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February 2021 Media Roundup

Security in Context Media Roundup

This is a roundup of news articles, reports, and other materials focusing on (in)security issues and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of Security in Context . The goal is to shed light on knowledge production on security related issues that are of public interest from different perspectives. Entries may include academic journal articles, think tank reports, non-governmental organizations releases, official documents or government commissioned research, and regular news items. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each roundup to admin@securityincontext.com

February 2021

Climate Change and Security

Climate Security: Beyond the Binary of Denial or Doomsday

(February 23, 2021)

Framing the threat posed by climate change as ‘apocalyptic’ may not be helpful in mobilizing grass-roots change, and could instead reinforce militarization as a response to the climate crisis.

A century without war is needed to survive environmental threats

(February 21, 2021)

Huge military budgets will not protect us from extinction. Nations must redirect spending towards human security and peacekeeping now.


Experts Spotlight Bottom-Up Approaches and the Impacts of Conflict on Infrastructure in the Next Wave of Environmental Peacebuilding

(February 16, 2021)

Environmental peacebuilding must decenter the state and be inclusive of indigenous, local, and bottom-up knowledge for the future of environmental governance and environmental peacebuilding.


Lisa Ilboudo Nébié: Studying Food Security, Environmental Changes and Migration in West Africa

(February 11, 2021)

An interview with Lisa Ilboudo Nébié on the successes and challenges of local pastoral communities’ re-greening efforts in West Africa.


Former Australian PMs put Murdoch in the hot seat on climate change

(February 11, 2021)

The platforms of influential climate change sceptics and climate change deniers in public discourse are overwhelmingly represented by media outlets owned by Rupert Murdoch. 


What does energy security mean for Maldives?

(February 6, 2021)

As India and the Maldives look to become energy partners, the approach to energy security must integrate associated challenges with poverty, inequality, rural and youth unemployment, and disaster management issues.

Security and International Relations

EU foreign ministers agree to prepare Russian sanctions, diplomats say

(February 22, 2021)

European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to go ahead with sanctions on four senior Russian officials in response to the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, two EU diplomats said, allowing preparations for listings to begin.


National risk assessments: a political vaccine against the next disaster?

(February 15, 2021)

How do we prevent and prepare for future disasters, natural or man-made? Introducing National Risk Assessments as a new genre in European security politics.


Middle East – The resurgence of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq

(February 13, 2021)

Despite the loss of territory, the ideology of ISIS was not defeated, and although it’s difficult to put a precise number on their manpower, there is evidence that they are re-establishing themselves in the Middle East.


SWIFT sets up JV with China's central bank

(February 4, 2021)

SWIFT, the global system for financial messaging and cross-border payments, has set up a joint venture with the Chinese central bank’s digital currency research institute and clearing centre, in a sign that China is exploring global use of its planned digital yuan.

Migration and Displacement

Houthi offensive on Yemen's Marib threatens mass displacement, U.N. warns

(February 16, 2021)

An offensive by Yemen’s Houthi group to take Marib city, the last stronghold of the internationally-recognised government, threatens to displace hundreds of thousands and complicate a renewed diplomatic push to end the war, U.N. officials say.


‘Our village is completely destroyed’: Displaced Central Africans recount rapes and disappearances

(February 15, 2021)

Central African Republic security forces and their allies claim to have pushed back a rebel offensive seeking to topple President Faustin-Archange Touadéra. But a humanitarian crisis is far from over in the country, with hundreds of thousands of people still displaced and many more in need of assistance.


Wars Trigger Record Levels of Internal Displacement in Middle East, North Africa, Report Finds

(February 15, 2021)

A new report finds internal displacement in the Middle East and North Africa has reached unprecedented levels a decade after the so-called Arab Spring triggered a political upheaval across the region.


As climate displacement increases, migration myths fuel fears

(February 10, 2021)

In recent years, sensationalist and simplistic discourse has taken hold in Western media outlets around the impending ‘waves’ and ‘floods’ of refugees as a result of the climate crisis. While climate change does and will continue to affect people's mobility, particularly in the Global South, the scale, pace, and patterns of movement are far more complex than reductive climate-induced South-North migratory patterns that preoccupy media narratives. 

Covid-19, Capitalism & Economy

Unfair fields: Asymmetric WTO rules let US inflate cotton subsidies must be reformed

(February 22, 2021)

Cotton farmers in India and other Global South countries, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, are at peril due to lopsided policy of support for developed countries such as the US.


A lack of vaccines in the global south worsens inequality

(february 12, 2021)

Canada is exacerbating inequality by using vaccines meant for developing countries to supplement its supplies. It’s the only G7 country to do this.


No, Countries in the Global South Shouldn’t be Scrapping Fuel Subsidies

(February 11, 2021)

Cutting fuel subsidies in the Global South has been primarily part of neoliberal and austerity reforms pressured by the IMF in structural adjustment programs that have tended to hurt the poor and middle classes. Cutting fuel subsidies will do little to reduce emissions, yet will significantly impact the poor and working class.


We must vaccinate the world — now

(February 9, 2021)

The cost of jabs for all would be a rounding error; it is also the only way to end the pandemic for good. The world economy is recovering from the depths of the Covid-19 crisis. But that crisis will not depart for good until the pandemic is under control.


Even the IMF Is Being Forced to Rethink Its Callousness to the Global South

(February 7, 2021)

Asides from the moral responsibility not to horde vaccines, it is in the self-interest of the Global North to ensure that vaccines are reaching poorer countries. The global economy depends on healthy, functioning nations around the world, if vaccines are not made widely available for all, this could cost the rich as much as $5 trillion dollars.


Pandemic caused ‘staggering’ economic, human impact in global south, study says

(February 5, 2021)

The pandemic has caused a staggering impact on the economy and human security of the Global South with an average of  70% of households across nine countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America reporting financial losses. Many countries, after decades of steady growth have experienced major setbacks on a number of social development indicators. 


How to save the world from long Covid

(February 4, 2021)

If the world doesn’t act fast, it is possible that COVID-19 will continue to mutate out of our control. In this scenario, reaching global herd immunity becomes more challenging and ongoing financial turmoil, lockdowns, and political dysfunction will increase. Every nation must act urgently to ensure the entire globe has access to vaccines. 

Technologies of surveillance/Data Analytics/AI

Avoiding the data colonialism trap

(February 26, 2021)

Power, data-rich countries in the Global North must not follow the path of data colonialism over the Global South by undercutting local capacities and furthering a knowledge divide. 


UK spy agency to use AI against cyber attacks and state actors

(February 24, 2021)

GCHQ, the UK spy agency, is preparing to use artificial intelligence to combat cyber attacks, identify state-backed disinformation and track criminal networks around the globe.


The terrifying development of AI warfare

(February 21, 2021)

Proponents of Automated Weapons Systems (AWS) argue that they will reduce human casualties and collateral damage, but the truth is not so simple. Trust, accountability, and authorization over life and death decisions are all but a few of the concerns and unknowns in a future of automated warfare. 


Strengthening international cooperation on artificial intelligence

(February 17, 2021)

Artificial Intelligence is a potentially transformational technology that must be developed amidst international cooperation, knowledge production and frameworks, for mutual benefit and mitigating the risks associated with it. 


Could AI ease food security fears?

(February 15, 2021)

Dr Liangxiu Han discusses how we might harness big data and machine learning/AI to boost global food security in these uncertain times of climate change.


Denmark raises investment in Arctic surveillance to counter Russian build-up

(February 14, 2021)

Copenhagen to re-establish a Cold War radar station on Faroe Islands and purchase surveillance drones for Greenland. “Denmark is likely to further increase its military spending in the Arctic after it unveiled a $250m investment in surveillance capabilities in Greenland and the Faroe Islands to counter Russia’s military build-up in the region.”


Myanmar junta pushes punitive cyber security bill

(February 11, 2021)

Proposed law would give authorities sweeping powers to control the internet as protests continue.


Artificial intelligence must not be allowed to replace the imperfection of human empathy

(February 1, 2021)

The development of AI is underscored by the search for perfectionism and efficiency. However, the pursuit of perfection in the context of society has often been the justification for grotesque atrocities, exploitation and dehumanization of others. Humans and society are heterogenous and imperfect, to which ‘perfect’ artificial intelligence is dangerously at odds with.


How the LAPD and Palantir Use Data to Justify Racist Policing

(January 30, 2021)

In her new book, sociologist Sarah Braynewho spent months embedded with the LAPD details how data-driven policing techwashes bias.

Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Sexuality

Attacks on Asian Americans during pandemic renew criticism that U.S. undercounts hate crimes

(February 22, 2021)

A spate of high-profile assaults on Asian Americans has renewed long-standing criticism from Democrats and civil rights groups that the U.S. government is vastly undercounting hate crimes, a problem that they say has grown more acute amid rising white nationalism and deepening racial strife.


White supremacy a 'transnational threat', U.N. chief warns

(February 22, 2021)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday that white supremacy and neo-Nazi movements are becoming a “transnational threat” and have exploited the coronavirus pandemic to boost their support.


Policing in Europe: The Nexus Between Structural Racism and Surveillance Economies

(February 18, 2021)

In a special long read, Esra Ozkan and Sanne Stevens, Table Co-Directors in LSE’s Justice, Equity and Technology Project, take a deep dive into the use of data-driven tools in policing across Europe, and the implications of these for injustices linked to the oppression of marginalized groups and communities.


“Passing” explores race and identity during the Harlem Renaissance

(February 10, 2021)

Adapted from Nella Larsen’s novel, the film follows an African-American woman who is passing as white


Ageism and sexism barring grandmothers from initiatives to save newborn lives in Global South

(February 15, 2021)

Ageism, sexism, and Western ideals of the nuclear family have excluded grandmothers from national and international policy initiatives to save newborn lives in the Global South, suggests an analysis published in the online journal BMJ Global Health.


ICC’s “Landmark Decision” Could Open Door to Prosecuting Israel for War Crimes in Palestine

(February 8, 2021)

In a landmark decision, judges at the International Criminal Court say the body has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, opening the door to possible criminal charges against Israel and militant groups like Hamas.

Arms, Weapons, and Military Industrial Complex

U.S. 'War on Terror' Covered Nearly Half the World in Past 3 Years, This Map Shows Where

(February 25, 2021)

A map published by the Costs of War project of Brown University's details the extent of U.S. counterterrorism operations in 85 countries from 2018 through 2020.


UAE unveils $1.36bn in arms deals at Abu Dhabi weapons show

(February 22, 2021)

Major arms makers are attending a weapons show in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, hoping to seal deals with militaries across the Middle East. At the opening, the UAE revealed that it had signed $1.36bn in local and foreign arms deals to supply its forces with everything from South African drones to Serbian artillery.


Biden Is Adopting a Militaristic Approach to the Far East

(February 15, 2021)

Appointees from the hawkish think-tank world indicate the potential for renewed tensions with North Korea as well as a Cold War with China.


The Biden Era Is Witnessing a Return of the Military-Industrial Complex

(February 12, 2021)

One of the top national security think tanks backing the Biden administration, the Center for a New American Security, has been taking money from every major defense contractor while pumping out a steady stream of research supporting those companies’ interests. It’s yet another sign that Biden’s promised “return to normal” has, unfortunately, arrived.


Australia will not ban arms sales to countries involved in Yemeni civil war

(February 10, 2021)

Australia is not planning a blanket ban on military equipment sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – but says it will weigh up “emerging risks” when considering export applications.


Biden’s Pentagon to Keep Turkey Out of F-35 Program

(February 5, 2021)

The Biden administration is continuing its predecessor’s policy of excluding Turkey from the international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby indicated.


Biden Ends Military Aid for Saudi War in Yemen. Ending the War Is Harder

(February 5, 2021)

Nearly six years of war have shattered Yemen in a way that could thwart efforts to make peace, regardless of whether American bombs are no longer used.


Demilitarizing Our Democracy

(February 2, 2021)

“At a time of rising mistrust in U.S. democracy, the military continues to dominate matters of civilian government ranging from public health to border security. Smithberger and Hartung analyze the need to reduce the Pentagon's influence over local issues.”


This Year, the Afghanistan War Turns 20 — and There’s Still No End in Sight

(February 1, 2021)

The forgotten war in Afghanistan, a senseless waste of money and lives, will soon turn 20, and there is no sign that Joe Biden is serious about ending it.


Have US police departments become too militarised?

(February 1, 2021)

US President Joe Biden is reportedly looking to restrict police from receiving military equipment. The 1033 programme allows local law enforcement to receive surplus weapons and vehicles from the US Department of Defense. More than $7.5bn (£5.5bn) worth of equipment has been transferred over the years, with over 8,000 agencies enrolled.

Human Security

‘War on Terror’ advocates have ‘generated’ far-right terrorism, says ex-Guantánamo detainee

(February 19, 2021)

Discourses and justifications for Islamophobia espoused and acted out by far-right extremism are in part drawn from the discourses and legal practices enshrined in the global war on terror. 


Twelve million Syrians now in the grip of hunger, worn down by conflict and soaring food prices

(February 17, 2021)

A record 12.4 million Syrians - nearly 60 percent of the population - are now food insecure, according to alarming new national data from the UN World Food Programme (WFP). In just over one year, an additional 4.5 million Syrians have become food insecure.


The sultan and his sycophants: Erdoğan is leading Turkey towards a bleak future

(February 14, 2021)

The appointment of a controversial new rector to Boğaziçi University is typical of the president’s poor leadership, write Oguz Alyanak and Umit Kurt.


Counter-insurgency a priority over human security in Kashmir: Forum on Human Rights

(February 14, 2021)

A report by the Forum on Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir has concluded that counterinsurgency concerns continue to be prioritised over public, civilian and human security.




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