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  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The streets of Venezuela's major cities are now largely calm, following several months of violent clashes between opposition demonstrators, security forces and civilian gun- men that left more than 40 dead. The crisis, however, is not over. The opposition is demanding freedom for several dozen activists jailed during the unrest and an end to the threat of prosecution against more than 2,000. The underlying causes have not been addressed, and calls to restore autonomy and independence to the justice system and other key institutions have not been heeded. Living standards continue to decline due to economic recession; violent crime remains at record levels, and labour unrest and protests over poor-quality public services are often dealt with harshly. Greater international efforts are required to bring the sides back to the negotiating table, since the alternative to dialogue is likely to be further violence sooner or later.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Venezuela
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The number of foreign fighters is high, 12,000 and counting, and the spread of countries they come from covers much of the globe. Two recent events involving foreign fighters show the radicalizing influence of the war. With the support to bolster Syria's more secular rebel forces at times inconsistent and tepid, the lack of an alternative has accelerated a natural gravitation towards extremist elements. It will be hard to know which returnees pose a threat, and harder still to deal with them. Given that the number of foreign fighters already exceeds those that went to Afghanistan, government resources will be severely strained to monitor all returnees and will have to rely on the help of local communities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United Kingdom, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Like its putative Islamic State counterparts in Iraq and Syria, the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram has in recent weeks accomplished an alarming expansion of its territorial control The downing of a Nigerian fighter jet-and the videotaped beheading of its pilot-also suggest a quantum leap in the group's offensive and propaganda capabilities The Nigerian state's attempts to counter the Boko Haram narrative through positive public relations have yet to yield positive results The government's latest claim of killing the militants' leader, Abubakar Shekau, remains unsubstantiated, thus creating another public relations challenge for Nigerian security officials.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: No region has seen more of its people travel to fight in Syria than North Africa; more than 3,000 Tunisians have traveled there as of last April, and more than 1,500 Moroccans This is a repeat of a decade ago when large numbers of North Africans traveled to Iraq to fight there as well, in proportions far above those of neighboring countries A significant number of recent North African fighters have conducted suicide bombings in both Iraq and Syria, highlighting that the deadly ideological message of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and other extremist groups is finding purchase in North Africa The reasons for this export of extremists include incomplete political reforms that have failed to redress serious societal issues, persistent high youth unemployment, and a failure to cope with the apparent high levels of disaffection, despair, and anger that drive people to choose violent extremism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Attacking the finances of the so-called Islamic State (IS) with limited collateral damage will be orders of magnitude more difficult than attacking its military factions The group has thoroughly embedded itself into local and regional economies in Syria and Iraq, and damaging its finances while not devastating civilian populations will be as difficult as it is necessary IS oil revenues might be the easiest to disrupt but such action comes with significant collateral economic damage, while taxes, tolls, extortion, and food sales generate more income while remaining highly resistant to external forces In the areas under its control, IS has been providing social services as well as delivering levels of fuel, electricity, and food to populations utterly without recourse, meaning the group needs to be replaced and not simply removed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Turkish parliament's vote to authorize the deployment of military forces in Syria and Iraq provided a legal and official framework for such action It may appear to be a positive step in degrading and destroying the putative Islamic State (IS), however, the parliament in its vote used the broader term "terrorist organizations," thus the landscape for Turkey, Syria-Iraq, and regional states and interests remains exceptionally complex Though there is nearly universal and implacable opposition to IS among all actors in Syria and Iraq, Turkey's future role-depending on steps taken-could aggravate tensions not only with Arab Gulf states and Kurdish elements in Syria and Iraq, but Iran, Russia, and the Iraqi government Turkey's desire to create a buffer zone on the Syrian side of its common border remains one of the most sensitive issues Amid reports of increased IS pressure on Kobani, Kurdish PKK has insinuated Turkey will be to blame-not IS-for creating conditions for the refugee crisis, and threatens to resume opposition activity in Turkey. The Turkish parliament's vote Thursday to authorize use of its army and military facilities in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) may appear at first look to be a positive step for the broader coalition. The measures-to be determined-are in addition to any financial, diplomatic, humanitarian, and support activities for the anti-IS coalition. However, parliament's vote did not entail Turkey's officially joining the coalition. After the recent deal-details yet to be revealed-to bring home over 40 hostages IS had taken from Turkey's consulate in Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014, pressure increased for Turkey to take military steps in the anti-IS fight. A factor increasing the possibility of military action is Turkish special operations forces' guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a Turkish enclave in Syria reported to be increasingly surrounded by IS. Though there is almost universal animus toward IS in the region, there is also nearly uniform resistance to Turkey's perceived unilateral military involvement in Syria and Iraq, outside the framework of the anti-IS coalition. Turkey's next moves may cause more conflict than benefit in the anti-IS fight. Indeed, the political landscape for Turkey's moves at home and abroad remains extraordinarily complex.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The student-led, pro-democracy 'Umbrella Revolution' currently underway in Hong Kong is the most significant uprising within the sphere of the People's Republic of China since the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989 Angered by Beijing's restrictions to candidate choices for the upcoming 2017 election, Hong Kong's citizens are massing by the thousands to protest As the pro-democracy protests grow, the government's reaction threatens to becomes more aggressive, possibly bringing the situation to a tipping point reminiscent of Tiananmen Square The Chinese government believes it can't afford to back down-with a wariness influenced by events in Ukraine and the 'Arab Spring'-but it also can't afford another massacre; the world is watching and plays a much larger role in the Chinese economy than it did in 1989.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Human Rights, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Paul Dickler
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: This article will take a snapshot of Korea today and look back to the past to see the origins. It will offer many comparisons between North and South Korea. Why have North Korea (The Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea--DPRK) and South Korea (Republic of Korea—ROK) become what they are in the present, and what are the most likely scenarios for their future? Is reunification likely, or even desired by Koreans today? Are the troop commitments from the United States going to last another 60 years, or will events change that dynamic?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Leonard Wong
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: In 1970, the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force delivered its report to the President of the United States, Richard Nixon. In the report, better known as the Gates Commission due to the leadership of former Secretary of Defense Thomas Gates, the members of the Commission stated, "We unanimously believe that the nation's interests will be better served by an all-volunteer force, supported by an effective stand-by draft." They added, "We have satisfied ourselves that a volunteer force will not jeopardize national security, and we believe it will have a beneficial effect on the military as well as the rest of our society." In June of 1973, after years of debate, the statutory authority for the draft expired and the all-volunteer force became a reality.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Mansfield, William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With large increases in Afghan opium cultivation and production in 2013 and 2014, there is a risk that resulting frustration may give rise to a search for extreme but unproductive solutions. There are no easy solutions to the illegal narcotics problem. The proposal that Afghanistan could shift to licensed production of opium for pain medications will not work. Due to severe problems with governance, rule of law and security, opium licensing in Afghanistan would be subject to extremely high leakages. Afghanistan's comparative advantage in supplying the illicit market means that it would likely expand cultivation to meet demand in both markets. Afghanistan is a high-cost producer of opium, and prices for licensed opium are much lower than on the illegal market, so profits might well be marginal or even negative. Existing producers of licensed opiates— Australia, Turkey, India, France and others—would strongly oppose any move to let Afghanistan become a competitor on the licensed market. Even if a more liberalized market for opiates is envisioned, technological advances and modern techniques in other countries mean that Afghanistan could not be a competitive producer.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Turkey, India, France, Australia
  • Author: Teressa Juzwiak, Elaine McGregor, Melissa Siegel
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This policy brief considers how businesses and governments in global cities contribute to the integration of migrant and refugee populations, either through outreach, specialized programmes, the provision of services, or targeted funding of non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and to what extent these contributions can be deepened or expanded. The research involved the study of eight cities around the world representing a diversity of immigration experiences: Auckland (New Zealand), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Chicago (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Lisbon (Portugal), Nairobi (Kenya), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), and São Paulo (Brazil).
  • Topic: Non-Governmental Organization, Immigration, Governance
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Malaysia, Brazil, Lisbon, Portugal, New Zealand, Chicago, Kuala Lumpur
  • Author: Shyama V. Ramani, Ajay Thutupalli, Sutapa Chattopadhyay, Veena Ravichandran, Tamás Medovarszki
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Women entrepreneurs in the informal economy need business engagements with other women (and men) that offer 'spaces' for dialogue to learn and build business capabilities. While formalization of entrepreneurial activity is favourable under some circumstances, it can be detrimental under others, necessitating a case-by-case evaluation. Many top-down actions for women's empowerment in the informal sector are only effective in gender-neutral economic development programmes. In this Policy Brief, we argue that although policy interventions may be favourable, they are neither necessary nor sufficient for change, as successful women role models are often the best agents for sweeping change.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Gender Issues, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: More than seven weeks after the most devastating war yet waged in Gaza, its underlying causes remain unresolved. Hamas did not achieve an end to Gaza's closure; Israel did not attain the demilitarisation of the Strip or Hamas. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) remains unrepresentative and its credibility continues to fade. Fatah's popularity has sunk while Hamas's has increased to levels unseen since its 2006 electoral victory. Small steps toward reconciliation between Hamas and the PLO have been taken, but they are very distant from the end goal of a unified, representative Palestinian leadership. But in reconciliation lies the only hope of achieving a sustainable ceasefire and, more broadly, of bringing Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank under one authority.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Arms Control and Proliferation, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Debbie Hillier
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is totally unprecedented. The accelerating number of cases, the poor health infrastructure in affected countries, the short supply of skills, knowledge and personnel, and the fear surrounding this disease are providing a huge challenge to affected governments and the international community as they battle to bring the epidemic under control.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Health, Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid, Health Care Policy, Ebola
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Hannah Stoddart, Lydia Prieg, Joseph Zacune
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The world produces enough food to feed everyone. But every day more than 800 million people go to bed hungry. This is a scandal and climate change is set to make things even worse.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Isabel Martins
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: South Sudan is facing the world's worst food crisis, driven by the conflict that erupted in December 2013. Unless there is an end to the fighting, this food crisis will continue. Without far stronger international pressure, the conflict is unlikely to be resolved. International diplomacy – as well as aid and the protection of civilians on the ground – is urgently needed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Humanitarian Aid, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott, Cathleen Cimino
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a megaregional agreement to lower barriers to trade and investment and promote economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region, has been a dynamic process with a number of countries joining the talks in midstream. Since negotiations began in March 2010, participation in the TPP talks has expanded several times to include Malaysia (October 2010), Vietnam (December 2010), Canada and Mexico (October 2012), and Japan (July 2013). In November 2013, Korea announced its interest in participating in the TPP and began consulting with the countries involved. The TPP now has 12 participants. Korea is still considering whether to become lucky 13.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Canada, Asia, Vietnam, Korea, Mexico
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: There are clear and compelling economic imperatives for Iran to accept a nuclear agreement with the P5+1 (U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) by a November 24 deadline. The Iranian public has chafed under comprehensive sanctions since 2010 and expect President Hassan Rouhani to deliver a nuclear agreement that enables the economy to recover and grow. U.S. and other P5+1 officials stress the economic opportunities for Iran that will result, including the eventual re-opening of Iran's oil and gas sector to foreign investment. Major international firms are poised to re-enter the Iranian market in the event of a nuclear deal, although firms will initially be cautious due to lingering uncertainty.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The collapse of two prominent coalition-supported Syrian rebel groups at the hands of al-Qaeda-affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) has not just compounded doubts against the capabilities and loyalties of these groups but also doubt as to whether any "moderate" rebel group can succeed. This long-simmering uncertainty about arming and training rebel groups that aren't as cohesive or even as moderate as once hoped throws into question the prospects of an acceptable military solution to the almost four-year long Syrian civil war. The coalition-equipped rebel groups Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front were overrun in northern Syria by JN-though most rebel groups have long cooperated with it and, unlike Washington, don't consider the group to be a terrorist organization. Reports of increased airstrikes against JN will further drive a wedge between most rebel groups and the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), that demands the primary target is the Bashar al-Assad regime and not extremist groups fighting it. The realities of settling the civil war exclusively, thus far, via rebel military might open up other avenues for non-military actors to assume a role in resolving the war; after all, there are an estimated 2.5 million refugees and another 6.5 internally displaced persons in Syria, with obvious needs that perhaps new Syrian civilian leadership might stand up to address.
  • Topic: Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The following IntelBrief is excerpted from The Soufan Group's recent long-form report on The Islamic State, which takes an in-depth look at the extremist group's operations across Iraq and Syria. From late 2011 up to today, The Islamic State has shown itself both tactically and strategically adept. After years of surviving as a persistently violent criminal/terrorist gang able to mount multiple synchronized attacks in urban areas in Iraq but little more, it achieved unparalleled gains when the collapse of government in northern and eastern Syria allowed it to expand across the border. At the same time, the sectarian approach of then-Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki had made the Sunni minority in Iraq ready to support any group that appeared to have the potential to reverse its increasing marginalization. It's accurate to say the group would still exist-but in nothing like its current form-had only one of those two catastrophes-Syria and Maliki-occurred; that both played out as they did made what has happened seem an almost inevitable accident of history.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The deliberate targeting and killing of journalists by The Islamic State (IS) and the resulting lack of outside reporting has created a nearly information-free zone for the group to fill with its own messaging. The group's embrace of the decentralized nature of social media has allowed its many thousands of cyber-supporters to create and operate their own ministries of propaganda. Abu Mohammad al-Adnani is the official spokesman for the group, but the notion of an official spokesman does not really apply to IS in the way it has applied to al Qaeda; the crowdsourcing of messages negates the need for a single point of contact.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Communications, Mass Media, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, North Africa, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: For a group that feeds on chaos, The Islamic State (IS) itself is rigidly structured and organized. The growing bureaucratic and administrative demands on IS as it attempts to govern the areas it controls-while under increasing military pressure-will stress the group and its structure like never before. The group benefits from ruling over populations that have little experience in effective government services, meaning that the very conditions that helped fuel IS's rise now give it wide latitude to deliver sub-par services for at least the near-term without risking revolt, at least for reasons of shoddy governance. From the caliph-level down to the district level, the group has a repetitive three-office ruling structure that provides easy-to-understand lanes of responsibility and authority, which is vital for a growing organization whose sole membership requirement is belief in its cause.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Like a tumor, the Islamic State (IS) feeds off the vitality of its unwilling hosts, sustaining itself from the economies of the areas it controls Efforts to deprive IS of its million-dollar-a-day revenue will be as difficult as it will be vital, since the group takes a percentage of local economic activity; hurting those economies to deprive IS of money will be counter-productive The coalition efforts to defeat IS militarily must be sufficient enough to thwart its advances while remaining targeted enough to ensure the vulnerable population doesn't unite with IS in collective suffering Destroying mobile oil refineries is an effective use of air power to deny IS more finances but it will prove less effective against destroying the percentage IS takes from everyday transactions that it calls taxes In short, the solution is to remove IS from the money, not the other way around, which only will only weaken and radicalize already struggling populations.
  • Topic: Economics, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The reshaping of what is now the Islamic State (IS) began among the detainee populations in military prisons such as Camp Bucca in Iraq, where violent extremists and former regime personalities forged mutual interests over years of confinement IS is now a chimera of Ba'athist and takfiri ideologies, with the organizational skills of the former helping channel the motivational fervor of the latter It is more than a marriage of convenience between the two seemingly at-odds groups; the former Ba'athists among the group and the religious ideologues now have visions of a return to Sunni glory that merges Usama bin Ladin with Saddam Hussein While at smaller unit levels there will be conflict between the two halves of the whole-as witnessed in the fighting between IS and the Naqshbandi Army after the fall of Mosul-the former regime officers who are now senior leaders in IS appear fully committed to the ideals and goals of the group, a result of a thorough radicalization that has extended from imprisonment years ago up to now These prison-hardened fighters were so important to IS that they undertook a year-long campaign (2012-2013) called "Breaking the Walls" to free what would prove to be the last pieces needed for expansion.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: While there is understandable concern that an unknown percentage of foreign fighters fighting for the so-called Islamic State (IS) might return to their home countries intent on continuing the fight, IS appears intent on using them in suicide attacks in both Iraq and Syria IS goes to great length to publicize the foreign fighters who die in suicide attacks, which greatly enhances the group in the eyes of unstable people looking for martyrdom, creating a feedback loop of death A recent statement by IS showed that 80% of the suicide attacks in Iraq between September and early October were committed by foreign fighters; this continues a trend of IS using their foreign fighters in suicide attacks while Iraqi fighters take on the role of traditional soldiers Along with Saudi nationals, who conducted 60% of the suicide attacks referenced above, fighters from North Africa consistently feature prominently in IS suicide attacks, which closely matches the suicide bombing statistics from the 2003 Iraq war, though now there are more suicide operatives from western Europe
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Coalition airstrikes are intended to blunt the momentum of the self-declared Islamic State (IS) and provide time for a popular Sunni uprising that might never happen given the understandable lack of trust among all sides The Sunni Awakening that helped diminish the precursor group to IS in 2006-2009 is the successful outlier in Iraq's history of tragic uprisings; and it will not likely be replicated since the conditions that allowed it to succeed no longer exist To that end, one of the foundational assumptions of the effort to dismantle IS-that the Sunni tribes will soon rise up and oppose IS in a second Awakening-is built on uncertain ground Sunni tribal leaders realize there won't be anything near 2007-levels of support (material, financial, training) if they oppose IS en masse, and after gaining next to nothing politically after the first Awakening, there is no trust in a different outcome for any second Awakening Reports of a failed Sunni uprising in eastern Syria are additional disincentives for both Syrian and Iraqi Sunni populations to fight IS, and additional incentive to wait and see what external factors will emerge to change the status quo.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: With apparent heavy losses in Kobani, Syria, the so-called Islamic State (IS) is stepping up efforts to ignite the one fight it wants above all: a full sectarian war with Iraq's Shi'a population IS will likely accept serious losses, as long as it can claim to be the Sunni extremist vanguard in the fight against the Shi'a; this means the group will focus on high-profile and high-casualty attacks against Shi'a symbols and populations With the February 2006 bombing the 'Golden Mosque' in Samarra, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi finally got the fight he was looking for against the Shi'a and in doing so moved the IS precursor group AQI further up the list of the most feared and capable Iraqi extremist groups The new government of Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi will be pressured to overreact to IS attacks and to let loose the Shi'a militia that battled with both Sunni extremists and innocents alike eight years ago; a heavy-handed sectarian response will be a disaster for the country, even if it is asking a great deal for those being attacked to show restraint.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: In neighboring Iraq, over 1,100 Jordanians are believed to be fighting for the so-called Islamic State (IS) according to Jordanian former Prime Minister Maruf al-Bakhit, with another 200 having already died fighting Although that's only 0.0203% of Jordan's 6.4 million population, and enough for serious concern, it's testament to Jordanian society that with the constant fighting next door such a small percentage have taken up arms for IS After the 2005 Amman bombings, al Qaeda in Iraq (the precursor to IS) was widely despised in Jordan; now nine years later, over a thousand Jordanians are fighting for the same group In his October 18, 2014 remarks, Bakhit stated that there were between 2,000-4,000 Jordanians who adhere to the violent takfiri ideology most famously espoused by the late Jordanian Abu Mus'ab al Zarqawi Along with the fear of a radicalized population after a decade of war raging across two of its borders is the fear of what happens next in Iraq and Syria According to Bakhit, a partitioned Iraq is too problematic to work despite its obvious appeal amid the current fighting, with resources unevenly distributed across the country and Baghdad far too mixed for one side to claim.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: As King Abdullah remains out of sight, worries persist over Saudi Arabia's ability to handle its many domestic and foreign issues The Sunni-Shi'a divide is now seen largely in terms of competition for influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran But it is not just the Sunni-Shi'a tension which impacts the region as Saudi Arabia and Turkey also compete for primacy in the Arab Middle East; the three-way competition has been a key factor in the chronic conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen Common antipathy toward the self-declared Islamic State is the only glue that holds together the US-led coalition at this time: there's no consensus on how to defeat it, what to put in its place, and the role of Iran-issues made more complicated by questions about Saudi Arabia's internal decision process.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Power Politics, Counterinsurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's September visit to the United States allowed for the "soft reset" of a strategic partnership that has been in search of greater focus in recent years The smiles and handshakes served to ease the anxieties that had been building on both sides and had contributed to increased squabbling in the bilateral relationship Mutual frustrations are likely to continue in areas such as intellectual property rights and multilateral trade negotiations, where there has been no reconciliation in the two countries' largely incompatible points of view The U.S. and India share clearly convergent interests in both combating Islamist militancy and in balancing against a rising China Although the partnership's full potential is far from realized, these two geostrategic issues are sufficient to keep the trajectory positive and to sustain widely-held hopes that ties between the world's two largest democracies will continue to deepen.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, South Asia, India
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The self-declared Islamic State (IS)'s strategy of exploiting and exacerbating divisions among its opponents ranks as one of its greatest weapons, and one of the coalition's greatest weaknesses Turkey's airstrikes against the Kurdistan Workers' Party in southeast Turkey are the latest example-and perhaps most damaging in the near-term-of opponents of IS fighting each other instead of the group IS was sustained during its weakest period (2008-2010) in part by exploiting real tensions between various groups-Sunni vs Shi'a, Sunni vs Sunni, Sunni vs Kurd, etc-that prevented an "everybody vs IS" opposition that remains the only way to defeat the group IS will continue to create/exacerbate/leverage the differences between the US and Turkey, Saudi Arabia/UAE and Qatar, the Kurds and various parties, so much so that focus is more on tactically keeping the coalition together and less on strategically strangling IS.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Iran is attempting to link greater cooperation against the so-called Islamic State (IS) organization to concessions by the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) in negotiations on Iran's nuclear program Iran and the P5+1 remain far apart on the core issue of Iran's uranium enrichment program, increasing the likelihood that the talks will be extended beyond the current deadline of November 24 Iran requires a nuclear deal to satisfy public expectations and to increase its influence on regional events, including the US-led effort against IS A key Iranian goal is to dissuade the coalition from expanding the anti-IS campaign to include destabilizing the Assad regime in Syria.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, Iran, Middle East, France, Germany, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: As if sustaining an effective coalition against the anti-Islamic State coalition weren't complicated enough, increasingly open Iranian support for Syrian and Iraqi Kurds has the potential to further destabilize the situation Geopolitical machinations have excluded Iran from the international coalition but geographical realities will ensure the country has a significant role to play in the future of both Iraq and Syria Iran is seeking to leverage its support for the Kurds as a way to bolster its beleaguered ally in Damascus, Bashar al-Assad, and increase Iranian influence in Kurdish regions at the expense of Turkey and the West Overt Iranian support for the Kurds-while reaffirming support for Assad-will further stress the coalition, inevitably increasing sectarian tensions among members already grumbling that Assad and not IS is the true enemy; all while the West remains focused on IS and how to avoid entanglement in Syria As a sign of Iran's surprising Kurdish influence, Turkish and Iranian officials met on October 9 to discuss the unfolding events in Kobani, remarkable in that neither country is a member of the coalition but both hold most of the cards to resolve the immediate crisis.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Dr Gustav Lindstrom
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Additive manufacturing, also known as 3 dimensional printing, is not a new technology.The first 3D-printer was unveiled in 1984 by 3D Systems Corporation - some thirty years ago. Some might even argue that the origins of 3D-printing were foreshadowed in the early 1900s through the automated pointing machine used by German sculptor Max Kruse. However, it was only around 2010 that a growing number of businesses and households began to explore its potential, largely due to the introduction of less expensive models. From 2007-2011, sales of 3D-printers grew 200-400 percent every year.
  • Topic: Security, Communications, Mass Media, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Mr Alain Guidetti
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: President Xi Jinping's July 2014 visit to Seoul indicates that the strategic partnership between China and the Republic of Korea is moving forward against a backdrop of growing power competition and instability in the region. Both Seoul and Beijing have strong interest in close cooperation: Beijing wants to prevent a full-fledged trilateral alliance between the US, Japan and South Korea aimed at containing China's rising power Seoul needs Chinese support in its efforts to reach out to Pyongyang and work towards future reunification.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, International Affairs, Bilateral Relations, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Beijing, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Kristi Raik, Juha Jokela, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU has responded to the Ukraine crisis with a set of political and economic sanctions against Russia which constitute a qualitatively new step in the EU sanctions policy. The EU sanctions against Russia are exceptional and have strategic importance due to a combination of three factors: big power rivalry, the context of a major European crisis with global ramifications, and the costs of the sanctions for the EU itself. The EU has managed to maintain its fragile unity and has applied its collective diplomatic and economic weight in very difficult circumstances. The sanctions have not provided an alternative to diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis - on the contrary, hardening sanctions have been used as a way to put pressure on Russia to seriously engage in diplomacy. The impact of the sanctions on daily developments in Ukraine has been limited and uncertain, but the sanctions have imposed a long-term cost on Russia for violating key international norms. The policy process of Russia sanctions has exposed problems of leadership and coordination. The latest reform of the EU foreign policy machinery has streamlined the preparation of sanctions, but the current system still lacks the necessary resources to match the growing importance of the EU sanctions policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Elina Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The number of netizens in China is growing year on year and the increase in the use of mobile technologies to access the internet is the most notable trend of late. Around half of the Chinese population are now internet users. The Chinese leadership has tightened internet control since August 2013. In February 2014, China established Central Internet Security and Information Leading Group, headed by President Xi Jinping, to monitor Chinese cyberspace. Defamatory social media posts were criminalized, and the first sentence was imposed in April 2014. Despite stricter internet control, criticism of the state and politicians has often been tolerated in social media, whereas any content that promotes offline collective action is systematically censored. However, the idea that the development of the internet in China would lead to significant political change seems unwarranted in the current circumstances. Poll data released on September 9 show that almost 90 per cent of the Chinese respondents harbour negative views about Japan. Internet forums and increasing commercialization of the traditional media are contributing to this public opinion trend, which complicates the handling of China's turbulent relations with Japan.
  • Topic: Politics, Communications, Mass Media, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Danya Greenfield, Barbara K. Bodine
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: With the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the explosion of violent conflicts from Tripoli to Gaza, the Middle East is looking more unstable and unpredictable than ever. While the focus in Washington is centered on jihadist extremists in Iraq and Syria at present, the threat from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) against the United States continues. Top al-Qaeda leadership in Yemen is hailing the territorial gains of ISIS in Iraq, and some al-Qaeda operatives are imitating ISIS' techniques such as public slaughters of those deemed infidels, prompting fears of cooperation between two of the most active Islamist militant networks. Recent aggression by the Houthi movement, a Zaydi Shia rebel militia, against state institutions and tribal opponents has opened a new front of instability and security vacuum that AQAP is all too ready to exploit. Inattention to the interconnected nature of tribal conflict, terrorist activity, poor governance, economic grievances and citizen discontent is proving to be a dangerous combination for both Yemen and the United States. The Yemeni context may seem far from the current focus on Baghdad and Damascus, but getting the US strategy right in Yemen will have consequences for regional stability and core US interests throughout the Arabian Peninsula and beyond.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, Terrorism, Foreign Aid, Labor Issues, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Bassem Bouguerra
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The December 2010 self-immolation of twenty-six-year-old itinerant fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi sparked popular protests in Tunisia that rippled throughout the Arab world. Like so many of Tunisia's youth, Bouazizi felt disenfranchised by the Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali regime. For over twenty-three years, a corrupt security apparatus allowed Ben Ali to rule the country with an iron fist. The public avoided criticizing the regime or even mentioning Ben Ali's name for fear of reprisal. During the Tunisian revolution, protesters demonstrated their anger at the security institutions that perpetuated the regime's hold on power by attacking police stations. With the fall of the regime, Tunisians began to publicly voice their opinions on previously forbidden issues such as politics, corruption, and police abuse.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Reform
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Tunisia
  • Author: Danya Greenfield, Stefanie A. Hausheer
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In a May 2013 speech outlining his counterterrorism policy and addressing the use of drone strikes, President Barack Obama insisted that the United States uses the "highest standard" of criteria when selecting targets. The United States, the president said, only strikes "terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people...and before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured." More than a year later, the administration seems to continue brazenly violating its own standards while also failing to fulfill its pledge to increase transparency and oversight with respect to the use of drone strikes. The administration has yet to explain how strikes such as the December 2013 attack on a wedding convoy in Yemen, which resulted in fourteen deaths and twenty-two injuries, could possibly fall within the guidelines laid out in the president's speech. US drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere raise similar questions.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Peter Engelke, Roxanne Cabral, Katherine Brown, Anne Terman Wedner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Globalization, urbanization, and fragmentation are reshaping the world order by diffusing power throughout the global system. In order to remain relevant, American diplomacy will require a fundamental retooling that includes a more deliberate and serious engagement with novel forces and actors. America's leaders must recognize that these forces and actors not only are buffeting foreign nations but also are at work within the United States itself, strengthening the capabilities of American cities, communities, individuals, and networks to reach beyond US borders. Building a stronger partnership between the federal government's diplomatic community and these nonstate actors will enhance America's leadership and standing around the world.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Bilal Y. Saab, Michael S. Tyson
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: On September 10, 2014, President Barack Obama delivered a speech outlining the administration's strategy to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, also known as ISIS. Achieving success requires four key elements, Obama said: a systematic campaign of airstrikes, increased support to allied forces fighting ISIS on the ground, robust counterterrorism to prevent ISIS attacks against the West including the US homeland, and continued provision of humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians. Airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and recently in Syria have supported the first, third, and fourth elements of this strategy.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: James Hasik, Mark Revor
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The democratized innovations of today's hacker era have a dark side: democratized destruction, underwritten by advanced information technologies, and spread by highly empowered individuals with very undemocratic intent. The breadth, pace, diffusion, and potential for concealment of these advances may be creating new vulnerabilities for the same technologically advanced societies that spawned them. Fortunately, the United States and its allies have substantial experience with this mode of innovation and unique resources for developing countermeasures. In "Democratized Destruction: Global Security in the Hacker Era," Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security Nonresident Senior Fellow James Hasik and Lieutenant Colonel Mark Revor, a 2013-2014 Marine Corps fellow at the Atlantic Council, recommend three courses of action: leveraging capital investments with low marginal cost extensions; monitoring the global progress of open innovation; and supporting domestic grassroots developments in information-intensive systems.
  • Author: Jason Healey, Klara Tothova Jordan
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: NATO's central missions of collective defense and cooperative security must be as effective in cyberspace as in the other domains of air, land, sea, and space.
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health has prioritized reproductive, maternal and child health by increasing access to a range of family planning methods, introducing education on reproductive health issues in schools, and working with the religious community to counter stigma on family planning.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Gender Issues, Health, Human Welfare, Social Movement, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In November 2013 Peru's Ministry of Health, in collaboration with other ministries, civil society partners, and youth organizations, launched the Multi-sectoral Plan to Prevent Adolescent Pregnancy. The plan prioritizes the reproductive health and rights of adolescent girls in a national development and public health framework.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Human Welfare, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Peru
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Through successful collaborations with community groups, national and district level leaders, and NGOs, two innovative programs in Tanzania are employing innovative approaches to reach underserved populations, particularly women in rural areas and adolescent girls.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: Tanzania
  • Author: Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Comprehensive Assessment conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) representsa considerable step forward in enhancing transparency ineuro-area banks' balance sheets. The most notable progress since the previous European stress test has been the hamonisation of the definition of non-performing loans and other concepts as well as uncovering hidden losses, which resulted in a €34 billion aggregate capital-chargenet of tax. Despite this tightening,most banks were able to meet the 5.5% common equity tier 1 (CET1) threshold applied in the test, whichsuggests that the large majority of the euro-area banks have improvedtheir financial position sufficiently to no longer constrainthem in financing the economy.Our own estimation based on the detailed results, however,provide a more nuanced picture, with a large numberof the banks still highly leveraged and in many cases unable to meet the regulatory capital requirementsthat will be introduced in the coming years underthe adverse stress test scenario.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Recession
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Erwan Fouéré
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is a damning reflection of our times that one of the EU's most successful foreign policy achievements has never been under so much criticism. During the recent elections for the European Parliament, populist eurosceptic parties were in the forefront of those campaigning against the EU's enlargement agenda. Their attempts at equating further enlargement with the dangers of increased immigration from Turkey, the Western Balkans and even other EU member states were bolstered by the leaders of some long-standing member states, such as the UK, openly calling for restrictions on freedom of movement — one of the fundamental pillars of the EU.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Balkans
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans, Weinian Hu
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This CEPS Policy Brief is based on a larger study for the EEAS and European Commission, written by the same authors in the run-up of the Milan ASEM summit of 16-17 October 2014. The main idea of the study is to assess whether ASEM works and how, by verifying the factual evidence in detail. After all, ASEM has no institutions, no budget and no treaty, whilst dialogues and a loose improvement over time in Asia-Europe relations refer to process much more than genuine 'results'. The stocktaking covers all ASEM activities since the 2006 Helsinki summit. Summit and foreign ministers' declarations and ASEM calendar of activities (and interviews) are used to trace ASEM activities in the three ASEM pillars (political, economic, and peoples-to-peoples/cultural). All the 'regular' ASEM meetings at ministerial and other levels (many of which are only known to relatively few) have been mapped. Also the ASEM working methods, based on the 2000AECF framework and many subsequent initiatives, have been scrutinised, including whether they are actually implemented or not or partially. Such methods refer to how to work together in areas of cooperation (beyond the typical ASEM dialogue), organisation, coordination and ASEM visibility.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Singapore
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Denis Cenusa, Tamara Kovziridse, Veronika Movchan
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While EU and US sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine, and Russia's counter-sanctions, are much discussed due to their evident political significance, less attention has been given to Russia's punitive sanctions against the three Eastern European states – Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – that have signed with the EU Association Agreements (AA), which include Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) provisions. This paper therefore documents these trade policy restrictions and embargoes imposed by Russia, and provides some first indications of their impact. The immediate impact on trade flows, especially for agri-food products, has been substantial, albeit with some leakage through Belarus. The main instrument for the Russian measures has been allegations of non-conformity with Russian technical standards, although the correlation of these allegations with movements in Russia's geopolitical postures makes it obvious that the Russian technical agencies are following political guidelines dressed up as scientific evidence. These measures also push the three states into diversifying their trade marketing efforts in favour of the EU and other world markets, with Georgia already having taken significant steps in this direction, since in its case the Russian sanctions date back to 2006. In the case of Ukraine, Russia's threat to cancel CIS free trade preferences infiltrated trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia, leading on 12 September to their proposed postponement until the end of 2015 of the 'provisional' implementation of a large part of the AA/DCFTA. This was immediately followed on 16 September by ratification of the AA/DCFTA by both the Rada in Kyiv and the European Parliament, which will lead to its full and definitive entry into force when the 28 EU member states have also ratified it. However Putin followed the day after with a letter to Poroshenko making an abusive interpretation of the 12 September understanding.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia
  • Author: Matthew J. Walton, Susan Hayward.
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: For the past few years, Myanmar's political transition has been hampered by violence between Buddhists and Muslims. A nation with an ethnically Burman and religiously Buddhist majority, the population also comprises a large minority of Muslims and members of other religions, and includes many different ethnic groups. As such, Myanmar society is complex and innately plural.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Religion, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Burma, Myanmar
  • Author: Charles E. Morrison
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In the past quarter-century Asia has seen vast changes, including increased economic growth, integration, and liberalization. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) process, now marking its 25th anniversary, facilitated these changes through its institution of the first regular meetings of ministers and then leaders. But what role should APEC play in the future? With a continuing diffusion of power, what was once hailed as an imminent "Asian century" is much more likely to be a global one. This international system, however, will have a trans-Pacific core with much of the economic power and potential to provide global leadership for the further development of international norms, rules, and cooperation. Thus, we may be able to refer to an "Asia-Pacific century." Two questions arise: Is North America, with a relatively small share of global population and a declining share of global world product, still relevant? Will the nations on the two sides of the Pacific really be able to use their power effectively to assume global leadership? The answer to the first of these is "yes," and to the second, "it depends."
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Alors que le Nord du Mali connait un inquiétant regain de violence, les négociations de paix à Alger constituent une chance unique de sortie de crise. Mais après deux mois de discussions, la paix semble encore loin. Le gouvernement malien et les groupes armés engagés dans les négociations peinent à trouver un terrain d'entente. Des groupes influents et radicaux qui manquent à la table des négociations sont tentés de faire dérailler le processus par la violence. La résolution du conflit passe par l'articulation complexe d'intérêts divergents qui touchent à la sécurité du Sahara, à la nature de l'Etat malien et aux équilibres locaux entre des communautés divisées. Face aux affrontements armés, la tentation est grande d'aller vite et de signer un accord à minima garantissant la sécurité à court terme. La précipitation est mauvaise conseillère. Il faut se donner les moyens et le temps de construire les fondements d'une paix durable.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Depuis le soulèvement populaire de décembre-janvier 2010-2011, la Tunisie surmonte avec succès ses crises politiques, mais le pays semble moins disposé à absorber le choc d'attaques jihadistes plus importantes. Malgré le dialogue national qui a fortement réduit les tensions et a fait débuter l'année 2014 sur une touche optimiste, l'inquiétude grandit de nouveau. Cette appréhension peut s'expliquer par la montée des violences à la frontière algérienne, le chaos libyen et l'avancée de l'islamisme radical au Moyen-Orient, mais également par le discours antiterroriste ambiant. Caisse de résonnance des conflits qui agitent la région, le pays a besoin d'aborder la question terroriste de manière sereine et dépolitisée, malgré les enjeuxinternationaux. La lutte contre le terrorisme et la lutte contre le crime organisé sont indissociables. Le gouvernement gagnerait ainsi à accompagner ses mesures sécuritaires par des mesures économiques et sociales destinées à ramener les populations frontalières dans le giron de l'Etat.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: Arif Rafiq
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sectarian violence between Sunni Deobandi and Shia Muslims in Pakistan has escalated in recent years. Most of this violence is perpetrated by local networks, but the sectarian phenomenon also has important ties to regional security dynamics and transnational terrorist networks. Despite sporadic state crackdowns, Pakistan's leading Sunni Deobandi sectarian militant groups have been able to maintain a persistent presence thanks in part to reluctance among mainstream Pakistani military and political leaders to directly confront groups that are sometimes seen as serving utilitarian political interests. Despite this negligence, Sunni Deobandi militants have also established linkages with terrorist groups that target the Pakistani state, such as al-Qaeda and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Rising conflict in the greater Middle East over the past five years has strengthened the sectarian political narrative in Pakistan and emboldened sectarian militant networks on both sides of the conflict.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan
  • Author: Trent Ruder
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Donors have increasingly sought to condition assistance funds for Afghanistan, particularly as a result of inadequate reforms during the Karzai administration. Since its negotiation in 2012, the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework has been the basis of most donor incentive decisions on Afghanistan. Donors need to consider who benefits from incentives, how resources and requests align, Afghanistan's capacity to implement reform, and the consequences of success or failure. Donors should both temper their expectations and minimize the linkage between highly politicized issues and incentive programs. Incentive programming is not a magic bullet, but it can help shape dialogue with the new Afghan administration.
  • Topic: Corruption, Foreign Aid, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Tokyo
  • Author: William A. Byrd, Javed Noorani
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Case studies of five ongoing mining operations show that Afghan mining companies are wantonly exploiting easily extractable mineral resources with little or no taxes and royalties going to the government. Revenue losses from just two sources —royalties and land rent —at the five mines are more than US$50 million per year. Total revenue losses from all sources for the hundreds of mines contracted to different companies easily could be hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The tendering processes, awards, and contents of contracts issued, contract implementation, and actual operations at the mines all showed clear signs of political interference, favoring bidders that often had no prior mining experience. Companies usually began extracting resources soon after mining contracts were awarded, without paying any taxes and royalties —even though the contract called for an initial exploration period. Companies did not provide the legally and contractually required documents, such as exploration reports and environmental and social impact assessments. Effective inspections of mines were not conducted, and companies were not held accountable for payments due. Sometimes mining activities precipitated local conflicts, resulting in violence and deaths; weaker local communities called on Taliban elements for support in one such dispute. Serious reforms are needed to ensure that mining activities are developmentally beneficial and that revenues generated are paid to the government.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Natural Resources, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: Charles Kenny
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Government contracts regarding the use of public property and finances should be published by default. Many jurisdictions already require that contracts be made public in response to requests for the information; some now publish contracts proactively. Doing so helps new entrants compete in the market for public contracts, helps governments model their projects on other successful examples, and allows citizens greater insight into how their taxes are being spent. This brief, summarizing the conclusions of the Working Group on Government Contract Publication, provides a practical outline for reaping the benefits of open contracts while addressing legitimate concerns about costs, collusion, privacy, commercial secrecy, and national security.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Frances Seymour, William Savedoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In March 2004, the Brazilian government initiated a range of policies and enforcement actions (under the Action Plan for Preservation and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon) that brought sharp reductions in the rate of deforestation. In 2008, Brazil signed an agreement with Norway to receive payments during a 5-year period for bringing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation below a 10-year average (1996–2005). Norway pledged up to US$1 billion for this agreement, which stipulated that these funds would be donated to the Amazon Fund (Fundo Amazônia), managed by the Brazilian National Development Bank and invested in actions to prevent deforestation and to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the Amazon biome.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Norway, Brazil
  • Author: Avinash D. Persaud
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Bailouts and bail-ins of failing financial institutions have been hotly disputed in the global financial crisis of the last five years. At the height of the crisis, several failing banks were bailed out with taxpayer money so they could service their debts, but as public outrage mounts, policymakers are increasingly looking at bailing in these institutions before using taxpayer funds. Bail-ins, also called haircuts, require the troubled institution's creditors to write off some of the debt or agree to a restructuring of the debt, which reduces their holdings. The public has demanded the imposition of these costs on creditors and bond - holders, arguing that if bad lending as well as bad borrowing went unpunished it would be encouraged. Additionally, the yawning fiscal deficits that have followed bailouts have led to unpopular fiscal retrenchment.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Ukraine has experienced a year of unprecedented political, economic, and military turmoil. The combination of Russian military aggression in the east and a legacy of destructive policies leading to pervasive corruption has plunged the country into an existential crisis. The West, meanwhile, has been largely paralyzed with uncertainty over how to assist Ukraine without reviving Cold War hostilities. Yet all is not lost for Ukraine. A tenuous ceasefire, along with the successful elections of President Petro Poroshenko in May and a new parliament in October offer an opportunity for economic reform. If the current ceasefire in the east holds, Ukraine has a great opportunity to break out of its vicious circle of economic underperformance. Yet, the window of opportunity is likely to be brief. The new government will have to act fast and hard on many fronts to succeed.
  • Topic: Corruption, Governance, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This semiannual review finds that most of the major international currencies, including the US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, UK pound sterling, and Chinese renminbi, remain close to their fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs). The new estimates find this result despite numerous significant exchange rate movements associated with increased volatility in international financial markets at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2014, and despite a major reduction in the price of oil. The principal cases of exchange rate misalignment continue to be the undervalued currencies of Singapore, Taiwan, and to a lesser extent Sweden and Switzerland, and the overvalued currencies of Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, and to a lesser extent Australia and Brazil. Even so, the medium-term current account deficit for the United States is already at the outer limit in the FEERs methodology (3 percent of GDP), and if the combination of intensified quantitative easing in Japan and the euro area with the end to quantitative easing in the United States were to cause sizable further appreciation of the dollar, an excessive US imbalance could begin to emerge.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Japan, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand
  • Author: Nicole Ball
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Progress made by Burundi's Security Sector Development (SSD) program in advancing democratic security sector governance is noteworthy given that there have been relatively few successful security sector reform cases from which to draw. Political will for security sector reform was expanded over time by supporting tangible priorities of the Burundian security sector that established the trust enabling broader engagement on governance issues. The relative success of the SSD program—and particularly its governance pillar—depended heavily on its ability to address politically sensitive issues. SSD's 8-year timeframe provided the time to adapt the program to evolving circumstances, facilitate increasing Burundian ownership of the reform process, and realize the incremental gains from which substantive change was possible.
  • Topic: Security, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi
  • Author: Suhani Bhushan, Stephanie C. Fauquier
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: By 2050, the world's population is expected to exceed nine billion people. Population growth is occurring most rapidly in Africa, which will see the population grow from one billion to 2.1 billion by 2050. Africa will see significant population growth; however, agricultural output is not growing at the same rate. Africa's abundant natural resources are being used ineffectively, and the country is unlikely to sustain current population growth. According to reGina Jane Jere (2014), "Barely a fraction of fertile agricultural land [in Africa] is being cultivated - just 10 percent of the 400 million hectares."
  • Topic: Agriculture
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Andrew Adams, Lyne Maheu, Kieran McDougal
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Northern Pass Transmission Project is mired in political deadlock due to conflict over its potential impacts and current assessment process. Although the proposal has little political support within New Hampshire, the US Department of Energy (DOE's) assessment process is moving forward. New England has become increasingly dependent on natural gas for power generation, which has dramatically risen in price recently, and the Northern Pass presents an opportunity to diversify the region's electrical supply. However, as the project stands, New Hampshire bears a majority of the economic, social and ecological costs, while receiving little of the regional benefit of affordable, flexible and reliable energy. There may be similar alternatives to the Northern Pass that secure the regional benefits of energy security and reliability while also reducing local costs. Without comparing the Northern Pass against alternative infrastructure projects, policy makers cannot assess which project generates the most net benefits. This policy brief contrasts the local and regional impacts of the Northern Pass, in order to shed light on the deficiencies that arise when analysing energy infrastructure projects in isolation.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Politics, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Canada, England
  • Author: Kevin Carmichael
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will miss the 2014 Beijing APEC summit. His former spokesman says it does not matter. "[I]t's safe to say that Canada won't lose out by skipping this particular summit, at this particular time, for this particular reason," Andrew McDougall (2014) wrote in an opinion article posted on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC's) website on November. In early October, a US State Department official told an audience in Washington, DC that Beijing was shaping up to be a "good" summit, in part because US President Barack Obama was planning to attend after missing the previous two APEC leaders' meetings (Wang 2014).
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, India, Asia
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In April 2014, in a departure from its normal aversion to lending to countries in conflict, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a US$17 billion loan to Ukraine to be disbursed over two years. At the time, Ukraine was three weeks away from a presidential election; engaged in combat with an armed separatist movement backed by Russia, its largest trading partner and supplier of energy; and experiencing a significant drain in foreign exchange reserves and bank deposits along with soaring yields on sovereign debt. The country was also reaping the returns of decades of economic mismanagement. Dire from both political and economic perspectives, the situation had the markings of a case where the IMF has the expertise to be usefully engaged, but there were also red flags demarcating circumstances that can hobble the IMF's effectiveness.
  • Topic: Economics, International Monetary Fund, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi, Barry Carin, David Kempthorne
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The annual CIGI Survey of Progress in International Economic Governance assesses progress in four dimensions of international economic governance: macroeconomic and financial cooperation; cooperation on financial regulation; cooperation on trade; and cooperation on climate change. Governance related to these dimensions is scored on the following progress scale: 0%-19% represents "major regression"; 20%-39% represents "some regression"; 40%-59% indicates "minimal progress"; 60%-79% characterizes progress; and 80%-100% represents "major progress." Recognizing the difficulty of making objective judgments given the complexity of the issues, the results are offered as a range of subjective opinions from CIGI experts with diverse backgrounds.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Alex Brouse, Dustin McDonald
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: High tensions in Northeast Asia are cause for considerable alarm. Of particular concern for the maintenance of global security are the disputes over Senkaku/Diaoyu and Dokdo/Takeshima islands. Strong grievances rooted in history and rising nationalistic sentiment in China, South Korea and Japan have made the positions of the respective parties currently irreconcilable. The tension surrounding the issue of territorial control, particularly between China and Japan, has the potential to spark a military confrontation. Due to a lack of empathy and the propensity to overestimate threats from neighbours, the region is especially volatile. Public commitments by US President Barack Obama in support of the US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty could ensure that any military confrontation between China and Japan might quickly escalate and draw the United States into direct conflict with China. In order to improve empathy, a concerted effort must be made to change the channel and work on issues where interests do align. Nowhere do the interests of China, South Korea, Japan and the United States align more than on the issue of North Korean denuclearization. By working together on an issue of mutual concern, these four countries can counter the rapid erosion of trust. By cultivating a cooperative attitude, tensions can be lowered, increasing the prospects for peaceful management of current acute disputes.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, South Korea
  • Author: Melisa Foster, Virgil Haden-Pawlowski
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Drones and AWS are more than simply new technology; they are a new method of combat engagement, representing a revolution in military affairs (Arkin 2013, 1). The current deployment of certain forms of robotic weapons technology, and the direction of their continuing development and use, are inadequately influenced by international law. While this technology offers strategic advantages and may reduce the need to put military personnel in harm's way, it also creates enormous risks to the erosion or abuse of human rights, peace, national security, ethical conduct in war and international law.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, International Security, Governance, Law
  • Author: Jesse MacLean, Andrew McCauley, Emily Newcombe
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Canada has demonstrated a strong interest in strengthening economic partnerships across the Asia-Pacific, having recently expanded its diplomatic presence in the region through the establishment of a mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and reaffirmed its desire to join such forums as the East Asia Summit. While Canadian officials routinely find themselves simply passing through Asian capitals, Canada's market share in the Asia-Pacific is below potential and Canada lags behind in comprehensive trade agreements signed with the region's states (Dobson 2012). As Canada seeks to expand trade ties in the Asia-Pacific, its active engagement must come not only through sustained presence in economic forums, but also through tangible investment in the region's security architecture.
  • Topic: Security, Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Canada, Asia
  • Author: Cory Campbell, Scott Janz
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: By granting limited monopolies to rights holders and securing profits from the sale and circulation of their works, copyright law is an important mechanism for incentivizing innovation and the creation of cultural content. However, limiting how users interact with protected materials also imposes a number of social costs, such as threatening the ability of individuals to express themselves by engaging with protected media and hindering cumulative innovation. Modern copyright law has sought to minimize these social costs through fair use provisions, which allow for the reasonable use of copyrighted material.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Intellectual Property/Copyright
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Busra Hacioglu, Alina Shams, Amy Wood, Ruiqian Zhang
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: On December 29, 2013, the journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed were arbitrarily arrested and detained in Cairo, Egypt. They were sentenced to seven years in prison after a five-month trial, a verdict US Secretary of State John Kerry called "chilling and draconian" (quoted in Holmes 2014). Although more contentious, the 2002 rendition of Canadian-Syrian citizen Mahar Arar also garnered international condemnation. 2 The subsequent apology by the Canadian government drew attention to the vulnerability of dual citizens, both abroad and at home. In 2006 and 2011, Canadian citizens from Lebanon and Egypt called upon the Canadian government for support during conflicts, with over 13,000 evacuated from Beirut alone by the end of July 2006. These cases all bring to light the complex web of obligations and transnational legalities, which come to the fore during times of conflict. Characterized by an absence of global governance, dual citizenship occupies a grey area in the international arena, as no international conventions directly apply to this citizenship status. In this absence, there are fragmented state responses based on geopolitical and geographical demand - dual citizenship can be permitted, avoided restricted or renounced - according to the whims of states. This has created a messy terrain around rights, state responsibilities, security and migration.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Migration, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: Lebanon, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Elizabeth Fraser, Malambo Moonga, Johanna Wilkes
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: SSA is a region undergoing a significant urban transition. UN-Habitat (2014) estimates that by 2050, 58 percent of the African continent will be living in urban regions, representing an increase from 400 million individuals to over 1.26 billion. This will be accompanied by a burgeoning informal sector, which has grown rapidly since the 1960s across the continent, providing income, employment and livelihoods for millions of poor urban households.
  • Topic: Poverty, Food, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Pierre Siklos, Martin T. Bohl, Jeanne Diesteldorf
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper examines whether the introduction of Chinese stock index futures had an impact on the volatility of the underlying spot market. To this end, we estimate several Generalized Auto-Regressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity (GARCH) models and compare our findings for mainland China with Chinese index futures traded in Singapore and Hong Kong. Our results indicate that Chinese index futures decrease spot market volatility with all three spot markets considered. In contrast, we do not obtain the same results for the companion index futures markets in Hong Kong and Singapore. China's stock market is relatively young and largely dominated by private retail investors. Nevertheless, our evidence is favourable to the stabilization hypothesis usually confirmed in mature markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Singapore
  • Author: Craig Fagan, Matteo De Simone
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: People in positions of power — often called Politically-Exposed Persons (PEPs) — may abuse their entrusted role for their own personal gain, feeding grand corruption. Banks provide one of the stopping places for these ill-gotten monies. Until now, financial institutions and their regulatory authorities have failed to prevent them from being a safe place for the corrupt. Now is the time to close this loophole.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Author: Craig Fagan, Matteo De Simone
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Most international standards and law enforcement agencies focus their efforts on fighting money laundering by banks and financial institutions. However, several non-financial sectors, such as real estate and luxury goods, are extremely vulnerable to illicit financial flows. Now is the time to clean up the sector and close this loophole for the corrupt.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Author: Craig Fagan, Matteo De Simone
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: For some people national borders constitute an insurmountable barrier. For others, they represent a comfortable way to hide ill-gotten wealth and to escape accountability for their actions. Now is the time to close the legal loopholes that allow corrupt individuals to elude justice for themselves and their money.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Reform
  • Author: Craig Fagan, Matteo De Simone
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Shedding light on who benefits from companies is a key defence for stopping corruption. Such information helps to prevent a safe haven to hide the proceeds of corruption and aids in revealing the money trail behind it.
  • Topic: Corruption, Reform
  • Author: Craig Fagan, Marie Chene
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Gender inequality and corruption are closely inter-linked. Gender inequalities undermine good governance, sustainable growth, development outcomes and poverty alleviation. Where countries have made advances in women's empowerment and gender equality, they have witnessed lower levels of corruption over time.
  • Topic: Corruption, Gender Issues, Poverty, Reform
  • Author: Adam P. Liff
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Throughout the postwar period, the Government of Japan's (GOJ) definition and interpretation of collective self-defense and Article 9 of Japan's constitution have played a crucial role in how its leaders develop and employ military power. This issue also has had significant implications for its political and security relationship with the United States.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Jeffrey Frankel, Valentina Bosetti, James W. Harpel
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Those worried about the future of the earth's climate are hoping that the climate change convention in Lima, Peru, in December 2014, will yield progress toward specific national commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The Lima conference will be hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is a prelude to the make-or-break Paris meeting of the UNFCCC, in December 2015, where a new international agreement is scheduled to be concluded.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Governance
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Peru
  • Author: Olli Heinonen
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Resolution on the Middle East adopted without vote at the 1995 Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review and Extension Conference calling for the establishment of a zone in the Middle East free of nuclear weapons, and all other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs), was reaffirmed by the 2000 and 2010 NPT Review Conferences. The 2010 Conference mandated the Secretary- General of the United Nations and the co-sponsors of the 1995 Resolution, in consultation with the states of the region, to convene a conference in 2012, to be attended by all states of the Middle East. The mandate was the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the states of the region, and with the full support and engagement of the nuclear-weapon states. The anticipated 2012 Conference was mandated to take the 1995 Resolution as its terms of reference.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Tanisha M. Fazal
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This policy brief is based on "Dead Wrong? Battle Deaths, Military Medicine, and Exaggerated Reports of War's Demise," which appears in the summer 2014 issue of International Security.
  • Topic: Health, War, Military Strategy, Budget
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Le duel qui oppose le président sortant Moncef Marzouki à l'ancien chef de gouvernement Béji Caïd Essebsi dans le cadre du second tour de la présidentielle, prévu le 21 décembre 2014, révèle les lignes de fracture de la société tunisienne que les élites politiques croyaient avoir résorbées grâce à leur sens du consensus et du compromis. La cartographie électorale des législatives et du premier tour montre une Tunisie divisée entre un Nord en grande partie pro-Essebsi et son parti Nida Tounes, et un Sud majoritairement pro-Marzouki et favorable au parti islamiste An-Nahda. Afin d'éviter que les craintes réciproques finissent par conduire à des violences, le vainqueur de ce premier scrutin présidentiel libre et concurrentiel devra d'abord reconnaitre les inquiétudes de l'électorat du vaincu. Pouvoir exécutif et législatif devront s'engager de concert à traiter la question du déséquilibre régional et prévenir les risques de blocage institutionnel ou de répression des oppositions.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: Alison Kent
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: For many who survived typhoon Haiyan's brutal winds and deadly storm surge, their struggles continue one year later . As recovery efforts progress , a critical opportunity exists to ensure that these communities have the chance not only to rebuild their lives but to strengthen their resilience – to future disasters as well as to poverty.
  • Political Geography: Philippines
  • Author: Steph Cousins
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Climate-related disasters and food crises are devastating thousands of lives and holding back development across Asia. A year on from the devastating super-typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Oxfam calls for governments across Asia, backed by regional and global institutions and fair contributions from wealthy countries, to ramp up efforts to address these challenges. Without greater investment in climate and disaster-resilient development and more effective assistance for those at risk, super-typhoon Haiyan-scale disasters could fast become the norm, not the exception.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Disaster Relief, Environment, Humanitarian Aid, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Asia, Philippines
  • Author: Elizabeth Cameron, Jorrit Kamminga
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: As the Taliban regime fell in 2001 after six years of abuse and oppression, the international community made a promise to the women of Afghanistan, that it would never again abandon them. The protection of their rights, at least in part, became a key element to afterwards legitimize the war which followed. It is 13 years since Colin Powell, then- US Secretary of State, declared that, 'the rights of the women in Afghanistan will not be negotiable.' Now Afghan women are questioning what the future holds.
  • Topic: Democratization, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Tim Gore, Simon Bradshaw, Annaka Carvalho, Kiri Hanks, Jan Kowalzig
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Negotiations are currently under way to develop a new international climate change agreement that will cover all countries and curb global warming to below the internationally agreed limit of 2 degrees. The new agreement will be adopted at the United Nations Climate Change Conference – Conference of the Parties 21, or COP21 – to be held in Paris in November/December 2015, and will be implemented from 2020.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Environment
  • Author: Alberto Vargas
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Muchas de las comunidades de El Salvador tienen una baja resiliencia (su capacidad de enfrentar y recuperarse de los efectos de los desastres es muy limitada). Existen comunidades que a causa del cambio climático están enfrentando diversos eventos cada uno o dos años.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Health, Human Welfare, Food
  • Political Geography: South America
  • Author: Debbie Hillier, Krista Riddley
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The international response to the Ebola epidemic is on the right path, but there is a long way to go. The UN's interim objective was to treat 70 percent of cases and to ensure that 70 percent of burials were done safely within 60 days, i.e. by 1 December 2014. Case numbers are stabilizing in Liberia and Guinea, but remain out of control in Sierra Leone – such that the targets for cases treated has not been met. The UN has not provided figures for what had been achieved by 1 December, but a previous sitrep on 21 November showed that only 13 percent of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone have been isolated, compared with 72 percent in Guinea.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Human Welfare, Infectious Diseases, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Wairimu Munyinyi Wahome
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In May 2014, initial reports were received of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. One month later, the president of Sierra Leone declared a public health state of emergency in a bid to contain the spread, limiting public gatherings. Since then, quarantine measures have been imposed, including self-quarantines informed by district and chiefdom bye-laws and government-imposed quarantines. In November 2014, standard operational procedures (SOPs) on the management of quarantines were released by the National Ebola Response Coordination (NERC) function to streamline quarantine operations across the country.
  • Topic: Infectious Diseases, Health Care Policy
  • Author: Rachel Wilshaw
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Almost a century after the ILO Constitution recognized the need for workers to earn a living wage, the question of whether wages enable workers to meet their needs and those of their families has gained renewed momentum. Much has been written on the issue, but very little that assesses how companies are implementing it, and the outcomes.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Labor Issues
  • Author: Matthew Kroenig
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: US President Barack Obama has called the international dispute over Iran's advanced nuclear program "one of the leading security challenges of our time." Fitting for a problem of this magnitude, analysts have thoroughly examined the major policy options for addressing the challenge, including most notably, diplomacy, containment, and military strikes. Lost in this focus on the broad policy options to prevent or deal with a nuclear-armed Iran, however, is the acknowledgement that Iran already possesses a latent nuclear weapons capability and that this capability poses several threats to international peace and security at present. Moreover, it is almost certain that Iran will retain such a capability in the short to medium term regardless of how the nuclear diplomacy progresses-and even if the international community and Iran agree to a "comprehensive" nuclear deal. Rather than an exclusive focus on broad strategies for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, therefore, it would also be prudent to identify and mitigate against the challenges posed by Iran's extant latent nuclear capability, a capability that will likely remain in place even if Washington's policy of prevention is successful.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Christopher Musselman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Ukraine crisis demonstrates that European security can no longer be taken for granted and that NATO and the broader transatlantic community are struggling to address emerging security challenges. Whether Russia is classified revanchist, expanding its sphere of influence, or seeking to create regional hegemony, Putin's actions in both Crimea and eastern Ukraine are a stark reminder that the era of geopolitical competition in Europe is far from over. The transatlantic community must be ready to deal with similar challenges in the decades ahead.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Mohamed Eljarh
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The French intellectual Jean Baudrillard once said, “It is always the same: once you are liberated, you are forced to ask who you are.” In the case of Libya, this question should have been at the center of every political initiative immediately following the collapse of Muammar Qaddafi's regime. Libya's new leadership had the opportunity to convene a national dialogue in an effort to explore questions of national identity and a new vision for a national mission. Unfortunately, the Libyan elites who emerged from the 2011 civil war did not make national dialogue a priority, opting to appease local forces—armed and political—rather than to undertake the difficult but critical task of nation-building.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya
  • Author: Roberto Alvarez, José De Gregorio
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Latin American performance during the global financial crisis was unprecedented. Many developing and emerging countries successfully weathered the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Was it good luck? Was it good policies? In this paper we compare growth during the Asian and global financial crises and find that a looser monetary policy played an important role in mitigating crisis. We also find that higher private credit, more financial openness, less trade openness, and greater exchange rate intervention worsened economic performance. Our analysis of Latin American countries confirms that effective macroeconomic management was key to good economic performance. Finally, we present evidence from a sample of 31 emerging markets that high terms of trade had a positive impact on resilience.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Ukraine has experienced a year of unprecedented political, economic, and military turmoil. The combination of Russian military aggression in the east and a legacy of destructive policies leading to pervasive corruption has plunged the country into an existential crisis. The West, meanwhile, has been largely paralyzed with uncertainty over how to assist Ukraine without reviving Cold War hostilities. Yet all is not lost for Ukraine. A tenuous ceasefire, along with the successful elections of President Petro Poroshenko in May and a new parliament in October offer an opportunity for economic reform. If the current ceasefire in the east holds, Ukraine has a great opportunity to break out of its vicious circle of economic underperformance. Yet, the window of opportunity is likely to be brief. The new government will have to act fast and hard on many fronts to succeed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Giang Ho, Paolo Mauro
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: With economic growth in advanced economies still lackluster or elusive, much hope for world prosperity rests on projections of continued strength in developing and emerging economies. On average, the economic growth rate in these economies was roughly twice as high—on an unweighted per capita basis—as in the advanced economies during the past decade. According to the forecasts analyzed in this Policy Brief, this superior performance is projected to extend into the next two decades.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy