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Conflict Weekly
Rise and Fall of the Wagner Revolt, Failure of the Ninth Ceasefire in Sudan, and the Global Gender Gap Report

  IPRI Team

Conflict Weekly #182, 29 June 2023, Vol.4, No.26
An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and India Office of the KAS

Padmashree Anandhan, Anu Maria Joseph, Rishika Yadav, Sneha Surendran, Sandra D Costa, Ryan Marcus, Prerana P and Nithyashree RB

Russia: Rise and Fall of the Wagner Revolt

Padmashree Anandhan 

In the news
Between 23-24 June, the Wagner group revolted against Russia, claiming an attack on its fighters and capturing Rostov-on Don and military facilities in Voronezh. Simultaneously, Moscow increased its security measures due to a potential threat from the Wagner group in Russia. In an address, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of punishing those participating in the revolt. On 24 June, Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, mediated a deal between the Wagner and Russia. The deal prevented the Wagner from marching into Moscow and exiting to Belarus in exchange for a withdrawal of criminal charges on Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner group and a condition for those non-participating fighters to sign a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defence. 
 
On 26 June, Deutsche Welle reported on Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin's video release indicating the intention of revolt. He stated that the revolt was in protest against the Russian military leaders and not against the "political leadership." He said: "We started our march because of an injustice…we went to demonstrate our protest and not to overthrow power in the country."
 
On 26 June, DW quoted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: "The danger of being dependent on mercenaries. The events we saw unfolding in Russia over the weekend demonstrates the weakness and the fragility of the Russian regime." 
 
On 27 June, Kremlin.ru reported on Putin's meeting with the servicemen from the Russian Ministry of Defence. During the meeting, Putin expressed how Russia respects the fighters and those who worked in the Wagner Group. He highlighted that more than RUB 86 billion in support and incentives were given to the Wagner fighters. Putin added: "The maintenance of the entire Wagner Group was fully provided by the state - from the Ministry of Defence, from the state budget, we fully financed this group." On the same day, the Russian Ministry of Defence released a statement on plans to initiate the transfer of heavy weapons such as "tanks, anti-aircraft systems and attack aircraft" from the Wagner Group.

Issues at large
First, issues behind the trigger. The Wagner group is seen as the most effective unit among Russia's mercenary groups. From its role in Africa, Syria and during the Crimean annexation in 2014 to the battles in Soledar and Bakhmut in the Ukraine war, Prigozhin has been at Russia's forefront. Despite a minor clash over lack of ammunition during the Bakhmut fighting, Wagner was determined to proceed with the offensives to capture key parts of the western Bakhmut. In short, the trigger was the non-recognition of the group's efforts in the Ukraine war and its role in other regions. In Bakhmut, despite Russia's military and prisoner support to the Wagner, it failed to maintain control. In his address, Putin stressed that mercenary groups are viewed with respect. The Russian military's failure to acknowledge the group's contributions in the Ukraine war, coupled with Prigozhin's accusations about the Russian military's capabilities, has led to a mutiny.
  
Second, two primary reasons for the failure. The first is the Wagner group's decision not to break its relations with Putin. In Russia, such mercenary groups are considered illegal as per the constitution and require support from the state to exist and operate. Wagner's clash with the Russian military regarding ammunition and recognition tends to exist, but Putin's support is necessary for Wagner to continue its operations. The second reason is the fear of casualties. The group deployed in Bakhmut was exhausted in terms of resources and was not in the right position to afford more losses.
 
Third, the revolt on the war in Ukraine. Russia's failure to advance in Kharkiv and Kherson led to the engagement of the Wagner group in the battle of Soledar and Bakhmut. The exit of Wagner fighters from Ukraine adds pressure on Russia's ground force which lacks essential training. The challenge for Russia now is replacing Wagner troops with Russian soldiers, resetting Rostov-on-Don, and getting back the heavy weapons from the group. 

In perspective
First, the quick deal with Wagner's head prevented a larger revolt in Moscow and devoured Putin's reputation. This highlights Putin's challenges in handling the domestic crisis, but this could have been on Moscow's agenda after Wagner warned of withdrawal from Bakhmut. The internal revolt could have triggered larger dissent within Russia against Putin.

Second, the impact on the Ukraine war. The revolt should give confidence to the West to strengthen Ukraine's defence considering emerging domestic problems within Russia. The internal clash is expected to benefit Ukraine's counteroffensive as Russia will have to look out for Wagner, recover from the losses in Bakhmut, and rework its ground command without the Wagner troops.

Click here for our recent coverage on the Wagner revolt in Russia:
"Russia: Anatomy of Wagner Revolt, and its Fallouts," The World This Week, Vol. 5, No.23



Sudan: Nine Ceasefires, No Solution in Sight

Anu Maria Joseph

In the news
On 27 June, Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) announced a two-day "unilateral ceasefire" ahead of Eid al-Adha. Hamdan Dagalo, the leader of the RSF, said: "We are declaring a unilateral ceasefire, except for self-defence situations, on the eve of Eid and on the day of Eid al-Adha."
 
On 25 June, the RSF announced that they had seized the headquarters of the Central Reserve Police (CRP) after three days of fighting. The RSF stated: "Victory in the battle for the police headquarters." Reuters quoted the RSF saying that they had captured 160 pick-up trucks, 75 armoured personnel carriers, and 27 tanks. According to Reuters, at least 15 civilians were killed, and more than 80 were wounded during the fighting. The Sudanese Army has not yet responded to the claims by the RSF. However, the Army has accused RSF of attacking the "state institutions."
 
On 22 June, Reuters reported on clashes between the Army and Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a rebel group active in South Kordofan since 2011. The SPLM-N also attacked the city of Kurmuk in the Blue Nile bordering Ethiopia. On 25 June, Africanews reported violence in El Geneina in West Darfur. 
 
On 26 June, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union called for "unconditional and immediate cessation of hostilities and demilitarisation of Khartoum" and establishing humanitarian corridors to facilitate humanitarian aid.

Issues at large
First, the Sudanese Army's shortcomings. The seizing of the CRP headquarters is a major development for RSF as it is the base of a well-equipped police brigade in Khartoum. Despite airpower being the greatest strength of the Sudanese Army and having 200,000 soldiers, which is twice the size of RSF troops, the Army failed to prevent RSF from advancing in Khartoum, Omdurman and Bahri. The RSF has turned the oil terminal in Khartoum into their base; the headquarters of the state media and Khartoum international airport are under RSF control. 
 
Second, the continuous failure of ceasefires. Although unilateral, the latest ceasefire is the ninth and turned out as futile as the previous ones. On 17 June, following the US-Saudi Arabia mediated talks, a 72-hours ceasefire was announced. Although initially, it brought a lull to the fighting, it resumed to a full scale after warring parties accused each other of violating the ceasefire. Previously, on 22 May, a week-long ceasefire was initiated following US-Saudi Arabia mediation. The latter was assumed a success as it was the first official ceasefire signed by both the warring parties and enforced by a "ceasefire monitoring mechanism." However, both the RSF and the Army showed little commitment to compliance. 
 
Third, increasing violence. The violence is intensifying between the groups, expanding to other regions and including more communities. The fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and RSF has reached its 11th week. Since 24 June, the fighting has surged in three major cities- Khartoum, Omdurman and Bahri. Both sides are accused of human rights atrocities and sexual violence in conflict zones. The violence has also evolved into ethnic conflicts in other states, including South Kordofan, Blue Nile and West Darfur. The violence has escalated in terms of landscape and intensity. BBC Africa reported RSF siding with Arab militias and carrying out sexual violence and ethnic targeted killings against non-Arabs in the El Geneina region in West Darfur. According to the BBC report, in El Geneina alone, at least 1,100 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict. The conflict has also triggered rebel insurgencies, especially by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. 
 
Fourth, the flailing regional and international initiatives. The UN had appealed for USD three billion for humanitarian efforts in Sudan; however, only 17 per cent has been provided. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) officer Dominique Hyde pointed out how the situation in Sudan is underrated, claiming that the Sudanese "should receive the same support as was seen for Ukrainians, Afghanis or Syrians." Meanwhile, the US-Saudi Arabia peace mediation seems off-course. Besides the latest statement demanding demilitarisation in Khartoum, the African Union remains silent on the conflict. Initially, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and a few other African countries, including Kenya and South Sudan, had expressed willingness to negotiate peace in Sudan; however, it showed slow progress. Besides, there was no mention of the African Union or any African countries during the Jeddah peace negotiation mediated by the US and Saudi Arabia.

In perspective
First, the RSF advances. It has advanced nationwide, and the Sudanese Army opts for silence. It's unclear whether the Army has lost the fighting, raising new concerns about a potential coup led by RSF leader Hamdan Dagalo. The RSF is a pro-Arab paramilitary group and the remnants of the Janjaweed militia, which committed large-scale human rights atrocities against the non-Arabs during the Darfur conflict in 2003. Considering the circumstances of RSF-Arab militias leading violence across the country, ethnic conflicts will exacerbate, as well as the plight of Darfurians.
 
Second, the elusive ceasefires. African efforts by the AU, IGAD and other African countries are overshadowed by the US-Saudi-led Jeddah mediation, which remains ineffective. Sudan needs a coordinated, comprehensive intervention from international and regional actors. Meanwhile, failing efforts also show the constraints faced by the international actors in bringing a solution to African problems and the flawed structure of the AU failing its bid to "African solution to African problems."

Click here for our recent coverage on the conflcit in Sudan:
"Ceasefires in Sudan & Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis," Africa Weekly, Vol. 2, No.21
"Sudan: Intensifying political rivalry and expanding violence," Africa Weekly, Vol. 2, No.17
"Another ceasefire in Sudan, and a Counteroffensive in UkraineConflict Weekly, Vol.4, No.18
"Sudan: Fragile Ceasefire and Evacuation," Conflict Weekly, Vol.4, No.17



IPRI REVIEW
Global Gender Gap Report 2023: Regional Takeaways

Rishika Yadav, Sneha Surendran, Sandra D Costa, Ryan Marcus, Prerana P and Nithyashree RB

On 20 June, the World Economic Forum released the "Global Gender Gap Report 2023." The World Economic Forum has been publishing the global gender gap report since 2006. The report aims to track progress towards gender parity and compare countries' and regions' gender gap every year.
 
The report has ranked 146 countries across the world based on closing gender gaps and achieving parity. The ranking is based on four categories: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. The report has divided the world into eight regions: East Asia and the Pacific, Southern Asia, Eurasia and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle-East and North Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America. 
 
The following are the regional takeaways of the report.
 
East Asia
1. Stagnated progress 
The East Asia region, as a whole, scored 68.8 per cent in gender parity, ranking fifth among the eight regions. However, the progress has been stagnant for over a decade. Additionally, there has been a 0.2 per cent decline compared to the previous year's report. China ranks 107 and has achieved 67.8 per cent gender parity. Compared to the previous year, this represents a 0.4 percentage-point decline and a drop of five positions in rank. Since 2017, political empowerment parity has regressed in China and Japan. Whereas South Korea ranks 105, Seoul performed well in educational attainment. Japan's gender parity has declined for two consecutive years, with a score of 64.7 per cent, ranking 125. Japan experiences low parity in economic participation, opportunity, and political empowerment, highlighting the need for substantial efforts to address gender disparities. 
 
2. A skewed challenge in China
China is at 93.5 per cent parity on educational attainment, with full parity on tertiary education. On economic participation and opportunity, China has closed 72.7 per cent of the gender gap and attained 81.5 per cent parity in labour-force participation. It also secured 11.4 per cent parity on political empowerment, with 4.2 per cent women ministers and 24.9 per cent women parliamentarians. Regarding economic participation and opportunity, East Asia witnesses fluctuations, with highly populated economies like China experiencing a decline in scores. Overall, China shows strengths in educational attainment but lags in economic participation, health and survival, and political empowerment.
 
3. Japan's declining parity
Japan's decline of 0.25 percentage points has resulted in a nine-position drop in the rankings compared to the previous year. The country faces significant gender disparities, particularly in political empowerment, where the parity stands at 5.7 per cent (ranking 138 globally). Only 10 per cent of parliamentary positions and 8.3 per cent of ministerial positions are held by women. However, Japan showcases nearly full parity in educational attainment and health and survival subindexes. There has been a 1.1 per cent improvement in parity in income earnings compared to the previous year, with 54.2 per cent of women in the labour force and 12.9 per cent serving as senior officers. Japan's economic participation and opportunity parity stands at 56.1 per cent (ranking 123 out of 146 countries), indicating limited opportunities for women in the workforce. These findings highlight the urgent need for substantial efforts to promote women's empowerment, close the gender pay gap, and enhance women's representation in decision-making positions in Japan.
 
South East Asia  
1. Inequities across the region
The report highlights varying levels of progress in gender equality across Southeast Asian countries. The Philippines progressed in gender equality, ranking 16 globally, and have made significant advancements across all dimensions. The region shows fluctuations in economic participation scores, indicating the need for continuous efforts to promote women's inclusion in decision-making roles and improve opportunities for economic empowerment. Malaysia ranks 102, and Myanmar ranks 123, facing significant challenges in economic participation and opportunity, health and survival, and political empowerment. 
 
2. Educational attainment as a positive trend
Several countries in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia and Thailand, have shown progress in educational attainment. Cambodia is the most recent country to achieve full parity in educational attainment. Thailand made progress in secondary education enrolment, while Cambodia saw increased rates of learning and enrolment in primary and tertiary education. Brunei ranks 96 and has scored relatively well in educational attainment. The Philippines excelled in education attainment, scoring 0.999 points, but performed poorly in political empowerment, earning only 0.409 points. Meanwhile, Indonesia had the lowest scores in the region. 
 
3. Persisting challenges in political representation
Despite some positive trends, challenges persist in various dimensions of gender equality in the region. These findings emphasize the need for targeted policies and interventions to address these issues and promote gender parity. Additionally, issues including skewed sex ratios at birth in Vietnam highlight the importance of addressing specific challenges. Timor-Leste ranks 95, indicating a considerable gender gap. Although the country has shown progress in educational attainment, it lags in economic participation and opportunity. Indonesia has sustained its score at 69.7 per cent but faces a drop in the share of women in senior official positions. Vietnam has shown gradual progress, reaching 71.1 per cent gender parity, particularly notable in the increase of women ministers. The Philippines has achieved 79.1 per cent gender parity, recovering in some indicators but experiencing a widening gap in women's representation in parliament. 
 
South Asia
1. A slow progress
In 2023, South Asia stands at the second lowest position securing 63.4 per cent gender parity. Last year, it secured the last spot with 62.4 per cent. This means that although there is a slight notable improvement, there is more room to fill in. Bangladesh remains the most gender-equal state in South Asia for the 9th time, owing to its progress in political empowerment. The country holds the record for having the longest duration of a woman as the head of state. Considerable improvement is recorded in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. 
 
India was ranked 135 in 2022 but has reached 127 this year. Nevertheless, it ranks the lowest in the health subindex. India has received parity across all levels of education but only has 36.7 per cent parity in economic participation and opportunity. Women have 15.1 per cent representation in the parliament, the highest female participation since 2006. Political empowerment of women and equal opportunities are areas that face distraught. 
 
Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka are the best-performing countries in the region. Pakistan and Afghanistan are at the end of both the regional as well as the global table.
 
2. Mixed representation in educational attainment
In the educational attainment subindex, South Asia attained 96 per cent gender parity this year compared to 95.3 per cent in 2022. In both the years, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives hit the highest parity. In December 2022, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickramasinghe expressed that women students account for 50 per cent of the higher studies enrolment. He stated: "We have a responsibility to increase women's representation not only in parliament and politics but in all other areas as well." Afghanistan secured a bottom ranking in the region after they enforced the law banning girls from continuing their education after puberty. 
 
3. Decreasing political representation
The political empowerment subindex in South Asia is at 25.1 per cent this year compared to 26.3 per cent in 2022. There has been an increase in the number of parliamentary seats for women in Bhutan and Nepal. Chuki's and Turner's research titled "Women and politics in democratic transitions: The case of Bhutan" held that there were less role models in the field of political representation as exemplary for women. Political empowerment in Pakistan has the widest gender gap at 15.2 per cent.
 
4. Advance in economic participation and opportunity
In the economic participation and opportunity sub-index, South Asia has closed 37.2 per cent of the gender gap this year, compared to 35.7 per cent in 2022. Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives secured the highest.  
 
Central Asia
Central Asia overall has ranked fourth out of eight regions. Since 2020, the parity score has stagnated. Among Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan ranks 62, Kyrgyzstan ranks 84, and Tajikistan ranks 111. The labour force gap in the region is 20 per cent. Women's political participation, however, is considerably significant owing to the role of women's opinions in political decisions. Central Asia is inclined towards protecting women from violence, including progressive legal protection. Despite legal restrictions, women are subjected to sexual and domestic abuse.
 
The Middle East and Africa
1. Africa's Sub-Saharan gender problem
Sub-Saharan Africa ranked sixth out of eight geographic regions in achieving gender parity scoring 68.2 per cent. However, the progress in the region is uneven. 15 out of 36 countries have closed over 70 per cent of the gender gap. Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Chad are the lowest-performing, with the gender gap closed by less than 62 per cent. Nearly 102 more years are required to close the gender gap completely in the region. Of 36 Sub-Saharan countries, ten were ranked globally in the top fifty, with Namibia ranking eighth. Regionally, Namibia topped the list, and Chad ranked the lowest.  
 
Sub-Saharan Africa is also the lowest-ranking region in educational attainment, with a score of 86 per cent. Despite that, three Sub-Saharan African countries of, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia have ranked first. Parity in educational attainment and literacy rate has increased by 0.5 per cent in 23 countries. The Middle East and North Africa region has attained 95.9 per cent parity in educational attainment and ranked sixth. Populous North African countries of Egypt and Algeria have ranked the lowest in literacy rate and educational attainment. 
 
2. Namibia is the only African country in the top ten list
Namibia has successfully covered the 80.2 per cent gender gap, a 0.5 per cent increase compared to 2022. It has 100 per cent parity in sub-indexes of educational attainment, health and survival. Namibia is ranked 19th in economic participation and opportunity due to a regress in parity in earned income and labour force participation. Namibia has achieved 44.3 per cent parity in political empowerment, as 44.2 per cent of parliamentarians and 31.6 per cent of ministers are women. In the top ten list in 2022, Rwanda has slipped to twelfth place globally. 
 
4. Ten African countries rank first in health and survival
Sub-Saharan Africa has attained the third rank in achieving parity in health and survival. Nearly 25 countries have achieved over 97 per cent parity in health and survival. Ten countries rank first, including Botswana, Cabo Verde, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia. Niger, Liberia and Mali rank the least. 
 
5. Political empowerment rate drops in Middle East and North Africa
Political empowerment of women is at 14 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa region. The regress is one per cent from 2022. The parity has decreased in Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia. The Middle East and North Africa was the only region with a regress in parity in political leadership in parliament. In Algeria, parity decreased to eight per cent this year from 26 per cent in 2022. Nearly 24 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa have below 15 per cent representation.
 
Europe
1. The region at the top
Europe has batched the highest gender parity of all regions, scoring around 76.3 per cent. One-third of countries in the region rank in the top 20. Most of the top 20 countries hold a minimum parity rate of 75 per cent. Iceland, Finland, and Norway are the region's best-performing countries, while countries like Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Greece rank at the bottom. Norway, with a score of 85 per cent, is the highest-scoring country in all four categories. Political empowerment has been excellent in Iceland, which holds the highest parity of 90.1 per cent, followed by Norway and Finland. 
 
2. Iceland: The top performer
Iceland continues batching the first rank in gender parity for 14 consecutive years. The overall parity rate is relatively strong across all four categories. Although the country has a relative decline in life expectancy, educational attainment remains the highest achievement, reaching 99.1 per cent.
 
3. Greece: Ranks least in the region
The country holds the lowest rank of 103 and has one of the lowest rates of women's employment compared to other European countries. Greece holds the lowest 82nd position on economic participation. Educational attainment has experienced a downfall with girls completing tertiary qualifications. Although the country has established a strong legal framework offering gender equality, its poor implementation, unstable government, and worsening economic crisis have pulled the country to its lower status. 
 
Latin America and the Caribbeans
1. Latin America and the Caribbeans maintain the position
The region has bridged 74.3 per cent of its overall gender gap. Compared to the previous year, there is a 1.7 per cent increase in gender parity. At the current rate of development, it is estimated that Latin American and Caribbean countries will need about 53 years to attain full gender parity. The region continues to face challenges that hinder women's empowerment. Domestic violence and femicide top the list of challenges. 
 
2. Progress in economic participation and opportunity
The region secured a third-lowest score of 65.2 parity, ahead of the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. However, there is a 0.7 per cent increase compared to 2022. Jamaica, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic have shown the most improvement in economic participation and opportunity. 
 
3. Advance in educational attainment
Nearly 14 out of 20 countries have more than 99 per cent parity in literacy rates. Further, the number of countries with parity in enrolment in secondary education is 16, while nine countries have attained full parity in enrolment in primary education. 
 
4. Highest in health and survival 
The Latin America and Caribbean regions rank the highest in health and survival, outperforming the other regions by securing 97.6 parity. All countries in the region have achieved parity in sex ratio at birth. Furthermore, six of 21 countries have attained full parity in healthy life expectancy. 
 
5. Second-highest in political empowerment 
The region secured 35 per cent parity in political empowerment, the second-highest score after Europe. Nicaragua, the highest ranked in Latin America and the Caribbean region, also maintained its global rank of seventh in 2022. The share of women in ministerial and parliamentary positions surpasses 50 per cent in the country. 



Issues in Peace and Conflict This Week:
Regional Roundups

Rishika Yadav, Sneha Surendran, Jerry Franklin, Ryan Marcus, Femy Francis, Rashmi Ramesh, Harini Madhusudan, Padmashree Anandan and Akriti Sharma
 
East and Southeast Asia
China: Premiere Li Qiang addresses the World Economic Forum
On 27 June, Chinese Premier Li Qiang addressing the World Economic Forum's 14th annual meeting in Tianjin cautioned against the politicizing of de-globalization and decoupling and urged the countries to cooperate and work together. He commented on de-risking: "Some people are hyping up the so-called reduction of dependence and de-risking. I think, to a certain extent, these two words to reduce dependence and risk are a false proposition." 
 
North Korea: Rally denouncing the US
On 25 June, celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the Korean War, mass rallies in Pyongyang raised slogans of "war of revenge" against the US. The rally was attended by 120,000 civilians holding placards stating, "The whole US mainland is within our shooting range" and "the imperialist US is the destroyer of peace." State media, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), stated: "Avengers on this land are burning with the indomitable will to revenge the enemy."
 
Philippines: Russian Pacific Fleet conducts naval manoeuvres 
On 27 June, Global Media Art (GMA) Network, a media based in the Philippines, reported that five naval vessels from the Russian Pacific Fleet entered the Port of Manila in the Philippines. The manoeuvres aim to demonstrate maritime cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region. The Philippine Navy stated: "The arrival of the Russian contingent in the country and the accommodation and support being extended to them underscores the promotion of peace, stability, and maritime cooperation in the region." Russia has been enhancing defences in its extensive eastern regions bordering the Asia-Pacific, citing concerns over the US expansion and regional security. 
 
Myanmar: Karenni resistance forces capture additional outposts 
On 26 June, Myanmar Now reported that Karenni resistance forces seized two additional military outposts in Mese Township in Kayah, increasing their total control to five. The Karenni Military Information Center reported that 18 soldiers were taken into custody; three others remain unaccounted for. On 13 June, the resistance forces captured three military outposts and a police station in Mese Township. A ceasefire group, Karenni National People's Liberation Front (KNPLF), along with the Border Guard Force (BGF) under the Myanmar military command, joined the resistance forces to carry out the series of raids.
 
South Asia
Pakistan: Condemns the US-India joint statement on cross-border terrorism
On 27 June, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned US Deputy Chief of Mission Andrew Schofer to issue a demarche in response to the joint statement by the United States and India. The ministry expressed its disappointment in the "unwarranted, one-sided and misleading references" to it in the joint statement. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: "It was stressed that the United States should refrain from issuing statements that may be construed as encouragement of India's baseless and politically motivated narrative against Pakistan." On 23 June, India and the US released a joint statement: "They (Biden and Modi) strongly condemned cross-border terrorism, the use of terrorist proxies and called on Pakistan to take immediate action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for launching terrorist attacks."
 
Pakistan: Not to take sides either of China or the US
On 22 June, Dawn reported that Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar stated that Pakistan would not pick a side between the US and China rivalry. Khar said: "We are highly threatened by this notion of splitting the world into two blocs…We have a history of being in a close, collaborative mode with the US. We have no intention of leaving that. Pakistan also has the reality of being in a close, collaborative mode with China."
 
India: Women activists aiding rioters in Manipur
On 26 June, The Hindu reported that women activists are accompanying rioters in Manipur, interfering with the ongoing security operations by creating blockades. The Hindu quoted an army official saying that around 2,000 women in Imphal East staged protests by blocking the National Highway. He said: "Later, after blockade of the Army and police, an excavator was brought by the mob to dig a ditch on road linking the Hathikhowa company operating base with NH-2. This was done to prevent the movement of Assam Rifles vehicles in case of a distress call or an intelligence-based operation." 
 
Central Asia, The Middle East, and Africa
Israel: New settlement plan in the West Bank
On 26 June, the Israeli government approved plans to build more than 5,000 settlement homes in the West Bank. The Ministry of Defence planning committee, the approving authority for settlements, did not reveal the dates for beginning the construction. Despite continuing violence, deaths, and criticism from the UN and the international community, the plan has been approved.
 
Israel: Complaints of Iran's planned attacks in Cyprus
On 27 June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that an Iranian plot to attack regions popular with Jews and Israelis in Cyprus has been foiled. Netanyahu said: "Israel commends the thwarting of the Iranian terrorist attack in Cyprus against Israeli targets." Israeli media, Channel 12, claimed that the attacks targeted Israeli tourists visiting a Jewish religious centre known as a Chabad house. Al Jazeera quoted a statement given to Reuters by the Iranian embassy in Cyprus: "This regime [Israel] is always making such a baseless allegation against the Islamic Republic of Iran." 
 
Syria: Russian airstrikes in Idlib
On 25 June, Syrian Civil Defence, a civil defence organization in Syria, reported that Russian warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting a vegetable market in Jisr al-Shughour city in eastern Idlib, killing nine civilians and injuring 34 others. Al Jazeera reported that two Russian Sukhoi Su-24s targeted the market; however, the target remains unclear. Al Jazeera quoted Ahmed Yazji, a member of the Syrian Civil Defence Board of Directors: "The Syrian regime and Russian attacks on the region have witnessed an escalation in the last few days, which puts a huge burden on our work because both Assad and Russia are known to double attack areas where we are present while trying to rescue the victims and the injured." 
 
Kenya: Civilians killed in Al-Shabaab attack
On 27 June, Africanews reported that five civilians were killed in an Al-Shabaab attack on 24 June in the villages of Juhudi and Salama in eastern Kenya. Africanews quoted the village residents that more than 20 assailants slit throats and beheaded many civilians. The attackers burnt houses, ransacked goods and destroyed properties before absconding. 
 
Europe and the Americas
Georgia: Germany to support Hydrogen Project
On 25 June, Deutsche Welle reported on the EU's desire to import green electricity to Georgia, making the country less dependent on Russia. Additionally, Germany has announced support of the Georgian hydrogen project with a backup of EUR 1.5 million. Currently, 70 per cent of the country's electricity is nestled between Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Georgian electricity producer, Georgian State Electrosystem of Organized Markets Development and Electricity Accounting (GSE), expects to increase current production of 4,500 MW to 10,000 MW by 2023. Additional construction projects include wind farms and photovoltaics. GSE board member Zviad Gachechiladze stated: "Without such an open electricity market, no foreign investor will come." 
 
Germany: New legislation to ease migrant entry 
On 23 June, DW reported on the passing of a new law in Germany that will enable migrant workers from outside the EU to have easier entry into the country. A system to check age, skills, and qualifications will be instituted. Migrants will be given the opportunity to settle with their spouses and parents. The move is seen as an effort to tackle the growing labour shortage issues and the risk this poses to the economy in the coming years. The easing of migration rules is one of the major agendas of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD)-Green-Liberal coalition.
 
Honduras: Armed forces take control of the country's prison system to dismantle gangs
On 26 June, the government of Honduras announced a crackdown on organized crime networks operating through prisons of the country. The move comes after, on 20 June, a riot in a women's prison left 46 dead. The initial search of the prison system found high-calibre weapons, grenades and ammunition. The riot had caused a public outcry as the President of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, announced "drastic measures" to suppress organized crime.
 
Honduras: Curfews in two cities following violence
On 25 June, the Honduran government announced curfews in two cities following the death of more than 20 people in separate gang attacks overnight. The incidents were reported in the northern cities of Choloma and San Pedro Sula. Security Minister Gustavo Sanchez said that additional 1,000 police and military forces were being deployed in the regions. He also announced that the government is preparing to send a proposal to "classify members of a criminal structure, maras or gangs as terrorists" to Congress. Since December, parts of the country have been under partial emergency due to increased gang violence and turf wars.


About the authors
Akriti Sharma, Rashmi Ramesh and Harini Madhusudan are PhD Scholars at NIAS. Anu Maria Joseph, Femy Francis and Rishika Yadav are Research Assistants at NIAS. Padmashree Anandhan is a Research Associate at NIAS. Nithyashree RB is a Postgraduate Scholar at the Stella Maris College, Chennai. Jerry Franklin is a Postgraduate Scholar at the Madras Christian College, Chennai. Ryan Marcus is an Undergraduate Scholar at the Kristu Jayanti College, Bangalore. Sneha Surendran is a Postgraduate Scholar from OP Jindal University, Haryana. Prerana P is a Postgraduate Scholar at the Christ (Deemed To Be) University, Bangalore.

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