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  • Author: Anthony H Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The events in Iraq over the last month have shown that any success in Iraq requires both the Iraqi government and the United States to go far beyond the war against ISIS, and makes any partisan debate over who lost Iraq as damaging to U.S. national interests as any other aspect of America’s drift toward partisan extremism. The war against ISIS is a critical U.S. national security interest. It not only threatens to create a major center of terrorism and extremism in a critical part of the Middle East, and one that could spread to threaten the flow of energy exports and the global economy, but could become a major center of international terrorism. It is important to understand, however, that ISIS is only one cause of instability in the region, and only one of the threats caused by spreading sectarian and ethnic violence.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Robert M. Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The waterways of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) are among the most important in the world. They facilitate the export of large volumes of oil and natural gas from the region, while also bridging traders in the Eastern and Western worlds through the Red Sea and Suez Canal. While political tensions in the region have at times played out in these waterways since the mid-20th century, their vulnerability has been exasperated in recent years by the failure of bordering governments to promote internal stability, the lack of adequate maritime security capabilities of nearby states, and the potential naval threats posed by the government of Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, International Security, Military Strategy, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Matt Bryden
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The September 2013 attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Center, which left more than 70 people dead, has positioned the Somali extremist group, Al-Shabaab, firmly in the global spotlight. While some observers have interpreted the attack as a sign of "desperation," others perceive it as an indication of Al-Shabaab's reformation and resurgence under the leadership of the movement's Amir, Ahmed Abdi aw Mohamud Godane. The reality is, as usual, more complex. Westgate provided a glimpse of a movement in the throes of a protracted, fitful, and often-violent transition: Al-shabaab is in the process of reinventing itself.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Aram Nerguizian
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Lebanon has been a chronic US foreign policy challenge in the Levant since the Eisenhower Administration. However, given the country's centrality to regional security politics and Iran's support for the Shi'a militant group Hezbollah, the US cannot avoid looking at Lebanon as yet another arena of competition with Iran in the broader Levant.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Douglas Farah, Robert D. Lamb, Carl Meacham
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The project that culminated in this report was conceived just over a year ago as an initiative to assess the major accomplishments in strengthening the Colombian government's efforts to bring peace and stability to its countryside.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Terrorism, International Security, Governance
  • Political Geography: South America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is no one way to measure the level of security and stability in given countries, the conditions of life, or the rising threat posed by internal; and domestic terrorism. This analysis provides a wide range of metrics from reporting by the World Bank, UN, and US government. It focuses on trends and it will be immediately clear to the reader that it does not always reflect the shattering impact of the violence and upheavals that have taken place in some countries since 2011.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism, International Security, Governance
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: Stephanie Sanok Kostro, Garrett Riba
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, the rising amount of economic losses, and the mounting costs of providing relief indicate the growing importance of disaster resilience. Disasters have far- reaching consequences, ranging from the most basic physical injuries and property losses to long- term psychological, economic, and cultural damage. Merely supplementing resources to address the aftermath of disasters— rather than mitigating risks and putting in place key elements in advance of a disaster— is not a sustainable model for community resilience. Additionally, failure to utilize the resources of all public- and private- sector stakeholders to develop long- term planning mechanisms leaves communities vulnerable to repeated, high levels of damage and destruction.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Government, Terrorism, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Americans are reluctant to accept terrorism is part of their daily lives, but attacks have been planned or attempted against American targets (usually airliners or urban areas) almost every year since 9/11. Europe faces even greater risk, given the thousands of EU citizens who will return hardened and radicalized from fighting in Syria and Iraq.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Europe, Syria
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The total number of terrorist attacks reported in Pakistan increased 36.8 percent between 2012 and 2013. Fatalities increased 25.3 percent and injuries increased 36.9 percent. No specific perpetrator organization was identified for 86.2 percent of all attacks in Pakistan. Of the remaining attacks, nearly half (49%) were carried out by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Attacks attributed to the TTP killed more than 550 and wounded more than 1,200 in 2013. Twenty other groups, including a number of Baloch nationalist groups such as the Baloch Republican Army, the Baloch Liberation Army, the Baloch Liberation Front, and the Baloch Liberation Tigers, carried out attacks in Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan. More than 37 percent of all attacks in Pakistan took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 28.4 percent took place in Balochistan, and 21.2 percent took place in Sindh province. The proportion of attacks in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) decreased from 19.6 percent in 2012 to 9.4 percent in 2013. The most frequently attacked types of targets in Pakistan were consistent with global patterns. More than 22 percent of all attacks primarily targeted private citizens and property, more than 17 percent primarily targeted the police, and more than 11 percent primarily targeted general (non-diplomatic) government entities. However, these three types of targets accounted for a smaller proportion of attacks in Pakistan (51.1%) than they did globally (61.7%). Instead, terrorist attacks in Pakistan were almost twice as likely to target educational institutions (6.4%) and more than three times as likely to target violent political parties (4.4%), organizations that have at times engaged in both electoral politics and terrorist violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The more one looks at the current situation in Afghanistan today, the more likely it seems that Transition will at best produce a weak and divided state and at worst a state that either continues its civil war or comes under Taliban and extremist control. More than a decade of Western intervention has not produced a strong and viable central government, an economy that can function without massive outside aid, or effective Afghan forces. There is no sign that insurgents are being pushed towards defeat or will lose their sanctuaries in Pakistan. This has made every aspect of Transition is a high-risk effort.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Development, Islam, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taliban