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  • Author: Daniel W. Dresner
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The 2008 financial crisis dramatically worsened the fiscal future of the United States. In the first five years of the Great Recession, the debt-to-gross domestic product ratio of the United States more than doubled, and multiple bond-ratings agencies downgraded U.S. federal government debt. The inevitable debate in Washington is where and how much to cut federal spending. The national security budget is a natural target for fiscal conservatives. Their logic is clear-cut: defense and war expenditures are not the primary culprits for the parlous fiscal state of the United States, but they acted as accessories. For the 2013 fiscal year, the U.S. federal government has budgeted more than $685 billion in defense expenditures. Tacking on budgeting for intelligence and nuclear forces raises that figure to more than $725 billion. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down and al-Qaida's top leadership decimated, the security threats to the United States have also declined. At the same time, the country possesses an unparalleled lead in defense assets and expenditures. Given its unchallenged military supremacy, targeting cuts toward defense spending after a decade of dramatic budgetary increases is a natural ambition.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Washington
  • Author: Keir A. Lieber, Daryl G. Press
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: For the last two decades, U.S. leaders have focused on the possibility of nuclear terrorism as a serious threat to the United States. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, those fears grew even more acute. In his State of the Union Address four months after the attacks, President George W. Bush warned a worried nation that rogue states “could provide [weapons of mass destruction] to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.” Both Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice amplified the president's warning in order to justify the war against Iraq. According to Rice, “Terrorists might acquire such weapons from [Saddam Hussein's] regime, to mount a future attack far beyond the scale of 9/11. This terrible prospect could not be ignored or wished away.” Such fears continue to shape policy debates today: in particular, advocates of bombing Iran's nuclear facilities often justify a strike based on the idea that Iran might give nu-clear weapons to terrorist groups. Even President Barack Obama, who as a senator opposed the war against Iraq, declared, “The American people face no greater or more urgent danger than a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon.” For U.S. leaders, the sum of all fears is that an enemy might give nuclear weapons to terrorists. But are those fears well founded?
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Iran
  • Author: Megan Johnson
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: From Kabul to Baghdad and Back, written by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm, and John K. Wood, chronicles the conflicts that the United States undertook in Afghanistan and Iraq following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This book sets out to discuss the strategic and operational actions the United States took in its efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, paying close attention to the critical decisions that wentinto planning each of the combat operations and how those decisions affected the outcomes in each of the respective campaigns. Methodically researched and well written, the authors provide in-depth analysis and valuable insight into the complex nature of fighting a two-front war. While the book is not a complete or all-inclusive study of the successes and failures of America’s decade-long war, the authors present a clear analysis of how conducting a two-front war affected the outcomes in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Their premise is that much would have been different in America’s war in Afghanistan had the choice not been made to simultaneously go to war with Iraq. This book is full of great detail and covers a topic that is massive in scope and complexity, giving the reader much to absorb and ponder. The layout of the book, however, makes it more manageable with each chapter broken down further by subtitles. The selected bibliography and extensive footnoting of the book are valuable assets and ensure the reader access to a plethora of additional resources.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Bradley Martin
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In Hybrid Warfare, military historians Williamson Murray and Peter Mansoor edit a volume that seeks to define and discuss the history of hybrid warfare, the idea that conflict includes combinations of conventional and irregular forces. Williamson Murray is a well-regarded military historian who serves as Professor Emeritus at Ohio State University and has completed voluminous works involving military transformation, military adaptation, and grand strategy. Peter Mansoor is a highly respected scholar who currently serves as the Raymond E. Mason Chair in Military History at Ohio State University and also a retired Army Colonel who served as the Executive Officer to General David Petraeus in Iraq. The book presents in depth cases studies, while also providing lessons learned that should be applied to future conflict. The contributors to the volume come from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities and include retired military officers, independent researchers, and academics.
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Bruce E. Stanley
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Spencer C. Tucker is currently a senior fellow in military history at ABC-CLIO Publishing in Santa Barbara, California. Dr. Tucker has written or edited over 30 books and encyclopedias focusing on military and naval history and is the senior editor for the two-volume encyclopedia US Leadership in Wartime: Clashes, Controversy, and Compromise. Tucker, along with ten assistant editors and a vast array of scholars, presents a comprehensive account of United States leadership in war from the American Revolution to the latest conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Jesse Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Some countries do not have effective domestic sovereignty. In these "weak states," the central government lacks the will or capacity to enforce contracts, punish criminals, or deter terrorists in all parts of the internationally recognized territory. Kimberly Marten's new book, Warlords: Strongâ?Arm Brokers in Weak States, chronicles how order is subcontracted. Marten defines warlords as "individuals who control small pieces of territory using a combination of force and patronage" and who "rule in defiance of genuine state sovereignty but through the complicity of state leaders" (p. 3). What exactly is meant by "complicity of state leaders" varies substantially by context, but at base, Marten employs an extended delegation metaphor: "the principal actor (the state) relies on an agent (the warlord) to fulfill assigned tasks" (p. 30). The empirical chapters then take the reader on a sweeping tour of the peripheries of Iraq, Russia, Georgia, and Pakistan. Warlords demonstrates that in all of these places, state officials can be either hoodwinked or coerced into letting charismatic local authorities build their own invisible patronage networks. Though the theoretical insights are neither new nor controversial to students of comparative politics, the particulars of why resources are funneled to local violence entrepreneurs at the periphery of empire make for a compelling read.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, Iraq, Georgia
  • Author: Rein Müllerson
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Although the sub-title of the book indicates that the authors are not going to deal with all the legal issues arising in the context of a 'privatization' of warfare, the book, and not only the first chapter by Eugenio Cusumano on the policy prospects of regulating private military and security companies (PMSCs), throws its net wider than the title suggests. And rightly so. The privatization of warfare is a consequence and an element of the post-Cold War triumph of capitalism, and especially its neo-liberal advocates' tendency to privatize and deregulate all and everything. It is not by chance that PMSCs have mushroomed in the heartland of neoliberalism – the USA – faithfully followed by its Anglo-Saxon brethren on this side of the Atlantic. As the book specifies, in 2009 there were approximately 119,706 Department of Defense contractors in Iraq, compared with about 134,571 uniformed personnel. The authors accept the privatization of various functions of the state, including its 'monopoly of violence', to be almost inevitable. Nevertheless, they call for stronger and tighter regulation of the status and functions of PMSCs and control over their activities. They also show that though often new norms may be needed, in many cases existing laws, and their stricter and sometimes more creative application, may serve the purpose. The book concludes that 'many private military and security companies are operating in a “gray zone”, which is not defined at all, or at the very least not clearly defined, by international legal norms'.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: James I. Matray
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This article describes the events surrounding the Second North Korean nuclear crisis that began in October 2002. It focuses attention particularly on identifying the reasons President George W. Bush decided to abandon the Agreed Framework of October 1994, as well as questioning the validity of his claim that Pyongyang's development of a Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) program justified the initiation of this confrontation. The article begins with a description of the factors that explain the Bush administration's adoption of "Hawk Engagement" as a strategy to achieve regime change in North Korea. It then covers the ongoing efforts to end the crisis, tracing negotiations at the Six-Party Talks beginning in August 2003 in Beijing. The article presents evidence to substantiate the judgment that Bush's hardline advisors were responsible for implementing a militant and aggressive policy that, rather than toppling Kim Jong Il's government, strained relations with South Korea, elevated the status of China in East Asia, and forced North Korea to expand its nuclear weapons program as an act of self-defense.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Korea
  • Author: Denise Natali
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the contentious Iraqi political arena, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is pressing ahead with its ambitious agenda for economic development and greater autonomy. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) continues to negotiate large-scale energy deals with foreign governments and international oil companies (IOCs), expand its commercial and investment interests, and assure internal stability by controlling the use of force within its borders. Economic opportunities have encouraged political cooperation with regional states, especially Turkey, while reaffirming shared border security commitments. The KRG not only has become Ankara's key—if not only—regional ally, but its partner in checking the Kurdistan Worker's Party (Partiye Karkaren Kurdistane-PKK) and its expanding trans-border affiliates. Yet, the Kurdistan Region's particular condition as a quasi-state also makes it a political spoiler, or a potential one. In the absence of external sovereignty, the region thrives on international recognition, external patronage, and a weak central Iraqi government to advance its nationalist ambitions. While these features of quasi-statehood help affirm the KRG's autonomy, they challenge the Iraqi government's own state-rebuilding efforts that seek to consolidate its authority and territorial integrity. Additionally, the region's landlocked position and absence of an independent revenue source leave it highly dependent upon Baghdad and regional states for its economic and political survival. These geopolitical and financial realities may encourage deal-making to secure Kurdish interests or the status quo in Iraq; however, they can also source conflict within and across Kurdish nationalist communities beyond Iraq's borders
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Baghdad, Kurdistan
  • Author: Elizabeth Bishop
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: Citizens of the Arab Middle East have taken part in a wave of democracy movements; in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia at least, their protests have resulted in regime change. Drawing on Michel Foucault's personal experiences in one of these countries, and informed by his concept of “biopolitics,” this essay connects Egyptians' current liberation struggle with their earlier revolution in 1952, in order to compare these experiences with Iraqis' 1958 Tammuz revolution. Were new social media as important, as the level of funding dedicated to the military? And what is the role of diplomacy in a revolutionary moment?
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Libya, Egypt
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Relations between Turkey and Northern Iraq have evolved at a breathtaking pace, with Turkish policies currently bolstering the KRG's drift towards independence, a prospect considered unthinkable in Ankara only a few years ago. Energy politics is an important component of this puzzle, but Ankara's strategic choice can only be understood against the backdrop of Iraq's deepening sectarianisation, the unfolding civil war in Syria and the dynamics in Turkey's own Kurdish question. The Turkish government is pursuing a high risk/high gain strategy. A more democratic Turkey, in partnership with the KRG, would be best placed to hedge against the centrifugal sectarian trends afflicting its southern neighbours. It is far more likely that Turkey will win its gamble with the support of the European Union.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: James Clad
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: IN LATE April 2003, I rode in an open car down Baghdad's wide-open airport highway. U.S. Army and Marine units had seized the city just two weeks before, at the end of a short invasion. I had come to Iraq for a few months, detailed to the White House from another agency, and I was heading that morning to Basra, the southern city occupied by the British Army. At the airport, I climbed into a C-130, an old model of the transport workhorse with just a few tiny windows. We were heading for a first official visit to the British zone, traveling with the retired U.S. Army general Jay Garner, the three-star commanding the occupation authority called the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA). When taking the job, Garner expected that his ad hoc occupation entity, and its anodyne acronym, would disappear in three months or less, leaving the Iraqis to rule themselves. It was not to be. As a dazzling dawn broke over Mesopotamia, Garner already had become the invasion's first political casualty, the terms of his engagement rewritten back in Washington, changed from “rapid departure” to “indefinite stay.” From my marginal place, I saw Garner working hard at what needed doing, predicated on our need to get out of Iraq almost as quickly as we had arrived.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Mesopotamia
  • Author: Brian Fishman
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Al-qa`ida's operation in Syria is both its most dangerous and dysfunctional. Al-Qa`ida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri's rebuke of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in which he ordered it to focus solely on Iraq and defer authority in Syria to Jabhat al-Nusra (JN), is evidence that terrorist groups can still pose a significant threat even when plagued by internal divisions.1 Moreover, despite al-Qa`ida's internal strife in Syria, the context in which it operates is deeply advantageous compared to other environments, including Iraq.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Author: Jeff D. Colgan
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: What roles do oil and energy play in international conflict? In public debates, the issue often provokes significant controversy. Critics of the two U.S.-led wars against Iraq (in 1991 and 2003) charged that they traded "blood for oil," and that they formed a part of an American neo-imperialist agenda to control oil in the Middle East. The U.S. government, on the other hand, explicitly denied that the wars were about oil, especially in 2003. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld argued that the war "has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil," a theme echoed by White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Gregory L. Schulte
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: After a decade of war in afghanistan and Iraq, the Obama administration has adopted a new defense strategy that recognizes the need to limit our strategic ends in an era of increasing limits on our military means.1 the strategy calls for armed forces capable of conducting a broad range of missions, in a full range of contingencies, and in a global context that is increasingly complex. It calls for doing so with a smaller defense budget. Opportunities for savings come from reducing the ability to fight two regional conflicts simultaneously and from not sizing the force to conduct prolonged, large-scale stability operations. Seemingly missing from the new defense strategy are the types of wars we fought in afghanistan and Iraq. Both started with forcible changes in regime – the armed ouster of the taliban and Saddam Hussein from their positions of power. In each case, the rapid removal of leadership was followed by lengthy counterinsurgency operations to bring security to the population and build up a new government. the duration and difficulty of these operations and their cost in deaths, destruction, and debt were not understood at their outset.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Author: Malkanthi Hettiarachchi
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: The liberation tigers of tamil ealam (ltte), sometimes referred to as the tamil tigers, or simply the tigers, was a separatist militant organization based in northern Sri lanka. It was founded in May 1976 by Prabhakaran and waged a violent secessionist and nationalist campaign to create an independent state in the north and east of Sri lanka for the tamil people. this campaign evolved into the Sri lankan Civil War.1 the tigers were considered one of the most ruthless insurgent and terrorist organisations in the world.2 they were vanquished by the Sri lankan armed forces in May 2009. 3 In order to rehabilitate the 11,6644 tigers who had surrendered or been taken captive, Sri lanka developed a multifaceted program to engage and transform the violent attitudes and behaviours of the tiger leaders, members and collaborators. 5 Since the end of the ltte's three-decade campaign of insurgency and terrorism, there has not been a single act of terrorism in the country. Many attribute Sri lanka's post-conflict stability to the success of the insurgent and terrorist rehabilitation program.
  • Topic: War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Stuart W. Bowen, JR., Craig Collier
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: From 2004-2012, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) conducted 387 inspections and audits of U.S.-funded projects and programs that supported stabilization and reconstruction operations in Iraq. Most of SIGIR's reviews focused on large-scale projects or programs. In a recent special report, SIGIR accomplished a novel study examining a particular part of the rebuilding effort. That report reviewed the remarkably diverse spectrum of programs and projects executed in a crucial geographic area in Iraq, the Rusafa Political district, delving into who built what and at what cost. The nature of this new report opens the door to deeper perspectives on what was actually achieved – and how it was achieved–by various U.S. government agencies operating during operation Iraqi Freedom (oIF). SIGIR elicited seven lessons-learned from the study, which conclude this article.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Kirk Talbott, John Waugh, Douglas Batson
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Burma wavers on the cusp of a transition from conflict, plunder, and risk towards peace and a more open, stable society. A half-century of armed warfare, largely financed by the rapid exploitation of high-value natural resources, may be coming to an end in mainland Southeast Asia's largest nation. The use and extraction of environmental assets will continue, however, to determine Burma's political and economic future. Unfortunately, natural resources too often play a perverse role in preventing needed reforms in countries emerging from protracted conflict. In an era of fiscal constraint, "sequestration," and a decade of Iraq and Afghanistan nation-building fatigue, how can the U.S. best aid Burma's transformation? The on-the-ground situations in Burma, namely, ethnic conflicts, land grabs, internally displaced persons, each undergirded by a deep distrust of the central government, are as varied as they are fluid. U.S. foreign policy issues regarding the nation also known as Myanmar, beginning with that nation's toponym,2 are so complex as to defy the Interagency and Tactical Conflict Assessment Frameworks, respectively vaunted by U.S. government civilian agencies and military services.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma
  • Author: James Dobbins
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Last summer, in response to a directive from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, the Joint Staff issued a short summary of lessons learned from the past decade of military operations. The document, entitled Decade of War, Volume 1 frankly and cogently acknowledges mistakes made over this period, and particularly during the first half of the decade, that is to say between the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 and the surge of troops into Iraq in early 2007. Among the admitted deficiencies were the failure to adequately grasp the operating environment, a reliance on conventional tactics to fight unconventional enemies, an inability to articulate a convincing public narrative, and poor interagency coordination. The document is testimony to the capacity of the American military for self-criticism and eventual correction, albeit not always in time to avoid costly setbacks.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: What lessons have you personally drawn from the decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan? Blair: The decade of war is really two decades of war–from the time the Cold War ended in about 1989 through the disappearance of the Soviet threat and the involvement of the United States in a series of individual military actions. What I've learned is that we need to do a better job thinking these conflicts all the way through before we engage in them. Because it turns out that we are relearning an old lesson, which is the use of military force is only a part of improving a situation and protecting American interests in a particular country or region. Too often, we think that a military victory itself will cause the desired result. In fact many other factors come in to play; economic development, social development, government improvement. These are not accomplished by the U.S. alone, and certainly not by American military force alone, but often with allies and other partners, and with other civilian capabilities. I think we have not thought them through carefully as to the end state that we are trying to achieve. Next we need to be realistic about the resources that are required; military, civil, and other. I'm afraid these are old lessons that need to be relearned, not new lessons, but they certainly have been borne out as some of the shortcomings of the interventions we have made in recent years. I would add, by the way, that I am not one who says our military interventions since 1989 have all been disasters. I think on the whole they have made the world a better place; bad people who were around then aren't around now, from Manuel Noriega to Saddam Hussein through Slobodan Milosevic and others; so it is not that our military interventions have been wasted. On the contrary–but we need to make sure that we get the maximum possible benefit from them and intervene in a smart way.
  • Topic: Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq