• Position : President
  • Affiliation : Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Affiliation : Head, Governance and Democracy Research Program, Africa Institute of South Africa
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International Security Index iSi decreased to 2778 points. Duarte, Makgetlaneng comment events of the week.


MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 20, 2013. PIR PRESS - “It is interesting to notice that while a relatively small North Korean test arouses so much concern, the continued possession of nuclear weapons by the P-5 and the other nuclear countries outside the NPT, and their reliance on these arsenals for security, is accepted by a majority of the public in the Northern Hemisphere”, - Sergio Duarte, Ambassador (ret.), High Representative to the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs (2007-2012).

13-02-20_iSi_Table.jpgThe new weekly International Security Index iSi was published in Kommersant newspaper (in Russian).

During the week of February 11-18, 2013, the International Security Index iSi decreased to 2778 points. North Korea conducted a new nuclear test. The UN Security Council in an emergency meeting condemned Pyongyang's actions and called for tougher sanctions against the country. South Korea began military exercises due to fears of new provocations from the North. In Syria, fierce battles between the army and the rebels continued in Aleppo, Neirab, and Damascus. In Egypt, the mass demonstrations against the current Islamist government have not stopped. In Bahrain, Shiite protests erupted, demanding expansion of their rights in the Sunni-controlled country. Negotiations between the IAEA and Iran, which were held in Tehran, ended without any results. In Tunisia, supporters of the Islamist parties demonstrated against Prime Minister Hamadi Dzhebeyli’s intentions to form a technocratic government. In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has banned the use of NATO air power to provide air support to Afghan security forces. Pakistan tested their ballistic missile Hatf-2, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. InIndia, women's rights demonstrations disintegrated into clashes with police. Major terrorist attacks took place inPakistan andIraq. In Russia, a meteorite fell in the Chelyabinsk region, more than 1000 people were injured.

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

Duarte1.pngSergio Duarte (Brazil), Ambassador (ret.), High Representative to the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs (2007-2012) – by e-mail from Brasilia: The continuing impasse in disarmament negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament and the UN disarmament machinery in general; the lack of progress in addressing the Iranian nuclear program; the absence of progress on a Middle East nuclear-weapon free zone; and, above all, the third nuclear test by the DPRK increased concern about regional and global security. The general climate seems to be deteriorating further. The Security Council will probably issue some kind of condemnation and maybe apply further sanctions. Sanctions applied in the past have had no visible effect on the DPRK's actions. China’s position is the key to any significant measure. Japan's reaction and particularly South Korea's response will also be important to watch in the next few months. The security of Northeast Asia will undergo a severe test. It is interesting to notice that while a relatively small North Korean test arouses so much concern, the continued possession of nuclear weapons by the P-5 and the other nuclear countries outside the NPT, and their reliance on these arsenals for security, is accepted by a majority of the public in the Northern Hemisphere.  

The offer by President Obama to hold direct talks with Iran has been received with a ton of salt by the Iranian authorities and by conservative elements in the US Congress, who are not likely to change their attitude toward Iran. Finally, efforts by the Obama administration to engage Russia in another round of nuclear arms reductions were met with apparent opposition by the Kremlin. Multilateral disarmament efforts are at an all-time low. None of these elements augur well for the near future.

sehlare_new.jpgSehlare Makgetlaneng (South Africa), Head of the Governance and Democracy research program at the Africa Institute of South Africa – by e-mail from Pretoria: How the security situation will change in Africa in spring 2013 will depend on internal and external structural factors inMali andAlgeria and the rest of the African continent. As long Africa is not yet ready to shoulder the primary responsibility in taking the future of its security into its own hands militarily, internal factors will continue to have a decisive impact on the future direction, form, and content of its security. Despite its declared policy to resolve its problems on its own, Africa still pins hope on external actors shouldering primary responsibility in contributing towards the resolution of conflicts and supporting the position that external actors play a role in the determination ofAfrica’s security.

The leadership role played by France in deploying troops to Mali was another reflection of Africa’s weakness in the resolution of its own problems, including those generated by external actors. African countries were extremely slow in sending troops toMali. Hard and painful, it reflected the fact thatAfricais incapable of decisively dealing with major internal military problems. This questioned the readiness and capability of heads of state and governments in the African Union to put into practice the theoretical position of African solutions to African problems. The causes of some conflicts in African countries lie in the Western powers.  Western countries wage wars against enemies in some African countries as a tactical means to avoid waging them at home.

The solution to the socio-political and economic security problems facingAfricais through a well-organized program of action embarked upon to practically contribute to the complete decolonization of the continent. African leaders should shoulder more responsibility in decisively confronting national, regional, continental and external aspects of insecurity faced by the continent and the majority of its countries. They should deal with their fellow African leaders whose political governance and administration of societies are structured against the achievement of national, regional and continental development, as well as progress and socio-political and economic security.

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