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  • Author: Ghaith al-Omari
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: By granting Israel much more say over the sovereignty of a future Palestinian state and its ability to absorb refugees, the document may undermine the administration’s ability to build an international coalition behind its policies. President Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan was presented as a departure from previous approaches—a notion that invited praise from its supporters (who saw it as a recognition of reality) and criticism from its opponents (who saw it as an abandonment of valued principles). The plan does in fact diverge from past efforts in fundamental respects, yet there are also some areas of continuity, and ultimately, the extent to which it gains traction will be subject to many different political and diplomatic variables. Even so, the initial substance of the plan document itself will play a large part in determining how it is viewed by various stakeholders, especially those passages that veer away from the traditional path on core issues. Part 1 of this PolicyWatch assessed what the plan says about two such issues: borders and Jerusalem. This second installment discusses security, refugee, and narrative issues.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Refugees, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Even as their lack of transparency worsens the public health crisis, the Supreme Leader and other officials have systematically gutted any civil society elements capable of organizing substantial opposition to such policies. Iran’s ongoing coronavirus epidemic has left the people with less reason than ever to trust the information and directives issued by their leaders. Part 1 of this PolicyWatch discussed the clergy’s role in aggravating this problem, but the state’s mistakes and deceptions have been legion as well. They include scandalous discrepancies between official reports after a period of denial that the virus had entered the country; a health system that was unprepared to deal with such a disease promptly and properly; and official resistance to implementing internationally recommended precautionary measures, such as canceling flights from China and quarantining the center of the outbreak. These decisions have sown widespread confusion about facts and fictions related to the virus, the most effective medically proven ways to control it, and the degree to which it is spreading throughout the country. As a result, an already restive population has become increasingly panicked about the future and angry at the state. Yet can the coronavirus actually bring down the regime? The harsh reality is that the state has left little space for opposition to organize around health issues, or any issues for that matter. Instead, it has sought to confuse the people and redirect their anger toward external enemies, even as its own policies contribute to the crisis.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Health, Public Health, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Frank Aum, Jacob Stokes, Patricia M. Kim, Atman M. Trivedi, Rachel Vandenbrink, Jennifer Staats, Joseph Yun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A joint statement by the United States and North Korea in June 2018 declared that the two countries were committed to building “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.” Such a peace regime will ultimately require the engagement and cooperation of not just North Korea and the United States, but also South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan. This report outlines the perspectives and interests of each of these countries as well as the diplomatic, security, and economic components necessary for a comprehensive peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, Economy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula, United States of America
  • Author: Charles T. Hunt
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Since first deployed in 1960, United Nations police (UNPOL) have consistently been present in UN missions and have become increasingly important to achieving mission objectives. Since 1999, these objectives have often included the protection of civilians (POC), especially in places like the Central African Republic, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and South Sudan. But despite its rise in prominence, the protective role of UNPOL is generally undervalued and regularly overlooked, and missions have tended to overly rely on militarized approaches to POC. This report examines the roles and responsibilities of UNPOL regarding POC. It outlines UNPOL’s contributions to POC and perceived comparative advantages, using examples of their role as compeller, deterrent, partner, and enabler. It also identifies and draws lessons from challenges to police protection efforts, including ambiguous mandates, policies, and guidance; poor coordination; problematic partnerships; and deficits in capabilities, capacities, and tools. Drawing on these lessons from past and current deployments, the report proposes recommendations for how member states, the Security Council, the UN Secretariat, and field missions can improve UNPOL’s efforts to protect civilians going forward. These recommendations include: Clarifying the role of UN police in POC through mandates, policies, guidance, and training to align the expectations of UN peace operations, the Secretariat, and member states for what UNPOL are expected to do; Involving all UN police in POC and giving them a voice in decision making and planning to infuse whole-of-mission POC efforts with policing perspectives and empower UNPOL to act more readily; Enhancing partnerships between UN police, host states, and other mission components to enable more responsive, better coordinated, and more comprehensive approaches to POC; and Providing more appropriate and more flexible capabilities, capacities, and tools to address critical capabilities gaps and adapt existing resources to better meet UNPOL’s latent potential for POC.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Reform, Rule of Law, Civilians, Police
  • Political Geography: Africa, Darfur, Mali, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Congo
  • Author: Namie Di Razza, Jake Sherman
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The effectiveness of UN peace operations depends on the “operational readiness” of their personnel, which refers to the knowledge, expertise, training, equipment, and mindset needed to carry out mandated tasks. While the need to improve the operational readiness of peacekeepers has been increasingly recognized over the past few years, the concept of “human rights readiness”—the extent to which consideration of human rights is integrated into the generation, operational configuration, and evaluation of uniformed personnel—has received less attention. This policy paper analyzes opportunities and gaps in human rights readiness and explores ways to improve the human rights readiness of peacekeepers. A comprehensive human rights readiness framework would include mechanisms to integrate human rights considerations into the operational configuration and modus operandi of uniformed personnel before, during, and after their deployment. This paper starts the process of developing this framework by focusing on the steps required to prepare and deploy uniformed personnel. The paper concludes with concrete recommendations for how troop- and police-contributing countries can prioritize human rights in the force generation process and strengthen human rights training for uniformed peacekeepers. These actions would prepare units to uphold human rights standards and better integrate human rights considerations into their work while ensuring that they deliver on this commitment. Ultimately, improved human rights readiness is a key determinant of the performance of UN peacekeepers, as well as of the UN’s credibility and reputation.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gretchen Baldwin, Sarah Taylor
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Over the past twenty years, UN peace operations have made progress toward gender equality. Most of their mandates refer to women or gender, and the UN and member states have agreed to numerical targets to increase the percentage of women peacekeepers. Meeting, and exceeding, these targets, however, will require the UN to better understand the barriers and often-unrealistic expectations facing uniformed women. This paper provides an overview of how the UN and troop- and police-contributing countries are trying to integrate uniformed women into missions and how mission mandates interact with the women, peace, and security agenda. It also expounds upon expectations of uniformed women in peacekeeping operations, specifically regarding the protection of civilians, as well as structural barriers, taboos, and stigmas that affect uniformed women’s deployment experiences. It is the first paper published under the International Peace Institute’s Women in Peace Operations project and provides an overview of research that will be conducted through May 2022. The paper concludes with initial findings and guidance for researchers and practitioners. It calls for the UN and member states to consider transformative possibilities for increasing women’s participation that push back against existing assumptions and norms. This requires grounding integration strategies in evidence, transforming missions to improve the experiences of women peacekeepers, and implementing a gendered approach to community engagement and protection.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Peacekeeping, Women, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This policy paper sets out the various interests and goals of global powers (the US, Russia, China and the EU) in the Mediterranean, and the measures they are undertaking to implement them. The document also describes Israeli policies vis-àvis the powers’ activities in this region, and points to the principles that should guide them. The paper is based on a July 2019 meeting in Jerusalem of the research and policy working group on Israel in the Mediterranean, held at the initiative of the Mitvim Institute, the Hebrew University’s Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations and Haifa University’s National Security Studies Center.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Middle East, Israel, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: David Carment
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: After three years of limited discussion, the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine renewed their peace talks to resolve the separatist conflict in Eastern Ukraine (Donbas). Efforts to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Donbas began five years ago with the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. This framework, developed by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), attempted to facilitate a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine through the mediation of an impartial actor, and it culminated in the Minsk I (September 2014) and then Minsk II (February 2015) agreements. The Minsk II agreements comprised a 13-point peace plan, chief among which is an arrangement specifying support for the restoration of the Ukrainian-Russian border. While the implementation of the military portions of the Minsk II agreements were finalized within three months of signing, the political and security portions remained unresolved. Though President Vladimir Putin has declared his intent to protect the Russian-speaking peoples of the region, he has also stated he has no interest in reclaiming Eastern Ukraine. Not surprisingly, since Russia’s ultimate goal is undeclared, the conflict has proved very difficult to resolve.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Territorial Disputes, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Canada, France, Germany, United States of America
  • Author: Gonzalo Huertas
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The unrelenting surge in prices in Venezuela has crippled the economy and deepened the humanitarian crisis there. Huertas lays out a feasible stabilization plan to stop Venezuela’s hyperinflation. The extent of the humanitarian crisis and shortage of basic goods and services suggests that, on the fiscal side, a stabilization plan should focus primarily on reallocating rather than reducing spending. The authorities should avoid austerity policies and instead spend on taking care of the Venezuelan people. Stabilizing the price level while providing relief to the country’s population would require significant financial assistance from the rest of the world, so it is critical that Venezuela secure strong financial support from the international community. Successful stabilization requires a credible plan to transition to a responsible fiscal policy, the financial resources to carry it out, and the political will to sustain it.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Finance, Inflation, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: South America, Venezuela
  • Author: Adnan Mazarei
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Suffering under Western sanctions and security challenges, Iran faces problems as well from its fragile banking system, which has been languishing for decades. Liquidity and solvency weaknesses pose a growing risk to the country’s financial stability. The sanctions reimposed by the United States in 2018 have heightened these vulnerabilities, but the problems also result from the heavy-handed role of the state, corruption, and the Central Bank of Iran’s failure to regulate and supervise the system. Iran’s ability to avoid a run on its banks is aided by their reliance on liquidity assistance, deposit insurance, and regulatory forbearance from the central bank. Depositors are forced to be patient because they have limited options to invest elsewhere. Iran has thus avoided a full-blown banking crisis. But the situation is not sustainable. Banks remain susceptible to external shocks, which could come from a complete halt to oil exports or war.
  • Topic: Security, Financial Crisis, Sanctions, Banks, Financial Institutions
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Claudia Biancotti, Paolo Ciocca
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Over the past few years, it has become apparent that a small number of technology companies have assembled detailed datasets on the characteristics, preferences, and behavior of billions of individuals. This concentration of data is at the root of a worrying power imbalance between dominant internet firms and the rest of society, reflecting negatively on collective security, consumer rights, and competition. Introducing data sharing mandates, or requirements for market leaders to share user data with other firms and academia, would have a positive effect on competition. As data are a key input for artificial intelligence (AI), more widely available information would help spread the benefits of AI through the economy. On the other hand, data sharing could worsen existing risks to consumer privacy and collective security. Policymakers intending to implement a data sharing mandate should carefully evaluate this tradeoff.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology, Privacy, Internet, Monopoly, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ghaith al-Omari, Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the peace treaty, both parties and the United States have strategic interests in upholding and reinforcing the relationship. The optimism that characterized the signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty a quarter-century ago has long since dissipated. Today, the peace rests on a strong security foundation but lacks popular support, particularly on the Jordanian side. Nevertheless, there remain important opportunities for strengthening Israel-Jordan relations and preserving that pillar of America’s steadily eroding security architecture in the Middle East. It is critical for Washington to prioritize Jordan on its agenda. This includes urging the still-to-be-formed Israeli government to take responsible action on two fronts: keeping Amman’s interests in mind when formulating policy toward the West Bank, and implementing long-delayed initiatives that would help Jordan’s struggling economy.
  • Topic: Security, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, Jordan, United States of America
  • Author: Lisa Denney
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This Tool is part of the DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN Women Gender and Security Toolkit, which comprises nine Tools and a series of Policy Briefs. Within police services, this Tool is aimed at the policy rather than the operational level, with relevance for senior police, gender units and those interested in improving police effectiveness through integrating a gender perspective. While police services are a key audience for this Tool, it is intended for a wide readership – including parliaments, government departments with policing responsibilities, civil society organizations, development partners, international police assistance providers and researchers working to improve policing and gender equality. Police reform is not solely the work of police services, but of a wider set of actors who support and influence the police and their operating environment. This Tool sets out a range of options for integrating a gender perspective and advancing gender equality in and through policing, drawing on experience from multiple contexts. While it provides guidance in terms of examples and checklists which borrow from good practices in different contexts, what is relevant will differ across time and place and require adaptation. For that reason, the Tool also sets out conditions that are important in achieving progress. The Tool includes: why a gender perspective is important for policing; what policing that advances gender equality and integrates a gender perspective looks like; how policing can advance gender equality and integrate a gender perspective; case studies that draw out learning from specific contexts; suggestions for assessing a police service’s integration of gender; other useful resources.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Governance, Law Enforcement, Women, Criminal Justice
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Europe, United Nations, Switzerland, Global Focus
  • Author: Anna Marie Burdzy, Lorraine Serrano, Megan Bastick
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief is part of the DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN Women Gender and Security Toolkit, which comprises nine Tools and a series of Policy Briefs. The other Tools and Policy Briefs in this Toolkit focus on specific security and justice issues and providers, with more focused attention on what gender equality looks like and how to achieve it in particular sectors. It is intended that the Toolkit should be used as a whole, with readers moving between Tools and Policy Briefs to find more detail on aspects that interest them. This Policy Brief explains why integrating a gender perspective is important to the regulation of private military and security companies (PMSCs) and provides guidance to States on doing so in national legislation, contracting and procurement policies, as well as certification, oversight and accountability frameworks for PMSCs. The Policy Brief: Outlines what PMSCs are and the role of States in their regulation; explains why a gender perspective is needed for effective regulation of PMSCs; and presents a range of priorities and entry points for States to integrate a gender perspective in regulation of PMSCs.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Law Enforcement, Women, Inequality
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Marta Ghittoni, Léa Lehouck, Megan Bastick
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief is part of the DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN Women Gender and Security Toolkit, which comprises nine Tools and a series of Policy Briefs. The other Tools and Policy Briefs in this Toolkit focus on specific security and justice issues and providers, with more focused attention on what gender equality looks like and how to achieve it in particular sectors. It is intended that the Toolkit should be used as a whole, with readers moving between Tools and Policy Briefs to find more detail on aspects that interest them. This Policy Brief explains how applying the principles of good security sector governance and engaging with security sector reform (SSR) can help to achieve the goals of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. Over the last decade the UN system and many states and international actors have recognized that SSR should be gender responsive, identifying and addressing the different security and justice needs of women and men, girls and boys, across different parts of the community. In some SSR programmes, priorities have been set to promote the participation of women in the security sector. At the same time there is a need to step up the engagement of the WPS community with issues of security sector governance. This Policy Brief argues that applying a security sector governance lens to WPS helps to reveal the key barriers to and drivers of change. This Policy Brief: Explains the principles of good security sector governance; examines how security sector governance and SSR are addressed in the WPS Agenda; outlines how a security sector governance approach can catalyse the transformative and sustained change needed to realize the WPS Agenda.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Law Enforcement, Women
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Henri Myrttinen, Megan Bastick
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This Tool is part of the DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN Women Gender and Security Toolkit, which comprises nine Tools and a series of Policy Briefs. Tool 1 is mainly intended for use by policymakers and practitioners working in or working with security and justice sector institutions to increase gender equality – be it equality within the institutions themselves, or achieved through the work of the institutions within society. Some users might be approaching these issues through implementation of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) commitments, or in relation to a security sector reform (SSR) process. The Tool also aims to be of use more widely to justice and security providers, people involved in oversight and management, civil society organizations, the media and academic researchers. The other Tools and Policy Briefs in this Toolkit focus on specific security and justice issues and providers, with more focused attention on what gender equality looks like and how to achieve it in particular sectors. It is intended that the Toolkit should be used as a whole, with readers moving between Tools and Policy Briefs to find more detail on aspects that interest them. The Tool: Introduces why gender matters in security sector governance (SSG) and in SSR processes, and outlines the benefits of integrating a gender perspective. It explains key concepts that are used in the Toolkit: gender, intersectionality, masculinities, femininities, LGBTI, gender equality and gender perspective, and also SSG and SSR. It gives an overview of some of the relevant international, regional and national legal obligations with respect to gender and SSG and SSR processes. It presents a vision of what integrating a gender perspective and promoting gender equality mean for security and justice providers, for management and oversight of sector and justice services, and for SSG and SSR processes. It presents several different pathways for the security and justice sector to integrate a gender perspective into SSG and SSR processes and advance gender equality. It focuses upon: defining security needs in an inclusive, gender-responsive manner; adopting policy frameworks to integrate gender equality into justice and security governance; gender training for security and justice providers; using staff with specialized gender expertise; changing masculine institutional cultures to increase women’s participation and diversity. It offers advice on how to overcome resistance to working on gender equality within the security and justice sector. It suggests elements of an institutional self-assessment checklist on integrating a gender perspective. It lists other useful resources to support work on gender equality with the security and justice sector, and in relation to SSG and SSR.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Law Enforcement, Women, Criminal Justice, LGBT+
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Graeme P. Herd, Detlef Puhl, Sean Costigan
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Security challenges are ‘emergent’ or ‘emerging’ when the wider community of security experts begin to discuss and debate a given issue as a prelude to developing, resourcing and then implementing appropriate policy responses. Some security challenges are "ab ovo" – they emerge onto the policy landscape at incredible speed, complete and entire, rather than slowly over a long gestation period. For some institutions, the ‘real’ emerging challenge is defined as much by institutional and cultural change needed to enable more efficient, effective and legitimate policy response as it is by the inherent complexity of the challenges themselves. Highest priority challenges (e.g. climatological, nuclear, biological, health and agriculture-related) are those that threaten the survival of people and institutions. Second order priority challenges undermine essential ways of life and the fabric of state-society relations, the nature of democratic governance and the integrity of the ‘social contract’.
  • Topic: Security, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Global
  • Author: Daniel Forti, Priyal Singh
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The United Nations and the African Union (AU) have worked in tandem since the AU’s establishment in 2002. During this time, their partnership has evolved to focus increasingly on conflict prevention and crisis management, culminating in the 2017 Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. But while the organizations’ collaboration on peacekeeping has been extensively studied, other dimensions of the partnership warrant a closer look to understand how to foster political coherence and operational coordination. This report, done in partnership with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), therefore considers the evolution of the strategic partnership between the UN and the AU, with a focus on their approach to conflict prevention and crisis management. It looks at this partnership at the member-state level in the UN Security Council and AU Peace and Security Council, as well as at the operational level between various UN and AU entities. It also assesses the partnership across several thematic issues, including the AU’s Silencing the Guns initiative; mediation; women, peace, and security; electoral support; peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction and development; and youth, peace, and security. Based on this analysis, the paper offers several recommendations to guide UN and AU stakeholders in improving cooperation. These include strengthening council-to-council engagement, working toward a collective approach to conflict prevention and crisis management, creating a dedicated team within the AU Peace and Security Department to support the partnership, better aligning work on peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction and development, building momentum on the AU’s Silencing the Guns initiative, and expanding diplomatic capacities to support the partnership.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Crisis Management, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Forti
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In the face of evolving security dynamics and geopolitical pressures, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council initiated the withdrawal of the AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in 2017. This transition is a uniquely complex undertaking—all the more so following Sudan’s political revolution in April 2019, which required the UN and AU to rapidly adapt their support to the country. This complex environment is putting all the principles of peacekeeping transitions to the test. This paper examines the dynamics of this peacekeeping transition in Darfur, focusing on UNAMID’s drawdown and reconfiguration, as well as the UN’s efforts to build the capacity of other actors to sustain peace following the mission’s exit. It highlights five broad priorities for this transition going forward: Strengthening political engagement between the UN Security Council and AU Peace and Security Council; Translating the AU-UN joint political strategy into an effective follow-on presence; Reinforcing the transition concept; Integrating human rights and protection in all areas of work; and Sustaining international attention and financial support. This paper is part of a larger IPI project on UN transitions and is complemented by similar case studies on UN peacekeeping transitions in Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, and Liberia, as well as a paper exploring experiences and lessons from these three transitions.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Geopolitics, Crisis Management, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, Darfur, Haiti, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Author: Ferry de Kerckhove
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The art of war has changed considerably since the end of the Second World War. In the last 15 years, the centre of gravity has slowly shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The West is increasingly being destabilized. Hybrid warfare and cyber-attacks have become increasingly effective alternatives to both hard and soft power. Russia is a major player in this domain; so is Iran. Other players are joining the fray, most of them hostile to the West, such as Iran and Russia’s client states. The barriers between civilian and military are fading quickly. All-out war now happens in a space that’s invisible to the naked eye. Not only is such warfare threatening us, but it also has consequences we have barely begun to assess. The divide between good and bad is blurring. Marshall McLuhan said the medium is the message. Today, the medium and the message are an undecipherable continuum where evil and lies coexist with truth and goodwill. Technological prowess increases vulnerability, but technology is also at the heart of corresponding systems of security. Thus, we have fully entered a new arms race where deterrence comes from the other side knowing what you don’t want him to discover, but what you want him to fear. Voltaire said: “If you wish to speak to me, let us start by defining the meaning of our words.” In this day and age, this mantra is particularly applicable to the definition of contemporary threats as well as of the targets, or even who is in the sights of Russian and Middle Eastern leaders. “Cyberspace is a domain characterized by the use of electronics and the electromagnetic spectrum to store, modify, and exchange data via networked systems and associated physical infrastructures. In effect, cyberspace can be thought of as the interconnection of human beings through computers and telecommunication, without regard to physical geography.” Consequently, “(c)ybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. These cyberattacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users; or interrupting normal business processes. Implementing effective cybersecurity measures is particularly challenging today because there are more devices than people, and attackers are becoming more innovative.” Discussions focus on whether Russia or China is the heavyweight in terms of threat. Some argue that China is more subtle while Russia is more of a rogue. But it is undeniable that China’s attempt to change the fundamental paradigm of international relations, while using and hopefully subduing the existing international order’s mechanisms to its advantage, represents a holistic approach and is thus more threatening to the world if it even partly succeeds. Indeed, the planet’s centre of gravity is moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific and that means the global threat comes from China. If we needed a reminder, in 2014 Chinese hackers stole the personal information of more than 22 million people connected to U.S. security clearance processes. Not bad for five years ago!
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Ross Fetterly
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: At a time when even large, high-tech Silicon Valley corporations that operate as market disruptors are challenged to keep up with the pace of change, national Western governments need to ensure that defence funding is responsive to persistent, dramatic and non-linear shifts in the international strategic environment. The United States is experiencing a “deepening crisis of credibility in global affairs”,2 largely resulting from an America-first posture, rather than a multilateral approach with traditional allies. Some nations now view the U.S. as “undermining the international order”,3 and reliance on the U.S. as the leading democratic nation is less certain. Indeed, periods of great economic change “driven chiefly by economic and technological developments, which then impact on social structures, political systems, military power, and the position of individual states”,4 create a dynamic that shifts power, influence and trade among nations. Further, nations that can “develop, produce, and deploy technology the most effectively”5 can gain a comparative advantage in the current security environment, where the rate of technological change is accelerating. However, with adversaries advancing their military technology in increasingly shorter cycles, market dominance by Western defence firms has only fleeting or transitory advantage. The revolution in military technology has been a constant topic for analysts, but the changing military and defence department skill sets required in the future security environment are equally important, with the cyber-realm and space being two prominent examples.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Benjamin Augé
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: East Africa has the potential to experience a gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export boom in the coming years due to several projects that have been released. Mozambique has approved two projects totaling more than 15 million tons per year (Mt/yr.) of liquefied gas and a third should be started by the end of 2019. The first ENI Floating Liquefied Natural Gas plant (FLNG) will come onto the market in 2022 and four other onshore liquefaction trains, two of which will produce 6.44 Mt (Anadarko/Total) and two of which will produce 7.6 Mt (ExxonMobil/ENI), will be available around 2025. However, with the recoverable reserves, the companies involved are counting on 50 or even 60 Mt/yr. by 2030. This volume will help this East African country to achieve the world’s fourth-largest LNG export capacity in the medium term after the United States, Qatar and Australia. As for Tanzania, no development should be approved before 2020 in the best-case scenario.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Oil, Gas
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Kenya, Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, East Africa
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: What makes the militia milieu so unique and important for understanding today’s Russia is that it finds itself at the intersection of state institutions, patronage mechanisms, criminal structures, and grassroots illiberal activism. Abroad, the Kremlin plays through it one of its major “hybrid warfare” cards, outsourcing activities traditionally conducted by intelligence entities and allowing for plausible deniability. The militia realm thus seems destined to play a growing role in Russia’s law-enforcement, military and intelligence culture both at home and abroad. Marlene Laruelle is Research Professor and Associate Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the George Washington University (Washington DC) and Co-Director of PONARS-Eurasia. She has been Associate Research Fellow at Ifri’s Russia/NIS Center since January 2019.
  • Topic: Security, Nationalism, Military Affairs, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Garima Mohan
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The new European Union (EU) strategy on India marks a major moment of departure in EU-India relations. It reflects three critical shifts: firstly, the EU no longer views India from a “trade lens” only, recognizing its important geopolitical role in maintaining a multipolar Asia. Second, the strategy frames EU-India relations in the context of broader geopolitical developments, primarily the rise of China. Recognition of the China challenge and its impact not only in Europe, but also on the balance of power in Asia, has pushed the EU to change the nature of its partnerships in the region, particularly with India. Finally, the strategy links European security and prosperity to developments in Asia, broadening the scope of EU foreign policy substantially. This paper analyses the new EU strategy on India and highlights areas, which represent a departure from previous strategies. The paper looks specifically at proposals for greater foreign and security cooperation, for securing a rules-based order, increasing regional connectivity, improving trade and investment, and building better coordination on and with India. These proposals are commendable and respond to a long laundry list suggested by experts from both sides over a long time. They also fit well with India’s priorities, namely responding to increasing Chinese political, economic and military presence in South Asia, security in the Indian Ocean, as well as more proactive engagement in regional and global institutions. Finally, the paper suggests ways of taking this forward and ensuring the strategy does not remain a paper tiger in the long arsenal of EU-India declarations. While more dialogues on global and strategic issues is a great idea and will help change perceptions in New Delhi that the EU is not a strategic actor, the EU will have to ensure this is not hindered by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ already overstretched capacities and the 30 existing EU-India dialogues. Focusing on ongoing debates in India and Europe in these dialogues, particularly connectivity projects, maritime security in the Indian Ocean, 5G networks and infrastructure might also open up new avenues of cooperation. Overall the EU-India relationship has witnessed remarkable momentum over the last four years – aided by political will from both sides, the China challenge, friction in transatlantic ties, and common challenges within Europe and India. The new strategy is a good first step to build on this momentum. However, it needs to be translated into action fast.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, South Asia, India, European Union
  • Author: Teodora Fuior, Magdalena Lembovska, Wouter de Ridder, Julian Richards
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Parliamentary oversight refers to the ongoing1 monitoring, review, evaluation and investigation of the activity of government and public agencies, including the implementation of policy, legislation and the expenditure of the state budget. Parliamentary oversight is one of the most important manifestations of the separations of powers in a democracy. Parliamentary oversight must extend to all areas of government, including intelligence and security services. Intelligence services work in secrecy and have the authority to make use of special powers that potentially are highly invasive of human rights. Communications interception and secret surveillance are only two of such powers. For these reasons, intelligence services are regarded by the public with suspicion and lack of confidence. Therefore, the need for legality, legitimacy and accountability is even higher for intelligence services than for other government agencies. As the lawmaker, parliament is responsible for enacting clear, accessible and comprehensive legislation establishing intelligence services, their organisation, special powers and limits. Parliamentary oversight activities review, evaluate and investigate how laws are implemented and how intelligence operations are in line with the constitution, national security policy and legislation. Parliament also approves the budget of intelligence services and can play a strong role in scrutinizing expenditure. Effective parliamentary oversight ensures a bridge between intelligence and the public and brings benefits to all: intelligence community, parliament itself and most importantly, the citizens.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Intelligence, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Europe, Macedonia, Albania
  • Author: Marc Finaud, Bernd W. Kubbig
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: In our new Track II initiative we will present, discuss, and disseminate Cooperative Ideas jointly developed at two International Expert Conferences in Frankfurt and Berlin (see issue No. 1 of this New Publication Series at academicpeaceorchestra.com). The aim is to help establish promising focal points around which especially the relevant regional actors in the disarmament & non-proliferation area can rally. They may ultimately lead to constructive and sustainable dialogue mechanisms which are so rare – and so needed – in the Middle East/Gulf. The Two Expert Panels in Vienna are our starting point with a Third Panel envisaged for the Second NPT PrepCom in Geneva as a follow-up event. They are presented in this POLICY FORUM No. 2.
  • Topic: Security, Communications, Conference
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Daniel Muller
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This Policy Forum issue advocates using elements of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or agreement/accord) in prospective negotiations to create a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs) in the Middle East. In a stalemated situation resembling efforts to negotiate a zonal arrangement, the JCPOA after more than 12 years of negotiations succeeded in striking a multilateral deal among adversaries with diverging capabilities and agendas who doubted each other’s intentions and were reluctant to make concessions.By establishing an incentive-based mechanism that encouraged and facilitated cooperation, the JCPOA succeeded in trading various issues to reach common ground in an incremental step-by-step approach of carefully sequenced quid pro quos. Framed as an agreement among equals and safeguarded by multiple compliance mechanisms, the JCPOA (or aspects of it) could serve as a toolbox for zonal negotiations on disarmament, help to link hardened actors, and break up entrenched interest structures and dogmatic policy positions.
  • Topic: Security, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons , Disarmament
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Marc Finaud, Bernd W. Kubbig
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This New Publication Series POLICY FORUM is in addition to the Two Expert Panels conducted at the First NPT PrepCom in Vienna on May 8 and 10, 2017 our second Track II tool. Both aim at presenting, discussing, and disseminating the jointly developed Cooperative Ideas as potential rallying points for the most important actors in the entire Middle East/Gulf. The main goal is to help achieving what is most needed: relaunching New Communication & Conference Processes in the disarmament & non-proliferation area; this is seen as the core element of, ultimately all-inclusive, security arrangements for the region consisting of two centers of gravity relevant for our new, comprehensive approach for the entire Middle East/Gulf.
  • Topic: Security, Weapons , Disarmament, Nonproliferation, Trade, Conference
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Bernd W. Kubbig, Marc Finaud, Ali Fathollah-Nejad
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The dangerous spiralling of the rivalry between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran for hegemony/supremacy in the Middle East/Gulf is the factor that has the most negative impact on the entire region. The authors make the case for using the specific features and successful negotiations of the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a way to downgrade this bilateral rivalry. This agreement was the focal point of (pre-)negotiations especially between the United States and Iran that de-escalated the tensions between the two enemies and turned them – at least during the administration of President Barack Obama – into adversaries with an interest in selective cooperation. The agreement is living proof that formerly incompatible interests can be overcome. It is true, however, that, despite its complexity, the JCPOA can only have a limited influence on developments in the region. This is why the authors identify the roots of the intensifying Saudi Iranian rivalry at the domestic, regional and international levels – with corresponding recommended steps to de-escalate this struggle. The prospects for such a positive scenario appear to be particularly promising if elites in both Riyadh and Tehran – especially since they are facing increasing domestic challenges to regime/government stability – opt to slow down or even reverse their countries’ current course. A more assertive population, especially among women and the youth, has become a new factor for serious change. This may incentivise these elites to pursue less costly foreign policy approaches – including finding appropriate forums for serious dialogue, with de-escalating the mutually demonising rhetoric as the first step.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Treaties and Agreements, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Alexandra Novosseloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) completed its mandate on June 30, 2017, after more than thirteen years. One year later, the secretary-general is set to release his “comprehensive study of the role of UNOCI in the settlement of the situation” in the country. This presents an opportunity to examine the many stages or “lives” of a peacekeeping operation, something often overlooked. This report aims not only to contribute to this learning process but also to go beyond the scope of the secretary-general’s study to examine the trajectory of UNOCI over the years. It provides a historical account of the various phases of the Ivorian crisis and examines how UNOCI evolved and adapted to the circumstances and how the Security Council dealt with the Ivorian dossier. Based on this assessment, the report draws lessons from UNOCI for other peacekeeping missions. These include the challenges missions face when the consent of the host state is fragile, a permanent member of the Security Council is heavily involved, they have a mandate to certify elections, they take a robust approach to a crisis, they undertake both disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and security sector reform processes, and the UN applies sanctions or arms embargoes.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Sanctions, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Author: Alexandra Novosseloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) completed its mandate on June 30, 2017, after more than thirteen years. One year later, the secretary-general is set to release his “comprehensive study of the role of UNOCI in the settlement of the situation” in the country. This presents an opportunity to examine the many stages or “lives” of a peacekeeping operation, something often overlooked. This report aims not only to contribute to this learning process but also to go beyond the scope of the secretary-general’s study to examine the trajectory of UNOCI over the years. It provides a historical account of the various phases of the Ivorian crisis and examines how UNOCI evolved and adapted to the circumstances and how the Security Council dealt with the Ivorian dossier. Based on this assessment, the report draws lessons from UNOCI for other peacekeeping missions. These include the challenges missions face when the consent of the host state is fragile, a permanent member of the Security Council is heavily involved, they have a mandate to certify elections, they take a robust approach to a crisis, they undertake both disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and security sector reform processes, and the UN applies sanctions or arms embargoes.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Sanctions, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Author: Alexandra Novosseloff
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In April 2016, after four years of progressive downsizing, the Security Council decided to close the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) within a year. This decision reflected a consensus that it was time for UNOCI to leave and hand over to the UN country team with no follow-on mission. However, the transition was abrupt, without sustained dialogue, capacity transfer, or financial fluidity, leaving the UN country team unprepared to take on the mission’s responsibilities. This policy paper examines the political dynamics in Côte d’Ivoire and in the Security Council that led to the decision to withdraw UNOCI, as well as the stages of the withdrawal and handover. It also analyzes the gaps and shortcomings that left the country team ill-prepared to take over, highlighting two main challenges. First, the Security Council viewed the transition as a political process. Its objective of withdrawing the mission superseded all others, leading it to underestimate, if not overlook, the continued peacebuilding needs of the country. Second, the transition was accompanied by waning donor interest, undercutting programming by the country team in priority areas like reconciliation, security sector reform, human rights, and land tenure.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Peacekeeping, UN Security Council, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Author: David Brewster
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Strategic competition between India and China in the Indian Ocean is growing and has the potential to profoundly impact the stability and security of the region. The Indian Ocean is becoming the scene of a sustained contest that in some ways resembles strategic competition during the Cold War. This will include pressure on Indian Ocean states to align themselves with one side or another within an increasingly unstable and complex strategic environment.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Political stability, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia, Indian Ocean
  • Author: Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Michael E. Brown
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Women In International Security (WIIS)
  • Abstract: Political leaders regularly make grand, public statements about the importance of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda for promoting national and international security, but their policy actions have fallen far short of their rhetorical declarations. There are two main reasons for this. First, political leaders are the point persons for their male-dominated security establishments. These establishments do not prioritize women and gender issues in national and international security affairs. Second, the WPS agenda has been framed as a “women’s” issue, which makes it easier for the establishment to marginalize the WPS cause.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, National Security, Peace Studies, International Security, Peacekeeping, Women
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: West Papua is the most violent area of Indonesia. Indonesian security forces battle the country's last active separatist insurgency there. The majority of Indonesia's political prisoners are Papuans, and support for independence is widespread. But military repression and indigenous resistance are only one part of a complex topography of insecurity in Papua: vigilantism, clan conflict, and other forms of horizontal violence produce more casualties than the vertical conflict that is often the exclusive focus of international accounts of contemporary Papua. Similarly, Papua's coerced incorporation into Indonesia in 1969 is not unique; it mirrors a pattern of long-term annexation found in other remote and highland areas of South and Southeast Asia. What distinguishes Papua is the near-total absence of the state in indigenous areas. This is the consequence of a morass of policy dysfunction over time that compounds the insecurity that ordinary Papuans face. The author illuminates the diverse and local sources of insecurity that indicate too little state as opposed to too much, challenges common perceptions of insecurity in Papua, and offers a prescription of policy initiatives. These include the reform of a violent and unaccountable security sector as a part of a broader reconciliation process and the urgent need for a comprehensive indigenous-centered development policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Cordella Buchanan Ponczek
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Traditionally, there is a partisan split on foreign policy in the United States: Republican candidates and voters worry more about terrorism, defense and national security than Democratic candidates and voters, thereby putting more stock in foreign policy issues, which manifests itself in the aggressiveness—of lack thereof—of each party’s foreign policy platform. But the candidates in the 2016 U.S. presidential election can be categorised by more than just party: a line can also be drawn between conventional candidates—Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Republicans—and unconventional candidates—Donald Trump, a Republican, and Bernie Sanders, a Democrat. Should a conventional candidate be elected president, U.S. foreign policy would be based on predictable adaptation to the changing international environment. An unconventional candidate, however, would be a wild card, whose actions would be difficult to predict.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia’s only even nominal parliamentary democracy, faces growing internal and external security challenges. Deep ethnic tensions, increased radicalisation in the region, uncertainty in Afghanistan and the possibility of a chaotic political succession in Uzbekistan are all likely to have serious repercussions for its stability. The risks are exacerbated by leadership failure to address major economic and political problems, including corruption and excessive Kyrgyz nationalism. Poverty is high, social services are in decline, and the economy depends on remittances from labour migrants. Few expect the 4 October parliamentary elections to deliver a reformist government. If the violent upheavals to which the state is vulnerable come to pass, instability could spread to regional neighbours, each of which has its own serious internal problems. The broader international community – not just the European Union (EU) and the U.S., but also Russia and China, should recognise the danger and proactively press the government to address the country’s domestic issues with a sense of urgency.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • Author: Mallory Sutika Sipus
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: One of the contributing factors to Afghanistan’s civil conflict has been the fluidity within military alliances at the sub-national level. This brief examines the circumstances of military alliances between insurgent commanders—what factors play into an alliance and how they are maintained, with assessments resulting from research from the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies and supported by USIP.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Querine Hanlon, Joyce Kasee
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Throughout the Maghreb and the Sahel, governments are struggling to manage a security environment fundamentally transformed by the Arab Spring. Within this region, the efforts of governments to secure their territories and civil society organizations to create accountable and transparent security institutions have proceeded almost wholly divorced from each other. This Peace Brief shares key insights from the engagement between official and civil society actors both within and across borders to address these gaps, makes the case for working regionally to address the twin challenges of security and reform, and highlights how community-security partnerships offer one approach to advancing the region’s security and reform agenda.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Islam, Terrorism, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: Peyton Cooke, Eliza Urwin
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Long-standing social and political grievances, combined with an unresponsive, factionalized government and abusive militias, facilitated the Taliban’s capture of Kunduz in September 2015. The fall of Kunduz raised questions regarding future political and security implications across the northeast region of Afghanistan. This Peace Brief highlights findings from interviews with a range of actors comparing what the government’s political and security response should look like and what it’s expected to look like, as well as offering recommendations for government and civil society.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, War, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Vickie Choltz, Maureen Conway
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The Future of Work for Low-Income Workers and Families is a policy brief aimed at state policy advocates and policymakers seeking to help low-income workers and their families secure healthy economic livelihoods as the nature of work evolves in the United States. Published by the Working Poor Families Project in December 2015, the brief was written by Vickie Choitz, associate director of the Economic Opportunities Program, with Maureen Conway, vice president at the Aspen Institute and executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program. This brief reviews the major forces shaping the future of work, including changes in labor and employment practices, business models, access to income and benefits, worker rights and voice, education and training, and technology. Across these areas, we are seeing disruptive change in our economy and society resulting in increasing risk and challenges for low-income workers, in particular.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Welfare, Social Stratification, Employment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Annie Kim
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The 2015 Financial Security Summit, titled Reimagining Financial Security: Managing Risk and Building Wealth in an Era of Inequality, took place July 15–17 in Aspen, Colorado. The Summit agenda built on FSP's core themes of expanding retirement security and children’s savings accounts for low- and moderate-income families, and began to explore a broader vision of how to improve short- and long-term dimensions of financial wellbeing in a rapidly changing economy. Participant contributions helped shape new areas of focus for FSP going forward. This report incorporates those insights and provides an outline for future policy dialogue and directions.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Welfare, Social Stratification, Employment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: West Papua is the most violent area of Indonesia. Indonesian security forces battle the country's last active separatist insurgency there. The majority of Indonesia's political prisoners are Papuans, and support for independence is widespread. But military repression and indigenous resistance are only one part of a complex topography of insecurity in Papua: vigilantism, clan conflict, and other forms of horizontal violence produce more casualties than the vertical conflict that is often the exclusive focus of international accounts of contemporary Papua. Similarly, Papua's coerced incorporation into Indonesia in 1969 is not unique; it mirrors a pattern of long-term annexation found in other remote and highland areas of South and Southeast Asia. What distinguishes Papua is the near-total absence of the state in indigenous areas. This is the consequence of a morass of policy dysfunction over time that compounds the insecurity that ordinary Papuans face. The author illuminates the diverse and local sources of insecurity that indicate too little state as opposed to too much, challenges common perceptions of insecurity in Papua, and offers a prescription of policy initiatives. These include the reform of a violent and unaccountable security sector as a part of a broader reconciliation process and the urgent need for a comprehensive indigenous-centered development policy.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Insurgency, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Aisha Fofana Ibrahim, Alex Sivalie Mbayo, Rosaline Mcarthy
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Gender equality is an international norm that stipulates the equal right of women, men and gender minorities to access opportunities and resources, regardless of the sex with which they were born and the gender with which they identify. In the context of the security sector, this means that women and men should have equal opportunities to participate in the provision, management and oversight of security services, and that the security needs of women, men, boys and girls should be equally considered and effectively responded to. While ECOWAS recommends that the specific security and justice needs of men and women, boys and girls are fully integrated into all reform processes and governance mechanisms applicable to the security sector, the transition from theory to practice often proves challenging. Tool 8 of the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa is designed to provide practitioners with action-oriented guidance for tackling this challenge. It may be most useful to national actors involved in the governance of security institutions and to those who partake in democratic oversight. This Tool aims to facilitate the identification of effective entry points for integrating the aims of gender equality in national legislation, strategies and budgets for security; in the management of security institutions; in the delivery of justice and security services and in national defence; as well as at all stages of internal and external oversight of the security sector.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Women, Inequality, LGBT+
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Africa, United Nations, Liberia, West Africa, Sierra Leone
  • Author: Kamran Ismayilov, Konrad Zasztowt
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Azerbaijan recently had to face a wave of criticism from the European institutions (the OSCE and the European Parliament) due to its government’s undemocratic practices. In response, Baku accused its European partners of Islamophobia and declared the suspension of parliamentary cooperation in the framework of the EU’s Euronest. The Azerbaijani ruling elite also blames the West of supporting a “fifth column” in Azerbaijan (meaning civil society organisations) as well as of giving political support to its arch-enemy Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. At the same time authorities in Baku are displaying their developing political partnership with Russia. This paper examines the consequences of the crisis in relations between the EU and Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani-Russian rapprochement for the prospects for EU-Azerbaijan energy projects and regional security in the South Caucasus.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Civil Society, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Mohsin Khan, Karim Merzan
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, a civil society group comprising the Tunisian General Labor Union; the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade, and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, October 9, 2015 "for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia." In a new Atlantic Council Issue Brief, "Tunisia: The Last Arab Spring Country," Atlantic Council Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East Senior Fellows Mohsin Khan and Karim Mezran survey the successes of Tunisia's consensus-based transition and the challenges that lie ahead. "The decision to award this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet is an extremely important recognition of the efforts made by Tunisian civil society and Tunisia's political elite to reach a consensus on keeping the country firmly on the path to democratization and transition to a pluralist system," says Mezran. With the overthrow of the authoritarian regime of President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali in 2011, Tunisia embarked on a process of democratization widely regarded as an example for transitions in the region. The National Dialogue Conference facilitated by the Quartet helped Tunisia avert the risk of plunging into civil war and paved the way for a consensus agreement on Tunisia's new constitution, adopted in January 2014. In the brief, the authors warn that despite political successes, Tunisia is hampered by the absence of economic reforms. Facing the loss of tourism and investment following two terror attacks, Tunisia's economy risks collapse, endangering all of the painstaking political progress gained thus far. Unless the Tunisian government moves rapidly to turn the economy around, Tunisia risks unraveling its fragile transition.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Economics, Political Activism, Reform
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries, Tunisia
  • Author: Bilal Y. Saab, Barry Pavel
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama's summit meeting with Gulf leaders at Camp David on May 14 will end in failure if the administration does not propose a substantial upgrade in US-Gulf security relations that is as bold and strategically significant as the nuclear agreement–and likely formal deal–with Iran. While the summit will not suddenly eliminate mistrust and resolve all differences, it presents an historic opportunity to put back on track a decades-old US-Gulf partnership that has served both sides and the region well, yet lately has experienced deep turbulence. Failure to strengthen these ties will have consequences, the most dramatic of which could be the acceleration of the regional order's collapse. In a March 2015 Atlantic Council report entitled Artful Balance: Future US Defense Strategy and Force Posture in the Gulf, we made the case for a mutual defense treaty between the United States and willing Arab Gulf partners. In this issue in focus, we offer a more comprehensive and detailed assessment of the risks, concerns, benefits, and opportunities that would be inherent in such a treaty. We recommend a gradualist approach for significantly upgrading US-Gulf security relations that effectively reduces the risks and maximizes the benefits of more formal US security commitments to willing Arab Gulf states.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Iran, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Olan Bilen, Mike Duane, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Ilona Sologoub
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Since the Maidan revolution, the Ukrainian government has embarked on a comprehensive reform agenda. But almost two years since the revolution, reforms are still lacking in core areas. The most prominent achievements are the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau to fight high-level corruption, the introduction of a new police force in the cities of Kyiv, Odesa, and Lviv, the reform of the banking system, and the restructuring of the natural gas sector. However, there were few attempts to reform the civil service and businesses continue to claim that middle-and low-level employees at tax and customs agencies remain corrupt. The authors of "Ukraine: From Evolutionary to Revolutionary Reforms" warn that, if the Ukrainian government does not follow through with an ambitious reform agenda, public support for reforms will wane while dissatisfaction will increase, threatening political stability and the country's successful future. There is no time for slow evolutionary changes. Radical and revolutionary reforms are the only way to success.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Civil Society, Reform
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Mark Seip
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The United States and the Nordic states enjoy a strong, productive relationship. However, stability in the Nordic-Baltic area is under increasing stress, which has implications for both NATO and its partner members, Finland and Sweden. In "Nordic-Baltic Security and the US Role," the Atlantic Council's US Navy Senior Fellow Mark Seip argues that the United States must prioritize bolstering assurance among NATO members, principally the Baltic states. Additionally, the United States and NATO should enhance its capabilities through collaboration, leverage soft power instruments, and find mutuality between NATO and its key partners, Finland and Sweden. In doing so, the United States and the Nordic nations stand to solidify the gains of the thriving region and strengthen European security.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Politics
  • Political Geography: Nordic Nations
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: King Salman has confirmed his reputation as a religious conservative through the reappointment of traditionalist clerics However he has also made some effort to streamline the Saudi government Recent changes have given considerable power to two men from the next generation: King Salman's son and his nephew The result may be good for hard security measures, but less certain for the soft measures necessary for Saudi Arabia to weather the storm.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Islam, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia