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Topical Alert: Security Affairs

(Updated April 30, 2014)

ARMS CONTROL & DISARMAMENT

IRAN-NORTH KOREA-SYRIA BALLISTIC MISSILE AND NUCLEAR COOPERATION. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Paul K. Kerr et al. April 16, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 14 pages, 291 KB]
Congress has at times expressed concern regarding ballistic missile and nuclear programs in Iran, North Korea, and Syria. This report focuses primarily on unclassified and declassified U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) assessments over the past two decades. These assessments indicate that: 1. there is no evidence that Iran and North Korea have engaged in nuclear-related trade or cooperation with each other, although ballistic missile technology cooperation between the two is significant and meaningful, and 2. Syria has received ballistic missiles and related technology from North Korea and Iran and also engaged in nuclear technology cooperation with North Korea.

REACHING NUCLEAR THRESHOLD, IRAN MAY BE READY FOR PAUSE. YaleGlobal. Arch Roberts. April 10, 2014.
Full Text [HTML format, various paging]
Iran possesses the technology to enrich uranium that could lead to production of nuclear weapons, putting the country in a class with 14 nations including Germany and Japan. Perhaps that was the nation's goal all along. "It's possible that a pause in Iran's nuclear program has become desirable and convenient in the face of the sanctions that undermine the economy and the regime, especially given the expansion of spinning centrifuges," writes Arch Roberts. "Tehran may have concluded there's little downside risk in hitting a reset button with the big powers." An interim agreement that requires inspections, reports and verification is strong. But if permanent agreement is not reached on reducing nuclear stockpiles and arranging more inspections by the July 20 deadline, the actual know-how gained won't be forgotten, Roberts warns. After achieving a certain level of nuclear capability, Iran can press a pause button on its program to focus on economic challenges and develop a better relationship with the international community. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

POLITICAL STABILITY

SOUTH SUDAN: A CIVIL WAR BY ANY OTHER NAME. International Crisis Group. April 10, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 47 pages, 1.76 MB]
According to the report, refocusing international engagement as well as the peace negotiations is essential to stop South Sudan's raging civil war from claiming ever more lives. [Note: contains copyrighted material.] 

THE SECURITY CHALLENGES OF PASTORALISM IN CENTRAL AFRICA. International Crisis Group. April 1, 2014.
Summary in English [HTML format, various paging]
According to the report, sensible, inclusive regulation of pastoralism that has mitigated tension in parts of the Sahel should be extended to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), where conflicts have worsened with the southward expansion of pastoralism. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

TERRORISTS & TERRORISM

JIHAD IN NIGERIA: PAST LIVES ON. YaleGlobal. Lamin Sanneh. April 29, 2014.
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Boko Haram, a Salafist extremist group continues to terrorize northern Nigeria in a quest for a strict Islamist state. A bomb killed 75 in Abuja, April 14, followed the next day by the kidnapping of more than 200 girls from a school in Chibok. The group's Arabic name suggests intention to wage jihad. But violence and coercion belie the meaning of jihad, a struggle against unbelief, mainly within Islamic community and the individual. Religious and political leaders have long condemned the practice for devastating so many lives, complicating foreign policy and directing global ire toward Islam. Sanneh outlines the history of jihad in West Africa during the 19th century. Extremists engage in tiresome competition to impose illogical limits for society rather than meet the challenges of good governance. Even early jihadists agreed that coercion, using religion to mask the extremists' raw quests for control, is corrupt and reprehensible. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

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