Honduran Political Crisis, June 2009-January 2010

6 04 2010

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Secrecy News/Federation of American Scientists)

This report notes that on June 28, 2009, the Honduran military detained President Manuel Zelaya and flew him to exile in Costa Rica, ending 27 years of uninterrupted democratic, constitutional governance. Honduran governmental institutions had become increasingly polarized in the preceding months as a result of Zelaya’s intention to hold a non-binding referendum and eventually amend the constitution.


Reforming Pakistan’s Civil Service

9 03 2010

URL: http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=6528
Source: International Crisis Group

This report analyses the structure and functioning of Pakistan’s civil bureaucracy. It identifies critical flaws as well as measures to make it more accountable and able to provide essential public services. Military rule has left behind a demoralised and inefficient bureaucracy that was used to ensure regime survival. Low salaries, insecure tenure, obsolete accountability mechanisms and political interference have spawned widespread corruption and impunity. If the flaws of an unreformed bureaucracy are not urgently addressed, the government risks losing public support.

The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora after the LTTE

9 03 2010

URL: http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6545&l=1
Source: International Crisis Group

This report examines political dynamics within the Tamil diaspora since May 2009, as Tamils abroad adapt to the LTTE’s defeat. It also looks at the potential for new forms of militancy within the diaspora, especially among the younger generations, radicalised by the deaths of thousands of Tamil civilians in the final months of the war. While there is little chance of the Tamil Tigers regrouping in the diaspora, most Tamils abroad remain profoundly committed to a separate state of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka.

Burma/Myanmar After Nargis: Time to Normalise Aid Relations

29 01 2010

URL: http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=5734&l=1. Source: International Crisis Group.

This report argues that the recent cooperation has proved that it is possible to work with the military regime on humanitarian issues and to deliver assistance in an effective and accountable way. If the current opening can be used to build confidence and lay the basis for a more effective aid structure, it may be possible not only to meet the immediate needs, but also to begin to address the broader crisis of governance and human suffering.

The Production of Insecurity by African Security Forces: Insights from Liberia and the Central African Republic

19 01 2010

URL: https://www.ciaonet.org/wps/giga/0017786/index.html
Source: German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA).

This report notes that little attention has been paid to the factual effect of the state’s security forces on the security of African citizens. Reports about security forces’ contribution to widespread insecurity are frequent: the protectors become violators and their appearance causes fear, not security. In many African crisis countries the realization of better security forces appears to be an elusive goal, either because violent conflicts are not definitively settled and therefore do not allow for decent reform or because a lack of capacity as a result of material constraints is not easy to remedy. The self-help mechanisms used to compensate for the lack of state-sponsored security need more attention. However, it has to be acknowledged that the ideal of a neutral and effective force loyal to the state is shared by a great majority of the population. This contribution compares the experiences of Liberia and the Central African Republic, two extreme cases of strong and weak international involvement, respectively, in post-conflict security-sector reform.

CAR: Keeping the Dialogue Alive

19 01 2010

URL: http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6467&l=1
Source: International Crisis Group.

This report examines the impact of the Inclusive Political Dialogue and the current challenges to a state that has lacked meaningful institutional capacity for some three decades. It argues that the unwillingness of President François Bozizé and his close circle to follow through with many of the concessions agreed on during the December 2008 talks risks exacerbating the country’s conflicts and stalling national reconciliation.

The Rise of the Pasdaran Assessing the Domestic Roles of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

22 12 2009

URL: http://www.rand.org/pallrd/0109/pubs/monographs/MG821/. Source: RAND.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)—also known as the Pasdaran (Persian for “guards”)—was initially created by Ayatollah Khomeini during the 1978–1979 Islamic Revolution as an ideological guard for the nascent regime. Since then, it has evolved into an expansive socio-political-economic conglomerate whose influence extends into virtually every corner of Iranian political life and society. In this monograph, the authors assess the IRGC less as a traditional military entity and more as a domestic actor, emphasizing its multidimensional nature and the variety of roles it plays in Iran’s political culture, economy, and society.