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  • Author: Carmit Padan, Jael Eshkenazi
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) estimates that in the past 20 years, approximately 1.3 million people were killed and approximately 4.5 billion were affected by natural disasters, including earthquakes. Yet the number of casualties caused by the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 varied sharply from the number of casualties caused by the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2011. The earthquake in Haiti was of similar magnitude as the major quake in Christchurch, but the human toll was significantly higher: 185 people were killed in the Christchurch earthquake, versus an estimated number of more than 220,000 killed in Haiti. Clearly, then, it is not the magnitude of the disaster or natural hazard that determines its impact.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: Haiti
  • Author: Sima Shine, Raz Zimmt, Anna Catran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The tension between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Revolutionary Guards that was evident during the presidential election campaign has intensified in recent weeks and evolved into a confrontation that is unprecedented in its openly severe nature. The current confrontation surrounds two main issues: Iran’s missile strike against Islamic State targets in Syria, and President Rouhani’s criticism of the Revolutionary Guards’ involvement in the economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Zvi Magen, Udi Dekel
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The first meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin since Trump entered the White House took place in Hamburg, during the G20 summit of July 7-8, 2017. Relations between the two powers have been marked by tension over disagreements on various areas of conflict around the world, and from the reports in the United States about alleged contacts between Trump and Russia during the presidential campaign and Russian cyber interference in the election process. Tensions rose further when US forces attacked pro-Assad coalition forces in Syria and when Russia opposed the condemnation of North Korea in the Security Council regarding Pyonyang’s long range missile program. Nonetheless, reports were that the meeting between the leaders, which lasted longer than planned, was constructive, though very few details about the conversation itself or any agreements reached were provided, other than an announcement on the agreement to impose a ceasefire in southwestern Syria and establish a de-escalation zone there.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Oded Eran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The agenda alone of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 7-8, 2017 was not sufficient to draw the world’s attention. Although the forum brings together the leaders of the world’s 19 leading economies and the European Union, representing two thirds of the global population and 80 percent of the global GDP, it generally draws little more than thousands of demonstrators protesting globalization. This summit, however, generated much interest as it provided the stage for personal meetings between leaders, some the first of their kind, such as between Presidents Trump and Putin. In addition, at the summit Trump had to confront the other 19 leaders directly on some trade issues and the Paris Agreement, and the summit itself took place while eyes were also directed eastward, starting just after North Korea successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Assaf Orion
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Recent weeks have witnessed a change in the public position on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) among high ranking IDF personnel. Senior IDF officers have addressed Hezbollah’s military activity in Lebanon, regarding both the Iranian-supported production of weapon systems in Lebanon and open, provocative intelligence gathering along the Blue Line. Prominent in this context was an exchange between IDF Deputy Chief of the General Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi and UNIFIL Commander Major General Michael Beary on June 11, 2017 during the visit to Israel by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. It was reported that after Beary praised the quiet in his Area of Responsibility, and said that there was no need for a change in UNIFIL activity in the sector, Kochavi took issue with this statement, saying that the Lebanese army was preventing UNIFIL forces from entering built-up areas, thereby abetting the continuation of Hezbollah activity in populated terrain.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Amos Yadlin, Avner Golov
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: On July 4, 2017, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of flying a distance of over 6,000 kilometers. With the test, the first of its kind for Pyongyang, North Korea sought to highlight its ability to threaten United States territory, not merely American forces stationed in Northeast Asia. The missile, which was in the air for nearly 40 minutes, was launched specifically on American Independence Day, a few days after the meeting between US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who favors a conciliatory approach to North Korea.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Oded Eran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The second decade of the twenty-first century has brought tremendous shifts in Israel's map of international relations, amounting to a new set of formal and informal alliances. The visit to Israel by Indian Prime Minister the Honorable Narendra Modi (July 4-6, 2017) can be seen as one of the milestones in this process.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: India, Israel
  • Author: Kobi Michael
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Events of recent weeks in both nearby and distant arenas have reshuffled the cards vis-à- vis the state of affairs in the Gaza Strip. The result has been the emergence of possible conditions for change – that is, if Israel takes effective advantage of them and leverages them through cooperation with Egypt and the Gulf states. Yahya Sinwar’s election as the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip was followed by Hamas’s issuing of a new policy document, and the decision of the pragmatic Sunni camp, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to sever ties with Qatar and impose sanctions on it. In addition, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas decided to reduce the Palestinian Authority’s payments for fuel destined for the power station in the Gaza Strip (a measure that has exacerbated the electricity crisis in Gaza), and Sinwar and a Hamas delegation went to Egypt for meetings with senior Egyptian intelligence officials and long-time Abbas rival Mohammed Dahlan.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Gaza
  • Author: Marco Giuli
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The United States (US) has always been a key player in the European Union’s energy security, as a supporter of its gas supply diversification plans. The Trump administration is underlining the US’ role as a gas exporter. This shift of tone from a strategic to a commercial approach risks furthering divisions and mistrust among European Union (EU) member states, with potential negative effects for the Energy Union.
  • Topic: Climate Finance, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alison Hunter
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Introduced as an ex ante conditionality in the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy, Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) require regions to develop smart priorities and direct investment efforts towards growth-oriented innovation. In the space of only four years, S3 has become widely regarded as a success story across the Cohesion Policy community, as a place-based driver of EU competitiveness. For some regions, it has offered scope to deepen existing practices. For others, S3 has introduced new approaches to achieving innovation-oriented growth. There is, however, quite some distance to cover if S3 is to accelerate its support role in delivering EU growth and investment. This would require redefining the role of S3 and re-positioning this in the post-2020 Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF).
  • Topic: Europe Union, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fabian Zuleeg
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: How best to support its industry has been a perennial issue for the European Union (EU). The Commission’s approach has been an attempt to mainstream industrial competitiveness across policy areas. But this hardly constitutes an adequate strategic industrial policy. The EU and its members must recognise that current global pressures require a common and forward-looking approach to ensure that European industry can thrive.
  • Topic: Financial Markets, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: European Union
  • Author: Romain Pardo
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement will make its implementation more challenging. The United States (US) had been instrumental in brokering a successful deal in Paris and speeding the ratification process for an early entry into force of the agreement. While the US remains party to the agreement for the next four years, its involvement in upcoming international climate discussions remains uncertain. Meanwhile, policy developments in the country such as the "Energy Independence Executive Order" indicate that the current administration has currently no intention to fulfil the pledge made by the previous one to lower CO2 emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels in 2025.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew Duff
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Following the start of the Brexit negotiations on 19 June, Andrew Duff reviews the state of play, namely the discussions on EU citizens’ rights, the Irish border, the financial commitments and the future role of the ECJ. He welcomes the Commission’s proposal to create a Joint Committee to manage the actual exiting process. Duff regrets the irresolution on the British side, which hampers the possibility to define the future relationship with the European Union and consequently the transitional arrangements that UK business so badly needs. Given the UK’s state of confusion after the electoral results of 2016 and 2017, he suggests that the EU must make an offer to London on the basis of a wider reflection on the future not just of the smaller European Union but of the wider Europe.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrew Duff
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: In this paper, Andrew Duff reviews the intended and unintended consequences of the results of last week’s general election. He argues that: 1. Since both Labour and Conservatives campaigned to complete Brexit, there will be no more talk of the possible revocation of Article 50. Brexit does indeed mean Brexit. 2. Now Brexit is free from the shadow of immediate electioneering. And the new composition of the House of Commons has improved the chances that if there is an Article 50 treaty it will be approved. 3. The unintended consequence of the snap election has been to make a softer Brexit more likely. Mercifully, we should not hear again that “no deal is better than a bad deal” as a bust up of the Article 50 talks would lead to the collapse of the May government and the holding of another general election, much-feared by the Conservative party.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giovanni Grevi
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: After four months in office, the Trump administration has not triggered a revolution in US foreign policy but is shaking up the status quo. The path-breaking decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change reflects the president's abrasive 'America first' rhetoric. On a range of other issues, long-established patterns and commitments have been challenged so far more in words than in deeds. However, the mix of nationalism and pragmatism, ideology and realism, improvisation and policy reversals that Trump's foreign policy approach displays has begun to significantly affect the profile and perceptions of the US in the world. Under Trump, the US is shifting away from its traditional role as ultimate guarantor of the international liberal order at increasing speed.
  • Topic: Political stability, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Fuad Olajuwon
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: In recent news, North Korea has been the hot button issue with governments and bureaucrats alike. The geopolitical nature of the country leaves many world leaders apprehensive as to what will happen next. Recent missile tests conducted by Pyongyang as well as brazen rhetoric spouted by Kim Jong Un towards neighboring countries poses a threat as to what actions North Korea will take moving forward. While it’s interesting to note the movements of the country in question, the reaction of the other nations in the region have the potential to shift the geopolitical balance of power. So the questions remain the same; is North Korea an aggressive force that has the resources and capability to fracture East Asian relations? Or can countries use these events to craft a new reality to preserve the sanctity of their respective states?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Rohinton P. Medhora
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Critical reviews of hard-hitting commentaries on urgent global issues are published periodically by Project Syndicate as part of their Issue Adviser series. In the latest instalment, below, the president of the Centre for International Governance Innovation assesses the populist threat to globalization and international trade and considers arguments by economists such as Kaushik Basu, Jeffrey Frankel, Laura Tyson and other commentators
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gonzalo Escribano
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: This analysis addresses changes in the Euro-Mediterranean strategic context and the erosion of the economic incentives built into Euro-Mediterranean policy to deal with such transformation. It also puts the case for a reformulation of Euro-Mediterranean policies, but argues that, rather than pursuing an incremental continuity, the EU should engineer a more radical overhaul of its mechanisms of governance, its instruments and its discourse.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Francisco de Borja
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Spain faces its worst constitutional crisis since the failed 1981 coup d’état, driven by Brexit­ style populism A romantic framing of foreign crises where self-determination is involved is a common trap. The imagery of “oppressors” vs “freedom fighters” is appealing and, to their credit, the leaders of Catalonia have been successful in promoting their agenda abroad in just such terms – sometimes going as far as referencing Nelson Mandela’s struggle against apartheid. Combined with the soft power appeal of cosmopolitan Barcelona, there is much confusion abroad on the nature of the current crisis in Catalonia, and myths and stereotypes abound – helped by the likes of Assange and similar figures. This article seeks to test some of these myths, in order to shed light not only on the Catalonian referendum debate but on the wider issues for pluralistic democracies and the rule of law. The dynamics in the Catalan debate are similar to those at play in other European countries in the age of populism and are therefore of fundamental importance for the future of Europe as a whole.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Spain
  • Author: Aspen Institute
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group (AIHSG) is a bipartisan group of homeland security and counterterrorism experts who convene periodically to discuss these issues and to make recommendations to policy makers. To ensure the Department of Homeland Security makes further progress toward securing the homeland against ever evolving threats the AIHSG urges the President, Secretary, and Congress enact their recommendations.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Simon Palamar
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In July 2015, the Islamic Republic of Iran, along with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union, signed on to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement in which Iran would put substantial and verifiable limits on its nuclear science and engineering activities in exchange for sanctions relief. Many observers hailed the agreement as an important — if imperfect — tool for keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Former US President Barack Obama argued that “the United States, our partners, and the world are more secure because of the JCPOA.”
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Iran
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The increasing rate of emerging and reemerging zoonotic disease, along with threats and attempts by those with nefarious intent to attack food and agriculture, point to the need to exert more effort to eliminate vulnerabilities and reduce consequences associated with America’s agricultural sector. The Food and Agriculture (F&A) critical infrastructure sector produces, processes, and delivers the systems and commodities that feed billions of people and animals throughout the United States and globally. In 2015, the agriculture, food, and related industries contributed $992 billion (5.5%) to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), making it one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy. Given its critical importance to food safety and availability in the United States and around the world, protecting this sector is a matter of national security. Federal agencies; state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments; academic institutions; and industry partners all contribute to and are responsible for this vast enterprise. Our lives, culture, economy, and livelihood depend on their efforts.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nina Shea
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony Before the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia
  • Author: William Schneider
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony Before the United States Senate Committee on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Walter Russell Mead
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Analysis of Catalonia's independence bid.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Spain, Catalonia
  • Author: Jeffrey Bleich
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: We grew up in a century defined by the Second Industrial Revolution. Today, that revolution is being eclipsed by a Digital Revolution. The uncertainty that we are experiencing in every aspect of our society is the same disorientation that occurred between 1870 and 1910 when the first Industrial Revolution ended and a second one began.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Roger R Ream
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) was founded in 1967 with a mission focused on influencing the intellectual climate in the world by giving young people entering leadership positions a balanced perspective on political and economic systems. It was founded in the heat of the Cold War and during a period of growing unrest and even violent upheaval on college campuses. Many of the founders of the organization were actively engaged in international programs, including former Congressman Walter Judd and political organizer David R. Jones.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Monica Damberg-Ott
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, or IVLP, is often referred to as the “gold standard” of exchange programs th within the public diplomacy community. The program celebrated its 75 anniversary in 2015, and more than 200,000 International Visitors have engaged with Americans through the IVLP, including more than 505 current or former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government,1 since its inception in 1940. Margaret Thatcher, Hamid Karzai, and Indira Gandhi, to name just a few, are alumni. But with recent budget constraints and the need to demonstrate immediate, results-driven programming, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is placing greater emphasis on its most flexible rapid-response exchanges. Among those programs is the highly adaptable and policy-responsive option: the IVLP On Demand. So how does it differ from the original model, how does it compare, and how might it help show results more quickly?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Edward M. Gabriel
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: From a strategic perspective, Morocco’s decision to join the African Union (AU) 33 years after quitting the bloc illustrates King Mohammed VI’s vision of his country’s role on the continent as a platform for regional economic, political and security cooperation. It followed almost two decades of personal diplomatic efforts by the king to further Morocco’s goal of supporting greater regional and continental stability through common economic and political interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Morocco
  • Author: Robert Jackson
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: Ghana is one of the leading democracies on the African continent, with multiple peaceful interparty transitions since the return of multi-party democracy in 1992; a good record on human rights; an apolitical military; and a lively, free media. Ghanaians often note that whenever the Republican Party wins the White House, Ghana’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) wins Jubilee House—a coincidental tradition that held true again in 2016. Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections were peaceful, transparent, and credible; U.S. engagement played a critical role in that success, as well as in the resulting peaceful transition of power.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Ghana
  • Author: Thomas F Daughton
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: ust 27 years old, the Republic of Namibia is among Africa’s youngest countries, but one that stands out on the continent for its functioning multiparty democracy, open market economy and history of peaceful transitions of presidential power. The reasons for Namibia’s success lie in the international process that created it and in the pragmatism of its people. That international process and the United States’ involvement in it have also complicated the U.S.-Namibia relationship in the last three decades. But the United States has long recognized that an investment in the success of a country like Namibia is a strategic long-term investment in our own security. With that in mind, the United States has invested heavily since Namibian independence in 1990 to help ensure that the young country succeeds.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Ghana
  • Author: Rose Gottemoeller
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: NATO is adapting rapidly to an evolving security situation by strengthening our deterrence and defense, and by working with our partners to project stability be
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Genci Mucaj
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: A few years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine the regional transformation underway in the Middle East. From the Arab Spring to the rise of ISIS, to a catastrophic Syrian war, we see a Middle East in turmoil and crisis. While the region’s geopolitical map varies, the root causes of conflict remain the same.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Juan Pinzón Carlos
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The world has changed for Colombia. For the first time in more than 50 years, we are a nation building a lasting and stable peace. What has not changed is the special relationship Colombia shares with the United States. As the oldest and strongest democracies in the Western Hemisphere, the relationship between our two countries is deeply rooted in our steadfast commitment to the shared values of democracy, freedom and equality.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Colombia
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This discussion paper, co-authored with the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Sciences Po Law School Clinic, proposes a new approach to conducting human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) of business operations or projects, which brings together project-affected people, the company, and other stakeholders to jointly design and implement an assessment. The aim of this new approach is to address one of the key challenges of current HRIA practices: the limited engagement and participation of relevant stakeholders, which can undermine effectiveness and trust.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Morgan Wesley
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan ORBAT (PDF) describes the location and area of responsibility of all American units in Afghanistan, down to the battalion level, updated as of February 2016..
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Nicolò Fasola
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to identify the enduring principles at the basis of Russian military thought, offering an alternative to the contemporary analytical mainstream – which deems Moscow’s military behavior to be revolutionary and unprecedented. This is based on comparative analysis of Russian official military discourse and practice between 2008 and 2016. Critical inspection of the two Military Doctrines approved during this timeframe and of various military drills will reveal a series of rhetorical and operational recurrences. Notwithstanding numerous changes at the international and domestic levels that could have had an impact on Russian military behavior, no substantive shift is distinguishable. These empirical findings will constitute the basis for a reconstruction of Russian military thought. Through a deductive method, we will be able to reconstruct the ultimate assumptions granting them logical coherence and legitimization. Far from being incomprehensible, Russian military thought will be presented as the adaptation of classical strategic principles to contemporary contingencies.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Tamar Lagurashvili
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Invented Traditionalism vs. Entrenched Informal Institutions: Viability of Hybrid Governance and Democratization Prospects in Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland is new discussion paper by former IIR independent researcher intern, Tamar Lagurashvili.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Central Africa
  • Author: Benjamin Tallis
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The discussion paper by Benjamin Tallis, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations, seeks to examine such competing evaluations of the current state and future prospects of the CGSD.
  • Topic: International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David J. Firestein, Euhwa Tran
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The EastWest Institute has released a new report on U.S.-China relations—"Alternative” Strategic Perceptions in U.S.-China Relations. The report lays out the differing strategic perceptions of the United States and China with respect to some of the most topical and challenging issues on the U.S.-China agenda today. These starkly differing perceptions inform and exacerbate actual policy and fuel mistrust and broad mutual strategic suspicion. By exposing the diverging perceptions of the two countries and bringing those perceptions into the fabric of bilateral discourse more explicitly and honestly, this report creates the basis for a more honest, substantive, constructive, fruitful and mutually beneficial dialogue.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Peter Engelke
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: An insecure supply of clean water raises the dangers of economic disruption, social tension, and even conflict over water resources at both the domestic and international levels. These dangers are highest where water is scarce and governance (at the domestic or international levels) is poor. Asia provides the most powerful illustration of water security risks, with significant challenges that affect both the water supply and demand sides, as well as important governance shortcomings. While there are enormous disparities across Asia in terms of this issue, the continent’s overall water outlook is discouraging. Much of Asia suffers from the consequences of investments in supply-side water infrastructure projects that have emphasised gigantic scale over the efficient use of water. These investments have often been made without adequate consideration of their economic, social, diplomatic and environmental costs, nor with much concern for long-term impact. The rapid pace and massive scale of Asian urbanization are placing new stresses on water demand, because city dwellers consume more water than their rural counterparts. Water experts and practitioners across Asia are fully aware of the continent’s many problems and are diligently working to overcome them. There will be no easy fix, however, because of Asia’s massive scale plus significant financial, political and institutional obstacles. As in other domains, there is no substitute for good governance. Widespread progress on the continent will occur when local, regional, and national leaders use good data and information to make the right decisions to manage water resources smartly and cooperatively over the long run.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Water, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Marc Finaud
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Since Egypt, Iran, and Israel have signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), they agree to the goal of prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons. As a building block towards the establishment of a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East, they could jointly or concurrently ratify the CTBT, thus creating a de facto nuclear-test-free zone in the region that Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen could join. This could act as a confidence-building measure and facilitate the participation of these states in the activities of the CTBT Organization (CTBTO), which verifies compliance with the test ban.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: On October 25, 2017, US Congress passed new sanctions against Lebanon’s Hezbollah to curb its political, economic and military activities as well as foreign relations. The three bills unanimously approved by the House of Representatives impose comprehensive sanctions against the Iran-backed terrorist group’s role after it has grown over the past years across the Middle East. In Syria, Iraq and Yemen in particular, Hezbollah stoked and took advantage of armed conflicts with one set goal in mind: achieving Iran’s policies.
  • Topic: International Security, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Iran, Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Iraqi government prioritizes rehabilitation of the oil sector in northern provinces, especially after it regained control of oil fields in Kirkuk and Mosul and forced out the Kurdish Peshmerga in mid-Octo- ber 2017. The government also plans to sign contracts with foreign companies to double production in northern Kirkuk and seeks to rehabilitate a pipeline between Kirkuk and the Turkish port of Ceyhan, that was massively damaged by several attacks in the past two years. However government efforts are facing several challenges.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The sudden resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri on October 4, 2017, may impose implications on the country’s economy, which showed signs of recovery over recent months. The recovery came on the heels of economic reforms introduced by the government and the parliament. The reforms, which included tax reforms and restructuring the oil industry, led to a rise in tourist arrivals and increasing confidence in the economy. The implications would hinge on how much time is need- ed to form a new government that would complete the economic measures initiated by its predecessor.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently signaled that Tehran will not change its position on the 2015 landmark nuclear deal or its role in the Middle East. During an October 29, 2017 session of the Consultative Assembly (the parliament), he emphasized that Iran will not hesitate to build, produce and store any weapon of any kind it needs to defend itself. He add- ed that Iran IS building missiles, and will continue to do so because this does not contradict international law and is not in conflict with the July 2015 UN Security Council’s Resolution 2231, which calls on Iran to suspend, for eight years, all specific research and development activities related to missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Regular armies, militias, terrorist organizations, opposition factions, international powers and rights organizations, all use dead bodies of ci- vilians, soldiers and police personnel during armed conflicts in the Middle East and beyond for various reasons. Identication of dead bodies has become a dilemma for conflict-hit countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Mali, due to prevalent security chaos and the destruction of healthcare infrastructure. Moreover, involved parties tend to announce a minimized official civilian and combatant toll using only the numbers of corpses that could be carried to hospitals.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Sudanese government recently introduced economic reforms to improve performance and attract more foreign investments. The reforms were initiated when the United States on October 6, 2017, lifted sanctions imposed on Sudan twenty years ago. Undoubtedly, the move represents a major shift for Sudan because it will help improve economic growth, stabilize the exchange market and attract more foreign capital in flows.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Russia recently conducted military strikes on several fronts in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria, especially to the south in the border town of Boukamal. These strikes were conducted to retake ISIS’ last strong- holds in Syria after the liberation of Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital, in mid-October by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led militia. The militia, backed the US-led coalition, controls the east side of the Euphrates river in Deir Ezzor and now is in a frantic race with al-Assad’s forces to recapture Boukamal, where Russia’s use of air and naval re- power aims to settle the battle and consolidate its presence ahead of the coming political milestones in Syria.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran