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  • Author: Andrew Radin
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In developing U.S. intervention policy in Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and most recently Syria, the 1992 to 1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has repeatedly been used as an analogy. For example, John Shattuck, a member of the negotiating team at the Dayton peace talks that ended the war, wrote in September 2013 that for Syria “the best analogy is Bosnia…Dayton was a major achievement of diplomacy backed by force…A negotiated solution to the Syria crisis is possible, but only if diplomacy is backed by force.” Many other analysts and policymakers with experience in the Bosnian conflict—such as Nicholas Burns, the State Department spokesman at the time; Christopher Hill, a member of Richard Holbrooke's negotiating team; and Samantha Power, who began her career as a journalist in Bosnia—also invoked the Bosnian war to urge greater U.S. involvement in Syria. Although the rise of ISIS has significantly altered the conflict over the last year, echoes of the Bosnian conflict remain in Syria: the conflict is a multiparty ethnic civil war, fueled by outside powers, in a region of critical interest to the United States.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Libya, Kosovo, Syria
  • Author: Lee J. M. Seymour
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Side switching by armed groups is a prominent feature of many civil wars. Shifts in alignment have far-reaching consequences, influencing key outcomes such as civil war duration and termination, military effectiveness, levels of civilian victimization, and state-building prospects. In Sudan's wars, ideological and ethnic cleavages have not influenced factional alignments nearly as much as one might expect given the prominence of clashing political projects and ethnically organized violence in southern Sudan and Darfur. Recent explanations highlighting the role of territorial control, factional infighting, or relative power considerations also have limited value. In many wars fought in weak states characterized by low barriers to side switching, two mechanisms explain patterns of collaboration and defection: first, political rivalries that lead actors to collaborate in exchange for military support in localized struggles; and second, patronage-based incentives that induce collaboration for material gain. A nested analysis drawing on original data from wars in southern Sudan and Darfur supports this argument. The findings have implications for understanding alignments in civil wars, the role of weak states in counterinsurgency, and ethnic politics more generally, as well as policy relevance for factionalized civil wars.
  • Topic: Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Sudan, Darfur
  • Author: Daniel Bessner, Nicolas Guilhot
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Neorealism is one of the most influential theories of international relations, and its first theorist, Kenneth Waltz, a giant of the discipline. But why did Waltz move from a rather traditional form of classical realist political theory in the 1950s to neorealism in the 1970s? A possible answer is that Waltz's Theory of International Politics was his attempt to reconceive classical realism in a liberal form. Classical realism paid a great deal of attention to decisionmaking and statesmanship, and concomitantly asserted a nostalgic, anti-liberal political ideology. Neorealism, by contrast, dismissed the issue of foreign policymaking and decisionmaking. This shift reflected Waltz's desire to reconcile his acceptance of classical realism's tenets with his political commitment to liberalism. To do so, Waltz incorporated cybernetics and systems theory into Theory of International Politics, which allowed him to develop a theory of international relations no longer burdened with the problem of decisionmaking.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, War, Grand Strategy, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Stefano Costalli, Andrea Ruggeri
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Ideas shape human behavior in many circumstances, including those involving political violence. Yet they have usually been underplayed in studies of the causes of armed mobilization. Likewise, emotions have been overlooked in most analyses of intrastate conflict. A mixed-methods analysis of Italian resistance during the Fascist regime and the Nazi occupation (1943–45) provides the opportunity to theorize and analyze empirical evidence on the role of indignation and radical ideologies in the process of armed mobilization. These nonmaterial factors play a crucial role in the chain that leads to armed collective action. Indignation is a push factor that moves individuals away from accepting the status quo. Radical ideologies act as pull factors that provide a new set of strategies against the incumbent. More specifically, detachment caused by an emotional event disconnects the individual from acceptance of the current state of social relations, and individuals move away from the status quo. Ideologies communicated by political entrepreneurs help to rationalize the emotional shift and elaborate alternative worldviews (disenchantment), as well as possibilities for action. Finally, a radical ideological framework emphasizes normative values and the conduct of action through the “anchoring” mechanism, which can be understood as a pull factor attracting individuals to a new status.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, War, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Emil Souleimanov, Huseyn Aliyev
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Despite a considerable amount of ethnographic research into the phenomena of blood revenge and blood feud, little is known about the role of blood revenge in political violence, armed conflict, and irregular war. Yet blood revenge—widespread among many conflict-affected societies of the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond—is not confined to the realm of communal infighting, as previous research has presumed. An empirical analysis of Russia's two counterinsurgency campaigns in Chechnya suggests that the practice of blood revenge has functioned as an important mechanism in encouraging violent mobilization in the local population against the Russian troops and their Chechen proxies. The need to exact blood revenge has taken precedence over an individual's political views, or lack thereof. Triggered by the loss of a relative or humiliation, many apolitical Chechens who initially sought to avoid involvement in the hostilities or who had been skeptical of the insurgency mobilized to exact blood revenge to restore their individual and clan honor. Blood revenge functions as an effective, yet heavily underexplored, grievance-based mechanism encouraging violent mobilization in irregular wars.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil War, War, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, Chechnya, Yemen, Colombia, Georgia, Albania
  • Author: Ralph R. Steinke
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: It was the last European war in a bloody century of European wars. Less than ten years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the 1999 Kosovo War—Operation Allied Force, as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) referred to it—was unique in many respects. From the perspectives of both international law and the law of armed conflict, it significantly challenged the limits of jus ad bellum, the international laws of war governing the circumstances under which nations are permitted to use force, as well as jus in bello, the laws of war relating to proper conduct in war.[1] After decades of a NATO-Warsaw Pact standoff in Europe and proxy wars elsewhere it was not self-defense, but rather humanitarian considerations, that drew the NATO Alliance, with the United States in the forefront, into this conflict. While the seventy-eight-day NATO bombing campaign captured the world’s attention, not long after its conclusion this military operation began to fade from the public memory. Beyond the Balkans, a little more than two years after the Kosovo War’s conclusion, the traumatic events of September 11, 2001, would virtually remove global examination and recollections of the Kosovo conflict from the agenda. The United States and much of the world embarked on an entirely new, 21st century ideological and combative struggle: fighting the scourge of terrorism. Nevertheless, the Kosovo War has alternatively been referred to as a reference point by Americans who have sought a response to the Syrian conflict as well as by Vladimir Putin as justification for his claims to Crimea and the “protection” of Russian nationals. Some sixteen years after the Kosovo conflict and Operation Allied Force, it is worth asking: are there any insights to be recalled and gained from this conflict? What has been the war’s effect on the law of international armed conflict to date? Is Mr. Putin right to refer to the Kosovo campaign as his justification for the use of force, either implied or explicit, in Crimea or greater Ukraine? It will be argued here that in spite of significant concern and warnings then that the Kosovo campaign would provide a dangerous precedent for international law and even global stability,[2] it has had a nominal if not negligible effect on the body of international law as informed by jus ad bellum. In spite of Mr. Putin’s attempts to try to identify it as a precedent, the Kosovo campaign was indeed an exception. While it was characterized as a messy and “ugly” affair,[3] it did accomplish what it intended to do: stop the killing of potentially tens of thousands of Kosovar Albanians and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands more from Kosovo, ultimately providing them with a better and more secure life than was possible in the pre-Kosovo campaign period.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Conflict, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Kosovo, Syria
  • Author: Harlan Ullman
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Dr. Harlan Ullman, a distinguished Fletcher School alumnus, sat down with the Fletcher Security Review recently to discuss the past, present, and future of U.S. and global security, as well as his most recent book, A Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace. He is Chairman of the Killowen Group, which advises leaders in business and government; Chairman of CNIGuard Ltd and CNIGuard Inc. which are infrastructure protection firms; Senior Advisor at the Atlantic Council and Business Executives for National Security, both in Washington, D.C.; on the Advisory Board for the Supreme Allied Commander Europe; and Director Emeritus of the Wall Street Fund, one of the nation’s first mutual funds. A former naval officer with 150 combat operations and missions in Vietnam in patrol boats and other commands at sea, he was principal author of the ’Shock and Awe’ doctrine, which was released in 1996. With seven books and thousands of articles and columns to his credit, he was made UPI’s Arnaud de Borchgrave distinguished columnist earlier this year.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, War, History, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, United States of America
  • Author: James Copnall
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: A prolific writer and reporter, James Copnall was the BBC’s Sudan correspondent from 2009- 12 and covered South Sudan’s independence, the Darfur war, rebellions, and clashes between both the Sudans. He has also reported from over twenty other African nations. His latest book, A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts - Sudan and South Sudan’s Bitter and Incomplete Divorce deals extensively with the conflict engulfing the Sudans from various perspectives. Earlier this year, he sat down with the Fletcher Security Review to give some perspective on recent developments.
  • Topic: War, Conflict, Journalism, Interview
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Ian M. Ralby
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: On 16 September 2007, the accountability of private armed contractors became a global concern. A team of armed guards from the US company Blackwater Worldwide, operating on a US State Department contract, opened fire that day in Baghdad’s Nisor Square, killing seventeen Iraqi civilians and injuring an additional twenty. It took more than seven years before four of the individuals responsible were ultimately convicted of either first degree murder or voluntary manslaughter by a jury in a U.S. Federal District Court. A fifth member of the Blackwater team had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.[1] The initial lack of consequences and the slow speed of justice provided the watchful world with strong evidence that armed contractors operate in a zone of legal twilight, devoid of accountability. ​ The rise of private armed contracting was one of the most distinctive operational developments of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, famously stated: “Our corporate goal is to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did to the postal service.”[2] Throughout both conflicts, the hiring policies of several Western governments, particularly those of the United States, helped Blackwater and numerous other companies move toward that goal. By December 2008, for example, 69% of the United States’ total force in Afghanistan was comprised of private contractors, roughly 15% of which were armed.[3] While there are no reliable statistics on the size of the global private armed security industry, there is little doubt that it has grown and contracted with the surge and decline of Western engagement in armed conflict. New conflicts on the horizon, however, suggest the possibility of a resurgence of the industry, reigniting concerns about accountability. The proliferation of private armed security companies has coincided with a proliferation of initiatives aimed at developing accountability for the industry. Numerous codes, standards, mechanisms and proposals – developed by governments, international organizations, civil society groups, private companies, trade associations, individuals, academics and multi-stakeholder bodies – have sought to address different issues surrounding armed contractors. Most of them, however, have been developed in response to incidents that already occurred. This reactive approach to accountability, while useful for addressing past problems, may leave the industry exposed to future problems. In other words, a code, standard or mechanism set up to prevent another Nisor Square incident may be very effective in doing so, but may fail to prevent a different and even more worrying incident in the future. This article begins with a brief overview of the most credible accountability initiatives, suggesting that the resulting collection forms a patchwork, rather than a framework for governing the conduct of armed contractors. The analysis then focuses on the process of selecting contractors, with a particular emphasis on the US Government. While cost has been a key factor in determining selection, the various initiatives discussed have made it possible for accountability and quality to be added as essential metrics. Ultimately, however, the failure of the accountability initiatives to remain current, much less forward-looking, means that the objective determinants of ‘accountability and quality’ may not be fit for purpose as the US and other Western powers begin to engage the services of armed contractors for assistance in new conflicts...
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Military Affairs, Regulation, Accountability
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Charles Cleveland
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Lieutenant General Charles T. Cleveland, an Army Special Forces Officer, relinquished command of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and retired after 37 years of military service on 01 July 2015. He previously commanded the Special Operations Command Central and Special Operations Command South as well as the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-North during Operation Iraqi Freedom. LTG Cleveland is a native of Arizona and a 1978 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. His military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit Medal.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Interview, Army, Special Operations
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, Panama, United States of America