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National security wrap

Posted By , , and on November 16, 2017 @ 12:41

The beat

Hate crime in the US

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program released [1] the 2016 hate crime statistics [2], which show an increase [3] for the second year in a row. A total of 6,121 crimes ‘motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity’ [4] were reported. Around 58% of single-bias incidents were motivated by the victim’s race, ethnicity or ancestry. The program involves more than 15,000 law enforcement bodies across the US, out of which only 1,776 reported hate crimes.

UAE–Qatar quarrels continue

Leaked documents revealed [5] that the UAE aims to further weaken Qatar. According to The Intercept [6], the UAE planned to wage an economic and financial war targeting the value of Qatari bonds, which would eventually lead to devaluation of the nation’s currency. A PR campaign was supposed to then highlight the financial weakness to sow doubts about Qatar’s ability to host the 2022 World Cup. Qatar is investigating [7] the claims.

Another cocaine confiscation in the books

Colombian police have seized 12 tons of cocaine [8] that had been hidden on banana plantations. It’s the largest single drug seizure in the country’s history. The market value of the drugs was estimated at around US$360 million. This map [9] shows the locations of some of the biggest cocaine busts from 2016 and 2017.

CT scan

Turnbull and Duterte talk about terrorism

Counterterrorism was high on the agenda when Malcolm Turnbull and Rodrigo Duterte had their first bilateral meeting [10] in Manila this week. The two leaders vowed to increase intelligence-sharing and cooperation in combatting terrorism financing. In the Philippines for the East Asia Summit, Turnbull was also present for a joint counterterrorism capability demonstration [11] by Philippine and Australian troops. During the visit, Turnbull emphasised that Australia and the Philippines are engaged in ‘the same fight’ [12] against terrorism and highlighted Australia’s role [13] in ending the Marawi insurgency.

UN to assist ASEAN counterterrorism fight

In a speech on Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres offered assistance to ASEAN [14] in its fight against terrorism. Saying he was ‘heartened’ by the conclusion [15] of the crisis in Marawi, Guterres promised ‘technical support to ASEAN and its member countries’ and the establishment of a UN Office of Counter-Terrorism [16]. In a draft statement, ASEAN’s member countries have said the UN global counterterrorism strategy and the UN plan of action to prevent violent extremism will be taken into account [17] in the bloc’s counterterrorism efforts.

Queensland counterterror team

Annastacia Palaszczuk has promised to create a new elite counterterrorism unit for Queensland if she’s re-elected as the state’s premier when Queenslanders go to the polls on 25 November. The new Queensland Police unit, dubbed the Security Counter-Terrorism Command, would include ‘85 new officers and specialists’ [18].


EU countries improve defence coordination

The European Union announced [19] on Friday a new joint communication [20] that outlines steps for strengthening the mobility of military employees and equipment. A convincing 23 of 28 member states have signed on to the deal, with an action plan to be published in March 2018. While the new deal has been hailed as a landmark [21] agreement, Portugal’s Communist Party has called it a ‘warlike escalation with Russia’ [22].

Earthquake strikes near Iran–Iraq border

At least 450 people have died after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake [23] struck Iran’s western province of Kermanshah. The county of Sarpol-e Zahab was the hardest hit, just 15 kilometres from the Iraq border. In Iraq [24], there have been seven confirmed deaths and over 500 injuries from the quake, which shook the northern Kurdish region. The search for survivors [25] is ongoing.

The river that divides

The New York Times [26] has described the cultural differences between two neighbouring European towns separated by a thin river. The town of Ivangorod in Russia is only 3 kilometres from Narva in Estonia, but the latter has much nicer facilities. In the 1990s there was serious talk of establishing a Narva Republic [27]—a conversation that still hangs in the air today.

First responder

Our home, our people

The Fijian government, in partnership with the World Bank and a few other international organisations, released a storytelling project [28] that focuses on Fiji’s climate vulnerability and how climate resilience could be increased. The project approaches storytelling creatively, and includes a 360-degree video [29] titled ‘Our home, our people’ featuring Fijian people talking about ‘vei lomani’ (‘love in action’) in their daily lives, as well as a PDF report [30].

Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month

Following a series of recent hurricane and fire disasters, US President Donald Trump proclaimed this November [31] Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. That’s a wise decision, as every dollar spent on disaster prevention and resilience saves an average of $4 [32] in the future.

Small islands, development and resilience

Energy resilience has become an urgent priority [33] for international development organisations such as the World Bank. Small island developing states make up over 60% of countries with the highest losses from disaster events. Renewables contribute relatively low amounts of energy for these nations, representing an opportunity for growth.

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URLs in this post:

[1] released: https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-2016-hate-crime-statistics

[2] 2016 hate crime statistics: https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2016

[3] increase: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41975573

[4] ‘motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity’: https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2016-hate-crime-statistics

[5] revealed: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/uae-plan-wage-financial-war-qatar-revealed-171109165302445.html

[6] According to The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/2017/11/09/uae-qatar-oitaba-rowland-banque-havilland-world-cup/

[7] investigating: https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2017/11/12/qatar-investigates-alleged-currency-plot

[8] 12 tons of cocaine: http://fortune.com/2017/11/09/cocaine-colombia-bust-juan-manuel-santos/

[9] This map: https://twitter.com/AFP/status/928477770010603520

[10] first bilateral meeting: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/11/13/turnbull-and-duterte-talk-counter-terrorism-and-war-drugs-first-ever-bilateral

[11] joint counterterrorism capability demonstration: https://globalnation.inquirer.net/162167/australia-army-military-urban-warfare-malcom-turnbull-counterterrorism

[12] engaged in ‘the same fight’: https://news.mb.com.ph/2017/11/14/ph-australia-share-fight-vs-terrorism/

[13] highlighted Australia’s role: https://readnow.isentia.com/Temp/77966/873848247.pdf

[14] offered assistance to ASEAN: https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/188354-united-nations-help-terrorism-asean-2017

[15] ‘heartened’ by the conclusion: http://www.interaksyon.com/heartened-by-marawi-liberation-un-chief-concerned-by-rohingya-vows-support-vs-terrorism/

[16] UN Office of Counter-Terrorism: http://www.canadianinquirer.net/2017/11/13/un-supports-asean-vs-terrorism-crime/

[17] taken into account: http://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/news/asean-seeks-%E2%80%98additional-measures%E2%80%99-vs-terrorism

[18] ‘85 new officers and specialists’: http://www.mygc.com.au/palaszczuk-promises-crack-terror/

[19] announced: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-4385_en.htm

[20] joint communication: https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/join20170041-improving-military-mobility.pdf

[21] landmark: https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/european-union-signs-landmark-new-defence-pact-1.675455

[22] ‘warlike escalation with Russia’: https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-defense-pact-tests-portugals-left-wing-government-alliance/

[23] 7.3 magnitude earthquake: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-quake/strong-earthquake-hits-iraq-and-iran-killing-more-than-450-idUSKBN1DC0VZ

[24] Iraq: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-14/more-than-400-dead-from-earthquake-in-iran-iraq-border-area/9147060

[25] survivors: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/iran-iraq-earthquake-rescuers-race-survivors-171113091737588.html

[26] New York Times: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/world/europe/narva-estonia-ivangorod-russia.html?referer=https://t.co/AsY0GwfOYC?amp=1

[27] Narva Republic: https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/sergey-eremeyev/estonias-narva

[28] released a storytelling project: http://www.ourhomeourpeople.com/

[29] 360-degree video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toOLqRJDV8k

[30] PDF report: http://www.ourhomeourpeople.com/assets/WB-SummaryReport_FA01.pdf

[31] proclaimed this November: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/10/31/president-donald-j-trump-proclaims-november-2017-critical-infrastructure

[32] every dollar spent on disaster prevention and resilience saves an average of $4: https://www.fema.gov/pdf/hazard/hurricane/2008/gustav/mitigations_value_factsheet2008.pdf

[33] become an urgent priority: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2017/11/10/energy-resilience-takes-on-renewed-urgency

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