USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

Center of Innovation for Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, January 27 - February 2, 2011

Table of Contents

What Science Teaches Dictators about the Likelihood of Revolution
For autocrats around the world watching Hosni Mubarak's accelerating fall from power, the lesson seems simple: loosen the reins before it's too late, and you can avoid all the marches. That is the thinking behind Jordan's King Abdullah pre-emptively sacking his government as nearby Egypt boils. A study soon to be published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution shows, things are subtler than that.
See the full article (Time, Jeffrey Kluger, 2/2/11)
Click to read "On the Issues: Egypt Today: Historical Context of the Protests," by USIP's Qamar-ul Huda.
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Hackers' Egypt Rescue: Get Protesters Back Online
With the Internet down across Egypt, Google and Twitter have come up with a way for Egyptians to tweet using their phones. Now a group of hackers are close to delivering software that could turn laptops into low-cost Internet routers and help protesters organize.
See the full article (Newsweek, Daniel Lyons, 2/1/11)
*Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding Roundup, which includes a special section on Internet and social media.
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Report: Stuxnet Could Cause Iranian 'Chernobyl'
An intelligence report given to the AP by "a nation closely monitoring Iran's nuclear program" suggests that the Stuxnet worm, which penetrated computer systems at Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant, could cause a massive meltdown once the plant becomes full operational.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, 1/31/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming practitioner course "21st Century Issues in Strategic Arms Control and Nuclear Nonproliferation" from February 14 - 18, 2011.
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Iraq Water Shortages Raising Ethnic Tensions
A worsening water shortage in Iraq is raising tensions in the multi-ethnic Kirkuk province, where Arab farmers accuse the Kurdistan region of ruining them by closing the valves to a dam in winter. "We are harmed by the Kurds, and the officials responsible for Baghdad and Kirkuk will not lift a finger," said Sheikh Khaled al-Mafraji, a leader of the Arab Political Council that groups mainly Sunni tribal leaders.
See the full article (AFP, Marwan Ibrahim, 2/29/11)
Click to see a short cartoon on how water scarcity can affect people in countries like Iraq on
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Beware the Cyber War Boomerang?
The leak-prone governments of the United States and Israel seem to be competing to claim credit for a cyber war attack on Iran's nuclear weapons program, while officially refusing to confirm or deny their role in the "Stuxnet" computer worm. We appear to have avoided dropping Israeli bombs by infiltrating American bytes.
See the full article (ABC, Richard Clarke, 1/28/11)
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This Week at War: Lessons from Cyberwar I
In most ways, the brief war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008 was a throwback to the mid-20th century. But one aspect of this little war was very much in the 21st century, namely Russia's integration of offensive cyber operations into its overall political-military strategy. The August war was a preview of how military forces will use cyber operations in the future and what commanders and policymakers need to prepare for.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Robert Haddick, 1/28/11)
Click to read USIP's Winter 2011 PeaceWatch newsletter with issue areas highlighting science, technology and peacebuilding.
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