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Political and security risk updates
Africa: Al- !abaab clai"s responsibility for car bo"b near #ogadis!u$s international airport% Americas: tudent protest turns &iolent in 'ene(uela a"id rise of a "ore radical opposition% Asia and Pacific: )!ina and *ai+an !old !istoric !ig!-le&el talks% Europe: ,taly to for" a ne+ go&ern"ent follo+ing t!e resignation of pri"e "inister% Middle East: 'iolence in yria peaks as latest rounds of talks in -ene&a "ake little progress% Polar regions: Alaskan senator critical of . Arctic strategy%
Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for car bomb near Mogadishu s international airport Al- !abaab !as clai"ed responsibility for a re"ote-controlled car bo"b targeting a ./ con&oy near #ogadis!u$s Aden Adde ,nternational Airport in t!e o"ali capital on 10 February% At least se&en people +ere killed and "ore t!an a do(en in1ured in t!e e2plosion% *!e bo"b +as detonated close to a c!eckpoint at t!e entrance to t!e airport co"ple23 +!ere t!e African .nion "ission in o"alia is based3 toget!er +it! se&eral foreign diplo"atic and ./ officers% Al- !abaab spokes"an Abu #usab clai"ed t!at a nu"ber of foreign 4in&aders$ !ad been killed3 t!oug! t!e ./ states t!at only four security personnel +ere in1ured% *!e attack !ig!lig!ts t!e persistent risk of "ilitant acti&ity in t!e capital +it! t!e e2tre"ist group also clai"ing responsibility for t+o separate bo"bings on 10 February% *!e first attack +as a re"otely-detonated bo"b attac!ed to a &e!icle belonging to t!e deputy go&ernor of t!e 5o+er !ebelle region% 5ater t!at day3 a second &e!icle e2ploded outside t!e Oriental 6otel in t!e !ibis district as go&ern"ent officials +ere inside t!e building% 6a&ing been pus!ed out of t!e capital in 2011 by African .nion peacekeeping troops3 t!e o"ali go&ern"ent and regional actors are increasingly concerned about al- !abaab$s resurgence and its attacks targeting go&ern"ent personnel and foreigners% As o"alia$s fragile go&ern"ent struggles to control t!e situation3 #ogadis!u$s "ayor3 #o!a"ed /ur 7nickna"ed 4*ar(an$83 called upon security forces to e2ecute any "e"ber of al- !abaab t!at +as captured% ./ sources !a&e +arned of t!e likeli!ood of furt!er attacks%
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"ther de#elopments A leading $ibyan general has called for the country s interim parliament to be suspended% with a presidential committee to be formed to go#ern until new elections can be held& #a1or -eneral 9!alifa 6aftar outlined !is &ision of a road "ap on 14 February3 stating t!at 5ibya$s ar"ed forces +ere calling for t!e country to be rescued fro" its present tur"oil% Alt!oug! 6aftar +as a leading figure in t!e 2011 re&olution3 obser&ers doubt !is present influence3 especially gi&en t!e po+erful position of indi&idual "ilitias3 +!o continue to c!allenge t!e interi" go&ern"ent outside of t!e capital *ripoli% After t!e initial "andate of t!e -eneral /ational )ongress e2pired on 7 February3 "e"bers agreed to e2tend t!eir ter" to allo+ t!e drafting of a constitution3 in t!e face of ri&al factions fig!ting o&er t!e country$s future% *!e country$s pri"e "inister3 Ali :eidan3 branded ru"ours of a coup linked to 6aftar$s state"ent ;ridiculous$% African 'nion troops disco#ered a mass gra#e at an army camp occupied by Seleka rebels in the (entral African )epublic s capital% *angui% on 1! +ebruary& A day earlier3 ./ ecretary--eneral Ban 9i#oon !ad +arned of t!e risk t!at t!e )A< could end up di&ided along sectarian lines as a result of t!e current &iolence% 6e also called for an international force to a&oid t!e furt!er escalation of atrocities% =it! a t!ousand people killed in a "atter of +eeks and a "illion displaced3 international pressure !ad led to eleka leader #ic!el >1otodia$s resignation last "ont! and a resurgence of inter-religious &iolence bet+een )!ristians and #usli"s% *!e .nited /ations announced it +ould send Assistant ecretary--eneral for Peacekeeping ?d"ond #ulet to t!e country to consult +it! t!e African .nion on transfor"ing t!e current force into a ./ contingent in an effort to i"pro&e t!e situation% France and t!e ?. !a&e announced t!ey +ant to boost t!eir forces in t!e )A<% ,igeria announced on 1- +ebruary that it would carry out an audit of the way in which the state oil company allocates fuel subsidies& *!e "o&e is designed to end t!e contro&ersy o&er billions of dollars of oil re&enues allegedly "issing fro" t!e country$s treasury% *!is follo+s allegations "ade by t!e go&ernor of /igeria$s central bank3 anusi 5a"ido anusi3 +!o clai"ed t!at t!e /igerian /ational Petroleu" )orporation +as s!ort-c!anging t!e go&ern"ent by as "uc! as @1 billion dollars a "ont!% *!e allegations contributed to concerns a"ong in&estors3 +it! contro&ersies re"aining about +!et!er t!e audit +ill co&er contentious issue suc! as crude oil s+aps3 arrange"ents in +!ic! !ig! &alues of crude e2ports are e2c!anged for refined fuel i"ports and +!ic! industry e2perts be"oan as lacking transparency% "n the radar • • Algeria will conduct in#estigations into a military transport plane crash that killed ..& The ', Security (ouncil will consult on de#elopments in the (A)% +!ile a report is due on ./ peacebuilding efforts in -uinea-Bissau% • ,igerian go#ernment retaliation is e/pected after raids by *oko 0aram kill do(ens in t!e nort!east of t!e country% • M",'S("% the ', mission in the 1emocratic )epublic of (ongo% is to in#estigate mass e/ecutions after recei&ing reports of "ore t!an 70 ci&ilians being killed by ar"ed groups in t!e country$s resti&e east% • The go#ernment of 2hana is calling for economic reform to shore up its weakening currency3 +!ic! !as dropped to a record lo+ on foreign e2c!ange "arkets%
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Student protest turns #iolent in 3ene4uela amid rise of a more radical opposition On 12 February3 an anti-go&ern"ent student protest in 'ene(uela$s capital3 )aracas3 left t!ree people dead and o&er 2A in1ured% *!e protest +as initiated by 5eopoldo 5Bpe(3 !ead of t!e Popular =ill 7'P8 party and re-e"erging figure a"ong t!e opposition% *!e 703000 protesters +ere angry about a range of issues3 including t!e scarcity of basic goods3 t!e collapse of t!e !ealt! syste" and rising insecurity% =!ile t!e opposition !as accused &iolent pro-go&ern"ent groups of t!reatening t!e "arc!3 President /icolCs #aduro !as accused t!e opposition of atte"pting to destabilise !is go&ern"ent% ,n t!e after"at! of t!e protest3 officials issued an arrest +arrant for 5Bpe( on c!arges including "urder% *!e protest +as t!e cul"ination of street skir"is!es and "arc!es t!at !a&e escalated since t!e beginning of t!e "ont!% *ensions bet+een opposition and pro-go&ern"ent radical factions increased after a group of students +as accused of &andalising t!e !ouse of t!e go&ernor of *Cc!ira3 a district controlled by #aduro$s .nited ocialist Party 7P .'8% According to t!e go&ernor3 DosE 'iel"a #ora3 5Bpe( !ad paid students to carry out t!e attack% *!is led to a +a&e of "arc!es in 'ene(uela$s pro&incial "unicipalities3 organised by local anti-go&ern"ent student groups% 5Bpe( !as called for furt!er "obilisations% 5Bpe( +as t!e leader of t!e opposition under t!e 6ugo )!C&e( go&ern"ent 71FFF-201083 until being sanctioned fro" running for public office in 200G3 "ont!s before 'ene(uela$s regional election% 6e is regarded as a !ardliner +it!in t!e opposition ca"p and !ad notably taken an acti&e part in t!e opposition "obilisation t!at led to t!e failed coup against )!C&e( in April 2002% 5Bpe($s illegibility to stand for elections enabled t!e "ore "oderate 6enriHue )apriles to !ead t!e opposition for t!e presidential election in April 2010% 6o+e&er3 as 5Bpe($s sanction +as initially set to end in 20143 !e progressi&ely rose as a direct co"petitor to )apriles$s leaders!ip% 6is return to t!e forefront of t!e 'ene(uelan political scene is s!aping a "ore radical opposition% *!is is likely to be "atc!ed by a toug!er stance fro" #aduro% 6o+e&er3 t!ere are no clear indications t!at t!e current +a&e of protests represents a serious t!reat to t!e P .'$s rule% #aduro +ill re"ain in a position of strengt! as long as !e continues to "anage t!e factions +it!in !is o+n party and retains t!e allegiance of t!e ar"y% "ther de#elopments The assassination of a 5ournalist in Me/ico underscores the threat posed by drug cartels& On 11 February3 t!e body of -regorio Di"Ene( de la )ru( +as found in a pit in t!e state of 'eracru( in sout!east #e2ico% 6e !ad been kidnapped fro" !is residence si2 days earlier% Prior to !is abduction3 )ru( +as in&estigating a series of kidnappings in t!e region% *!is tragedy !as led to nation+ide "arc!es by fello+ 1ournalists and "edia professionals3 +!o urge t!e go&ern"ent to better ensure security for 1ournalists% (lashes between police officers and peasants ha#e occurred in *ra4il s capital% *rasilia& On 12 February3 1A3000 peasants fro" t!e 5andless =orkers; #o&e"ent 7# *8 clas!ed +it! security forces in front of t!e presidential palace% *!e de"onstration conde"ned t!e go&ern"ent for its paralysis in its agrarian refor"% *!e # * e"erged in t!e "id-20t! century as a unified organisation t!at soug!t a fairer distribution of land% ,t represents t!e largest social "o&e"ent in 5atin A"erica3 +it! an esti"ated 1%A "illion "e"bers% >espite its disrupti&e clout3 t!e # * !ad until no+ stated t!at it +ould not stage protests during t!e run up to t!e 2014 F,FA =orld )up%
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Police ha#e rescued a kidnapped congressional candidate two days after his disappearance in northern (olombia& On 12 February3 t!e )olo"bian /ational Police 9idnapping and ?2tortion .nit reported t!at it !ad found abducted politician DosE -regorio Botello Ortega% Botello is a "e"ber of t!e conser&ati&e ,ndependent #o&e"ent of Absolute <eno&ation 7#,<A8 party and an aspiring candidate for t!e F #arc! congressional elections% According to #,<A3 t!e kidnapers !a&e atte"pted to use Botello$s abduction to force a fello+ candidate to +it!dra+ !er bid for t!e congressional seat% *!e ?lectoral Obser&ation #ission !as e2pressed its doubts regarding t!e aut!enticity of t!e kidnapping% Botello is due to "ake a state"ent to t!e police in t!e co"ing days% "n the radar • • +urther student protests to be staged by the opposition in 3ene4uela s capital% (aracas& The )e#olutionary Armed +orces of (olombia 7+A)(8 has re5ected a possible ceasefire during legislati#e elections in )olo"bia on F #arc!% • • The second round of the presidential elections is to be held in El Sal#ador on F #arc!% E/pect heightened security in Toluca% Me/ico% during the ,orth American $eaders Summit on 1F February% • Protests against the costs of the +9+A :orld (up are planned for 22 February across &arious cities in Bra(il%
Asia and Pacific
(hina and Taiwan hold historic high-le#el talks On 11 February3 )!ina and *ai+an !eld t!eir first !ig!-le&el talks since 1F4F% *ai+an$s #ainland Affairs )ouncil "inister3 =ang Iu-c!i3 "et +it! :!ang :!i1un3 t!e director of )!ina$s *ai+an Affairs Office3 during !is four-day &isit of t!e "ainland% *!e t+o officials "et on t+o occasions but t!e e&ents +ere not open to reporters and no public state"ents +ere "ade3 suggesting t!e "eetings ser&ed as a confidence-building e2ercise% 6o+e&er3 &arious obser&ers !a&e speculated t!at t!at t!e t+o discussed a possible "eeting bet+een President #a Iing-1eou of *ai+an and t!e )!inese )o""unist Party -eneral ecretary Ji Dinping% Bei1ing and *aipei !a&e refused to !old talks since t!e end of t!e )!inese ci&il +ar in 1F4F3 +!en t!e ruling nationalist 9uo"intang go&ern"ent fled to *ai+an fro" t!e co""unist forces% Bei1ing insists t!at *ai+an is part of t!e People;s <epublic of )!ina and !as repeatedly stated t!eir ai" of reclai"ing t!e island% )on&ersely3 *ai+an officially calls itself t!e <epublic of )!ina and clai"s t!e territory of "ainland )!ina% 6o+e&er3 cross-strait relations !a&e i"pro&ed to t!e point t!at t!ese official talks +ere possible% *!is is largely due to t!e +ork of *ai+an;s pro-Bei1ing president3 +!o +as elected in 200G% )o""ercial crossstrait flig!ts began in 200G3 cross-strait touris" !as been encouraged and trade agree"ents !a&e allo+ed *ai+anese tec!nology fir"s to in&est in t!e "ainland% Analysts agree t!at t!ese talks could open t!e door to a ne+ c!apter in cross-strait relations bet+een *ai+an and )!ina% ,n a ne+s conference on 14 February3 =ang outlined t!e agree"ent of a regular co""unication "ec!anis" bet+een *ai+an$s #ainland Affairs )ouncil and )!ina$s *ai+an Affairs Office% #any are !opeful t!at t!is s!o+s Bei1ing is beco"ing "ore fle2ible in dealing +it! *ai+an% ,n particular3 analysts !a&e e"p!asised t!at =ang addressed *ai+an as t!e <epublic of )!ina +it!out Bei1ing ob1ecting% *!is "ay indicate t!at Bei1ing is co""itted to Ji$s stated preference for "utual dialogue% Open Briefing | 6
+urther de#elopments Thai police began to retake #arious protester-occupied sites on 16 +ebruary& o far3 police !a&e "o&ed into "ain roads surrounding Bangkok;s royal Huarter and !a&e faced little resistance% 6o+e&er3 t!e police !a&e +it!dra+n fro" a fortified protestor ca"p in t!e go&ern"ent co"ple2 due to fears of &iolent clas!es% *!e go&ern"ent offered a snap election on 2 February but t!is +as boycotted and disrupted by t!e opposition% <ecently3 opposition co-leader *!a+orn ennia" !as declared !is organisation is ready to end protests if an interi" go&ern"ent is establis!ed to i"ple"ent national refor"% (hinese authorities ha#e reported that they ha#e shot and killed eight people attempting to attack police officers in <in5iang on 16 +ebruary& )!inese officials na"ed t!e attackers as terrorists +!o +ere atte"pting to attack a police patrol +it! e2plosi&e de&ices% 'erifying t!e aut!enticity of t!ese reports is e2tre"ely difficult as infor"ation flo+ing fro" Jin1iang is tig!tly controlled% Jin1iang is !o"e to t!e .ig!ur et!nic "inority +!o speak a *urkic language% Bei1ing clai"s to be battling #usli" separatists +it!in Jin1iang and security "easures !a&e increased since an incident in late October 2010 +!en an e2ploding car in *ianan"en Huare clai"ed t!e li&es of fi&e people% .ig!ur acti&ists point to tig!t )!inese control as t!e cause of t!ese tensions and clas!es% Thai authorities ha#e announced that 1%-== )ohingya refugees were deported back to Myanmar in !=1-& *!e refugees !ad been !eld in detention centres and deported in late 20103 a"id criticis" by !u"an rig!ts groups% 6o+e&er3 *!ai officials insist t!at t!e deportations +ere &oluntary% <o!ingya people face persecution in #yan"ar and t!ousands !a&e fled fro" et!nic and sectarian &iolence fro" t!e Budd!ist "a1ority% *!e +orst of &iolence is seen in <ak!ine state3 in +est #yan"ar3 +!ere it is reported t!at tens of t!ousands !a&e been displaced% *!e <o!ingya are considered stateless and any "ore additional refugees !a&e been re1ected by neig!bouring Banglades!% "n the radar • A 'nited ,ations report will be released on 1. +ebruary pro#iding an authoritati#e account of human rights #iolations by the ,orth >orean authorities& • The contro#ersial reunion between South and ,orth >orean families is scheduled to begin on != +ebruary& *!is "ay be cancelled due to /ort! 9orean anger o&er t!e out! 9orean-. "ilitary drills sc!eduled for 24 February% • Australia?s immigration minister% Scott Morrison% has promised to release a report to refute the 9ndonesian na#y s claim that Australia?s incursions into 9ndonesian waters were intentional& • The nationalist Maharashtra ,a#nirman Sena party plan to march from (howpatty to the Mantralaya Secretariat building in Mumbai% 9ndia% on 21 February% • Protests are likely in 0anoi and 0o (hi Minh (ity% 3ietnam% on 16 March K t!e anni&ersary of 1FGG na&al battle +it! )!ina%
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9taly to form a new go#ernment following the resignation of prime minister ,talian President -iorgio /apolitano !as begun consultations +it! political leaders o&er t!e no"ination of a ne+ pri"e "inister3 follo+ing t!e resignation of ?nrico 5etta on 14 February% 5etta announced !is decision to step do+n t!e day before3 after !is centre-left >e"ocratic Party 7P>8 +it!dre+ t!eir support% *!e "ayor of Florence and leader of P> since >ece"ber 20103 #atteo <en(i3 is +idely belie&ed to be /apolitano$s no"ination for t!e position% On 10 February3 at a P> leaders!ip "eeting3 <en(i called for a &ote on t!e party$s support for a c!ange in ad"inistration3 t!us +it!dra+ing its support for 5etta% *!e &ote +as +on by 10L &otes in fa&our and L against3 +!ile 5etta$s supporters c!ose to lea&e t!e "eeting +it!out &oting% *!e >e"ocratic Party is a "a1or force in ,taly$s ruling coalition go&ern"ent% On 12 February3 5etta !ad un&eiled a broad refor" agenda for t!e coalition entitled )o""it"ent ,taly3 +!ic! included i"posing a s+ifter e2ecution of refor"s and called for t!e full support of political forces until t!e refor"s !ad been i"ple"ented% 5etta !ad only been in position for 10 "ont!s after being appointed in April 2010 and for"ing a go&ern"ent t+o "ont!s after t!e inconclusi&e elections% <en(i !ad argued t!at a ne+ ad"inistration +as needed to end a period of 4uncertainty$ under 5etta$s pre"iers!ip% ,n recent "ont!s3 5etta !ad been increasingly attacked for failing to i"ple"ent pro"ised refor"s to ,taly$s bureaucracy% *!e continuing decline of inco"e3 falling li&ing standards and !ig! une"ploy"ent in t!e country !as also contributed to gro+ing dissatisfaction +it! t!e go&ern"ent% Follo+ing t!e P> "eeting3 <en(i called for a go&ern"ent to be for"ed t!at +ould last t!e ter" until in 201G% 6o+e&er3 despite <en(i$s !ig! popularity in t!e polls3 it is yet unclear !o+ !e +ould a&oid t!e ad"inistrati&e c!allenges t!at 5etta faced% ,t is +idely belie&ed t!at t!e president +ill gi&e <en(i t!e "andate to try and for" a go&ern"ent and it is likely t!at !e +ould seek to for" a coalition +it! t!e sa"e parties as 5etta$s go&ern"ent% !ould !e +in t!e no"ination3 <en(i +ould be t!e country$s youngest pri"e "inister at t!e age of 0F years old% 6o+e&er3 <en(i$s success is uncertain% Angelino Alfano3 t!e leader of t!e /e+ )entre <ig!t3 said t!at !e +ould not support a ne+ ad"inistration +!ose policies +ere too left +ing% "ther de#elopments "n 1! +ebruary% 2eorgia announced its plan to 5oin the ,AT" )esponse +orce in !=1; and that the 'nited States has been selected as the sponsor state to pro#ide them with financial support& *!e announce"ent ca"e on t!e last day of a t+o-day &isit to t!e country by t!e /A*O #ilitary )o""ittee% *!is +as t!e co""ittee$s first &isit to t!e out! )aucasus% *opics of discussion included security3 cooperation and -eorgia$s in&ol&e"ent in /A*O$s "ission in Afg!anistan% /A*O !ad pre&iously cancelled t!e original planned &isit in /o&e"ber 2012M alt!oug! no official reason +as gi&en3 it is belie&ed t!at t!ey +ere concerned follo+ing t!e arrest of t!ree senior political opponents to t!e ne+ -eorgian go&ern"ent elected in October 2012% *!e announce"ent is likely to pro&oke a reaction fro" <ussia +!o sees t!e e2pansion of /A*O as a t!reat to its security% ,t !as been argued t!at a "ain "oti&e be!ind t!e <ussia-eorgia +ar of 200G +as t!e derail"ent of -eorgia$s Huest to 1oin /A*O%
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"n 1- +ebruary% the E' (ommission for Enlargement% Stefan +ule% un#eiled a plan to resol#e 'kraine s political crisis& *!e announce"ent ca"e after Fule &isited .kraine t!is +eek and "et +it! t!e go&ern"ent and opposition to discuss t!e crisis% Fule told reporters at a press conference t!at .kraine needed to urgently carry out constitutional refor"s3 for" a ne+ inclusi&e go&ern"ent and !old free and fair elections% Alt!oug! a "ain de"and of t!e opposition is !olding elections in t!e i""ediate future3 Fule announced t!at t!e ?. +as ad&ocating for t!e presidential election to be !eld as sc!eduled in #arc! 201A% *!e co""issioner also announced t!at t!e ?. +as ready to pro&ide financial support to .kraine if refor"s +ere i"ple"ented% *!e .krainian go&ern"ent see"ed to be follo+ing t!e ?.$s ad&ice +it! t!e announce"ent on 12 February by t!e acting pri"e "inister3 ergey Arbu(o&3 of go&ern"ent plans for econo"ic and social refor"s3 as +ell as refor"s in t!e energy sector% Turkish police clashed with demonstrators marching to the Turkish parliament in Ankara on 1+ebruary& *!e de"onstrators +ere protesting against a ne+ bill3 to be ratified by t!e president3 +!ic! tig!tens t!e go&ern"ent$s control o&er t!e internet and also o&er t!e recent 1ailing of ar"y officers accused of plotting a coup% *urkis! police responded +it! +ater cannons and tear gas to disperse 23000 protesters after fire+orks at stones +ere t!ro+n at officers% *!e *urkis! go&ern"ent !as been accused of unfairly 1ailing ar"y officers +!o !ad been in&ol&ed in an in&estigation into a corruption scandal in President Abdulla! -Nl$s go&ern"ent% On 14 February3 *urkis! #Ps also passed contro&ersial 1udicial refor"s3 +!ic! +ill put t!e upre"e Board of Dustices and Prosecutors under t!e control of t!e 1ustice "inistry% *!e opposition !as argued t!at t!e refor" +as destined to i"pede corruption inHuiries into t!e go&ern"ent and to gi&e "ore control to t!e ruling Dustice and >e&elop"ent Party% "n the radar • 9talian President 2iorgio ,apolitano will nominate his candidate for the position of prime minister this week& • • • • The *asAue separatist group% ETA% is belie#ed to be announcing its plans to disarm this week& +ranco-2erman conference will be held this week in Paris% +rance& 9ran ,uclear Talks to be held in 3ienna% Austria3 1G-20 February% Angela Merkel will host 'krainian opposition members in *erlin% -er"any3 on 17 February%
3iolence in Syria peaks as latest rounds of talks in 2ene#a make little progress *!e yrian Obser&atory for 6u"an <ig!ts reported t!at at least 40 people +ere killed in t!e city of Aleppo on 10 February% On 14 February3 yrian +arplanes carried out at least 20 air strikes on Iabrud3 a strategic opposition-!eld area close to t!e 5ebanese border and on t!e >a"ascus !ig!+ay% According to t!e Britis!based !u"an rig!ts group3 &iolence !as escalated since t!e peace talks in -ene&a began last "ont!3 +it! an a&erage deat! toll of 20L people a day since 22 Danuary% *!is is t!e !ig!est since t!e ci&il +ar began in 2011%
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Peace talks bet+een t!e go&ern"ent and t!e opposition !a&e failed to progress% *!e opposition "aintain t!at t!e only +ay to end t!e conflict is to for" a transitional go&ern"ent +it!out President Bas!ar alAssad$s in&ol&e"ent% On t!e ot!er !and3 t!e go&ern"ent !as dis"issed any negotiations in&ol&ing Assad$s future and insisted t!at t!e talks "ust focus on bringing terroris" to an end K referring to opposition and foreign fig!ters in yria% ,t appears t!at t!e yrian go&ern"ent3 toget!er +it! support fro" 5ebanese 6e(bolla!3 !as increased its "ilitary ca"paign in opposition-!eld areas since peace talks began% ,t is likely t!at t!e yrian go&ern"ent !as used t!e peace talks as a "eans to buy "ore ti"e and !as taken ad&antage of t!e infig!ting t!at !as +eakened opposition factions in recent "ont!s% ,t is !ig!ly unlikely t!at eit!er side +ill stand do+n and renegotiate in -ene&a3 regardless of atte"pts by t!e .nited /ations to bring t!e +ar to an end% ,nternationally3 <ussian support for Assad continues and #osco+ is e2pected to re1ect a =estern-Arab draft resolution on t!e deli&ery of !u"anitarian aid and access in yria3 clai"ing t!at it is one-sided% On t!e ground3 !ig! le&els of &iolence are e2pected to continue as t!e yrian ar"y continues its offensi&e in opposition-!eld territories% "ther de#elopments Si/ Egyptian police officers were wounded on . +ebruary in the capital city% (airo& *!e officers +ere stationed near a bridge close to -i(a Huare +!en t+o i"pro&ised e2plosi&e de&ices +ere detonated ne2t to t!eir &e!icles% *!e e2plosions occurred a couple of "inutes apart3 ec!oing double-tap tactics intended to cause "a2i"u" casualties% Attacks on t!e "ilitary and security forces !a&e increased since t!e coup t!at re"o&ed President #o!a"ed #orsi fro" po+er in Duly 2010% *!e #usli" Brot!er!ood !as since been outla+ed by t!e interi" "ilitary go&ern"ent% Cemen is to become a federation of si/ regions% it was announced on 1= +ebruary& >elegates fro" political parties in&ol&ed in lengt!y national dialogue talks for"ed a co""ittee in late Danuary3 c!aired by President Abdo <abbu #ansour 6adi3 to decide Ie"en$s ne+ structure% *!e ai" of t!e ne+ federation is to reduce resent"ent to+ards a percei&ed centralisation of go&ern"ent in perip!eral areas and to appease t!ose +!o !a&e long felt "arginalised by t!e go&ern"ent in anaa% *!e country +ill be di&ided into si2 federal regions3 consisting of Aden and 6adra"a+t in t!e sout! and aba3 Danad3 A(al and *a!a"a in t!e nort!% anaa itself +ill beco"e a neutral federal city not sub1ect to any regional aut!ority and t!e port city of Aden +ill also be gi&en e2ecuti&e po+ers% Security forces in *ahrain were deployed to disperse protestors following demonstrations that began on 16 +ebruary& *!e de"onstrations +ere !eld on t!e anni&ersary of anti-go&ern"ent protests in Ba!rain t!at +ere inspired by t!e Arab pring t!ree years ago% ecurity forces fired tear gas as antigo&ern"ent de"onstrators blocked roads +it! felled trees and ignited tyres in &illages surrounding t!e capital3 #ana"a% *!e !ia opposition party and its supporters !a&e called for t!e ruling fa"ily to surrender its grip on po+er in fa&our of de"ocratic elections%
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"n the radar • The trial of != 5ournalists% including four foreigners% in Egypt is to begin on != +ebruary& *!e defendants !a&e been accused of aiding a terrorist organisation and endangering national security% • Talks between 9ran and the P;E1 are set to begin in 3ienna% Austria% on 1B +ebruary& *!e ai" of t!e talks is to negotiate a deal t!at +ould see ,ran scale back its nuclear progra""e% • Strikes by 9sraeli hospital workers o#er salaries are to continue this week& ?"ployees of t!e 6adassa! "edical centres in Derusale" announced t!at t!ey +ould only perfor" life-sa&ing operations and distribute "edicines% • • !; +ebruary marks ,ational 1ay F the founding of the state of >uwait in 1D@1 "pposition protests and risk of #iolence in *ahrain on 17 February K t!e 0 year anni&ersary of a raid on acti&ists by security forces%
Alaskan senator critical of 'S Arctic strategy Alaskan enator 5isa #urko+ski +rote a letter to . President Barack Oba"a on 11 February &oicing !er concerns o&er t!e ,"ple"entation Plan for t!e /ational trategy for t!e Arctic <egion adopted earlier in t!e "ont! by t!e =!ite 6ouse% *!e senator clai"ed to be 4se&erely disappointed$ +it! t!e plan3 asserting its failure to 4"ake t!e . a leader in t!e Arctic$% According to #urko+ski3 t!e title 44,"ple"entation Plan$ is a "isno"er for a docu"ent t!at si"ply pus!es O. P in&ol&e"ent in t!e Arctic do+n t!e road and does not!ing to ad&ance OA"erica$sP already lagging role in t!e region$% #any of #urko+ski$s criticis"s !a&e been raised pre&iously by analysts and co""entators% #urko+ski$s clai" t!at Arctic neig!bours )anada to t!e east and <ussia to t!e +est are pus!ing a!ead +it! a"bitious plans of in&est"ent in coastal infrastructure and icebreaker fleets is3 at least in co"parison +it! t!e .nited tates$ "ore luke+ar" efforts3 difficult to dispute% *!e ,"ple"entation Plan3 rat!er t!an follo+ing t!e . /a&y$s reco""endations and esti"ates for t!e construction of 10 ne+ icebreakers3 "erely calls for t!e drafting of yet anot!er assess"ent to be co"pleted by t!e end of 2017% *!is 4una"bitious ti"eline$ +ill3 according to #urko+ski3 4be sorely late in addressing O. P needs in t!e region$% #urko+ski furt!er criticises t!e plan for ignoring a nu"ber of e2isting studies detailing t!reats to infrastructure in coastal co""unities and3 "ost seriously3 for failing to call for an aggressi&e ti"eline for t!e construction and deploy"ent of a deep +ater port in t!e Arctic3 +!ic! "any analysts consider essential if t!e .nited tates is to i"pro&e its co""unications and e"ergency response capabilities%
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#ean+!ile3 local politicians and e2perts in Alaska finally released on 00 Danuary a preli"inary report3 +!ic! details t!e 4strengt!s3 gaps and opportunities$ in federal and state Arctic strategy3 and presents an alternati&e set of policy reco""endations% *!e aut!ors assert t!at t!e report is ai"ed not only at pro&iding reco""endations for federal Arctic strategy but also at countering t!e percei&ed t!reat of a 4top-do+n$ approac! t!at ignores local e2pertise and +ould 4be counterproducti&e3 inefficient and lack legiti"acy$% Iet ulti"ately3 t!e Huestion of +!et!er t!e i"ple"entation of t!e . /ational trategy for t!e Arctic <egion +ill be e2ecuted pri"arily at t!e federal or state le&el +ill be irrele&ant unless t!e =!ite 6ouse takes t!e difficult decision to allocate "ore federal funds to t!e pro1ect% =it! t!e .nited tates still deadlocked under a national debt debate t!at !as beco"e t!e alp!a and o"ega of A"erican politics3 it see"s t!at a serious Arctic policy3 financed by =as!ington and e2ecuted by Anc!orage3 +ill not be i"ple"ented soon% "ther de#elopments ,ordic states are to e/pand the scope of foreign and security policy cooperation% according to a 1oint state"ent issued in <eyk1a&ik3 ,celand3 by t!e foreign "inisters of >en"ark3 Finland3 ,celand3 /or+ay and +eden% A"ong t!e target areas laid out for deeper and broader cooperation are crisis "anage"ent3 dealing +it! cli"ate c!ange and Arctic issues% *!e foreign "inisters stated t!at cooperation s!ould also be pursued to counter t!reats caused by terroris"3 infectious diseases3 organised cri"e3 drug and !u"an trafficking and cyber-attack% There are apparently ma5or problems with the construction of the floating production unit for the 2oliat field& Production at -oliat3 +!ic! +ill be t!e nort!ern"ost oil field on t!e /or+egian s!elf3 is planned to begin in late 2014% 6o+e&er3 a source at 6yundai 6ea&y ,ndustries3 +!ic! +as a+arded t!e contract to construct t!e unit3 !as described t!e struggle to bring t!e field online in ti"e as 4c!aos$3 ad"itting t!at t!e co"pany !as taken a nu"ber of s!ortcuts t!at ulti"ately "ig!t lead to reduced tec!nical standards% Plans for the de#elopment of gas production on )ussia s Camal Peninsula continue at a brisk pace% +it! a nu"ber of de&elop"ents last +eek continuing t!e trend% 6ead of national oil giant <osneft3 ,gor ec!in3 announced on 11 February t!at t!e co"pany !as started e2a"ining t!e possibility of t!e construction of a liHuefied natural gas 75/-8 plant% *!e announce"ent follo+ed rapidly after pri&ate natural gas producer /o&atek3 +!ic! is already de&eloping one 5/- plant on t!e peninsula3 started planning a second plant +it! its foreign partners% #ean+!ile3 bot! t!e go&ern"ent and energy co"panies are atte"pting to present an assured stance on t!e co""it"ent to en&iron"ental protection3 +it! <ussian energy "inister 9irill #olodtso& telling a press conference on 10 February t!at t!e go&ern"ent +ill enforce strict en&iron"ental regulation3 and -a(pro" and 5ukoil earlier in t!e "ont! announcing t!eir intention to pool crisis "anage"ent resources toget!er%
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"n the radar • (anadian soldiers will be conducting a military training e/ercise in the Arctic territory of ,una#ut% +!ic! began on 1A February and is sc!eduled to continue for 10 days% • An interdepartmental workgroup tasked with de#eloping )ussia s Arctic strategy will meet on !@ +ebruary to discuss t!e final draft of a list of Arctic territories to be considered for e2tra state funding% • The ;th Polar Shipping Summit will be held on !@-!. +ebruary in $ondon to discuss tec!nological3 operational and logistical c!allenges faced by s!ip o+ners in !ars! Arctic conditions% • An G9nternational Arctic 9n#estment Summit on !. +ebruary +ill in&ite international in&estors to consider t!e t!e"e of t!e 4/ort!ern ea <outeQ ,nfrastructure and *ransport-)o""unication yste"s in t!e Arctic$% • Tra#ellers to all )ussian cities are ad#ised on e/tra security precautions +!ic! are to re"ain in place until 21 #arc! in response to t!e !eig!tened t!reat of terroris" during t!e oc!i Oly"pics%
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Analysts: 5aura 6art"ann3 *ancrRde Feuillade3 -ary )!an3 )laudia =agner3 >aniel *aylor3 Patrick e+ell and )!ris Abbott% Open Briefing | 11
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