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  • Author: Luba von Hauff
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The security risks of post-Soviet Central Asia are pronounced and therefore pres- ent on the agendas of most international actors, including the US, Russia, and China. The EU is also concerned, although it has hitherto not been known for political success in the region, especially in terms of security. Indeed, the EU’s approach to the region – oriented toward transformation, liberalization, and de- mocratization – has been largely labeled a failure, with minimal impact and prog- ress. Against this background, this article will review and discuss the nature of the threats to Central Asia’s security, establish the extent of the EU’s actual “failure” by examining the distinct characteristics of the EU’s security approach, and, finally, reflect on how European policy can have an impact on the local security situation in the future.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Author: Tenzin Dorjee
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
  • Abstract: Contrary to a perception—fueled by Chinese propaganda during the 2008 Tibetan uprising that the Tibetan struggle is heading toward extremism—this study shows that the movement for Tibetan freedom has since the 1950s moved toward a tighter embrace of nonviolent resistance. The study traces this evolution, analyzing the central themes, purposes, challenges, strategies, tactics and impacts of three major Tibetan uprisings over the past six decades. Tibetans are now waging a quiet, slow-building nonviolent movement, centered on strengthening the Tibetan national and cultural fabric via what the author refers to as “transformative resistance.” This is happening in an immensely repressive political environment, which shows that there is a way to mobilize people power against even one of the most ruthless regimes in the world.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Tibet
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: In June 2014, The Soufan Group (TSG) released its initial Foreign Fighters in Syria report, which identified approximately 12,000 foreign fighters from 81 countries. Nearly eighteen months later, despite sustained international effort to contain the Islamic State and stem the flow of militants traveling to Syria, the number of foreign fighters has more than doubled. Based on its own investigation, TSG has calculated that between 27,000 and 31,000 people have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State and other violent Salafist groups from at least 86 countries. This increase is evidence that efforts to contain the flow of foreign recruits to the Islamic State and other extremist groups in Syria have had limited impact.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Syria’s nearly four year civil war took a dramatic new turn this month as the United States and its coalition partners began bombing militants from the Islamic State group (formerly know as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jubhat al-Nusra. The U.S. intervention opens up profound uncertainties about the objective and targets of the military action, the responses of the dizzying array of actors on the ground, and the potential for escalation. In December 2013, POMEPS published “The Political Science of Syria’s War,” a collection of original essays by many of the top civil wars and insurgencies scholars, which helped to place the Syrian war into a broad theoretical and comparative perspective. This new collection of articles originally published on “The Monkey Cage” explores the evolution of the conflict, the nature of the Islamic State, and key debates about Syria’s horrific war.
  • Topic: War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Iraq’s long-simmering political conflicts and violence erupted in June with the stunning capture of Mosul and advances toward Baghdad by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The collapse of the Iraqi army and the rapid seizure of territory by ISIS took most observers by surprise, but the crisis had been developing for years. This POMEPS Briefing collects more than a dozen recent articles by academics writing for The Monkey Cage and other leading online publications that explore both the immediate crisis and its underlying causes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan occupied a dominant political position not too long ago. In June 2011, his Justice and Development Party (AKP) won nearly 60 percent of the seats in parliament while expanding its lead over its closest competitor. Turkey seemed well primed to take advantage of the Arab uprisings, with its independent foreign policy and criticism of Israel playing well with Arab audiences. Erdogan even seemed keen to find a resolution to the long-running struggle with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and reconcile with the country’s Kurdish citizens. Those days seem distant indeed. For at least the last six months, Erdogan has struggled to respond to sustained popular protests, a growing corruption scandal, a stalled peace process with the PKK, a deeply unpopular and ineffective Syria policy, and dissent from within his own party. How did Erdogan’s fortunes reverse so quickly? Are his problems primarily the natural decay of a leader too long in power or do they speak to deeper problems with his party’s ideology or the foundations of Turkish democracy? The 14 deeply researched and analytically powerful Foreign Policy Middle East Channel essays collected in this POMEPS Briefing go deeply into the origins, dynamics, and likely implications of Turkey’s new political scene.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey