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  • Author: David C. Logan
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: China is developing its first credible sea-based nuclear forces. This emergent nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) force will pose unique challenges to a country that has favored tightly centralized control over its nuclear deterrent. The choices China makes about SSBN command and control will have important implications for strategic stability. Despite claims that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force will be responsible for all Chinese nuclear forces, Chinese SSBNs currently appear to be under the control of the PLA Navy. However, China may choose to revise its command and control structures as its SSBNs begin armed deterrent patrols. There are three broad command and control models, allocating varying degrees of authority to the PLA Navy or the Rocket Force. China’s decisions about SSBN command and control will be mediated by operational, bureaucratic, and political considerations. A hybrid approach to command and control, with authority divided between the navy and the Rocket Force, would be most conducive to supporting strategic stability.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Christopher J. Lamb
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: There is strong bipartisan support for Section 941 of the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, which requires the Pentagon to use cross-functional teams (CFTs). CFTs are a popular organizational construct with a reputation for delivering better and faster solutions for complex and rapidly evolving problems. The Department of Defense reaction to the bill has been strongly negative. Senior officials argue that Section 941 would “undermine the authority of the Secretary, add bureaucracy, and confuse lines of responsibility.” The Senate’s and Pentagon’s diametrically opposed positions on the value of CFTs can be partially reconciled with a better understanding of what CFTs are, how cross-functional groups have performed to date in the Pentagon, and their prerequisites for success. This paper argues there is strong evidence that CFTs could provide impressive benefits if the teams were conceived and employed correctly.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: T. X. Hammes
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Numerous trends are slowing, and may even be reversing, globalization over the next decade or two. Manufacturing and services, driven by new technologies, are trending toward local production. For economic, technical, and environmental reasons, new energy production is now dominated by local sources—solar, wind, hydro, and fracked natural gas. To meet an increasing demand for fresh, organic foods, firms are establishing indoor farms in cities across the developed world to grow and sell food locally. Recent trade flow statistics indicate these factors have already slowed globalization. Technological and social developments will accelerate these inhibiting trends. Voters in the United States and Europe are increasingly angry over international trade. Prospects for passage of major trade agreements are dim.Authoritarian states, particularly China and Russia, are balkanizing the Internet to restrict access to information.Technological advances are raising the cost of overseas intervention while deglobalization is reducing its incentives. This paper argues that deglobalization would have momentous security implications. Accordingly, deglobalization must be monitored closely and if the trend continues,U.S. leaders will need to consider restructuring organizations, alliances,and national security strategy
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hal Klepak
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba in March 2016 opened up the possibility of strategic benefits for both nations. Well after over 50 years of hostility, however, it will not be easy to keep this nascent relationship on track. Avoiding missteps requires a deep knowledge of Cuba and particularly its Revolutionary Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, or FAR). The FAR are a complex and powerful institution that enjoys great public respect—more so than Cuba's Communist Party—and remain central to the functioning of the Cuban economy and state. Broadening rapprochement without the support of the FAR is inconceivable. To build on the historic opening in diplomatic relations, both sides need a better appreciation of the other’s institutional norms and some clear "rules of the road" to guide the relationship. This paper offers insights concerning the FAR. It argues that it will be important to expand cooperation in the right areas and that it will be important to start small, go slow, build trust, consult early and often, let Cuba take the lead, and avoid imposing or reflecting a U.S.-centric view of civil-military relations.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Richard H.M Outzen, Ryan Schwing
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Fifteen years into the era of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, U.S. influence on his inner circle and support base, the new generation of Turkish strategic thinkers, and the Turkish public at large has diminished rather than improved. American Turkey watchers have grown frustrated with perceived divergence of interests, values, and agendas. A growing number consider Erdoğan and his inner circle autocratic, difficult, ideologically extreme, and dangerous.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Philip C. Saunders, Joel Wuthnow
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is undertaking its most significant restructuring since 1949, including changes to all of the PLA’s main organizational pillars—the Central Military Commission, services, and theaters. The reforms are modeled partly on the U.S. military structure, where combatant commanders lead operations and the services train and equip troops. However, the PLA remains a Leninist military responsible for defending Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule. The reforms aim to tighten CCP supervision over a force seen as corrupt and unaccountable and to enhance the PLA’s ability to conduct joint operations across multiple domains. Theater commanders will be able to develop force packages drawn from all the services, and a new Strategic Support Force will provide C4ISR support. The reforms will create a short term organizational disruption, but may enable more effective joint war fighting over the long term. The PLA will have to overcome significant obstacles such as continued ground force dominance and inter-service rivalry to make the reforms succeed.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Christopher J. Lamb, Joseph C Bond
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past 20 years, there has been a sea change in senior leader views on national security reform from skepticism to support. Nine major studies argue the national security system cannot generate or integrate the capabilities needed to manage security problems well. The system is “broken.” Yet there are major obstacles to reform. Inexperienced U.S. Presidents discover system limitations too late, when it is politically difficult to correct them; experts who have not studied system behaviors underestimate their liabilities; and leaders in the Department of Defense are more likely to favor reform than their counterparts in other departments, which creates a bureaucratic backlash against reform. However, two key prerequisites for success are in place: galvanizing cases of unsustainable performance, and in-depth problem analysis that reveals the origins of the same. A third prerequisite is committed leadership. With that in mind, the authors identify several reasons why Presidential candidates should embrace national security reform during the 2016 campaign.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joel Wuthnow
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: China is poised to increase economic and diplomatic cooperation with Iran as a result of sanctions relief under the recent Iran nuclear deal, though a close geopolitical alignment between the two states is unlikely. Sino-Iranian relations will remain limited by several enduring constraints, including China’s desire for positive ties with other states, its pursuit of energy diversification, and its need for regional stability. Renewed Chinese arms sales to Iran could constitute an emerging challenge for the United States. This could increase Iran’s antiaccess/ area-denial threat to U.S. military forces and create proliferation risks. U.S. officials should press Chinese interlocutors to avoid exporting advanced weapons, which could embolden Iran to conduct a more brazen foreign policy that would threaten China’s fundamental need for regional stability
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, Iran
  • Author: David F. Helvey
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Unification of the Korean Peninsula would remove the primary threat that has animated the U.S.–Republic of Korea (ROK) alliance for over 60 years, but it need not require termination of the alliance. An alliance between the United States and a unified Korea would, at a macro level, reinforce the international liberal democratic order. At a micro level, it could help ensure security on the Korean Peninsula during the process of integrating the North, assist in the defense of Korea, and serve as a platform for multilateral security cooperation. A future alliance should be a part of planning for Korean unification and should consider the purpose of the alliance, its roles and missions, coordinating structures, and presence (if any) of U.S. troops. It should also include diplomatic efforts to assure China, Russia, and Japan that a future alliance would respect sovereignty and support stability. A reconfigured alliance should reflect greater equality between the United States and a unified Korea to ensure its political sustainability in both capitals. Planning for a future alliance must not erode the critical functions of deterrence that the alliance performs today
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Korea
  • Author: Vivek Chadha
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
  • Abstract: There has been an upsurge in violence in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in recent years. This has been accompanied by increasing cross-border violations by Pakistan and heavy retaliation by India. The Uri terrorist attack on September 18, 2016 — directed, equipped and supported by Pakistan, led to the surgical strike by India across the Line of Control (LoC), which caught Pakistan off-guard. These were followed by repeated attempts by Islamabad to disrupt the 2003 ceasefire along the LoC and hit at targets inside J&K through orchestrated terrorist strikes. The brief analyses fidayeen attacks that have taken place during the last three years by Pakistan sponsored terrorist groups. It then delineates steps the security forces could take to counter such attacks effectively.
  • Topic: International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Vivek Chadha
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
  • Abstract: The impact of the demonetisation policy as related to curbing the finance of terrorism announced on November 08, 2016, is gradually emerging from the shadow of its surprise announcement. It is becoming abundantly clear that this is unlikely to remain a one off decision taken in isolation and will in all probability be accompanied by additional measures against the financing of terrorism and corruption. Even as the rollout takes place, it provides an opportunity to assess its potential fallout in the mid and long term, as also possible future options available to the government to further build upon the ongoing initiative.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Priyanka Singh
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
  • Abstract: Most of India’s geopolitical vexations stem from a contested northern periphery, entailing disputes born either in the aftermath of independence or inherited from British rule. Principal among these is the region of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Soon after independence, a huge portion of J&K’s territory was bifurcated from the rest of the princely state as a result of the Pakistan-aided assault conducted in these regions during 1947-48. Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) refers to those parts of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) that continue to be under Pakistan’s control. It comprises the so-called ‘Azad’ Jammu and Kashmir (‘AJK’), and Gilgit Baltistan, which latter was referred to as the Northern Areas by the government of Pakistan until 2009. India stakes a claim on these territories by virtue of the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh on 26 October 1947.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sushil Kumar Sharma
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
  • Abstract: Earlier this year, the Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (KPLT) issued a threat to the local media after journalists at a meeting in Diphu Press Club unanimously decided not to publish the outfit’s calls for bandh against the assembly election scheduled in the district on April 04, 2016.1 In fact, just two days before the election, two KPLT militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Karbi Anglong. Over the years, insurgency has adversely affected the socio-economic development of the district compared to the rest of the state. Development projects in the district have long been hampered by abductions and demands for extortion money by the insurgents.2 While most of the local insurgent groups have come under the ceasefire agreement, the KPLT continues to pose threat to security and development in the Karbi Anglong region. Apart from KPLT, the Naga Rengma Hills Protection Force (NRHPF) and the Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) are also active in the area.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: P. Stobdan
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
  • Abstract: The Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) have recently finalised the draft agenda for the next Summit of the grouping to be held in Tashkent on June 23-24. Among other things, they adopted a procedure document for accession of India (and Pakistan) into the SCO. Originated in 1996 as “Shanghai-5” to build confidence building measures along the Sino-Central Asian frontier, the SCO became a full-fledged grouping in 2011 with a broader charter for anchoring Eurasian political, economic and military affairs. While SCO was initially an exclusive club comprising of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, other countries – India, Mongolia, Iran, and Pakistan – joined in 2005 as Observer states.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ajey Lele
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
  • Abstract: Several advancements made in the field of space technology over the last few decades have significantly benefitted mankind. Today, space technology is considered critical to human survival and progress. Since space offers numerous socio-economic benefits, the number of states investing in satellite technology has grown over the years. Satellites are now being used for many purposes: meteorology, television broadcasting, mobile telephony, navigation and internet. Space systems are increasingly being used in multiple fields, such as financial management, education, tele-medicine, scientific research and disaster management, to gather real time information and increase efficiency and connectivity. Satellite technology is also playing a crucial role in measuring greenhouse gas emissions globally. In fact, space is rapidly emerging as an important component of the global economy.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Fabian Willermain, Quentin Genard
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: A few weeks after the presentation by the European Commission of ‘Juncker Plan 2.0’, it is high time to look back at what has so far been achieved by the earlier version of the Juncker Plan – and how well it has worked for Belgium.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacqueline Breidlid, Cenni Najy
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: For those wishing to see the UK exit from the EU, Switzerland has become a poster child, an example of how a country outside the EU can retain access to the EU’s internal market, thereby flourishing economically, and yet retaining its sovereignty and independence. But can a similar arrangement to that of Switzerland really provide a suitable alternative – a “Plan B” – for the UK’s relationship with the EU? With the referendum providing potential exit for the UK from the EU rapidly approaching, a Swiss-type plan B deserves some serious consideration. This paper examines the central claims made by those who see Switzerland as a model for the UK’s future relationship with the EU and argues that the Swiss model is no Holy Grail for the UK.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Ryan
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: A Monetary Union is one where there is a single fiat currency with a single monetary authority (a central bank). It also has a single interest and exchange rate, and a single legal entity responsible for issuing that currency across a geographic area. This combination of features required for a true monetary union suggests that many previous monetary unions, including the Latin Monetary Union (LMU) and the Scandinavian Monetary Union (SMU) were not proper monetary unions as such, while the Austro-Hungarian Monetary Union (AHMU) was and the Eurozone is.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sophie Heine
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This paper will address a rising issue within the EU – the increase of single parent families. Firstly, we will draw a general picture of the disadvantages faced by single parents and outline the possible causes of this phenomenon. Secondly, we will attempt to sketch possible alternative solutions that could inspire policymakers at the national and European levels. Both in our analysis and recommendations, we will put a particular emphasis on the dynamic role played by norms and representations.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sophie Heine
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: How can we reinforce internal security without destroying basic freedoms? This dilemma will become increasingly topical in the context of rising terrorist threats and in view of some of the responses already put in place at the national level. Many observers have pointed out the threat that these measures pose to individual freedom. But few have highlighted their relative inefficiency. Indeed, if the right to security is one of the founding reasons for political government and one of its main sources of legitimacy, can states still guarantee this basic right? This article examines this dilemma and focuses more specifically on its implications for the notion and practice of sovereignty. It also sketches a strong, but nuanced, rescue of sovereignty at the European level in order to assure individual security while, at the same time, protecting our freedoms.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Owen Barder, Petra Krylová
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world's richest countries on their policies that affect more than five billion people living in poorer nations. Moving beyond comparing how much foreign aid each country gives, the CDI quantifies a range of rich country policies that affect poor people.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Growing numbers of Central Asian citizens, male and female, are travelling to the Middle East to fight or otherwise support the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL or ISIS). Prompted in part by political marginalisation and bleak economic prospects that characterise their post-Soviet region, 2,000-4,000 have in the past three years turned their back on their secular states to seek a radical alternative. IS beckons not only to those who seek combat experience, but also to those who envision a more devout, purposeful, fundamentalist religious life. This presents a complex problem to the governments of Central Asia. They are tempted to exploit the phenomenon to crack down on dissent. The more promising solution, however, requires addressing multiple political and administrative failures, revising discriminatory laws and policies, implementing outreach programs for both men and women and creating jobs at home for disadvantaged youths, as well as ensuring better coordination between security services.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Brenda Shaffer
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In last week's State of the Union Address, President Obama threatened to veto new legislation affecting five issues, four of them in the domestic policy arena and just one covering foreign policy. The foreign policy issue in question involved the prospect of new sanctions legislation targeting Iran. Correspondingly, the administration has recently ramped up efforts to conclude a nuclear deal with Iran.
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Andrew J. Tabler
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Washington's nascent policy of "uncoordinated deconfliction" with Bashar al-Assad's regime in the fight against the "Islamic State"/ISIS may not be a formal alliance, but it does have the potential to foster serious problems. The regime's tacit agreement to avoid firing on coalition strike aircraft -- juxtaposed with long delays in the Obama administration's train-and-equip program for the Syrian opposition and the president's October 2014 letter to Iran's Supreme Leader on cooperation against ISIS -- is creating widespread perceptions that the United States is heading into a de facto alliance with Assad and Tehran regarding the jihadists. If Washington continues this policy as is, it will merely contain ISIS, not "defeat" or "destroy" the group as called for by President Obama. Worse, it could lead to a deadly extremist stalemate in Syria between Iranian-backed/Hezbollah forces and jihadists, amplifying threats to U.S. national security interests.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Syria
  • Author: Anna Borshchevskaya
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After two rounds of peace talks in Geneva failed to resolve the Syrian crisis, Moscow proposed in December 2014 its own peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition. Earlier this month, Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov confirmed that the talks would take place January 26-29, according to Russian press reports. Bogdanov has described the talks as "consultative" and "preparatory," without any preconditions or set agenda. They could, he said, lead to more concrete discussions. Although the United States is not participating in the Moscow talks, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry expressed hope on January 14 in Geneva that they "could be helpful."
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Moscow
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 18, six senior members of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah and a commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed while visiting Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights, reportedly by an Israeli missile. The attack came just days after Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah threatened to deploy troops across the border into the Galilee in retaliation for repeated Israeli strikes against militia targets in Syria. In the past, the audacious timing and resultant high-profile casualties would have prompted significant and unambiguous Hezbollah military retribution. While the group may eventually retaliate -- anonymous Hezbollah officials in Lebanon say it is "inevitable" -- its ongoing military operations in Syria and the evolving sectarian dynamic in Lebanon may constrain its actions. The pressure to respond is great, but the last thing Hezbollah needs right now is an escalation with Israel that devolves to war.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: David Pollock, Robert Satloff, Andrew J. Tabler, James F. Jeffrey
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In last night's State of the Union speech, President Obama had the opportunity to educate the American people on the unique challenges posed by the "Islamic State"/ISIS, as well as the tough choices the United States and others will have to make as they deal with this phenomenon. Instead, he cited the issue only in passing, reiterating his "degrade and ultimately destroy" commitment without giving any idea what the next steps are beyond mentioning the increasingly risible effort to arm a Syrian opposition on slow simmer (see PolicyWatch 2357, "Train and Equip Not Enough for U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebels"), and the passing of a Congressional resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIS. This was in contrast to the extensive airtime he dedicated to touting his initiative on Cuba, which -- regardless of one's views on that decision -- is an almost irrelevant issue given the various crises occurring around the globe.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ed Stafford
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In all the discussions about Turkey not being particularly supportive to the coalition fighting the "Islamic State"/ISIS, little has been said about the military's role in shaping the government's policy. In part this reflects the ruling Justice and Development Party's diminution of the military's role in policy formulation since 2002, and the ascendancy of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) for the implementation of Syria policy. But there are other reasons for the military's reluctance to combat ISIS, some of which have existed for decades and are more deeply rooted than the recent resentment over political emasculation of the military leadership. These views are also common among the politically active class beyond the AKP ruling elites.
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Scott A. Vickery
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria have had clear benefits, but a broader campaign involving more intelligence and targeting assistance on the ground is required to reap the full strategic benefits of turning back ISIS.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although the prospect of the ICC actually prosecuting Israeli officials is uncertain at best, the PA has torpedoed any chances for near-term diplomacy merely by opening that door, and perhaps invited U.S. financial countermeasures as well.
  • Political Geography: United States, Palestine
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Phillip Smyth
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although Iran's proxies are fighting ISIS in parallel with the U.S.-led effort, their actions and radical Shiite agendas are diametrically opposed to the goal of building inclusive governments and societies in Iraq and Syria.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: 'Local Needs Policing' is the hallmark of the Sierra Leone Police community policing model. This DIIS Policy Brief lays out ten key observations that may be helpful when police reform is established elsewhere in the Global South.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Crime, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Islamic State has been moving aggressively to exploit the chaos of Libya since last summer, with profound risks for the Mediterranean region and beyond Libya is a perfect breeding ground for an expanded Islamic State, with large amounts of heavy weaponry, systemic lawlessness, a divided population, and sustained armed conflict The group has formed three active and capable groups in Libya-in Tripoli, Fezzan, and Barqa-all of which have conducted deadly attacks in recent months The phenomenon of Islamic State affiliates-beginning in the summer of 2014, before which the group was entirely focused on Iraq and Syria-is actually in the tradition of its arch-rival al-Qaeda the presence and power of the Islamic State in Libya will likely increase as conditions in Syria and Iraq deteriorate for the group, and conditions in Libya continue to worsen.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Libya, Syria
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: King Salman has confirmed his reputation as a religious conservative through the reappointment of traditionalist clerics However he has also made some effort to streamline the Saudi government Recent changes have given considerable power to two men from the next generation: King Salman's son and his nephew The result may be good for hard security measures, but less certain for the soft measures necessary for Saudi Arabia to weather the storm.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Islam, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Islamic State's murder of Jordanian hostage Lt Moaz al-Kasasbeh was both a message to the group's fighters that it can counter the coalition's relentless airstrikes as well as an offensive move designed to provoke a high-profile overreaction The air campaign against the Islamic State has been relentless while at the same time has receded from the headlines-a double blow to the group in that it suffers the losses but doesn't benefit from the attendant spectacle The drawn-out 'negotiations' over this past month-while the hostage was already dead-were likely intended to sow division and tension in Jordan, and draw attention to the issue as long as possible before the gruesome finale While Jordan is understandably enraged and will have to strike back, the most effective response might be an escalation that continues to kill the group's fighters away from the headlines.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Like a page out of the 2004 extremist manifesto "Management of Savagery," the Islamic State has tried to goad the international community into near-sighted reactions without long-term approaches by highlighting the barbarity of its executions of hostages This tactic has thus far failed to ignite the overreaction (outside of press reporting) of Western powers, leaving the group without an important recruitment and incitement tool The Islamic State needs consistent replenishment of fear to overcome its inherently terrible local governance, and so it depends on shocking savagery to serve as both its recruitment magnet and opposition suppression As the group encounters less and less Westerners, given the danger of their presence in the region, it will find increasingly fewer ways to incite the 'us-versus-them' battle it needs to survive.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: While the threat of an immediate escalation between Israel and Hizballah appears to have subsided after deadly tit-for-tat attacks, the trend lines suggest greater conflict ahead In an important and ominous speech on January 30, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah created, in effect, one long front against Israel that now includes Syria and the Golan Heights as well as Lebanon, increasing the potential for conflict with Israel Iran is no longer moving in the shadows but rather is openly coordinating strategy with its proxy Hizballah as the two seek to strengthen and expand 'the resistance' against Israel All parties involved have specific reasons to avoid a near-term conflict-the upcoming Israeli elections, ongoing Iranian nuclear negotiations, Hizballah's commitments in Syria-but shifting regional power dynamics will only increase the likelihood of serious fighting between them.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The still-unresolved hostage situation involving Jordan, Japan, and the Islamic State is unlike any of the group's previous kidnappings Jordan is in a precarious position, as it seeks the release of one of its citizens-a national hero who comes from a prominent tribe-while not wanting to free one of the perpetrators of the worst terrorist attack in the country's history By demanding the release of failed suicide-bomber Sajida al-Rishawi from Jordanian custody, the Islamic State is trying to elevate itself to the status of negotiating nation-state, and weaken and embarrass a vital member of the coalition seeking its destruction In a striking difference with previous Islamic State hostage situations, current circumstances provide a chance for the group to bolster its standing in the vital Iraqi province of al-Anbar-where al-Rishawi is from-and perhaps slightly lessen tribal pressure on the group The issue is causing tensions between the Iraqi-born leadership of the Islamic State, who want to make the exchange, and a small faction of primarily Saudi fighters, who want to execute the Jordanian pilot for bombing the group.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Japan, Middle East, Arab Countries, Jordan
  • Author: Jonathan Rynhold
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 23, Jonathan Rynhold and Elliott Abrams addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. Rynhold is a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), director of the Argov Center for the Study of Israel and the Jewish People, and author of the just-released book The Arab-Israel Conflict in American Political Culture (Cambridge University Press). Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and former deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Gilles de Kerchove, Jacob Bundsgaard, Maj. Gen. Doug Stone
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On the margins of the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), global leaders in efforts to rehabilitate radicalized fighters gathered at the Institute to share their insights into what works -- and what doesn't. On February 20, Gilles de Kerchove, Jacob Bundsgaard, Doug Stone, and Matthew Levitt addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. Kerchove is the European Union Counterterrorism Coordinator. Bundsgaard is Lord Mayor of Aarhus, Denmark, and a prominent player in the city's widely known jihadist rehabilitation program. Stone, a retired Marine major general, oversaw all theatre interrogation and detention in Iraq during the post- 2006 surge; he now works for the UN and helped develop the Rome Memorandum, the seminal best-practices compendium for rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist offenders. Levitt is the Fromer-Wexler Fellow and director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Denmark, Rome
  • Author: Robert Rabil
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 13, Robert Rabil addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. Dr. Rabil is a professor of Middle East studies in Florida Atlantic University's Department of Political Science and the Lifelong Learning Society (LLS) Distinguished Professor of Current Events. He is the author of Salafism in Lebanon (Georgetown University Press, October 2014). The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Lebanon, Florida
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli parties are placing a premium on capturing marginal votes within their blocs rather than competing across the left-right spectrum, and this status quo is working to Netanyahu's benefit. Israeli election polls have been fairly stagnant in the lead-up to the March 17 parliamentary vote, despite a plethora of campaign tactics to shake up the race. Some fluidity has been seen within the wider political blocs, but little if any between them. Socioeconomics, geography, and ethnicity have reinforced the current blocs, making wild swings unlikely. Typically, Israel's upper-middle-class, secular Ashkenazi (European origin) voters tend to focus on the high cost of living and concerns about the country's potential isolation in Europe, making them more likely to vote center-left. In contrast, Sephardic (Middle East origin) voters with more traditional and humble socioeconomic roots tend to focus on security threats and are therefore more likely to vote right. The clear segmentation of the political spectrum has led to a variety of mini-races rather than one overarching race.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Adeniyi Adejimi Osinowo
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The 5,000-nautical mile (nmi) coastline of the wider Gulf of Guinea offers seemingly idyllic conditions for shipping. It is host to numerous natural harbors and is largely devoid of chokepoints and extreme weather conditions. It is also rich in hydrocarbons, fish, and other resources. These attributes provide immense potential for maritime commerce, resource ex-traction, shipping, and development. Indeed, container traffic in West African ports has grown 14 percent annually since 1995, the fastest of any region in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its creation. As the successor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), it has inherited a wide scope of trade issues to address. An ambitious agenda along with a lack of consensus, mainly between the developed and developing states, are the main reasons for a stalemate in negotiations within the flagship initiative, The Doha Round. The ineffectiveness of the talks has pushed numerous countries to seek regional cooperation, which further hampers multilateral negotiations. In this situation, it is high time to rethink the future shape of the WTO and its role in the world economy.
  • Author: Ali Jalali
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's presidential election was resolved in a U.S.-brokered deal that created a national unity government (NUG). New president Ashraf Ghani, by decree, created the post of chief executive officer (CEO), filled by Abdullah Abdullah. This has resulted in a power-sharing arrangement between two teams, the legal parameters of which will not be decided for another two years. In addition to its internal tensions, the NUG faces a challenging political, security, and economic situation in the country at large—one that threatens to be exacerbated as international assistance and U.S. military forces draw down. The formation of the NUG, however, also presents an opportunity for Afghanistan's leaders to redefine the role of government and institute reforms that can strengthen public support and improve the chances of obtaining further international assistance. To take advantage of these opportunities, leaders in the NUG could make a serious unified commitment to reforms and fully integrate the governing body both politically and professionally, despite the power-sharing arrangement that has been created.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Amy Calfas
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Women’s civic engagement during the 2014 elections reached an all-time high, with women voters constituting 37.6 percent of all votes and three hundred female candidates running for provincial council posts. Women’s political participation has been supported by the national constitution’s quota system but may be threatened by new constitutional reforms or a failure to nominate a significant number of female ministerial candidates. The new national unity government must affirm its commitment to implementing the Elimination of Violence Against Women law while increasing the availability of legal recourse and protections from harassment and violence. Still severely underrepresented in the security sector and judicial system, women can be supported with increased funding from the National Defense Authorization Act, gender- based violence trainings, and better facilities for female employees.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Justin Finkelstein
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: As improbable as it may sound, over the past decade or so about half of Israelis and Palestinians have been willing to accept something akin to the two-state solution (as described in the box below) to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even amidst the mayhem and turmoil in the Israeli-Palestinian arena over the past several months, polls have continued to show that there is no other solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on which Israeli and Palestinian public opinion converge to such a large degree.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Shibley Telhami
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The Arab-Israeli peace process is a broad subject; therefore, this paper will briefly touch on some of the major peace agreements and negotiations that have taken place. It should be noted that as of today—and based on public opinion polls that I have conducted—most Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs outside of the Palestinian territories believe that peace will never happen. This has resulted in a real problem, where people in the region no longer take the term “peace process” seriously. In order to understand how we got to this point, we need to look back at the history of the peace process on both the Israeli-Palestinian front and also on the Arab-Israeli front.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Liora Halperin
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: One of the key forces in shaping the history of Palestine was the Zionist movement. This movement emerged from and is rooted in political developments in Europe, but it changed and developed as it evolved from a political movement in Europe to a settlement and nation-building project in Palestine. Thus, we need to step outside the physical context of the Middle East to understand a force that ultimately changed the Middle East.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Tami Davis Biddle, Robert M. Citino
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The resort to war signals the failure of far more satisfactory means of settling human conflicts. It forces us to face and wrestle with the darkest corners of the human psyche. It signals the coming of trauma and suffering—often intense and prolonged—for individuals, families and societies. War-fighting concentrates power in non-democratic ways, infringes upon civil liberties, and convulses political, economic, and social systems. From the wreckage—the broken bodies, the re-drawn boundaries, the imperfect treaties, the fresh resentments and the intensified old ones—altered political and social patterns and institutions emerge that may help to prevent future conflicts, or sow the seeds of new ones. All of this creates a difficult, complicated, and fraught historical landscape to traverse.
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: <p>On February 3, 2015, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and The Franklin Institute presented a symposium, entitled, rather hyperbolically, 21st Century Technology: New Beginning, or Terrible End. The sessions addressed issues of particular interest to millennials, as well as the future of the Internet, genetics in medicine, energy and climate change, space exploration (with special guest speaker, Col. Buzz Aldrin), and transformations of healthcare by big data. Council President Craig Snyder challenged both panelists and the audience to think broadly about both the promises of technology, which, he explained, are exemplified by his childhood experiences of the Apollo Moon landings and Star Trek, but also about the dystopian visions of the Terminator movies and other works of science fiction that explore the Faustian vision of the defeat of humankind at the hands (or robotic claws) of its own inventions. The following essay is my response to this challenge, as well as responses to the questions posed by Mr. Snyder about Internet technology and its future./p
  • Author: Mohammed S. Dajani, Zainab al-Suwaij
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 25, Mohammed Dajani and Zainab al-Suwaij addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. Dajani is the Institute's Weston Fellow and founder of al-Wasatia, a moderate Islamic movement in Palestine. Suwaij is cofounder and executive director of the American Islamic Congress (AIC). The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Political Geography: America, Palestine
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The coalition effort to rebuild and retrain the Iraqi security forces (ISF) will have better odds of success if American advisors urge their counterparts to incorporate lessons from other Arab armies that have experienced defeat, learned from their failures, and eventually prevailed against their enemies. These armies -- Egypt in the 1973 war with Israel, Iraq in the latter phases of its 1980-1988 war with Iran, and even hybrid actors such as the "Islamic State"/ISIS -- succeeded by developing workarounds for persistent shortcomings exhibited by conventional Arab armies, and by adapting foreign concepts and practices to their specific needs.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Knights, Phillip Smyth, P.J. Dermer
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 6, 2015, Michael Knights, Phillip Smyth, and P.J. Dermer addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. Knights is an Institute Lafer Fellow and author of the Institute study The Long Haul: Rebooting U.S. Security Cooperation in Iraq. Smyth is a researcher at the University of Maryland and author of the Institute study The Shiite Jihad in Syria and Its Regional Effects. Dermer is a retired U.S. Army colonel who served multiple tours in the Middle East, including two in Iraq. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Andrew Engel
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Earlier this month, Aref Ali Nayed -- Libya's ambassador to the UAE and former lead coordinator of the Libya Stabilization Team -- visited Washington to address the "Islamic State"/ISIS presence in his country. In his view, the group is rapidly expanding and may threaten Europe, though the U.S. government assessment is less certain -- some American intelligence officials believe Nayed may be overstating his case, but U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones asked in a February 4 tweet whether "a divided Libya" can withstand ISIS. Indeed, the group has dramatically increased its physical and media presence in Libya since the Islamic Youth Shura Council (IYSC) of Darnah pledged allegiance to it last October, after which ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recognized the Libyan "provinces" of Barqa (Cyrenaica), Tripolitania, and Fezzan as belonging to his self-styled "caliphate." At the same time, the group's supporters online have been aggressively recruiting while making the case for ISIS expansion in Libya and a new strategy in North Africa.
  • Political Geography: United States, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Lori Plotkin Boghardt
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: New allegations by an al-Qaeda prisoner in the United States have revived questions about official Saudi support for 9/11, while at home the kingdom has been re-arresting former al-Qaeda convicts in a new war on terror.
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Louis Brennan
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: As the motives driving China’s outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) have expanded from resource - seeking to asset - and market - seeking, Chinese FDI in Europe has grown rapidly. Although Europe, with its advanced technologies and know - how, brands and sophisticated markets, represents an attractive destination for asset - seeking and market - seeking Chinese FDI, it has also posed challenges for Chinese investors. They arise for a number of reasons: the divergent characteristics of the host region, home country liability of origin, as well as China’s OFDI regulation and the capabilities of the investing enterprises.
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Sophie Nappert
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In her Perspective, Lise Johnson takes a strong stance in favor of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (“Rules”). The Rules apply in UNCITRAL proceedings, and may be adopted in non-UNCITRAL proceedings, under future investment treaties. Since coming into force in April 2014, the Rules have been welcomed as a ground-breaking, positive development.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Author: Axel Berger, Lauge N. kovgaard Poulsen
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The prospect of including investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) into the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has produced a polarizing debate in the Europe an Union (EU). Critics have argued that this adjudication mechanism is unnecessary in TTIP as United States (US) investors can expect fair treatment in EU courts and vice versa.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Ilan Strauss, Ralf Krüger
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Over the last decade Africa has attracted an increasing share of global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. China and other emerging markets are usually highlighted as important sources of this increase — and they are. However, perhaps the most significant contributor has been Africa itself.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Steven Globerman
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The growth of outward foreign direct investment (OFDI), particularly from China, has generated substantial controversy about whether government - controlled or state - influenced foreign investors should be treated differently than other foreign investors by host country governments. Indeed, several developed country governments impose special review procedures on OFDI undertaken by state - owned enterprises (SOEs). For example, in 2012 the Canadian government announced that takeovers of domestic companies by foreign SOEs would face “strengthened scrutiny,” permitting them only in “exceptional circumstances.”
  • Author: Marijke Deleu
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) used to make international headlines for the conflict that has flared up repeatedly over the past 20 years. When the M23 rebel group was defeated in November 2013, there seemed to be a shift away from these repeated cycles of violence. The country appeared to be turning a corner into a post-conflict phase. However, new research presented in this briefing paper shows that citizens continue to experience widespread exploitation. In many areas they are still vulnerable to brutal violence from armed groups and in some cases from government, including the police, army and local officials. The challenge - how to consolidate the authority of the state, in a way that serves its people and ensures a lasting peace - remains a huge but vital priority.
  • Author: Ben Murphy, Scott Paul, Anne-Marie Schryer-Roy, Ed Pomfret
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Every year, the Somali diaspora sends home approximately $1.3bn. Remittances account for 25–45 percent of Somalia's economy and exceed the amount it receives in humanitarian aid, development aid and foreign direct investment combined. As Somali money transfer operators lose their bank accounts, Somali families are losing their only formal or transparent channel through which to send money. Somalia needs long-term support to build sustainable financial institutions, and urgent help to maintain its current remittance flows. This briefing reviews international efforts to facilitate remittances to Somalia and focuses on the US and the UK, where the threat to the Somali remittance system is most acute. It also looks at the uncertain future viability of the Somali remittance industry in Australia.
  • Political Geography: Somalia
  • Author: Jessica Hamer, Maria Dolores Bernabe, Mark Fried
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Asia is at a Crossroads. Rising inequality poses a dire threat to continued prosperity in Asia, where an estimated 500 million people remain trapped in extreme poverty, most of them women and girls. The huge gap between rich and poor hinders economic growth, undermines democratic institutions and can trigger conflict. If Asia's policymakers hold tight to yesterday's truths, hoping against hope that growth and prosperity will trickle down to all, they will put everyone's welfare at risk. But if there are courageous leaders, willing to tackle inequality head-on, they can ensure inclusive and sustainable development for all of Asia's people. Oxfam is calling on Asia's governments to make a determined effort to combat discrimination and improve policies on taxation and social spending. This is needed now if the region is to secure a stable and prosperous future.
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Ellen T. Hoen
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: According to the World Health Organization, cancer is one of the leading causes of death around the world, with 8.2 million deaths in 2012. More than 60 percent of the world's new cases of cancer occur in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America and these regions account for 70 percent of the world's cancer deaths. In low- and middle-income countries, expensive treatments for cancer are not widely available. Unsustainable cancer medication pricing has increasingly become a global issue, creating access challenges in low-and middle-income but also high-income countries. This report describes recent developments within the pricing of medicines for the treatment of cancer, discusses what lessons can be drawn from HIV/AIDS treatment scale-up and makes recommendations to help increase access to treatment for people with cancer.
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Asia
  • Author: Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The traditional cornerstones of the popularity of the Putin regime – stability, growing prosperity, the increased status of Russia in international affairs – seem to be rapidly eroding, which has led many observers to predict major changes in Russia in the near future. However, there are significant structural issues – alongside the mechanisms of 'political technology' and the outright oppression of dissent – that support and maintain the Putin regime, regardless of its malfunctioning and undisputed failings. Even in the unlikely event of Putin suddenly disappearing from the political scene, significant hurdles remain for the restructuring of the Russian economy and political system. No major modernisation or reform mode is to be expected. The EU and Finland should base their policies on a realistic assessment of Russia's long-term trajectory. There are unlikely to be any shortcuts to success, and no western policy is likely to produce positive results in the short term. What is needed now is a long-term perspective and principled policies, while acknowledging that only the Russians can change Russia's political direction.
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Katja Creutz
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Targeted sanctions are political acts that infringe upon the enjoyment of fundamental rights by designated individuals and entities, especially the rights of defence and the right to an effective remedy. Increasing international attention has therefore been paid to the legal implications of targeted sanctions. Targeted sanctions must meet basic standards of fair and clear procedures not only to guarantee the rights of individuals, but also in order to be a credible and effective foreign policy tool. To date, concerns over fair treatment have been addressed in a fragmented and piecemeal way. Judicial review before European courts has provided an important incentive for change, especially for the creation of the office of the UN Ombudsperson. A holistic approach should be developed, which not only emphasizes retrospective review of sanctions, but would also address concerns in the initial phase of their adoption. Increased attention should be paid to the use of confidential information and the right of designated individuals to receive information. Efforts to strengthen legality aspects in the use of targeted sanctions must take account of the circumstances in which these measures are taken. Concerns for international peace and security, and especially for the authority of the Security Council, must be balanced against the protection of fundamental rights.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The new EU leadership has restructured the way the European Commission manages its external relations. The High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, was formally put in charge of coordinating the work of the Commissioners' Group on External Action and relocated her offices to the Commission building. Under the new approach, the Commission aims to be more closely involved in the preparation of Foreign Affairs Council meetings. Regular meetings of external action Commissioners are supposed to foster a common position, as well as increase the Commission input on sectoral policies and instruments ahead of ministerial meetings. In the face of the gravitational shift towards the Commission, it is in the interests of member states to ensure that the EEAS remains, despite all its teething troubles, the political hub of EU external relations, and to invest in its development accordingly. An in-depth examination of the externally relevant policies within the remit of the Commission reveals that, across all issues, EU foreign policy can improve by a joint approach combining the political perspective of the EEAS with the sectoral expertise of the Commission.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi, Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Mika Aaltola, Kristi Raik
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: New turbulence in the international environment is pushing Estonia and Finland closer together in the foreign and security policy domain. The Ukraine crisis has re-introduced old geopolitical constraints and concerns about national security and sovereignty, limiting the room for manoeuvre for small states. Estonia and Finland took similar positions on many key issues regarding the Ukraine crisis. The common ground is based on both countries' attachment to the liberal world order and Western structures. However, there are deep-rooted differences between the Estonian and Finnish positions on the way to handle Russia and the need to adjust security arrangements, notably the role of NATO in the Nordic-Baltic region. It is common in Finland to see Estonia's approach as unhelpfully hawkish, and common in Estonia to see Finland's approach as too accommodating towards Russia. Shared interests stem from an understanding that the weakening of the security of one country inevitably weakens the security of the other. As both countries are investing more in national security and defence, relevant bilateral cooperation is increasing.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Finland, Estonia
  • Author: Teemu Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The ISIL surge has inspired a new generation of jihadist terrorists. The large number of foreign volunteers in Syria may cause a global terrorism blowback when ISIL is defeated in Syria/Iraq. This underlines the need for common goals and policies regarding the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon. The EU has not been able to take a decisive role regarding the Syrian conflict and foreign terrorist fighters, but it can still play an important role in coordinating the responses of the member states. The EU could take a role in establishing common guidelines for social media regarding extremist material and agitation for violence. Finding common ground with Turkey on information gathering and sharing would be essential in preventing the travel-for-terrorism cause. Countries bordering Syria and Iraq are in danger of ISIL spill-over effects in the form of potential affiliates and organizations emulating the rebel group. Egypt and Libya are also likely to become breeding grounds for such groups.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Libya, Syria, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: It has been 348 days since Russia moved into Crimea, kicking off an increasingly serious threat not just to the Ukrainian people but to wider European stability In the nearly one year since the armed fighting began, Russian President Vladimir Putin has pushed aside assumed psychological barriers of behavior that the EU and NATO had hoped would bolster their decreased military deterrent towards armed aggression A meeting this Wednesday between Russia and its armed proxy Ukrainian separatists, Germany, France, and Ukraine shows how serious the crisis has become, with real concerns as to what happens when talks can\'t stop the shooting Russia will insist any agreement make official the rebel gains of the last year, which would then mark the second time European borders have been remade by force in this conflict, since Russia has demonstrated it will escalate more so than the EU or NATO.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Matthias Busse, Mikkel Barslund, Joscha Schwarzwälder
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The right of free movement of persons is a cornerstone of the European Union and, according to a Eurobarometer survey, one of the most popular accomplishments of the EU. Since its establishment this right has been steadily built upon and expanded, in particular with respect to mobile EU workers. Barriers to (labour) mobility have been substantially reduced as part of creating the single market and also as a means to achieve the EU2020 goals of smart and inclusive growth. And yet the prevailing view in academic circles and among policy-makers is that intra-EU labour mobility is too low; too low to support the single labour market as anything but a notion and too low to play anything other than a modest role in helping to rebalance the eurozone after the crisis.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The recent crises have shown that the eurozone countries' government debt is not immune to default. Applying a large-exposure requirement also to eurozone government debt would be a logical measure towards breaking the bank-government doom loop, given the low probability and high loss-given government default. But what would be the impact of the application of the large-exposure requirement on the banking sector as well as on government funding? This CEPS Policy Brief presents the results of a simulation exercise performed for 109 systemic banks in the eurozone, showing that their eurozone government debt portfolios would have to decrease by 3.2% or €63 billion, if a 50% of own-funds cap would be applied on large exposures. The eurozone central banks' demand for sovereign bonds under the extended asset purchase programme further creates momentum to start gradually implementing the restriction.
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Prospects for an inclusive national dialogue President Omar al-Bashir promised in January 2014 are fading, making a soft-landing end to Sudan's crises more doubtful. Sceptics who warned that the ruling party was unwilling and unable to make needed concessions have been vindicated. Peacemaking in Darfur and the Two Areas (Blue Nile and South Kordofan) and potential merging of these negotiations with the national dialogue were dealt a blow with suspension of African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP)-mediated “parallel” talks in Addis Ababa in December. A separate German-backed initiative has elicited a more unified and constructive approach from the armed and unarmed opposition, but no breakthrough yet. The government still holds many cards – including formidable means of coercion – and has little sympathy for the increasingly unified demand of the armed and political opposition for a really inclusive process and true power sharing. Unless both sides give ground, a continuation of intense war and humanitarian crises is inevitable.
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Skylar Brooks, Martin Guzman
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Much analysis of sovereign debt restructuring focuses on distributional conflict between sovereign debtors and their creditors. There is also an analytical tendency to see creditors as a relatively homogenous group with like interests. In reality, however, there is considerable diversity among creditors. Different types of creditors have different political and financial claims and thus different — at times, divergent or conflictive — interests. This means that the burden- sharing exercise of sovereign debt restructuring is played out not just between debtors and creditors, but also, importantly, between different types of creditors.
  • Author: Richard Gitlin, Brett House
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 68/304 “Towards the establishment of a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring processes” (UN 2014), passed by a split vote on September 9, 2014, expressed the will of many member states to move toward the development of a multilateral framework for sovereign debt restructuring. Coming a little over a decade after the rejection of the IMF's Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism (SDRM) proposal (Krueger 2001) in 2003, this UNGA resolution represents a substantial renewal of interest in statutory- and treaty-based approaches to treating distressed sovereign debt.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Author: Jennifer Spence
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In April 2015, Canada will hand the chairmanship of the Arctic Council to the United States. As the chair, the United States will have an opportunity to shape the priorities of the Arctic Council for the next two years and communicate its vision for the future of the circumpolar region. In anticipation of acquiring this leadership role, the United States first provided a sense of its vision for the chairmanship on September 30, 2014 in Washington, DC, during the Passing the Arctic Council Torch conference supported by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Canada
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Yemen is at war. The country is now divided between the Huthi movement, which controls the north and is rapidly advancing south, and the anti-Huthi coalition backed by Western and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies that President Abdo Robo Mansour Hadi is cobbling together. On 25 March, the Huthis captured a strategic military base north of the port city of Aden and took the defence minister hostage. That evening Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign, in coordination with nine other, mostly Arab states, to stop the Huthi advance and restore his government. Hadi left for Riyadh and will attend an Arab League summit on 28 March. No major party seems truly to want to halt what threatens to become a regional war. The slim chance to salvage a political process requires that regional actors immediately cease military action and help the domestic parties agree on a broadly acceptable president or presidential council. Only then can Yemenis return to the political negotiating table to address other outstanding issues.
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Saudi Arabia
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Iran and the P5+1 countries are expected to issue a joint statement today that outlines most aspects of a comprehensive nuclear deal, but defers some still thorny issues to further talks A key remaining sticking point is Iran's demand for immediate and comprehensive lifting of sanctions, which the P5+1 cannot accept The United States is attempting to reassure nervous regional partners, such as Israel and Arab Gulf states, that the U.S. is not making too many concessions for the sake of a deal U.S. allies in the region are concerned that lifting sanctions, even if done gradually, will enable Iran to provide even more military and financial aid to the Assad regime in Syria, Shi'a militias in Iraq, and the Houthi movement in Yemen.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Yemen, Syria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The seizure of Idlib, Syria on March 27 by a newly formed coalition led by al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate makes it ever clearer that the conflict in Syria has devolved into two camps: extremist followers of the violent ideology of bin Ladinism and supporters of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad The rebel coalition, led by al-Nusra Front with its effective fighting force and recently seized advanced weaponry and Jaysh al-Fatah, a group divided amongst itself between various shades of Islamist factions that include groups like Ahrar al-Sham, accomplished in several days what rebel groups had been unable to do for four years: take effective control of the provincial capital of Idlib The loss of Idlib is a significant setback for the Assad regime, which conceded the provincial capital of Raqqa in 2013 to the Islamic State; with the regime in Damascus, there are now three extremist capitals in one broken country As success begets success, al-Nusra will attract more groups and supporters who believe it is the only realistic chance of toppling Assad, rallying more to its extremist ranks even if only out of necessity.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: There hasn't been a lasting and successful end to an armed conflict in the Middle East in decades, and the newest fighting in Yemen can be seen through a lens of deep regional frustration over countless issues that seem to defy solutions The entire region is frustrated with the worsening status quo, but the consensus and creativity to meaningfully address the challenges is lacking, even with the newly announced Arab 'rapid response force' to an extremist problem that has been openly growing for a decade The only actors not frustrated are non-state actors, who fill the ever-widening chasm between what regional governments can deliver and what their populations demand.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Algeria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The crisis in Yemen is primarily a Yemeni one, with legitimate internal issues and dysfunction that will not be improved by turning the crisis into a regional sectarian fight Once the genie of sectarian war is out of the bottle in Yemen, it will be impossible to put back, as seen in Iraq and Syria; the result will be years of conflict that could have been avoided by addressing the conflict as a local one As acknowledged by the U.S. State Department, Saudi Arabia does have legitimate concerns about what happens with its southern neighbor; however, treating the crisis as a primarily sectarian issue will likely be counterproductive The rhetoric on all sides and in their respective social media echo chambers is increasingly sectarian, escalating the conflict to the point where only Sunni extremists and Shi'a hardliners benefit and the people of Yemen suffer.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Syria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Outside of its own borders, Iran now has significant proxy presence and influence in four countries encompassing 1.1 million square kilometers and 82 million people, in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon It has done this by leveraging tactical decisions made by other countries into its own strategic expansion; from Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and now Yemen, Iran is taking advantage of the short-term actions of others in its long-term plan The complete collapse of the U.S.-aided Yemeni president and the associated counterterrorism and military support is just the latest example of measures intended to address immediate pressures, which ultimately benefit Iran-all while U.S. airstrikes support Iraqi and Iranian militias in Tikrit against the immediate threat of the Islamic State It's not that Iranian leaders are all-knowing, masterful chess players but rather that the Middle East has for decades been a battlefield of ad hoc stability measures by numerous countries that have enabled Iran to steadily project power, to the extreme concern of countries such as Saudi Arabia, which has now launched airstrikes in Yemen.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Syria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Islamic State and al-Qaeda have more in common than sets them apart, as both groups embrace 'bin Ladinism' even as their leaderships differ on tactics and priorities As the fortunes of the two groups wax and wane, their shared characteristics are likely to become more pronounced and their rivalries less so For the moment, the competition between them weakens their appeal and blunts their impact; any trend towards reconciliation or partnership could magnify the threat they pose across the Arab world.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: A second agreement in Minsk on 12 February produced a ceasefire that for now is mostly holding and measures to de-escalate the conflict. Many officials locally and in Kyiv, Moscow and the West, nevertheless, believe war could resume in Ukraine's east within weeks. If it does, much will depend on the quality of top commanders on both sides. Ukraine's army is enmeshed in a command crisis the country's leaders seem unwilling to admit or address. For the separatist rebels, the command and control Moscow provides could give them the advantage in any new fighting. Meanwhile, President Petro Poroshenko faces criticism from his Western allies about the slow pace of reform, opposition from the political establishment as he tries to pass legislation required by the Minsk agreement and a steady stream of complaints from Donetsk and Moscow that the measures do not go far enough.
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The horrific suicide bombings at Sana'a mosques, which killed at least 137 people, are the worst such attacks in 20 years and an omen of sectarian conflict that the beleaguered country has so far avoided With worsening sectarian violence, terrible governance, terrorist groups on the rise, meddling regional powers, and a tribal population awash with weapons but little else, Yemen resembles post-2009 Iraq, with significant differences but troubling similarities The Iraqification of Yemen will be a disaster for that country and an international community that is already unable to deal with Syria, Iraq, Libya, and other failing states The Houthi advance into the central town of Taiz, after calling for a general mobilization against the supporters of deposed/exiled president Hadi, and the fighting in Aden show the situation is escalating and could easily follow the path of Iraq, as more sectarian violence and regional demands tear the country apart.
  • Topic: Governance
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Yemen, Syria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: As the tragedy in Tunis shows, the realities of the new terror spectacular of low-scale attacks with large-scale reactions-carried out by malevolent actors driven by motivation as much as affiliation-have pushed away the responsibility of effective counterterrorism from national agencies down to local police and security The age of large-scale international intervention into conflict areas has passed for the moment and the battlefield is shifting back from war zones to disaffected neighborhoods-forcing intelligence agencies to work extremely closely with local police to disrupt known wolves of terror instead of documenting their crimes after the fact While the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Bardo Museum attack, it's not as clear-cut as that, with family and social ties driving exposure to the ideology of bin Ladinism shared by AQIM and the Islamic State; and police are forced to look closely at smaller and more quickly radicalized networks instead of the organizational charts built with advanced analytical tools.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Libya
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The brazen terrorist attack in the heart of Tunis, at the Bardo National Museum, is the most serious attack to take place in Tunisia since 2002, and presents the tourism-dependent country with serious challenges in how to respond effectively and proportionately Such an attack was nearly inevitable, given the disproportionately large number of Tunisians who have traveled to fight with the Islamic State, as well as being squeezed in a vise of extremism with Libya to the east and Algeria to the west There have been no claims of responsibility but there is no shortage of plausible suspects, with both the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb active in the country There will likely be more attacks in Tunisia, though perhaps of a smaller but equally destabilizing nature, as the government increases pressure on networks, leaving the field open for Charlie Hebdo-styled attacks which are harder to disrupt given the smaller numbers of actors.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Libya, Syria, Tunisia
  • Author: Amy Hawthorne, Frances G. Burwell, Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: A new Atlantic Council report warns against the tendency of Europe and the United States to sideline political and economic reform in the Middle East while they pursue urgent security priorities in this turbulent region. Instead, the transatlantic partners should forge a shared strategy to encourage political systems that can protect Arab citizens' basic rights, provide security, deliver broad prosperity, and mitigate violent extremism.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Danya Greenfield, Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: To cling to current short-sighted policies and to help sustain dysfunctional states in the Middle East for the sake of short-term security would condemn the region to poverty and further instability, which threaten to have negative consequences for US interests.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Bilal Y. Saab, Michael S. Tyson
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In September 2014, Bilal Y. Saab, Resident Senior Fellow for Middle East Security at the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft on International Security, and Michael S. Tyson, Marine Corps Senior Fellow at the Scowcroft Center, predicted in a simulation exercise (for results, see "ISIS War Game: The Coming Stalemate") conducted at the Scowcroft Center's Middle East Peace and Security Initiative that the most likely scenario was a military stalemate. They also realized that such a stalemate was not stable. Since the conclusion of the first war game, ISIS's regional attacks have increased in scope, lethality, and level of sophistication, as evidenced by its military and terrorist operations in Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Lebanon.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Turkey will play a significant role in Syria's future, more so than any other neighbor, though the history between the two nations has been a troubled one Although Turkey's President Erdogan was at first keen to have good relations with Syria's President Assad, and succeeded in doing so, since 2011, they have gone sour Turkey is determined to influence the outcome of Syria's civil war, even if it finds no support from its allies The reappointment of Hakan Fidan to head the Turkish Intelligence Service may usher in a more active phase of Turkish involvement in the conflict.
  • Topic: Development, War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Syria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Iraqi security forces, which include more Shi'a militia than Iraqi army personnel, have retaken nearly all of Tikrit, with Islamic State fighters still holding out in the center of the city The tomb of former dictator Saddam Hussein was destroyed during the fighting; the Islamic State is placing the blame on Shi'a militia while the Iraqi government says Islamic State fighters were responsible It is unlikely that the destruction of the tomb will rally many Sunnis to the Islamic State's cause, though it doesn't help lower sectarian tensions; it will be far more destructive if sectarian fighting follows the fall of Tikrit and other towns The Islamic State will seek every opportunity to turn this conflict into a repeat of Saddam's 1980-1988 war on Iran, where the Iraqi Sunni battle the Shi'a of both countries; only if the Shi'a militia oblige the group by perpetrating atrocities and oppression towards the Sunni population they liberated will this be achievable.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The fourth anniversary of the start of the Syrian uprising has passed and the conflict sees no end in sight The humanitarian consequences of the conflict overwhelm the capacity of the international community to deal with them The involvement of malign non-state actors has complicated political options, both in the region and beyond Syria has become part of the counterterrorism agenda, and will likely be resolved in that context-however, any solution will take time.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Islamic State accepted Boko Haram\'s allegiance, or bay\'at, pledged to the Iraq and Syria-based extremist group over the weekend Given the recent military setbacks for Boko Haram and the Islamic State, and their increasing convergence, this development is unsurprising and a propaganda victory for both groups The alliance may spark an escalation of attacks in northeast Nigeria, as Boko Haram seeks to prove itself to the Islamic State The announcement may also internationalize Boko Haram\'s fight and draw jihadists to Nigeria from across the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The recent Islamic State video showing a young child apparently shooting and killing a captive is another tragic example of extremist groups not just preying on children but turning children into predators In creating what they call 'cubs of the caliphate' who become killers at a young age, the Islamic State is attempting to ensure its future regardless of territorial losses, by putting children on a path from which there is almost no return In January the group released a video showing another child shooting alleged Russian agents, with the same message that it is grooming the next generation of killers Potential Islamic State affiliate Boko Haram also uses young children to kill, forcing them to become suicide bombers to devastating effect; and the group has no shortage of victims given its propensity for kidnapping.
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Despite the vast resources of other states in the Middle East, the two powers that matter most are Iran and Turkey Iran is currently ascendant in the region and takes every opportunity to wield its influence Saudi Arabia is trying to build a Sunni alliance that might challenge Iran's dominance-even if it is not clear how Efforts to bring Turkey on board the Sunni alliance may founder on differing interests-not least Turkey's own ambitions.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The alleged death of Abu Humam al-Shami, military leader of the Qaeda-affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, provides an important look at the long arc of some senior al-Qaeda members As a group, al-Qaeda was greatly diminished and dispersed after 9/11 but many al-Qaeda figures like al-Shami, who shook the hand of Usama bin Ladin and then slipped through the cracks, are still continuing the fight they started years ago Across the region, there are apostles of bin Ladin teaching their lessons to groups such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and Jabhat al-Nusra, serving as both inspiration and instruction to newer fighters Because of the sustained presence of huge sanctuaries and conflict, there will unfortunately be another generation of Shami-type figures that will ensure the violence and hatred doesn't end with these current conflicts.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Iraq, Syria
  • Author: Terje Østebø, Wallelign Shemsedin
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The Intellectualist movement is one of the major Islamic reform movements in contemporary Ethiopia. Informal and decentralised in character, it has attracted young students, professionals and urban intellectuals. The movement was inspired to a great extent by the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood, which were critically contextualised and applied to the Ethiopian context. This has entailed avoiding the more political aspects of Brotherhood thinking while emphasising the positive role of Islamic virtues in the formation of individual and societal piety. The Intellectualists have further been formative for Ethiopian Muslims' thinking about secularism, democracy and constitutional rule, and have played a significant role in mediating between various religious actors in Ethiopia, as well as negotiating the position of Islam in relation to the political authorities. Of particular importance is the way in which the movement has served as a moderating force in a rapidly changing and fluid political and religious landscape. This demonstrates the inherent complexity of the trend commonly labelled as Islamism, and points to the need for nuanced and localised approaches when trying to understand this trend.
  • Political Geography: Ethiopia
  • Author: Wenche Hauge
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: In recent decades Haitian migration to the Dominican Republic has been unregulated. It has garnered more attention after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti caused a slight peak in cross-border migration. The ruling of the Dominican Republic's Constitutional Tribunal on September 23rd 2013, which effectively denationalised many Dominicans of Haitian ancestry, has increased this attention. However, a narrow focus has defined the debate in terms of human rights concerns versus the Dominican Republic's sovereignty. This policy brief shows why it is necessary to broaden the focus to include other aspects of the relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, such as asymmetrical trade relations and how they affect Haitian communities along the border between the two countries in particular. It also points out the importance of social representation, and how images that Dominican and Haitian populations have of each other are formed, and influence the situation of Haitian migrant workers and their families in the Dominican Republic. Finally, it argues that more attention should be paid to the role of local civil society in support of Haitian migrant workers in the Dominican Republic, because civil society has proven to be very active, using a multifaceted strategy in its work.