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  • Author: Andrea Teti, Pamela Abbott, Munqith Dagher
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: With ISIS' influence declining, Iraq faces the challenge of rebuilding both its economy and its political system. • Amidst the devastation left by conflict, Iraq's political leaders have the opportunity to address the internal divisions which made ISIS possible. • Any post-conflict settlement must take into account the population's concerns and priorities. • Sectarian identity is less influential than commonly assumed in shaping people's political priorities: often more important are local conditions, particularly regarding security, the economy, and migration. • Ignoring popular priorities risks undermining post-ISIS attempts to build a stable country, with knock-on effects at a regional level.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Andrea Teti, Pamela Abbott
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: Data from the Arab Transformations public opinion survey provides strong indications about the nature of population movements from Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. As such they are crucial in designing responsive, evidence-based policy. ArabTrans data shows those who have considered migrating tend to be young, male, and with higher levels of education (the notable exception being Libya). In all countries surveyed, young people are more likely to have considered migrating; in nearly all countries the economy is the main driver of migration; and although a substantial portion of those considering migration think of a permanent move, large proportions are considering only temporary migration. This underscores the importance of economic policies which actually deliver inclusive growth and social cohesion. Two major conclusions can be drawn from this data: first, that the economic causes and strong temporary dimension of migration provide EU Member states with opportunities to reap the benefits of migration, both to the economy as a whole and to welfare systems in particular; second, that MENA countries of origin present significant internal differentiation suggesting policy should reflect specific national circumstances. The single major obstacle to public discussion and designing evidence-based policies which maximise the benefits of migration to both host countries and countries of origin is a political context which conflates and securitizes refugees and migrants. Paradoxically, the tone of this debate and the way policy is designed and implemented may have much to do with any socio-political polarisation of migrants in host countries
  • Topic: Migration, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Henstra, Jason Thistlethwaite
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Floods cause more property damage than any other hazard in Canada, and water-related losses now exceed fire and theft as the main source of property insurance claims. Public spending on flood relief has grown, and is projected to increase dramatically over the next decade, so governments have been changing their policies to reduce their financial exposure by shifting responsibility to homeowners. An implicit assumption of this policy shift is that individual homeowners must share greater responsibility for protecting their property by purchasing newly available flood insurance. Evidence is presented suggesting that consumer demand for flood insurance may be insufficient for economic viability. Low risk perception and a moral hazard created by government disaster assistance limit incentives for purchasing insurance.
  • Topic: Environment, International Security
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Santana Moisés
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The goal of this paper is to introduce the promotion of technology-based entrepreneurship as an engine for Mediterranean economic growth, with an emphasis on the role of entrepreneurs. Without avoiding or undermining current problems or challenges, this document takes a look at the Mediterranean Basin free of stereotypes and from a constructive viewpoint. Hence it applies to the Mediterranean the words spoken by Shimon Peres when he received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994: “A Middle East that is not a killing field but a field of creativity and growth.”
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marcin Przychodniak
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Reform of the Chinese armed forces gained new momentum under Xi Jinping in 2015. The main argument behind the strategy, structure, and equipment modernisation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the active defence of China’s global interests to strengthen its competitiveness with the United States. A short-term goal is to make the PLA operationally capable of projecting China’s power abroad constantly, using joint exercises, peacekeeping missions, and the development of military infrastructure. One recent example was opening of China’s first foreign military base in Djibouti. The PLA should also be capable of defending China’s territory and overseas interests by performing combat operations abroad. This means a possible change to the non-intervention clause that has until now been a crucial element of China’s foreign policy.
  • Topic: International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The referendum on the Kurdish secession ended in a victory for self-determination; Baghdad, Ankara, and Tehran move to take punitive actions.
  • Topic: International Security, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Kurdistan
  • Author: André Standing
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Conflicts of interest within Africa’s fisheries sector enable unsustainable exploitation by foreign fishing firms and undercut the political will needed to build more robust surveillance and prosecutorial capacity.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: George Perkovich
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In May 2017, negotiators at the United Nations introduced a draft convention to prohibit the possession of nuclear weapons, as a way to hasten progress toward eventual nuclear disarmament, as called for in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). All the nuclear-armed states except North Korea have boycotted the negotiations, along with many U.S. allies. Unfortunately, the good motives behind the treaty do not mean it will enhance international security, prevent nuclear proliferation, or facilitate actual nuclear disarmament. It may even have unintended consequences that make these goals harder to achieve. Yet there are steps that nuclear-armed states could take, perhaps nudged along by their allies, to help heal rifts that the proposed ban treaty has highlighted.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Yang Jiang, Aki Tonami, Adam Moe Fejerskov
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: China actively seeks to expand its overseas investment in critical infrastructure. This involvement makes host countries uneasy especially in the West, even though financial benefits sometimes override broader national interests and security issues. China’s attempts to invest in overseas critical infra- structure, defined as infrastructure closely related to sovereignty and national security, has become a sensitive issue to host country governments parti- cularly in the West. They fear that Chinese investment in nuclear and telecommunications infrastructures entails consequences for nuclear security and safety and information security respectively. This policy brief provides an overview of how various countries have received Chinese interest in nuclear power and telecommunications.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • Author: Margriet Drent, Anne Bakker, Dick Zandee
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The why, what & how of permanent structured cooperation The deteriorating security situation around Europe and the burgeoning messages from Washington that Europe has to take more responsibility for its own security call for a step change in European defence cooperation. So far, progress has been too slow. This policy brief argues that permanent structured cooperation (Pesco) offers the option to take a more ambitious and more productive route by member states willing to move forward more quickly, set more demanding objectives and commit themselves more strongly. This would end the well-known ‘voluntary basis’ which has often been used as an excuse for doing little or nothing at all.
  • Topic: International Relations, Terrorism, International Security, International Affairs, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: America, European Union
  • Author: Dick Zandee
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Belgium and the Netherlands work closely together in defence. Both countries for example have a combined naval command; they also have single schools and maintenance facilities for their M-frigates and minehunters. Yet, the Belgian and Dutch defence industries are quite different. This report, issued by the Armaments Industry European Research Group (Ares), compares the defence industrial policies of both countries. Clingendael senior research fellow Dick Zandee has contributed to the report by writing the sections on the Netherlands.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Belgium, Netherlands
  • Author: Yan Vaslavsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Vladimir Putin delivered his Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly at St. George’s Hall of the Great Kremlin Palace on December 1. The state-of-the- nation address is regarded as a major speech over a 12-month period. It usually recounts the progress and outlines national priorities and the development agenda for the near future. This format is not unique1, but it tends to command attention of the general public at home and abroad as well as of parliamentarians to whom, judging by its very name, it is addressed.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Senior researcher and research coordinator Flemming Splidsboel Hansen explores Russia’s Syria agenda as part of a DIIS initiative to understand the geopolitics of nonwestern intervention in Syria. The Kremlin presents Russia’s political and military involvement in Syria as an unconditional success. Its overall aim of putting Russia firmly back on the geopolitical map has been met. It is now clear that the key to any negotiated settlement to the conflict in Syria lies in Moscow. Moreover, Russia now seems to be close to a position where it may dictate the composition of the future Syrian regime and, not least, decide whether Syrian president Bashar al-Assad will remain in the presidential palace or be forced into exile. The costs of the military operations have been acceptable to the Russian public. Defence observers estimate that the first year of military operations cost the Russian armed forces 65 bn Rubles (approximately one bn USD) and some 20 deaths (combat and non-combat). The financial costs may be partially offset by increased future weapons sales. There is a high probability, however, that Russia will find itself embroiled in a complicated sectarian conflict in Syria from which there is no easy exit. This would test Russian public support for the military involvement in Syria. Already now Russian media comments suggest some degree of frustration over the alleged lack of fighting capacity and will on part of the Syrian armed forces. The Russian public may want to see a plan for an orderly exit from Syria, and this puts pressure on the Kremlin to deliver. However, the Syrian regime may not be able to survive without Russian military support, and Russian policy-makers may therefore soon be facing difficult choices.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Syria
  • Author: Halle Malmvig
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Senior researcher Helle Malmvig explores Israels’s Syria agenda as part of a DIIS initiative to understand the geopolitics of nonwestern intervention in Syria. Israel’s activities in Syria have not drawn much attention due to Israel’s official policy of neutrality. Yet, over the last couple of years, Israel has stepped up its operations in Syria, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah assets and providing quiet assistance to the rebels.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel, Syria
  • Author: Sanjin Hamidičević
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Centre For Security Studies
  • Abstract: The constitutional construction of Bosnia and Herzegovina created multiple police agencies and four judicial systems, which means that fifteen police agencies and the Intelligence- Security Agency of BiH could file a demand for telecommunication surveillance from 68 different courts. Even though the legal framework has been equalized, this complexity together with parliamentary oversight on multiple levels opens up penetration points for the misuse of telecommunication surveillance. In order to prevent eventual misuse, this paper recommends to decrease the number of courts that can issue warrants, create a coordination system for telecommunication surveillance between the police agencies and define guidelines for parliamentary oversight.
  • Topic: National Security, International Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek, Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the future political stability of Nineveh depends on a two-level normalisation. A potential agreement between competing local actors, such as Baghdad and Erbil, is not the only necessary condition to stabilise the area. It also requires that Turkey and Iran decide to desecuritise Nineveh to the extent that it ceases to play the role of a buffer zone in the Middle East regional security complex. This argument is underpinned by the close examination of Turkey’s and Iran’s involvement together with their respective local allies in Nineveh in the post-2014 period. Developments referring to the cases of Bashiqa, Shingal, Tal Afar, as well as activities in favour or against Mosul leaders’ post-Islamic State (IS) vision illustrate that Nineveh’s securitisation has transcended Iraq’s borders. All in all, Turkey and Iran are vying for greater influence in Nineveh, or at least attempting to ensure that it will not become a satellite area of a competing power. Partly through their direct diplomatic and military engagement, but most importantly through their military and economic support to their local allies, the two regional powers pursue their security and diplomatic goals. At the same time, their involvement in the area has compounded the friction between local actors. Accordingly, the paper argues that in order to avoid greater polarisation in Nineveh and prepare the ground for constructive negotiations in the post-IS environment, Turkey and Iran should work on institutionalising their relationship beyond trade. Working together on issues of security between them, but also specifically in Nineveh, would improve trust and confidence in their relationship and help overcome the catch-22.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey
  • Author: Hawraman Ali
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Iran and its opposition Kurdish groups have been involved in intermittent armed conflict for decades. Considering the new political realities of the region and the domination of US politics by the Republicans after the recent election, Iran should engage in dialogue with its Kurdish opposition parties.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran, Kurdistan
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Turkey is experiencing a crisis of orientation in its internal and external affairs as a result of a transition between a dying and an emerging vision. The end of the current transitional period will not necessarily mark the end of the country’s crisis, but most probably its entrenchment or deepening.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Nearly two years since the north side of Shingal was liberated from the Islamic State, most of the Yazidi population is still displaced. Yazidis are trapped between millstones of the competition of exogenous actors, such as the KDP, the PKK-linked forces, and Baghdad, over the control of the strategically important disputed territory of Shingal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll, Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This paper lays out three administrative options for the post-Islamic State governance of Nineveh and analyses the benefits and drawbacks related to each option. Despite minorities and international lobbying groups tied to the minorities favouring separate minority provinces, this paper argues against the formation of a Nineveh Plain province. A separate province would prevent efforts for reconciliation, is likely to induce new conflicts, and will ultimately not benefit minorities in the ways proponents of the plan claim. Similarly, the paper highlights that although decentralisation to the province through Law 21 could address a number of important issues, it would leave minorities in Nineveh too vulnerable to being marginalised and politically dominated by Sunnis. The main argument, and thus recommendation, of the paper is that the best available option for all components of Nineveh is the creation of a Nineveh federal region with entrenched power sharing and decentralisation within the region. This will provide the components of Nineveh with a political arena in which to address and overcome differences, while protecting minorities as well as Sunnis from being marginalised. Moreover, the creation of a region for Nineveh will have a stabilising effect on the wider Iraqi political system.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East