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  • Author: Margaret MacMillan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: A century ago this autumn the first battle of the Marne ended Germany's attempt to crush France and its ally Britain quickly. In that one battle alone the French lost 80,000 dead and the Germans approximately the same. By comparison, 47,000 Americans died in the whole of the Vietnam War and 4,800 coalition troops in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In August and September 1914 Europe, the most powerful and prosperous part of the world, had begun the process of destroying itself. A minor crisis in its troubled backyard of the Balkans had escalated with terrifying speed to create an all-out war between the powers. 1 'Again and ever I thank God for the Atlantic Ocean,' wrote Walter Page, the American ambassador in London; and in Washington his president, Woodrow Wilson, agreed.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iraq, America, Europe, Washington, France, London, Vietnam, Germany, Balkans, Atlantic Ocean
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In the Middle East today there are armed groups that have no respect for the humanitarian imperative. What challenges does this present to the Red Cross? I see two key challenges. The first one is very basic. We want to maintain a very close relationship with people affected by conflict, and access these days is more complex because we are in a very polarized environment. Look at the Iraq front–the problem is not new but it is exacerbated. The second issue is to be able to engage governments and non-state armed groups on a very pragmatic basis on issues related to people under their control. That normally works rather well. What I have found more complex these days is to engage them on issues related to international humanitarian law and the Geneva conventions.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Islam
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Hayder al-Khoei
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani emerged as one of the most powerful men in Iraq. Sistani was already known to Shia Muslims worldwide as the somewhat reticent leader of the religious establishment in Najaf. The fall of the Ba'ath regime thrust him on to the national and international stage.
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Gerard Russell
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Iraq is being denuded of its ancient communities, and both it and the world are the poorer for it. As the jihadists of Islamic State try to entrench their rule, it is an open question whether Iraq's religious minorities will survive, and if so, how they can be protected. There is another, deeper question, however. How did Iraq come to have so much religious diversity in the first place, and what does this this say about the type of Islam that prevailed there until the 21st century?
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Mikael Oez
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: If you want to hear the language spoken by Christ, all you need to do is to take a short bus ride from Stockholm to the town of Södertälje. There you will find thousands of Syriac Christians speaking Aramaic as it was spoken in the time of Jesus.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Martin Chulov
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Lines in the sand are blown away
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Jane Kinninmont
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Syria's civil war is exacerbating tension between Iraqi factions
  • Topic: Security, Government, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Author: Lee Marsden
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: US foreign policy in the first decade of the twenty-first century has been dominated by religion in a way that would not have seemed possible for most of the second half of the twentieth. Al-Qaeda's attack on the United States in September 2001, the subsequent US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the upsurge in Islamist militancy and the populist overthrow of despotic US allies in the Middle East all focus attention on the importance of religious actors. For much of this period academic interest has centred on radical Islam and the attempts by western governments, and the United States in particular, to contain Islamism through embarking on the global 'war on terror' in its various manifestations, and supporting pro-western despots in the Middle East. While there has also been much interest in the emergence of elements of the Christian right as foreign policy actors, until recently insufficient attention has been paid to the increasing role played by religious organizations in the delivery of US foreign policy objectives. American faith-based International Relations (IR) scholars and political scientists have successfully agitated for an increased religious dimension to foreign policy, in particular in the areas of diplomacy and overseas assistance and development. While such an emphasis is designed to further US foreign policy interests, this article argues that such a policy can be counter productive where these religious actors pursue sectarian rather than secular objectives. Using faith-based initiatives supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as a case-study, the article highlights the potential dangers of faith-based foreign policy approaches.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Travis Sharp
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The United States has entered a period of strategic change. After spending more than a decade fighting a global counterterrorism campaign and two ground wars, it now faces shifting security challenges. The United States has killed Osama bin Laden and decimated the core leadership of Al-Qaeda and like-minded groups in Pakistan, but regional Al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and the Horn of Africa have taken the lead in planning and attempting terrorist attacks. American troops have left Iraq and are leaving Afghanistan, but 15,000–30,000 may remain in Afghanistan after 2014 to train Afghan forces and strike terrorist cells. Iran continues to pursue the ability to produce nuclear weapons rapidly should its supreme leader decide to do so, further destabilizing a Middle East region shaken by the Arab Spring. China continues to invest heavily in military modernization, raising sharp concerns among its neighbours. North Korea may continue to lash out militarily as its new leader Kim Jong Un seeks to demonstrate control. Last but certainly not least, the global economy remains fragile, the American economic recovery has stagnated, and US policy-makers have responded to rapidly growing American debt by reducing government spending in numerous areas, including defence. The size of these budget cuts may increase substantially in the months ahead.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, China, Iraq, Middle East, North Korea, Yemen
  • Author: Trevor Mccrisken
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Just a month after entering office, US President Barack Obama spoke at the US Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. His remarks focused on his plans to 'responsibly' end the war in Iraq and to deepen the commitment of the United States to the fight against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. One of the key motifs that Obama used in his speech was that of 'sacrifice'—the need for all Americans to continue the age-old tradition of paying a price for the freedoms they enjoy. As he told the audience of US Marines: 'The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. You know because you have seen those sacrifices. You have lived them. And we all honor them.' He then characterized this notion of sacrifice for one's country as being part of a long tradition that was responsible for the very existence of the United States and an essential guarantor of its domestic freedom:
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Taliban, North Carolina
  • Author: Abir Awad
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The vibrant media scene in two war-torn countries faces challenges
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Nigel Biggar
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: It is uncontroversial that the invasion and occupation of Iraq involved the following errors: the misinterpretation of intelligence; the underestimation of the number of troops requisite for law and order; the disbanding of the Iraqi army; and indiscriminate debaathification of the civil service. The first error was one of imagination rather than virtue; the others were caused by 'callousness', impatience, and consequent imprudence. These vices were partly responsible for massive civilian casualties, which many wrongly assume to teach the fundamentally erroneous character of the invasion. Nonetheless, we should beware such moral flaws in tomorrow's policy-makers and renounce the managerial mentality that fosters them. Another lesson is that, in so far as nation-rebuilding requires substantial and long-term commitments, it must command the support of the nation-builder's domestic electorate; and to do that, it must be able to justify itself in terms of the national interest. From this we should not infer the further lesson that morality's reach into foreign policy is limited, since, according to Thomist ethics, the pursuit of the national interest can itself be moral. Finally, one lesson that we should not learn from Iraq is never again to violate the letter of international law and intervene militarily in a sovereign state without Security Council authorization. The law's authority can be undermined as much by the UN's failure to enforce it, as by states taking it into their own hands. It is seriously problematic that the current international legal system denies the right of individual states to use military force unilaterally except in self-defence, while reserving the enforcement of international law to a body, whose capacity to act is hamstrung by the right of veto. Given this situation, military intervention without Security Council authorization could be morally justified on certain conditions.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Robert Foley, Stuart Griffin, Helen McCartney
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: While the US and British armies have proved adept at fighting high-intensity conflict, their initial performance against asymmetric threats and diffuse insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrated how much each army had to learn about conducting counterinsurgency operations. This article examines one important means by which the US and British armies have transformed themselves into more flexible and responsive organizations that are able to harness innovation at the front effectively. It traces the development of the lessons-learned systems in both armies from the start of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq to today. Reform of US and British army learning capabilities offers an important insight into the drivers of military change.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Robert Egnell
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article analyses the conduct of British operations in Helmand between 2006 and 2010 and discusses the implications for the legacy and future of British counterinsurgency. A number of lessons stand out: first, competence in the field of counterinsurgency is neither natural nor innate through regimental tradition or historical experience. The slow adaptation in Helmand—despite the opportunity to allow the Basra experience to be a leading example of the need for serious changes in training and mindset—is an indication that the expertise British forces developed in past operations is but a distant folktale within the British Armed Forces. Substantially changed training, painful relearning of counterinsurgency principles and changed mindsets are therefore necessary to avoid repeated early failures in the future. Moreover, despite eventually adapting tactically to the situation and task in Helmand, the British Armed Forces proved inadequate in dealing with the task assigned to them for two key reasons. First, the resources of the British military are simply too small for dealing with large-scale complex engagements such as those in Helmand or southern Iraq. Second, the over-arching comprehensive approach, and especially the civilian lines of operations that underpinned Britain's historical successes with counterinsurgency, are today missing.
  • Topic: Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Britain, Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Author: Stuart Griffin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have had profound effects on both the British and US militaries. Among the most important is the way in which they have challenged traditional assumptions about the character of unconventional conflict and the role of the military within comprehensive strategies for encouraging sustainable peace. In the UK, the most important doctrinal response has been JDP 3-40 Security and Stabilisation: the military contribution. Security and Stabilisation is an ambitious attempt to synthesize elements of counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, peace support and state-building within a single doctrine that reflects the lessons learned from recent British operational experience. This article examines the purpose, impact and potential value of this important innovation in British doctrine. To do so, the article explores the genesis of Stabilization; analyses its impact upon extant British doctrine for counterinsurgency and peace support; discusses its relationship with the most important related US doctrines, FM 3-24: the counterinsurgency field manual and FM 3-07: the stability operations field manual; and debates the function of doctrine more broadly. It concludes by summarizing the primary challenges Security and Stabilisation must overcome if it is to make a serious contribution to the theory and practice of such complex interventions.
  • Topic: Security, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, United Kingdom
  • Author: Trevor Taylor
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The numerical and functional prominence of armed and unarmed contractors on deployed operations has attracted analysis from a range of perspectives, as this collection of works illustrates. In addition to studies which seek to explain the growth in private security contractors' activities in terms of governmental needs, the books examined here consider the possible regulation of this sector and implications for the fundamentals of both national and international political systems. There are also works that throw light on the supply side, looking at the driving personalities behind the growth of Blackwater and the backgrounds of individual contractors. The review also includes an analytical framework for classifying different areas of contractor activities. The books include a range of research approaches and it is clear that the evolving political and managerial reasoning behind the outsourcing of security functions in general means that debate in this area will continue.
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: David Fisher, Nigel Biggar
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article is based on a debate held on 22 March 2011 at Chatham House on 'Was Iraq an unjust war?' David Fisher argues that the war fully failed to meet any of the just war criteria. By contrast, current coalition operations in Libya are, so far, just. This is a humanitarian operation undertaken to halt a humanitarian catastrophe that is taking place, with wide international support, including authorization by the UN Security Council. Nigel Biggar argues that the fact that the invasion and occupation of Iraq suffered from grave errors, some of them morally culpable, does not yet establish its overall injustice. All wars are morally flawed, even just ones. Further, even if the invasion were illegal, that need not make it immoral. Regarding Libya, Biggar notes the recurrence of conflict over the interpretation of international law. He wonders how those who distinguish sharply between protecting civilians and regime change imagine that dissident civilians are to be 'kept' safe while Qadhafi remains in power. Against those who clamour for a clear exitstrategy, he counsels agility, while urging sensitivity to the limits of our power. What was right to begin may become imprudent to continue.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Libya
  • Author: H.A. Hellyer
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Middle East and North African region has been a focus of interest for a very long time. For many decades in the more recent past it has been the hub of key political issues, controversies and crises; much further back in history, the civilizations, states and empires recognized worldwide as the earliest known to humanity were established in this region. Where Iraq lies today, Mesopotamia, considered by many to be the cradle of human civilization, gave rise to the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians; elsewhere in the region the ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians rose to power and widespread influence.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Toby Dodge
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article examines Fred Halliday's research and writing on the politics of the Middle East. It classifies Halliday as a 'high modernist', who organized his work around a constant commitment to a universal rationality, historical progress and an opposition to relativism and a particularist reading of the Middle East. The article identifies the two dominant units of analysis that shaped Halliday's work on the region throughout his life. These were the transformative capacity of capitalism and the role of a comparatively autonomous state. The article then examines how the content of each unit was transformed as Halliday moved from an overt Marxism to a more diffuse liberalism. It then goes on to argue that Halliday's ideological affinities and his deployment of these units marginalized the role and importance of ideology, specifically both nationalism and Islamism. Finally, it traces the influence of this approach and the deployment of these units in Halliday's work on Iran, Iraq and the Arab–Israeli conflict
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia