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January 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

[January 2021]

Climate Change and Security

Climate-Fueled Disasters Killed 475,000 People over 20 Years

(January 27, 2021)

Nearly a half-million people, mostly from the world’s poorest countries, died over the past two decades from conditions associated with climate disasters, according to new findings from the nonprofit Germanwatch.

Global ice loss accelerating at record rate, study finds

(January 25, 2021)

The rate of ice loss is now in line with the worst-case scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading authority on the climate.

Climate Change Could Shift Earth's Tropical Rain Belt, Threatening Food Security For Billions

(January 22, 2021)

A new study suggests a potential change in tropical rain belt patterns could threaten the livelihoods and food security of billions of people.

Developed nations accused of over-reporting climate adaptation finance by billions

(January 21, 2021)

New research from CARE  finds that wealthy nations have exaggerated figures around how much finance they have provided to developing countries for climate adaptation, with up to $20bn less spent than promised between 2013 and 2017.

Climate Change Is Harming Children’s Diets Globally, Scientists Warn

(January 15, 2021)

It has long been understood that climate change will impact diet and food security globally. But up until now, little research proved how diet diversity is impacted by climate change outcomes, like warmer temperatures and increased precipitation, over a span of geographical areas.

In an alarming new study, scientists found that climate change is already harming children's diets.

Top scientists warn of 'ghastly future of mass extinction' and climate disruption

(January 13, 2021)

The planet is facing a “ghastly future of mass extinction, declining health and climate-disruption upheavals” that threaten human survival because of ignorance and inaction, according to an international group of scientists, who warn people still haven’t grasped the urgency of the biodiversity and climate crises.

Lithium in Zimbabwe: A future boom of doom?

(January 12, 2021)

Production and use of electronic vehicles are rising rapidly. As the demand for lithium - a component to electronic vehicles - increases, what role will Zimbabwe have in its mining and production?

How We Misunderstand the Magnitude of Climate Risks – and Why That Contributes to Controversy

(January 12, 2021)

The relationship between climate change and conflict is contested. While there may be a tendency to overstate or simplify a correlation, this should not obscure ways that climate change may less obviously influence armed conflict.

Green economy plans fuel new metals and energy 'supercycle'

(January 10, 2021)

The global economy could be on the brink of a new commodity “supercycle” as governments prepare to use a green industrial revolution to kickstart growth following the coronavirus pandemic.

Disasters caused $210 billion in damage in 2020, showing growing cost of climate change

(January 7, 2021)

A record number of hurricanes, wildfires and floods exacerbated by climate change cost the world $210 billion in damage last year, according to a report by reinsurance company Munich Re.

Security and International Relations

Saudis Expanding US Military Access to Airfields, Port, to Counter Iran

(January 25, 2021)

In the event of a war with Iran, the US is expanding its military presence in Saudia Arabia. Despite the indication for more reconciliatory processes with Iran and a more sceptical policy towards Saudi Arabia with the Biden administration, military ties between the US and Saudi Arabia are deepening.

IUMS leader praises Biden's speech on rejection of racism, ethnic discrimination

(January 23, 2021)

Secretary-General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) Ali Al-Qaradaghi on Friday praised President Joe Biden's speech, which featured the rejection of racism and racial discrimination.

Biden talks up transatlantic ties in first call with Boris Johnson

(January 23, 2021)

The US stresses ‘special relationship’ after conversation with the UK prime minister but no mention is made of trade. Joe Biden said he wanted to “strengthen the special relationship” with the UK during his first call as US president with Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, stressing cooperation on climate change and health.

UK Labour Party hires former Israeli spy

(January 19, 2021)

The UK Labour Party hired a former Israeli military intelligence officer to manage its social media, who served in Unit 8200 - cyberwarfare branch that specializes in spying, hacking and encryption. It carries out blackmail, mass surveillance and systematic discrimination against Palestinians.

Ethiopia’s worsening crisis threatens regional, Mideast security

(January 12, 2021)

With the Horn of Africa increasingly becoming an integral part of the Middle East’s security landscape, the fallout from Ethiopia's current crisis will have a significant impact on states of the region.

Israel, Greece advance major defense deal

(January 5, 2021)

Israel and Greece will soon sign a $1.68 billion agreement for the purchase of Israeli jets and the opening of a military flight school operated by an Israeli company.

Saudi Arabia agrees to open airspace, border to Qatar

(January 4, 2021)

Saudi Arabia has agreed to open its borders with Qatar, Kuwait’s top diplomat said today, in a major development in the rift between the two Gulf states.

Sanctions on Syria's Central Bank Set Course for a Grim 2021

(January 4, 2021)

The US has sanctioned the Central Bank of Syria. An already weak Syrian economy will surely suffer, but aid implementers will feel the squeeze too, forced to meet growing local needs in an increasingly complex operational environment.

The Arab Spring's foreign spoilers

(January 4, 2021)

From the very beginning, foreign powers, whether regional or international, interacted with domestic forces and played a major role in determining the fate of Arab uprisings

US-built center in Cyprus to offer region security training

(January 4, 2021)

A U.S.-funded center in Cyprus will help train officials from countries in the eastern Mediterranean region and the Middle East on the latest techniques in border, customs, maritime and cyber security, the acting head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said on Monday.

Migration and Displacement

Conditions dire as CAR displacement tops 200,000

(January 29, 2021)

As insecurity in the Central African Republic (CAR) has displaced more than 200,000 people within the country and in neighbouring states in less than two months, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is warning that tens of thousands are facing dire conditions.

4,000 families at risk of displacement in North Sinai's Arish

(January 28, 2021)

Almost 4,000 Egyptian families are at risk of being displaced from Arish, the capital of North Sinai, as a result of the Egyptian army's campaign to expand the port.

Sahel internal displacement tops 2 million as violence surges

(January 22, 2021)

Grim milestone reached in world’s fastest-growing displacement crisis as fighting uproots 11,400 within Burkina Faso.

Central African Republic: Displacement reaches 120,000, as another deadly attack leaves one UN peacekeeper dead

(January 15, 2021)

Election violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) has forced 120,000 people from their homes, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday, as the UN Secretary-General also condemned another attack by combatants on a UN convoy, which left a peacekeeper from Burundi dead, and two others wounded.

Iraq makes major progress in closing camps for the displaced

(January 15, 2021)

After six years of displacement, Iraq has closed around 62% of its remaining camps for internally displaced persons over the past six months and is planning to close all of them this year.

Covid-19, Capitalism & Economy

There’s something we’re missing on the UK/EU vaccine rollouts

(January 29, 2021)

The path to normality runs through the global vaccine roll-out, not anything the UK or the European Commission do. The only way to prevent a repeat of the past horrific year is widespread global vaccination and financial support for vaccination efforts in the Global South – something that we are still a way away from.

Global co-operation is needed to beat the virus

(January 29, 2021)

Vaccine nationalism will make it harder to revive the world economy.

Covid-19: Clashes in Lebanon's Tripoli over lockdown rules

(January 26, 2021)

Anger over Covid-19 lockdown rules due to severe economic hardship spilled over into violence in the Lebanese city of Tripoli on Monday evening, as security forces fired teargas and rubber bullets at anti-government demonstrators.

Pandemic will not end for anyone, ‘until it ends for everyone’ 

(January 22, 2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic “will not end for anyone, until it ends for everyone”, an independent UN human rights expert said on Friday, advocating for an equitable and globally-coordinated vaccine distribution programme. 

A Scramble for Vaccines

(January 21, 2020)

Despite pious pledges of equal access to the shots, Africa is losing out. Fixing that will take more cooperation and bold policy.

Eight Breakthroughs for Land Rights in 2020

(January 21, 2021)

2020 was a tough year on many fronts, and land rights were no exception. COVID-19 hindered land rights advocates from doing field research, meeting with government officials, prioritizing policy initiatives, and obtaining funding. Despite these headwinds, there have been important advances for land rights, and the field continues to grow. 

Lessons from the Global South on combating the Covid-19 pandemic

(January 21, 2021)

Top-down measures to curb the spread of the virus – dramatic steps like lockdowns and bans on large gatherings – pose an immediate threat to families in the poorest communities.

Updated estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on global poverty: Looking back at 2020 and the outlook for 2021

(January 11, 2021)

In the two-decades since 1999, the number of people living in extreme poverty worldwide has fallen by more than 1 billion people. Part of this success in reducing poverty is set to be reversed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Pandemic of Global Inequality

(January 8, 2020)

As rich countries stockpile Covid vaccine doses and protect the interests of Big Pharma while poor countries are forced to wait years for treatments, it's never been clearer how global injustice threatens all of our health.

Technologies of surveillance/Data Analytics/AI

Huawei patent mentions use of Uighur-spotting tech

(January 13, 2021)

A Huawei patent has been brought to light for a system that identifies people who appear to be of Uighur origin among images of pedestrians.

How big data could anticipate violence and promote peace

(January 11, 2021)

Recent advances in technology have the potential to reduce violence, particularly in the areas of countering online extremism, foreseeing political unrest, and climate related violence. However, as is currently evident in technology interventions related to COVID-19, individual liberties are at risk. 

Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Sexuality

Muslim boy, 4, was referred to Prevent over game of Fortnite

(January 31, 2021)

A four-year-old boy’s referral to the government’s anti-extremism Prevent strategy after talking about the popular Fortnite video game at his after-school club has prompted fresh calls to abolish the controversial scheme. More than 600 children under six flagged by anti-extremism scheme

It Takes More Than a Diverse Cabinet to Advance a Feminist Foreign Policy

(January 20, 2021)

The Biden administration must move beyond superficial inclusion and actively promote gender equality globally while seeking to reverse the harm done in the name of forever wars.

The Power of Social Sanctioning: The Egyptian App Exposing Sexual Abusers

(January 16, 2021)

In Egypt, a new initiative is harnessing the power of social media and digital chatter to end gender-based discrimination and encourage women to speak up about all forms of sexual violence and abuse. Developed by Dina Issa and her husband Amr Khairy, the app aims to combat sexual harassment and abuse by exposing abusers, relying on user-generated content to create a database about predators.

Decolonisation is a comfortable buzzword for the aid sector

(January 15, 2021)

The Global South must end regional inequality on its own terms – not the North’s.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Journalism in Emerging Economies and the Global South

(January 14, 2021)

This report explores the untold story of how the COVID crisis has impacted on journalists – and journalism - in Emerging Economies and the Global South. It’s a story told not only through the insights of industry leaders, advocates and media experts – but critically, through the voices of the journalists themselves, too often unheard or silenced. It is the first report of its kind to bring together both fact-based data and first-hand experience with this regional focus.

'Colonialism had never really ended': my life in the shadow of Cecil Rhodes

(January 13, 2021)

Professor Simukai Chigudu, Associate Professor of African Politics and Fellow of St Antony's College, writes about his experiences of the legacies of colonialism in Zimbabwe to the continued legacies of this empire in Britain.

Capitol riot: The ‘third world’ trope offends, misreads history

(January 13, 2021)

The tropes of ‘banana republic’ and ‘third world’ politics thrown around in light of Trump’s influence over American politics are offencive and obscure the US’s historic, direct role in democracy subversion across the global South.

Israel has been described as an ‘apartheid regime’ – this will not come as news to ordinary Palestinians

(January 12, 2021)

Despite Palestinian calls to recognize Israel’s system of oppression as an apartheid regime for years now, the recognition of ‘apartheid’ by an Israeli human rights organization does open up more opportunity for international recognition of a reality that is otherwise subject to a silencing campaign.

Tribal Elders Are Dying From the Pandemic, Causing a Cultural Crisis for American Indians

(January 12, 2021)

The virus has killed American Indians at especially high rates, robbing tribes of precious bonds and repositories of language and tradition.

Philippine authorities kill nine indigenous leaders in raid on “communists”

(January 4, 2021)

Philippine authorities shot and killed nine indigenous Tumandok leaders on the island of Panay who were flagged as communist insurgents after they allegedly resisted arrest. But indigenous rights advocates say the victims were targeted for their resistance to militarization and damaging government-backed infrastructure projects.

Arms, Weapons, and Military Industrial Complex

Fulfilling MLK’s Legacy: Defeat the Right and Imperialist War

(January 24, 2021)

Dr Martin Luther King linked the struggle against imperialist war abroad with the need to eradicate poverty and institutional racism inside the country. His legacy to fight institutional racism, state violence and militarism continues today. 

Military spending produces inequality, a breakdown

(January 20, 2021)

About 40 percent of the money Congress decided to spend in (fiscal year) 2019 went to the private sector via government contracts. All told, $597 billion worth of federal contracts were awarded (a record high). Of that, 68 percent ($404 billion) was given out by the Department of Defense (DOD) to buy weapons, equipment, and various services.

EU’s AI-Driven Militarization ‘Threat to Europe’s Populations’: Report

(January 20, 2021)

Driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and digitalization, the ongoing armament of the European Union “poses a threat to the populations of Europe,” according to a recent report commissioned by The Left in the European Parliament.

Approval of Australian military exports to Saudi Arabia and UAE condemned by human rights groups

(January 18, 2021)

Australia has approved at least 14 permits for the export of military goods to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates over the last year and a half, despite their involvement in the Yemen conflict which has created a humanitarian crisis.

UK trained military of 15 countries with poor human rights records

(January 17, 2021)

The UK government has trained the armies of two-thirds of the world’s countries, including 15 it has rebuked for human rights violations.

The Collective Assassin: the insecurity and victimhood behind Israel’s militarism

(January 15, 2021)

Victimhood underlies Israel’s defense and militarism psyche. In such a context, assassinations become only a necessary procedure for survival, an act of ultimate patriotism.

On the 20th Anniversary of the “War on Terror,” Is There Any End in Sight?

(January 7, 2021)

This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the war on terror, including America’s undeclared conflict in Afghanistan. Will President Joe Biden continue the so-called foreverwars that have characterised American foreign policy since then, or will he be the first US president this century to change course. 

Iran uses domestically made drones in large military exercise

(January 5, 2021)

Iran's military training and exercises regularly focus on potential conflict with the United States.

Human Security

No Bread, No Peace

(January 23, 2021)

Access to food and national security are tightly connected. Until very recently, however, food has disappeared as a security question—at least for policymakers in the developed world. National security experts need to put food back on the table as a core issue.

Decade of conflict triggering ‘slow tsunami’ across Syria

(January 20, 2021)

After a decade of conflict, economic collapse compounded by COVID-19, corruption and mismanagement, the UN Syrian envoy told the Security Council on Wednesday that “a slow tsunami” is now “crashing across Syria”. 

New Amnesty International report details ongoing human rights violations at Guantánamo Bay detention facility

(January 11, 2021)

Amnesty International has released a new report highlighting ongoing and historic human rights violations at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, as detentions there enter their 20th year and as a new President prepares to enter the White House.

No, We Do Not Need New Anti-Terrorism Laws to Combat Right-Wing Extremists

(January 11, 2021)

In the wake of the storming of the Capitol, many people have begun calling to expand the War on Terror. This would be a grave error.

The Police’s Tepid Response To The Capitol Breach Wasn’t An Aberration

(January 7, 2020)

Authorities are more than twice as likely to break up a left-wing protest than a right-wing protest.

Syrian prison literature and human rights: an interview with Shareah Taleghani

(January 6, 2021)

There is a vast archive of Syrian Prison Literature. Shareah Taleghani’s latest book navigates through the difficult narratives focusing on human rights in this genre. Literature about prison has actually assisted international campaigns in the release of individual detainees.

Another Year of Impunity in Yemen: Press briefing on human rights situation in Yemen 2020

(January 5, 2020)

From January 1 to December 31, 2020, Mwatana for Human Rights documented about 1020 incidents of harm to civilians and civilian objects in Yemen in which more than 900 civilians were killed and injured, Mwatana said today in its annual briefing on the human rights situation in Yemen.

Syrian detainees' families forced to pay huge bribes to corrupt officials - report

(January 4, 2021)

Families of detainees in Syrian prisons are routinely forced to bribe officials to be allowed to visit them or to win their release, according to a report that reveals the vast scale of extortion in the detention system.

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