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  • Author: Rossella Marangio
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The long-lasting Somali conflict is profoundly linked to the country's historical development and its socio-cultural specificities. The political milieu and the struggle for power in Somalia reflect the cleavage between tradition and modernity. This rift has led to a legitimacy vacuum, which has made it difficult for the warring parties to find enough common ground for a compromise. Furthermore, external influences, at both regional and international levels, have contributed to the fragmentation of the political arena, due notably to the emphasis on the use of force as the principal tool for acquiring or maintaining power. In this unfolding crisis, regional pressures and rivalries, international interventions, economic and strategic interests as well as piracy, corruption and Islamic extremism all play an interlocking role. In view of this, a new approach to the crisis is badly needed. The EU, in particular, should promote a new strategy based on three components: enhancement of social cohesion through local cooperation programmes, state-building and development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Somalia
  • Author: Pasqualina Lepore
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the context of the ongoing EU-mediated dialogue, Serbia and Kosovo have reached several agreements, the most important of which being that on regional representation and cooperation. Also known as the “asterisk agreement”, the agreement reached in February 2012 allows Kosovo to represent itself at all regional meetings with the nameplate of “Kosovo*”. While widely appreciated by the international community, it has generated divergent interpretations in Belgrade and Pristina and has provoked turmoil in both countries. On the whole, the agreement has enhanced Kosovo's and Serbia's path towards the EU, with the mandate for a feasibility study for the former and EU candidacy for the latter being achieved. However, the agreement has not addressed the key bones of contention between the parties, namely North Kosovo and Pristina's status. As a result, the situation remains unsustainable and a more comprehensive solution needs to be found.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Luigi Napolitano
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The ongoing peace process in Cyprus, started in March 2008, is still work in progress, which has not yet reached the point of no return. All negotiating matters have been explored, classified and discussed. Some of them have been negotiated in depth and a few agreements have even been reached. But most of the knots to reach a comprehensive settlement are yet to be untied. A solution to governance matters is in sight, whereas a compromise on the all important question of property is still elusive. The UNSG Ban Ki-moon will meet the leaders of the two Cypriot communities in Geneva on January 26th to take stock of the outstanding problems and of the leaders' plans to solve them. In reconstructing and analysing the main developments, this article strives to keep equal distance from the contending sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Europe, Cyprus
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro, Andrea Dessì
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Frustrated by years of inconclusive peace talks, the Palestinians are turning to the United Nations to gain recognition as an independent state. Their bid is opposed by Israel and the United States, with the latter threatening to block any bid for full UN membership in the UN Security Council. To bypass the US veto, the Palestinians plan to request recognition to the UN General Assembly, where they are sure to get the two-third majority of votes needed for the approval of the resolution. While legally non-binding, a favourable vote in the UNGA would be a political boost for the Palestinians' cause - or so they hope. Full EU backing would give critical political weight to the Palestinians' claim. EU states are deeply divided on the issue of Palestinian membership of the UN but instead of opposing the initiative altogether, the EU has been engaging the Palestinian leadership in the hope of modifying its stance. Should the EU fail to persuade the PA to give up on its request for full UN membership, it should abstain in bloc while tabling a concurring resolution that would spell out clearly the parameters for renewed peace talks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, United Nations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Stefano Felician
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Korean Peninsula, despite its size, is one of the most critical areas of the world. A land that bears a bitter legacy of the Cold War, and that is still heavily militarized, Korea shows a striking contrast from North to South. These two opposite political systems cohabit under a fragile peace that could be broken at any moment. This has led to a massive military development and the deployment of a wide array of troops on both sides. The future of North Korea is crucial for the entire region and could affect the EU's economy as well. Many issues remain to be solved in order to achieve a durable peace in the region or, at the very least, to avoid the resumption of war. The European Union could play a role in this unfolding crisis in a manner that could also help its ailing economy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Cold War, Peace Studies, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Eva Gross, Alessandro Rotta
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the performance of the EEAS in the Western Balkans to date. It identifies political deadlocks, particularly over Kosovo's status, and the weakening pull of EU membership as a catalyst for reform as the main challenges the EU must address. The paper argues that the EU's first tangible success was the initiation of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. In order to maintain the positive momentum this has generated, the EU must improve the coherence between its political and operational instruments, thus increasing its collective political impact vis-à-vis local but also international stakeholders. The authors make three suggestions for maximizing the future impact of the EEAS: continue to invest in political leadership on the part of the HR/VP; connect the EU's global strategic work with regional and local political challenges in order to improve its coordination with its strategic partners; and work to improve the political and operational links between Brussels and the field.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Diehard believers in Turkey's European future had, for a brief moment, hung their hopes on the European Parliament (EP) as the key to unlocking the poisonous stalemate in Turkey's ailing accession process. The glimmer of light had come with the Lisbon Treaty, which could have been used to unblock the stalemate over the Direct Trade Regulation (DTR) between the EU and northern Cyprus by granting a voice to the EP on the matter. Breaking the stalemate would not have magically removed all obstacles to Turkey's protracted accession process. But it would have breathed new life and instilled a dose of much-needed optimism in the troubled relations between Turkey and the Union. Alas, that opportunity has been lost and, with it, the short-term hope of a rosier future for Cyprus, Turkey and the EU as a whole.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Lisbon, Cyprus
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Following the war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 and the ensuing Russian recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Caucasus has risen again on the Euro-Atlantic security agenda. First, the war highlighted that the “frozen” nature of the South Caucasus conflicts was a chimera, even if the war may have entrenched further the frozen nature of peace processes in the region. Second, the crisis generated new sources of instability for the entire post-Soviet space, not only because it highlighted a new form of Russian revisionism but also because it brought to the fore the limits of Western policies in what Kremlin views as its sphere of influence. The war brought to the forefront the colliding foreign policy agendas of the major external actors in the region. Not only in the run-up to the war, but also in the months and years preceding it, the American and European responses to Russia have been firm in rhetoric but compromising in reality. Russia made it clear that it has it own claims over the South Caucasus, it demonstrated its readiness to embark on military confrontation in order to achieve its goals, and through the war it wished to make crystal clear to the international community that Moscow is the only game in town. Third and related, the war exposed the inability of the West to prevent Russia from moving aggressively to restore its primacy over the former Soviet Union's territory. Thus the August war posed new implications and challenges not only for Georgia, but also for the wider Caucasus and beyond. This new context has induced the West to react and redefine its strategy towards the region and its relations with Russia, it has raised the urgency to engage in conflict resolution issues, and it has highlighted further the need for energy diversification.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Moscow, Abkhazia
  • Author: Natalino Ronzitti
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: On August 30 2008, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi flew to Benghazi to sign the Treaty on Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation between Italy and Libya, concluding the long negotiating process that began under previous Italian governments and was accelerated by the current administration. The Treaty was meant to put an end to the dispute between the two countries and Libya's claims relating to Italian colonialism. In greeting Colonel Muammar Gheddafi, Berlusconi expressed his regret for the colonial period in very strong terms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Post Colonialism, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Libya, North Africa, Italy
  • Author: Roberto Aliboni
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: What prevails in Europe today is a culture of peace and co-operation. This state of affairs is relatively new in its history. It is the product, first, of the objective conditions for peace and co-operation that emerged after the Second World War and, second, of the Western victory at the end of the Cold War. The killings and destruction of the Second World War made European nationalism collapse. The overwhelming threat from the Soviet Union was key in triggering European integration and establishing an intra- European state of democratic peace. Finally, the victorious end of the Cold War is now allowing for integration and democratic peace to be strengthened and enlarged by the inclusion of the European East in that process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, North Africa