Security Bulletin

GCN Security Brief: A Look at International Security This week

Asia Pacific

pix1_053014The region continues to be tense as China announced that it will be conducting joint military exercises with Russia in the region. This comes a few weeks after a ruling by an international tribunal denying China’s territorial claims to islands in the region. A ruling that China plans on ignoring since the tribunal has no ability of enforcement. Despite this, a large number of countries endorse China’s position in the South China Sea. The latest exercises are viewed as way for China and Russia to assert themselves in a region which has seen increased US presence care of its ‘Rebalancing towards Asia’ policy.

Syria

Aleppo is Syria’s largest city serves as the country’s financial and industrial centre. It is also home to the country’s largest Christian population. The city has been at a state of war since anti-government protests started in 2011. This state of unrest has been magnified since Russian intervened in 2015 coming to the support of its ally, Syria. Many in the west see this intervention as targeting enemies of Asaad. The situation has intensified in the past week with government officials encircling Aleppo; aided by Russian air power. This week, Russian forces opened up ‘exit corridors’ for unarmed rebels and the Syrians offering amnesty to rebels surrendering within the next 3 months. However, the UN has still warned of a critical situation for the 300,000 still in Aleppo.

Terrorism

ISIS/France – On July 26th the world witnessed the beheading of a Catholic priest in a church in France by two teenagers who later claimed allegiance to ISIS. What is most troubling about this is that one of them had been previously arrested for links to terrorism but then released. What will this mean for France’s policy towards terrorism and radicalization?  With direct attack on religious figures are we now heading into a Huntingtonian clash of civilizations?

Split from al-Queda – On July 28th it was announced that the Jabhat al-Nusra had severed all ties to al-Queda and the new group which is seen as ISIS’s competitor seeks to create a new movement called Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or “the Front for the Conquest of the Levant”; demonstrating a long-game approach to Syria.

South Asia

Kashmir – The world watches in shock as violence breaks out in Kashmir, once again. We have been following this story closely for the past few weeks. This article provides a solid foundation on all you will need to know about events in Kashmir over the past three weeks.

Nepal – One of the world’s youngest constitutional democracies, Nepal, will once again see a change in its leadership. Prime Minister KP Oli had to step down as Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist – Centre) pulled out of its coalition with Oli’s Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist). Oli stepped down after nine months in power. A high frequency of leadership changes hampers any chance of sustained development of the country.

Bangladesh – On the 26th of July, Bangladeshi police officers killed 9 militants who were plotting a similar attack as the ones on a bakery in Dhaka on July 1st.

Yemen

UN-led peace talks which hope to end a civil war raging in Yemen are not going well. The dominant Hothai group assisted by members of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party (General People’s Congress Party) have agreed to form an interim governing council until the peace talks commence again. This is seen as being in direct violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216, which calls on the Houthis “to refrain from further unilateral actions that could undermine the political transition in Yemen”.

Venezuela

The term security is broad concept which encapsulates various forms of security such as international security, physical security, health and even food security. Venezuela is undergoing a food security crises caused by an inefficient government and sliding oil prices. Reports estimate that “extreme poverty” has risen by 54% since 2014 and project that the inflation rate will reach 700% by the end of the year. This dire economic climate could lead to disastrous consequences like famine, disease or drastic political instability. (BBC)

DNC Cyber Hacks

Another rapidly-growing area in the security sphere is cyber security. This week brought news of a leak of 30,000 emails which were stolen from the Democratic National Convention. While this obviously had immediate repercussions in the 2016 elections, the more worrying notion is the possible Russian intelligence involvement in the hacks