MENA Security by the Numbers – October 28

  • According to Amnesty International, the Iraqi government executed 42 individuals in two days last week because they were convicted under an Anti Terrorism Law adopted in 2005. In response to these executions, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) urged the Iraqi government to immediately stop all future executions, describing them as “obscene and inhumane.” The United Nation’s Assistance Mission in Iraq reported that as many as 140 executions have been carried out this year.
  • On October 9, 2013, Tunisia became the first nation in the Middle East and North Africa region to construct a domestic body that prevents the future use of torture. The National Authority for the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment will be comprised of 16 experts who will have the authority to document, investigate and prosecute instances of torture in the country’s detention sites.
  • The United States will withhold USD 260 million in aid to Egypt “pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections.” Additionally, the United States suspended the delivery of major military equipment such as Apache Helicopters and F-16 fighter jets. For more on the announcement, please read our blog.
  • Amnesty International reported the death of 49 Egyptian citizens on October 6, caused by the use of excessive force by Egyptian security forces. According to information obtained from spectators, Egyptian security forces fired live ammunition to disperse a crowd of “mostly peaceful” pro-Morsi demonstrators.
  • On October 11, 2013, the United States’ Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) alerted Congress of a proposed arms sale to the government of Saudi Arabia. Under the proposed agreement, Saudi Arabia would purchase USD 90 million in support services and USD 6.8 billion in military equipment and training. Some of the requested military equipment includes 400 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles, 1,000 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs (SDB), 40 CATM-84H Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM), 20 ATM-84H SLAM-ER Telemetry Missiles, and 4 Dummy Air Training Missiles.
  • The DSCA also notified Congress of a proposed arms sale to the government of the United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates would receive USD 4.0 billion in military equipment, munitions, logistical support and training. The United Arab Emirates government requested the purchase of 5,000 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) with BRU-61 carriage systems, 8 SDB Guided Test Vehicles for aircraft integration, 16 SDB Captive Flight and Load Build trainers, 1,200 AGM-154C Joint Stand Off Weapon (JSOW), and 10 JSOW CATMs.
  • According to BBC News, a Russian DShk 12.7mm heavy machine gun can be purchased in Libya’s current weapons market for USD 40. This specific weapon has the potential to target helicopters and tanks. The BBC noted that such sophisticated weaponry is found cheaply on Libyan streets because the central government was unable to confiscate them from militia groups following the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. Many of these militias are still not integrated into a united security force. For more about security challenges in Libya, refer to our blog post on the subject.
  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Syrian armed opposition groups killed at least 190 civilians and took 200 civilians hostage during a military offensive in Syria’s Latakia governorate on August 4, 2013. Joe Stork, the acting Middle East Director at HRW, stated, “this operation was a coordinated, planned attack on the civilian population in these Alawite villages.” Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, HRW has documented the human rights violations committed by government and opposition forces.
  • The government of Bahrain is attempting to purchase 1.6 million tear gas shells, 90,000 tear gas grenades and 145,000 sound and flash grenades. The New York Times reported that Human Rights organizations are concerned that the Bahraini government will use this equipment to repress anti-government protestors. According to a report written by Physicians for Human Rights, the Bahraini government is guilty of the “extensive and persistent use” of tear gas against its citizens.
  • Human Rights Watch concluded that deaths of Yemeni civilians as a result of U.S. drone operations are a violation of international law. Human Rights Watch investigated six strikes and claimed that the strikes killed 82 people, at least 57 of them civilians. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, Human Rights watch reports that the U.S. has conducted 81 targeted killing operations in Yemen. Amnesty International also released a report pertaining to U.S. drone operations in Pakistan. For me information, please click here.

This post was written by Transparency and Accountability Intern Eddie Bejarano

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