15 August 2013
SHARES News Items Overview: 16 July-15 August 2013
This is our News Items Overview of 16 July-15 August 2013, a summary of recent news relating to shared responsibility.
- Israeli submarines are responsible for the attack on the missile depot in Latakia on 5 July, according to The Sunday Times. The alleged naval strike was reportedly coordinated with the Pentagon, which has expressed concerns over the Russian anti-ship missiles in Syria.
- The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to confirm or deny Israeli involvement in the attack on a Syrian missile depot on 5 July, but said Israel would stand by its policy of preventing the transfer of dangerous weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
- The Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari condemned the use of Iraqi airspace by Iran to conduct weapon transfers to the Assad government in Syria, but emphasised that the Iraqi military could do nothing to stop them and called on the international community to enforce the relevant Security Council resolutions.
- The German Bild reported that the German intelligence agency (BND) has long been informed of the collection of German national’s data by the NSA, and has itself utilised data gathered with the PRISM programme.
- The Telegraph reported that UK Prime Minister David Cameron had abandoned plans to arm the Syrian opposition due to warnings by military chiefs.
- Panama has seized a North Korean cargo ship carrying weapons from Cuba, because of suspected breach of UN sanctions. Cuba confirmed that the arms were bound for North Korea but claimed that the missiles, fighter jets and other arms were obsolete defensive weaponry being sent away for repairs.
- The UN Security Council emphasised the importance of increased regional and international cooperation and coordination to combat security threats in the Sahel, West Africa and the Maghreb. Interregional cooperation, including information sharing, is needed to effectively combat the threats posed by terrorist groups, transnational crime, and drug trafficking.
- The UNSG Special Representative for Iraq Martin Kobler warned the Security Council that the escalating violence in Iraq and the civil war in Syria are inseparable, as the battlefields of the neighbouring states are merging. The Syrian conflict is spilling over into Iraq, and Iraqi armed groups are now taking arms against each other inside Syria.
- The Voice of Russia reported that the Russian appeal to the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee to probe alleged illegal weapons deliveries from Libya, through Turkey and Qatar, to the Syrian opposition was not supported by the Committee.
- Hong Kong customs officials announced the seizure of a large amount of smuggled elephant tusks on a Togolese container. The increasing large-scale shipments indicate the involvement of criminal organisations that smuggle ivory from Africa through Southeast Asian states to major markets such as China.
- Australia and Papua New Guinea have signed an agreement that allows Australia to send all asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat to a refugee processing centre in Papua New Guinea.
- The Panamanian Foreign Ministry announced that a team of UN experts will inspect the Cuban weapons shipment that was seized on suspicion of carrying weapons to North Korea in violation of the UN arms embargo. It has been reported that US intelligence was used in the seizure, and the US likely assisted Panama in the operation.
- The EU announced the publication of guidelines explicitly banning EU funding of Israeli institutions operating in the occupied territories, reiterating a long-held position of the EU.
- The Australian Immigration Minister Tony Burke stated that a group of 89 asylum seekers that was intercepted off the coast of northern Australia can either press an asylum claim in Papua New Guinea, or be transferred to a third state. After announcing the new immigration policy, violent riots followed in an Australian-run immigration detention camp in Nauru, and hundreds of asylum seekers escaped detention.
- Two US fighter jets dropped four unarmed bombs in the Australian Great Barrier Reef Marine Park during a training exercise. The Marine Park is a World Heritage Site containing the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem.
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres urged European states to burden-share, ‘so as to help mitigate the crushing impact which the refugee crisis is having on Syria’s immediate neighbours’.
- The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry warned the Security Council that Syria is increasingly turning into a regional, if not a global, battleground, also attracting an increasing number of foreign fighters.
- The UN Refugee Agency expressed concerns over Australia’s Regional Resettlement Agreement with Papua New Guinea, citing the absence of adequate protection standards for asylum seekers and refugees, and stressed that Australia maintains a shared responsibility with its developing neighbour to ensure appropriate legal standards for asylum seekers.
- The Guardian reported that Israel has frozen cooperation with the EU on work in the occupied Palestinian Territories. This decision comes after the adoption of new EU guidelines that ban union funding of Israeli institutions operating in the occupied territories.
- Czech authorities announced uncovering an international gang responsible for illegally smuggling white rhinoceros horns from South Africa to Asia, where rhino horn is used in traditional medicine. The crime syndicate had links to pseudo-hunting in South Africa where legislation allowing for non-commercial hunting trophies is exploited by proxy-hunters, to legally repatriate trophy horns to the Czech Republic and illegally sell them to Asian countries.
- According to a CNN report, the CIA was conducting a weapons smuggling operation from Libyan arms depots, through Turkey, to Syrian rebels when the US embassy in Benghazi was attacked in September 2012.
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasised the importance of increasing cooperation among regional and sub-regional organisations and the UN in order to address challenges in maintaining international peace and security.
- A report released by Yale University documents how UN negligence caused the cholera epidemic in Haiti, arguing that the UN has legal and moral obligations to remedy the harm caused. The report calls for setting up a claims commission, recommends the UN to issue a public apology, and direct aid to the victims, in order to comply with its contractual and international law obligations.
- The CITES Secretary-General and the Director-General of UNESCO have called on the international community to increase its cooperative efforts, on both the national and international level, to fight illegal ivory trade and increasing poaching of the African elephant.
- The Associated Press reported that the Jordanian police is questioning two Syrians suspected of attempting to smuggle a large weapons cache, including surface-to-air missiles, into Jordan. Jordan has been concerned of the Syrian war spilling across the border and reportedly acted as a transit point earlier this year for Saudi and Qatari weapons destined for Syrian rebels.
- The New York Times reported that Sudan has provided weapons for the Syrian rebels, adding another layer to the unregistered multinational arms pipeline supplying the opposition forces. The Sudanese government reportedly sold anti-aircraft missiles and small arms cartridges to Qatar, which arranged for them to be delivered to the Syrian opposition forces through Turkey.
- The UN Secretary-General published his fifth report on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) entitled ‘Responsibility to protect: State responsibility and prevention’, referring to the ‘collective failure to prevent atrocity crimes in the Syrian Arab Republic’ and the moral burden this places on the UN and member states, ‘in particular those who have primary responsibility for international peace and security’.