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Middle East North Africa Northeast Africa Horn of Africa IED & Demining 1 4 6 7 8
30 July 2013
This document provides complex coverage of developments in regions of interest from 23 - 29 July 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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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on 29 July, “Iraq is at another crossroads”, adding, “[Iraq’s] political leaders have a clear responsibility to bring the country back from the brink, and to leave no space to those who seek to exploit the political stalemate through violence and terror”, according to Australian Associated Press (AAP).The UN Security Council called for “meaningful political dialogue and national unity” in Iraq, reports The Daily Star. The Council encouraged the government to continue strengthening democracy and the rule of law, improve security and public order and combat terrorism and sectarian violence across the country. In 2013, militants have killed more than 4,000 people in Iraq, inflicting more than 800 deaths in July, reports Reuters. A day after massive jail breaks at Abu Ghraib and Taji detention centres near Baghdad freed more than 500 inmates on 22 July, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant1 claimed responsibility, reports Reuters. The al Qaeda affiliate said it had deployed suicide attackers, rockets and 12 car bombs in the attacks that killed 120 Iraqi guards and SWAT forces at the prisons. In the aftermath, Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki accused militias affiliated with his political rival cleric Moqtada al Sadr of complicity in the prison break. In televised comments Maliki said, “[g]uards who were inside the prison are connected to these militias, and it was they who colluded and it was they who opened the doors”.
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Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is also known as Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
Iraqi security forces are conducting extensive manhunts to recapture the escapees, amid concerns that the freed prisoners will soon be able to rejoin the ranks of the Islamic militants and carry out additional attacks in Iraq, reports France24. International police agency Interpol issued a security alert across the Middle East after the prison break, stating the organisation was working with Iraqi police to collect photos and fingerprints of escapees to facilitate a worldwide hunt for the fugitives, reports Associated Press (AP). Interpol called the incident “a major threat to global security”. Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, asserts that Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is now more worrisome than Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as the organisation has been staging a comeback for months, according to National Public Radio (NPR). Baghdad has approached the United States with a USD 1.9 billion list of foreign-military items it seeks to purchase, according to United Press International (UPI). Among the requested items are nuclear, biological and chemical reconnaissance ground vehicles, helicopters and maintenance contracts. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, in its mandatory disclosure of the inquiry to Congress, said the sales would “contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to imp rove the security of a strategic partner…[and] contribute to Iraq’s stability and sovereignty”. Numerous violent incidents were reported throughout the country this past week: 23-Jul-13: In Nineveh province four kidnapped police officers, were discovered dead while gunmen killed a prison guard and barber, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Two Sahwa2 fighters were killed in Kirkuk province along with a Kurdish peshmerga3. In Baquba, one person was killed in a bombing and two police officers were killed by gunmen at a checkpoint near Baiji. AFP reports that worshippers gathering in a Kirkuk mosque were bombed, killing seven people and wounding 31 others. 24-Jul-13: Attacks by insurgents left seventeen dead across Iraq, reports AP. In Mosul, attackers stormed a police headquarters killing nine officers and wounding two others. An ambulance responding to the emergency, hit a roadside bomb wounding the driver and assistant. Also, in Kirkuk an army patrol was hit by a car bomb, killing an officer and an Iraqi soldier. Baghdad police discovered the bodies of three people riddled with bullets, and a bomb exploded in the northern neighbourhood of Qahira killing three people. Finally in the northern city of Tuz Kharmato, a bomb hidden on a motorised cart exploded in a residential area injuring 35 people and damaging several houses. 25-Jul-13: In the northern town of Sulaiman Pek, authorities say that gunmen killed fourteen Shi’ite truck drivers at a makeshift roadblock on a frequently travelled highway, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). The killings took place after clashes erupted in the town late in the evening of 24 July between militants and Iraqi security forces. Security officials say that the gunmen carried mortars and assault rifles. Also, a bomb targeting diners at a café in Muqdadiyah killed sixteen people and wounded twenty others, reports AP. 28-Jul-13: A car bomb killed eight Kurdish peshmerga and injured nine others in Tuz Kharmato, according to AFP. The ethnically mixed town is located in a notoriously unstable region over which Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government claim jurisdiction, reports Reuters. In central Baghdad, a bomb attached to a minibus killed three people and wounded nine others, reports AP. Another pre-dawn bomb went off near a Baghdad teahouse, killing a civilian. 29-Jul-13: Eleven car bombs targeted nine different areas of Baghdad, seven of them Shi’ite majority neighbourhoods, reports AAP. Also, two car bombs detonated in Kut, two more in Samawa, and one bombing in Basra. Bombings elsewhere in Iraq killed six police officers. In total, 57 civilians and 10 militants were killed.
Kurds from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey convened in Erbil to discuss plans for a pan-Kurdish congress that would attempt to overcome historical divisions and position Kurds to take full advantage of regional upheaval, reports Reuters. A date has yet to be set for the congress but some participants said it could be held as early as August 2013. Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani sai d, “[o]ur main goal in holding this congress is for all Kurdish political factions to reach a shared strategy and voice”. Violence is negatively impacting the Iraqi economy as insecurity fosters reluctant consumers and forces costly changes in daily business operations, reports AP. One Sunni truck driver explained that while he has been hauling goods from neighbouring countries to Baghdad in recent years, he no longer travels to the capital after Shi’ite militias threatened to “cut his legs off” if he returned. Earlier this week, fourteen Shi’ite truck drivers, and their crews, were executed at a fabricated checkpoint by militants along a highway in a predominately Sunni northern region of the country. Reuters reports that a bomb attack on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline halted oil flows on 28 July near the city of Mosul; repairs would take upwards of 72-hours to complete.
The tense political situation in Lebanon has all but “severed communication” among the country’s parties and politicians, reports The Daily Star. Shared concerns over Lebanon, and the region, has Riyadh and Tehran finalising arrangements for meetings to take place prior to a scheduled visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin in early August. Putin will attend the 04 August inauguration of Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani along with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman. Of primary concern, is the potential security vacuum created in Lebanon if the mandate of Army commander General Jean Kahwagi is not extended.
Sahwa fighters are Sunni anti-Qaeda fighters who were pivotal in turning the tide of sectarian violence during the height of violence 2005 – 2007. Peshmerga are armed Kurdish fighters.
30 July 2013
For the third time this month, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri postponed a 29 July legislative session as a result of a continued boycott of Parliament by members of both the March 8 and March 14 coalitions, reports The Daily Star. Berri called for the legislative session to consider and approve 45 draft laws including a process that would extend Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwagi’s term of service. Following the European Union’s (EU) decision to place the militant arm of Hezbollah on its terrorist list, the EU stressed that Lebanon would not be impacted in terms of EU aid or the peacekeeping mission, reports UPI. The new EU designation comes after months of lobbying by the UK and Netherlands, reports Voice of America (VOA). Lebanese officials warned the EU that the action would be unhelpful to interim Prime Minister Tamman Salam’s efforts to form a new c abinet, expressing concern that Hezbollah’s terrorist designation could stoke additional sectarian tensions. Stiffer security checks at the border crossing with Syria have resulted in the inability of some Syrian refugees to seek shelter in Lebanon, according to The Daily Star. The new measures come at a time when Lebanon struggles to accommodate the massive refugee crisis. Lebanon’s foreign minister said that Lebanon is home to 1.2 million Syrian refugees. AP reports that many Lebanese regard Syrian refugees with suspicion and are worried that the refugees, mostly Sunni Muslims, will remain in Lebanon after the civil war thereby upsetting Lebanon’s delicate sectarian balance. On 26 July, an arrest warrant was issued for a Syrian man attempting to join Jahbat al Nusra (JAN), the Syrian al Qaeda affiliated jihadist organisation, in Lebanon, reports The Daily Star. Officials say the suspect was placed under surveillance after his arrival in Lebanon from Cairo. Recent concerns have escalated over the presence of JAN in Lebanon. Earlier in July, authorities detained and charged six JAN-affiliated men with forming an “armed gang” intending to carry out terrorist acts in the country. Numerous violent incidents were reported throughout the country this past week: 25-Jul-13: Two people were injured when a backhoe hit buried hand grenades during excavations in Tripoli, reports The Daily Star. 26-Jul-13: In the Bekaa Valley, an Arsal man was kidnapped by a group of gunmen in Bazalieh on the road linking Baalbek-Hermel, according to The Daily Star. Security sources indicated the abduction could be linked to the killing of four Shi’ites from Labweh and Ras Baalbek. Supporters of fugitive Salafist Sheikh Ahmad Assir staged a sit-in on 26 July vowing to remain committed to Assir’s principles and “path of change”, according to NOW. Protesters demanded the release of detained suspects in the deadly June incident in Abra when clashes between the Army and Assir gunmen left over a dozen soldiers and 28 gunmen dead.
At least a quarter of the Syrian population has been driven from their homes since the onset of violence, according to The Guardian. Almost two million people have fled the country, while an estimated four million Syrians are internally displaced within the country. So overwhelming is the flow of refugees in the region, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres has warned the agency may be forced to ask Western countries, including the US and UK, to host tens of thousands of refugees. The conflict has reduced the wheat harvest to its worst level in nearly thirty years, according to Reuters. Local traders estimate that the harvest could be as low as 1.5 million tonnes which is less than half of pre-conflict levels and well below forecasts. The Assad government, increasingly short of hard currency, will be challenged to make up the shortfall through wheat imports. Humanitarian relief officials warned on 23 July of a potential crisis in southern Syria where rising violence in the south continued to strand thousands of would-be refugees along the Jordanian border, reports The Washington Post. According to AFP, an estimated 600,000 Syrians were unable to receive aid in July as spiralling violence prevented World Food Programme (WFP) convoys from reaching conflict-affected regions such as Damascus and Homs. The Syrian National Coalition welcomed the EU decision on 22 July to blacklist Hezbollah’s military wing and suggested to the international body that Hezbollah leadership should be put on trial for their role in the Syrian conflict, reports AFP. The opposition describes Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria as going “against the aspirations for freedom and dignity of the Syrian people”. I ran condemned the EU’s decision saying the move was “contrary to all political and legal norms, surprising and unacceptable”, according to VOA. James Fallon, a Middle East analyst at Control Risks, told Reuters, “the EU has made a distinction where no formal distinction exists” between the military and political wings of Hezbollah, adding, “the impact of the ban, which includes an asset freeze, will depend on how it is enforced”. Also, for the first time, Syrian rebel leaders met with the UN Security Council to discuss the status of the country’s two year civil war, according to BBC. Rebel leaders indicated they were prepared to participate in peace talks if the Assad regime agreed to political transition, and further appealed to Russia to halt weapons transfers to the Syrian government. UN peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi indicated he was moving forward with a planned peace conference aimed at ending violence in Syria, although no firm date for the “Geneva 2” conference has been set, reports AFP. Initially set for May 2013, the conference has been beset with disagreements between the US and Russia over whether Iran should attend talks, while a divided opposition has pushed the conference off with best estimates now targeting September. A top UN official says the international organisation has been notified of thirteen alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria, reports RFE/RL. To date, the UN Chemical Weapons Investigative team has been denied access to Syria over disagreements with the Syrian 30 July 2013
government over access to potential attack sites. On 26 July, Al Jazeera reported that the UN reached an agreement with Syria over the inquiry into the use of chemical weapons, but did not indicate whether UN inspectors would be allowed into the country. A press release states, “[t]he discussions were thorough and productive and led to an agreement on the way forward”. Both sides in th e conflict deny the use of chemical weapons. US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey told Congress that US military intervention in Syria would cost billions of dollars a year and would likely drag the US into a conflict it could not control or influence, reports The Telegraph. Dempsey stated, “[o]nce we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid”. Whil e the US announced in June it would provide additional military support to vetted rebel groups, the initiative was delayed as the administration considered ways of ensuring weapons would not fall into the hands of Islamist militants fighting against Assad. This week, the US announced it had overcome concerns and was prepared to begin shipments. Rebel groups say light arms and anti-tank weapons could arrive as early as August. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that US plans to arm Syrian opposition forces would undermine efforts to convene the Geneva 2 Peace Conference, according to Reuters. Ramazan Abdulatipov, acting president of the resistive Russian Caucasus region of Dagestan, says local Islamic militants are fighting in Syria and raised concerns that returning fighters could potentially destabilise the region, reports AP. Russia’s Federal Security Service estimates 200 Dagestan residents are fighting in Syria. Meanwhile, the media arm of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been releasing videos throughout the Holy Month of Ramadan featuring community gatherings in Syria, attempting to win “hearts and minds” of Syrians, reports The Washington Post. Family activities, such as children’s ice-cream eating contests and jovial tug o’ war, sponsored by al Qaeda are an attempt to soften the group’s image as it struggles to win support from local populations. Finally, as rebels seek to cut one of the regime’s main supply routes in the north, Jahbat al Nusra (JAN), an al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group, cautioned civilians in the area to “stay off a road linking central Syria with the northern province of Aleppo, declaring it a military zone”, according to AP. JAN stated that “there are daily clashes and military operations there. Holy warriors have booby -trapped the road”. Numerous violent incidents were reported throughout the country this past week: 23-Jul-13: Turkish border soldiers killed one person as a group of eight civilians attempted to illegally cross the border from Turkey into Syria, reports Reuters. Turkish officials did not disclose the nationalities of the individuals, nor if they were smugglers. However, they indicated the group attempted to cross from Hatay province into Syria and had fired on the Turkish patrol after the border soldiers had warned the group not to cross the border. Also, AFP reports Syrian Kurds successfully expelled jihadists from a string of Kurdish villages in the north. The latest clashes come several days after fighters loyal to the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) expelled JAN and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant from the strategic Kurdish town of Ras al Ain. 24-Jul-13: Palestinian militia from the pro-Assad Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLPGC) who have surrounded a rebel held refugee camp on the edge of Damascus for months, launched an assault on the camp that killed at least fifteen Palestinians, mostly women and children, reports Reuters. The Yarmouk Camp Coordination Committee confirmed that two Grad missiles fired into the camp struck a bakery killing five women and five children. Reuters reports Islamist rebels kidnapped Marcin Suder, a Polish journalist, in Idlib province. 27-Jul-13: In Aleppo, a Syrian missile strike killed an estimated 29 people, according to The Telegraph. Of those killed, 19 were children. Reuters reports that a rebel group calling itself the Supporters of the Islamic Caliphate posted video showing the dead bodies of 30 men who they claimed were pro-Assad militiamen. Syrian news agency, SANA, accused rebels of killing 123 people, primarily civilians, in the northern town of Khan al Assad. 29-Jul-13: A prominent Italian Jesuit priest was kidnapped by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a jihadist group, from Raqqa, reports Reuters. Meanwhile, the Syrian army announced Hezbollah troops had retaken Khalidiya one of the few remaining rebel havens in Homs, according to Reuters. Syrian forces launched an offensive in Homs almost a month earlier. A coalition of Islamist rebels announced a campa ign called “Amputation of the Infidels” against Assad forces in Aleppo’s western districts of Lairamun, Dah Abed Rebbo and Zahraa.
In a meeting between Turkish officials and Syrian Kurds in Istanbul on 26 July, Turkey urged Kurds not to establish a “ breakaway entity in northern Syrian by force”, according to VOA. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned Syrian Kurds of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that any “wrong and dangerous” moves could hurt Turkish security. As Turkey tries to hold a delicate peace process together with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) 4 militants operating on Turkish soil, it is concerned that any moves to promote Kurdish autonomy in Syria could impact and embolden PKK members.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, the European Union and NATO.
30 July 2013
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The European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, travelled to Cairo on 29 July and met with officials in an attempt to mediate an end to Egypt’s political deadlock, reports Bloomberg. Ashton became the first foreign leader to meet with former President Mohammed Morsi, who is reportedly in good health. Additionally, Ashton met with Defence Minister General Abdelfatah al-Sisi and other senior officials from the interim government. At a press conference in Cairo, Ashton urged all sides “to think very carefully about how you include everybody” in Egypt’s political future. Violence in the country continues to escalate, as mor e than 260 have been killed since the military removal of former President Mohammed Morsi. The most recent incident left at least 82 people dead on 27 July when Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with police in Cairo, according to The Guardian. This was the second mass killing of demonstrators in three weeks, occurring a day after hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched in Cairo in support of the military, informs The New York Times. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence, urging security forces to respect the right to free speech and assembly and urging protesters to keep the peace, informs Reuters. In a statement released to the press, Ki-moon called on authorities to ensure the protection of all Egyptians and for the release of Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders currently in detention. Morsi has been held in detention by the military since his ouster. Earlier in the week, General Sisi appealed to Egyptians to take to the streets on 26 July to give the military a “mandate” to deal with violence and terrorism which includes a crackdown on Islamists. On 26 July, the Muslim Brotherhood organised 35 marches across Cairo in support of re-instating Morsi. On 29 July, The Guardian reports that the interior ministry announced the revival of several police units that were ostensibly closed after the 2011 revolution. The state security investigations service, Mabahith Amn ad-Dawla, a police division under President Hosni Mubarak, symbolised police oppression and was reportedly closed two years ago with the national security service (NSS) created in its place. However, after the massacre on 27 July, interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced the reinstatement of the units, referring to the NSS by its former name. Gulf News reports that on 29 July, President Mansour transferred emergency powers to Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi. Al Beblawi now possesses the authority to order the army to arrest civilians and commute court rulings except in cases of murder and complicity. A presidential aide stated the enforcement of these powers did not call for a state of emergency. On 28 July, the military launched a 48-hour offensive called “Desert Storm” against militants in North Sinai Governorate in the Sinai Peninsula, reports RT. The army reported that at least ten “militants” were killed and twenty others were arrested during the operation. The military is reportedly blocking all the roads, bridges and tunnels from Northern Sinai to other provinces of Egypt. Security forces estimate there are about 500 armed extremists in Sinai that may use local civilians as human shields. The security situation in Sinai has deteriorated since the beginning of July, with at least 23 security forces personnel and 10 civilians killed by militants in the North Sinai city of Al-Arish On 26 July, prosecutors announced they had launched an investigation of Morsi on charges of murder and conspiring with the Palestinian militant group Hamas to carry out an attack on a prison during the 2011 uprising against Mubarak. The charges assert that Morsi and other senior Muslim Brothers were rescued from jail during the 2011 revolution with Hamas’s assistance, and in return helped Hamas attack Egyptian police facilities and murder policemen during the ousting of Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood says the escapees, including Morsi, fled the prison with the help of locals and that Hamas was not involved in any way. Several other Brotherhood leaders and prominent Islamists have also been taken into custody since Morsi’s ouster, with two figures from the Brotherhood-allied Wasat Party, Abul-Ela Madi and Essam Soltan, arrested on allegations they incited violence. US President Barack Obama announced the suspended delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, claiming it is no longer “appropriate” after Morsi was removed from power, according to AFP. Egypt is the fifth-largest recipient of US military aid and received twelve fighter jets while Morsi was in office. A decision has not been made as to whether the US will suspend all foreign aid to Egypt. US law forbids assistance to any country whose government was installed by a coup, although the Obama administration has yet to officially refer to the ousting of Morsi as such.
On 28 July, clashes broke out between the Libyan Special Forces and an unknown armed group in western Gwesha district of Benghazi, reports Reuters. Security forces were able to retake control of the area overnight, but at least one soldier was reportedly killed. The clashes were the latest in a surge of violence sparked by the killing of a prominent Muslim Brotherhood critic, Abdelsalam al Mismari, who was shot dead on 26 July as he was leaving a mosque in Benghazi after Friday prayers. Al Mismari’s murder was followed by protests directed at the Muslim Brotherhood, reports BBC. The demonstrators attacked the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing in Libya, Justice and Construction Party (JCP). In addition, protesters in the capital of Tripoli stormed the headquarters of JCP, as well as the secular National Forces Alliance on 27 July. A protes ter was quoted as saying: “They’re the cause of all our problems. First we need a constitution, then laws regulating political life before parties can begin operating”. Protests were followed by a mass prison break on 27 July in Benghazi, reports Al Jazeera. A riot within the Kuafiya prison, and a simultaneous attack on the facility’s exterior led to the escape of 1,117 detainees. Only about 100 were subsequently recaptured. An offic ial who 30 July 2013
wished to remain anonymous said, “[s]pecial forces called in as reinforcements were given orders not to fire at the prisoners”. However, Suleiman El Dressi, a Benghazi-based journalist, reported three prisoners were shot dead during the escape. El Dressi also said “the prisoners exploited the turmoil that was happening in the city and tried to escape”. Reports of violence continued with two powerful explosions near the courthouse in Benghazi on 28 July, where ten people were injured, reports Agence-France Presse (AFP). Following the sudden rise in violence in the country, Prime Minister Zeidan announced that he will “ reshuffle the cabinet and reorganise the government to cope with the urgent situation in the country” reports Voice of America (VOA).
Peaceful elections prevailed with a record turnout across Mali on 28 July, reports Deutsche Welle. The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an insurgent group affiliated with al Qaeda, claimed it would attack polling stations in the north, reports The Guardian. Additionally, some residents in Kidal reported the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a separatist Tuareg group, instructed citizens not to vote. Despite the opposition, a record number of the country’s seven mi llion registered voters participated in the election as UN peacekeepers and the Malian army secured polling sites throughout the country without any reported incidents of insurgent violence. Although official tallies were not immediately available, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita led the field of 27 candidates, appearing to nearly win a majority of votes. If official results show a majority win for Keita then a runoff would be avoided. Keita, referred to commonly as IBK, served as Mali prime minister 1994-2000. He formed the political party La Rassemblement pour le Mali (“Rally for Mali”, referred to as RPM) in 2001 and ran unsuccessfully for president in 2002 and 2007. He was appointed speaker of the National Assembly in 2002 and served as deputy of the body until 2012. Some critics say he was close to the 21 March coup that ousted former president Amadou Touré, but he ran on a platform of national reconciliation. According to Voice of America (VOA), Keita was the first candidate to campaign in northern Mali where tensions remain high among Tuareg voters. Keita’s chief rival, Soumaila Cissé, is a former finance member who led the West African Monetary Union. Reuters reports that Keita’s campaign announced Monday it carried enough votes to win outright. Meanwhile, Cissé countered that he is certain a run-off would be necessary. An official tally is expected on 02 August.
On 26 July, Tunisia’s secular protesters took to the streets against the Islamist-led government of the country after the murder of Mohamed Brahmi, an opposition party member, assassinated on 25 July, reports Al Jazeera. Protests continued throughout the weekend. According to reports, police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters. Opponents and supporters of the ruling Ennahda party clashed outside parliament on 28 July. Authorities blamed Salafists close to the al Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al Sharia while the terrorist group denied any involvement in the events via an online statement released the same day. The secular opposition plans to set up an alternative “salvation government” to challenge the current government, according to Al Jazeera. Jilani Hammami, a leader of the Salvation Front coalition and Tunisian Workers' Party, said, “[w]e will meet this evening to discuss creating a new salvation government and will study the possibility of nominating a new prime minister to replace this failed government”. Meanwhile, Islamists in Tunisia staged rival protests on 26 July to defend the Ennahda party, rejecting the demands for Ennahda’s resignation and creation of a new unity government, reports Reuters. As the protests by both sides continued, the Tunisian government gathered for an emergency meeting on 29 July. The General Union of Tunisian Labour (UGTT), a powerful trade union in Tunisia, announced they will also hold a meeting later in that same day to “decide the fate” of the country; outcomes of either meeting have not yet been released. In related news, Tunisian Minister of Interior Lotfi Ben Jeddou said on 25 July that the same weapon was used in the assassinations of Mohammed Brahmi and Chokri Belaid, another opposition leader shot dead in February 2013, adding that the same Islamist extremist cell was behind both murders, reports Associated Press (AP). Noureddin B’Hiri, senior adviser to the prime minister, announced on 24 July, that the killers of Belaid were identified and would “soon” be revealed by the Minister of Interior, reports AFP. Six people are believed to be behind the February killing of the opposition figure.
South Sudan - Sudan Cross Border Issues
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The government of Sudan confirmed on 28 July that it will delay the closure of the oil pipeline used to export South Sudanese oil, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). The decision was made following a visit to Khartoum by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Thabo Mbeki, the African Union’s (AU) chief mediator for South Sudan and Sudan. Mbeki met with President Omar al Bashir and requested more time for the AU to investigate allegations made by both Sudan and South Sudan over alleged support of rebels. Sudan’s official SUNA news agency said the oil ministry notified petroleum companies about the change in date for shutting down the pipeline. On 28 July, Phillip Aguer, Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesman, confirmed that representatives from the SPLA will meet with members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Khartoum on 29 July for a joint security meeting, informs Sudan Tribune. Khartoum has accused Juba of supporting rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state, an allegation South Sudan continues to deny. Auger stated, “The agenda of the meeting will discuss how to handle accusations and 30 July 2013
counter accusations which the two sides have been exchanging over allegations that each side provide support to the rebels fighting to destabilise or try to remove the other party in power”.
New clashes between the Sudanese army and rebels broke out on 27 July in South Kordofan state, bordering South Sudan, informs Reuters. Witnesses report clashes outside the city of Dalang, one of the largest towns in the state, and additional reports suggest that the army has bolstered security within the city. A spokesman for the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Gibril Adam, said JEM troops attacked the military outside Dalang stating, “[w]e handed them a defeat”. JEM is based in western Darfur and is a part of the SRF, the rebel alliance seeking to destabilise the government of President Bashir. On 29 July AFP reports that inter-tribal fighting in Darfur, rampant since the beginning of the year, is spreading. The African Union-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reports that approximately 300,000 people were displaced between January and May 2013 due to violence. The latest fighting took place in Garsila, 150 kilometres from the Abugaradil area, close to the borders with Chad and Central African Republic, where 94 people were killed between 25 and 26 July. The Nation reports on 27 July that a land mine killed nine children and gravely injured five others in Abukarshola, South Kordofan state. Abukarshola has been the scene of intense fighting between Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels and the Sudanese government over the past year. Both South Sudan and Sudan are heavily mined in several areas as a result of the protracted civil war before South Sudan gained independence. Most affected are Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, mined by the numerous rebel movements who have fought the government.
On 23 July President Salva Kiir dismissed the entire South Sudanese government, including Vice President Riek Machar, who has increasingly signalled his interest in challenging Kiir for the country’s top leadership position. Minister of Information Barnaba Marial Benjamin said a shuffle of the government was overdue and that Kiir acted within the country’s constitution. According to AP, Kiir has indicated he wants to form a new inclusive government. Reportedly, Kiir intends to consult leaders of various political parties before unveiling a new cabinet. Former Vice President Machar called for calm, and supported President Kiir’s right to dismiss him from his post, informs Sudan Tribune. Machar said, “It is a constitutional mandate of the president to remove and form a government. This is within the powers of the president. There should be no violence.” Machar urged those who may be waiting for the formation of the government in order to react, to support the president ’s efforts and said that any political change in the country must come through peaceful and democratic processes. Kiir’s first appointment came on 27 July when he named his former government spokesman, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, his Minister of Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile, on 29 July BBC reported Machar plans to challenge Kiir for the leadership of the ruling party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) so that he can run for president in the 2015 election. Intense fighting in the state of Jonglei over the recent months has displaced tens of thousands of civilians, which the United Nations continues to struggle to access and provide humanitarian assistance, informs Radio Netherlands Worldwide. The UN Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reports that at least 100,000 are displaced in Pibor county of Jonglei. The World Food Programme (WFP) has now launched an initiative to provide food to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and requested USD 20 million in funding to provide emergency food assistance to 60,000 people for the remainder of 2013. Tribal fighting between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes have become increasingly violent this year and because of poor road conditions, humanitarian agencies have struggled to gain access to them, while many others remain hiding in the bush, too afraid to seek medical attention or receive assistance.
Horn of Africa
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Kenya’s High Court over-ruled government plans to relocate 55,000 Somali refugees from Nairobi and other major cities to camps along the Somali and Ethiopian borders on 26 July. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the move upholds the dignity of displaced populations and the right to freedom of movement for urban refugees, many of whom were exposed to violence at the hands of police for ten weeks in 2012 and 2013. According to HRW, officials announced a forcible resettlement in December 2012, which exposed thousands to the risk of a swift return to insecure conditions in Somalia or to over-crowded camps along its border. On 26 July, the Dutch embassy in Nairobi issued a warning about possible attacks against foreigners in response to the discovery of 403 rolls of ammonium nitrate by police. The embassy discouraged its citizens from amassing in areas where tourists frequently congregate. Government spokesperson Muthui Kariuki responded to concerns, saying, “The country is safe, the re is nothing to worry about...The government is in control”. After a four -week strike by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) ended last week, the federal government announced that it will not pay July salaries to teachers who participated in the protests, reports Sabahi. Josephat Serem, a branch secretary for the Knut, said that withholding pay will violate the agreement that brought an end to the strike. Wilson
30 July 2013
Sossion, the Knut chairperson who was detained by police in late July, said, “The government is courting a crisis” and warned of “dire consequences” if teachers are not paid July salaries. Christian Science Monitor (CSM) warned that Kenya’s entire elephant population could disappear in ten years. Richard Leakey, a renowned palaeontologist, says the government must take urgent action to protect the country’s indigenous elephant population , which has declined drastically in recent years. Incidents of poaching spiked, killing 178 in 2010, 278 in 2011 and almost 400 in 2012, as demand grew in Asian black markets for their lucrative ivory tusks. CSM notes that eighty per cent of middle class families in China confessed to purchasing ivory. On 24 July, Nairobi launched a joint venture between government, private sector and activists called “Hands Off Our Elephants” that aims to improve anti -poaching initiatives. Kenya recently increased poaching penalties to include jail time.
A minivan packed with explosives struck Turkey’s diplomatic post in Mogadishu on 27 July, reports CNN International. Al Shabaab took credit for the attack, which killed two Somali security guards, a university student and three insurgents. The terrorist group also took credit for the detonation of a car bomb on 24 July that was intended to strike a prominent Somali lawmaker, Sheikh Adan Mader, reports Sabahi. Mader escaped unscathed but one death was reported and at least seven people were seriously wounded. Al Shabaab has recently issued threats it would increase attacks during the holy month of Ramadan. A high-level EU delegation, including EU managing director for Africa, visited Mogadishu and Garowe, the capital of semi-autonomous Puntland, on 24 and 25 July. The delegation discussed Somalia’s on-going democratisation, maritime security and the upcoming “New Deal” developm ent conference scheduled to take place in Brussels in September 2013. Puntland seeks to attend the conference under its own status; however, EU officials implied they will welcome Puntland representatives as members of the broader Somali delegation. President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole addressed the political roadmap through 2016 with officials from the EU, Somaliland and Puntland, as part of New Deal process aimed at including greater numbers of Somali citizens in the country’s long -term political transition.
IED & De-Mining
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 23 – 29 July 2013.
Philippines: Six people were killed and over 40 injured when a bomb exploded in a restaurant located in the southern port city of Cagayan de Oro, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). Thailand: A roadside bomb detonated in southern Thailand killing two teachers and wounding three others, according to Associated Press (AP). Tunisia: A police car parked at the Goulette Coast Guard Station exploded on 27 July, reports Tunis Afrique Press. No casualties were reported.
Recent CFC Special Reports
The Lord’s Resistance Army and the Search for Joseph Kony ( August 2013) Mali’s Stabilisation Project: Political, Security and Humanitar ian Assessments (June 2013) Regional Monarchies in the Context of the Arab Spring (June 2013) Destination Unknown: Eritrean Refugee Torture and Trafficking (May 2013) Rebuilding Somalia: Security Challenges for the Post-Conflict Nation (May 2013)
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30 July 2013
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