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  • 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: Dlawer Ala’Aldeen
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East is still in flux and will remain so for some time, it will possibly be another decade before the ultimate power balance is reached. Policy makers of Iraq and the KRI who wish to pursue paths of their own design, must look carefully at the trends in power dynamics and the policies of the global and regional powers before designing their strategies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Zachary Gallant
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The shift of United States (US) foreign policy from a heavy international focus with traditional alliances over the past century to the anti-globalist administration promised by President-elect Donald Trump will necessarily upset longstanding regional relations in the Middle East and North Africa. This Policy Paper discusses some of the Trump administration’s most likely foreign policy advisers and their positions on Kurdish self-governance, as well as those of some previous policymakers whose legacies he will be unable to escape.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Maisie Cook
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: With the liberation of Mosul fast becoming a reality, attention is turning to post-IS dynamics. Without sufficient deradicalisation policies, including within the education system, the narrative of the Islamic State will lie dormant or transform, creating the potential for another extremist group to emerge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Education, Radicalization, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • 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: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Nearly thirteen years since the beginning of one of the largest programmes for post-conflict reconstruction, Iraq finds itself again in need of international financial assistance, but the conditions are hardly the same. This time the role of the international community should be matched by the Iraqi political leadership taking responsibility for the country and all of its population.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The fight against the Islamic State (IS) has caused a ‘rallying around the flag’ effect amongst Iraqi Kurds. Once IS is defeated key political and economic issues long neglected in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) will come to the fore. Thus, it is imperative they are addressed now, as failure to make inroads will have dire consequences for the KRI.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Geopolitics, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Donald Trump, the next President of the United States, will soon be confronted with the difficulty of translating campaign rhetoric regarding his foreign policy in the Middle East into policy and positive outcomes. He is thus likely to be forced to make significant concessions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Hashd al-Shaabi launched an offensive on Tal Afar on 29 October; the looming recapture of Tal Afar prompted a strong reaction from Turkey, which maintains ties to the Turkmen population there. Tal Afar is thus yet another flashpoint of competing interests between Ankara, Erbil, Baghdad, and Tehran and can possibly further destabilise the situation in Nineveh.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • 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
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Islamic State (IS) has not only surprised everyone with its cruelty but also by proving to be one of the world’s richest terrorist organisations. Now that its economic gains are draining due to military setbacks and financial strains, IS-held territories are increasingly struggling through economic hurdles – the challenge ahead is to link military interventions against IS with concrete economic plans.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: When the Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, came into power in 2014 he promised to end the politics of dominance that was largely responsible for the rise of Islamic State (IS). Yet, with the military defeat of IS in Iraq imminent, Sunnis are still being marginalised and until this ends, the foundations of IS will remain within the society.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Political Power Sharing, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Dlawer Ala’Aldeen
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The roadmap to independence starts from home and ends at home. A fragmented and unstable Kurdistan Region is neither good for the stability of the Kurdistan Region nor for Iraq or the rest of the Middle East. Institutionalisation of national unity and promotion of good governance are a key priority in every country of the Middle East, and even more so for an emerging one like the Kurdistan Region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: There is the opportunity for the rebirth of Mosul and Nineveh, as well as for Iraq, but without a valid plan in place for the liberation of Mosul, that includes the formation of political agreements and huge post-conflict efforts of reconstruction, reconciliation and de-radicalisation, it will be a stillbirth rather than the beginning of a new and promising life.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This report is a contribution to the public debate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) about crucial aspects of the current economic crisis and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) immediate response. In addition, it looks at the impact of four different policy options, such as a.) independence b.) rapprochement with Baghdad c.) macro-financing from International Stakeholders and d.) macro-financial assistance from Regional Stakeholders, may have in averting an economic meltdown in the short-term, on the assumption that the oil prices will remain suppressed for the foreseeable future. This report argues that it is only when the economic meltdown is averted in the short-term that the KRG will be able to proceed with deep structural reforms in the public sector and start working on the diversification of the economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Aram Mahmood
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The current policy of salary reductions might have been the only available emergency measure for the KRG to counter its empty treasury. However, continuing the current policy, focusing on a single sector of the economy is an unsuitable response to the on-going financial crisis and is likely to significantly dampen and delay recovery.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The MERI Economic Forum 2016 is the first of its kind to be held in Iraq or the Kurdistan Region. Iraq and the KRI, at the time of the forum in April 2016, were in the midst of a severe financial and economic crisis and searching for ways to move away from the rentier-state economic model to restructure and grow the economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Bojan Elek, Milena Milosevic, Stevo Muk
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Evidence shows that progress in democracy and rule of law reforms in the region, albeit different across countries, is slow. Even when it has been achieved, progress has generally been more technical rather than directly focusing on politically sensitive issues.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Law, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Predrag Petrovic
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Before the special Law on Private Security was adopted in November 2013, the private security industry had been operating in a legal vacuum for 20 years. The analysis of the implementation of this Law was conducted by the BCSP Executive Director Predrag Petrovic.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Serbia
  • Author: Andrej Stefanovic, Bojan Elek, Katarina Djokic, Sofija Mandić
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This national study on monitoring and evaluation of the rule of law in Serbia reflects on the development in the areas Political criteria, Chapter 23 and 24 from the acquis, for the period after the 2015 Country Report by the European Commission. The purpose of this policy study is to assess the trends in the areas under analysis in Serbia.
  • Topic: International Law, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Serbia
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: Azerbaijan’s tradition in the business of oil and gas started in the 1800’s with the involvement of international oil companies and thanks to the fossil-energy Azerbaijan turned to be one of the world ́s biggest oil producers. Taking into consideration the current status in the country, the Energy Union could provide to Azerbaijan a position of stability and security through the implementation of all 5 policy areas that the EU suggests (supply security, a fully-integrated internal market, energy efficiency, climate action-emision reduction and research and innovation)
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Azerbaijan
  • Author: Adam Baron
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After years of conflict Yemen is on the verge of absolute collapse. Institutions across the country are falling apart, while a plethora of armed groups have taken advantage of the power vacuum to claim leadership over key territories, leading to even greater fragmentation of the country. The conflict, and the accompanying Saudi-led intervention, has brought about the Middle East's most severe humanitarian crisis, with 86 percent of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. Yemen is facing a lost generation, as hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children grow up without an education or enough food to eat. The EU and its member states have a moral and strategic interest in ending the conflict. Failure to act could result in Yemen becoming a new hub for globally oriented terror groups, and could spur a new wave of refugees into Europe. The EU should make the most of its comparatively neutral position in Yemen to pave the way for post-conflict stabilisation and reach out to groups that have, to date, been marginalised in the ongoing peace process. The EU can complement UN efforts and may be faced with the responsibility of filling in for an increasingly isolationist United States.
  • Topic: War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Yemen
  • Author: Mark Galeotti
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since 2014, Russia has mounted an extensive, aggressive, and multi-platform attempt to use its military and the threat of force as instruments of coercive diplomacy, intended to divide, distract, and deter Europe from challenging Russia’s activities in its immediate neighbourhood. The main elements are threats of potential military action, wargames which pointedly simulate such operations, the deployment of combat units in ways which also convey a political message, and intrusions close to and into European airspace, waters and even territory. The actual impact of these policies is varied, sometimes counter-productive, and they depend on coordination with other means of diplomacy and influence. But they have nonetheless contributed to a fragmentation of unity within both NATO and the European Union. ‘Heavy metal diplomacy’ is likely to continue for the immediate future. This requires a sharper sense on the part of the EU and its member states of what is a truly military move and what is political, a refusal to rise to the bait, and yet a display of convincing unity and cross-platform capacity when a response is required.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Asli Aydıntaşbaş
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With the European Parliament decision to “freeze” accession talks, Turkey’s decades-long engagement with Europe is in crisis. In 2016 Turkey-EU relations took a step forward, with a historic deal on refugee resettlement, but also a step back, with a sweeping crackdown in the wake of the failed 15 July coup and global criticism of Turkey’s human rights situation. Instead of populism and resentment, both Europe and Turkey need to develop “strategic patience” to anchor Turkey to Europe. Turkey’s history has been an ebb and flow between Westernisation and nativist reaction. It is important for the EU to think long-term about Turkey. One way to bypass the current impasse might be to offer Ankara an upgraded customs union, with political benchmarks for market access. Despite tensions, Turkey and the European Council should think about their shared interests and high degree of integration to avert a “train-wreck”.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Mathieu Duchâtel, François Godement
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In September 2016, Russia held joint naval manoeuvres in the South China Sea with China, bringing some of its best ships to the party. Two weeks later, China shied away from joining Russia in a veto of yet another Western resolution on Syria at the UN. The discrepancy sums up the extent and the limits of the strategic convergence between both countries. The “axis of convenience” between China and Russia has, without question, grown larger. And the positive dynamics pushing cooperation forward are largely economic. But there is also a negative dynamic, coming from the West. Both countries have a perception of regime insecurity that emerges from the international promotion of democracy, and the attractiveness of corruption-free and comparably safe Western societies for individuals, be they Chinese or Russian.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Hugh Lovatt
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The adoption and streamlining of differentiation measures represents a unique and effective European contribution towards Israeli-Palestinian peace at a time in which the Middle East Peace Process in its current configuration has failed. Differentiation disincentives Israel’s illegal acquisition of territory and re-affirms the territorial basis of a two-state solution. It also feeds an Israeli debate over national priorities by framing the negative consequences that Israel will face in its bilateral relations if it continues its annexation of Palestinian territory. Despite Israeli efforts to erode consensus within the EU, differentiation continues to receive broad support among member states. EU officials must allow the correct, full, and effective implementation of existing legislation and policy positions relating to Israeli settlements European entities engaging in financial activity with Israeli settlements – even indirectly – could face serious legal, financial and reputational risks. The EU and its member states should offer more advice on the consequences of doing business with settlement-related entities.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Israel
  • Author: Mathieu Duchâtel
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: International terrorism has emerged in recent years as a direct threat to Chinese nationals living overseas. As China's footprint becomes increasingly global its exposure to the risk of terror attacks has increased too. China’s approach to international terrorism is becoming militarised. This trend has the potential to accelerate if Chinese nationals are victims of new attacks overseas. Although China is an active and responsible player in the UN with clearly expressed priorities and an interest in protecting its citizens overseas, it is not taking a strong role in leading and shaping the UN’s counter-terrorism agenda. The EU should take stock of the ongoing transformation of China’s approach to explore a modest upgrade of its current policy of cautious engagement. When engaging with China the EU should make clear that an overly politicised approach will be an obstacle to cooperation, and be upfront in setting the conditions of cooperation. The EU should not underestimate what China has to offer but shouldn't make big compromises either.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Anthony Dworkin
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In recent years, several EU member states have launched military operations against terrorist groups overseas, but have given little apparent thought to the risks that these operations involve. Military action is only likely to succeed against terrorist groups when it is matched by a political solution on the ground. Otherwise it will be ineffective in reducing the threat of terrorism and may even be counterproductive. European countries are at risk of setting damaging legal precedents for the expansive use of force if they do not articulate clearer standards for when attacking terrorists overseas is permissible, both outside and within armed conflict. There has been an unnoticed convergence in the military practice of European countries and the US. Both are conducting operations that mix attempts to recapture ground from armed groups with direct counter-terrorist strikes. Even though ISIS is now on the defensive, the threat of jihadist groups in regions surrounding Europe will persist. EU member states should develop tighter guidelines for deciding when military force should be used against them.
  • Topic: International Security, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gustav Gressel
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In November 2013, the people of Ukraine assembled en masse in Kyiv’s Maidan square. They were protesting President Viktor Yanukovych’s failure to sign Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU. The Maidan uprising sent Ukrainian politics into chaos. It began a chain of events that led to the Russian annexation of Crimea and to the ongoing war in the Donbas. And it changed the political leadership and set Ukraine on the rocky road to reform. Effective reform has long eluded Ukraine, in part because reform there isn’t just about improving the transparency of the state apparatus. It often also involves a complete overhaul of state processes. Ukraine was one of the most “Sovietised” republics in the USSR, and has carried forward many of its worst organisational characteristics. Reform in Ukraine is effectively “de-Sovietisation”. Ukraine’s reform efforts have made some progress over the last two years. Reforms are ongoing in almost every arm of the state, including in the media, even as Ukraine has had to deal with a challenge to its territorial integrity and Russian aggression within its internationally recognised borders.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The United States is retreating from the Middle East. The adverse implications of this policy shift are manifold, including: the acceleration of Tehran’s drive to regional hegemony, the palpable risk of regional nuclear proliferation following the JCPOA, the spread of jihadist Islam, and Russia’s growing penetration of the region. Manifest US weakness is also bound to have ripple effects far beyond the Middle East, as global players question the value of partnership with an irresolute Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Lucia Najšlová
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: At a time when the Visegrad Group (V4) is becoming a more ambitious regional bloc, several policymakers and analysts have floated the idea of deepening a dialogue with Turkey, a country of tremendous importance for the EU, and one that is enjoying unprecedented interest of policymakers, business circles and publics at large.2 Perhaps this should not come as a surprise – although the V4’s approach to the refugee crisis left some Western EU leaders questioning whether accepting the Eastern Europeans in the 2004 enlargement was a mistake – the V4 has a track-record of constructive engagement in the EU neighborhoods, and consistent support for further enlargement, including Turkey’s accession.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Thanos Dokos
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: ELIAMEP Policy Paper 26/2016 deals with the Eastern Mediterranean in 2020. It is edited by Director General of the Foundation Dr Thanos Dokos. The policy paper employs scenarios and includes policy recommendations. Findings are based on a conference organised by ELIAMEP and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) in Athens on “The Eastern Mediterranean in 2020: Possible Scenarios and Policy Recommendations” . The conference was organised in cooperation with the EU Institute for Security Studies (EU-ISS) and with the support of NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division.
  • Topic: Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: M Shteiwi
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Studies (CSS)
  • Abstract: For Europe, 2015 was the year of the biggest migration and refugee crisis in the European Union’s history. Around 1.5 million asylum seekers arrived in Europe (0.2% of the combined EU population) in 2015, most of them Syrian refugees. More than 4 million Syrians have fled their country since the onset of the conflict in 2011. According to the Syrian Regional Refugee Response, there are 639,000 UNHCR registered refugees in Jordan (8% of the population), 1 million in Lebanon (17%), 2.7 million in Turkey (3.5%), 246,000 in Iraq (0.7%), and 118,000 in Egypt (0.1%). Many other Syrians living in those countries have not been registered by UNHCR. In addition, 7.5 million are estimated to be internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Syria itself. These are only the numbers directly related to the Syrian conflict. Iraqi, Sudanese, Somali, Palestinian, Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees are also registered in the aforementioned countries. Between 1998 and 2003 unauthorised entries by sea into Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain had stabilised, except for 2011 due to the Arab Spring (Fargues, 2015), but in 2015 the numbers increased dramatically, as shown in this pape
  • Topic: Diaspora, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Awni Taimeh
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Studies (CSS)
  • Abstract: Food security is very vital and a complex issue that depends on many interrelated and dynamic factors. Its complexity is attributed to the strong connectivity of the global, re- gional and national drivers and their interactions. Moreover, the boundaries between the global, region, and national levels, and their impacts are not strict. The growing world population and the disproportional expansion of land resources to feed the growing number of people gives the national food security an international dimension with great pressure on countries with poor resilient economy and their ability to coup with the risk associated with these global dynamics.
  • Topic: Food Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The military coup attempt that unfolded in Turkey on the night of 15 July 2016 was successfully put down by popular protests across the country responding to President Erdogan’s calls for citizens to stand for democracy. Despite this, the coup attempt will have domestic, regional and international implications. This policy brief is a preliminary analysis of the reasons the coup failed, the paths Turkish politics may take after this coup and the regional and international reactions to the coup.
  • Topic: International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: After two meetings between Turkey’s President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu in the span of less than a week, Davutoglu announced his resignation as head of government and head of the AKP party on 5 May 2016. This policy brief examines the key points of contention between Erdogan and Davutoglu, the republic’s governmental crisis, the impact of Davutoglu’s resignation on the Justice and Development (AKP) Party and the possibility of constitutional reform that will change the country’s system of governance.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Power Sharing, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines developments regarding resolution of the Syrian issue, particularly in light of three key events: Russia’s announcement of a withdrawal, Geneva III talks and the opposition’s latest announcement that they wanted the talks to cease given increasing aggression on civilian areas. For the opposition belonging to the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Assad cannot have a role in Syria’s political future, particularly given that his regime and its allies is responsible for 95 per cent of the casualties in the country, far exceeding any other actors in Syria, including the Islamic State organisation.(1) This policy brief looks at the outcomes of the third round of Geneva III, what Russia has gained from its intervention and so-called withdrawal, and argues that any future proposals for Syria which maintain Assad’s position will result in continuation of fighting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Andrea Charron
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada’s use of sanctions is little studied which means the full scope and effect of this tool are not appreciated. Until 2006, Canada applied sanctions in support of the United Nations almost exclusively. Since then, Canada has also applied discretionary sanctions in support of allies such as the European Union and United States’ measures in addition to those required by the UN Security Council. Lacking extraterritorial reach and with this new tendency to layer sanctions (applying UN and additional measures) requires the navigation of multiple pieces of Canadian legislation. Banks and private companies, which are largely responsible for giving effect to Canada’s sanctions, must navigate this legislation. This has ensnared a few Canadians in the process with little evidence that Canada’s application of sanctions is compelling its targets (people, companies, and states) to change their behaviour. Canada’s application of sanctions is a signal of its desire to support multilateral, collective security efforts – nothing more or less.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can use this week’s Washington Summit to advance Canadian interests with the Obama Administration. Successful outcomes in Washington will also help to set both the agenda and right mood for the upcoming North American Leaders Summit and, next January, for opening discussions with the next U.S. Administration. A Canadian action agenda is outlined below followed by background and historical analysis. Specific initiatives are grouped in four baskets: Security; Trade and Economic; Climate and the North; and Getting It Done.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Canada
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Wednesday, June 29th, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will host US President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for the tenth North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS). All three leaders want this meeting to succeed. For President Obama, it will advance his climate agenda continentally and help to cement his legacy in managing good neighbourhood relations. Climate also rates high in President Peña Nieto’s agenda, along with improving access for Mexican goods and mobility for Mexicans within North America. In terms of Canada-Mexico relations, President Peña Nieto expects Prime Minister Trudeau to announce the lifting of the obnoxious Canadian visa requirement. For Prime Minister Trudeau, making his debut as host of a multilateral summit, it is another demonstration that ‘Canada is back’. He must reset the Mexican relationship by announcing the long-promised lifting of the visa. He will get to know Enrique Peña Nieto better (they met briefly at November’s G20 summit and they were friendly ‘rivals’ for ‘APEC ‘hottie’ at the subsequent Manila summit). The summit represents another opportunity for ‘face-time’ with Barack Obama with whom he has quickly established a strong personal friendship and to reciprocate the hospitality of the White House meetings and state dinner in March. The North American summit comes within a week of the Brexit referendum. It will offer an opportunity for the three leaders to demonstrate a different kind of continental integration – less centralized, less bureaucratic – but still successful in mutually advancing economic prosperity that reinforces the sovereignty of each member.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Canada
  • Author: Chris Westdal
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada and Russia are on speaking terms again. Our government has abandoned Stephen Harper’s policy of vocal disdain and the attempted isolation of Russia. We stand against Russian “interference” in Ukraine but, in the words of Global Affairs Minister, Stephane Dion, “the more we disagree, the more we have to discuss.” This paper describes the setting of Canada-Russia re-engagement in terms of current tension in East-West, NATO-Russia relations and of heightened Canadian foreign policy aspiration; rehearses the case for earnest, long-term Western and Canadian engagement, with investment of senior attention and talent; cautions that, though a bit of spring has sprung, there is a lot of ice to thaw, as bilateral sanctions are likely to be lifted only in step with allies and the implementation, halting at best, of the Minsk peace plan; assesses Russia’s vulnerabilities and the record of its interventions in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria; recommends active Canadian support, by all means, for Ukrainian-Russian reconciliation and for a better fence, a “mending wall” between Russia and NATO; and suggests formats and first steps toward the normalization of bilateral and multilateral relations with our Arctic neighbour.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Canada
  • Author: James Milner
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees has been a prominent policy priority of the Liberal government since the October 2015 elections. This paper asks how Canada can build from its resettlement accomplishments in the context of three upcoming events: the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on 19 September 2016; US President Obama’s Summit on 20 September 2016; and Canada’s likely accession to Chair of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in October 2016. Given that these opportunities coincide with a need for substantial reform of the UN’s refugee system and Canada’s desire to re-engage with the United Nations System, the paper argues that the Government of Canada should prioritise three areas of leadership in the next two years: sharing its model for private sponsorship of refugee resettlement; championing the implementation of the new Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework in pilot countries; and leading a consultation process to make international cooperation for refugees more predictable. Leadership in these areas will contribute to a more efficient and effective refugee regime. It will also demonstrate Canada’s recommitment to multilateralism and advance Canada’s foreign policy objectives, including its bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
  • Topic: Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Thomas Juneau
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The proposed $15 billion sale of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia has brought significant attention – mostly negative – to Canada’s partnership with the Arabian Peninsula kingdom. Much of this criticism is valid: the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is abysmal, and Canada and its allies incur costs by being associated with Riyadh’s poor foreign policy choices. But to stop the analysis here and call for the cancelling of the deal fails to take into account the strategic rationale underlying the relationship with Saudi Arabia. Despite its many flaws, the partnership between Saudi Arabia and West, and therefore Canada, remains necessary; rejecting it and turning Saudi Arabia into a rival would make things worse. An important implication is that the best way forward with regards to the LAV deal is to collectively hold our nose, uphold the agreement, and move on.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Canada, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: John M Weekes
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the significance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for Canada. It situates the Agreement in the changing environment within which global commerce is conducted. It considers the prospects for TPP ratification, generally, in the US and Canada. It looks at the nature of the TPP as an agreement. It discusses the impacts on Canada in particular in the growing Asia Pacific region. Finally, it suggests options should TPP not be ratified in a timely fashion by the United States.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Energy, the environment, and climate change will figure prominently in Canada-US relations after January 20, 2017. The environmental movement will continue to press for ‘environmental justice’ –which means different things to different groups - in alignment with allies, especially indigenous peoples. Regardless of whether it is a Clinton or Trump presidency, Canadian leadership - provincial, federal, and private sector - must pro-actively advance our interests with Congress, the Administration and its agencies, and with state governments. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump plan to spend a lot of money on infrastructure, including that related to energy. US business likes this idea. A majority of Republicans and Democrats, in both the Senate and House, as well as governors, would like more money devoted to infrastructure. Again, there will be opportunities for collaboration, improving North America’s relative competitiveness. Trade figured prominently throughout the campaign with Hillary Clinton stating that she would not accept the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in its current form and would appoint a ‘Trade Prosecutor’. Donald Trump has declared he will “tear up” the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and not sign the TPP. Regardless of who becomes president, we can expect more US protectionist trade action whether aimed directly at Canada - levies on softwood lumber are coming soon - or indirectly, as we recently experienced on aluminum when the US took aim at China.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Canada
  • Author: Eric Miller
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: With a majority government and a different world view than his predecessor, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is re-making Canada’s foreign policy priorities and approaches. This paper offers some suggested approaches for engagement with Latin America. In the area of trade, the paper recommends seeking associate membership in the Pacific Alliance while continuing to strengthen linkages with Mexico within the North American commercial policy framework. It also suggests exploring the scope of what is possible with countries with which Canada does not have free trade agreements, especially Brazil and Ecuador. On the security front, the paper suggests that Canada needs a strategy for the Colombian peace process and to step up support to Mexico in strengthening the integrity of the southern border of North America. With regards to foreign policy, Canada needs a serious strategy for the new Cuba and needs to expand its diplomatic representation, namely in Paraguay and Bolivia. Finally, on the institution-building front Canada needs to secure senior positions at the Inter-American Development Bank and Organization of American States in order to help to drive institutional reform. Canada further needs a coherent strategy to attract in-bound foreign investment from Latin America. The region is rich with possibilities and a coherent engagement strategy can deliver much.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada, Latin America
  • Author: Stephen Blank
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The global economy can be viewed today as a myriad of border-crossing supply chain networks of production, supply, distribution and marketing systems. Given the enormous value embodied in these systems, and an environment increasingly characterized by uncertainty and vulnerability, it is not surprising that concern about supply chain security has intensified. Concern takes many forms. For example, how supply chains might be used as vehicles for criminal activity (smuggling, trafficking of narcotics and importing counterfeit goods) or acts of terrorism (radio-active materials, bombs, even nukes in containers). Technology-based threats to supply chains, such as cybercrimes, data breaches and IT failures, now appear more frequently in the literature on supply chain security. These threats could result in substantial disruption to supply chains and damage to companies and their customers. But larger storms are brewing, whose menace to supply chain security is greater still – and where actions to protect supply chains move more slowly. These include the continued deterioration of transportation infrastructure, a new posture on trade which views supply chains as threats to jobs and wages, and the impact of climate change. These threats do not lie off in the distant future; they are threats of today and tomorrow.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Divina Frau-Meigs, Lee Hibbard
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Children and young people are increasingly reliant on the Internet for their everyday lives. They communicate, share and collaborate online; use it to learn and play; and recognize its importance for their adult working lives. Considering their increasing access, agency and autonomy in using content and services, their protection as a vulnerable group needs to be coupled with their education as emerging citizens to ensure they develop a healthy and positive relationship regarding the Internet. Their general well-being, participation in society and prospects of employment greatly depend on media and information literacy (MIL) as the new set of basic skills for the twenty- rst century, where computational thinking interfaces with the rich and diverse “cultures of information” (news, data, documents, codes and so on). This paper examines education and its digital transition, mindful of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. It discusses a variety of perspectives and trends, arguing that the future of education should be part of the global debate on Internet governance. It posits that Internet governance offers a new form of legitimacy for children and young people to go beyond their current “protected” status. Active participation in Internet governance can empower them to become actors in policy deliberations. This can be achieved by developing a “frontier” eld integrating existing Internet studies with MIL, rede ned to comprise Internet governance principles, protocols and processes. This new eld can be integrated into the school curriculum as a key discipline. Such a digital transition from education 2.0 (where information and communication technology [ICT] are support tools) to education 3.0 (where MIL and Internet governance are the new basics) can provide children with competencies for cooperation, creativity and social innovation. It can also nurture their human rights and understanding of shared values, which, in turn, will help to build more inclusive societies. As a global resource managed in the public interest, the Internet depends not only on policy makers and decision makers, but also on education leaders, on the adults around children and, most importantly, on children themselves. Mindful of children’s cognitive development, cultural differences in the conceptualization of childhood and children’s exposure to all sorts of materials and resources online, this paper explores the mutually reinforcing opportunities for both children and the multi-stakeholder Internet community through their alliances in education and Internet governance.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: Global Focus