This article was originally published by openSecurity on 1 September 2014.
In the last decades, militarisation of the state and surveillance of the population have grown exponentially in many western countries. Police forces, civilian institutions and even urban spaces have followed this trend of securitisation. Images of heavily armed police forces clashing against protesters in the US, UK, France and many other countries are becoming increasingly common. Leaked official documents have detailed the extensive surveillance programmes several states use to spy on their denizens, under the auspice of “national security”.
While the “war on drugs” and the “war on terror” have often provided the pretext, those affected by militarisation and surveillance are mostly neither criminal kingpins nor “terrorists” but ordinary citizens. It has been political activists and groups, those who express dissent and protesters, as well it is true as small-time criminals, who have been on the receiving end of police SWAT team raids, extensive (often illegal) surveillance and assaults by heavily-armoured riot police.
This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 3 September, 2014.
Trafalgar Square, central London. More than 3,000 people are in attendance at the “Rally for Islam.” A notorious firebrand near Nelson’s Column calls for jihad against Britain. Thunderous cheers roll through the crowd and echo ominously toward Whitehall. Placards demand the assassination of the British prime minster and other Western heads of state. The speaker avows that he will not rest until the black flag of Islam flies over Downing Street. He further declares that British citizens are legitimate targets in the imminent holy war because Britain assisted in the destruction of the Caliphate in 1924. » More
This article was originally published by E-International Relations on 2 September, 2014.
Image: flickr/Irish Defense Forces
A UN-sponsored report recently concluded that more than 191,000 people have now been killed in the Syrian conflict. Commenting on the report, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay strongly criticized the Security Council for its inaction. The case of Syria has once again raised the question about the relevance of the UN and its ability to protect civilians. While civilians are being slaughtered on the battlefield, the UN Security Council fails to agree on an appropriate reaction. It may remind us of historical failures of the UN, like in Rwanda and Bosnia. What happened to the promises that “never again” would this happen? » More
Image: Mark Morgan/Flickr
This article was originally published by E-International Relations on 28 August, 2014.
The Organization of American States (OAS) is set to appoint a new Secretary General in 2015. The new leader will replace José Miguel Insulza, of Chile, who will soon finish his second consecutive term. Since the OAS charter states that a Secretary General cannot serve more than two five-year terms, the position will soon be open to a new candidate. Regardless of which Latin American figure is chosen for the position–– Uruguay’s Foreign Minister Luis Almagro and former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein are two recent nominations––the next Secretary General will have the critical responsibility of maintaining the agency’s status as a relevant player in the evolving inter-American system. » More
Lider da Renamo/Wikimedia
This article was originally published by IPI Global Observatory on 26 August, 2014.
Following months of conciliatory talks, Mozambique’s Frelimo ruling party and the Renamo opposition party agreed to a ceasefire on Sunday, August 24. The deal between the government and the former rebel group formalized a peace agreement brokered between the two parties earlier in the month. It provides for the implementation of a number of measures aimed at finding a binding and peaceful solution to the recent political impasse, ahead of presidential elections due to take place in October. » More