the brief: issue twenty-four


Violence returns to Djibouti
by Neo Allert

image credit: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. (Encyclopædia Britannica)

On 8 October, Djibouti’s defence ministry released a statement reporting the death of seven soldiers at an army base in Garabtisan. Blame was laid on the ‘Armed FRUD’, a splinter group of the so called Front for the Restoration and Democracy. Efforts are now underway to capture the militants.

The FRUD, made up largely from the Afar community, rebelled against the government in 1991, claiming to defend Afar interests against Issa (another ethnic community within Djibouti) influence. The armed group splintered in 1994 after a peace deal could be reached. While one faction became a member of the governing UMP coalition, the other FRUD offspring has continued armed resistance.

This recent attack came as a shock to many, as open violence is a very rare occurrence in Djibouti, a country that remains important due to its strategic location at one of the busiest shipping routes.


Bloodshed as Iran protests continue
by Aidan O’Connor

image credit: Majid Asgaripour (West Asia News Agency)

Outrage over the death of Jina Mahsa Amini, an Iranian-Kurdish woman, last month ignited unprecedented protests across Iran over the government’s strict control over women’s dress code. As the protests enter their fourth week, the Iranian government has responded to the wide-spread opposition with a violent crackdown. 

Describing the protests as an orchestrated plot by Iran’s enemies, Iranian security forces have fired upon and beaten protestors in an effort to subdue further dissent. An Iranian human rights advocacy group based in Norway, IranHR, believes  the death toll to be over 150 while pro-government media suggest that only 60 people have died during the demonstrations. With the government strongly opposed to reforms and the protestors refusing to back down, an end to the bloodshed is still not in sight.


Russian Nuclear Threats: Biden draws parallels to Cold War 
by Henry Neale

image credit: The Presidential Press and Information Office (Wikimedia Commons)

Claims of Ukrainian advances of up to 34 miles in the Kharkiv region appear to reiterate Russia’s dwindling  military capabilities; a reality which Vladimir Putin seems lamentably aware of, as he continues to emphasise his nation’s nuclear capabilities.

Despite the Russian losses, US president Joe Biden argued that the Russian threat still needed to be taken seriously, stating that nuclear tension was at its highest since the 1962 Cuban missile during the Cold War.

As Putin’s war efforts seem to be falling to pieces, the nuclear discourse from the Kremlin seems to function as an intimidation tactic, reminding the West of Russia’s potential power. Putin’s tacit supporters such as China and ‘neutral’ India, also require reassurance that tactical nuclear weapons will remain firmly located in storage. This leaves the Russian president tied between his nuclear threats and the need to ensure the maintenance of his endorsement to the south.

North America

Unarmed teenager wounded by police in Texas
by Kate Nuttall

image credit: Paul B. Joiner (Wikimedia Commons)

In yet another gun-related case that has escaped news headlines, unarmed 17 year old Erik Cantu was shot at five times by Texas police officer James Brennand in San Antonio. The teenager was eating in his car as Brennand was responding to an unrelated incident in the area. At some point Brennand, who has been fired since, eventually approached the teenager asking him to exit his vehicle. No reasoning has been provided for this command. When Cantu was able to close his car door and drive away injured from the scene, his moving vehicle was shot at another five times. 

The footage captured on the police officer’s body camera sparked controversy when released on social media,contributing to the wider discourse on the use of lethal force by police.

South America

Cholera outbreak and gang violence
by Eleanor Austin

image credit: Ralph Tedy Erol (Reuters)

Three years since their last case, Haiti has confirmed an outbreak of cholera. As of Thursday, 6 October, the Haitian government has identified 11 cases, alongside two deaths from the disease. The outbreak has been mainly traced back to Port-au-Prince as well as its surrounding areas. It has been difficult for the government to locate the outbreak precisely due to the multitude of crises it has been tackling this year. 

 Gang violence has increased in the past weeks with blockades seen at the Varreux terminal, preventing fuel from entering the nation, and putting further strain upon the infrastructure. The ever-increasing gang presence has the nation worrying that cholera outbreaks may spread undetected, especially as many gang-run areas lack a clean water supply. 

With the situation worsening, and the legacy of the 2010 UN-linked cholera outbreak still felt in Haiti, many are demanding for immediate assistance to help prevent the crises from exacerbating further. 

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