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  • Author: Shaoyu Yuan
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Tensions in the South China Sea continue to rise. China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)’s Rear Admiral Lou Yuan, regarded as a hawkish military commentator, recently proclaimed that the continuing dispute over the ownership of the South China Sea could be resolved by sinking two US aircraft carriers. Statements like these result in a legitimate fear that China’s increasing presence in the South China Sea might spark a kinetic military conflict with the United States. However, while most Western scholars and media are paying excessive attention to the rise of China, few are contemplating China’s weaknesses in the region. Despite China’s constant verbal objections and rising tensions with the United States in the last century, the world has yet to witness any major military confrontation between the two superpowers. China will continue to avoid directly confronting the United States in the South China Sea for at least another decade because China’s military remains immature and defective.
  • Topic: Security, Power Politics, Territorial Disputes, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, South China, United States of America
  • Author: Yuriy Danyk, Chad Michael Briggs, Tamara Maliarchuk
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The conflict in Ukraine has received renewed attention in Washington D.C., and it is worth considering the relevance of this conflict to US national security interests. The open conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014 has been part of a larger hybrid war, including political and information warfare, cyber warfare, assassinations, promotion of corruption, and traditional (kinetic) warfare carried out by destructive geopolitical actors (DGAs) [1]. The conventional conflict cannot be taken out of context, and it is the less visible and “dark” aspects of hybrid warfare that should particularly worry the United States. Hybrid warfare consists of a wide spectrum of attacks, from conventional to covert, carried out to destabilize one’s opponent. Rather than being isolated incidents, cyber attacks often represent part of a wide spectrum of coordinated, offensive strategies against countries like Ukraine and the United States.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Cybersecurity, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Obert Hodzi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With a few exceptions, armed civil wars are no longer commonplace in Africa, but anti-government protests are. Instead of armed rebels, unarmed civilians are challenging regimes across Africa to reconsider their governance practices and deliver both political and economic change. In their responses, regimes in countries like Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Burundi have favored the combat mode—responding to dissent with military and repressive means. With few options, civilian movements look to the United States for protection and support while their governments look to China for reinforcement. If the United States seeks to reassert its influence in Africa and strengthen its democratic influence, its strategy needs to go beyond counterterrorism and respond to Africa’s pressing needs while supporting the African people in their quest for democracy and human rights.
  • Topic: Security, Conflict, State Violence, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Civilian governance in Pakistan has never lasted longer than eleven years. 2019 is the eleventh year since General Pervez Musharraf resigned the presidency and fears of a coup may exist, but one is not probable—at least not in the near-term future. In fact, two recent Chiefs of Army Staff (COAS)—Generals Kayani and Raheel in 2009 and 2014, respectively—considered taking, but decided not to take, direct control of the government. These decisions demonstrate that military rule is no longer necessary because the Army has already attained its major goals of de facto control of the country’s nuclear and missile programs, key foreign relationships, the military budget, and national security decision-making. In effect, the military has achieved what I have previously termed a “coup-less coup.” Instead of the traditionally fraught civil-military relationship, it seems that, for the first time in Pakistan’s turbulent history, the government and military agree on the three major issues facing Pakistan: domestic politics, the economy, and India. However, key variables, such as economic stability, could quickly change the course of this relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Governance, Conflict, Civilians, Military Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: Ian Williams
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For decades, China has engaged in a fervent game of “catch-up” with U.S. military capabilities. This effort, which has ballooned China’s defense spending to 620 percent of its 1990 level, is beginning to bear real fruit. While still far from achieving military parity, China’s military technology and doctrine are quickly coalescing into a coherent form of warfare, tailored to overpowering the U.S. military in a short, sharp conflict in the Eastern Pacific. This strategy of “informationized” warfare focuses first on eroding U.S. situational awareness, communications, and precision targeting capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Weapons , Military Spending, Conflict, Surveillance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last year’s Washington Institute forum on post-Soleimani succession suggested that the IRGC would lose a unique coordinating capability and its most important totem once he left the scene. Last April, The Washington Institute held a closed-door roundtable to discuss the potential impact if Qassem Soleimani no longer commanded the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force. Governed by the Chatham House rule, participants discussed how succession might work in the Qods Force and what Iran would lose if Soleimani became permanently unavailable, reaching consensus on many key issues. Now that the commander is indeed gone, their conclusions can help policymakers navigate the stormy seas ahead, though some aspects of his importance remain a matter of heated debate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Conflict, Qassem Soleimani
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Sujata Ashwarya
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: Despite substantial efforts and investments in rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the country is still struggling to deliver on public services. Years of destruction in conflict, as well as alleged mismanagement and neglect, have taken a heavy toll on the country’s power infrastructure. Severe power cuts and rolling blackouts are endemic in Iraq today. Between 2014 and 2018, Islamic State terrorism inflicted billions of dollars in damage on the already dilapidated electricity infrastructure, causing a cumulative potential and actual loss of a whopping 7GW in generation and transmission capacities.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Business , Conflict, Services, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the atrocity prevention lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 49 looks at developments in Afghanistan, China, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, South Sudan and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, Conflict, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Nigeria, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Daniel Maxwell, Peter Hailey
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Despite humanitarian information being more available than ever, confusion persists as to what the information means, how to analyze it and turn it into actionable evidence, and how to ensure that evidence-based actions are actually undertaken on a timely basis. The key points of confusion and issues include: The difference between current status information, projections of populations in need, and early warning of threats or hazards. The difference between “hard” numbers (implying things that have already happened and can be counted) versus probabilistic information (implying things that are likely, but not certain, to happen). Linkages, or the lack thereof, between information systems and policy or programmatic action to anticipate, mitigate, or respond to a shock or worsening situation. Despite the fact that conflict is the most common factor driving extreme humanitarian crises, conflict analysis is the weakest part of early warning and information systems. The information systems do not (or minimally) engage with the communities at risk of shocks or resulting humanitarian crises. This paper reviews these and a number of additional issues with contemporary humanitarian information and early warning systems. While the cases focus on the East Africa region, they have broader implications as well.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, Food, Famine, Food Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Kenya, North Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan
  • Author: Joost Jongerden
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While Trump always advocated disengagement from Syria, Turkish mainstream opinion and political leadership have never accepted Kurdish self-rule of territory on its Syrian border, which Turkey treats as an existential threat and dismisses with the trope of “terrorism.” Thus, Turkey’s military intervention should hardly be surprising. Indeed, not only is the assault an upscaled version of last year’s intervention and occupation of Afrin—a pocket in the western part of northern Syria—but it also fits a wider pattern of Turkish military aggression. Looking back over the past four years, we see Turkey repeatedly waging war for a “strong” state construction and regional power development.
  • Topic: War, Conflict, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, State Building
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: “Georgians have always had a grievance complex, because Turks or Persians have always suppressed them. The lack of independence, the inability to have one’s own state — all this instilled in Georgians a sense of deprivation. Now they are hot-tempered, light up for any reason. Now flashed.” This is what Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party leader tweeted after riot police in Tbilisi fired rubber bullets against thousands of nonviolent protesters outside of the Georgian Parliament on June 20, 2019. On that day, Georgian officials welcomed into the Georgian Parliament a Russian delegation, headed by member of the State Duma Sergey Gavrilov, within the framework of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy. Outside of the Parliament, civilians staged a snap protest against the ongoing Russian occupation of 20 percent of Georgian territory. Days before his scandalous appearance in the chair of the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Mr. Gavrilov gave an interview to the Georgian television network Rustavi 2 and stated, “We have recognized the independence of Ossetia and Abkhazia [two breakaway Georgian regions where Russian military forces are stationed] and we have to build our relations on new reality.” Soon after, Georgians saw him chairing an international assembly in the Georgian Parliament in Russian, an occurrence which was deeply humiliating for members of the Georgian public, many of whom lost friends and family members in the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes, Economy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Cesar Jaramillo
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Twenty years after the UN Security Council first adopted the resolution on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict—and 70 years after the Geneva Conventions—the international community has yet to adequately respond to and prevent some of the most injurious manifestations of armed conflict to date. With civilians bearing the brunt of contemporary warfare, the development of robust new standards that protect the lives and livelihoods of noncombatants must become both a policy priority and a humanitarian imperative.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Weapons , Conflict, Multilateralism, Urban, Norms
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Vienna, Global
  • Author: Anne De Tinguy, Annie Daubenton, Olivier Ferrando, Sophie Hohmann, Jacques Lévesque, Nicolas Mazzuchi, Gaïdz Minassian, Thierry Pasquet, Tania Sollogoub, Julien Thorez
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Regards sur l’Eurasie. L’année politique est une publication annuelle du Centre de recherches internationales de Sciences Po (CERI) dirigée par Anne de Tinguy. Elle propose des clefs de compréhension des événements et des phénomènes qui marquent de leur empreinte les évolutions d’une région, l’espace postsoviétique, en profonde mutation depuis l’effondrement de l’Union soviétique en 1991. Forte d’une approche transversale qui ne prétend nullement à l’exhaustivité, elle vise à identifier les grands facteurs explicatifs, les dynamiques régionales et les enjeux sous-jacents.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Corruption, Democratization, Economics, Health, International Security, Natural Resources, Conflict, Multilateralism, Europeanization, Political Science, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan
  • Author: Sebastien Feve, David Dews
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: This report contains a comparative evaluation of national strategies to prevent and counter violent extremism, to explore how they reflect recommendations and good practices outlined by the United Nations. Drawing upon a sample of 19 national strategies, the report analyzes the procedures and standards of policy planning that underpin the development of countries’ strategies. Using the guidelines of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism’s “Reference Guide: Developing National and Regional Action Plans to Prevent Violent Extremism” as a common analytical framework, the report is organized around the six procedural components outlined therein as essential in developing inclusive, context-specific, and robust national strategies. Analyzing national strategies against this framework, the report explores whether the procedures and considerations that led to the development of countries’ national strategies meet this standard. Based on this comparative analysis, the report provides a number of recommendations related to each of the six procedural components analyzed. It is hoped that these recommendations will help guide countries as they develop new or optimize existing strategies in line with international norms and common standards of promising practice and in turn design more effective national strategies to prevent and counter violent extremism.
  • Topic: National Security, Terrorism, International Security, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United Kingdom, Canada, Finland, Norway, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, United Nations, Lebanon, Albania, Switzerland, Sweden, Nigeria, Somalia, Montenegro, Austria, Maldives, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the atrocity prevention lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 48 looks at developments in Afghanistan, China, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Libya, South Sudan and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, International Law, Conflict, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Libya, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Burundi, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Daniel Maxwell
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Attention to the growing number of people caught in crises characterized by extreme and often protracted levels of food insecurity, malnutrition, and mortality is increasing. The information systems that track these conditions and inform humanitarian decision-making have expanded substantially in the past two decades and in many cases have reached a degree of unprecedented sophistication. These famine early warning systems have become increasingly sophisticated in the past decade, but they still tend to be based on several assumptions that are important to understand. This paper briefly describes existing famine early warning systems and outlines some of the assumptions on which they are based— both in theory and in practice. Then it gives four brief case studies of recent famine or “famine-like” events and pieces together the formal analysis process with an attempt to reconstruct events on the ground from a conflict analysis perspective—highlighting the extent to which the formal famine analysis did or did not deal with conflict analyses and the political kryptonite around the discussion of “intent.” It closes with a summary of gaps in the current system and an assessment of the risks of trying to address those gaps through famine EWS or alternative means.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Humanitarian Aid, Food, Famine, Food Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Middle East, Yemen, North Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Helen Young, Elizabeth Stites, Anastasia Marshak
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: This is the third in a series of three briefing papers that form part of the Mind the Gap: Bridging the Research, Policy, and Practice Divide to Enhance Livelihood Resilience in Conflict Settings project. The first two briefing papers accompany regional case-study reports on Chad, South Sudan and the Sudan, and on Uganda that challenge many long-held assumptions about nutrition and livelihoods in countries struggling to recover from conflict, violence and fragility. FAO reviewed these regional case-studies on resilience and vulnerability at a two-day high-level workshop in Rome in November 2018. This brief summarizes the report highlights on the resilience and vulnerability of populations affected by conflict, including insights from the workshop participants and some implications for policies, programs, and future research.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Food, Famine, Food Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Sudan, North Africa, Chad, South Sudan
  • Author: Elizabeth Stites, Frank Muhereza, Claire McGillem
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: This is the second in a series of three briefing papers that form part of the Mind the Gap: Bridging the Research, Policy, and Practice Divide to Enhance Livelihood Resilience in Conflict Settings project. This briefing paper accompanies a report that examines the parallel but separate trajectories of peace-building, recovery, and transformation over post-conflict periods in northern (Acholi and Lango subregions) and northeastern (Karamoja) Uganda. Parallels between these areas include a history of marginalization from the central state, underdevelopment and endemic poverty, and vulnerability to climate change and crossborder incursions. We argue that throughout the post-conflict periods, the initial peace processes in both locations were largely top-down in nature, with little participation from the affected populations. While keeping in mind the key differences in these areas, we highlight the nature of recovery, the ongoing challenges, and the need for external actors to be cognizant of the continuing fragility as they design policies and interventions for these locations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Food Security, Conflict, Pastorialism
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, North Africa
  • Author: Elizabeth Stites, Frank Muhereza, Claire McGillem
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the parallel but separate trajectories of peace-building, transformation, and livelihood recovery in northern (Acholi and Lango sub-regions) and northeastern (Karamoja sub-region) Uganda over the past 15 years. While keeping in mind the key differences in these areas, we highlight the similarities in the nature of recovery, the continuing challenges and the need for external actors to keep in mind the ongoing tensions and vulnerability that could undermine the tenuous peace. Challenges to recovery and long-term stability are similar across the two locations. Both northern Uganda and Karamoja continue to struggle with food insecurity and malnutrition, despite the massive influx of development funds, improved security and expansion of markets. In northern Uganda, the conflict continues to influence household livelihoods. Households that have a member who experienced war crimes are consistently worse off. These continuing problems with food security and nutrition call into question many assumptions about recovery and development. In particular, the idea that peace will bring a natural bounce in economic and household well-being does not appear to hold up in these cases.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda
  • Author: Helen Young, Anastasia Marshak, Aishwarya Venkat
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: This report highlights major new findings on the seasonal patterns of child malnutrition and their links to climate variability, conflict, and livelihood systems in Chad, Sudan, and South Sudan. Contrary to long-held assumptions about acute malnutrition escalating in the lean season, our data show that there are two peaks of acute malnutrition. The first and larger peak occurs at the end of the dry season, followed later by a second, smaller peak after the lean season. Our analysis demonstrates a significant relationship between acute malnutrition, conflict trends, and environmental factors. The findings underscore the importance of environmental variability and the persistence of climate, conflict, and other shocks in relation to livelihood resilience and transformation over time. The findings raise specific considerations for data collection, future research, programming, and policy, which are detailed in the report and briefing paper.
  • Topic: Food, Children, Food Security, Youth, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Chad, South Sudan