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  • Author: Amira Jadoon
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: In the years following its official formation in January 2015, the Islamic State Khorasan (ISK) has conducted some of the most devastating attacks in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, persisting in the face of U.S. airstrikes, Pakistani military operations, and clashes with the Afghan Taliban. But what exactly is ISK? What are the broader contours of ISK’s lethality, targets, and tactics in Afghanistan and Pakistan? More broadly, what explains ISK’s demonstrated ability to survive and thrive in the AfPak region, and what do its operational trends and alliances collectively tell us about its future trajectory?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amit Bhandari, Chaitanya Giri
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relation
  • Abstract: President Vladimir Putin is in India on a two-day state visit to India, his third trip to India during Prime Minister Modi’s term. A key agreement that has just been signed is the $5 billion deal for the S-400 air defence system. However, U.S. sanctions on Russia’s top defence manufacturers will be a hurdle in closing this agreement, making payments to Russia difficult and scaring away potential Indian partners, especially those with investments in the West. Gateway House looks at India’s options for successfully concluding this agreement without falling foul of American sanctions
  • Topic: International Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, India
  • Author: K N Vaidyanathan, Akshay Mathur
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relation
  • Abstract: The cross-border flow of payments, remittances, aid and investments is integral for globalisation. Ensuring transparency in such cross-border financial transactions is critical for the stability of the global financial system. A key goal for policy-makers has been the necessity to identify beneficial ownership in multi-country financial transactions to protect against money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion, which have besieged developed and developing countries alike. Existing global efforts on tracing Beneficial Ownership are insufficient since verification is limited to self-disclosures and by national regulations. What is needed is a global framework to enable data exchange, cross-referencing, tracing and analysis of data on crossborder financial transactions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Charlene Barshefsky, Evan G. Greenberg, Jon M. Huntsman Jr.
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific is home to over half of humanity and many of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies. Over the coming decades, no region of the world will do more to shape U.S. economic fortunes. More than ever before, American jobs and growth are tied to the Asia Pacific, and these opportunities are likely to grow. But the region is undergoing profound change. Today, mutually beneficial relations with the Asia Pacific are challenged by slowing growth, a rise in security tensions, and threats to the U.S.-led order. The rise of China is altering the Asia-Pacific landscape in profound ways and playing a critical role in the region’s prosperity and perceived stability. These economic and security shifts offer opportuni- ties for the United States to strengthen cooperation with emerging economies and reinforce part- nerships with established allies. But new policies are needed in what has become a more volatile environment. These policies must be grounded in the enduring interests of the United States and informed by the realities of a changing Asia Pacific. And just as economics is at the heart of Asia’s rise, so must economics be at the heart of an effective strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, a former Iranian judiciary chief who holds a prominent position in the Assembly of Experts, now has two paths to leadership of the Shiite community. The first is as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, now seventy-seven; the second is to eventually take the place of Najaf-based Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who at eighty-six is the preeminent religious authority in Shia Islam. A certain air of mystery surrounds Shahroudi, whose life has been chronicled heretofore only in a flattering pamphlet produced by his own office. But the trends in his philosophy are clear enough: on the religious front, he has grown more conservative; in matters of Iranian nationalism, a harder-line revolutionary. Author Mehdi Khalaji offers here the first comprehensive study of Ayatollah Shahroudi, encompassing his upbringing in holy Najaf, his move to Iran after the Islamic Revolution, his role as a stalwart in Khamenei's power base, and his brutal tenure as chief justice from 1999 to 2009. A scenario worth imagining, though hardly inevitable, is one in which Shahroudi consolidates power as both Supreme Leader and transnational marja, thereby reinforcing Iran's regional clout and its revolutionary orientation.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: OVER THE PAST YEAR, THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL TRADE LANDSCAPE HAS BEEN CHALLENGED AS NEVER BEFORE. A growing number of people around the world are questioning the value of trade agreements, holding them accountable for slow wage growth, rising inequalities, and job losses. Exemplified by Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, a wave of anti-globalization has washed over the world. Further, global trade is slowing, and existing trade agreements have not kept pace with the changing nature of trade itself, owing to the increasingly important role of digital and services trades. But trade has been one of the strongest drivers behind global growth and stability, particularly in Asia. In the past quarter century, the number of trade agreements in the region has increased dramati- cally. At the same time, Asian countries experienced average annual growth rates nearly 3 percent higher after liberalizing their markets.1 The region’s openness has been a critical ingredient in spurring growth, creating jobs, and lifting millions out of poverty. Trade has also helped nations develop stronger ties, giving them a greater stake in one another’s economic success and reducing the likelihood of conflict. What the French philosopher Montesquieu wrote during the eighteenth century remains as relevant in the twenty-first: “Peace is a natural effect of trade.” 2
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll, Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This report views the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces, PMF) as having played an intrinsic role in the provision of security in Iraq since the dramatic rise of the Islamic State (IS). However, through the lens of nationalism it analyses the negative role the PMF may play once IS is defeated. The report therefore presents suggestions to deal with the perceived threat of the PMF in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Haya Al Noaimi
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: The Great Game in West Asia examines the strategic competition between Iran and Turkey for power and influence in the South Caucasus. These neighboring Middle East powers have vied for supremacy and influence throughout the region and especially in their immediate vicinity, while contending with ethnic heterogeneity both within their own territories and across their borders. Turkey has long conceived of itself as not just a bridge between Asia and Europe but in more substantive terms as a central player in regional and global affairs. If somewhat more modest in its public statements, Iran’s parallel ambitions for strategic centrality and influence have only been masked by its own inarticulate foreign policy agendas and the repeated missteps of its revolutionary leaders. But both have sought to deepen their regional influence and power, and in the South Caucasus each has achieved a modicum of success. In fact, as the contributions to this volume demonstrate, as much of the world’s attention has been diverted to conflicts and flashpoints near and far, a new great game has been unravelling between Iran and Turkey in the South Caucasus
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: West Asia
  • Author: François Godement
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Chinese have long been obsessed with strategic culture, power balances and geopolitical shifts. Academic institutions, think-tanks, journals and web-based debates are growing in
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Eran Lerman
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Overshadowed by the Syrian tragedy, the collapse of the Libyan state had dangerous consequences for Mediterranean security. It also demonstrated the cost of a hastily organized intervention followed by disastrous neglect and the rise of Islamist forces. Still, its latest chapter – the successful campaign to eradicate IS in Sirte – proves that when carefully chosen, limited military means can achieve strategic goals: and in that basis, measures should be taken to satisfy General Hiftar and his Egyptian backers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Libya