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  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As events in late December 2013 and early 2014 have made brutally clear, Iraq is a nation in crisis bordering on civil war. It is burdened by a long history of war, internal power struggles, and failed governance. Is also a nation whose failed leadership is now creating a steady increase in the sectarian divisions between Shi'ite and Sunni, and the ethnic divisions between Arab and Kurd.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Insurgency, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Europe's deadliest conflicts are in Russia's North Caucasus region, and the killing is unlikely to end soon. The state has fought back against attacks, first claimed by Chechen separatists, now the work of jihad-inspired insurgents, that have hit Moscow, other major cities and many Caucasus communities. But its security-focused counter-insurgency strategy is insufficient to address the multiple causes of a conflict fed by ethnic, religious, political and economic grievances that need comprehensive, flexible policy responses. Moscow is increasingly aware of the challenge and is testing new approaches to better integrate a region finally brought into the Russian Empire only in the nineteenth century and that has historically been a problem for the Russian state. Diversity in religion, ethnicity, historical experience and political allegiances and aspirations complicate efforts to alleviate local tensions and integrate it more with the rest of the country. Understanding this pluralism is essential for designing and implementing policies and laws that advance conflict re solution rather than make differences more irreconcilable.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In the ten years since Belgrade ceded Kosovo to UN and NATO control, integration of the Serbs into Kosovo's political life has been one of the greatest challenges. Since the former Serbian province's declaration of independence in February 2008, this challenge has become still more complicated. The rejection of Kosovo's independence by the vast majority of its Serb inhabitants has been encouraged by Belgrade, which has developed and, since February 2008, extended a framework of parallel structures that provide Serbs with tangible evidence of the continued presence of the Serbian state and hope that one day Kosovo's independence may be overturned. This hope is also kept alive by Belgrade's diplomatic activities, above all through the case it brought at the International Court of Justice in October 2008 seeking to have the independence declaration ruled illegal. It is encouraged by the support of Russia and by five EU member states that have not recognised Kosovo.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: There are strong indications that Uzbek security forces murdered one of Kyrgyzstan's most prominent journalists, Alisher Saipov, in October 2007 during the build-up to Uzbekistan's end of year presidential elections, most likely because of his involvement in Erk (Freedom), a leading exile opposition party. If this is the case, it would appear that the security organs, which are the key to keeping President Islam Karimov in power, are increasingly willing to move against any perceived danger, even if it involves pre-emptive strikes in foreign territory. This may be a sign not only of the ruthlessness of the regime but also of its increasing fragility. At the least it underlines the need for the U.S. and the European Union (EU) to resist the temptation to respond to Karimov's dubious December 2007 re-election with efforts at re-engagement, in the apparent hope of regaining or retaining military bases for Afghanistan operations or of outflanking Russia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Peter Van Elsuwege
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The restoration of the Baltic states' independence, back in 1991, brought about a number of political and legal challenges. The presence of large nontitular communities in Estonia and Latvi has proven to be the most pressing of these. Notwithstanding the fact that the European Commission already in 1997 concluded that 'on the whole the rights of the Russian-speaking minorities are observed and safeguarded', the legal status of these living relics of the Soviet period remains controversial. A resolution of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, adopted on 13 June 2002, criticised the protection of national minorities in Estonia. In the lead-up to the December 2003 parliamentary elections, the Russian Duma adopted a resolution 'on gross violations of human and minority rights in the Republic of Latvia'. Dmitry Rogozin, chairman of the Parliamentarian Committee on International Relations, announced that Russia should consider the weapon of economic sanctions to put pressure on the Baltic state, which he described as 'a land of hooligans' where 'Nazis have come to power'. Whereas these statements have to be situated within the context of the ongoing election campaign, the remarks of Alvaro Gil-Robles, European Council Commissioner for Human Rights, are to be taken more serious. During his visit to Riga in October 2003, the High Commissioner criticized the lack of citizenship for more than twenty per cent of Latvia's population and recommended the granting of voting rights to non-citizens in municipal elections. On the other hand, Günter Verheugen, EU Commissioner responsible for enlargement, declared that Latvia fulfils all the criteria in the field of societal integration and has complied with all international requirements regarding its ethnic minorities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Svetlana Glinkina, Dorothy Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We argue that the conflicts in the Caucasus are the result of the abrogation by the elite of the earlier, Soviet era, social contract. This process was accompanied by the collapse of the formal economy; evidenced by huge national income compression, falling public goods provision, and growing inequality and poverty. In the absence of state provision of basic amenities and governance, ordinary people are compelled to fall back on kinship ties. Declining standards of governance facilitate state-sponsored corruption and criminality in a setting where the shadow economic activity is increasingly important to individual survival strategies. Oil pipelines and the right to control the transit of goods both legal and illegal also underlie conflict in the region. Criminality has replaced ethnicity as the major motivation for conflict and conflict per se has become a lucrative source of income.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Indra Øverland
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This paper argues that local media have been of great importance in the escalation of inter-ethnic conflicts in the former Soviet Union, and that conflict prevention by the OSCE in the region initially did not focus appropriately on media issues. During the past few years, however, media issues have increasingly come to preoccupy the OSCE, chiefly in connection with human rights issues and freedom of speech, but to some extent also as an element of conflict prevention. The importance of local media for OSCE conflict prevention is analysed in terms of the activities of the High Commissioner for National Minorities and Representative on Freedom of the Media, and OSCE annual reports.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: For the past decade Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have all been involved in high stakes negotiations to define their respective borders. Strong-arm politics, economic pressures, shadowy backroom deals, nationalist sentiments, public dissatisfaction and an environment of mutual mistrust have marked this process. The resolution of border issues peacefully and transparently would have a positive impact on regional security, economic cooperation, ethnic relations and efforts to combat drug trafficking and religious extremism. But progress has been slow, and no immediate breakthrough can be seen in an all too often antagonistic process that is defining the new map of Central Asia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
  • Author: Natalie Sabanadze
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus represents one of the most diverse and conflict-ridden regions in the world. It includes the three former Soviet states Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as numerous ethnic minorities and small nations within these states. The term South Caucasus is relatively new and has been used to replace the older term Transcaucasia. According to Valery Tishkov, there is a strong drive of national elites to separate the region from Russia and dismantle old ties to the point of changing names. "It is noteworthy," wrote Tishkov, "that the historical name of the region Transcaucasus has been questioned by the proponents of new political correctness who wish to create a mantle distance from Russia. Consequently, the region is being renamed the South Caucasus" (Tishkov 1999:4). It is, however, worthy of mention that the earlier name Transcaucasus (Za Kavkazye in Russian) reflected the Russian geographical position and literally meant 'beyond or behind the Caucasus', as the three republics were seen from the northern perspective of Russia. Recently, the term South Caucasus has came into use in order to more accurately describe the region and as Tishkov rightly points out, to de-link it from Russia.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Richard W. Bulliet, Fawaz A. Gerges
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia International Affairs Online
  • Abstract: For several months prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, a videotape calling Muslims to a holy war against forces described as Crusaders and Jews circulated underground in the Arab world. Produced on behalf of Osama bin Laden and prominently featuring his image, words, and ideas, the tape is designed to recruit young Arab men to journey to Afghanistan and train for a war in defense of Islam.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Government, International Cooperation, International Law, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, Arabia