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  • Author: Ross Eventon
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: At its core, the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan is an attempt to establish a client regime supported by a military operation to pacify resistance. In May 2012, the Obama administration took a major step towards consolidating its war aims and signed the Enduring Partnership Agreement with President Karzai, which ensures a U.S. military presence for at least a decade after 2014. It is clear from this agreement, the previous memorandums on detention and night raids, and the continuing development of U.S. mega-bases in the country that 2014 is far from a “withdrawal” date.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Mariano Aguirre
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The debate about the Iranian nuclear programme has heated up over recent months, with the danger that the situation could get out of control and violence may erupt. Currently, the main threatis an escalation of violence between Iran and the U.S. Strategically, an attack will further decrease U.S. legitimacy in a region already in turmoil and will isolate Israel even further. The consequencesof these processes are both serious and unpredictable.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Frans-Paul van der Putten
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: This paper provides a brief overview of current developments relevant to Sino-U.S. security relations, and to China's involvement in regional security issues, in East and South-East Asia. The most fundamental challenge with regard to regional stability is how the roles of China and the United States in the Asia Pacific can be reconciled. While the U.S. is concerned that a rising China will eventually push American influence out of East and South-East Asia, China in turn fears that the U.S. will try to retain its leadership role by exploiting and amplifying tensions between the Chinese and their neighbours. Currently the Sino-U.S. rivalry is threatening unity within ASEAN, which poses an immediate risk for regional stability. A substantial improvement in regional stability – whether in South-East or in East Asia – is unlikely unless the U.S. and China manage to stabilise their bilateral relationship. It is important for all interested parties, inside Asia but also outside (including in Europe), to contribute to a move away from a scenario in which regional stability continues to deteriorate, and in the direction of a scenario that involves a cooperative arrangement between China and the U.S. in a stable multilateral setting.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, East Asia, Australia/Pacific, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Øystein Rolandsen, Jacob Høigilt
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The Sudan has gone through two harrowing civil wars since its independence in 1956. Foreign interference and assistance prolonged these, but external involvement has also been vital in Sudanese peace processes. This was the case with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), the main rebel group, which was signed on 9 January 2005. The peace process that culminated in that agreement was led and hosted by the neighbouring countries through the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with support from further afield, in particular the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and Norway. These countries have now intensified their involvement in discussions of post-CPA arrangements. The CPA process will have momentous consequences also for Egypt, as thus for Sudanese-Egyptian relations. It is therefore important that Egypt have a clear policy towards, and a constructive engagement in, deliberations over the Sudan's future.
  • Topic: Civil War, Democratization, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Sudan, Egypt
  • Author: Lisa Wedeen
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The issue of state fragility and the presence of radical religious movements in Yemen have occasioned misperceptions and confusions in recent debates about the country. This report argues that the language of “failed states” arises nearly exclusively in relation to countries deemed threatening to US security interests. Moreover, this language obscures rather than reveals how regime incentives to build state institutions can be incompatible with regime interests in survival. The result is that a seemingly neutral analytical category misrepresents local realities even while it is used as a warrant for policy initiatives that are likely to be counterproductive.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Terrorism, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Henry Siegman
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank seems to have finally locked in the permanence of Israel's colonial project. Israel has crossed the threshold from the Middle East's only democracy to the only “apartheid regime” in the Western world. But outside intervention may offer the last hope for a reversal of the settlement enterprise and the achievement of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Since the US is no longer the likely agent of that intervention, it is up to the Europeans and to the Palestinians themselves to fashion the path to self-determination in the occupied territories. Essential to the success of these efforts is setting aright the chronic imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians. If left to their own devices – including, as some have proposed, to reconcile their conflicting historical “narratives” – the further usurpation of Palestinian lands, and the disappearance of the two-state option, is all but ensured.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Matthews
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Pakistan's cooperation is crucial to the success of the current US and Nato strategy in Afghanistan. Yet the Pakistani military not only has misgivings about the Nato surge but also its own agenda. Central to the discord is the military's view of the Afghan Taliban as assets to counter rival India's spreading Afghan footprint. The military views the US surge and the 18-month timeframe as acts of desperation by the Obama administration – as well as a vindication of Pakistan's strategy of keeping its options open through a “selective counter-insurgency approach”. Thus, there is little indication that Pakistan is willing to undertake campaigns against militants in the tribal areas. Or play the role of anvil to the US hammer along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
  • Topic: NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, South Asia
  • Author: Augusto Varas
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Significant changes have taken place in the distribution of political power in Latin American countries over the past decade, at both national and hemispheric level. A growing trend toward trans-regionalisation is evident in the political and trade relations of these countries. Changes in regional power dynamics have been further hastened as Latin American countries have distanced themselves from the United States. Moreover, the weakness of US hemispheric policy, resulting from the loss of strategic regional influence, has been compounded by the political and ideological changes in Latin America over the past decade.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Globalization, Political Economy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Henry Siegman
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Failed bilateral talks over these past 16 years have shown that a Middle East peace accord can never be reached by the parties themselves. Israeli governments believe they can defy international condemnation of their illegal colonial project in the West Bank because they can count on the US to oppose international sanctions.
  • Topic: Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland