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  • Author: Manuel R. Torres Soriano, Javier García Marín
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: CONfines de Relaciones Internacionales y Ciencia Política
  • Abstract: Existe un acuerdo casi unánime entre aquellos estudiosos que han investigado la compleja realidad de la guerra: el creciente papel que tiene la gestión de la información pública en el desarrollo de los conflictos bélicos (Libicki, 1995; Alberts et al., 2001, Armistead, 2004). Esta preponderancia se manifestó en algunos de los conflictos de la década de los noventa, como la llamada Guerra del Golfo, y en los de la antigua Yugoslavia y Kosovo. A pesar de que en ellos la gestión de la información jugó un papel destacado en la estrategia de los contendientes, el desenlace de estos conflictos estuvo vinculado a los tradicionales elementos del “poder duro”, según la distinción de Josehp Nye (1990). Sin embargo, en los últimos años, hemos podido asistir a un acelerado incremento de la importancia del componente “inmaterial” de la guerra. La generalización y sofisticación de las nuevas tecnologías de la información, junto con la aparición de una nueva tipología de conflicto caracterizado por la asimetría en la naturaleza y fines de los contendientes, han situado a la dimensión informativa de los conflictos en el lugar central de toda reflexión sobre la naturaleza de las guerras del presente y el futuro.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Maryland
  • Author: Richard Gowan, Heinrich Boell Stiftung, Daniel Korski
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Relations between the European Union (EU) and Iraq have normalized over the last couple of years. But despite committing more than € 900 million to reconstruction efforts since 2003 and having set up a European Commission office in Baghdad in 2005, the European bloc will need to step up its engagement if the country is to manage forthcoming challenges, such as integrating the “Sons of Iraq” into the Iraqi security forces, holding provincial elections, and maintaining security while President Obama leads a drawdown of US combat forces.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The top concern for both Riyadh and Damascus remains blowback from Iraq: the ascendance of ethnic and sectarian identity and the spread of Islamist militancy. The need to contain this threat is the dominant force that shapes their relations with Iraq. Both Syria and Saudi Arabia have a vital interest in ensuring that Iraq's emerging political order is inclusive of Sunni Arab Iraqis, who have not yet been fully incorporated into Iraqi institutions. Syria and Saudi Arabia do not look at Iraq in isolation, nor do they assign it top priority among their foreign policy concerns. For them, Iraq is merely one element in a comprehensive view encompassing other regional players (including the U.S. and Iran) and other regional crises, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict. Lingering resentment and bitterness toward Washington is now mixed with intense curiosity and modest optimism about President Barack Obama. Saudis still bristle when recalling how the Bush Administration sidelined Riyadh on Iraqi matters; as do Syrians, who believe the previous administration was intent on isolating and undermining Damascus. Iraq remains very much isolated in its neighborhood. Recent Progress on regional cooperation notwithstanding, these two neighbors are still focused more on containment than engagement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Deborah Isser, Peter Van der Auweraert
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq has experienced several waves of mass displacement over the last forty years that have left complex land and property crises in their wake. As security has improved and some of the nearly five million displaced Iraqis have begun to come home, resolution of these issues are at the fore of sustainable return.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Migration, Religion, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Brian Fishman
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Al-Qa`ida in Iraq (AQI) is a shadow of its former self, primarily because broad sectors of Iraq's Sunni population rejected it after more than three years of active and tacit cooperation. Anger over AQI's brutal radicalism infused the Sunni backlash against jihadists, but AQI also made two fundamental strategic overreaches that exacerbated its alienation from Sunnis in Iraq. First, it incited a sectarian backlash from Iraqi Shi'a without the means to defend Iraq's Sunnis from the onslaught it provoked. Second, AQI created a formal political entity, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), to dominate Iraq after a U.S. withdrawal without adequate support from Iraq's Sunni population.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Bryan Groves
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: As President George W. Bush relinquishes the reigns as Commander-in-Chief to President Barak Obama, it is fitting to reflect on how the country will remember President Bush in years to come. Whether or not one agrees with his decision to commit U.S. forces to military action against Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party regime in Iraq, it is clear that Bush's legacy will largly be determined by how Iraq turns out--whether as a stable, free, and peace-loving democracy or something short of that. There is certainly plenty of room for continued improvement in the conditions on the ground and ample time for the political, security, and economic situation to yet deteriorate. Yet, since "The Surge" and the change in U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, developments in Iraq have taken a fundamentally and undeniably positive turn.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The plight of women in Iraq today has gone largely ignored, both within Iraqi society and by the international community. For more than five years, headlines have been dominated by political and social turmoil, the chaos of conflict and widespread violence. This has overshadowed the abysmal state of the civilian population's day-to-day lives, a result of that very turmoil and violence.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: James Cockayne, Emily Speers Mears
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In late 2008, seventeen states, including the US, UK, China, Iraq, and Afghanistan, endorsed the Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States Related to Operations of Private Military and Security Companies During Armed Conflict. This provides important guidance to states in regulating Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs). But there is a need to do more, to provide increased guidance to industry and ensure standards are enforced.
  • Topic: Security, International Law, Privatization, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China, Iraq, United Kingdom
  • Author: Benjamin H. Friedman, Harvey Sapolsky, Christopher Preble
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Foreign policy experts and policy analysts are misreading the lessons of Iraq. The emerging conventional wisdom holds that success could have been achieved in Iraq with more troops, more cooperation among U.S. government agencies, and better counterinsurgency doctrine. To analysts who share these views, Iraq is not an example of what not to do but of how not to do it. Their policy proposals aim to reform the national security bureaucracy so that we will get it right the next time.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Against the odds, the U.S. military surge contributed to a significant reduction in violence. Its achievements should not be understated. But in the absence of the fundamental political changes in Iraq the surge was meant to facilitate, its successes will remain insufficient, fragile and reversible. The ever-more relative lull is an opportunity for the U.S. to focus on two missing ingredients: pressuring the Iraqi government to take long overdue steps toward political compromise and altering the regional climate so that Iraq's neighbours use their leverage to encourage that compromise and make it stick. As shown in these two companion reports, this entails ceasing to provide the Iraqi government with unconditional military support; reaching out to what remains of the insurgency; using its leverage to encourage free and fair provincial elections and progress toward a broad national dialogue and compact; and engaging in real diplomacy with all Iraq's neighbours, Iran and Syria included.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Against the odds, the U.S. military surge contributed to a significant reduction in violence. Its achievements should not be understated. But in the absence of the fundamental political changes in Iraq the surge was meant to facilitate, its successes will remain insufficient, fragile and reversible. The ever-more relative lull is an opportunity for the U.S. to focus on two missing ingredients: pressuring the Iraqi government to take long overdue steps toward political compromise and altering the regional climate so that Iraq's neighbours use their leverage to encourage that compromise and make it stick. As shown in these two companion reports, this entails ceasing to provide the Iraqi government with unconditional military support; reaching out to what remains of the insurgency; using its leverage to encourage free and fair provincial elections and progress toward a broad national dialogue and compact; and engaging in real diplomacy with all Iraq's neighbours, Iran and Syria included.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Linda J. Skitka, Peter Liberman
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: In January 2002 national survey data, we find a strong relationship between Americans' desire to avenge 9/11 and their bellicosity toward Iraq, even after controlling for the perceived terrorist threat, left right ideology, and approval of U.S. political leaders. This effect could have been due to suspicions of Iraqi complicity in 9/11 stemming from prior enemy images of Iraq, or to the effects of anger and desires for revenge on out-group antipathy, displaced blame, and optimistic assessment of war risks. We test the out group antipathy hypothesis and find evidence that anti-Arab and anti-Muslim antipathy partially mediated vengefulness's effect on bellicosity. Vengeance, in turn, was boosted by retributiveness (proxied by rightwing authoritarianism) and patriotism. While perceptions of the Iraqi threat probably assumed greater importance over the course of the following year, additional survey data shows that even as war approached, most supporters acknowledged it would satisfy a desire for revenge.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Christopher M. Schnaubelt
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: What a difference 30,000 additional troops and a new strategy make. A few years ago, Afghanistan was commonly viewed as the model of a successful intervention while many politicians, military analysts, and pundits believed that the war in Iraq was being irretrievably lost. Yet today— although conditions still have a long way to go before normalcy has been achieved—the progress in Iraq following “the surge” directed by President Bush in January 2007 is widely recognized. All the indicators of violence: attacks against Iraqi infrastructure and government organizations; small arms, mortar and rocket attacks, and casualties among Iraqi civilians, Iraqi Security Forces, and Coalition Forces have sharply declined since July 2007. The situation has gone from being generally perceived as on the brink of disaster to being a success story (albeit belated and costly).
  • Topic: NATO, Terrorism, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Mark G. Czelusta
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Donald Rumsfeld's vision of a transformed United States military has been discussed by many and understood by few. It is no surprise that this lack of understanding has resulted in both significant simplifications and sweeping generalizations, to include the Reuters headline noted above. Even the term, “Rumsfeld's Transformation,” accounts for neither the historical influences that led to his vision, nor the multiple components of this transformational effort.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Joseph Felter, Brian Fishman
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Iran has a robust program to exert influence in Iraq in order to limit American power-projection capability in the Middle East, ensure the Iraqi government does not pose a threat to Iran, and build a reliable platform for projecting influence further abroad. Iran has two primary modes of influence. First, and most importantly, it projects political influence by leveraging close historical relationships with several Shi'a organizations in Iraq: the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), the Badr organization, and the Dawah political party. Second, Iran uses the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Qods Force (QF) to provide aid in the form of paramilitary training, weapons, and equipment to various Iraqi militant groups, including Moqtada al-Sadr's Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) and the Special Group Criminals (SGCs). Iran also projects influence through economic initiatives and various religious programs. Iranian influence in Iraq is inevitable, and some of it is legal and constructive. Nonetheless, Iranian policy in Iraq is also duplicitous. Iran publicly calls for stability while subverting Iraq's government and illegally sponsoring anti‐government militias.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Shai Feldman, Shahram Chubin, Abdulaziz Sager, David L. Aaron
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The Middle East and its security remains a vital ingredient in international security. The region's tensions, conflicts and stability are of fundamental concern to a wide range of actors, whose interests or proximity make it a priority. The novelty today is the increasing inter-relations of these conflicts and instability and the limitations of outside power influence. This, together with the appearance of new actors in the region, namely India and China, seems likely to transform diplomacy in the future. Regional dynamics, which are increasingly resistant to outside power influence or control, continue to shape the strategic environment. These dynamic forces, ranging from terrorism, sectarianism, and on-going conflicts, intersect and add to the region's instability and fragmentation. The conflict zone (from the Levant to Iran) overlaps the “energy ellipse” (in the Gulf), that is, the dependence of much of the world on this region for energy supplies. Superimposed on this is the related feature of the region, namely the emergence in the GCC of the 'super rich' states, carving out a new niche and economic identity with their newfound wealth. The region is thus complex: unstable, vulnerable, and wealthy in parts. Weak, shattered, or embryonic states (Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine) co-exist with strong states like Egypt, cautious ones like Saudi Arabia, and ambitious ones, notably Iran. What seems clear from the perspective of 2008 is the continuing need for international engagement, combined with a recognition that this engagement must be constructive and cannot substitute for local initiatives or substitute for local forces, which at best, can only be harnessed, not controlled.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Oil, War
  • Political Geography: China, Iraq, Middle East, India, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt
  • Author: L.H.M. Ling, Ching-Chane Hwang
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs
  • Abstract: Sun Tzu seems more popular than ever. The Bush Administration attributes its successful invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq to tactics in The Art of War such as “shock and awe” and “decapitation.” However, neither exists in Sun Tzu's manual. More seriously, this misappropriation reinforces an imperial hypermasculinity in US foreign policy given its neoliberal logic of “conversion or discipline” for Self/Other relations. Rival camps of imperial hypermasculinity arise in reaction, thereby rationalizing the US Self's resort to such in the first place. Locking the world into ceaseless rounds of hostility between opposed enemies, we argue, contradicts Sun Tzu's purpose. The Art of War sought to transform, not annihilate, the enemy as mandated by the cosmo-moral, dialectical world order that governed Sun Tzu's time. In misappropriating Sun Tzu, then, the Bush Administration turns The Art of War into mere kitsch.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Marcin Terlikowski
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the last two decades, the issue of private military companies and the privatization of the sphere of international security, have been addressed by political decision-makers in many countries, military experts, as well by the media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It seems that the controversies and sometimes very categorical opinions which have emerged concerning these issues have several sources. Firstly, the relatively sudden appearance of a new type of non-public actor in the military sphere, which traditionally was the exclusive activity of the state, was associated with consternation caused by negative connotations with historic, still pre-Westphalian international order where significant roles were played by private armies and other mercenary forces (e.g. condottieres, corsairs). Secondly, the activities of these types of firm have caused a number of problems. For example, to this day, not all the circumstances have been explained regarding the participation by several firms in conflicts in Africa and the Balkans in the 1990s, while the media are still reporting various irregularities and incidents involving such enterprises. Thirdly, this specific business has developed with enormous dynamism, continuously generating profits and extending both the geographical scope of activities and the profile of the services provided.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: Steven Simon
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When this Council Special Report (CSR) was first issued in February 2007, the debate over the surge was raging. President George W. Bush had only announced his intention to deploy additional troops. Democrats and Republicans rushed to the barricades either to deplore or to defend it. This report, however, saw the surge as inevitable—since its opponents were powerless to stop it—and, more importantly, as beside the point.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Amid the media and military focus on Baghdad, another major Iraqi city – Basra – is being overlooked. Yet Basra's experience carries important lessons for the capital and nation as a whole. Coalition forces have already implemented a security plan there, Operation Sinbad, which was in many ways similar to Baghdad's current military surge. What U.S. commanders call “clear, hold and build”, their British counterparts earlier had dubbed “clear, hold and civil reconstruction”. And, as in the capital, the putative goal was to pave the way for a takeover by Iraqi forces. Far from being a model to be replicated, however, Basra is an example of what to avoid. With renewed violence and instability, Basra illustrates the pitfalls of a transitional process that has led to collapse of the state apparatus and failed to build legitimate institutions. Fierce intra-Shiite fighting also disproves the simplistic view of Iraq neatly divided between three homogenous communities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Civil War, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia