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  • Author: Mikhaïl Souslov
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: This paper traces the evolution of the diaspora policies and visions from the early 1990s to the present, and argues that the understanding of Russian “compatriots abroad” has never been the same; rather, it travelled a long road from revanchist irredentism of the red-brown opposition in the 1990s, to the moderately liberal pragmatism of the early 2000s, to the confrontational instrumentalization of Russian “compatriots” as a lever of Russia’s soft power in the late 2000s, and, finally, back to the even more confrontational, irredentist and isolationist visions after the Ukrainian crisis of 2014.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration, International Affairs, Diaspora
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Adel Bakawan
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Iraqi Kurdistan, previously known as a secure and stable region amidst the chaotic and shaken Middle East, was struck by a wave of attacks in 2016. Between September and December of that year, there were five recorded terrorist operations led by 249 Kurdish jihadists rallied by the Islamic State (ISIS) or Daesh, of which 47 were killed and 43 were arrested by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). In fact, Iraqi Kurdistan, with a population of five million inhabitants, has supplied ISIS with 2,000 jihadists. Since the launch of the Mosul offensive on 17th October 2016, Kurdistan has been preparing itself, like many other countries in the region and a number of European countries, to face its worst nightmare: the Kurdish jihadists’ return to the country. Although a series of threats weigh upon the leaders of the KRG, such as social and economic crises, political division between rival parties; Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the prospect of a new civil war, and the intervention of neighbouring countries – the return of the Kurds of Daesh is currently the most troublesome.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Zahid Hussain
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The CPEC is a nodal part of China’s larger Belt and Road Initiative that envisages connecting China to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As part of the project, Pakistan welcomes investments worth tens of billions of dollars for infrastructure and power sector development at a time when it desperately needs foreign investment to boost its fledgling economy. The addition of an expected 10,000 MW of electricity to the national grid by end 2018 will help overcome energy shortages and give a major boost to the economy. Similarly, the development of roads and other transport infrastructure will also improve connectivity inside the country as well with other neighboring countries in the future. The connectivity part of the project could actually become a game changer for Pakistan
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China
  • Author: Anaïs Marin
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Since they signed a “comprehensive strategic partnership” agreement in 2013, military-industrial cooperation has intensified, thereby substantiating Belarusian hopes for closer ties with China, which are meant to counterbalance Minsk’s complex relations with Moscow and Brussels. In the eyes of its Chinese partners, however, Belarus seems to enjoy only limited appeal compared with other central and eastern European (CEE) countries, which are more advanced on the road to economic transformation and better integrated into the global system
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Isabelle Facon
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Three years after the Euromaidan protests and as the war in the east continues, the government has pursued significant military reforms. Kiev has published new strategic documents which reflect the complexity of the challenges facing Ukrainian national security. Pressure from NATO comes in addition to pressure from civil society, which manifests itself in numerous ways. Nonetheless, military reform in Ukraine is still suffering from a number of constraints related to the amount of resources available, resistance on the part of various national players and conflicts between different institutions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Celine Pajon
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: In recent years, Japan's security contribution in Africa rose with the unprecedented participation of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in an international counter-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden, the subsequent build-up of its first overseas military base in Djibouti, and the SDF's longest participation in United Nations Peace-Keeping Operations (UNPKO), in South Sudan (2012-May 2017). This increased security contribution has been driven by a need to react to various events, such as the rising Chinese presence in Africa and the increase in terrorist attacks and piracy. It is also a means of reassuring a risk-averse business sector and encouraging it to step up its investment in Africa. Finally, it is about demonstrating Japan's identity as a "proactive contributor to peace", and responsible shareholder in international security. While media attention is drawn to the Japanese SDF presence on the ground and at sea, the bulk of Japan's security contribution to Africa remains low-key, mostly in the form of financial contributions and capacity-building assistance, and is very often channeled through or in partnership with multilateral institutions or a third country, such as France. This said, Africa is now being associated more tightly with Japan's strategic core interests. Terrorist attacks on the continent are posing a direct risk to Japanese nationals. Threats to the security of vital maritime shipping routes transiting from the Middle East to the Indian Ocean are also directly undermining Tokyo's interests. The inclusion of Africa in the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy" demonstrates Japan's willingness to adopt a more strategic approach to Africa.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Japan
  • Author: Linda Hasunuma
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Four years have passed since Prime Minister Abe launched his Three Arrows of reform – “Abenomics” – to revitalize Japan’s economy. The first arrow targeted monetary policy; the second fiscal policy, and the third structural reform – including a measure aimed at reducing barriers to women’s participation in the labor force; this part quickly became known in the media as “womenomics”. Demographic and economic pressures make it imperative for the Japanese government to employ more women as its population ages and shrinks, but Japan has been under great international pressure over its disappointing record on women’s equality as well. What began as an economic strategy about women became also a foreign relations strategy that could help the Japanese government reframe the narrative and its reputation as a country that fails its women; it has also faced increasing criticism and even condemnation from human and women’s rights activists and organizations for its position on the Comfort Women issue. Womenomics is also a public relations strategy for the government to signal to other countries, financial and international institutions, investors and rights organizations, that it is taking action on two important fronts: economic reforms and gender equality. The inclusion of women can provide economic and political benefits to Japan.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Linda Hasunuma
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Four years have passed since Prime Minister Abe launched his Three Arrows of reform – “Abenomics” – to revitalize Japan’s economy. The first arrow targeted monetary policy; the second fiscal policy, and the third structural reform – including a measure aimed at reducing barriers to women’s participation in the labor force; this part quickly became known in the media as “womenomics”. Demographic and economic pressures make it imperative for the Japanese government to employ more women as its population ages and shrinks, but Japan has been under great international pressure over its disappointing record on women’s equality as well. What began as an economic strategy about women became also a foreign relations strategy that could help the Japanese government reframe the narrative and its reputation as a country that fails its women; it has also faced increasing criticism and even condemnation from human and women’s rights activists and organizations for its position on the Comfort Women issue. Womenomics is also a public relations strategy for the government to signal to other countries, financial and international institutions, investors and rights organizations, that it is taking action on two important fronts: economic reforms and gender equality. The inclusion of women can provide economic and political benefits to Japan.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Bobo Lo
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The influence these great powers exert, on themselves and others, is uneven and difficult to predict. Alongside a public consensus on a “democratic world order”, there are significant differences of perspective and sometimes conflicting interests. It is far from clear whether the Russia-China-India matrix can form the basis of an emerging network of cooperation, or whether its contradictions foreshadow an increasingly problematic engagement.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India
  • Author: Françoise Nicolas
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Ethiopia seeks to replicate the experience of East Asian countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia, or China and to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in order to accelerate the development of its manufacturing capacities (in particular through an ambitious industrial Park – IP - development program and the acceptance of foreign-owned Special Economic Zones - SEZs). On the other hand, China looks to export its development model (including SEZs), to delocalize its most labor-intensive activities, and to promote connectivity between Asia and the African continent. In this context, the Chinese government identified SEZ projects in 19 countries – including one in Ethiopia (the so-called Eastern Industry Zone - EIZ), located in Dukem some 30 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa. Today, China is by far the leading foreign direct investor in the country. In addition to the Chinese-owned EIZ in Dukem, Chinese investors are also present in privately-run SEZs that are not part of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) strategy, as well as in government-led IPs and outside SEZs or IPs. Lastly Chinese firms are also extremely active in all kinds of infrastructure development thanks to Chinese funds.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, Ethiopia