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Complex Coverage
Egypt Iraq Lebanon Libya Mali Somalia Sudan & South Sudan Syria Tunisia IED & Demining 1 2 4 5 5 6 6 8 9 9

20 August 2013

This document provides complex coverage of developments in regions of interest from 06 19 August 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

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Robin Barnett

Egyptian violence continues to escalate following the militarys ouster of Morsi on 03 July, reports National Public Radio (NPR). The 14 August crackdown by Egyptian security forces left more than 650 dead in what was described as the bloodiest day of internal fighting in the countrys modern history. To date, nearly 1,000 people have died as result of the violence, according to The New York Times. While Cairo bore the most extreme violence, the unrest has reached cities and towns up and down the Nile River. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who was serving as vice president in the interim government, resigned in protest over the heavy-handed approach which includes a dawn-todusk curfew in effect until mid-September, according to National Post. UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon expressed alarm at the escalation of violence in Egypt. Ban urged an end to violent protests and called the governments response in putting them down an excessive use of force in a statement issued on August 17 by his spokesman. According to the Interior Ministry, over 1,000 Muslim Brotherhood elements have been arrested following the 16 August riots when Muslim Brotherhood supporters numbering in the tens of thousands clashed with armed vigilantes in the fiercest street battle to engulf the capital since the countrys Arab Spring uprising, reports ABC News. On Saturday, 17 August, security forces raided the Fattah Mosque in Cairo wherein an estimated 1,000 Morsi supporters had barricaded themselves. Those arrested include a Syrian, a man from Turkey and three Irish men. Egyptian security forces reported that over 385 suspects were arrested during the raid, according to Aswat Masriya.


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The state news agency reports that 250 Brotherhood followers faced possible charges of murder, attempted murder, and terrorism. The Associated Press reports that Islamists torched a Franciscan school and then paraded three nuns on the streets like prisoners of war before a Muslim woman offered them refuge on 17 August. Two other women from the school were allegedly sexually abused as they the women pushed through a mob. Islamists have looted and torched 40 churches and attacked 23 others in the four days since security forces cleared two sit-in camps occupied by supporters of Egypts ousted president, . On 19 August, 25 soldiers were killed in a Sinai ambush. According to state-run Nile TV, suspected militants armed with rocketpropelled grenades attacked two buses carrying security forces and killed the soldiers in the city of Rafah, on the border between Egypt and Gaza, reports CNN. The Muslim Brotherhood condemned the attack on Egyptian soldiers in Sinai stating, [o]ur peaceful protests (are) stronger than any weapon, and we don t accept any violence, said Murad Mohamad Ali, media adviser to the Brotherhoods Freedom and Justice Party. Signaling a return to a semblance of normalcy, banks reopened on August 19 for the first time since the August 14 bloodshed, and the stock exchange will also resume business, with trading cut to three hours from four because of the instability. Former president Hosni Mubarak was acquitted of corruption charges for embezzling funds for presidential palaces, according to Al Jazeera. Mubarak still faces charges for accepting gifts from state newspapers but he has already paid back the value of the gifts. The acquittal could stir more political tension within the embroiled country. Mubarak is being held at Tora prison on the southern outskirts of Cairo, the same facility where leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are being held after their arrests following the ouster of Mubaraks successor, Mohamed Morsi. Egyptian authorities insisted on 17 August that non -violent members of ousted president Mohamed Morsis Muslim Brotherhood movement could take part in the countrys transition. Banned for decade s, the Muslim Brotherhood only came to power after the 2011 uprising that overthrew former President Mubarak, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). Many Egyptians who were highly critical of the military during Mubaraks long tenure have supported the military takeover, reportedly seeing it as preferable to rule by the Muslim Brotherhood, reports NPR. Mahmoud Badr, activist and co-founder of the Tamarud-Rebel movement, whose online campaign encouraged millions of Egyptians to take to the streets in protest demanding the overthrow of President Morsi, says that what Egypt is passing through now is the price, a high price, of getting rid of the Brotherhoods fascist group before it takes over everything and ousts us all, reports Reuters. Internationally, the Egyptian government is seeking support from the Republic of South Sudan to reclaim membership in the African Union (AU). Egypts membership was suspended on 05 July following the ouster of its first elected president by the military, reports the Sudan Tribune. Up until 05 July, the AU had never applied its policies on military coups against a member of the AU's big five countries: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and South Africa, each of which contributes fifteen per cent of the African portion of the AUs budget. Also, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy visited Sudan on 19 August on his first trip abroad, after hundreds died in clashes between Egyptian Islamists and security forces. Yes there is a crisis but we are on the right path and I believe in the future, he said after talks with his Sudanese counterpart, Ali Karti. The National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan has said that it will not be a part of the struggle ongoing in Egypt and that it will not take any side in the conflict, referring to the conflict as an internal matter. On 16 August, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia voiced his support for the military leadership of Egypt and spoke of fighting against terrorism, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Christian Science Monitor (CSM). The Kingdom pledged USD 5 billion in aid to Egypt after the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi. A more measured response came from the European Union (EU), which said it intends to review its relationship with Egypt. In a statement, European Council President Herman Van Romuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on all sides in Egypt to refrain from violence and to show restraint. According to the statement, the EU will urgently review its relations with Egypt within the next few days and will adopt measures aimed at preventing further violence. Turkeys prime minister lashed out on 17 August at the international response to the crisis in Egypt, saying organisations including the UN and EU should be ashamed of their inaction, reports AFP. Turkey recalled its ambassador to Cairo over the violent crackdown on 14 August Egypt. Daily pro-Morsi demonstrations have since taken place in Turkey; the two countries have also cancelled joint naval exercises planned for October. Meanwhile the US Air Force awarded a contract to General Electric to upgrade the Egyptian air forces fighter jets, reports Politico. President Obama delayed F-16 deliveries to Egypt last month and canceled joint military exercises with the country last week. According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the US is reviewing all aspects of our relationship. Amid the unrest, the Pentagon appears to be moving forward with business deals as demonstrated by a previous statement made on 15 August statement in which Hagel states [t]he Department of Defense will continue to maintain a military relationship with Egypt. Middle East scholar Robin Wright of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the US Institute of Peace stated, Egypt has already returned to military rule, reports NPR. The question is will they dig in. The military is thumbing its nose at the US, its most important ally. It seems hell-bent on pursuing its own agenda.

20 August 2013


Linda Lavender

European Union Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton called upon Iraqs political, religious and community leaders to step up efforts to quell growing sectarian attacks, claiming that the attacks carried out by al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) were meant to destabilise the country, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). More than 800 people were killed during the fasting month of Ramadan in the deadliest levels of violence since 2008, reports AFP. Many Iraqis hold the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki responsible for failing to head off terrorist attacks. On 18 August, Maliki commented that weapons and fighters flowing into Syria are now making their way into Iraq, noting the rising levels of violence sweeping the country, reports Associated Press (AP). Iraqs border patrols frequently clash with militants and smugglers along the Iraqi-Syrian border. Maliki said, The weapons provided to [Syrian opposition fighters] have been smuggled to Iraq and those wolves that came from different countries to Syria are now sneaking into Iraq. Recently, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari discussed ways to stop Iraqi airspace from being used to ferry weapons and illicit cargo from Iran to Syria, according to AP. Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani threatened to intervene on behalf of Syrian Kurds caught in the Syrian conflict, reports Voice of America (VOA). Barzani pledged Iraqi Kurdistan capabilities in its mission to protect Kurds. A recent announcement by Islamists that God supported the killing of Kurds in Syria has motivated many Iraqi Kurds to prepare to take u p arms to defend kin, reports Inter Press Service (IPS). In other security developments, the Kurdish mayor of the disputed Kirkuk province is digging a security trench, 53 kilometres to the south and west of Kirkuk city in efforts to address rising tensions among the province s Kurdish and Arab populations, reports AFP. Arab leaders see the measure as a land grab by Kurds in the long disputed oil -rich territory. Arabs worry that the trench will serve as a barrier between the city and the southern and western parts of Kirkuk province its main Arab-majority areas. They expressed concerns the move is aimed at isolating Kirkuk to make it ready to be added to the Kurdistan region. Reuters reports that Kurdish leadership and the central government in Baghdad are considering joint security operations and sharing intelligence in order to combat their mutual enemy, AQI. Holding large swathes of land on both sides of the infamous disputed territories, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a recent AQI affiliate, has continued to launch attacks on both Kurds and Shiites in its goal of establishing a strict Sunni Islamic state. Numerous violent incidents were reported throughout the country during the previous two weeks: 06-Aug-13: Six car bombs targeting various Baghdad neighbourhoods left over forty civilians dead and another 100 wounded, according to BBC. Many of the victims were out shopping to prepare for Eid al-Fitr celebrations. 07-Aug-13: AP reports that a roadside bomb in Mosul struck a police patrol, killing three police officers. Another bomb in Mosul missed a police convoy but killed one civilian. A car bomb later exploded in Musayyib, killing two people. 08-Aug-13: Gunmen stormed the home of a police officer in Tikrit, killing the officer, his wife and three children, reports AP. Moments later, a car bomb located outside the home detonated, killing an additional eight people. 10-Aug-13: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al Qaeda front group, carried out a series of bombings as Iraqi families celebrated Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, according to Reuters. Delivering a quick message, ISIL carried out attacks at markets and parks in Baghdad as well as Shiite majority southern Iraqi provinces, killing over 80 people. 11-Aug-13: In north-eastern Baghdad, gunmen attacked a checkpoint killing two security officers and wounding three others, reports Al Jazeera. 12-Aug-13: In the town of Muqdadiya, a roadside bomb near a school killed two and wounded eleven others, according to Reuters. In the Shiite majority town of Balad, a suicide bomber targeted a busy caf resulting in the deaths of thirteen civilians, according to AP. 13-Aug-13: A bomb near a Shiite mosque killed four people in Madain , while two policemen were killed as they attempted to diffuse a car bomb near the northern city of Kirkuk, reports RFE/RL. 14-Aug-13: A bomb hidden inside a coffee shop in Mafraq killed nine people, while a roadside bomb in central Baquba killed four people and wounded ten others, reports CNN. 15-Aug-13: More than thirty people were killed in Baghdad after a series of car bombs detonated throughout the city, reports Reuters. 16-Aug-13: A key oil pipeline linking Kirkuk with the Turkish port of Ceyhan was sabotaged near the town of Shura, disrupting oil exports, reports AP. 17-Aug-13: At least four people were killed after the bombing of the Basra port, reports France 24.

20 August 2013

18-Aug-13: Two bombs detonated in predominately Sunni neighbourhoods of Baghdad, resulted in four deaths while wounding seventeen others, reports AP. 19-Aug-13: In Mosul, a series of attacks by gunmen left six dead, according to AFP. Baghdad carried out seventeen executions; most were convicted of crimes related to terrorism. An Egyptian national and two women were among those executed.

The UN reports a surge in numbers of Syrian refugees travelling to Iraq via a recently completed pontoon bridge over the Tigris River into the Iraqi province of Dohuk, reports The Guardian. According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), many of the new arrivals travelled from Aleppo, Efrin, Hassake and Qamishly intending to reside with relatives currently in northern Iraq. Already, more than 30,000 Syrian Kurds have entered the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, reports AFP. Voice of America (VOA) reports that approximately 6,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed into Kurdistan seeking shelter. Meanwhile Kurdish leadership from Iraq and Syria are investigating unconfirmed reports of massacres carried out by jihadist group Jahbat al Nusra against Syrian Kurds.


Linda Lavender

Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah told followers he was prepared to travel to Syria to fight extremist Sunni Muslims whom he blamed for the deadliest Beirut bombing in eight years. The blast occurred in a Hezbollah stronghold on 15 August, according to The Washington Post. Analysts fear that the car bomb that killed at least 21 people could herald a new dark era of sectarian violence targeting Lebanese civilians. Just two days after the bombing, Lebanese authorities seized a car rigged with 250 kilograms of explosives just south of Beirut in Naameh, reports The Daily Star. In addition to cross-border attacks and bombings, the Syrian conflict has also led to a spate of politically motivated kidnappings, reports Time. Two Turkish Airlines pilots were kidnapped from the Beirut airport on 09 August, reports CNN. The militant Shiite group Zouar Imam Reza claimed responsibility for the abduction of the Turkish Airlines captain and co-pilot and offered their release in exchange for nine Lebanese Shiite Musli ms captured near the Turkish-Syrian border in 2012, reports al Arabiya. In response to the kidnappings, Turkish officials cautioned its citizens to leave Lebanon and to avoid all travel to Lebanon, according to Al Jazeera. On 10 August, Lebanon vowed to protect Turkish nationals as it stepped up efforts to ensure the safety of tourists in the country, according to The Daily Star. Meanwhile, relatives of nine kidnapped Lebanese men who have been held hostage by Syrian rebels for the past year threatened to kidnap any Turkish nationals found in Beirut, reports McClatchy. Turkish officials announced on 06 August that Turkey would withdraw approximately 250 people from its engineering construction force currently supporting the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL), according to Al Jazeera. Numerous violent incidents were reported throughout the country during the previous two weeks: 06-Aug-13: In Tripoli, the Lebanese Army fired tear gas to disperse angry supports of a Salafist preacher who was sentenced to fifteen years of hard labour over his involvement in a 2008 attack on the Lebanese military, reports The Daily Star. 07-Aug-13: South of Beirut, a stun-grenade detonated near the Naameh tunnel and was followed by heavy gunfire, reports The Daily Star. The area is controlled by the heavily armed pro-Syrian regime Popular Front for the Liberation of PalestineGeneral Command (PFLP-GC1) which has a system of underground tunnels in the town of Naameh. Reuters reports that four Israeli soldiers were injured near the Lebanese border. Also, in Beirut, rival clans clashed in the Lailaki suburb, killing one person and wounding eight others, according to The Daily Star. It was the second violent incident between the families in recent weeks. 08-Aug-13: Ten kidnapped Arsal residents were moved to Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley by members of the Moqdad clan, reports The Daily Star. The captors reported the hostages were in good condition and urged hostage family members to push their community for the release of Youssef Moqdad who was abducted earlier in the month. In an unrelated incident, two men kidnapped on 15 July were freed after their ransoms were paid. Also, one person was killed and two others were wounded during gunfire with a Lebanese military patrol in the Bekaa Valley, reports The Daily Star. 09-Aug-13: Two Palestinians, one of whom carried a European passport, along with a Syrian national were arrested by Lebanese soldiers as they attempted to cross the border into Lebanon, reports The Daily Star. One of the individuals carried an explosive belt, while the other possessed hand grenades, detonators and firearms. 14-Aug-13: A Syrian woman was abducted and raped on the outskirts of the Baalbek village of Nahleh in Bekaa Valley, reports The Daily Star. 15-Aug-13: At least 228 people were injured in a Beirut car bombing while at least 22 people were killed, reports CNN.

The PFLP-GC is considered to be the Assad regimes most loyal Palestinian proxy and its role in the Syrian conflict is significant. Currently, the groups aims centre on countering the Syrian rebel forces in Syria and their allies in Lebanon.

20 August 2013

On 19 August Lebanese President Michel Sleiman ordered the Lebanese Army to respond if attacked, after a weekend rocket assault from Syria targeted the Hezbollah village of Hermel in the Bekaa Valley, reports The Daily Star. It was the most recent rocket launch originating from Syria after four rockets struck homes in Hermel earlier in August causing significant damage but no fatalities. In recent months, Syrian rebels have threatened to attack Hezbollah bastions in retribution for the organisations participation in the Syrian conflict, according to The Daily Star. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that over 675,000 Syrian refugees are receiving aid from the agency. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that the Lebanese government began to bar Palestinians fleeing Syria from entering Lebanon on 06 August, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). According to HRW, the policy violates Lebanons international obligations to asylum seekers. Almost 60,000 of the reported 675,000 refugees from Syria are Palestinian. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its rival Hamas, who oversee a dozen refugee camps in Lebanon that are home to 400,000 Palestinians are straining to keep the peace, according to Voice of America (VOA). Palestinian leaders say that jihadists and militant Sunni Islamists are upsetting the balance of power in camps as armed factions within the camps risk an outbreak of violence. After a four-day closure of the shared Syrian-Lebanese Arida border-crossing, the crossing was reopened on 08 August, according to The Daily Star. The border crossing was closed after it was attacked over the killing of a Syrian man entering Lebanon. Arida residents claim the Syrian man, fleeing violence in his country, was shot dead by Syrian military forces as he attempted to cross into Lebanon. An increasing number of children are being forced into child labour as Lebanese families continue to feel the economic, political and societal fallout from the neighbouring conflict, reports Inter Press Service (IPS). While exact data is unavailable, the Lebanese Ministry of Labour believes that there are 180,000 child workers in Lebanon compared to 100,000 in 2006. As tens of thousands of Syrian refugees flood the country, Lebanese families are forced to pull children from school to assist in providing for families.


Foard Copeland

Mohammed al Sheikh resigned from his post as Interior Minister on 18 August after just three months in office, reports BBC. Al Sheikh claims he lacked the confidence of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and faced regular interference from the General Nationa l Congress (GNC). According to BBC, the Ministry of Interior is increasingly blamed for on-going violence throughout the country, which has spiked in recent months. Thousands of security forces, including Joint Forces (JF) and militia groups, converged on Tripoli to patrol and defend the city from insecurity in what the Libya Herald called the largest mobilisation since the liberation. Abdullah al Thani was approved by the GNC and sworn in as the new Defense Minister on 12 August, reports Associate Press (AP). Al Thani replaces Mohammed Al Barghathi, who resigned in May after raids were carried out against key military targets in Tripoli. He told the Libya Herald that he was taking concrete steps to restore state security and dissolve all militia brigades within six months. On 08 August, Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that over fifty people were killed in a broadening wave of apparent political assassinations in the cities of Benghazi and Derna. According to HRW, the spree began with the assassination of political activist Abdulsalam Elmessmary on 26 July. Some of the victims include former officials under the Gaddafi regime, a reason that law enforcement personnel have not conducted comprehensive investigations of the homicides. In a press statement, HRW encouraged the Libyan government to conduct impartial investigations and provide legal counsel to anyone charged with crimes stemming from the investigations. The human rights organisation concludes,The assassinations appeare d to signal a new turn in the violence with potentially serious implications for Libyas stability. In another sign of instability and compromised capacity of the judicial sector, Foreign Policy reported that religious conservatives repeatedly marginalised female lawyers in recent months. Leaflets condemning female participation in the judiciary appear with greater frequency and some female lawyers have been forced to turn over all but civil cases to male counterparts. A prominent journalist, Azzedine Kousad of the al Hurra television station, died after being gunned down in his car. According to Reporters Without Borders, he was the first journalist to be killed since the toppling of the Gaddafi regime and his death highlights the increasingly dangerous climate in Libya for journalists and independent media. Ahmed Abu Khattala, a former commander of a Libyan militia, denied accusations on 07 August that he participated in the 11 September 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. Khattala currently resides in Libya, according to AP. The Libyan Ministry of Justice did not comment when contacted about the charges. Port strikes continued to undermine the Libyan economy, reports Business Recorder. The Marsa al Hariga port which produces 110,000 barrels per day reopened on 19 August after being closed for three weeks amidst protests over workers pay while Es Sider and Ras Lanuf ports, the countrys largest oil export terminals, were closed briefly earlier in August, reports Reuters. The ports have closed intermittently in recent months due to outages, protests and worker strikes. PM Ali Zeidan, accompanied by the Minister of Finance and Minister of Defence, held a press conference to address the closures on 17 August and warned that recent closures endangered Libyans and disrupted the national economy, notes Tripoli Post. Zeidan threatened to use force to reopen oil terminals if necessary.

20 August 2013


Foard Copeland

Malians cast ballots in a second round of voting for president on 11 August, reports Voice of America (VOA). Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who won the first round with 39 per cent and is commonly referred to as IBK, claimed victory over his rival, former finance minister Soumalia Ciss, reports the Washington Post. IBK won with a landslide of 77 per cent. Ciss conceded to IBK on 12 August in a move that observers said averted a protracted legal battle and championed the democratic process. This act will serve as a lesson to young Malian politicians but this gesture shows above all else that Soumalia Ciss is going to work together with IBK to restore the state, and bring peace and development, said Issouf Traore , who voted for Keita, reports the AP . After the first round of elections on 28 July, Keita was endorsed by 20 of the 27 presidential contenders due to his criticisms of the Amadou Tour regime, which is widely perceived as tolerating high-level corruption, notes Reuters. . While campaigning last week, IBK promised to restore stability to Mali. Reuters reports that the successful elections could free up nearly EUR 3 billion (USD 4 billion) in aid dollars pledged by western donors. Despite calm at the polls, Reuters noted the low turnout in Kidal, a key Tuareg city where many residents report feelings of marginalisation by the central government in Bamako. Many Tuaregs seek representation for an Azawad state and IBK has promised to initiate long-lasting peace talks within 60 days aimed to maintain Malian state unity. Such an offer might become necessary: voter turnout in Kidal on 28 July was only 12 per cent, far below the national average of 48 per cent. After elections, on 15 August, the Chinese Xinhua news agency reported clashes between Malian soldiers and fighters for the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), the breakaway Tuareg group in Kidal. According to Xinhua, the skirmish broke out in the town of AguelHoc, 200 km north of Kidal and was blown out of proportion when French troops interve ned. Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) published a report on past aid abuses in Mali and recommended several reforms to improve the effectiveness of economic assistance. Some of their recommendations include: decentralising funds by providing local populations with monitoring mechanisms in order to hold leaders who have access to funds accountable for expenditures; delivering emergency aid to the north where it is most needed; preventing an unemployed youth time -bomb; and fostering ethnic and political reconciliation.


Foard Copeland

The UN delivered troubling public health and humanitarian news with the announcement on 16 August that a crippling polio outbreak was spreading in southern and central Somalia. It confirmed 105 cases and suggested that thousands of children are now believed to carry the virus. The UN says polio response efforts and outbreak control activities will be necessary for at least six months and will focus on ten districts in the greater Mogadishu area where the majority of cases originated. In the last year, al Shabaab repeatedly prevented aid workers from inoculating children. According to AP, the insurgent group continues to proliferate the rumour that aid workers are infecting babies and children with AIDS rather than the polio vaccine. The UN humanitarian agency, OCHA, also announced on 16 August that over 800 rapes were reported in Mogadishu in the first six months of 2013. Furthermore, the UN envoy in Somalia expressed grave concern that recently a woman was repeatedly raped by soldiers deployed under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). It is the first time allegations of a gang rape were brought against AMISOM peacekeepers. Somali security forces have also been implicated in sexual attacks against women in the past. The allegations sparked outrage in Mogadishu, and a joint investigation team was launched by the African Union (AU) and the Somali Federal Government (SFG). Doctors Without Borders/Mdecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) shocked the humanitarian world by closing all medical programmes in Somalia. It marks the first time the organisation halted medical care in the country since 1991. MSF said it must suspend operations because armed groups and civilian leaders increasingly support, tolerate, or condone the killing, assaulting, a nd abducting of humanitarian workers. The Guardian reported on 11 August that UK Department for International Development (DFID) announced al Shabaab and al Qaedalinked militants seized humanitarian materials and supplies worth GBP 480,000 (USD 743,000) between November 2011 and February 2012. Meanwhile, AMISOM, aided by the Somali National Army (SNA), carried out a devastating strike against an elite group of al Shabaab fighters on 09 August, reports Standard Digital. AMISOM released a statement saying, The al Qaeda-linked militia group was preparing to attack the AMISOM defensive position when they were thwarted by the allied forces near Afmado w, in the centre of Jubaland, approximately 220 km from Kismayo. In a positive economic development, the SFG signed an agreement with UK-based Soma Oil & Gas Exploration, Ltd. on 06 August, reports Business Daily. The company will conduct seismic testing in Somali territorial waters and specific onshore locations. The transaction constitutes the first oil and gas agreement since President Hasan Sheikh Mohamud was elected in 2012. The companys CEO, Robert Sheppard, issued a statement saying, Despite large recent discoveries in East Africa, Somalia remains a significantly underexplored region. We believe that this agreement to assist the Government and the work that is due to be carried out over the next 12-18 months will provide significant momentum for the oil and gas sector in Somalia. In other news, four Ethiopian Air Force members were killed when their cargo plane crashed at the Mogadishu airport on 09 August, according to Tadias Magazine. The SFG appointed a committee to investigate the cause of the crash. 6 20 August 2013

Sudan & South Sudan

Robin Barnett

Darfur Doctors without Borders/Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF) released a retrospective mortality survey on 06 August confirming that violence is the major cause of death in Darfur. According to the survey, the majority of people who died while fleeing Central Darfur, Sudan, earlier in 2013 were killed as a result of violence, and mostly by gunfire. Between January and May 2013, tens of thousands of Darfur refugees and Chadians fled Darfur and sought refuge in the Tissi area of neighbouring Chad. The survey, carried out by MSF's epidemiological research division, Epicentre, reveals that 119 of the 194 deaths (61 percent) reported by family members were caused by violence. 111 people, or 93 per cent, died from gunshot wounds linked to specific episodes of violence preceding the two major waves of displacement, one in early February and one in early April. The people shot to death died in Darfur. Survivors reported mass shootings and the burning and looting of villages, the report states. On 07 August, France condemned the unjustified expulsion of twenty UN refugee agency staff from Sudan s Darfur region. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has seen nearly half of its 37 person staff expelled from Darfur by Khartoum during a perilous period when more than two million people are displaced in Darfur, 1.2 million of whom are living in camps. Farmers within the Kabkabiya locality in North Darfur are suffering beatings and death threats for confronting armed herdsman trespassing on locally owned farms. While the rains in the region have been good, failure looms for the current planting season as armed herdsmen allow camels and cattle to graze on farms, reports Radio Dabanga. This rising trend and increased tensions between herdsmen and armed men were evident in Sirba camp in West Darfur on 08 August when armed men threatened to kill a displaced person, or destroy the market, unless the displaced person paid SDG20, 000 ($4,500) compensation for camel found with a broken leg. The governor of Sudans North Darfur state, Osman Mohamed Youssef Kibir, announced that the conflicting Ma alia and Rezeigat tribes have reached an agreement to stop violent attacks following intensive meetings he held with some groups affiliated with the two tribes. He said in press statements following the meetings on 14 August his goal is to save lives and avoid adverse effects of tribal conflicts in East and North Darfur states. South-eastern Darfur, an area relatively free from unrest, saw raging battles as the Rezeigat and the Maalia tribes clashed over land disputes on 11 August. The clashes resulted in 100-300 unconfirmed deaths. According to the Shura Council of the Maalia tribe, the Rezeigat are practising ethnic cleansing and forcibly deporting the Ma alia from Ed Daein with the knowledge and complicity of the state government". According to reports, the people of East Darfur are living in a state of extreme fear and terror as transportation remains compromised and businesses, government institutions and schools remain closed reports The Telegraph. Sudan According to recent reports, Sudan is sending weapons to Syrian rebels. The shipments reportedly carry anti-aircraft missiles and newly manufactured small-arms cartridges. The Khartoum government allegedly circumvents the embargo by sending the Chinese and Sudanese-made weapons to Qatar where the containers are then transported to Syrian rebels.. The New York Times report suggests that Sudan, suffering from major economic crises, could be supplying weapons for profit. According to a US official, Sudan has positioned itself to be a major global arms supplier whose wares have reached several conflict zones, including the Syrian rebels. Historically, Sudan is accustomed to publicly denying weapons transfers, although Sudanese arms or ammunition have been found in South Sudan, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Chad, Kenya, Guinea, Mali and Uganda," said Jonah Leff, a Sudan analyst for the Small Arms Survey. It has provided weapons to Joseph Konys Lords Resistance Army, rebels in Libya, and the janjaweed, the pro-government militias that are accused of a campaign of atrocities in Darfur . According to Western analysts and officials, Sudans clandestine participation in arming rebels in Syria suggests inherent tensions in Mr. Bashirs foreign policy, whic h broadly supports Sunni Islamist movements while maintaining a valued relationship with the Shiite theocracy in Iran . However, according to Imad Sid Ahmad, the press secretary for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan has not sent weapons to Syria. Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad, a spokesman for the Sudanese armed forces, added that the allegations were meant to harm relations with countries Sudan has good relations with", stating that Sudan has "no interest in supporting groups in Syria, especially if the outcome of the fighting is not clear, reports Asia News. Further, a spokesman for Bashir suggested that if Sudans weapons were seen with Syrias rebels then it was likely that Libya, not Sudan, had provided them. In anticipation of a visit by Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, to Khartoum this week, the National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan issued a statement on 19 August asserting that the country will not be a part of the ongoing struggle in Egypt and will not take sides in what Sudan deems is an internal matter. The NCPs political sector spokesperson, Omar Bassan, said that Sudan will not be made to get involved by those who seek to harm relations between the two countries , adding that Sudan has not offered to mediate between the struggling parties in Egypt. 20 August 2013

South Sudan Brigadier General Michael Majur Aleer, the chief of operation and the acting officer in charge of the 4th infantry division, spoke on 18 August to dismiss rumours that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) had crossed the border into South Sudan as misinformation. According to Aleer, the leaders of the SAF and the South Sudanese army (SPLA) are negotiating the creation of a buffer zone area. The African Union (AU) joint border verification monitoring mechanism (JBVMM) is facilitating discussion between both sides, reports the Sudan Tribune. South Sudans Foreign Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, announced on 19 August that the country is experiencing improved bilateral relations with neighbouring Sudan. Relations with Sudan have remarkably increased. There are direct contacts between the two presidents. There are also contacts between other institutions. As I speak now they can call each other and communicate freely. This is a sign of improved relations . According to Marial, talks were underway to consolidate efforts to build up and strengthen the emerging spirit of friendship to establish healthy and sustainable relations between the two nations. In other news, South Sudans Humanitarian Coordinator, Toby Lanzer, praised courageous aid workers and called for them to be allowed access to populations in need. According to the UN, South Sudan is one of the largest operations in the world with 17,000 aid workers engaged in work across the country providing assistance in the ten states . The UN anticipates providing assistance to three million South Sudanese mostly within the Jonglei State with lifesaving assistance. Atem Garang, Twich East Member of Parliament and Chief Whip in the South Sudan parliament urged the South Sudanese diaspora within the Canadian city of Winnipeg to "to come back home and use their skills to help the young nation make progress". The Twich East Member of Parliament in Jonglei State was in Canada on the invitation of the South Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLA) Canada chapter and the Council of Sudanese Community (COSCOM) in Manitoba. Garang urged South Sudanese in the diaspora to "unite, embrace the spirit of unity and provide much needed professional skills for South Sudan to develop". According to Garang, the country still faces challenges inherited from its recent independence from Sudan, to include: lack of human capital, infrastructure, health care, capable civil servants, a strong education system and insecurity.


Linda Lavender

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov he was concerned about violence in Syria and pressed Lavrov to work towards a political solution to the Syrian conflict, reports United Press International (UPI). Russian and US officials agree that talks should take place as soon as possible; however, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said they were unlikely to occur before October, reports Reuters. As the Syrian conflict continues, some anti-Assad activists now wonder whether the Assad regimes fall is a good development for the country, considering the increasing numbers of jihadists within Syria, according to The Washington Post. Many youth activists, once demanding Assads ouster, say their revolution has been hijacked by foreign al Qaeda fighters and if the regime were to fall, they fear more chaos and bloodshed. Protesters hold daily demonstrations against jihadists in the northern city of Raqaa, demanding the release of hundreds of missing people kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), reports Agence France-Presse. According to United Press International (UPI), ISIS constitutes a new, more militant jihadist group emerging in Syria. In addition to the many extremist fighters travelling to Syria to join Jabhat al Nusra, an extremist group that is part of the opposition, many are now joining ISIS. The group comprises fighters from Chechnya, Pakistan, Egypt and the West and also includes fighters from al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Syria is increasingly being described as at the center of an arc of instability stretching from Iran through North A frica and could supplant Pakistan as the primary al Qaeda haven if the Assad regime should fall, according to UPI. Syrias opposition chief Ahmed Jarba moved to restructure rebel militias into a National Army in order to combat elite fighters loyal to Assads regime and to form the backbone of a future army, reports AFP. The plan would retain current head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) General Selim Idriss and would improve the FSAs structure, performance, discipline an d communication between [rebel] factions. Combatting extremist thinking and competition for scarce resources have made organizing the rebel fighters difficult. Numerous violent incidents were reported throughout the country during the previous two weeks: 06-Aug-13: The Syrian Army attacked a large group of insurgents near Damascus, killing more than sixty, according to The New York Times (NYT). 08-Aug-13: Two armed opposition groups claim they hit President Bashar al Assads presidential vehicles with artillery as Assad travelled through Damascus on 08 August, reports The Telegraph. Omran Zoabi, the Syrian Information Minister dismissed the claims calling them dreams and illusions. Residents of the Malki district in Damascus, where Assad works and lives, confirmed to Al Jazeera that they heard shells hitting the area. Security forces closed off roads leading to Malki.

20 August 2013

10-Aug-13: Warplanes bombed a village in northern Syrias overnight in an apparent effort by Assad to prevent rebel fighters from advancing on communities in the stronghold region of his Alawite sect, reports Reuters. 12-Aug-13: Sixty Syrian soldiers and jihadists have been killed in three days of fighting in Deir Ezzor, the largest city in eastern Syria, where rebels have made advances, according to AFP. 17-Aug-13: Rebels attacked checkpoints manned by the pro-government National Defence Forces militia, killing five of them as well as six civilians, including two women, reports The Guardian.

Saudi Arabias intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, offering the Russian leader up to USD 15 billion in Russian weapons purchases if Russia would ease its support of the Syrian president and to stop blocking future UN Security Council resolutions addressing the Syrian conflict, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Moscow appeared disinterested in the arrangement. A Western diplomatic source stated that the recent flow of Saudi-provided anti-tank missiles and weaponry reflects Riyadhs growing concerns over the rebels slow progress in the south and Saudi fears that al Qaeda-linked groups are exploiting the current stalemate to expand their presence in the region, according to Reuters. Some experts assert that rebel fortunes are tied to how many more portable missile systems the rebels can get in the coming months. Retired Jordanian General Fayez al Dwiri stated If the weapons arrive in the right quantities they will affect the situation on the ground. Jordan continues to be concerned by the presence of Islamic radicals in the region, reports Reuters. Foreign fighter could potentially turn their attention to the country. The United States has stationed roughly 1,000 troops in Jordan to assist the Kingdom in containing the fallout from the Syrian war. Outgoing US Central Intelligence Agency deputy director Michael Morell says the Syrian war poses the greatest threat to US security because of the risk of the government falling and the country becoming a weapons-rich have for al Qaeda, reports AFP. Morell asserts there are now more foreign fighters flowing into Syria each month than those entering Iraq to fight with al Qaeda at the height of the Iraqi war adding, Its probably the most important issue in the world today. During the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, at least 4,420 people were killed in Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reports Agence France-Presse. Additionally, 485 foreign jihadists joined the rebel opposition. Israeli troops returned fire into Syria after three rockets from Syria landed in the Golan Heights, reports Australian Associated Press (AAP). An Israeli military spokesperson stated, [f]orces carried out a pinpoint s trike targeting the source of the shooting. A hit was confirmed demolishing a Syrian military position. Reuters reports that Turkish troops returned fire after coming under attack along the Turkish-Syrian border as more than 1,000 alleged smugglers attempted to cross into Turkey from Syria. The incident, which occurred in Hatay province where smuggling of fuel and other goods has been occurring for years, raised further security concerns in Turkey. The UN Chemical Weapons Investigative team arrived in Damascus on 18 August to begin a long-awaited investigation into alleged chemical weapons attacks, reports The New York Times. The UN teams access to suspected chemical weapon attack -sites slowed the investigation as Syrian leadership would not agree to unfettered access. Instead, UN and Syrian leadership agreed on three sites investigators will visit: Khan al Assal and two other undisclosed sites.


Foard Copeland

Ennahda, Tunisias governing moderate Islamist party, agreed to meet with opposition groups in an effort to resolve the countrys growing political crisis, reports Reuters. The announcement, delivered by chairman of the partys supreme council Fethi Ayadi, reversed an earlier decision. We call for an immediate dialogue that brings together all parties of the oppositio n and the governing coalition, without any conditions, said Ayadi. Reuters also reported that Tunisias transitional parliament was suspended on 06 August after days of protests from opposition groups seeking to topple Tunisias ruling coalition government. According to Reuters, a caretaker technocrat government would likely be discussed by convening parties later this week. Public marches and peaceful protests recently erupted after Mohamed Brahmi, a popular secularist politician, was assassinated on 25 July. According to Deutsche Welle, several additional factors have fuelled recent civic action, including the overthrow of Egypts President Mohammed Morsi, which some Tunisians perceive to have resulted from a populist movement, fear of religious radicalism, and the inability of Tunisian parties in the transitional parliament to agree on a new constitution. Tunisias caretaker gove rnment received the new US Ambassador to Tunisia, Jacob Walles, on 17 August amidst the on-going political upheaval. Wided Bouchamaoui, a prominent businesswoman and president of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that she will not stand for prime minister on 11 August, reports Reuters. Local media outlets reported that she was favoured by the Salvation Front, a coalition of over twelve secular parties that is instrumental in the ongoing protest of the Ennahda-led government. Finally, a militant linked to the 29 July killing of eight Tunisian soldiers in the Mount Chaambi district was detained on 12 August, reports Tunisia Live. Few details about the suspect were immediately available.

20 August 2013

IED & De-Mining

Linda Lavender

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 13 - 19 Aug 2013.

Recent CFC Special Reports

Malis Stabilisation Project: Political, Security and Humanitarian 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)


Middle East

North Africa

Northeast Africa

Global IED

20 August 2013