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  • Author: Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: China hits back after NATO calls it a security challenge, dormant Chinese hacking group resumes attacks, and more.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, North Atlantic, Beijing, Asia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Samuel B. H. Faure
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Published in the context of Brexit, this research paper analyses the ‘double relationship’ between Britain and Europe: being ‘in’ by taking part in co-operation with other European states, and at the same time being ‘out’ by staying away from or even leaving multilateral programmes in Europe. This dilemma is worked on from the case of defence procurement policy. How does the British government decide to be both ‘in’ and ‘out’ of Europe by participating in the A400M military transport aircraft programme and withdrawing from the EuroMale UAV programme? Based on exclusive data, the decision in favour of the A400M (‘in’) is explained by the action of political, administrative and industrial actors who perceive the A400M as a ‘truck’ rather than a ‘race car’. As for the British State’s decision not to participate in the EuroMale programme (‘out’), it is conditioned by a weakening of the political will of political actors, and at the same time by a strengthening of conflicting relations between French and British administrations and industries. In doing so, this research contributes to the literature on the acquisition of armaments in strategic studies, and to the literature on differentiated integration in European studies.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Political Economy, European Union, Brexit, Conflict, Europeanization
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, France, Western Europe, European Union
  • Author: Pauline Le Roux
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Sahel has experienced the most rapid increase in militant Islamist group activity of any region in Africa in recent years. Violent events involving extremist groups in the region have doubled every year since 2015. In 2019, there have been more than 700 such violent episodes (see Figure 1). Fatalities linked to these events have increased from 225 to 2,000 during the same period. This surge in violence has uprooted more than 900,000 people, including 500,000 in Burkina Faso in 2019 alone. Three groups, the Macina Liberation Front (FLM),1 the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS),2 and Ansaroul Islam,3 are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the extremist violence in the central Sahel.4 Their attacks are largely concentrated in central Mali, northern and eastern Burkina Faso, and western Niger (see Figure 2). Multiple security and development responses have been deployed to address this crisis. While some progress has been realized, the continued escalation of extremist violence underscores that more needs to be done.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Sahel, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Increased attacks from militant Islamist groups in the Sahel coupled with cross-border challenges such as trafficking, migration, and displacement have prompted a series of regional and international security responses.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Trafficking , Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Sahel, Niger
  • Author: Stéphane Valter
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: This paper presents a study of Egyptian Shiʿism by providing historical context as well as a focus on actual or current issues. The study includes a historical overview of local Shiʿism (Fatimid period, late nineteenth century, 1940s–1960s, and contemporary period); Shiʿi institutions and personalities; the situation following Egypt’s 2011 revolution; the hectic one-year government of the Muslim Brotherhood (2012–2013); President al-Sisi’s authoritarian takeover; and, finally, an exploration of the current geopolitical stakes, focusing mainly on the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran over religious hegemony.
  • Topic: Security, Geopolitics, Shia
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Dlawer Ala'Aldeen
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Turkey is in every way ideally placed to bridge the EU with its southern neighbours and together tackle their common challenges and myriad business opportunities. The question is, can they align priorities and policies to make the most of the opportunities? The answer is: not easily. Given the complexity of and uncertainty in Turkey and Iraq, as well as Syria’s security dynamics, sustained EU-Turkey convergence in all areas of common interest is unlikely in the foreseeable future. Although both Turkey and the EU have adopted multifaceted foreign policies vis-a-vis the Middle Eastern countries, yet they have converged only on specific issues, such as dealing with the Iran nuclear deal. Both sides consider the US withdrawal from the deal as a “matter of concern”, believing that maintaining the deal and keeping Iran engaged through diplomatic and economic means instead of sanctions or military threats is crucial even after the US withdrawal. Otherwise, Turkey and the EU diverge on the overall approach to the most troubled neighbours, namely Iraq and Syria, which have been sources of grave concern to all. Iraq continues to be a fragile country, struggling to keep its integrity. The country was at the brink of failure between 2014-2017 after the emergence of the so called Islamic State (IS), and further threatened by the Kurdish referendum for independence in 2017. Iraq was pulled back to survival, mainly by international assistance. Interestingly, in 2018 Iraq saw two transformative general elections, one for the Federal and the other for the Kurdistan Region’s Parliament. The outcome of these elections brought about a degree of change in the political landscape, a sense of optimism for future recovery and a clear promise for creating new business opportunities for international partners. However, in keeping with the past, the formation of government in both Baghdad and Erbil became protracted and problematic. These features indicate that the Iraqi leaders remain ill focused on the country’s priorities in terms of state-building and provision of services or addressing the root causes of its fragility. Turkey and the EU share the objectives of accessing Iraq’s market and energy supply, and prevent onward migration of the displaced populations. Of course, the EU is to a large extent dependent on Turkey to achieve its goals. Therefore, it would make sense for the two sides to converge and cooperate on these issues. However, Turkey’s foreign policies in the southern neighbourhood are driven primarily by its own domestic and border security considerations and – importantly – Turkey sees the economic, political and security issues as inextricable. While Iraq has lost its state monopoly over legitimate violence and is incapable of securing its borders, Turkey often takes matters into its own hands by invading or intervening in Iraq, both directly and indirectly (through proxies). Of course, the Iraqi government considers Turkey’s interventions as acts of aggression and violations of its borders, but is unwilling to take measures against them. For Iraq, Turkey is a regional power and an indispensable neighbour. It has control over part of Iraq’s oil exports, water supply and trade routes. The EU, on the other hand, considers Turkey’s interventions as acts of self-defence but frowns upon them as destabilising factors, adding to the fragility of Iraq. In Syria, the political landscape and security dynamics are very different from Iraq, but the EU-Turkish policies follow similar patterns. Syria remains a failed state with its regime struggling to secure survival and regain control over its territories. Meanwhile, Turkey has become increasingly interventionist in Syria via direct military invasion and through proxies, culminating in the occupation of a significant area west of Euphrates, and threatening to occupy the Eastern side too. Turkey has put extreme pressure on the USA for permission to remove the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) and its lead organisation (Democratic Union Party, PYD) from governing North East Syria (also referred to as Rojava). However, the EU and USA consider the SDF and PYD indispensable in the fight against IS and fear the Turkish interventions may have grave consequences. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission recently emphasised that “Turkey is a key partner of the EU”, and that the EU expect the “Turkish authorities to refrain from any unilateral action likely to undermine the efforts of the Counter-IS Coalition”. Therefore, EU-Turkey divergence or even conflict with some EU Member States is possible over Syria.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Islamic State, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Emma Hesselink
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Now that IS has been defeated, at least territorially, governments, donors and the international community are investing in Iraq’s state building programmes both at national and local levels. However, Nineveh governorate, which suffered greatest damage and requires greatest attention, has been the scene of a highly divided security landscape since its liberation from IS. The chronic divisions between different actors such as Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are only worsened by the presence of the Hashd al-Shaabi and other non-state actors in the Disputed Territories. This brief provides an analysis of the risks posed by Hashd in Nineveh and offers recommendations into regaining a grip on the situation.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Islamic State, State Building
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Dlawer Ala'Aldeen, Goran Zangana
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Chemicals are widely used in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region (KRI) for various civilian purposes. Terrorist organizations have demonstrated their intention, know-how and capacity to convert chemicals of civilian use to chemical weapons. Without an urgent and comprehensive policy response, the KRI can face significant breaches in chemical security with immeasurable risks to the population and the environment. This report follows a special MERI workshop on chemical security, where major challenges were identified and a number of policy recommendation made.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Chemical Weapons
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Federico Borsari
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Stabilisation and recovery in Iraq are intimately tied to the structural sustainability and accountability of the security apparatus across the country. The Kurdish Peshmerga forces are currently undergoing an ambitious process of modernisation and institutionalisation aimed at transforming them into an apolitical and professional entity, to the expected benefit of both Erbil and Baghdad. This policy brief examines the contours of this process against the backdrop of Iraq’s precarious security landscape and offers policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Security, Political structure, Institutionalism, Recovery
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Over the past decade and a half, the KRI’s share of the federal budget and oil revenue has been the most significant point of tension between Erbil and Baghdad. Each year, when the budgetary law is formulated and voted upon, a new crisis is initiated; the next is already brewing, as the budget law is currently under discussion. According to journalist Hiwa Osman, this bilateral relationship is also affected by ongoing neutralisation disagreements over the disputed territories, which are manifested in the positionalities of the Peshmerga, paramilitary, and federal security forces.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Budget
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Erbil
  • Author: Sarah L. Edgecumbe
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The contemporary displacement landscape in Iraq is both problematic and unique. The needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq are many, particularly as protracted displacement becomes entrenched as the norm rather than the exception. However, minorities originating from the so called ‘Disputed Territories’ and perceived Islamic State (IS)-affiliates represent two of the most vulnerable groups of IDPs in Iraq. Iraqi authorities currently have a real opportunity to set a positive precedent for IDP protection by formulating pragmatic durable solutions which incorporate non-discriminatory protection provisions, and which take a preventative approach to future displacement. This policy paper analyses the contemporary displacement context of Iraq, characterized as it is by securitization of Sunni IDPs and returnees, as well as ongoing conflict and coercion within the Disputed Territories. By examining current protection issues against Iraq’s 2008 National Policy on Displacement, this paper identifies protection gaps within Iraq’s response to displacement, before drawing on the African Union’s Kampala Convention in order to make recommendations for an updated version of the National Policy on Displacement. These recommendations will ensure that a 2020 National Policy on Displacement will be relevant to the contemporary protection needs of Iraq’s most vulnerable IDPs, whilst also acting to prevent further conflict and displacement.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Religion, Refugees, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Sara Z. Kutchesfahani
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes China’s words and actions regarding the Nuclear Security Summits to better understand what Chinese leadership on nuclear security could look like in the future. It finds that China accomplished the many things it said it would do during the summit process. The paper also explores how China’s policy and actions in other nuclear arenas could be paired with Chinese nuclear security policy to form a coherent agenda for nuclear risk reduction writ large. Consequently, the paper addresses how China doing as it says and does – per nuclear security – may be used as a way in which to inform its future nuclear security roles and responsibilities. In particular, it assesses China’s opportunities to assume a leadership role within this crucial international security issue area, especially at a time where U.S. leadership has waned.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Europe has become a major target of China’s push to acquire advanced key technologies. These technologies support the development of dual-use products with civilian as well as military applications, a development that is in line with China’s efforts towards civil-military integration. The EU has been slow to wake up to this trend. Despite recent efforts, including those to set up a tighter investment screening mechanism, it still lacks strong coordinated regulations to protect its research and technologies. Even more importantly, the author of our newest China Global Security Tracker, MERICS researcher Helena Legarda, warns that Europe lacks a clear policy or strategy to keep up with China’s ambitions in this area. Joint European initiatives providing strategic guidance and adequate funding for innovation in dual-use technologies will be needed to not only preserve but to advance the EU’s scientific and engineering expertise. The China Global Security Tracker is a bi-annual publication as part of the China Security Project in cooperation between Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). This issue also features the Trump administration’s tightened export controls in response to China’s civil-military integration efforts, and it tracks other security developments in China in the second half of 2018, from the launch of a number of new defense systems to an increase in China’s military diplomacy activities around the world.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Presenting China as a 'responsible power' – Beijing releases first major defense white paper in four years
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, Canada, Taiwan, France, North America
  • Author: Sebastian Engles
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. should remain committed to Central Asian security cooperation, but must carefully evaluate each program for merit and value added to U.S. security goals in the region. Military professionalization of the Kazakh armed forces will have the most significant impact towards accomplishing these goals and help Kazakhstan attain a more capable military. U.S. security cooperation efforts in assisting Kazakhstan to improve non-commissioned officer development serve as an excellent example of effective professionalization and a way to further our strategic relationships with non-NATO countries. Training programs that professionalize the Kazakh military can offer a cost-effective way for the United States to further a lasting partnership with Central Asia’s most stable country.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Imperialism, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Vincenza Scherrer, Alba Bescos Pou
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Multilateral organizations are playing an important role in shaping the SSR agenda through the development of policy and guidance and by engaging in the provision of a wide range of SSR support on the ground. However, despite their significant engagement in this area, there is no predictability in terms of the type of support that multilateral organizations will take on. While policy frameworks concur that international support should be well coordinated, the support provided by these organizations tends to be compartmentalized in practice. As a result, considerable time is often lost while each organization separately assesses a conflict, maps what others are doing, and agrees on a division of labour. The report presents the findings of a multi-year research project on the approaches of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to supporting nationally-led SSR processes. The study aims at developing an empirically-based understanding of the roles and potential comparative advantages of these organizations in SSR support, as well as avenues for enhanced cooperation. For this purpose, the study examines the following three categories related to the role of multilateral organizations in SSR support: normative frameworks, institutional capacities, and operational practices. This report was commissioned from DCAF by the Security Sector Reform Unit (SSRU) of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Peacekeeping, Reform, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Africa, Europe, United Nations, European Union, African Union
  • Author: Sarah Ferbach, Audrey Reeves, Callum Watson, Léa Lehouck
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Since 2007, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has pursued an original and ground-breaking approach of mapping the distinctive contribution of its member parliaments to advancing the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. Following on from previous reports in 2013 and in 2015, this study provides an up-to-date analysis of the 28 national responses to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly WPS survey in 2018. The main findings are as follows: 1. There was an increase in parliaments’ reported activity in the field of WPS, from 81% of respondents reporting some degree of involvement in 2015 to 100% in 2018. Countries with a National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security remain twice as active as countries without a NAP. 2. Of all participating delegations, 91% report that women recently occupied prominent functions related to peace and security in their parliament, thus contributing to enhancing women’s leadership in public debate on peace and security. 3. Parliamentary reports suggest that their engagement as legislative and oversight bodies has remained stable or slightly decreased in quantitative terms. Encouragingly, this engagement has nonetheless diversified in qualitative terms. Parliaments now report the development of legislation and resolutions on a greater variety of WPS themes and 36% mention using two or more monitoring mechanisms in overseeing the implementation of the WPS agenda, an increase from 24% in 2015. 4. Parliaments of NATO member countries have taken up NATO policy recommendations regarding dialogue with civil society organisations and cooperation with other NATO member states, with 17 delegations (61% of respondents) now reporting some activity in this area. The report includes full details and analysis of the survey responses as well as recommendations for parliaments in NATO member countries going forward.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Development, Gender Issues, Refugee Issues, Peacekeeping, Women, Gender Based Violence
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Europe, United Nations
  • Author: Eleanor Acer
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: Historically, the United States has been a global leader in protecting vulnerable refugees fleeing persecution. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have recognized the moral and strategic importance of a strong commitment to refugee protection. But the Trump Administration has adopted policies that diverge from this historic leadership, to the detriment of U.S. national security interests. Under PresidentTrump’s directives, the United States has banned refugees from Muslim-majority countries, decimated the U.S. refugee resettlement program, curtailed access to asylum, taken children from the arms of asylum- seeking parents, refused to release refugees from U.S. immigration jails, and undermined due process in asylum adjudications. Thus far this fiscal year, the United States resettled only 60 Syrian refugees, a 99% drop from 2016. The president and administration officials have repeatedly employed rhetoric that paints refugees and asylum seekers as threats, frauds and criminals. Even though unauthorized border crossings are at historically low levels, the president directed that the National Guard bedeployed to the U.S. southern border “until” Congress strips away legal protections and authorizes the long-term detention of children and families seeking refugee protection. This race to the bottom has global consequences. Not only have thousands of refugees had their lives irreparably impacted, but the global humanitarian and human rights systems themselves are threatened by the Trump Administration’s statements and actions. In addition to relieving human suffering, these systems foster global stability and security. The United States should change course immediately, before the damage is irreversible. Though the global refugee crisis lacks easy solutions, there are many steps the United States could take to alleviate suffering and increase regional and global security—if the U.S. government were invested in tackling the problem. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s political strategy seems to reston fomenting public anxiety around questions of migration. Until this changes, Congress must use its legislative and oversight authorities to restore U.S. global leadership on refugee protection, the courts must stand firm behind U.S. legal obligations, and American citizens must demand an end to politicized fearmongering. The government has policy tools that would allow it to lead a comprehensive initiative to address the global refugee and displacement crisis. By working with the international community to effectively address these challenges, the United States could safeguard the stability of strategically-important countries and regions, bolster allies, enhance the ability of front-line countries to host refugees, uphold the rule of law internationally, and restore its tarnished global leadership. As the world leader in humanitarian assistance and resettlement, the United States has a unique role to play, both in leading by example and in encouraging other states to increase their aid, development investment, and resettlement contributions. Most critically, the United States should champion adherence to human rights and refugee protection conventions, promoting the rule of law globally and supporting the ability of many refugees to live safely in countries near their homes. This paper lays out key steps that the United States should take to lead a comprehensive initiative to address the global refugee crisis. Though the Trump Administration is unlikely to put these measures into effect any time soon, it is important that those interested in fixing the global refugee crisis understand that the U.S. government has many tools at its disposal should it choose to use them.
  • Topic: Security, Humanitarian Aid, Refugees, Asylum
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Eleanor Acer
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: Instead, the Trump Administration and Congress should focus on effective solutions that safeguard both American ideals and interests—including: Address the Actual Causes of Displacement. Instead of threats to cut aid to programs in Central America, the United States should increase targeted support for effective programs that decrease gang and other violence in these countries, promote the rule of law, and build accountability for human rights abuses. A task force co-chaired by former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Tom Ridge and former USAID Administrator Gayle Smith warned that cuts to foreign assistance “risk creating greater problems and greater flows of people later,” ultimately “weakening our security.” They recommended the United States increase development aid to address root causes, encourage other countries, institutions, and the private sector to invest in fragile states, and focus foreign assistance on governance and other reforms that enable private sector growth. Strengthen Refugee Protection in Other Countries in the Region. As the UN Refugee Agency has reported, Central American refugees are seeking asylum in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize, as well as the United States. The United States should increase support for the UN Refugee Agency and the development of strong refugee protection systems in Mexico and other countries. These asylum systems must actually grant protection to refugees, conduct fair and timely adjudications, and eliminate barriers that block refugees from asylum. In Mexico for instance, many are blocked from asylum by a counterproductive filing deadline, low recognition rates, lack of effective appeal procedures, and migration officers who deport asylum seekers rather than refer them for asylum processing. In addition to encouraging Mexico and other countries to uphold human rights standards by providing protection to refugees, the United States should provide a strong example by upholding its own refugee protection obligations. If Mexico and other countries build strong and rights-respecting systems, more refugees will be able to choose to seek protection in those countries. Follow U.S. and International Law at Borders. The Trump Administration and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must stop blocking, turning away, or threatening to bar from asylum people seeking refuge at U.S. border posts or after crossing the U.S. border. Instead, the Trump Administration and U.S. agencies must uphold U.S. law, end the orchestrated blockade and slow-down on processing at ports of entry, and ensure timely CBP processing of asylum seekers. Refugees turned away from U.S. ports face deadly dangers from traffickers, smugglers, and other criminals in Mexico, and the country is far from meeting the legal standards for a “safe third country.” By blocking or turning away people seeking protection, U.S. officials are violating and attempting to evade both U.S laws and treaty obligations. Given its historic role as a global leader, the United States’ failure to protect refugees at home reverberates around the world, discouraging other nations from providing refuge at their borders. This practice is also counterproductive from a border protection perspective. DHS’s own Office of the Inspector General recently reported evidence that CBP’s practice of turning away and limiting entry of asylum seekers at official border posts “leads some aliens who would otherwise seek legal entry into the United States to cross the border illegally.” A supervisor confirmed that the agency “sees an increase in illegal entries when aliens are metered at ports of entry.” Receive and Manage Refugee Arrivals While Upholding American Ideals. The United States must stop responding to the increase in refugee protection requests with punitive and threatening actions like family separation, family detention, bans on asylum, criminal prosecutions, and military deployments. These actions conflict with American ideals (confirmed by recent polling), violate U.S. law, and harm children—as the American Academy of Pediatrics has repeatedly warned. They also don’t address the real problem. As former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson explained in 2018, “[i]t is basic human instinct to save yourself and your family by fleeing a burning building.” He concluded that attempts to deter people from fleeing have ultimately proven ineffective because the “push” factors of violence and poverty persist in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. In addition to taking the steps outlined above to address root causes, the United States should launch effective, humane, and fiscally prudent strategies for receiving and managing people seeking U.S. protection—including: A Comprehensive Case Management Program. Instead of wasting more money on immigration jails and trying to overturn safeguards on detaining children, ICE should launch a community-based case management program using specially trained case managers to oversee asylum seeker cases. The Family Case Management Program operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) resulted in 99% attendance for ICE check-ins and appointments, and 100% attendance at court. DHS’s own advisory committee recommended expansion of community-based programs rather than detention. This approach is cost effective and enjoys strong support from Americans according to 2018 polling. Support Access and Funding for Legal Representation. Congress should support increased funding for legal information and funds for legal counsel. Statistical studies have repeatedly confirmed that asylum seekers represented by counsel overwhelmingly appear for their hearings, making legal representation a more fiscally prudent expenditure than detention. Assure Fair, Timely, and Adequately Staffed Asylum Adjudications. Congress and the administration must ensure necessary staff levels to reduce backlogs and ensure fairness of asylum and immigration court adjudications. Reforms should include: rolling back use of expedited removal for high protection populations, a fast-track process for urgent humanitarian cases delayed by USCIS’s use of the “last in first out” approach, and removal of “cancellation” cases from the asylum system by creating a process for such applications. Critically, political appointees leading agencies conducting these adjudications must stop painting asylum claims as false or lacking in merit and altogether halt the politicization of immigration judge hiring.
  • Topic: Security, Border Control, Refugees, Asylum
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Dlawer Ala'Aldeen, Susan Cersosimo, Kamaran Palani
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: There are major security events, issues and trends within Iraq since 2003 and Syria since 2011, that have influenced and impacted Turkey-European Union (EU) relations. In this policy paper we deconstruct the causal mechanisms that act as the primary drivers impacting bilateral relations. We then compare and contrast Ankara’s and Brussels’ current security interests, priorities and perceptions toward security threats originating in this troubled neighbourhood. Finally, we classify opportunities as culminating in three possible discrete or combined security policy scenarios: conflict, cooperation and/or convergence and make recommendations to improve Turkey-EU relations. To address how Iraq’s and Syria’s security environment evolved to its current state and predict the subsequent outcomes and impacts on EU-Turkey relations, we look back and critically analyse Ankara’s and Brussels’ views on the following key events, issues and trends: security and political dynamics following the second term of al-Maliki, the withdrawal of the US forces in 2011, the 2011 Syrian revolution, the war against the Islamic state (IS), The Global Coalition against Daesh (GCD) backing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria, the rise of Kurdish nationalism and aspirations for statehood in Iraq and autonomy in Syria, the enhanced influence of Iran in Iraq and the growth of IS with subsequent mass displacement of person across both Iraq and Syria. Iraq is now largely free of IS reign, yet is still threatened by terrorism, mass population displacement and weak governance, among other ills. In parallel, now that the Syrian civil war enters its seventh bloody year, generating large numbers of casualties and millions of displaced persons, Brussels and Ankara are strongly incented to converge and/or cooperate on security policies which mitigate the escalating humanitarian crisis and ease the path to a durable peace agreement. However, finding durable solutions to address high value, high impact problems stemming from Iraq and Syria requires identifying and mitigating the causes vs symptoms of these countries’ instability and insecurity affecting Ankara’s and Brussels’ own security interests, priorities and threat perceptions. Central security priorities for the EU in post-IS Iraq include stabilization, the return of internally displaced people and refugees and eliminating violent jihadist organizations and ideologies. While Turkey shares these objectives in principle, Ankara’s security interests concentrate primarily on neutralizing the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and its affiliates’ presence and influence. Since 2014, Ankara and Brussels have mostly bifurcated on how they perceive security threats in Syria. Turkey-EU leaders continue to disagree on the Kurd’s role in the Syrian war and how Turkey should control its borders to cut flows of foreign fighters into Syria. As the IS invaded parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014, European states began providing PKK affiliated Kurdish groups in Syria with both intelligence and military support. Alternately, since the Kurdistan Region of Iraq held its referendum for independence on 25 September 2017, EU and Turkish leaders have mostly converged on how they perceive security threats in Iraq with both staunchly supporting the country’s territorial integrity, thus, both refused to recognize the referendum’s legitimacy. We consider the issue of terrorism as a highly relevant driver of EU and Turkish security policies, perceptions and priorities. Though we see both countries as highly concerned with this issue, they diverge on which organizations pose the greatest threat. Ankara places the PKK at the top of its terrorist list – both within its borders and across the region – while Brussels prioritizes neutralizing jihadi terrorist threats on its soil, thus, the probability of convergence and cooperation and positive impact on EU-Turkey relations is moderate for this issue. Moreover, the IS is not given the same degree of priority by the two sides in the neighbourhood, including Iraq and Syria. Unlike the EU, Turkey considers the threat posed by the IS equal to the one posed by the PKK, but not as strategic. Here, the two sides diverge. In sum, dissent between Brussels and Ankara is highly likely given the Turkish Armed Forces’ broad kinetic engagement in both Iraq and Syria which negatively impacts EU and US efforts to roll back terrorism, stabilise the region, deliver humanitarian aid and help displaced persons return to their homes. Thus, regardless of whether Baghdad and/or Damascus formally grant Ankara permission to launch assaults, the EU views these actions as bellicose destabilizers competing with its own interests, thus, degrades EU-Turkey relations. Ultimately, this study calls for the EU and Turkey to prioritize mending cracks and fissures in their relationship and focus on the gains to be made through rapprochement on security issues originating in Iraq and Syria. Likewise, the EU can use its tremendous mediating capacity as an honest broker to settle entrenched disputes between warring parties in Iraq and Syria and for Turkey restart the peace process at home. More than ever, both must develop a long-term strategic security framework to ensure that bilateral security interests, priorities and interventions do not derail current stabilisation and reconstruction procedures in Iraq and/or progress toward a durable peace in Syria.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria