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  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is making steady progress on the ground in Raqqa, ISIS’ main stronghold in Syria. The alliance of militias recently announced that they retook 70% of the city from the terrorist group following a successful plan to divide the city into an eastern and western zone and storm the city from both sides. The SDF militants advancing from the eastern and western parts of the city linked up for the first time on August 11 prevent- ing ISIS from reaching the Euphrates River and keeping its fighters with civilians who remain besieged by both groups.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Some Middle Eastern states have recently shown signs of opening up to the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Acting on their own and not under orders from their governments, ministerial delegations, MPs and representatives of trade unions visited Damascus. Moreover, political parties and grassroots groups called for a restoration of relations with the Syrian regime.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Three European states and Russia were hit by a flurry of six terrorist attacks over five consecutive days during this month of August. A primary driver of the attacks appears to be a desire to deal a series of strong blows to these states in response to the human and material losses suffered by ISIS in Iraq and Syria after it withdrew from Mosul City and retreated in Raqqa City. Similar attack patterns and targets as well as similar identities of the perpetrators of some attacks are what recent attacks appear to have in common. This indicates that the group is trying to adapt and de- velop its tactics, as revealed by investiga- tions into the August 17 Barcelona attack.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: March 8 parties – particularly Hezbollah – in support of the Iranian axis have sought rapprochement with Bashar al-Assad’s regime and they are trying to push the Lebanese state to establish direct political and economic relations with it. March 14 parties, particularly the Lebanese Forces which opposes Syria, objected because Hezbollah’s attempts aim to help the Syrian regime exit its regional and international isolation, to make it present again in Lebanon and enhance economic cooperation as a path to establish more comprehensive strategic relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkey and Iran appear to be bent on upgrading political and security coordination over regional developments of common and special interest. This was evidenced by Iranian Chief of Staff General Muhammad Bagheri’s three-day vis- it to Turkey on August 15, 2017. This visit indicates that a “convergence of necessity” is headlining relations between the two regional powers despite a number of pending issues between them.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey
  • Author: Philippe Le Corre, Jonathan Pollack
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: China’s emergence as a global economic power and its fuller integration in the international order are among the principal policy challenges facing Europe and the United States in the early 21st century. At the time of Beijing’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China (though already growing rapidly) was in global terms an economic actor of limited consequence. A decade and a half later, China’s transformation is without parallel in economic history. Over the past 15 years, China has experienced an eightfold increase in GDP, enabling it to serve as the pri- mary engine of global economic growth in the early 21st century. It has leapfrogged from sixth to second place among the world’s economies, trail- ing only the United States in absolute economic size. In addition, China has become the world’s leading trading state and is now the second largest source of outward foreign direct investment. Change of this magnitude has enhanced China’s political power and eco- nomic leverage. It has also stimulated China’s internal economic evolution, simultaneously expanding the power of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) while also contributing to major growth in the private sector. China has also begun to think bigger, devoting increased attention to the rules of global economic governance. Although Beijing insists it has no intention of supplanting the existing international order, China contends that chang- ing power realities will require modification of global rules.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Political Economy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, America, Europe
  • Author: Steven Pifer
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: rms control has figured on the agenda between Washington and Moscow since the 1960s. Suc- cessive U.S. administrations since that of Richard Nixon have pursued negotiated arms control arrangements to limit and reduce the number of Soviet (and Russian) nuclear weapons, to enhance strategic stability, to increase transparency and predictability, to reduce the costs of U.S. nuclear forces, and to bolster America’s non-proliferation credentials. Negotiations on arms control have proceeded in times of both good and difficult relations. At times, progress on arms control has helped drive a more positive over- all relationship between Washington and Moscow. At other times, differences over arms control and related issues have contributed to a downward slide in rela- tions. The next president will take office in January 2017, when the overall U.S.-Russia relationship is at its lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: David Mastro
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The international community is beginning to grapple with several questions regarding whether one or more countries contributing troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)—which has been key to successes against al-Shabaab in recent years—will prematurely withdraw their troops from the mission due a confluence of regional and international factors.1 What is the likelihood that one or more troops contributing countries (TCCs)—Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda—withdraw from AMISOM? How would AMISOM’s operational effectiveness be impacted if a TCC left the mission? Would another country or countries be willing and able to fill the void created by a TCC’s withdrawal? This paper attempts to provide answers to these questions to inform policy discussions related to the long-term commitment of the TCCs to the mission. It also seeks to provide some actions or policies that the international community could undertake to reduce the likelihood that a TCC leaves AMISOM early.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Somalia
  • Author: Iñigo Guevara Moyano
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the Mexican military has been crafted into hardened and more professional military, skilled in fourth generation warfare, operating across the spectrum of conflict from surgical small-unit Special Forces missions to division-level stability operations in areas comparable in size to Belgium. As new—state and non-state—threats loom on the horizon, the U.S. and Mexican militaries will need to rely on deepening their connection and increasing bilateral trust to build a stronger and interdependent defense relationship. The increase in dialogue and cooperation builds trust and promotes mutual understanding between Mexico and the United States, crafting deep ties between both militaries during a time when the radicalization of political ideas threatens to transcend electoral campaign rhetoric and affect the economic and social fields of North America. For two neighbors that share an annual trade worth USD 534 billion along a 2,000-mile border, understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses should be a priority. This paper is meant to provide a deeper understanding of the Mexican military and its contribution to the defense and security of North America. It does so by analyzing the evolution of Mexico’s armed forces, and the past and present cooperation between the Mexican and the U.S. militaries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Mexico
  • Author: Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The great value of innovation is not merely in invention but rather diffusion and adaptation. And real innovation requires an economy that runs on the culture of experimentation and is open to innovators and entrepreneurs contesting markets—challenging incumbents to such a degree that it redefines the market (like Apple’s iPhone did with the handset market in 2007). In the past decades, however, these forces of diffusion and adaptation simply have not been powerful enough; in fact, legislators have acted to shield incumbent businesses from them. Now the existential challenge that capitalism faces is the growing resistance to innovation.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: America, Global Markets