• Affiliation : Director of OSCE Academy
  • Affiliation : Head, Governance and Democracy Research Program, Africa Institute of South Africa
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iSi stands at 2740 points: Dunay, Makgetlaneng comment events of the week


p7359_1.jpgMOSCOW, AUGUST 22, 2012. PIR PRESS – During the week of August 13-20, 2012, the International Security Index iSi increased to 2740 points. In Syria, the army continued to clean up Aleppo from insurgents; clashes between the army and opposition continued in Damascus, Deir ez-Zor, Homs and Deraa. At the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation membership of Syria in the organization was suspended. An Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi became special envoy of UN on Syrian crisis. In Lebanon, the Shias indignant with the capture of Lebanese citizens in Syria closed the highway leading to the international airport, cutting off the country from the outside world. A number of Arab states called their citizens not to visit Lebanon. In Tunisia, demonstrations with demand to create new job places and improve social conditions broke out. In Egypt, the president dismissed the military from power, and returned the country to civilian rule. In South Africa, demonstrating of miners with a demand to raise wages escalated into clashes with police; 18 people were killed. In Afghanistan, a series of attacks on U.S. and NATO troops was accomplished; in the East of the country uprising against the Taliban intensified. Major terrorist attacks were committed in Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and the North Caucasus Federal District of Russia.

Comments on the week's events by members of the International Expert Group of the PIR Center



Pál Dunay, (Hungary), Head of the International Security Program of the Geneva Center for Security Policy - by e-mail from Budapest: Disturbing reports coming from Syria about continuing clashes between the government forces and the rebels do not predict anything positive. As far as Syria crisis continues, it is necessary to mention some starting assumptions. Syria, contrary to Libya, is an institutionalized dictatorship where a large portion of the population of the country was not living under any rule other than the Assad family. Due to the experience of Libya there was no determination for direct military intervention in Syria. As the interpretation of UN Security Council resolution 1973 was stretched to the limit in Libya some states, including China and Russia did not want to contribute to passing a resolution that would stretch the reference to Responsibility to Protect to its limit. Due to the broader strategic repercussions (Syrian influence on Lebanon, neighborhood of Israel, link to Iran and Russian naval presence) Damascus is a place of various strategic rivalries. Nobody cares about the people.

Whereas no solution could come about on the basis of UN Security Council, it was the single most important question whether a fait accompli could be achieved on the ground. In fact it is clear that through the massive arming of the opposition to the regime Bashir Assad the status quo will change. It is also interesting to see the arming of the opposition by proxies in the region, which is also a lesson to learn. The Syrian President will have to leave the scene. Due to internal division in the society internal stability cannot be regained hence long term instability is a foregone conclusion.

p7359_3.jpgSehlare Makgetlaneng (South Africa), Head of the Governance and Democracy research programme at the Africa Institute of South Africa – by e-mail from Pretoria: The United Nations Panel of Experts investigating Rwanda's involvement in the rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) pointed out in its report published in June 2012 that there is overwhelming evidence of Rwanda's active initiation and support of rebellion in North Kivu province. It provides names of Rwandan government and military officials who have constant communication with, Jean-Bosco Ntaganda and Sultani Makenga. These leaders of Rwanda are, among others, President Paul Kagame, General James Kabarebe, Minister of Defence, General Jacques Nziza, the Permanent Secreatry of Defence Ministry, and General Charles Kayonga, the Defence Force Chief of Staff. The aim of the rebellion is not only to gain control of mines in eastern DRC. Rwanda supplies rebel groups with weapons, information and uniforms. Through this contact, Rwanda exploit the region's enormous mineral resources. It has been implicated in advancing its interests in the eastern DRC by using Congolese militia groups as its proxies. The United Nations Panel of Experts points out in its report that Rwanda's activities includes deploying its national armed forces in the DRC and attempting to establish a new country based on the  North and South Kivu provinces as a social formation serving its proxy in the DRC.

The United States, Rwanda's staunch ally, is threatening to cut its aid to Rwanda. It has warned President Paul Kagame that he could face criminal prosecution for Rwanda's active involvement in the DRC. Britain is also exerting pressure upon Rwanda because of its involvement in the DRC. It remains to be seen whether the United States and Britain will prevent Rwanda from continuing its programme of action in destabilizing eastern DRC as the means to achieve its strategic objectives. It is critical that some African countries through the African Union and other multilateral institutions openly criticize Rwanda for its destabilization programme in eastern DRC for the United States and Britain to ensure that Rwanda brings its programme to an end. The key question is whether Rwanda has outlived its usefulness to the United States and Britain in their Africa policy as far as the advancement of their strategic interests in the DRC is concerned. Directly related to this issue is the fact that they have permanent interests not friends and that their interests are more important than their relationship with Rwanda. Rwanda is an integral part of their tactical means to achieve their strategic objectives. Completing this matter is the fact that African countries through their leaders have been silent on Rwanda's activities in the DRC.

The fact that the United States and Britain have already reduced their aid to Rwanda as a result of Rwanda's involvement in the increasing security problem in North and South Kivu is a promising movement towards constraining Rwanda's destabilization of the DRC. The end to the destabilization of the country is critical for peace and security not only in the DRC, but also Central and Southern Africa. For Rwanda to increase its involvement in the DRC, the DRC may be compelled to ask its SADC partners as it has done in the past to come to its assistance militarily against Rwanda. If this happens, some African countries will be involved in armed confrontation between themselves.

The iSi index is calculated weekly and monthly. A weekly iSi value is published on Tuesdays in Kommersant Daily ( accompanied by brief comments explaining Index fluctuations. Results of the monthly iSi calculations are published on the first working day of each month at the PIR Center website at