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  • 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: 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
  • Author: William Perry, Deep Cuts Commission
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This report contains a number of bold proposals on how to better manage relations between the West and Russia in order to avert worst-case scenarios. Specifying that cooperative solutions are pos- sible without giving up on the fundamental interests of each side, it warrants a close look by officials in both Moscow and Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The December 2015 Libyan Political Agreement, signed in Skhirat, Morocco, has re- configured more than contributed to resolving internal strife. A year ago, the conflict was between rival parliaments and their associated governments; today it is mainly between accord supporters and opponents, each with defectors from the original camps and heavily armed. The accord’s roadmap, the idea that a caretaker government accommodating the two parliaments and their allies could establish a new political order and reintegrate militias, can no longer be implemented without change. New negotiations involving especially key security actors not at Skhirat are needed to give a unity government more balanced underpinning.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Peacekeeping, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The current government term may be the best chance for a negotiated political settlement to almost 70 years of armed conflict that has devastated the lives of minority communities and held back Myanmar as a whole. Aung San Suu Kyi and her admin istration have made the peace process a top priority. While the previous government did the same, she has a number of advantages, such as her domestic political stature, huge election mandate and strong international backing, including qualified support on the issue from China. These contributed to participation by nearly all armed groups – something the former government had been unable to achieve – in the Panglong- 21 peace conference that commenced on 31 August. But if real progress is to be made, both the government and armed groups need to adjust their approach so they can start a substantive political dialogue as soon as possible.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Peacekeeping, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Burma, Myanmar
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Demonstrations in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), turned violent on 19 September 2016, when the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) should have launched the constitutionally-required presidential election process. Protests were expected as a political dialogue launched on 1 September had failed to agree on what to do about the delay. This has accentuated the risk of violent popular anger in urban centres and of a heavy-handed security response. A risk also remains that political parties, including the ruling majority coalition (henceforth “the majority”) and the opposition that looks to the street to force President Joseph Kabi- la to step down, will seek to manipulate that anger. Depending on loosely organised popular revolts to force political change is a tactic that could spiral out of control. To prevent more violence, Congo’s partners need to use diplomatic and financial tools to focus the actors, particularly the majority, on the need to move rapidly to credible elections. They also need to use their leverage and public positions to minimise violence while the political blockage continues.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Elections, Democracy, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Congo, the Democratic Republic of the