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  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Intelligence assessments suggest that the bomb attack on French naval engineers in Karachi on May 8 bore the hallmarks of an al-Qaida operation. There is evidence to suggest that Osama bin Laden and other senior leaders are alive and regrouping, despite significant losses. The campaign against al-Qaida in Afghanistan and elsewhere is entering a new phase.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This week's piece focuses on the economic prospects for the euro-area in 2002. The euro-area economy has shown increasing signs of cyclical weakness since the beginning of 2001. These signs, compounded by the effects of accelerated decline in the United States since the September 11 terrorist attacks, indicate continuing stagnation into 2002 and growing difficulties for states to maintain their fiscal positions. SGP requirements are reducing the fiscal room for manoeuvre of euro-area states to respond to the current economic downturn. The absence of concerted intervention represents a considerable risk, particularly if global demand fails to pick up in 2002.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This week's piece examines the prospects for the al-Qaida group and Osama bin Laden's wider terrorist network following the fall of the Taliban and the loss of many of its facilities in Afghanistan. Key elements of bin Laden's network have been seriously damaged. Some operational cells are likely to survive but most are likely to remain inactive for the foreseeable future in order to avoid detection. Al-Qaida is likely to remain active but less effective than hitherto. As long as the reasons for bin Laden's appeal to certain Islamist constituencies remains, new cells and entirely new groups will be formed within migrant communities and among those engaged in regional conflicts around the world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This piece focuses on The changing nature of US foreign assistance priorities in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. There will be broad support for a rapid expansion of foreign aid designed to counter the terrorism threat and to support key coalition partners. Whether that support is sustainable in the future depends, at least in part, on the programme's success in enhancing US 'homeland security'. If the anti-terrorism foreign aid programme is shown to serve US interests, help erode poverty, promote democracy and stabilise the political positions of coalition partners, public opinion may in future support more robust programmes. However, if a large portion of assistance is mismanaged or abused, and/or accountability and impact are marginal, enthusiasm for foreign aid is likely to be undermined still further.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met on Wednesday, September 26, in Vienna. The uncertainties associated with the international oil market have been greatly compounded by the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington were on Tuesday subjected to devastating terrorist attacks. The atrocities will prompt a wide-ranging review of US security and intelligence systems which, on Tuesday's evidence, failed spectacularly.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Israel's Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz met senior Turkish defence officials on July 27 to discuss defence cooperation. Israel and Turkey, facing similar strategic problems based on shared interests and fears, are in the process of building the most powerful alliance in the Middle East. They are doing so in the face of opposition from the Arab and Muslim worlds as well wider concerns, notably on the part of Russia. The Turkish-Israeli alliance now appears sufficiently robust, at least for the moment, to withstand opposition from the Arab and Muslim world. Moreover, US support for the entente may grow owing to concerns about terrorism and stability in the eastern Mediterranean basin, as well as the administration's renewed emphasis on stability in the Gulf.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Israel last week launched an air raid against a Syrian radar station in Lebanon. The air raid has raised the stakes in the low-level military confrontation between Hizbollah and Israel. It has also exacerbated Lebanese internal divisions and exposed the lack of a national consensus on Hizbollah's cross-border operations. The Israeli raid has set a precedent and raised the stakes in Tel Aviv's confrontation with Hizbollah along the Lebanese border. Although neither Syria nor Israel is interested in a military confrontation, there are no guarantees that the situation will not spin out of control and lead to a limited regional conflict.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The US Supreme Court heard oral argument last month on whether 'medical necessity' should override the federal government's blanket prohibition on the use of marijuana. If the Court were to accept this argument, it would provide a powerful boost to the medical marijuana movement and hamper the federal government's ability to pursue its current drugs policy. A ruling in favour of the federal government, however, would constrain the ability of states to formulate independent drug policies. The Supreme Court is likely to sidestep the substantive issue of whether 'medical necessity' allows the distribution of marijuana to seriously ill patients. Its inclination will be to decide the case on a narrow procedural ground which would leave the federal government to decide if it wishes to pursue criminal prosecutions.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Congressional criticism of 'Plan Colombia's' military component, and the advent of a new administration in Washington, are likely to lead to a strategic review of US policy. The outcome may be a policy that is less military focused, more regionally oriented, and based on closer cooperation with other aid donors. It has become increasingly clear that Plan Colombia can only be implemented if the EU and its member states are prepared to increase their financial contribution. This will give the Europeans considerable leverage, and they are likely to use it to insist on a less militarised approach. However, even with a change in policy emphasis, the prospects of success will remain poor.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Colombia, South America
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Israel this week launched missile attacks against Palestinian security targets in Gaza in retaliation for the bombing of a school bus carrying settlers. Tel Aviv and Washington have blamed Palestinian National Authority President Yasser Arafat for the current crisis, saying he could reduce the violence. In fact, the uprising is a spontaneous revolt against the terms of the Oslo peace process. Far from being undermined by the crisis, Arafat is using it to maximise his political and diplomatic position in the event that negotiations resume. The crisis marks a decisive shift in the Palestinians' conditions for peace with Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Delegates from 122 countries recently concluded an international agreement restricting the use of persistent organic pollutants. The agreement marks an important step towards eliminating the use of highly toxic and long-lived chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment. However, the significance of the accord extends well beyond its subject area: negotiators managed to find compromises on several issues that have bedevilled other international environmental agreements.
  • Topic: Security, Environment
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The recent increase in arrests on espionage charges and expansion of activity by Russia's security and intelligence agencies appears to be signalling a reversion to aggressive Cold War tactics. They are seeking to increase their political influence and appear to be testing the limits of the 'civilised' intelligence competition which has evolved in the last decade. While Moscow has the means and apparent will to intensify intelligence competition, its clumsy and outdated methods threaten the country's commercial interests and could harm broader foreign policy goals.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: United Nations peacekeeping forces are expected to deploy to the Lebanese-Israeli international border soon. Considerable diplomatic efforts have been required to win 'acceptance' of the border by Beirut and Tel Aviv, and thereby enable UN deployment to the area from which Israel withdrew nearly two months ago. The United Nations is likely to find it even more difficult to implement the other terms of its mandate.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: A recent meeting of Asian countries on how to combat increasingly violent pirates in the region follows landmark prosecutions of those involve, but years of half-hearted action by coastal states. The International Chamber of Commerce has already called on ASEAN trade bloc nations to join China and Japan in signing the 1988 UN Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (the Rome convention). It would allow pirates caught in seas beyond national maritime jurisdictions to be prosecuted as international criminals. However, 14 of the 16 countries at the Japanese-sponsored talks in Singapore last March have yet to sign. Findings will be presented to a high-level international conference between regional maritime security agencies and government shipping bodies in Tokyo this month.
  • Topic: Security, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Singapore
  • Author: first last
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The recent advances in the peace process have brought the possibility of a peace settlement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia closer. International mediation and support will be key for the successful completion of the process and the implementation of any peace agreements. The United States has expressed its interest in supporting peace, but considerations will continue to be dominated by anti-drugs and security issues. European cooperation will also be important. Despite the progress made so far, the pacification of the country remains a distant goal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, South America
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: European defence cooperation will be a key issue at this week's European Council (EC) summit. It looks likely that ministers will agree that Europe should move towards an autonomous military capability independent of NATO. However, significant problems remain before these plans can be realised in operational terms.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Russia's military operations in the North Caucasus have, so far, received broad domestic support and enhanced the popularity of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. This stands in contrast to the 1994-96 conflict. The difference can be explained by the successful characterisation of the enemy as terrorists combined with the low level of conscript casualties. Moscow politicians have united broadly behind the military strategy, with opposition limited to extreme reformist groups. Two key consequences emerge from this situation. Firstly, Putin's political future is tied to the continued success of the campaign. Secondly, the nationalist fervour sparked by the conflict has reduced international investor confidence and led to domestic calls for increased defence spending.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Trade and Finance, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The present incursion of Islamic rebels into Dagestan is not the prelude to a re-run of the Chechen war across the Russian periphery. However, it highlights Moscow's failure to adequately monitor developments in the North Caucasus region and the lack of military preparedness for dealing with internal rebellions. Despite the potential for increased violence, weak central government control is likely to prevail across the region, but only because for the majority of the local population, the alternatives appear even less palatable.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Caucasus
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Despite last week's crackdown on pro-reform demonstrations, there is still considerable momentum behind President Mohamed Khatami's political liberalisation drive. While the democratisation movement may have suffered a short-term setback and is likely to encounter further opposition from right-wing clerics, Khatami's reform coalition remains in place and is still likely to be buoyed by next year's parliamentary election results. Nonetheless, the president needs quickly to reassert his commitment to change in the run-up to the election.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East