths, reports Al Jazeera. 05-Oct-13: Two suicide bombings targeting Iraqi Shi’ites killed almost sixty people in Baghdad and Balad, reports Reuters. Also, in Mosul, gunmen stormed an Iraqi television station and killed two Iraqi journalists.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, the European Union an d NATO. Eid al Adha is the Muslim festival of sacrifice and is observed on 15 October 2013.
15 October 2013
06-Oct-13: In the Shi’ite Turkomen village of Qabak a car bomb detonated near an elementary school killing twelve students, reports AP. Another car bomb targeted the village’s police station. A suicide bomber detonated himself in the village of Waziriyah as Shi’ite pilgrims walked through the mostly Sunni neighbourhood. At least twelve were killed in the attack. 07-Oct-13: A school guard caught a woman planting a bomb at a Madain elementary school, reports the Global Post. Also, two explosions killed four Sahwa3 fighters. In Baghdad, a series of deadly blasts killed at least 22 people targeting mostly Shi’ite neighbourhoods, reports BBC. 08-Oct-13: A bombing in front of a restaurant in the mainly Shi’ite neighbourhood of Zafaraniyah Baghdad killed three people and wounded ten others, reports AP. South of Mosul, three soldiers were killed after being ambushed by gunmen, while a policeman was shot dead in Mosul. Also a police patrol was hit by a bomb south of Mosul, killing two officers. 09-Oct-13: A roadside bomb killed eight people as they travelled to work in southern Iraq, reports AFP. 10-Oct-13: Violence killed twenty in Iraq, according to AFP. Two Sahwa fighters were killed in Samarra, two more in Baquba while northeast of the city a roadside bomb killed two police officers. Bombings in Baghdad killed three people and a shop owner was gunned down. In the northern city of Kirkuk, gunmen killed one person while Iraqi security forces killed eight militants in a multiprovince operation. Also, police discovered the remains of a body that was likely subjected to torture. 12-Oct-13: A car bomb exploded in Samarra killing thirteen people, according to Reuters. The target was a busy shop-lined street. 13-Oct-13: Sixteen bombs detonated across Iraq killing a total of 25 people ahead of Eid al Adha, reports Reuters. The deadliest bombing occurred in the Shi’ite city of Hilla south of Baghdad. The Iraqi Justice Ministry announced on 10 October it had carried out the executions of 42 convicted terrorists over the past week, according to AFP. While the Iraqi government would not provide exact dates of the executions, UNAMI said they occurred between 08 and 09 October, reports Al Jazeera. UNAMI reiterated calls on the Iraqi government to implement a moratorium on the death sentences while the executions have drawn international condemnation from the European Union, the UN and human rights groups. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has begun moving the first of an estimated 10,000 Syrian refugees to the newly opened camp of Darashakran. The camp, located in Erbil governorate in northern Iraq, was established in order to alleviate severe overcrowding in Domiz camp which currently hosts 45,000 mainly Syrian Kurds. Domiz camp ’s capacity is 30,000 people. Iraq is currently sheltering 193,000 registered refugees mainly in Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyeh governorates. William Tall, chief UNHCR representative in Iraq expressed concerns over refugee conditions in the coming months during the harsh Kurdistan winter, according to Voice of America. Atrush Oil Field The Kurdish Regional Government has given approval to Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, a United Arab Emirates corporation, to start oil development in the northern Atrush oil field, reports UPI. The company known as Taqa, anticipates producing 30,000 barrels per day (BPD) starting in early 2015. Also, more than 400 billion cubic feet of natural gas was produced in the Kurdish north of Iraq since Dana Gas and its partner Crescent Petroleum commenced operations in 2008, reports UPI. In the south, Baghdad announced a USD six billion deal for the construction and operation of an oil refinery, reports AFP. The Iraqi oil ministry and Swiss company Satarem entered the agreement that will provide 150,000 BPD, according to the government statement. Archeologists from the University of Leipzig announced the discovery of an ancient Iraqi city called Idu in northern Iraq, reports NBC News. Idu was under the control of the Assyrian Empire approximately 3,300 years ago, then later gained its independence as the empire declined. The Assyrians reconquered the city roughly 140 years later.
Source: Energy-pedia News
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As part of a new security plan implemented by the Lebanese Ministry of the Interior, as of late September, Hezbollah members abandoned checkpoints in the southern suburbs of Beirut after recent bombings, reports The Daily Star. Five checkpoints were handed over to Internal Security Forces (ISF) on 01 October. There are currently over 2,700 ISF members assigned as extra security to protect former and current Members of Parliament (MPs), ministers, judges, officers, and others, according to Lebanon News Network. However as caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel noted, the vast majority of ISF members work as housekeepers, buying fruits and vegetables for their employers and driving children to school. Charbel noted that it is beyond the ISF’s mandate to protect these
Sahwa fighters are anti-al Qaeda fighters are part of the Sunni awakening movement which began in Anbar 2005. They are credited for assisting US troops in reducing violence during the Iraqi insurgency. Currently, many Sahwa are targeted for revenge killing by al Qaeda.
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figures. On 03 October, Hezbollah indicated that it had withdrawn from manning security checkpoints around Lebanon in order to avoid internal strife, reports Voice of America (VOA). The move was prompted by late September clashes between Hezbollah and Sunni rivals in the town of Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley where four people were killed, according to UPI. On 04 October, Security Forces deployed in Tripoli as part of plan to ensure the safety and stability in the volatile northern city, reports The Daily Star. A number of militia leaders in the city expressed their reluctance to hand over weapons to ISF. In other security news, an online video allegedly showing Hezbollah fighters executing gravely wounded Syrian rebels has sparked outrage and threatens to worsen sectarian tensions in Lebanon, reports AFP. Hezbollah declined to comment on the video and Al Arabiya television suggested it was filmed during the battle for al Qusayr Syria in May 2013. Lebanese news outlets declined to air the video. According to Lebanese lawmaker Khaled Daher, Hezbollah now possesses long-range missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads that are stored in underground sites in Lebanon, reports UPI. Daher, a member of the Future Movement that opposes Hezbollah, said that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards supervised the construction of underground bunkers and other sites used to store the missile s. Daher called upon the international community to take similar steps against Hezbollah as it is doing in Syria an d put Hezbollah’s stockpile of chemical weapons under international control. On 03 October, the Lebanese Army reported that an Israeli reconnaissance jet violated Lebanese airspace as it performed circular flights over the south region of the country, according to The Daily Star. An Israeli infantry force crossed 300 metres into Lebanon and an Israeli gunboat crossed 10 metres into Lebanese waters off the southern town of Naqoura, according to The Daily Star. On 04 October, Israeli army vehicles and personnel approached the Blue Line on the Israeli side of the border near the village of Bawabet Fatima, reports The Daily Star. The movement resulted in a high alert level for the Lebanese Army. Again on 12 October, Arab News reports that three Israeli reconnaissance aircraft violated Lebanese airspace, circling southern Lebanon for eight hours. Several violent incidents were reported throughout the country during the previous two weeks: 04-Oct-13: A bomb exploded in a dumpster inside camp Ain el Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp, located in the southern coastal city of Sidon, reports The Daily Star. One person was slightly wounded in the blast. In the northern town of Burj al Arab in Akkar, a hand grenade exploded outside a clothing shop, according to The Daily Star. The incident was motivated by a personal dispute between the shop owner and unidentified individuals. 08-Oct-13: Lebanese President Michel Suleiman criticised the Syrian government’s cross-border raid that targeted an ambulance in the Arsal region of Bekaa Valley, reports Al Jazeera. Syrian jets fired five rockets in the attack which resulted in no injuries. 12-Oct-13: Sniper fire from Tripoli’s Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood wound ed two people after an Army unit attempted to arrest a local man, according to The Daily Star. Snipers also targeted a bus on the Malloulah Bridge in the northern city and wounded two people from the Bab al Tabbaneh neighourhood. 14-Oct-13: A booby-trapped car was discovered in Beirut and the explosives were successfully defused, reports Shanghai Daily. Little progress has been made in forming a new Lebanese government, according to The Daily Star. Tamman Salam, chosen as the country’s new prime minister in April 2013 has failed to put together his government as a result of conditions and counter co nditions by the March 8 and March 14 coalitions4. March 8 insists that the new government should be a national unity government in which parties are represented based on their size in Parliament. March 14 argues that the country is in need of a more neutral Cabinet in order to be more effective in governance. Non-essential US Embassy staff in Beirut have been permitted to return to work after last month’s evacuation in advance of an anticipated strike against Syria, reports Reuters. The US had also tightened security at its missions in Turkey on 06 September amid reported potential threats which arose before the 11 September anniversary. Syrian refugees competing against Lebanese workers for jobs have stoked tensions within the country, according to Associated Press (AP). In efforts to counter the country’s economic downturn, many businesses are hiring Syrians who will work for very little salary. The government indicated it is trying to curb the rising competition and over the past three weeks has closed over 400-Syrian owned shops that lacked permits to operate in Lebanon. Kamel Wazne, a Lebanese economist and professor of finance at the American University in Beirut states, “When you jeopardize the livelihood of the people in the country, then this will cause tension”. Uni ted Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on 12 October that the total number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon had climbed to 792,900 people, according to Shanghai Daily. Refugees were primarily situated in North Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. Following the recommendations adopted by the International Support Group for Lebanon, a series of meetings to be held in Beirut, New York and with the World Bank will focus on assisting cash-strapped Lebanon cope with the massive influx of Syrian refugees,
March 8 Alliance is a coalition of opposition, mostly Shi’ite Muslim and Syrian-backed parties led by Hezbollah. March 14 Alliance is named after the date of the Cedar Revolution and is a coalition of parties and independents in Lebanon formed in 2005 that are united by their anti-Syrian involvement in Lebanon stance.
15 October 2013
reports The Daily Star. Statistics from the World Bank suggest that the refugee crisis will cost the Lebanese economy an estimated USD 7.5 billion. The British-based company Spectrum, in coordination with the Lebanese government, began the first phase of an onshore oil and gas survey in the Batroun region, reports The Daily Star. It is expected that regions of Lebanon may possess considerable gas wealth.
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Abu Anas al Libi, an al Qaeda leader suspected of planning the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam, arrived in New York on 15 October, reports CNN International. Indicted by US courts in 2001, Al Libi is wanted for conspiring against US personnel in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia. US Special Forces in Tripoli seized him as he departed his house for morning prayers on 06 October. Despite public objections over his apprehension from Libya, the US maintains that senior Libyan officials gave “tacit approval” to carry out the operation. Al Libi lived openly with impunity in Tripoli despite his appearance on the “Most Wanted” list of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was kidnapped in the early morning hours of 10 October from his hotel in the capital of Tripoli, reports Al Jazeera. Accounts of his abduction suggest that, dozens – if not hundreds – of vehicles carrying armed men drove to the Corinthia Hotel where Zeidan and other senior officials reside. Gunmen quickly overwhelmed security forces, removing the prime minister and whisking him to an unknown location. No casualties were immediately reported and it remains unclear what group is responsible for the seizure. Multiple groups took credit for the kidnapping, including the Operations Cell of Libyan Revolutionaries and the Brigade for the Fight Against Crime. Several hours after his capture, Zeidan was freed and he delivered an impassioned speech on 11 October, calling his arrest a coup attempt. According to The Guardian, al Qaeda-affiliated supporters in Benghazi protested Zeidan’s release and condemned the Libyan administration for complicity in the US-led Al Libi assault, calling for attacks against Western targets. According to AFP, the Swedish consulate in Benghazi was hit by a car bomb on 11 October. The building sustained serious damages but no casualties were recorded. Located in the al-Fouihet district near the Egyptian consulate that was bombed in August, the Swedish delegation remains one of the few diplomatic posts in the restive city. Illegal migration has become an increasingly difficult problem for the Libyan transitional government, reports Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), and Libya has requested assistance from the European Union (EU) in efforts to better track migrants who are trafficked through its borders into Europe. Many of those trafficked come from the Sahelian and North African countries of Egypt, Eritrea, Chad, Somalia, Niger, Mali, and even as far as Syria. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed the number of migrants leaving Libya for Europe has increased six-fold in 2013. The inability of the transitional government to create security and police forces leaves the country’s borders largely open. Libya is an attractive point for secondary movement of migrants who pay fixers to smuggle them into Europe, and also for human traffickers, many of whom kidnap or enslave disadvantaged minority groups, especially Eritreans, holding them for ransom. The inchoate Libyan response, in light of its fragile government institutions, has also been incoherent. Nevertheless, thousands of migrants have been detained, many of them by militia groups operating autonomously from the central government. A UN Security Council report released in September called the arrest and detention of so many refugees and migrants “unacceptable”, a factor that spurred the Zeidan administration to seek EU ass istance.
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Jihadists in Mali’s vast north continued to undermine the new central government with sporadic attacks in early October. Al Q aeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) took credit for two suicide attacks in Timbuktu that left two civilians dead on 02 October. Militants shelled the city of Gao on 07 October, although no casualties were reported. Additionally, two bridges were destroyed on the road between the city of Gao and the Niger border between 07 – 08 October, reports Associated Press (AP). One of the bridges was damaged near the town of Ansongo. The other was attacked near Bara, 160 km from Gao where French military operations are based, but it was not immediately clear whether the bridge was destroyed or damaged. A demining team from MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping force in Mali, was dispatched to survey both sites. Bridges have been targeted in efforts to prevent the movement of French supplies from Niger into Mali. Former Captain Amadou Sanogo, the leader of Mali’s March 2012 coup, was relocated from his home at Kati camp to a neighbourhood in Bamako reserved for former government leaders on 08 October, reports AP. The decision came roughly one week after newly installed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK) dissolved a military committee chaired by Sanogo. IBK dissolved the Committee for the Reform of Armed Forces after returning early from France when members of the Malian army held a colonel hostage on 30 September. The event took place at Kati camp, a base near Bamako where the coup began in March 2012. Reportedly, 15 October 2013
junior officers took Col Mohamed Elhabib Diallo hostage after he removed their names from a promotion list. IBK then dissolved the military reform committee and initiated an investigation into the incident. “Kati will no longer intimidate Bamako”, the pres ident said. In humanitarian news, at least 20 people drowned on 13 October when a boat carrying as many as 400 passengers capsized in the Niger River north of Mopti, reports Reuters. The final death toll was expected to rise, as 170 people were unaccounted for. Also, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it would scale up operations in Mali through the end of the year, according to UN News Service. The organisation identified four major risks that are likely to contribute to food insecurity in the coming months: erratic rains that will affect 2013-2014 harvests, depletion of livestock, the sudden return of internally displaced persons (IDPs), and continued insecurity in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal.
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As the CFC initiates coverage of the complex crisis in Nigeria, this week’s overview includes background security and political developments, in addition to open-source information from 01 – 15 October. A state of emergency blanketing one-sixth of Nigeria’s territory continued into its fourth month as security forces struggled to contain Boko Haram in the country’s predominately Muslim north. Nigeria celebrated what Reuters and other media outlets dubbed a “sombre” 53rd anniversary of its independence on 01 October. In late September and October, President Goodluck Jonathan, insisting the Nigerian infantry is needed to quell the Boko Haram uprising, expedited a process that began in August 2013 to pull troops from peacekeeping operations in Mali and Darfur. Hundreds have been killed in Nigeria’s northern sectarian conflict in the previous months as Boko Haram increasingly targeted civilians in September and October. At least 159 travellers were slaughtered by Boko Haram militants near Benisheik, between Maiduguri and Damaturu on 20 September, reports Al Jazeera. In the same location, the corpses of ten beheaded travellers were found on 02 October by local officials. In a gruesome attack that shocked millions of Nigerians, as many as fifty students were killed on 29 September when Boko Haram militants stormed an agricultural school, gunning down student victims in their dormitories, reports AP. More recently, the Nigerian military claimed that it killed forty Islamists on 15 October, according to Reuters. The killings took place in Bama, Gwoza and Pulka between 13 and 15 October. Despite claims made by the Nigerian army in August that Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader, had been killed, a video released in September confirmed that he remains alive, and largely in control of the northern insurgency, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Meanwhile, a heavy-handed response by security forces in Nigeria’s north garnered harsh criticism for its use of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations. Nearly 1,000 people died in Nigerian prisons this year due to overcrowding, suffocation, starvation and extra-judicial killings, according to a report released by Amnesty International on 15 October. Most of the deaths occurred in northeastern Nigeria in prisons administered by the military’s secretive Joint Task Force (JTF). The report cites an anonymou s military official who says, “Hundreds have been killed in detention either by shooting them or by suffoc ation…There are times when people are brought out on a daily basis and killed”. Experts from Human Rights Watch assert the harsh tactics do not address underlying grievances voiced by Muslim populations in the northern Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Kaduna and Kano, reports BBC. Moreover, one study of the Boko Haram insurgency asserts that the harsh tactics by security forces worsened class and sectarian antagonisms, helping Boko Haram militants to radicalise victims of extrajudicial crimes committed by the state. In economic news, Nigeria’s government privatised, its state energy company, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and transferred its management to the Korea Electric Power Corporation on 30 September, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). The country will maintain ownership of the power grid, but cede all management responsibilities to international investors. It also finalised the construction plans for a 700-megawatt power plant with a Chinese firm. The joint deals are worth a total of USD 2.5 billion and seek to modernise the country’s power grid, which faces daily blackouts despite Nigeria’s role as the continent’s largest oil producer.
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US Navy SEALS swam ashore and raided a seaside villa in Baraawe on 07 October in a secretive but attention-grabbing operation that failed to kill or capture its target, al Shabaab leader Ikrima, reports CNN. After US forces came under heavy gunfire, they retreated from the Baraawe compound, suffering no casualties, reports The Guardian. Two al Shabaab fighters were killed, including a bodyguard of Ikrima. Civilians in the heavily fortified compound, including many women and children, far exceeded the number
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anticipated by Navy SEALS, which played a decisive factor in the decision to withdraw forces before capturing Ikrima. According to CNN, Ikrima (who also uses the names Mukhtar Abu Zubayr and Ahmed Abdi Godane) is wanted by Kenyan and western allies. A Kenyan of Somali origin, Ikrima is believed to be in his late 20s and potentially helped mastermind the Westgate mall attack in Nairobi that killed 67 and wounded hundreds in late September 2013. Intelligence officials believe he also intends to strike other East African targets. According to CNN investigative journalist and al Shabaab expert Paul Cruickshank, Ikrima is responsible for the recruitment of numerous al Shabaab to foreign fighters. “Ikrima has been at the forefront of Al-Shabaab’s efforts to recruit and train Kenyans and other foreigners for Al-Shabaab – and to develop a Kenyan affiliate called al Hijrah”, writes Cruickshank. He lived in Norway from 2004 to 2008 where he developed extremist contacts within Europe. According to Cruickshank, he also cultivated ties with members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), including Anwar al Awlaki. Email exchanges between Ikrima and an intelligence informant implicate Samantha Lewthwaite with ongoing al Shabaab activities, according to BBC. Lewthwaite, commonly called the “White Widow” in the British press, was married to Germaine Lindsay, the British man who detonated a bomb on the London Underground in 2005, killing 56 people and wounding over 700. She initially denied knowledge of her husband’s plan. However, Lewthwaite left the UK in 2009 with her three children and is wanted by Kenyan authorities for suspected terrorist plots. The Westgate Mall attack draws into question the belief held by many al Shabaab experts that the group poses only a regional threat and does not seek to strike Western targets. For instance, Stephanie Sanok of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) describes the potential evolution of the group from a regional terrorist cell to an international al Qaeda affiliate with capabilities to threaten the West: “Al Shabaab has long been composed of a combination of local Somali fighters, who have relatively few designs beyond Somalia’s borders…Factionalism within al Shabaab has traditionally kept the group from fully uniting behind an interna tional agenda… However, there is evidence that in recent months Ahmed Abdi Godane [Ikrima] has eliminated many of his rivals and consolidated his control over much of the group. If Godane has truly solidified his place as the central Shabaab leader, it may signal a new willingness to launch international attacks, potentially in the West”. Evidence of a foiled foreign attack appeared to emerge in Ethiopia’s capital on 13 October when two bombers apparently killed themselves while preparing to detonate a bomb in Addis Ababa, potentially at a football game, according to International Business Times (IBT). Ethiopian authorities assert the men were Somali nationals. Among the debris, jackets and belts typically used by suicide bombers were found, and police asserted the men could have ties with al Shabaab. The African Union (AU) agreed to increase the size of its peacekeeping force in Somalia by 35 per cent on 11 October, reports Sabahi. The AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will add an additional 6,235 troops, bringing its total deployed force to just under 24,000. The decision to fully fund the joint AU-UN force will now face a vote in the UN Security Council. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed the AU vote, saying, “The expansion of AMISOM will hugely help to sustain the military campaign against terrorists and get rid of al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda in Somalia”. In early October, two leading female Somali officials toured Somali diaspora communities to elicit financial and repatriation support from Somalia communities abroad, according to Midnimo. Among the stops, Deputy Prime Minister Fowzia Yusuf Adam and newly appointed Central Bank Governor, Yusuf Abrar, visited Ottawa to galvanise a large Somali-Canadian population seeking to rebuild Somalia. “What we need is for these talented and deployable Somali youth to participate in the construction of Somalia”, said Deputy Prime Minister Yusuf. According to Habari Network, Abrar made headlines when she was named the first female governor of Somalia’s Central Bank on 20 September. She is a thirty-year veteran of international banks and financial institutions, and she replaces Abdusalam Omer who resigned after a UN monitoring group alleged in July that eighty per cent of all withdrawals from the bank were made for “private purposes”.
Sudan & South Sudan
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Darfur On 13 October, three Senegalese members of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) were killed and another injured when their vehicle was hijacked, according to the United Press International (UPI). The attack was condemned by Mohamed Ibn Chambas, joint special envoy for UNAMID, as well as the African Union and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, reports UPI. Ki-moon also expressed deep sadness over a similar attack that killed a Zambian UNAMID peacekeeper just two days before. The Sudan Tribune has also reported that the United States and France have labeled the attacks as “criminal, unlawful and “malicious.” The attacks have placed greater pressures on the government of Sudan to take swift action in reprimanding the groups responsible for the attacks and to work closely with UNAMID to establish a lasting peace. Government restrictions in Sudan have increasingly limited the reach of humanitarian agencies within Darfur, including UNAMID, according to Radio Dabanga. Over 150,000 displaced people are reported to be without aid due to these government restrictions; however, UN agencies have also reported that limited supplies and fuel stocks have hindered their abilities to help those displaced. 15 October 2013
Despite these limitations, however, on 09 October a group of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) personnel resumed operations in North Darfur after withdrawing in early September due to security concerns. The group is composed of 130 MSF doctors, nurses and midwives. Sudan Following the genesis of new protests in Sudan in late September over the lifting of government subsidies on fuel coupled with other austerity measures, the Sudanese government and police forces responded with brutal crackdowns, reports New Internationalist. Since early October, tear gas and live ammunition have been used against protesters, killing more than 200 people, while over 1,000 others have been arrested. Recent demonstrations, as compared to earlier protests in 2011 and 2012, included the presence of middle-class citizens among the ranks of the demonstrators, reports The National. Although it appears that the protests are simmering down, hundreds of Sudanese citizens are still demonstrating in the streets of Khartoum, according to the non-profit, Enough Project. Concern has been raised in the UN over the increase in the number of polio cases in Sudan, mostly in the South Kordofan province as well as other areas in the Horn of Africa. The UN Security Council (UNSC) has developed a plan for a vaccination campaign in South Kordofan and Blue Nile to begin in November. The UNSC has also called on the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to resolve differences over technical plans for the vaccination campaign in order ensure safe passage of the agencies carrying out the campaign. The Sudan Tribune reports that the SPLM-N is willing to cooperate with UN agencies for the campaign; however, they refused to cooperate with Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC). The rebel group has also refused to hold direct talks with the Sudanese governments regarding the cessation of hostilities during the campaign; rather, the UN has been further tasked with brokering this arrangement. Talks are continuing between Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese governments over Ethiopia’s proposed Renaissance Dam along the Nile River, which, it argues, would be beneficial for all three countries. Ethiopia will certainly benefit from a new source of hydroelectric power as well as the ability to control over-flooding and siltation. After a tripartite international experts group had assessed that downstream countries will not suffer any significant impacts, Sudan is officially in favour of the project. Egypt, however, fears that countries downstream will suffer a loss of water supply because of the man-made reservoir in Ethiopia despite the tripartite assessment. However, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Dr Mohamed Abdul Muttalib, has recently stated that the Renaissance Dam is a positive step for the interests of all Nile Basin countries, reports Egypt State Information Service. South Sudan Approximately 2,500 displaced Sudanese people fled from their homes in South Kordofan to South Sudan in recent weeks, reports Sudan Tribune. Many of the displaced are women and children who have walked between five and ten days to reach safety, according to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). IDPs claim to have fled their homes due to ongoing conflicts in Sudan and a lack of nutrition resulting from two consecutive poor harvests and limited supply routes for aid agencies. MSF personnel are operating in South Sudanese towns and cities such as Kodok to administer necessary medical treatment. MSF is also feeding the newly arrived IDPs as well as providing treatment via the ambulatory therapeutic feeding programme to malnourished children. Despite South Sudan’s failure to reach a deal with Sudan on the final status of the Abyei region, Vice -President James Wani Igga has expressed determination to “not give up… never surrender”, reports Sudan Tribune Igga further stated that South Sudan will continue to cooperate with Sudan in order to implement an agreement on Abyei by means of a referendum currently set to take place in the month of October. However, the Sudanese government in Khartoum has made the process of implementing the already-delayed referendum difficult as it has rejected the proposal for the only eligible voters to be the nine Ngok chiefdoms and any permanent residents of Abyei. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, requested that the African Union (AU) take full responsibility for the referendum. The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, also sent a letter to the AU requesting that the referendum on Abyei to be considered an urgent issue for the heads of AU states when they meet in Addis Ababa on 12 October, reports Sudan Tribune. Kiir also insisted that Sudanese forces should be fully withdrawn from Abyei to allow the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) to take better control of the area.
Linda Lavender ► firstname.lastname@example.org
On 02 October, the UN Security Council called upon all Syrian combatants to allow humanitarian aid to flow freely into the country and asked the Assad regime to lift “bureaucratic impediments and other obstacles” to international relief aid and workers, re ports Christian Science Monitor (CSM). AFP indicates that seventeen countries including the US, France and Australia have agreed to receive quotas of refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced the participation of these countries in the Syria resettlement Humanitarian Admission Programme, which will assess refugees for relocation in host countries, giving priority to the most vulnerable. Also, The Guardian reports that the UK has pledged an additional USD 139 million 15 October 2013
in assistance to 230,000 Syrian children and their families. So far, the UK has set aside USD 798 million for the Syrian crisis. The US has provided USD 1.5 billion in humanitarian aid and social programmes since the Syrian uprising began in the spring of 2011, reports National Public Radio (NPR). By comparison, the US has spent USD 26 million in non-lethal aid to the rebels. UN peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi indicated on 06 October that it was not certain if Geneva peace talks will take place in midNovember as planned, reports Reuters. Brahimi indicated he had invited parties but the meeting was “not 100 per cent certain”. US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated Brahimi’s call and pushed for the mid-November Geneva II meeting, reports Voice of America (VOA). After talks in London with Brahimi on 14 October, Kerry said that President Assad had “lost the legitimacy to be a cohesive force that could bring people together” and called instead for a new government in Syria. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is expanding its clandestine efforts to train opposition fighters in Syria amid growing concerns that moderate rebels are losing ground to more extreme elements operating in Syria, reports The Washington Post. The training efforts are expected to only produce a few hundred trained fighters each month even if the operation is ramped up. Some US officials suggest the trainings will do little to bolster rebel forces in the region. Turkey’s parliament voted to extend by a yearlong mandate allowing for the deployment of troops to Syria if needed reports Reuters. Turkey’s Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz said, “The present risk and threats have not decreased; on the contrary, they have increased”. Syrian President Bashar al Assad is warning Turkey that it will “pay a heavy price” for supporting terrorists o perating in Syria, reports VOA. In an aired interview on 04 October, Assad accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of allowing extremists from over eighty countries to cross the border into Syria. In the same interview, Assad said it was too early to decide whether he would run for re-election for a third term in 2014, reports Time. Assad said, “If I have a feeling that the Syrian people want me to be president in the coming period I will run for the post”. International chemical weapons experts began the UN backed mission to oversee the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons on 02 October, reports VOA. The international team included nineteen experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and fourteen UN personnel. In a released statement, the group reported it had begun working with Syrian authorities on securing sites where they will operate. According to declassified French intelligence, Syria’s chemical weapon s arsenal includes more than 1,000 tonnes of chemical agents and precursor chemicals for the production of mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve agents, reports Reuters. BBC notes that while attending meetings with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Secretary of State John Kerry credited the Assad regime for following through on pledges to support efforts to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. Kerry acknowledged, “Within a week of the (UN) resolution being passed, some chemical weapons were being destroyed”. A second team of weapons experts was deployed to Syria on 08 October in order to expand operations in Syria, according to AP. In positive developments for weapons experts, on 09 October, UPI reports that Assad troops broke through rebel forces encircling Aleppo in order to secure a major chemical weapons base that will facilitate UN work there. On 11 October, AP reported the UN Security Council authorised the joint mission, a proposed UN-OPCW mission of 100 staff to carry out the destruction in three phases by mid2014, reports Time. Pressure mounted on Syrian rebels on 14 October, as chemical weapons experts pushed to gain access to weapons sites in areas under rebel control, reports New York Times. While the Syrian government is legally responsible for dismantling its chemical weapons, the international community also expects full cooperation from the opposition. Syrian rebels continue to be undermined by infighting over conflicting ideology, but more often over territory, spoils of war and control of resources such as oil and smuggling routes, reports Reuters. The divisions among rebels and the influence of jihadists have made Western countries reluctant to intervene in the conflict. On 04 October, several powerful Syrian rebel groups demanded al Qaeda-linked militias and Western-backed opposition factions stop their fighting in northern Syria and called upon the hardline Islamists to withdraw their troops after failed attempts by rebel groups to broker a truce, reports VOA. The Daily Star reports that some Saudi Arabian-supplied anti-tank missiles intended for moderate Syrian rebels accidentally fell under the control of jihadist group Jabhat al Nusra (JAN). The disclosure threw into question plans to supply moderates via neighbouring Jordan. Meanwhile, on 13 October, Islamist rebels destroyed the Sufi Muslim shrine of Sheikh Eissa Abdelqader al Rifaiy in the rebel-held town of Busaira, in eastern Syria, reports Reuters. Several violent incidents were reported throughout the country during the previous two weeks: 10-Oct-13: The British Observatory for Human Rights indicates that scores of rebels and regime forces were killed in heavy fighting in battles south of Damascus, reports RFE/RL. Also, rebel forces claimed responsibility for the shelling in the central province of Homs that damaged one of Syria’s two main oil refineries. 13-Oct-13: Syria’s Red Crescent successfully evacuated at least 1,500 people from a Damascus suburb besieged for months by the Syrian Army, reports AFP. 14-Oct-13: In rebel-held northwestern Syria, 27 people were killed when a car bomb exploded, reports Australian Associated Press (AAP). CNN indicated the bomb exploded in the Idlib town of Darkush on the border with Turkey. Also, jihadists freed four of seven kidnapped International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff members. 15 October 2013
Human Rights Watch suggests that an August attack on Alawite villages that killed 190 was carried out by opposition forces, reports UPI. Joe Stork, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch said these attacks were not undertaken by rogue elements of the opposition. Instead, “this operation was a coordinated, planned attack on the civilian population in these Alawite villages”. The group found that at least twenty armed opposition militias participated in the operation. Also, Human Rights Watch accused the Assad regime of unlawfully detaining tens of thousands of political prisoners, many of which are subjected to torture, reports Time. German intelligence services believe that Iran has allowed Syria’s regime to station fighter jets on its territory to keep them safe from any foreign attack, reports AFP.
IED & De-Mining
Linda Lavender ► email@example.com
The CFC publishes a weekly IED and Demining Events map. This global compilation links to articles reporting significant IED related-events and demining efforts. This report covers 01-14 October 2013.
Recent CFC Special Reports
Blowback: The Unintended Consequences of Hezbollah’s Role in Syria (Sep 2013)
LAPSSET Transport Corridor: Transit and Oil Infrastructure in East Africa (Sep 2013)
Mali’s Stabilisation Project: Political, Security and Humanitarian Assessments (June 2013)
Regional Monarchies in the Context of the Arab Spring (June 2013)
15 October 2013
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