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Spate of mystery killings add to insecurity for Raqqa residents still living in fear - The National, Oct 11, 2018
“Every few days the dead body of a member of the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] is discovered. No-one knows who did it”, Abou Fares, a member of Raqqa municipality linked to the Raqqa Civil Council, told The National.

“Some say it’s locals. Some say it’s ISIS. Some say it’s the SDF fighting between themselves. There’s a lot of rumours”, says another Raqqa inhabitant. The SDF has imposed a curfew on motorbikes at night.
Raqqa  lawlessness  Mar15  Assassination 
december 2018 by elizrael
Yemen on the brink: how the UAE is profiting from the chaos of civil war | Ghaith Abdul-Ahad | News | The Guardian, Dec 21, 2018
The Emiratis appear to be the only alliance members with a clear strategy. They are using private armies that they have created, trained and funded in a bid to crush both jihadi militancy and Islamist political parties such as al-Islah. Across the southern coast – where the UAE is allied with the separatist Southern Movement, which is opposed to both the Houthis and the Hadi government – the Emiratis have built a series of military camps and bases, and established what is essentially a parallel state, with its own security services who are not accountable to the Yemeni government. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have revealed the existence of a network of secret prisons operated by the UAE and its proxy forces, who are accused of disappearing and torturing al-Islah members, anti-Houthi fighters from rival factions, and even activists and critics of the Saudi-UAE coalition. Yemeni ministers have taken to referring to the Emiratis as an “occupation force”.

With the Emiratis as their backers, the people of Aden believed their city would become the next Dubai, with electricity, water and jobs. The enthusiastic governor, a former general who had returned from London to help rebuild the city, told me companies would pour into the city; Aden would resume its former glory; its port, which had been stagnating before the war, would reclaim its status; and embassies would reopen. In the months after the Houthis’ departure in 2015, the Emiratis were celebrated as liberators, their flags sold on market stalls, and pictures of the rulers adorned street corners and weapons.

In the streets, the reality was different. “Liberated Aden” resembled other cities devastated by the civil wars that followed the Arab spring, with rusting, burned tanks and armoured vehicles perched on hills, overlooking a city of scarred streets and gutted buildings, toppled on top of one another like crumpled concrete wafers, and impoverished people left homeless and turned into refugee squatters in their own city. The defeated Houthi militia was replaced by dozens of others in a city without water, electricity or a sewage system. The war became the main employer, and the streets filled with fighters riding in the back of pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns. Commanders from the disparate, disunited resistance groups were demanding their share of the spoils from a broken and impoverished city.

The most powerful of those commanders, men like Ayman Askar, secured control of the ports, factories and any institution that generated an income, imposing their protection racket. The smaller commanders contented themselves with looting public and private property, especially if the latter belonged to northern owners.

In the summer I met with a human rights lawyer who works with Yemeni ministry of justice, compiling lists of detainees and collecting testimonies from them and their families. “After the battle for Aden we expected the Emiratis to form one army from the resistance – instead, they created a dozen forces and they are detaining anyone who opposes them,” she told me. “Pursuing al-Qaida became a pretext – anyone they don’t approve of is detained, and almost everyone detained is tortured, often hung from ceiling, many are sexually abused. The sad thing is that now southerners are torturing southerners with the blessing of the Emiratis – while the government of Yemen stands helpless and watches.”

The increasingly visible pursuit of these geopolitical imperatives has not necessarily impressed their ostensible allies in Yemen. In Aden this summer, criticism of the UAE was spreading, especially among the poor, who had thought the presence of their very rich neighbours would make their lives better. Instead, the electricity supply had got worse, preventable diseases were spreading, and the collapse of the Yemeni riyal was making them even poorer.
UAE  Muslim_Brotherhood  militia  Looting  corruption  lawlessness  ForeignFighters  torture  kidnapping 
december 2018 by elizrael
Midterms 2018: Scandal-hit incumbents mostly won their elections — Quartz
Nine out of 12 incumbents hit by scandals won their elections. All 12 scandal-ridden newcomers lost.
corruption  politics  government  usa  incumbency  lawlessness 
november 2018 by po
المدن - ريف حلب: الشرطة عاجزة عن ضبط سلاح الفصائل May 7, 2018
ووقفت قوات الشرطة عاجزة عن فعل أي شيء، وبعد ساعات من الاقتتال وصل رتل عسكري تابع لـ"الفيلق الثالث" بهدف فض النزاع. وبجهود قوات الفصل، ووجهاء من الباب، وبوساطة من ضباط في الجيش التركي، تم التوصل لوقف إطلاق النار، ليل الأحد/الاثنين، وانسحبت "الشرقية" مع سلاحها الثقيل إلى خارج الباب، على أن يسلم الطرفان المتورطين في القتال إلى طرف ثالث، ومن ثم تحويلهم إلى القضاء.

وما يزال "الجيش الوطني" عنواناً عريضاَ من دون أي فاعلية تذكر على الأرض. هيكل تنظيمي للفصائل من أجل تسلم الرواتب، حتى اللحظة، لم يتحول بعد إلى جسم عسكري يملك القرار وتغيب فيه مسميات الفصائل والانتماءات الفصائلية التي تعتبر أصل التنافس والصراعات المحلية على النفوذ والسلطة.
قوات الشرطة غير قادرة بالفعل على التدخل، ووقف الانتهاكات بحق المؤسسات الخدمية، أو الفصل في الاقتتال الذي ينشب بين الحين والآخر في المدن والبلدات. والمؤسسات القضائية ليست محايدة، وتديرها بعض الفصائل وفيها من المحسوبيات والفساد الكثير. وبإمكان الجانب التركي ضبط الوضع الأمني في المنطقة في حال ضغط على الفصائل من ناحية التمويل، باعتبارها جميعاً باتت ممولة تركياً. كما يتوجب تمكين الشرطة لضبط السلاح والتخفيف من انتشاره بين الأهالي. بإمكان الجانب التركي تحرير المؤسسة القضائية من سطوة الفصائل.
NationalArmy  Mar15  FSA  internal_struggle  Aleppo  BufferZone  Turkey  Judiciary  lawlessness 
august 2018 by elizrael
Free Syria Police: A Difficult Road Ahead | International Review, Feb 2018
Besides difficulties in the field, internal problems are also hampering efforts by the FSP to bring about stability and security. Corruption in particular, a problem that has plagued all elements in the conflict, has been noted as a major issue. Several police officers have had their salaries reduced on charges of corrupt behavior, and others have been fired for a variety of corruption-related offenses. A local Jarabulus resident expressed mistrust over the newly deployed police force over fears of them being unable to do their duties properly.5.

Another problem is the rebel groups who freed these areas from IS in the first place. Some groups have followed the original plan to leave security of urban areas to the police, but others have refused to budge from their positions. This has created a multipolar security situation where rebel factions in some areas act as de facto security forces against the wishes of the police, civilians, and local councils. The problem is far worse than rebel groups simply making the work of the police more difficult: some rebel groups in north Aleppo have been accused of criminal activity, including accusations of drug smuggling and stealing. In Al Bab there was an incident involving rebel fighters breaking into a pharmacy to steal Tramadol for recreational use, and accusations of theft, extortion, and weapons smuggling have been leveled against some groups.16.
On several occasions civilians in the area have also accused the rebels of using checkpoints to extort money.17. In one particular case someone visiting Jarabulus was reportedly stopped at a checkpoint controlled by a rebel group, where he was beaten and robbed. Rebel groups in north Aleppo have on multiple occasions even clashed with each other, often causing civilian casualties during the brief bouts of fighting. One incident in al-Bab in particular highlights the dangers of rebel infighting, when a policeman and several civilians were killed in the crossfire.18. Such blatant disregard for the rule of law show the severity of the challenges being faced by police.
lawlessness  police  Mar15  Aleppo  BufferZone  localGovt 
july 2018 by elizrael
Free Syria Police: Creating Security and Stability | International Review, Feb 7, 2018
Most of the recruits were from refugee camps in Turkey, though some were also former rebel fighters. The police recruits received specialty training as well as equipment from Turkish forces and were provided with uniforms, weapons, and police cars. A new police station was built while security cameras were installed throughout Jarabulus, and in some locations, metal detectors were installed as well. Head of Police General Aslan has said that Turkey also provided significant logistical support

The head of Azaz police Ahmed Zidan has reported that in an attempt to stop such attacks they have tried to find sleeper cells, issued curfews, closed all but essential roads leading into the Azaz, and set up more checkpoints. However, he personally blames rebels groups for his police officers being unable to stop attacks in Azaz, stating that the lack of unified entry controls and checkpoints leading into the Azaz are causing gaps in security which are exploited by the attackers.24. Despite these problems there appears to be progress. For example, the police in Azaz have successfully found and dismantled a car bomb in the first week of 2018.
Turkey  BufferZone  police  Aleppo  lawlessness  Mar15  localGovt 
july 2018 by elizrael
Suweida, an Isolated Island Awaiting Its Fate - Enab Baladi, Feb 12, 2018
Because basic goods in Suweida were imported from Damascus, the capital was able to impose high duties through checkpoints throughout the province. Checkpoints allowed trucks carrying goods to pass with their protection against kidnapping after paying the fee. If drivers refused, then a group would be waiting just dozens of meters away. This led to a decline in the living situation in Suweida and inflation of prices.

The phenomenon of kidnapping civilians is one of the most dangerous of the violations which have spread in southern Syria between the neighboring provinces of Daraa and Suweida. Kidnapping is described by residents as organized and open, with its social, moral and economic consequences beginning to threaten peace in the province. According to activists from the province, about 406 civilians were kidnapped during 2017, while other statistics indicate that about 23 civilians from the two provinces were kidnapped in January 2018 alone.

Since January 2017 until the end of August that year, there were no fewer than 300 kidnapping incidents, according to a report published by the Syrians for Truth and Justice group under the title “Abduction as a Mechanism to Disintegrate the Community Fabric.”

According to testimonies gathered by the group, this phenomenon is accomplished with the supervision of the security forces and militias tied to them in areas under Syrian regime control, and under the supervision of armed groups in areas under armed opposition control.
Sweida  lawlessness  militia  Druze  kidnapping 
july 2018 by elizrael
While the Islamic State fades in Syria, its legacy of antiquities smuggling flourishes -Syria Direct, May 30,2018
“During my work in the past years, I have never been subjected to any harassment by the opposition factions,” he says. “[These groups] are now prospecting antiquities [themselves] for a source of funding.” Syria Direct could not independently confirm the smuggler’s claim.

While a majority of looting took place in opposition areas, the ASOR study provided evidence that the Syrian government was also not above the fray.
Mar15  Looting  Daraa  ISIS  FSA  lawlessness  smuggling 
july 2018 by elizrael
Theft and Looting Becomes Widespread in Damascus - al-Hal
The robbing of individuals is the most widespread inside the capital, and mobile phones are what are stolen most often. Usually, smartphones are smuggled to Lebanon, due to the difficulty of breaking the device’s code. It can then be sold there as spare parts at half price. Meanwhile, the devices which have easy to break codes are sold in “ta’afeesh” markets and not in regular stores.
lawlessness  Mar15  Damascus 
may 2018 by elizrael
Mid-sized powers must unite to preserve the world order
Gideon Rachman

New times call for new thinking.....the world’s middle powers, Germany, France, Japan and Britain, have a dilemma: America and China are increasingly tempted to break free of the constraints of international agreements and to use their power to achieve their goals, unilaterally. Russia lacks the economic might of a great power. But it has the territorial expanse and the nuclear arsenal, and has made a mighty contribution to an atmosphere of growing international lawlessness.

The middle powers cannot flex their muscles like great powers. But they are international players, with global economic and security interests. They need a world with rules. ...What could the middle powers actually do, other than give each other consoling hugs? They should start by noting the similarity of their positions and concerns. For decades, the six middle powers have organised their international positions around two pillars: a strong relationship with the US and membership of a powerful regional grouping, such as the EU, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Donald Trump era has upended their assumptions. Whatever the Europeans, Australians, Japanese and Canadians say publicly, they are all dismayed by the current direction of the US. The protectionism of the Trump administration is a direct threat to their economic interests. (The US is likely to press ahead with steel tariffs on the EU on June 1.) The US’s current unpredictability and incipient isolationism also poses questions about the robustness of its security guarantees to its allies.

With US leadership increasingly erratic, the middle powers should do more to co-ordinate their positions and lobby on the big global issues: trade, climate change, arms control and peace efforts in the Middle East and Asia.
APEC  EU  international_system  lawlessness  middle-powers  NAFTA  rules_of_the_game  rules-based  Donald_Trump 
may 2018 by jerryking
Kidnappers Release Suweida Civilians in Exchange for 30M Syrian Pounds - Enab Baladi, Jan 9, 2018
In a previous interview, STJ director Bassam Alahmad described the kidnapping and counter-kidnapping phenomenon as one of the worst violations to have appeared after the Syrian conflict, especially given that many cases are accompanied by other violations, including torture, forced disappearance, killing, financial extortion, and others.

Alahmad told Enab Baladi that it was important to note that kidnappings and counter-kidnappings should not be seen as individual actions, but as organized operations carried out in most cases by people linked to the security apparatus in Suweida province and others linked to armed groups in the areas under opposition control.
kidnapping  Mar15  lawlessness  Sweida  Daraa  FSA  NDF 
january 2018 by elizrael

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