The POMED Wire

POMED Notes: “The Future of the Security Cooperation Enterprise: Reforming the System to Meet Security Challenges”

CSIS logoOn Thursday, September 18, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) held a panel discussion titled, “The Future of the Security Cooperation Enterprise: Reforming the System to Meet Security Challenges.” The event featured opening remarks by Vice Admiral Joseph Rixey, Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) and panelists: Gregory Kausner, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Regional Security and Security Assistance, U.S. Department of State; Thomas Ross, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security Cooperation U.S. Department of Defense; James Baker, Principal Deputy Director, Strategic Plans and Policy, J5 and Strategist to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Steve McCarthy, Minister Defence Material at the British Embassy. This on-the-record discussion examined the future of U.S. security cooperation within the context of fiscal constraints to make effective and efficient partnerships.

For a full summary, keep reading or click here for the PDF.

Vice Admiral Joseph Rixey’s opening remarks focused on the goals of the DSCA, the current environment it operates in and explaining its ‘Vision 2020’ report. He stated that the goals of military sales are to create stability, establish military to military relations, promote cooperation, secure lasting relations, build partner capacity, …

Bahrain’s Opposition Rejects Crown Prince’s Reform Proposals

afpPhoto Credit: AFP

Bahrain’s political opposition rejected Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa‘s proposed reform framework Friday. Prince Salman announced the reform initiative Thursday after a series of meetings with opposition leaders over the past year. His framework highlights five primary elements for dialogue between the opposition and the regime to focus on, including: (1) redefining electoral districts to ensure greater representation; (2) an expansion of legislative authority to protect the legislative cycle from interruption; (3) granting rights to Parliament to appoint members of the Cabinet; (4) bring the judiciary in line with international norms and standards, especially regarding institutional independence; (5) security reforms to apply new codes of conduct on security forces.

Opposition leaders criticized the Prince for not consulting with them over his initiative, which they say does not meet their demands. The proposal was meant to serve as a framework for the resumption of the national dialogue, which has been suspended since January. Thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets Friday to express their disapproval of the monarchy’s reform proposals.

The Secretary-General of al-Wefaq, Sheikh Ali Salman said that the party’s “message to the ruling authority is that we will reject…elections that have forged our …

Libya: Two Peaceful Teenage Activists Killed; UN to Hold Dialogue Between Parties

Photo Credit: The Guardian

On Friday, “at least nine well-known civil rights activists and army officers were assassinated in the eastern port city” by unidentified gunmen. These included a number of senior army officers, as well as two teenage peace activists. A Guardian correspondent, Chris Stephen said it appeared to have been a “coordinated attack on key figures from army and civil rights.”  Amid an already increasing violent civil conflict, the assassinations have plunged Benghazi in a state of shock. Mary Fitzgerald, an Irish journalist based in Libya described it as “Black Friday” for Libya, triggering an “outpouring of grief and sadness on social media.”

The two teenagers who were killed, Tawfik Bensaud and Sami Elkawafi are “known among friends for their love of Libya and passion for peaceful activism.” US-based reporter Andy Carvin said that they were most likely targeted by “militants who did not approve of their progressive activism” and was therefore a “vivid demonstration of the power of militants.” Suspicions surround Ansar al-Shariah, a group which rejects democracy and proclaimed that Benghazi was an Islamic Emirate back in June and has dominated it every since. So far, it has not commented on the killings.

Meanwhile, …

Houthis Force Ceasefire; Yemeni Government Resigns

Yemen Photo credit: BBC News

Houthi rebels forced an immediate cease-fire and resignation of the Yemeni transitional government after overwhelming the capital of Sanaa over the weekend. The peace agreement came after the Shia militia group overtook several government ministries and military bases in four days of violent clashes with loyalist forces. Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa promptly submitted a resignation letter to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in an attempt to “pave the way for any agreement reached between the Houthis and [...] the president of the republic.” The accord stipulates that the Houthis and southern separatist Herak movement will have three days to nominate a new prime minister.

The Houthis, who were not involved in the transitional government, have pressed for a new administration and a fair share of power. The peace deal calls for the formation of a new “technocratic national government” to be formed including the Houthis, the southern separatists, and the Islamist Islah party. In addition, the security forces will be restructured based on consultations between all the political parties. The agreement gave Houthi fighters 45 days to withdraw from the capital and other areas under their control, during which time the new government would be formed …

Houthi Rebels Shell Yemen’s State-Run TV Channel Building

Yemen BBC Photo credit: BBC News

Armed Houthi rebels overwhelmed the army on the outskirts of Sanaa and pushed into the capital yesterday, ending a brief ceasefire agreement. The Shi’ite fighters met almost no resistance from government soldiers as they took over some army and security checkpoints inside the city. Houthi gunmen also reportedly began shelling the state-owned television channel building, with employees still trapped inside. An employee who said he was hiding in the basement said, “We are surrounded and the army forces outside are trying to protect the building and fire back at (the Houthis).” As the mortar attacks took place, hundreds of civilians attempted to flee the surrounding neighborhoods for areas south of the capital.

The United Nations special envoy to Yemen met with Houthi leader Abdulmalek al-Houthi on Wednesday to try and find a way to resolve the situation peacefully. The UN special adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, believed the meeting was “constructive and positive.” The visit came after Houthis announced on Monday that they would no longer take part in negotiations with the Yemeni government about their grievances as a result of what they termed “foreign intervention” in the discussions. Scrutinizing the recent events, Zeinab Abdelkarim

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