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  • Author: Kacper Rękawek
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although Central Asian states are vulnerable to the activities of radical Islamic organisations due to the weaknesses of their political and social systems—marked by authoritarianism, corruption, nepotism, and ethnic and religious tension, as well as their poor economic circumstances—interest in ISIS among their citizens remains low. These states so far also have not become an area of interest for ISIS, although that may change. When some people in these countries do leave for Syria and Iraq, their decision is not rooted just in poverty but also in social exclusion and poor religious education. At the same time, citizens of far more affluent and often far less authoritarian European and Middle Eastern countries travel in higher numbers to Syria to join ISIS. Nonetheless, a potential increase in the popularity of radical Islamist factions will not only be a problem for the five countries of the region, where the authorities will try to use the phenomenon to strengthen their special services and raise funds for border protection, but also for Russia, especially since people from Central Asia are mainly recruited to ISIS on Russian territory and traverse it to reach the battlefields. Russia, therefore, will continue to support its neighbours in the fight against such organisations by helping to strengthen border control, support for local special services and by CSTO Rapid Reaction Forces. The European Union and the United States should offer not only intelligence support and assistance in protecting these borders against this threat but also economic programmes and development assistance that can be used to decrease the factors that may contribute to the radicalisation of those living in Central Asia.
  • Author: Borta Górka-Winter
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After more than a decade of international military assistance in Afghanistan, the newly created Afghan National Security Forces are still facing several daunting challenges, including the need to stabilise a still volatile security situation and sustain a sufficient level of manpower. The latter, in particular, may prove to be extremely difficult, as statistics show that the ranks of the Afghan National Army (ANA) are shrinking dramatically. On the one hand, many independent assessments show that the ANA has reached a high level of maturity and efficiency in combating the insurgency (as demonstrated by the ANA recently when parliament was attacked by the Taliban). Moreover, the armed forces also receive a level of social support unprecedented in the modern history of Afghanistan. On the other hand, the unstable political situation, a potential loss of financial support from donors, and the re-emergence of militias that, under the command of warlords, act as parallel security forces in Afghanistan, may result in the progressive disintegration of the ANA, depriving it of the strong mandate given to it by the Afghan population.
  • Author: John Todd, Nina Graeger
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU and NATO share a common interest in responding effectively to threats posed by Russia in the east and by Islamic extremist to the south of Europe. However, bilateral issues and the pursuit of national interests, especially those involving Cyprus and Turkey, as well as a general lack of strategic convergence have limited the effectiveness of both organisations’ crisis-management capabilities. In times of a deteriorating security environment these limitations will be even more detrimental for Euro-Atlantic security. Poland and Norway, participants in both the EU and NATO missions and two principal countries of the GoodGov project are well positioned to break this institutional deadlock.
  • Author: Patryk Toporowski
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The economic crisis led the eurozone to become a more deeply integrated area. The redesign of its institutional architecture significantly changes the perception of the costs and benefits of the membership of the zone. In this regard, the Central and Eastern European countries (CEE) are reassessing the effects of eurozone accession, by reviewing the set of arguments for and against further integration. The overall result of this review is still in favour of further integration, but successful accession requires comprehensive preparations from the candidates.
  • Author: Piotr Plewa
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Over the course of the last 50 years, migration to the United States has transformed from European to Latin American, and predominantly Mexican. Increased legal migration from Latin America has been coupled with increased unauthorised entries from the region. The major challenges facing U.S. policymakers concern their ability to prevent unauthorised entries and the repatriation or integration of those already in the country. With decreased legal and unauthorised immigration rates, Poland has lost the potential to affect U.S. migration policymaking. Hence, it is worthwhile to assess whether the limited benefits stemming from visa-free travel to the U.S. would justify the increase in invested political capital required to secure one of Poland’s traditional foreign policy goals.
  • Author: Dylan O'Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Recently, Turkey and the U.S. signed an agreement for Turkey to join the coalition’s fight against the Islamic State (IS, a.k.a. ISIS/ISIL). As part of this agreement an IS-free zone will be created in Syria, but it is not clear yet whether this will encroach on the territory of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main Kurdish armed group operating in Syria. The YPG has been one of the most successful forces on the ground in the fight against IS and despite the changing dynamics it still remains important. However, Turkey’s entry into the battle will lead to every aspect of the YPG being reassessed, as Turkey deems it to be a terrorist organisation. Nonetheless, the YPG still has a significant role to play and abandoning it now could lead to the situation in Syria becoming even more complex.
  • Author: Marcin Terlikowski, Pernille Rieker
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Recently, Turkey and the U.S. signed an agreement for Turkey to join the coalition’s fight against the Islamic State (IS, a.k.a. ISIS/ISIL). As part of this agreement an IS-free zone will be created in Syria, but it is not clear yet whether this will encroach on the territory of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main Kurdish armed group operating in Syria. The YPG has been one of the most successful forces on the ground in the fight against IS and despite the changing dynamics it still remains important. However, Turkey’s entry into the battle will lead to every aspect of the YPG being reassessed, as Turkey deems it to be a terrorist organisation. Nonetheless, the YPG still has a significant role to play and abandoning it now could lead to the situation in Syria becoming even more complex.
  • Author: Pinar Elman
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Turkey’s decision to open Incirlik airbase to the anti-IS coalition could offer a significant advantage in the fight against the Islamic State, including cutting it off from outside supplies, and changing the regional parameters. However, statements from the U.S. and Turkey still contradict each other, and their divergent priorities could hamper their operational capacity. Turkey’s contribution to the coalition may potentially reduce cooperation between the U.S. and the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the anti-IS zone. In addition, the absence of a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the domestic polarisation provide a permissible environment for potential provocations that may escalate the violence in Turkey, potentially diminishing its contribution. The U.S. and Turkey still have to overcome their differences in order to become effective coalition partners
  • Author: Konrad Zasztowt
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although it happens rarely, national governments, including those of EU countries, do sometimes hire foreign experts. In Ukraine, employing Georgians from former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration seems to be a logical move. His presidency’s biggest successes were the establishment of well-functioning police and an efficient fight against corruption, something both of which Ukraine badly needs. Other foreigners, including renowned experts such as Ukrainian American Natalie Jaresko and Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavičius, responsible for economic recovery, may be successful but face extremely difficult tasks. As all these figures are affiliated with the West in one way or another, their failure would be interpreted by pro-Kremlin media as a collapse of President Petro Poroshenko’s policies (perceived by Russia as a Western project).
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics, Governance, Self Determination, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Susanne Droge, Thomas Spencer, Alexandra Deprez, Liz Gallagher, Artur Gradziuk, Andrei Marcu, Sebastian Oberthur
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Prior to the Paris Climate Conference each country is to submit an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) – a vision of the country’s efforts to tackle climate change. The EU’s submission is very clear in its goal to reduce greenhouse gases emissions by 40% by 2030, but it leaves room for defining precisely how the Union plans to achieve this target. The European INDC also lacks specifics on the adaptation and climate finance, thus putting at risk the EU’s ability to build a more ambitious coalition in support of the Paris Agreement. Also important for the Union is to hammer out plans for adjusting its domestic policy processes to regular five-year review cycles.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements, Budget, European Union
  • Political Geography: Global Focus