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  • Author: David L. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Oil, gas, and renewable energy markets will face high levels of uncertainty and potentially extreme volatility under a Trump administration in 2017. Some of these uncertainties flow from questions about the new administration’s yet-undefined policies on energy production, trade, and climate policy. Others flow from the basket of national security risks that a new US President was destined to inherit. Yet it is Mr. Trump’s signaling of major shifts in US foreign policy priorities that may have the greatest near-term impact on energy supply and demand. The impact of these uncertainties, following two years of reduced oil and gas investment and low energy prices, may inhibit investment and sow the seeds of a potential oil and gas price shock by 2020, if not sooner.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: David L. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Oil, gas, and renewable energy markets will face high levels of uncertainty and potentially extreme volatility under a Trump administration in 2017. Some of these uncertainties flow from questions about the new administration’s yet-undefined policies on energy production, trade, and climate policy. Others flow from the basket of national security risks that a new US President was destined to inherit. Yet it is Mr. Trump’s signaling of major shifts in US foreign policy priorities that may have the greatest near-term impact on energy supply and demand. The impact of these uncertainties, following two years of reduced oil and gas investment and low energy prices, may inhibit investment and sow the seeds of a potential oil and gas price shock by 2020, if not sooner.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Bud Coote, Karl V. Hopkins
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report is a collaboration between Dentons and the Atlantic Council that provides analysis on the array of risks and uncertainties faced by international energy firms investing in and operating energy projects worldwide. It focuses on lessons learned from a variety of experiences and offers risk mitigation options.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ian M. Ralby
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report is the first comprehensive study of the theft of refined oil products around the globe. It provides insight into the modalities and trends in oil theft, the culprits responsible, the stakeholders affected by illicit activities, and recommendations that could change the dynamics. It is divided into three parts.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jean-Francois Seznec
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia’s leadership recently introduced an ambitious plan called Vision 2030 to move the country away from oil and toward a more diversified, modern economy. Fortunately, the economy is already much more diversified than is often reported, a fact obscured by the very high price of oil from 2000 to 2014. Since the mid-1970s, the Kingdom has developed chemical, metal, and fertilizer industries that are among the most advanced in the world. Most of these industries have been built on the natural advantages of Saudi Arabia: low-cost energy, large mineral resources, access to plentiful capital, and proximity to the huge markets of Asia.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Oil, Natural Resources, Economic structure
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Jean-Francois Seznec, Ramesh Pallakonda
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: India’s economy is increasing at the fastest rate in the world, now making it the globe’s third largest user of crude oil. While India is benefitting from the low oil prices seen since mid-2014, it has precious few oil and gas resources of its own and will remain highly dependent on imports. On the other hand India is now a large exporter of products like gasoline and diesel fuels because it has built a very large refining capacity, which ultimately renders India’s need for crude oil more pressing.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Political Economy, Oil
  • Political Geography: India
  • 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: Charlene Barshefsky, Evan G. Greenberg, Jon M. Huntsman Jr.
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific is home to over half of humanity and many of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies. Over the coming decades, no region of the world will do more to shape U.S. economic fortunes. More than ever before, American jobs and growth are tied to the Asia Pacific, and these opportunities are likely to grow. But the region is undergoing profound change. Today, mutually beneficial relations with the Asia Pacific are challenged by slowing growth, a rise in security tensions, and threats to the U.S.-led order. The rise of China is altering the Asia-Pacific landscape in profound ways and playing a critical role in the region’s prosperity and perceived stability. These economic and security shifts offer opportuni- ties for the United States to strengthen cooperation with emerging economies and reinforce part- nerships with established allies. But new policies are needed in what has become a more volatile environment. These policies must be grounded in the enduring interests of the United States and informed by the realities of a changing Asia Pacific. And just as economics is at the heart of Asia’s rise, so must economics be at the heart of an effective strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: CHRISTOPHER K JOHNSON, Amy Searight, Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is evident that China’s rise will continue to dominate the geopolitics of Asia. How do the Chinese view this? Do its neighbors view it as inevitable, benign, or concerning? Where is there greatest convergence of Chinese views with that of its neighbors, and where is the greatest divergence?
  • Topic: Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • 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: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Ever since the oil embargo following the October 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict, the United States has tended to measure its strategic interests in energy in terms of its dependence on direct imports of oil and gas. The new Annual Energy Outlook of the U.S. Energy Information Administration was issued on January 5, 2017. [i] Taken at face value, it reports that United States has reversed its past dependence on energy imports in spite of massive cut in world oil prices.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Emmy Simmons
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Renewed and expanded international collaboration to anticipate and prepare for recurring storms of food insecurity is essential. Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Syria are examples that vividly underscore the explosiveness of situations in which people find themselves unable to get the food they want and need. The experiences of post-conflict countries highlight some critical issues that need to be prioritized in order to regain sustainable food security. Averting future storms will require the recognition that food security challenges will extend long beyond 2030, political leadership must be visibly committed to these issues, and actions to reduce fragmentation of effort will be critical.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Food Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Heather A. Conley
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The emergence of the Arctic as a region of political and economic opportunity adds a new dimension to U.S.-China relations. Despite divergent priorities in the region, there are opportunities for greater cooperation. Both countries experience the physical challenges of climate change while investing in scientific research to gain a better understanding of a transforming Arctic. They both also seek cooperation through the Arctic Council and the International Maritime Organization to promote governance in the region. For these reasons, among others, the United States and China should create a more purposeful dialogue on a range of Arctic issues. U.S.-Sino Relations in the Arctic: A Roadmap for Future Cooperation is the result of fruitful exchanges between American and Chinese experts who addressed a range of issues: the future of Arctic governance, geopolitical factors shaping the Arctic’s future, international maritime issues in the Central Arctic Ocean, future trends in sustainable Arctic development, and new bilateral scientific research initiatives in the Arctic. Through frank and candid exchanges, this report aims to lay the foundation of strong bilateral cooperation between the United States and China in the Arctic.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: China, America, Arctic
  • Author: Andrew Philip Hunter, Gregory Sanders, Samantha Cohen
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: International joint development programs are important because of their potential to reduce costs and increase partnership benefits such as interoperability, economies of scale, and technical advancement. While all major development and acquisition programs are complex undertakings, international joint development programs introduce additional layers of complexity in the requirement for coordination with more than one government customer, supply chain and organizational complexities resulting from international industrial teaming, and technology control issues. The performance of international joint development programs varies greatly. This study compares the best practices of international joint development and domestic development programs through case-study analysis to identify the key variables that contribute to a program’s eventual success or failure and to understand the elements that are crucial to managing these programs.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Geopolitics, Global Security, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Antonella Mori, Loris Zanatta
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Latin America is at a crossroads. The “golden age” inaugurated with the turn of the new millennium seems a faint memory. Economies that had grown at a steady pace are now slowing down, while some are in freefall. Politically, the “pink tide” of populist movements is now ebbing. From Brazil to Venezuela, from Argentina to Bolivia, left-leaning leaders across the region seem to have lost their bond with the people. Their promises of an equitable society through an apparently never-ending redistribution of wealth crashed against the reality of shortsighted and unsustainable policies. Political and social turmoil are heralding an era of changes and – maybe – of new opportunities for Latin America. And this ‘great transformation’ is precisely what this volume is all about. Where is it leading to? Does it mark the beginning of a new age? Which lessons can be learnt from the past? Leading international scholars and experts scratch beneath the surface of Latin America’s current crisis to have a clearer glimpse of what the future holds and draw policy recommendations, especially for the EU.
  • Topic: Reform, Economic structure, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, European Union
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: OVER THE PAST YEAR, THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL TRADE LANDSCAPE HAS BEEN CHALLENGED AS NEVER BEFORE. A growing number of people around the world are questioning the value of trade agreements, holding them accountable for slow wage growth, rising inequalities, and job losses. Exemplified by Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, a wave of anti-globalization has washed over the world. Further, global trade is slowing, and existing trade agreements have not kept pace with the changing nature of trade itself, owing to the increasingly important role of digital and services trades. But trade has been one of the strongest drivers behind global growth and stability, particularly in Asia. In the past quarter century, the number of trade agreements in the region has increased dramati- cally. At the same time, Asian countries experienced average annual growth rates nearly 3 percent higher after liberalizing their markets.1 The region’s openness has been a critical ingredient in spurring growth, creating jobs, and lifting millions out of poverty. Trade has also helped nations develop stronger ties, giving them a greater stake in one another’s economic success and reducing the likelihood of conflict. What the French philosopher Montesquieu wrote during the eighteenth century remains as relevant in the twenty-first: “Peace is a natural effect of trade.” 2
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mirela Hodović
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Centre For Security Studies
  • Abstract: Due to the complexity of the police system, the integrity of police in Bosnia and Herzegovina is difficult to review. All police institutions have, however, established external mechanisms of oversight and control. Still, the majority of these oversight bodies do not sufficiently use the existing communication resources, which negatively affects the transparency of their work, while independent bodies have no direct authority to con- duct investigations against police officers. Internal control mechanisms in all law enforcement agencies provide a good frame- work for control of the legality of police work. Certain ambiguities however do exist in practice and are related to the independence and objectivity of the work of heads of departments for internal control; they are appointed by their immediate superiors and are directly accountable to said superiors for their work. Insufficient progress of internal control bodies has also been observed in terms of their contribution to determining criminal and misdemeanour liability of police officers and their transparency of work.
  • Topic: Civil Society, National Security
  • Political Geography: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 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: Haya Al Noaimi
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: The Great Game in West Asia examines the strategic competition between Iran and Turkey for power and influence in the South Caucasus. These neighboring Middle East powers have vied for supremacy and influence throughout the region and especially in their immediate vicinity, while contending with ethnic heterogeneity both within their own territories and across their borders. Turkey has long conceived of itself as not just a bridge between Asia and Europe but in more substantive terms as a central player in regional and global affairs. If somewhat more modest in its public statements, Iran’s parallel ambitions for strategic centrality and influence have only been masked by its own inarticulate foreign policy agendas and the repeated missteps of its revolutionary leaders. But both have sought to deepen their regional influence and power, and in the South Caucasus each has achieved a modicum of success. In fact, as the contributions to this volume demonstrate, as much of the world’s attention has been diverted to conflicts and flashpoints near and far, a new great game has been unravelling between Iran and Turkey in the South Caucasus
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: West Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Following the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, many had high hopes not only for democratization but also for transitional justice to address the myriad abuses that had taken place in the region, both during the uprisings and for decades prior to them. Despite these hopes, most of the transitions in the region have stalled, along with the possibility of transitional justice. This volume is the first to look at this process and brings together leading experts in the fields of human rights and transitional justice, and in the history, politics and justice systems of countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and Morocco. While these countries have diverse histories, political institutions, and experiences with accountability, most have experienced non-transition, stalled transition, or political manipulation of transitional justice measures, highlighting the limits of such mechanisms. These studies should inform reflection not only on the role of transitional justice in the region, but also on challenges to its operation more generally.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Law, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • 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: Dinah Pardijs, Almut Möller
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Faced with internal and external pressures, the EU is increasingly focused on “cooperation” and “deliverables”, rather than “integration”. ECFR’s research shows that a critical mass of countries agree on the need for more flexible cooperation within the EU.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In “Myanmar Maneuvers,” 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 complex interactions among illegal economies, conflict, peace, and political transitions in Myanmar since the 1990s. She analyzes the evolution of the illegal economies in drugs, logging, wildlife trafficking, and gems and minerals as well as land grabbing and crony capitalism, showing how they shaped political transitions and how political evolution and changes shaped them. She also examines the impact of geopolitics and the regional environment, particularly the role of China, both in shaping domestic political developments in Myanmar and the country’s illicit economies.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Large-scale illicit economies and organized crime have received increasing attention from governments and international organizations since the end of the Cold War. The end of the Cold War brought a permissive strategic environment that allowed many states to focus on a broader menu of interests in their foreign policy agendas, such as the fight against drug trafficking and production. The post-Cold War era also exposed the fragility and institutional underdevelopment of many of these states, a deficiency perhaps exacerbated by globalization. At the same time, criminal and belligerent actors with significant power previously obscured by the shadows of Cold War politics were spotlighted by the international community, especially when their activities were associated with intense violence or corruption.
  • Topic: Corruption, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Esther Care, Helyn Kim, Kate Anderson, Emily Gustafsson-Wright
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: There have been increased calls globally for students to develop a broader set of skills during the years of formal education than in the past. Education has typically been seen as a preparation for adulthood and its work-related responsibilities. Recently, however, the focus on academic, vocational, and technical skills (e.g., Brewer, 2013) has shifted toward an aspiration for education to inform both work and life more generally (e.g., Pellegrino and Hilton, 2012). Many frameworks describe the skills or competencies that this 21st century world demands (e.g., Binkley et al., 2012; Lippman, Ryberg, Carney, and Moore, 2015), and in so doing, they display strong commonalities. The frameworks examine what competencies people need to function effectively in society, with descriptions varying from very high level (e.g., Delors, 1996) to very detailed (e.g., Binkley et al., 2012). Differences also emerge primarily in the degree to which skills or competencies alone are identified or whether a wider range of human characteristics are included. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2016) acknowledges this shift in the focus of education toward a broader approach. Of particular interest for Skills for a Changing World, Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls for skills beyond literacy and numeracy—including readiness for primary education (4.2), technical and vocational skills (4.4), and skills needed to promote global citizenship and sustainable development (4.7). These targets signal an emphasis on the breadth of skills necessary to prepare children, youth, and adults comprehensively for 21st century citizenship and life.
  • Topic: International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Stefan Dercon, Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Millions of people face hazards like cyclones and drought every day. International aid to deal with disasters after they strike is generous, but it is unpredictable and fragmented, and it often fails to arrive when it would do the most good. We must stop treating disasters like surprises. Matching finance to planning today will save lives, money, and time tomorrow.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cindy Huang, Nazanin Ash
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The world is witnessing higher levels of displacement than ever before. The statistics tell the story. Today, an unprecedented 65 million people—including 21 million refugees—are displaced from their homes. Since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, 5 million people have fled to nearby Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. And refugees now spend an average of 10 years away from their countries. Equally striking as the scale of the crisis are the consequences of an inadequate response. Individual lives hang in the balance; refugees are struggling to rebuild their lives, find jobs, and send their children to school. Developing countries that are hosting the overwhelming majority of refugees— and at the same time trying to meet the needs of their own citizens—are shouldering unsustainable costs. We are seeing global stability and hard-won development gains threatened.
  • Topic: War, Refugee Issues, Territorial Disputes, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Manjeet S. Pardesi
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As China asserts itself economically and militarily, the United States is faced with maintaining a balance of power in East Asia and safe-guarding its global dominance. In contrast to its competitive position with China, the US relationship with India--projected to be the third-largest economy by 2030--is set on a more collaborative course. American support for a rising India aligns with its broader security and strategic goals. India, for its part, remains intent on achieving a position of regional primacy, but welcomes the US presence in the South Asia/Indian Ocean region. The two nations, for example, have signed an agreement giving each other access to military facilities, and they conduct many bilateral military exercises. These developments are a far cry from the mid-twentieth century, when Jawaharlal Nehru called for the removal of all foreign militaries from Asia. What factors pushed the India-US relationship in this new direction? And what shared interests and goals does the partnership reinforce?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, India
  • Author: Sumeet Saksena
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Cities are expanding very rapidly in Asia, often without adequate housing, transportation, water, or sanitation. ese new “peri-urban” areas may be hot spots for disease, both in humans and domestic animals. Research into the possible link between unplanned urban expansion and disease outbreaks compared patterns of land-use change with two major outbreaks in Vietnam of highly pathogenic avian in uenza (HPAI, subtype H5N1) that killed millions of chickens between 2003 and 2005. Work began by classifying communes into land-use categories: rural, peri-urban, urban, and urban core. e study found that peri-urban communes had at least a 150 percent higher risk of experiencing an H5N1 outbreak than did other types of commune, and that urbanization entails a spatial convergence of several key risk factors for H5N1 transmission. By focusing prevention programs on communes with these factors, the Vietnamese government can potentially improve disease prevention at lower cost. is research may also help explain the epidemi- ology of other infectious diseases, both in humans and livestock.
  • Topic: Health, Urbanization, International Development
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Pradeep S Mehta, Kyle Cote
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Less than three months into Donald Trump’s tenure as President of the United States, Indian observers are contempla ng the future of bilateral rela ons with the global leader, not to men on the regional implica ons of the new administra on. Questions arise whether to take Mr Trump’s “America First” rhetoric seriously, or to believe that dealing with a businessman persona will ul mately benefit India’s diplomats, businesses, and citizens. Taking into account such uncertainty and what we’ve seen of Mr. Trump and his team thus far, the path forward for India in key geo‐economics and geopoli cal areas is fraught with challenges. Nevertheless, India has an opportunity to expand and deepen its trade relations, upgrade its domes c capacity, move forward with climate change ac on, and become a leader in the Asia‐Pacific region. Therefore, India must design and implement a clear, internally‐based strategy through an inclusive process to promote open and fair trade and coopera on bilaterally, regionally, and mul laterally.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, India
  • 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
  • Author: Katerina Davidova
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: The European Commission unveiled its long-awaited extensive package of energy legislation proposals at the end of 2016. While it is an important step on the way towards an integrated European Energy Union, the project still exists more on paper than in reality. Bridging the gap between vastly differing energy policies of various member states such as Germany and Poland will be one of the hardest obstacles to overcome on its way to success. With the increasing desire to limit the power of the Commission, however, the fate of the Energy Union will be decided more by what is going to happen outside of the EU, than in its centre.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: The aim of the Pharma Integrity Principles for Latin America is to provide a framework for good business practices and risk management strategies for promoting integrity in the pharmaceutical sector. They are intended to assist companies and industry associations across the region in: • eliminating bribery and related conflicts of interest; • demonstrating their commitment to doing business with integrity; and • making a positive contribution to improving business standards of integrity, transparency and accountability. The Pharma Integrity Principles combine anti-bribery principles of general applicability developed by Transparency International with more specific guidelines for preventing conflicts of interest in the pharmaceutical sector in relation to prescribing practices by healthcare professionals and interactions with healthcare institutions, patients and patient organisations.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: “Faulty Towers: Understanding the impact of overseas corruption on the London property market” assessed 14 new landmark London developments, worth at least £1.6 billion. It found 4 in 10 of the homes in these developments have been sold to investors from high corruption risk countries or those hiding behind anonymous companies. Less than a quarter had been bought by buyers based in the UK.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Healthcare and public procurement both suffer from high levels of corruption and the point at which they converge, procurement within healthcare, is an acute vulnerability that is routinely exploited. But governments and civil society organisations are now taking action to protect the lives of citizens by implementing open contracting. The proposition behind open contracting is that procurement reform requires a broad base of participation from outside government. Businesses must be able to compete for contracts and make sense of the market. The communities directly affected by procurement, and the groups and people that represent those communities, are often better placed than government to independently monitor the procurement process. To facilitate this participation, governments must publish useful, timely and accessible information about the procurement process. Healthcare and anti-corruption efforts share a common principle: prevention is better than cure. In the long term, open contracting offers a route for governments to move from the procurement status quo of corruption, waste and inefficiency, to clean contracting, in which fairness, integrity and efficiency are the norms. This report first outlines some of the major challenges in healthcare procurement before explaining how open contracting works and how it can support reform. Section two introduces different approaches to open contracting that have been used around the world. Finally, section three presents case studies of successful implementation from Honduras, Nigeria and Ukraine.
  • Topic: Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Corruption Cable is Transparency International UK’s quarterly newsletter. This edition includes features on: Rolls Royce & Deferred Prosecution Agreements; Health Corruption in Armenia; Why the UK Needs a World Class Anti-Corruption Strategy; and The 77th Brigade. Also featuring media mentions and upcoming events.
  • Topic: Corruption
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: In this submission, Transparency International UK’s Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Programme provides a response to NHS England’s Managing Conflicts of Interest in the NHS: A Consultation. The UK spends 9.9% of GDP on public and private healthcare, with private expenditure only accounting for 1.5%.1 The NHS England annual budget alone is set to rise to £120 billion with the vast majority being spent on equipment and services.2 The complex nature of the health system, a lack of adequate oversight and this level of resources makes the health sector highly vulnerable to conflicts of interest. Improving the transparency of interactions between NHS staff and other individuals and organisations, and minimising the variation in conflicts of interest rules across the NHS, is vital to fighting corruption.
  • Topic: Health, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Britain
  • Author: Chris Kozak
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed at a new set of Astana Talks on May 3 - 4 to establish four large “de-escalation” zones over opposition-held regions of Western Syria. The deal allows for the three countries to deploy forces along the borders of the “de-escalation zones” to monitor a faltering nationwide ceasefire that excludes all opposition forces “associated” with Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria. Activists reported a general decrease in violence except along key frontlines such as Damascus and Northern Hama Province after the deal went into effect on May 6. Russia likely intends to leverage to “de-escalation zones” to subordinate the political process to its objectives, reset its military deployments, and block future unilateral action to implement so-called “zones of stabilization” by the U.S. in Syria. Pro-regime forces will likely also use the relative lull in Western Syria to refocus their military campaign towards Eastern Syria to preempt the U.S. from establishing a long-term foothold in regions formerly held by ISIS in Syria. Conditions on the ground remain unfit for a durable ceasefire or political settlement to end the Syrian Civil War. The U.S. signaled its intent to move forward with an imminent offensive to seize Ar-Raqqa City from ISIS that includes the Syrian Kurdish YPG despite clear objections from Turkey. U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order on May 8 authorizing the U.S. Department of Defense to directly provide weapons, ammunition, and other equipment to the YPG “as necessary” in support of upcoming operations against ISIS in Ar-Raqqa City. Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White stated that the weapons deliveries will be “limited, mission specific, and metered out incrementally” in order to prevent the transfer of weapons to the PKK in Turkey. The U.S. also floated plans to expand an intelligence fusion center based in Ankara targeting the PKK in Turkey. These efforts remain insufficient to address the security concerns of Turkey. The decision will likely fuel a further breakdown in relations between Turkey and the U.S. that could include new cross-border operations by Turkey against the YPG in Northern Syria. This strategic break will form a core area of disagreement during a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Turkish President Recep Erdogan in Washington D.C. on May 16.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Benjamin Knudsen, Alexandra Lariiciuc, Franklin Holcomb
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia has continued its destabilization campaign in Ukraine using its proxy forces and other means of subversion. The Trump Administration has indicated it is willing to support Ukraine as the Eastern European country faces Russian aggression. President Trump must act to strengthen the U.S.-Ukraine partnership and increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a broader campaign to deter Russian aggression globally. U.S. officials emphasized their support for Ukraine in a series of diplomatic meetings in May. U.S. President Donald Trump held separate meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Washington on May 10 during which he reportedly stressed “Russia’s responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.” This rhetoric echoes previous statements by Trump administration officials. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. will maintain sanctions against Russia “until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) surged in northwest Mosul in a bid to clear the city prior to Ramadan, anticipated to begin on May 26. Emergency Response Division (ERD) and Federal Police (FP) units joined 9th and 15th Iraqi Army Division units in northwest Mosul on April 28. The combined forces recaptured the neighborhoods of Mushairfa and 30 Tamouz, and are fighting to seize the denser neighborhoods of Harmat, 17 Tamouz, and Hawi Kanisa as of publication. Meanwhile, Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) recaptured three neighborhoods in western Mosul. ISF are unlikely to clear the city prior to Ramadan. ISIS claimed to launch attacks to retake two Old City gates, Bab al-Jadid and Bab al-Toub. ISIS will also continue to defend the Old City by conducting suicide attacks and attempting to draw fire on civilian gatherings. ISIS will concentrate its defenses around al-Nuri Great Mosque, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared publicly in 2014.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Alexandra Gutowski, Jesse Rose Dury-Agri
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: U.S.-backed forces continue to advance on the major ISIS-held urban centers of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have encircled ISIS in Mosul’s Old City. The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured Tabqa, a city adjacent to Raqqa that contains Syria’s largest dam. ISIS also lost terrain in southern Syria, as various factions of the Syrian opposition, including some with U.S. backing, cleared ISIS from positions in Suweida and the Qalamoun mountains. ISIS will attempt to offset these losses during its annual Ramadan offensive campaign, anticipated to begin around May 27. ISIS’s campaign in 2017 increasingly resembles its 2013 insurgent campaign; ISIS’s Ramadan plan will likely focus on synchronizing spectacular attacks across different locations for combined effect. Potential targets include religious sites, security forces, and oil infrastructure. ISIS may also conduct ground attacks in Salah ad Din, Anbar, and central Syria where ISIS retains latent combat capability.
  • Topic: War, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Genevieve Casagrande
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia’s campaign against Syrian civilians continued undeterred by the U.S. strike on April 6 in response to the Bashar al-Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in southern Idlib. Local reports indicate Russia regularly used incendiary munitions and bunker buster munitions in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces in order to inflict mass casualties on the population in rebel-held terrain following the U.S. strike. Russian airstrikes also targeted local civilian infrastructure from April 4 - 25, including hospitals, schools, mosques, and civil defense centers across Syria. Russia continually targeted Khan Shaykhoun, the site of the regime’s chemical attack on April 4, throughout the reporting period. Furthermore, activists claimed Russia targeted a hospital and civil defense center treating those wounded in Khan Shaykhoun immediately following the regime’s sarin gas attack. The use of chemical weapons is just one of many means the pro-regime coalition has to punish anti-Assad populations in Syria. Russia remains a principal contributor to President Assad’s purposeful campaign to target Syrian civilians. The Assad regime has a long history of violence against its own people, but the advanced capabilities Russia has brought to theater have allowed the pro-regime coalition to target civilians with even greater precision.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Syria
  • Author: Chris Kozak, Genevieve Casagrande, Tom Ramage
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Pro-regime basing data accurate through March 21, 2017. Syria Control of Terrain data accurate through April 3, 2017.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: “There can be no future for Assad and his regime in Syria. It is good that the Trump Administration has recognized that the regime must go in order for negotiated settlement to occur. Demonstrating American will to use military force is a necessary first step. President Trump still needs a larger strategy to achieve the outcomes that US national security and humanity require.” - Jennifer Cafarella
  • Topic: War, Developments
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In Canada, implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is an opportunity to explore and reconceive the relationship between international law, Indigenous peoples’ own laws and Canada’s constitutional narratives. In May 2016, Indigenous and Northern A airs Minister Carolyn Bennett addressed the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations and o cially endorsed UNDRIP1 — without the quali cations attached by the previous government, which held the declaration to be aspirational and not legally binding. While this announcement did not change the legal relevance of UNDRIP in Canada, it does express the political will to begin implementation and signals that Canada may be on a path toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. us, the announcement also raised legal and policy questions about how the federal government intends to adopt and implement this soft law instrument.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Over the course of this reporting period, ISIS has continued to lose large swathes of territory, especially to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and pro-government forces. Conflict around Daraa city in Syria’s south escalated further this week as new pro-government offensives are slated to start. Intra-opposition strife continued in Aleppo province and in Rural Damascus.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: This reporting period, intra-opposition strife continued in Aleppo province but has eased in Rural Damascus. Evacuation deals continued, most notably in Damascus and Homs. Coalition warplanes struck pro-government Iranian-backed militias in the southeastern Syrian desert as the groups advanced against FSA forces in the area. ISIS forces continued to crumble on fronts in Aleppo, Homs, and Raqqa.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Since its inception, Daesh has been successfully recruiting women across national and ideological lines to assume key positions in advancing the organization’s objectives. According to recent estimates, out of 31,000 fighters within Daesh territories, almost one-fifth, roughly 6,200, are women. Yet, to date, research and policy focus on women’s involvement in Daesh has been scant. Several media accounts that have covered female participation tend to be alarmingly reductionist in their description of the roles women play in Daesh. These reports primarily categorize women as either passive victims, “Jihadi brides,” or subsidiary supporters of male guardians with negligible influence. This approach not only ignores the multiplicity of roles played by women to expand Daesh’s ideological and operational agenda, but also oversimplifies the motivations behind their decisions to join Daesh. Just like their male counterparts, women are complex human beings with conflicting aspirations, ideological leanings, and life struggles that inform the choices they make.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: During the reporting period, elements of an Astana de-escalation plan were enacted while pro-government forces advanced in Hama and the Eastern Ghouta region of Damascus. Opposition infighting in Eastern Ghouta and Idleb appears to have stopped for the time being. Fighting in and around Daraa city remained high this week, and both opposition and the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to take territory from ISIS.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: During the reporting period, opposition forces advanced once more against ISIS fighters in the southeastern desert of Syria, opposition forces fought with one another once again in the Eastern Ghouta area of rural Damascus, and the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to advance against ISIS in Tabqa city west of Raqqa. Additionally, pro-government forces advanced against feuding opposition forces in Eastern Damascus, and international and pro-government forces were deployed within YPG-held territory following recent exchanges of fire between Turkey and Kurdish forces.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Charles Perry, Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA)
  • Abstract: This report summarizes key findings and policy recommendations developed by IFPA over the course of a two-year research and workshop project on the prospects for and future direction of U.S.-Japanese-South Korean maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, South Korea
  • Author: Vicki E Alger
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: President Donald Trump has called for major changes to federal education policy. During his bid for the White House, he vowed to cut wasteful federal spending on education while preserving funding for services; he pledged to champion school choice; and he promised to return educational policymaking to the state and local level. “We cannot have the bureaucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child’s education,” he said in a television campaign ad. All of these goals can be accomplished during the Trump administration, but not without a major overhaul of the US Department of Education (ED).
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Aaron Connely
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In April 2016, the Lowy Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations' International Institutions and Global Governance program held a workshop on Southeast Asian perspectives on U.S.–China competition, which informed this publication. That workshop was made possible in part by the generous support of the Robina Foundation. This report is a collaboration between the Lowy Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. The views expressed in this report are entirely the authors' own and not those of the Lowy Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, or the Robina Foundation.
  • Topic: Governance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Brad Sester, Cole Frank
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The 2014 fall in global oil prices, from over $100 a barrel to around $50 a barrel, reduced the export proceeds of the world’s main oil- and gas-exporting economies by about $1 trillion. After a decade of largely uninterrupted high oil prices, this dramatic swing has tested the economic resiliency and political adaptability of oil-exporting countries. One of the best single measures of the resilience of an oil- or gas-exporting economy is the oil price that covers its import bill—the external breakeven price.
  • Topic: Oil, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: William Norris
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Chinese government has embarked on an effort to reorient its economy from an investment- and export-driven model toward one predicated on a larger role for consumption and market forces. At the same time, China is also experiencing a new normal of much slower economic growth. The economic downturn and concomitant structural shift in China’s economy has already begun affecting its foreign policy. Security, not economics, is becoming one of President Xi Jinping’s—and China’s—top strategic priorities.
  • Topic: Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Laura K. Donohue
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On December 31, 2017, section 702 of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act (FAA) will expire. Section 702 governs the domestic interception of foreigners’ communications, when the targets are believed to be outside the United States. Although externally directed, this statute is being used by agencies to monitor, collect, and search U.S. citizens’ communications for foreign intelligence and criminal activity. Congress has an opportunity to amend section 702 to safeguard U.S. national security, protect citizens, and comply with the Constitution.
  • Topic: Global Security
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On May 7–9, 2017, the Council on Foreign Relations hosted the sixth annual conference of the Council of Councils. The conference was made possible by the generous support of the Robina Foundation for CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program. The views described here are those of workshop participants only and are not CFR or Robina Foundation positions. The Council on Foreign Relations takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government. In addition, the suggested policy prescriptions are the views of individual participants and do not necessarily represent a consensus of the attending members.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • 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: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Rachel B. Vogelstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The connection between women’s economic participation and prosperity is undeniable. Over the past two decades, a growing number of international organizations and world leaders have recognized that the economic empowerment of women is critical to economic growth and stability. Multilateral bodies such as the Group of Twenty and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum have ratified agreements to promote women in the economy as a means to stimulate growth, and governments from the Ivory Coast to Rwanda to Japan have adopted reforms to increase women’s ability to contribute to their economies
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edward Alden, Robert Litan
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The challenge of how to help those left behind by rapid economic change—whether caused by technology or global competition—has moved to the center of the U.S. national debate in a way it has not been since the 1930s. Trade competition, especially from China, has been a significant factor in declining U.S. manufacturing employment over the past decade. Trade also became a major issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, despite the larger role played by automation and technological change in displacing manufacturing workers for decades. This process will only continue in coming years, with advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and software that will eliminate many jobs while creating others, regardless of what policies the federal government may adopt toward trade and outsourcing.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On March 29 and 30, the Council on Foreign Relations convened a workshop in New York to explore how international cooperation can accelerate energy innovation. The workshop, hosted by Douglas Dillon Fellow and Acting Director of the Energy Security and Climate Change Program Varun Sivaram, was made possible by the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The views described here are those of workshop participants only and are not CFR or Sloan Foundation positions. CFR takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government.
  • Topic: Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ian Cronshaw
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Increased use of natural gas in the Asia-Pacific region could bring substantial local and global benefits. Countries in the region could take advantage of newly abundant global gas supplies to diversify their energy mix; the United States, awash in gas supplies thanks to the fracking revolution, could expand its exports; and climate change could slow as a result of gas displacing coal in rapidly growing economies.
  • Topic: Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Veronique Dudouet
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
  • Abstract: Since the Arab Spring, states, civilians, and many nongovernmental organizations have watched as contentious events play out across the globe. Many wondered how these events would unfold, which would succeed, and just as significantly, whether those contesting power would come to be victimized by the very governments they were protesting against. In this report we seek to understand why some popular uprisings experience mass killings and others do not. In particular, we focus in on the characteristics of violent and nonviolent uprisings to better understand the types of contentious events that are most likely to elicit government crackdowns. Analyzing new data on state violence and popular uprisings from 1955 to 2013, we find that mass killings are associated with particular country and regime characteristic. Preexisting subgroup discrimination and certain types of authoritarian regimes, for instance, are important predictors of governmental violence. Yet, characteristics of popular uprisings are significant as well. Not every uprising is equally threatening to regime elites, and some – like violent movements with foreign support – are much more likely to elicit mass killings than others. In turn, nonviolent resistance, though oftentimes constituting an even greater challenge to oppressive regimes than armed struggle, tends to also decrease the likelihood of mass atrocities. These findings therefore have important implications for policymakers seeking to prevent mass atrocities, and for activists seeking to stay safe in the course of a popular uprising.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Peace Studies, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Wilson
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
  • Abstract: International human rights came into existence bottom-up, from the e orts of ordinary people to ally with each other in solidarity and demand their rights through civil resistance campaigns in support of democracy, an end to slavery and child labor, women’s rights, labor rights, and tenant rights, among other rights. Yet international law recognizes only states as the ultimate source of law. This monograph develops a novel, people-powered or “demos-centric” approach to international human rights law that acknowledges the role in lawmaking of average human beings, seeing them as both the source of rights and the most e ective means of overcoming the central weakness of international law—namely, its inability to ensure that states and governments comply with the human rights obligations they supposedly undertake. Taking account of nonviolent movements and their impact on the formation and implementation of international human rights law recognizes the human agency of the supposed bene ciaries of human rights law: common people.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Juliane Schmidt
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The European Union and emerging market economies are facing a great variety of challenges and transformations in a rapidly changing world. They are important players on the world stage, working through and shaping the various multilateral organisations they are members of. The European Policy Centre (EPC), in cooperation with the Institute for the Scientific Advancement of the South (ISAS), has carried out a project that looked at the political, economic, and environmental interests of the EU and emerging market economies and considered the future of their cooperation in global governance. In order to shed light on the relationship between emerging market economies and the EU, the project focused on four key areas of multilateralism: climate change, trade, international financial institutions, and global governance in the security realm. This report reflects upon the outcomes of the project’s discussions, while also providing punctual updates.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: European Union
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: This is the fifth in a series of National Reports to be published as part of the new phase of the New Pact for Europe project.* According to the NPE Italian Reflection Group, the EU is stuck, with member countries prioritising national interests over the European ones, while problems in the economic, security and migration policy areas are far from overcome. Drawing on the discussions held amongst the members of the group, the report presents a set of conclusions on how to address the key challenges the Union and member states are facing at the moment, and calls on them to take action to boost the legitimacy of the European integration project:
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Zephyr Dessus, Albana Rexha, Albana Merja, Corina Stratulat
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Ever since its declaration of independence in 2008, Kosovo has made European integration one of its key foreign policy objectives. Having made headway over the past years in its efforts to draw nearer to the European Union – most recently by signing a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU – Kosovo is now eager to take the next step in its EU integration process: to apply for EU membership and receive candidate status. However, with five member states still unwilling to recognise its statehood, Kosovo finds itself in a unique and difficult position regarding its eligibility to advance towards the EU and eventually accede to the European Union.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Kosovo
  • Author: Dhruva Jaishankar
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Donald Trump’s election at a time of growing and converging interests between India and the United States necessitates a re-evaluation of several aspects of Indian domestic and foreign policy. This paper identifies four areas in which Trump’s election affects Indian interests: bilateral relations (encompassing trade, investment, immigration, and technological cooperation), the Asian balance of power, counterterrorism, and global governance. It argues that India must continue to engage with the Trump administration and other stakeholders in the United States—including the U.S. Congress, state governments, and the private sector—in all of these areas. New Delhi must attempt to convince Washington that India’s rise is in American interest. This idea provided the underlying logic behind the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations’ engagement with India, but it will be more difficult to sustain given the United States’ new political realities and impulses.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, India
  • Author: David Dollar
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Global value chains (GVCs) break up the production process so different steps can be carried out in different countries. Many smart phones and televisions, for example, are designed in the United States or Japan. They have sophisticated inputs, such as semiconductors and processors, which are produced in the Republic of Korea or Chinese Taipei. And they are assembled in China. They are then marketed and receive after-sale servicing in Europe and the United States. These complex global production arrangements have transformed the nature of trade. But their complexity has also created difficulties in understanding trade and in formulating policies that allow firms and governments to capitalize on GVCs and to mitigate negative side effects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Raj M. Desai, Homi Kharas
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Does an expanding middle class benefit society’s poorest? Much has been written recently about the rapid growth of the middle class as well as the rapid fall in absolute poverty (Kharas 2017; Kocharand Oates 2015; Burrows 2015). However, few studies seek to link these two trends. It is worth emphasizing at the outset that a growing middle class and a falling poverty rate are not simply two sides of the same coin; there is a large “vulnerable” (or near poor) cohort between the poorest individuals and the middle class. Additionally, the trends can be quite different. In the United States, for example, the percentage of middle-class households has steadily fallen since the 1970s, while the portion of households in the lowest income brackets has remained steady (Kochhar,Fry, and Rohal 2015). Similar trends have occurred in the European Union since the early 2000s (ILO 2015). By contrast, in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, most of those lifted out of poverty appear to have joined the ranks of the vulnerable rather than the middle class (Calvo-Gonzalez 2017; Chandy 2015). There, the middle class has stagnated despite reductions in poverty.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kenneth Gwilliam
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: common criticism of urban transport strategies is that they are unduly concerned with mobility or the ability to move rather than accessibility in which a desired journey purpose can be satisfied. It is often further argued that a consequence of this focus on mobility, particularly motorized mobility, is that transport is not affordable to the poor, and that this exclusion justified the use of subsidies to remedy the situation. A key element of “Moving to Access” is thus concerned with increasing the affordability of transport for the poor. The objective of this paper is to explore the relationships between mobility, accessibility, affordability and transport prices and subsidies in more detail with a view to better reconciling the economic efficiency of the urban transport systems with the welfare of the poor.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Mann
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Amid persistent concerns about the well-documented skills gap, community colleges have the potential to provide low-cost, high-quality education and training to students. Robust relationships between colleges and local industry partners are critical to building strong workforce development programs for students. In this context, this toolkit offers practical advice on how community college leaders can take a deliberate approach to communication with potential partners in their community, including local businesses and industry leaders.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Homi Kharas
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: “Foreign assistance” combines two of the least popular words in United States politics. Since the end of the Cold War, isolationism has slowly weakened internationalism, perhaps because of the growing feeling that foreigners are freeloading on the U.S. as the world’s policeman and problem solver. Some indicators of popular attitudes toward foreign assistance are concerning, although these are not all consistent with each other. A 2016 Pew Survey found far more Americans responding that the U.S. does too much in terms of solving global problems (41 percent) than too little (27 percent). Similarly, a significant majority (57 percent) think that the U.S. should deal with its own problems and let others deal with theirs as best they can.
  • Topic: International Affairs, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Liz Schrayer
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In 2011, as the annual budget resolution hit the Senate floor, multiple amendments were offered to cut the foreign assistance account. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky offered the most dangerous amendment to cut billions from the International Affairs Budget. While it was defeated, it still garnered 20 votes. In the intervening years, Senator Paul offered similar amendments—but his final effort in 2015 was different. It was soundly defeated by a 96-4 vote.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: George Ingram
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: “Bureaucratically fragmented, awkward, and slow, its (foreign aid) administration is diffused over a haphazard and irrational structure... The program is based on a series of legislative measures and administrative procedures conceived at different times and for different purposes and many of them obsolete, inconsistent, and unduly rigid and thus unsuited for our present needs and purpose.”—President John F. Kennedy’s Special Message to the Congress on Foreign Aid, March 22, 1961, that led to the enactment of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the establishment of United States Agency for International Development.
  • Topic: Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nancy Lindborg
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Despite enormous gains in poverty reduction and a long, steady drop in global violence over the past 70 years, progress is stubbornly stalled in those states considered most fragile. In the last de- cade, rising levels of violent con ict in states and regions like Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Nigeria and East Africa have spawned four civil wars, the specter of four famines, and historic numbers of people displaced by violence, all of which are straining the global humanitarian sys- tem and threatening precious development gains. The world has responded with ever-larger pack- ages of humanitarian, military, and peacekeeping action. What remains missing, however, is a concerted focus on the underlying dynamics of fragility, which will ultimately require a different way of doing business and, importantly, a shared blueprint for action among political, security, development, and humanitarian actors.
  • Topic: Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Homi Kharas
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The multilateral development system, led by the United States, has guided development cooperation by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, evolving gradually through new institutions and new norms since World War II. Organized by a small group of like-minded countries, multilateralism has been a way of managing burden-sharing among donors and of delivering public goods. These functions are now under stress. According to a poll conducted in December 2016 by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland, most Americans (59.3 percent) support the statement that “when giving foreign aid, it is best for the U.S. to participate in international efforts, such as through the United Nations. This way it is more likely that other countries will do their fair share and that these ef- forts will be better coordinated.” However, a majority of Republican voters disagree, believing that it is better for the U.S. to provide aid on its own, to ensure control over how money is spent and to gain recognition for its generosity.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stephen Kull
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Is President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy a reflection of a larger isolationist trend in public attitudes? And what do Americans think about foreign aid in particular? The answer is complex. On the one hand, recent polls suggest a robust majority support an engaged U.S. role in the world, a moral dimension to U.S. foreign policy, and giving foreign aid, especially humanitarian aid. On the other, many are dissatisfied with America’s role in the post-Cold War era, and Trump has effectively played on that disillusionment. The U.S. is seen as having overextended itself in playing a hegemonic role in the world, a role that has served corporate interests and the wealthy, but that has not effectively served the middle class, which is largely footing the bill for it. This overextension is seen as being reflected in the U.S. budget deficit, which troubles the public more than the elites.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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 has recently launched vigorous e orts to increase its domestic oil and natural gas produc- tion to meet its domestic demands. The ongoing problem of reliance on energy imports to meet the majority of its increasing demand has be- come a key determinant in Turkey’s foreign pol- icy. It is even driving the country’s push towards convergence with the world’s biggest two gas ex- porters, especially Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • 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