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September 2020 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 toadmin@securityincontext.com

Climate Change and Security

World's richest 1% cause double CO2 emissions of poorest 50%, says Oxfam

September 21, 2020

The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new research.


British Military Prepares for Climate-Fueled Resource Shortages

September 14, 2020

New research commissioned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) reveals that despite the British Government’s commitment to the 2016 Paris Agreement, it sees a catastrophic rise in global temperatures as inevitable. The government is planning for strategic expansion for military response to future extreme climate-related events, both at home and abroad.


Middle East among 'world's most vulnerable' for ecological threats

(September 9, 2020)

The Middle East is one of the most vulnerable regions concerning climate change over the next 30 years. Water shortages will affect the region the most, along with food insecurity. The recent conflicts in the region have further limited the region’s capacity to cope with these ecological threats.


Climate Change and the Rentier States of the Gulf Cooperation Council

September 8, 2020

The Middle East will be the region most acutely affected by the climate crisis. The rentier states of the Gulf Cooperation Council are extremely vulnerable to climate change, yet their rentier structure hinders their ability to act decisively against it. This impasse raises the possibility of their collapse.


There's No Containment Strategy for Climate Change

(September 1, 2020)

Over the next 50 years, as many as 3 billion people may be living in inhospitably hot regions of the world. While the existential threat of climate change is still reversible, mass migration as a result of climate change is almost inevitable. Industrial countries must be prepared to do what is necessary to protect future climate refugees and to reverse greenhouse emissions causing their displacement.

Security and International Relations

U.A.E. Boosted Arms Transfers to Libya to Salvage Warlord’s Campaign, U.N. Panel Finds

(September 29, 2020)

UAE weapons supplies, which violated an arms embargo, have been essential to Khalifa Haftar’s takeover of the eastern half of Libya.


Turkey backs Azerbaijan against Armenia as war looms over the Caucasus

(September 28, 2020)

Armenia and Azerbaijan are once again fighting over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in a conflict that could draw in Russia and Turkey.


Restraint, Humility And Integrity In U.S. Policy

(September 18, 2020)

Through military, financial and diplomatic support, the United States is propping up autocratic regimes that oppress their people, while invoking the goal of “promoting human rights and democracy” to justify direct and indirect military interventions and broad, punitive economic sanctions.


Abraham Accords: The War Pact Among Jim Crow States of the Middle East

(September 16, 2020)

The Abraham Accords are in reality a war agreement among three heavily armed Middle East states characterized by a version of Jim Crow society.


China’s Middle East strategy comes at a cost to the US

(September 8, 2020)

In the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, China has steadily secured its influence in the Middle East and Central Asia, while US economic and political influence in the region(s) has declined. 


Exceptional Diplomacy: Counter-hegemony and Resistance in International Relations

(September 5, 2020)

Under-recognized states are pursuing diplomatic relations over shared interests as a result of their internationally marginalized positions. Taiwan’s establishment of a foreign office in Somaliland thereby diplomatically outmaneuvering China, or the Alliance of Small Island States (a coalition of 44 low-lying coastal development states) are examples of modern day statecraft where smaller nations are coalescing around alternative international spaces to establish forms of counter-hegemonic power.

Migration and Displacement

Over 14 million people newly displaced in just first half of 2020

(September 24, 2020)

Conflict and violence triggered around 4.8 million displaced people and natural disasters accounted for 9.8 million, according to a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.


Internal displacements reach 15m in 2020 with worst 'still to come' – report

(September 23, 2020)


UN: Underfunding pushes displaced people to the edge

(September 18, 2020)

The UNHCR has received less than half the funding required for its global operations this year. Underfunding has already caused the halt of many programs and essential activities and is increasing the vulnerability of displaced peoples.


Internal Displacement Index 2020 Report

(September 17, 2020)

The Internal Displacement Index (IDI) is a new way to more comprehensively measure global progress on internal displacement. This report presents the first results of the IDI for 46 countries affected by both conflict and disaster displacement. At the end of 2019, the number of people internally displaced by conflict, violence or disasters around the world had reached an all-time high of 50.8 million.


More than 1 billion people face displacement by 2050 - report

(September 16, 2020)

Rapid population growth, lack of access to food and water and increased exposure to natural disasters mean more than 1 billion people face being displaced by 2050, according to a new analysis of global ecological threats.


America’s War on Terror is the True Cause of Europe’s Refugee Crisis

(September 15, 2020)

In contemporary European politics, the issue of refugees seeking refuge in Europe occupies a highly visible space. Yet, there is remarkably little interest or understanding in what has caused the refugee crisis. The global war on terror, led by America since 2001, has driven and greenlighted the conflicts that have caused the highest displacement around the world in the 21 Century. 


At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War on Terror

(September 8, 2020)

According to a report from the Brown University Costs of War project, at least 37 million people have been displaced in wars that America has engaged in since the global War on Terror. While the United States is not the sole cause for the migration from these countries, the authors say it has played either a dominant or contributing role in these conflicts.

Covid-19, Capitalism & Economy

Rogue Capitalism and the financialization of territories and nature

(September 28, 2020)

This discussion paper intends to provide a basis for people’s movements, grassroots activists and other civil society organizations (CSOs) to build/strengthen their knowledge about the process called “financialization,” and to develop strategies to resist, reverse and prevent it. 


Could Covid-19 lead to higher bank losses on unsecured debt?

(September 28, 2020)

Lower income households, who tend to hold unsecured debt, but not mortgages, have faced financial pressure due to Covid-19. This could lead to higher bank losses on unsecured debt and have consequences for financial stability.


The Redistribution Games

(September 28, 2020)

By the time COVID-19 sent the real economy further into depression, the world of finance had decoupled fully from the real economy, turning capitalism into a type of techno-feudalism. Yannis Varoufakis puts forward a three pronged strategy to end this regime: first, central bank money must be exclusively directed to support public investment in the green transition and other public goods. Second, corporations that monopolize large marketplaces of their own making should be broken up. Lastly, a proportion of large corporations’ shares should be deposited into a social equity fund to fund a universal basic dividend.


Stopping Illicit Financial Flows Across Borders: The Case of Trade Misinvoicing

(September 1, 2020)

Trade misinvoicing - where importers and exporters deliberately falsify the prices, quality, or quantity of the goods on the invoices which they submit to customs officials in order to evade taxes/customs duties, escape capital controls, shift wealth into stronger and more stable currencies, hide profits abroad, among others - deprives governments of significant trade tax revenues, which they could otherwise use to promote domestic growth and development.


Out of Africa: Capital Flight

(August 26, 2020)

Contrary to common perceptions of Africa as dependent on financial aid and inflows from developed countries, Africa has in reality been a net creditor for the world for decades. Capital flight from 30 African countries between 1970 and 2015 far outweighs both the stock of debt owed by these countries as of 2015, as well as the combined amount of foreign aid all of the countries received over this period.

Technologies of surveillance/Data Analytics/AI

Inside Palantir Technologies

(September 28, 2020)

Palantir has effectively positioned itself as a pro-military army of Silicon Valley. However, the hype surrounding its claim to be the ultimate tool of surveillance is being called into question.


The Cruel New Era of Data-Driven Deportation

(September 22, 2020)

ICE has transformed from an agency that tracks some people sometimes to an agency that can track anyone at any time.


Podcast: COVID-19 is helping turn Brazil into a surveillance state

(September 16, 2020)

Journalist Richard Kemeny explains how the government’s move to centralize civilian data could lead to a human rights catastrophe in South America’s biggest economy. This episode discusses why the country’s slide into techno-authoritarianism is being accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. 


The War on You: How the Pentagon is Militarizing Social Control

(September 11, 2020)

The war on you is the militarization of everyday life with the express goal of controlling society, including your thoughts and actions.

Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Sexuality

Most countries failing women and girls with Covid response, UN finds

(September 29, 2020)

Most countries are failing to adequately protect women and girls during the fallout from Covid-19, according to a new UN database that tracks government responses to the pandemic.


Race, Racism and Academia: A view from Denmark

(September 29, 2020)

Dr Somdeep Sen writes about his experiences of racism in the Danish academic context, commonplace for BAME scholars in largely white academic institutions in the Global North. This testimony is part of a series (edited by Lisa Tilley) that share how structural and interpersonal racism are experienced in everyday academic life in Denmark.


Investigation launched after black barrister mistaken for defendant three times in a day

(September 24, 2020)

Alexandra Wilson - a barrister and author of In Black And White, which highlights the problem of racism in the courts - was mistaken for a defendant in court three times in one day. Not a one off experience, Wilson describes having to ‘constantly justify existence’ in the courts.

Arms, Weapons, and Military Industrial Complex

US Space Force deploys to vast new frontier: Arabian Desert

September 21, 2020

The newly formed U.S. Space Force is deploying troops to a vast new frontier: the Arabian Peninsula.


It’s a Pandemic. Military Spending Hikes Should Be Off the Table

September 16, 2020

Wildly profitable military contractors have been unapologetically shaking down lawmakers for pandemic cash.


U.S. Military Seeks Authority to Expand Counterterrorism Drone War to Kenya

September 15, 2020

The U.S. military’s Africa Command is pressing for new authorities to carry out armed drone strikes targeting Qaeda-linked Shabab fighters in portions of eastern Kenya, potentially expanding the war zone across the border from their sanctuaries in Somalia.


‘Brought Us to the Brink’: Trump’s Peacemaker Posturing Belies Global Deepening of US Militarism

September 15, 2020

While president Trump postures as a peacemaker and ender of America’s endless wars, he has expanded wars and undone vital peace agreements, increasing the risk of war around the globe.


Stumbling Out of the Middle East is No Better Than Stumbling In

September 15, 2020

US military presence in the Middle East is too deeply entrenched and diffused to simply pull out. An abrupt military withdrawal will cause partners around the world to recoil and adversaries to pounce.


Reject Militarism on the Anniversary of 9/11

(September 10, 2020)

Howie Hawkins of the Green Party makes the case for rejecting militarism that has overseen the endless war on terrorism, instigate regime change coups, increase military spending, enhance US nuclear weapons, deport undocumented residents, curtail civil liberties, and militarize the police.


We’ve Had Killer Drones for Years. Now the Pentagon Wants Robot Generals, Too.

(September 2, 2020)

The pentagon aspires to and is developing the possibility of diverging decision making at the admiral and general military levels to robots. U.S. strategists argue it is essential because an exponential growth in sensor information combined with the increasing speed of warfare is making it nearly impossible for humans to keep track of crucial battlefield developments. Automation of both conventional war and nuclear war is likely the future. 

Human Security

Amnesty International India halts its work on upholding human rights in India due to reprisal from Government of India

(September 29, 2020)

Amnesty International in India has been forced to shut down after campaigns of harassment by the Modi government that have made it impossible for the human rights organisation to continue.


Leave No One Behind for an Inclusive and Just Recovery Process in Post-Blast Beirut

(September 16, 2020)

Mona Harb and Mona Fawaz make the case for a “leaving no one behind” approach in the wake of the catastrophic Beirut explosion on August 4, 2020. The explosion compounded multiple existing crises, and it is the most vulnerable who have been most adversely affected. being left without education, shelter, social protection, security of tenure, and basic services is a human

rights violation. Their inclusion is essential to a just recovery process in post-blast Beirut.


The global land rush: How investors have turned farmland into a lucrative financial asset class

September 16, 2020

Since the 1980s, the financialisation of farmland has steadily swept the United States, and increasingly other parts of the globe. Turning farmland into financial assets threatens the food security of rural communities, and often the cultural identity of indigenous peoples.


Is America in the Early Stages of Armed Insurgency?

(September 8, 2020)

A leading expert on counter-insurgency claims that America is in a state of “incipient insurgency”. Since the killing of George Flloyd, the number of incidents and a growing climate of fear points to growing insurgency, different from moments of insurgent activity in the US during the 60s and 70s. Local and national leaders need to quell the polarization and at the same time address the underlying social, political and economic causes for protest and counter-protests.


A great and sudden change: the global political violence landscape before and after the covid19 pandemic 

ACLED

While violence targeting civilians has declined in the Middle East and Latin America during the COVID19 pandemic, it's increased in Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and East Asia.

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