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  • Author: Marc Otte
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The Middle East is once again going through a period of war and upheaval, including mass murder of civilians, state failure, transnational terrorism, sectarian wars, physical and societal destruction, massive arms purchases, use of nonconventional weapons (notably chemical) and a permanent risk of proliferation of WMD. These developments are a threat to the region, but also to the rest of the world and to Europe in particular. The current turmoil should not be underestimated for its potential to trigger an even bigger hot war that could involve other players, if only because of miscalculations by some of the parties involved.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Pieter D. Wezeman
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The volume of international transfers of major weapons in 2013–17 was 10 per cent higher than in 2008–12. This is a continuation of the upward trend that began in the early 2000s. The flow of arms to the Middle East and Asia and Oceania increased between 2008–12 and 2013–17, while there was a decrease in the flow to the Americas, Africa and Europe.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: After a period of stability, the transatlantic community is facing considerable challenges in maintaining European security. Russia’s efforts to destabilize Europe, terrorism, climate change, energy insecurity, migration, fracturing European identity, and the reemergence of nationalist populism challenge the ability of European institutions to perform their central functions. Different visions for Europe’s future and the lack of a shared threat perception add to these dilemmas.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: COL Todd E Key, LTC Charles A. Carlton
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The USAWC Research Plan is one part of a research program cycle that incorporates three interrelated documents: the KSIL, the USAWC Annual Research Plan and the USAWC Annual Research Report. While the KSIL drives USAWC research, the Research Plan describes how directed resources will answer many of the questions posed in the KSIL. The Research Report serves as a compendium of research completed and a means to identify unanswered questions from the current KSIL, to assist in the next cycle’s KSIL formulation
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mr. Frederick J. Gellert, Professor John F. Troxell, Dr. David Lai
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The challenge for the U.S. administration, and for policy experts writ large, is to build an effective strategy for a whole-of-government action in moving forward from the “Rebalance” in the direction of a free and open Indo-Pacific while avoiding the Thucydides Trap. This U.S. Army War College report provides analysis and policy recommendations on topics regarding the instruments of national power, regional affairs, and key Asia-Pacific countries. The key findings are rooted in the following overarching concepts:
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Franklin Kramer, Robert J Butler, Catherine Lotrionte
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes cyber’s role in deterrence and defense—and specifically the military-civil nexus and the relationship between the Department of Defense (DoD), the civil agencies, and the key private operational cyber entities, in particular the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and electric grid operators. The focus of the paper is on high-end conflict including actions by an advanced cyber adversary, whether state or nonstate, and not on the “day-to-day” intrusions and attacks as regularly occur and are generally dealt with by governmental agencies and the private sector without military involvement. High-end conflict can be expected to include attacks within the United States homeland as well as in forward theatres.
  • Topic: Civil Society, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Katherine A Brown, Shannon N. Green, Jian “Jay” Wang
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Throughout the world, citizens are increasingly flexing their muscles and shaping their governments’ decisionmaking on domestic and foreign affairs. Expanded access to information, facilitated by new media and communication technologies, has greatly empowered nonstate actors and strengthened their role in international politics. In this environment, the U.S. government cannot afford to solely engage in state-to-state diplomacy. The new global landscape requires foreign ministries and diplomats to go beyond bilateral and multilateral diplomacy and broaden and deepen relationships with a broad and diverse range of actors. The public diplomacy (PD) toolkit of informational, educational, and cultural programs is central to this objective by creating and maintaining relationships with influential leaders and opinion-makers in civil society, commerce, media, politics, and faith communities worldwide. This paper attempts to capture the lessons that the U.S. government and PD experts have learned over the past eight years in applying PD tools in order to chart an effective course for the incoming administration.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Security, Non State Actors, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Rebecca K.C. Hersman
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As we survey the world today, we find the nuclear landscape to be more uncertain and precarious than it has been at any time since the end of the Cold War. In recent years, Russia has taken to routinely rattling its nuclear saber—publicly embracing the value and utility of nuclear weapons while rejecting further nuclear arms control efforts—in an effort to intimidate its smaller neighbors and to test European unity along the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) periphery. North Korea’s expansion and diversification of its nuclear arsenal and associated delivery platforms, combined with Kim Jong-un’s penchant for provocation, has raised the risk of nuclear coercion and undermined confidence in current deterrence approaches. Meanwhile, nuclear competition between Pakistan and India continues to grow, spurred on by Pakistan’s now-open acknowledgment of a range of “tactical” nuclear weapons as part of their “full spectrum deterrence.” And China, unabashed in its desire to assert greater regional dominance, is modernizing, diversifying, and hardening its nuclear forces while simultaneously enhancing complementary capabilities in space, cyber, and advanced missile systems. Over a quarter century past the fall of the Berlin Wall, nuclear dangers appear to be growing rather than receding, contributing to an increasingly complex security environment
  • Topic: International Security, Self Determination, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carl W Baker, Federica Dall’ Arche
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There have been remarkable transformations in UK/US-Myanmar relations over the past few years with the signing of trade agreements, lifting of sanctions, and investments. Nevertheless, some issues such as the government’s alleged violations of the human rights of minority ethnic groups have prevented better relations. There is currently a fairly wide gap in perceptions regarding the issue of human rights violations in the Rakine State. While some outsiders accuse the government of genocide or ethnic cleansing, the Myanmar government has consistently portrayed its actions as justified based on the need for counterterrorism measures against international terrorists. An open dialogue over these
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, International Security, International Affairs, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Myanmar
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, a former Iranian judiciary chief who holds a prominent position in the Assembly of Experts, now has two paths to leadership of the Shiite community. The first is as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, now seventy-seven; the second is to eventually take the place of Najaf-based Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who at eighty-six is the preeminent religious authority in Shia Islam. A certain air of mystery surrounds Shahroudi, whose life has been chronicled heretofore only in a flattering pamphlet produced by his own office. But the trends in his philosophy are clear enough: on the religious front, he has grown more conservative; in matters of Iranian nationalism, a harder-line revolutionary. Author Mehdi Khalaji offers here the first comprehensive study of Ayatollah Shahroudi, encompassing his upbringing in holy Najaf, his move to Iran after the Islamic Revolution, his role as a stalwart in Khamenei's power base, and his brutal tenure as chief justice from 1999 to 2009. A scenario worth imagining, though hardly inevitable, is one in which Shahroudi consolidates power as both Supreme Leader and transnational marja, thereby reinforcing Iran's regional clout and its revolutionary orientation.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Dylan O’Driscoll, Dave van Zoonen
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This report views the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces, PMF) as having played an intrinsic role in the provision of security in Iraq since the dramatic rise of the Islamic State (IS). However, through the lens of nationalism it analyses the negative role the PMF may play once IS is defeated. The report therefore presents suggestions to deal with the perceived threat of the PMF in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Eugene B. Rumer
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Deception and active measures in all their incarnations have long been and will remain a staple of Russia’s dealings with the outside world for the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Security, International Affairs, Elections, Democracy, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: François Godement
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Chinese have long been obsessed with strategic culture, power balances and geopolitical shifts. Academic institutions, think-tanks, journals and web-based debates are growing in
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Eran Lerman
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Overshadowed by the Syrian tragedy, the collapse of the Libyan state had dangerous consequences for Mediterranean security. It also demonstrated the cost of a hastily organized intervention followed by disastrous neglect and the rise of Islamist forces. Still, its latest chapter – the successful campaign to eradicate IS in Sirte – proves that when carefully chosen, limited military means can achieve strategic goals: and in that basis, measures should be taken to satisfy General Hiftar and his Egyptian backers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In “Afghanistan Affectations,” a detailed report published by the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research’s Crime-Conflict Nexus Series in April 2017, Vanda Felbab-Brown assesses how counterinsurgency, stabilization, and reconstruction dynamics have interacted with organized crime, illicit economies, and generalized predatory criminality since 2001 and warped and weakened the post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Geoffrey Gertz
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: President Donald Trump has promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which links the United States with two of its largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico. Officials in both Canada and Mexico have signaled they are open to renegotiations, and talks are expected to begin soon. New commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has indicated he hopes the negotiations could be completed within a year.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, International Security
  • Political Geography: America, Canada, Mexico
  • Author: Robert Einhorn
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The global nuclear non-proliferation regime, as it has evolved since the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970, has been remarkably resilient. Despite predictions of a “cascade of proliferation,” there are currently only nine states with nuclear weapons, and that number has remained the same for the past 25 years.[1] The NPT is nearly universal, with 190 parties and only five non-parties (India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, South Sudan). Several countries voluntarily abandoned nuclear weapons development programs (Argentina, Brazil, Egypt); several others were forced diplomatically or militarily to give up the quest (Iraq, Libya, South Korea, Syria); three former Soviet republics inherited nuclear weapons but gave them up (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine); and one country built a small arsenal before unilaterally eliminating it (South Africa). With Iran’s path to nuclear weapons blocked by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for at least 10 to 15 years, there are no non-nuclear weapon states currently believed to be pursuing nuclear weapons, according to U.S. government sources. And despite cases of nuclear smuggling and continuing interest of terrorist groups in acquiring nuclear weapons, no thefts of enough fissile material to build a bomb are believed to have taken place.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Christian Kvorning Lassen
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Denmark to be excluded from Europol due to electing not to abolish its JHA opt-outs. The Operational Agreement it has since negotiated with the EU falls short in several key areas, preventing optimal mutual cooperation between Denmark and the EU on important issues such as counter-terrorism and international organized crime. The implications ofthe operational agreement in regards to Europol are potentially far-reaching for Denmark in terms of both its EU policy and security, but also for the EU, which has to balance institutional dilemmas with security concerns.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Over the course of this reporting period, intra-opposition strife continued to harm groups in opposition-held territory, namely in Idleb and northern Aleppo. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Afrin initiated an offensive against opposition groups in northern Syria while advancing into Raqqa city to the east. Pro-government forces also advanced against ISIS in eastern Aleppo/western Raqqa and Homs. The situation around the US garrison at the al-Tanf border crossing continues to grow more complex as pro- government forces outflanked opposition groups advancing against ISIS in the area, reaching the Iraqi border to the north of opposition and US special forces positions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Over the course of this reporting period, ISIS continued to lose large portions of territory, particularly to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and pro-government Tiger Forces in northern Syria. New clashes erupted in rural Aleppo, Daraa, and Syria’s southern desert as the Syrian government began new offensives against opposition forces on those fronts. Intra-opposition strife continues to plague groups in the opposition-held Idleb pocket.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Daesh’s innovative and tailored use of social media has enabled the terrorist organization to lure and recruit disaffected young men and women on a global scale. Effective interventions to reduce the flow of foreign fighters to Daesh require a nuanced understanding of the organization’s recruitment strategies. This includes both the range of Daesh’s propaganda media (videos, online print materials, offline recruitment networks), and the material’s content.1 Such analysis is essential for policy-makers and community leaders who are on the frontlines of developing effective counter-narratives to Daesh’s insidious ideology.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matthew Taylor
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Guatemala has made notable gains in the fight against corruption and impunity in the last decade. President Otto Perez Molina resigned in 2015 and was tried and jailed on charges of corruption, alongside his vice president and several ministers. Several prominent criminal figures have been extradited to the United States, including another former president, Alfonso Portillo. Supreme Court justices and members of congress have been removed from office, drug lords jailed, and extortion rings dismantled. The overall impunity rate for homicides fell from 95 percent to 72 percent [PDF] between 2006 and 2012.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Guatemala
  • Author: John R Allen
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: On June 12, 2017, Bruce Jones, director of the Brookings Foreign Policy Program, convened five Brookings experts—John Allen, Vanda Felbab-Brown, Tanvi Madan, Michael O’Hanlon, and Bruce Riedel—to discuss the history and future of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. The edited transcript below reflects their assessments of evolving U.S. objectives in Afghanistan, progress to date, enduring challenges, regional dynamics, burden-sharing with coalition partners and regional stakeholders, domestic political support for ongoing U.S. commitment, and policy recommendations for U.S. strategy going forward.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Iva Tasheva
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Increased digitalisation has brought both economic benefits and cybersecurity challenges. According to Europol, an expanding cybercriminal economy is exploiting our increasingly Internet-enabled lives and low levels of digital skills. This became publicly evident in May 2017 with the biggest ransomware attack so far; the WannaCry cryptoworm exploited a security gap in widely used, and often not updated versions of the Windows operational system. The cyber weapon, which enabled hackers to lock (encrypt) the victims' computer files until they paid a ransom, was stolen from the US National Security Agency. It spread within a few hours, affecting 200,000 computers, compromising the security and preventing the work of critical infrastructures, such as hospitals (NHS), public transport (Deutsche Bahn), banks (Deutsche Bank), service providers (Telefónica), delivery services (FedEx), and businesses across the globe.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The international community’s e orts have recently succeeded in reducing the sources of funding of many terror organizations in the Middle East. ISIS is one instance, where the military operations launched by a US- led global coalition since September 2014, have signi cantly reduced the terrorist group’s funds generated from oil sales and illicit trade and caused huge losses.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkey and Russia recently announced that their talks about the delivery of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system to Ankara were now at a nal stage. That is a sign that a key element of the deal, estimated at USD 2.5 billion, has already been achieved. According to statements delivered by Sergei Chemezov, the head of Russia’s Rostec state corporation, in Moscow one week before the MAKS-2017 air-show, the two countries resolved technical issues regarding the con- tract of the four missile interceptor batteries, with only administrative issues remaining. His statement indicates that the serious steps have been already taken towards implement- ing what can be described as a done deal.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: ISIS appears to be planning to attack the interests of some states that are in- volved in the war against it. The terror group’s recent assault was conducted in retaliation for its defeat in Mosul, liberated on July 10, 2017. That is evi- denced in ISIS’ quick claim of responsi- bility of the attack on the Iraqi Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 31, 2017.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkey-Israel relations have recently been caught in a new stage of political and media confrontations between the two countries over the recent developments at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, triggered by Israel’s installation of metal detectors at electronic gates to control access to the sanctuary. The resulting tensions prompted speculations that a new crisis is in the making that is rem- iniscent of the six-year diplomatic rift triggered by the 2010 Israeli raid on the Turkish- agged aid vessel Mavi Marmara, o the blockaded Gaza Strip, leaving ten Turks dead. That is despite the fact that the two countries renormalized their ties returning ambassadors to their posts and build- ing strong economic relations.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: European states seek to increase the chances of maintaining the implementation of the nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehen- sive Plan of Action (JCPOA), concluded on July 14, 2017 between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers, which includes the European Union, France as well as Germany. The bid is especially driven by the European view that a collapse of the deal would in ict grave consequences on their interests. However, the European bid is facing no easy hurdles. While the United States is keen to impose new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program, Iran is similarly adamant about continuing this program as well as exploiting the nuclear deal to expand its in infuence in the region through backing terrorist organizations and establishing relations with non-state actors.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The raging war between Hezbollah and al-Nus- ra-Front in Arsal region raises several questions about militia wars, their features, mechanisms and outcomes. Such concerns have been raised especially after the relatively swift and decisive battle, which ended with a truce between the two parties sponsored by Lebanese General Se- curity and International Red Cross. Under the truce, al-Nusra Front militants and their families were evacuated from the Lebanese Arsal to Syria, in addition to the exchange of hostages between the parties. This was not the rst war raging be- tween armed militias in Syria, Iraq or Libya, as such kind of war has become common in recent times, especially in countries where ideologically disparate militias ght over spheres of in uence.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Current data on the political and military situation in Syria indicate that the military as- pect remains the dominant factor in the crisis due to the faltering political track at Geneva and Astana. Nonetheless, significant political changes that developed recently cannot be underestimated in determining the future of the crisis.
  • Topic: International Relations, 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: The Kurdistan Democratic Union party (PYD) led by Saleh Musallam continues its ef- forts and takes new executive actions with the aim of turning the federal system, an- nounced on 17 March 2016 in areas under its control in northern Syria (Rojava regions) into reality. The previous step taken by PYD was preparing a draft Federal Constitution composed of 85 articles stipulating that the constitution is a social contract for the dem- ocratic federal Rojava, and considering the city of Qamishli as the capital and center of the federation.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • 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: Julia M. Santucci
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The Obama administration made efforts to advance gender equality around the world one of its core national security and foreign policy priorities, based on the premise that countries are more stable, secure, and prosperous when women enjoy the same rights as men, participate fully in their countries’ political systems and economies, and live free from violence. A growing body of research makes a compelling case about these links. Former Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Cathy Russell and former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon sum up much of the evidence in this Medium piece, noting that advancing gender equality around the world helps grow global gross domestic product, decreases hunger, strengthens the prospects for peace agreements to succeed, and counters violent extremism.1
  • Topic: International Relations, Gender Issues, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alexander Velez-Green
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States has long looked to Egypt as a key partner in the Middle East. Egypt’s adherence to the Camp David Accords is fundamental to Israeli security. Cairo has also been a key player in the Israeli–Palestinian peace process for many years. In addition, the Egyptian state has played an essential role in supporting the U.S. fight against global jihadism. Its provision of reliable access to the Suez Canal, Egyptian airspace, and intelligence sharing directly enables U.S. operations against al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) across the Middle East. That is not to mention the blood and treasure that Egypt itself has spent to defeat terrorist groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula and elsewhere.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Adam Klein, Madeline Christian, Matt Olsen, Tristan Campos
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is an important intelligence tool that will expire on December 31, 2017, unless Congress re-authorizes it. Here’s what it is, and how it works. First, a bit of background: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 requires the government to get a court order to intercept the electronic messages of a suspected spy or terrorist on U.S. soil. By contrast, overseas spying took place with no court oversight. That made sense for 20th century technology, because international communications rarely transited the United States. The internet made things far more complicated: now, foreigners’ communications often travel through the United States, or are stored on servers here. That produced an anomaly: FISA was forcing the government to apply Fourth Amendment safeguards when a foreign terrorist or spy’s internet messages passed through the U.S.—even though non-Americans overseas do not have Fourth Amendment rights. This overtaxed the Justice Department and made counterterrorism more difficult. To remedy this, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which included Section 702. Section 702 creates a middle ground between U.S.-based surveillance under FISA and overseas surveillance by the NSA.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, ​Neil Bhatiya, Edorado Saravalle
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Congress adopted new sanctions in late July to codify and significantly expand U.S. financial restrictions on Russia and tightly constrain the president’s exercise of policy in this domain. The sanctions bill was driven by concerns over Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and destabilizing aggression abroad, as well as a broadly held belief by legislators that the president is mishandling critical national security issues. With these new sanctions authorities, Congress is taking an unprecedented step to assume greater control over a domain of foreign policy
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Edward Fishman, Peter Harrell, Elizabeth Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: North Korea has emerged as one of the most significant national security threats facing the United States and its allies today. Since leader Kim Jong Un came to power in 2011, North Korea has accelerated the pace of its nuclear tests, and appears to have made substantial progress in developing operational medium-, long-range, and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Many experts assess that if left unchecked, Pyongyang could develop the capability to strike the contiguous United States with a nuclear warhead within 5–10 years. Because of that, in June 2017 U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis characterized North Korea as “the most urgent and dangerous threat” to U.S. peace and security.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: North Korea, Global Focus
  • Author: Gregory Allen, Taniel Chan
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Partially autonomous and intelligent systems have been used in military technology since at least the Second World War, but advances in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) represent a turning point in the use of automation in warfare. Though the United States military and intelligence communities are planning for expanded use of AI across their portfolios, many of the most transformative applications of AI have not yet been addressed. In this piece, we propose three goals for developing future policy on AI and national security: preserving U.S. technological leadership, supporting peaceful and commercial use, and mitigating catastrophic risk. By looking at four prior cases of transformative military technology—nuclear, aerospace, cyber, and biotech—we develop lessons learned and recommendations for national security policy toward AI.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, International Security, Military Strategy, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thomas Shugart
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: You may have heard that China’s military has developed a “carrier-killer” ballistic missile to threaten one of America’s premier power-projection tools, its unmatched fleet of aircraft carriers.1 Or perhaps you have read about China’s deployment of its own aircraft carrier to the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea. But heavily defended moving targets like aircraft carriers would be a challenge to hit in open ocean, and were China’s own aircraft carrier (or even two or three like it) to venture into open water in anger, the U.S. submarine force likely would make short work of it.2 In reality, the greatest military threat to U.S. vital interests in Asia may be one that has received somewhat less attention: the growing capability of China’s missile forces to threaten U.S. bases in the region.
  • Topic: International Security, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Nicholas Heras
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and trans-Sahara regions are undergoing a period of instability and state collapse, with active civil wars raging in four of the most important countries in the region: Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. As witnessed during the Arab uprisings of 2010–2011, the MENA region has begun to grapple with the once and future challenges of instability as the regional population grows and skews younger, economies stagnate and start to collapse, and resources become scarcer. U.S. national security policy toward the MENA and trans-Sahara regions is at a point of high uncertainty, with a new administration developing strategies to address the security threats to the United States and its partner nations being caused by the region’s civil wars.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Jerry Hendrix, Lt Col James Price
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: On Christmas Day in 1914, three former cross-channel packet ships, the Engadine, Empress, and Riviera, stood off the island of Heligoland in the North Sea. Under the watchful eye of the Royal Navy cruisers Arethusa and Undaunted, the three ships pulled back the tarps erected on their sterns and forecastles to reveal nine seaplanes. The aircraft – three Short Folders (Short was the company name; Folder was the model and denoted the aircraft’s ability to fold its wings for storage), four Short 74s, and two Short 135s – were assembled and carefully lowered into the water. The Folders had a 67-foot wingspan, were powered by a 160-horsepower engine, and weighed 3,040 pounds fully loaded. The other two models were derivatives of the original Folder and had similar, if not exact, characteristics. Seven of the nine aircraft were able to get airborne (the other two were unable to break the dynamic tension of the water) and headed eastward carrying three 20-pound Hale bombs apiece, each of which contained 4.5 pounds of explosives within 13 pounds of steel guided by aluminum tail fins. Combined, the 21 bombs had less destructive power than one 13-inch shell fired from a British battleship, but these weapons could be taken directly to their targets and dropped precisely on top of them.
  • Topic: International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stephen Tankel
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Pakistan is not a front-burner issue for the administration of President Donald Trump, but it remains a major contributor to the security challenges facing the United States in South Asia. This is most immediately felt in Afghanistan, where President Trump is considering sending 3,000 to 5,000 more troops on top of the almost 10,000 already there.1 There is considerable frustration with Pakistan on Capitol Hill and among career officials in the executive branch over the country’s ongoing support for various militant groups, including the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, and production of tactical nuclear weapons.2 Members of Congress and committee staff are thinking through how to reform the U.S.-Pakistan defense relationship. Several prescriptive reports and articles, including one by the author, have argued the United States should consider a tougher line with Pakistan.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America
  • Author: Richard Fontaine, Patrick M. Cronin, Mira Rapp-Hooper, Harry Krejsa
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: merican security strategy in the Asia-Pacific has for decades been built on a “hub and spokes” model of bilateral, exclusive alliance relationships. Japan, Australia, South Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand each share mutual defense treaties with the United States—but not with any other countries, and not with one another. In recent years, this atomized approach to regional security has begun to change. Political and economic integration has provided the foundation upon which deeper intra-Asian defense and security ties have organically emerged. Hedging against critical uncertainties surrounding China’s rise and America’s enduring presence in the region, U.S. allies and other countries are strengthening their security ties with one another.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Peter Harrell, Tom Keatinge, Sarah Lain, Elizabeth Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Sanctions on Russia are part of a broad and coordinated U.S. and European policy to counter Russian aggression. The majority of these transatlantic coercive economic measures target Russia’s involvement in Eastern Ukraine and date from 2014. The strategic foreign policy concerns that underlie the use of sanctions as a tactic, however, are far broader and much more longstanding. Contemporary financial sanctions are fundamentally a new and innovative tactic among a broader array of military, diplomatic, media, and cyber options, to coordinate transatlantic policy on Russia and craft political and economic leverage for the West.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Nicholas C. Prime
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The U.S. Navy’s updated Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower outlines several key themes and areas of development for the sea services as they continue the transition from the focus on the land wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.1 Some are new, a few are traditional, and several provide an interesting perspective on previously gestating concepts. One item of particular interest, and the focus herein, is the call to “expand the practice of employing adaptive force packages, which tailor naval capabilities to specific regional environments.”2 This seems like something that should be fairly intuitive, something that should evolve naturally as the sea services adapt to new and challenging circumstances. However, the argument here is meant to suggest something broader, a more conceptual rethink of how the maritime services, collectively, develop and deploy force structure packages. In short, all three maritime services should work toward the creation of an integrated, open framework for force development and deployment. A framework which replaces the practice of haphazard or incoherent deployment of assets, deployments with little or no connection between platforms deployed and overarching strategic aims. Abandoning a practice that indelicately pushes standardized—one size fits most—force packages into meeting unique operational requirements, and instead develop a system that identifies operational requirements and allows the relevant services (even when acting in concert with partner nations) to more precisely match particular capabilities to unique operational requirements.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus