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  • Author: Christine Sixta Rinehart
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The United States has been using Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) to assassinate terrorist targets since its first RPA strike on November 3, 2002, when a U.S. Predator fired a hellfire missile at a car traveling through the Mar’ib province of Yemen. The intelligence cycle of this targeted killing process is murky at best, and the policy has changed throughout the successive administrations of U.S. presidents. Details exist but there is no defined tangible chain of analysis concerning the selection of the target, the monitoring of the target, and finally, the assassination of the target. This paper attempts to elucidate the intelligence chain of analysis concerning American targeted killing and examine how the intelligence cycle of targeted killing varies through successive presidential administrations. ​ This paper will begin with a short analysis of relevant literature, although sources concerning this topic are scarce. The occurrence of targeted killings of U.S. citizens will also be explained in the literature section. The paper will continue with an elaboration of a generic intelligence cycle model, which will be used to illustrate the intelligence cycle of U.S. targeted killings using both the Reaper and the Predator RPA.[1] The paper will then address differences in the intelligence cycles and processes that have occurred between successive presidents since targeted killing first began in 2002 with President George W. Bush. Lastly, the paper will provide policy prescriptions in reference to improving targeted killing in the Middle East and Africa...
  • Topic: Security, Intelligence, Drones, Targeted Killing
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Houssem Ben Lazreg, Phil Gursky
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Islamic State (IS) has demonstrated unprecedented capabilities in attracting foreign fighters, particularly from Western countries. Between 2011 and 2015, Western foreign fighters coming from North America, Europe, and Australia traveled to Iraq and Syria in order to join IS and the Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra. As IS has been significantly weakened, authorities in many western countries are increasingly worried that returning fighters will come back to their home countries radicalized, battle hardened, and eager to commit terrorist attacks. This concern is clearly manifested in Phil Gursky’s book cover which features a striking image of a Belgian returnee from Syria, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who has been named by security officials as one of the architects of the attacks in Paris in 2015. ​ In Western Foreign Fighters: The Threat to Homeland and International Security, Phil Gursky, a former analyst at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, elaborates on the phenomenon of ‘Western Foreign Fighters.’ This book aims at addressing two fundamental issues: “why people leave their homeland to join terrorist groups?” and “do they pose a threat upon their prospective return?”[1] To answer those questions, Gurski relies not only on a detailed analysis of the excerpts and statements by the fighters recently engaged in violent extremism at home and overseas, but also on accounts that delineate historical parallels and differences with previous conflicts sharing similar dynamics. ​ Gurski divides his analysis into eight substantive chapters, an appendix, a glossary and a suggested reading list, using accessible, non-academic prose. He conducts the majority of his historical analysis in chapter three. His discussion of western volunteers—mainly Canadians and Americans—and their involvement in previous conflicts such as the Spanish Civil War and the Boers Wars provides informative and engaging insights, mostly for a general readership.[2] It also sets the stage for shedding light on why Westerners join terrorist groups like IS, and what threat they pose to homeland/international security. Obviously, these issues will be of most interest to intelligence officers, policy makers, scholars, and practitioners...
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Homeland Security, Book Review
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Carole Nakhle
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The Middle East has several features that distinguish it from the rest of the world. Apart from sitting on the largest proven oil and gas reserves, the region is famous for its complicated politics, challenging demographics and fragile economic structures. ​ For oil- and gas-rich states, limited economic diversification is acute; this is where we find government dependence on hydrocarbon revenues reaching as high as 95 percent in countries like Iraq. This is also where we find a poorly diversified primary energy mix, which is heavily reliant on oil and gas, in a sharp contrast to the norm elsewhere where local energy needs are met by diverse sources of energy, mainly oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and renewable energy. ​ The lack of diversification – both in terms of the economy and energy mix – brings serious challenges for the region. The economic performance of the oil- and gas-rich states has simply mimicked the volatile and unpredictable movement in oil prices: when oil prices are high, these economies grow rapidly, but when oil prices go in the other direction, they shrink in tandem. Additionally, the dependence on oil and gas to meet local energy needs has caused two problems: first, the trade-off between the more lucrative exports and the highly subsidized domestic market, and second, the higher carbon footprint because of the absence of greener sources of energy. ​ In a world where international competition for global market share in oil and gas and the fight against climate change intensify, the region’s leaders seem to be increasingly convinced that the old model of governance is simply not sustainable...
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Governance, Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Robert Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: U.S. Army Colonel Robert E. Hamilton is a Black Sea Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and is a professor in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. He has served as a strategic war planner and country desk officer at U.S. Central Command, as the Chief of Regional Engage- ment for Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, and as the Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Georgia and as the Deputy Chief of the Security Assistance Office at the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. Colonel Hamilton was a U.S. Army War College fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, where he authored several articles on the war between Russia and Georgia and the security situation in the former Soviet Union. Colonel Hamilton holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Virginia. Colonel Robert Hamilton spoke with The Fletcher Security Review in early November 2017 at Fletcher’s Religion, Law and Diplomacy Conference. The following conversation is an excerpt from their extensive interview.
  • Topic: Security, Conflict, Syrian War, Identities, Interview
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ches Thurber, Austin Bowman
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Ches Thurber is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University. He was previously a research fellow at the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism at the University of Chicago and at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His current book project, Strategies of Violence and Nonviolence in Revolutionary Movements, examines why political movements seeking to overthrow the state embrace strategies of either armed insurgency or civil resistance.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Non State Actors, Sectarianism, Social Movement, Conflict, Interview
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Rand Quinn
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Despite a profound global impact over the first half of the twentieth century, polio is largely an afterthought throughout the developed world. Vaccines engineered in the late 1950s paved the way for a precipitous drop in global disease burden with the onset of the World Health Organization-led (WHO) Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) starting in 1988. Recent indicators of the program’s success include a declaration of eradication in India[1] and a teeteringly low infection rate in Nigeria;[2] two of the disease’s last bastions. This progress, however, has been notably stifled by the steady persistence of a wild poliovirus reservoir centered in northern Pakistan along the Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) border. Throughout significant portions of recorded history this region’s volatility has been well-documented, including a currently sustained network for the training of terrorist fighters dating back to the period of the 1979 Afghan-Soviet War.[3] These networks serve to both attract fledgling radical jihadist recruits and supply fighters globally, markedly providing many of the transnational fighters taking part in the Syrian Civil War. Their movement in and out of the Af-Pak region has provided a major disease vector for poliovirus. The location of a terrorist network transit hub in by far the world’s largest remaining reservoir of wild poliovirus poses a major challenge for policymakers. Due to several factors, including a decline in healthcare infrastructure throughout the western world, the situation presents a legitimate epidemiological threat. However, the issue is more importantly an exemplar of the morphing nature of multidimensional threats, which are likely to become more prevalent in an era of globalization, failed states, and an inability to effectively address social issues amidst the threat of kinetic warfare...
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Health, Terrorism, World Health Organization, Infectious Diseases, Borders
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Pulwer, Carmit Valensi
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Dr. Carmit Valensi is a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and a consultant for various research and security groups. She specializes in contemporary Middle East, strategic studies and terrorism. Her Ph.D. thesis explores Hamas, Hezbollah, and FARC as "violent hybrid actors."
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Arab Spring, Syrian War, Hezbollah, Interview
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Graeme Wood, Eli Stiefel
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Graeme Wood is a correspondent for The Atlantic. He was the 2015 - 2016 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and is a lecturer in political science at Yale University. He was formerly a contributing editor to The New Republic and books editor of Pacific Standard. He was a reporter at The Cambodia Daily in Phnom Penh in 1999, then lived and wrote in the Middle East from 2002 to 2006. He has received fellowships from the Social Sciences Research Council (2002-2003), the South Asian Journalists Association (2009), the East-West Center (2009-2010), and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide (2013-2014). He has appeared many times on television and radio (CNN, ABC, BBC, MSNBC, et al.), was the screenwriter of a Sundance Official Selection (2010, short film), and led a Nazi-hunting expedition to Paraguay for a History Channel special in 2009.
  • Topic: Security, Non State Actors, Islamic State, Journalism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Loretta Napoleoni, Karen Jacobsen
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: This book is a lively journalistic read, filled with stories and details of encounters between jihadists, smugglers, organized crime, drug smuggling across the Sahara, kidnapping of rich tourists, and European ransoms. The author, an Italian journalist, describes herself as a ‘chronicler of the dark side of the economics of globalization’ and has written several books on ISIS, terrorist financing, and money laundering. In Merchants of Men, Napoleoni argues that the proliferation of failed states and the breakdown of law and order in regions like the Sahel, accelerated by the burgeoning cocaine business in the region, have enabled a rapid increase in trafficking and kidnapping. The profits of these merchants of men have flourished, aided by the secrecy of European governments surrounding the ransoming of their citizens (notably, the U.S. does not, publicly at least, pay ransoms). Napoleoni raises these and a number of intriguing issues in the preface. She points to the “false sense of security about the globalized world” that allows both “young, inexperienced members of the First Nations Club” and humanitarian aid workers to explore the world and bring aid to conflict zones — and become the primary target of kidnappers. She gives (unsourced) statistics about the growth of the kidnapping industry and its mirror, private security companies, and asks whether “the economics of kidnapping are immune from the laws of economics,” because as competition has increased between kidnappers and private security firms, prices have gone up instead of down. She argues that when the migrant crisis erupted in Europe in 2015, the business of hostage taking — already set up with “a sophisticated organizational structure in place and plenty of money from trading hostages” — switched to trafficking in migrants and refugees. The profits of these merchants of men have continued to increase since then.
  • Topic: Crime, Refugees, Islamic State, Book Review, Journalism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Syria, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Ryan J. Vogel
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: President Donald Trump has made clear his intent to utilize wartime detention in the fight against al-Qaeda and ISIS. As former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Rule of Law and Detainee Policy, William Lietzau, and I have argued elsewhere, this could be a positive development in the United States’ evolving approach to the war against al-Qaeda, ISIS, and their associates, so long as it is coupled with a commitment to continuing key detention policies and humane treatment standards developed over the past fifteen years. In recent years, the United States has largely avoided adding to the detainee population at Guantanamo (GTMO) – mainly in reaction to some of the more infamous excesses from the first couple of years after the attacks on September 11, 2001. But failing to capture new enemy fighters has come with an operational and humanitarian cost. The United States should take the opportunity that comes with political transition to re-embrace the wartime detention mission.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Law, Prisons/Penal Systems, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus, United States of America, Guantanamo
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Polina Beliakova
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Insurgencies are often thought of as domestic conflicts between state and non-state actors seeking to challenge governmental legitimacy, overthrow the government, or take territorial control from the state. However, thinking about insurgency merely in terms of domestic affairs substantially limits our perspective, and might be misleading both in terms of theory and policy. In addition, the tendency of policymakers and scholars to focus their attention on counterinsurgency bears the risk of considering the solution before understanding all nuances of the problem. Seth G. Jones’ Waging Insurgent Warfare is truly a book about insurgency. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, Jones analyzes how insurgencies start, strategies and tactics used by insurgent groups, their organizational structures, and their informational campaigns. The author devotes particular attention to the role of outside support for insurgencies from various types of actors including great power states. Finally, he addresses the issue of how insurgencies end. Only in the concluding chapter does Jones discuss the implications of the key findings of the book for counterinsurgency.
  • Topic: International Relations, History, Counterinsurgency, Non State Actors, Military Affairs, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Middle East, Asia, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sarah Detzner, James Copnall, Alex de Waal, Ian M. Ralby, Joshua Stanton, Ibrahim Warde, Leon Whyte, Richard Weitz, Jessica Knight, John H. Maurer, Alexander Tabarrok, Alex Nowrasteh, Tom Keatinge, Emily Knowles, Karolina MacLachlan, Andrew Lebovich, Caroline Troein, Anne Moulakis
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The Fletcher Security Review: Managed and edited by students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, we build on the Fletcher School’s strong traditions of combining scholarship with practice, fostering close interdisciplinary collaboration, and acting as a vehicle for groundbreaking discussion of international security. We believe that by leveraging these strengths – seeking input from established and up-and-coming scholars, practitioners, and analysts from around the world on topics deserving of greater attention – we can promote genuinely unique ways of looking at the future of security. Each issue of the Review is centered around a broad theme – in this issue, we tackle “Money & War.” Money influences every aspect of warfare, conventional or unconventional. No nationstate military, insurgent group, terrorist network, trans-national criminal organization, or hybrid actor can be understood, or countered, without knowing where the money is coming from – as well as where, and how, it gets spent. Evolutions and revolutions in financial tools and practices quickly translate to transformations in military affairs, and some cases, vice versa.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Human Rights, Governance, Sanctions, Military Affairs, Finance, Islamic State, Navy, Arab Spring, Maritime, Conflict, Multilateralism, Islamism, Drugs, Currency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, China, Iran, Sudan, Darfur, Middle East, Asia, North Korea, Mali, Asia-Pacific, Sahel, United States of America, North America
  • Author: Alia Braley, Srdja Popovic
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Attacking terrorism at its root, through slow and incremental cultural change, will pay off in the end, but this process is a difficult sell to those facing IS now. Such a long-term view neither benefits the people struggling to survive each day under IS’s murderous and authoritarian reign, nor does it equip the international security community concerned about IS’s immediate threat to regional stability. There is another solution. If what is needed is a relatively rapid rearrangement of social conditions that would cut off IS’s critical sources of power, then there may be no better route than collective nonviolent action undertaken by Iraqi and Syrian civilians. Collective nonviolent movements have been shown to be more effective than violent movements, even against highly violent or authoritarian opponents. Such a movement might take a page from IS’s own book, and tap into the same sources of power that have been indispensible to its success. After all, IS did not attract an army of nearly 30,000 fighters and capture a cumulative swathe of land larger than the United Kingdom merely because it had weapons. IS has flourished by successfully filling at least two critical power vacuums within Iraqi and Syrian society. It has seized upon a powerful narrative during a time of turbulence and confusion, and it has delivered necessary human services in places where the state has proved incompetent. However, a nonviolent collective movement of Syrian and Iraqi citizens could fill these power vacuums much more convincingly than IS, and in so doing, cripple IS’s power in the short term and impede the growth of new terrorist movements in the long term...
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Authoritarianism, Islamic State, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Tom Keatinge
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The rapid rise of Islamic State[1] has galvanised the international community to take action to contain it. One issue in particular – financing – has drawn increasing attention from policy-makers. As U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel noted in August 2014, "ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They’re beyond just a terrorist group…they are tremendously well funded."[2] He elaborated on this further in a September testimony to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, stating that the United States would work with international partners "to cut off ISIL’s funding" and that "the Department of Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence is working to disrupt ISIL’s financing and expose their activities."[3] This decision by international partners to jointly focus on finance disruption has resulted in a bombing campaign partly targeting oil refineries (a major source of funds for Islamic State) and in a UN Security Council Resolution that exhorts the international community to inhibit foreign terrorist fighter travel and otherwise disrupt financial support.[4] ​ But will it work? This article will give necessary broader context on this key question by exploring in more general terms the importance of financing for terrorist and insurgent groups and the extent to which disrupting their funding can reduce the security threat posed by such groups. Specifically considering the evolution of Islamic State, this article will first review the importance of financing in conflict, then assess the way in which funding models develop. It will argue that, once groups move from a reliance on externally sourced funding to generating sufficient internal financing – a path several groups have now followed – disruption becomes significantly more challenging and complex. The international community consistently fails to prioritise the early disruption of terrorist and insurgent financing – an attitude that needs to change...
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Counterinsurgency, Finance, Islamic State, Financial Crimes
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, Global Focus
  • Author: Emily Knowles, Karolina MacLachlan
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Corruption, instability, and conflict tend to go hand in hand. Twelve of the fifteen lowest-ranking countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index are currently experiencing violent insurgencies, extremist activity, or other signs of deep-seated instability. [1] Systemic, embedded corruption is a thread that runs through such seemingly disparate events as the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the conflict in Ukraine, the failure of the Malian army in 2012, the growth of Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the retreat of the Iraqi security forces in the face of ISIS. However, the effects of corruption are not limited to exacerbating the risk of conflict; corruption also makes it more difficult for states to respond to threats and for international institutions and other actors to offer effective assistance.[2] Assistance to fragile and failing states tends to include two types of engagement: international peacekeeping and/or stabilization operations and defense capacity building (i.e. assistance to the recipient states’ security forces). But without anticipating and mitigating the risks that corruption poses, the international community risks the intent of security assistance being subverted, the assistance wasted, and the success rate of stabilization operations being severely impaired. In particular, misappropriation of funds, vanishing resources, and a reliance on malign power-brokers can irreparably damage the operational success of a mission. This article is based on the research investigating the international community’s approach (or lack thereof) to tackling corruption in Afghanistan carried out by Transparency International UK’s global Defence and Security Programme (TI-DSP) and based on over 75 interviews with civilian and military officials. This work is supported by insights from TI-DSP’s long-term engagement in the Building Integrity training for the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.[3] In the resulting report, we argue that corruption has had a significant impact on ISAF mission success and that the international community’s reaction to corrupt practices was too little, too late. We point to three main ways in which corruption and uncontrolled money flows can diminish the effectiveness of the mission and offer a planning and risk assessment framework as the first step toward addressing corruption risks on operations...
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Peacekeeping, Arab Spring, Conflict, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Middle East, Nigeria, Mali
  • Author: Jessica Knight
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: In October 2012, the Iranian rial earned the unwelcome distinction of the world’s least valued currency. It had lost more than 80% of its open market value in the previous two years, crashing from 9,800 to 37,000 rials (IRR) per U.S. dollar (USD). As the rial lost value, demand for more reliable hard currencies surged until it far exceeded the Central Bank of Iran’s (CBI) official supply. Many western analysts, taking their cue from U.S. officials, claimed this devaluation proved the efficacy of international sanctions. Did it really?
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, Sanctions, Economy, Currency
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Ibrahim Warde
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: ​ The United States and Saudi Arabia lavished money and weapons on unsavory characters during the anti-Soviet jihad of the 1980s, giving little thought to the possibility of a blowback or boomerang effect—that they would in effect be funding and arming their future enemies. It is indeed ironic that the principal bankrollers of the jihad later became the main targets of offshoots of that jihad. A non-negligible part of the money and weapons sent by the United States to Iraq, in particular as part of the “Sunni awakening”, is now in the hands of extremists.With the near-exclusive focus on military developments, the financial front of the war on terror is all but ignored. This article traces the evolution of checkbook diplomacy in conflicts involving the Islamic world.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, History, Finance, Weapons , Islamism, War on Terror, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, United States of America
  • Author: Ian M. Ralby
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: On 16 September 2007, the accountability of private armed contractors became a global concern. A team of armed guards from the US company Blackwater Worldwide, operating on a US State Department contract, opened fire that day in Baghdad’s Nisor Square, killing seventeen Iraqi civilians and injuring an additional twenty. It took more than seven years before four of the individuals responsible were ultimately convicted of either first degree murder or voluntary manslaughter by a jury in a U.S. Federal District Court. A fifth member of the Blackwater team had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.[1] The initial lack of consequences and the slow speed of justice provided the watchful world with strong evidence that armed contractors operate in a zone of legal twilight, devoid of accountability. ​ The rise of private armed contracting was one of the most distinctive operational developments of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, famously stated: “Our corporate goal is to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did to the postal service.”[2] Throughout both conflicts, the hiring policies of several Western governments, particularly those of the United States, helped Blackwater and numerous other companies move toward that goal. By December 2008, for example, 69% of the United States’ total force in Afghanistan was comprised of private contractors, roughly 15% of which were armed.[3] While there are no reliable statistics on the size of the global private armed security industry, there is little doubt that it has grown and contracted with the surge and decline of Western engagement in armed conflict. New conflicts on the horizon, however, suggest the possibility of a resurgence of the industry, reigniting concerns about accountability. The proliferation of private armed security companies has coincided with a proliferation of initiatives aimed at developing accountability for the industry. Numerous codes, standards, mechanisms and proposals – developed by governments, international organizations, civil society groups, private companies, trade associations, individuals, academics and multi-stakeholder bodies – have sought to address different issues surrounding armed contractors. Most of them, however, have been developed in response to incidents that already occurred. This reactive approach to accountability, while useful for addressing past problems, may leave the industry exposed to future problems. In other words, a code, standard or mechanism set up to prevent another Nisor Square incident may be very effective in doing so, but may fail to prevent a different and even more worrying incident in the future. This article begins with a brief overview of the most credible accountability initiatives, suggesting that the resulting collection forms a patchwork, rather than a framework for governing the conduct of armed contractors. The analysis then focuses on the process of selecting contractors, with a particular emphasis on the US Government. While cost has been a key factor in determining selection, the various initiatives discussed have made it possible for accountability and quality to be added as essential metrics. Ultimately, however, the failure of the accountability initiatives to remain current, much less forward-looking, means that the objective determinants of ‘accountability and quality’ may not be fit for purpose as the US and other Western powers begin to engage the services of armed contractors for assistance in new conflicts...
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Military Affairs, Regulation, Accountability
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Meg Guliford, Thomas McCarthy, Alison Russell, Michael M. Tsai, Po-Chang Huang, Feng-tai Hwang, Ian Easton, Matthew Testerman, Nikolas Ott, Anthony Gilgis, Todd Diamond, Michael Wackenreuter, Sebastian Bruns, Andrew Mark Spencer, Wendy A. Wayman, Charles Cleveland
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The theme of this special edition is “Emerging Domains of Security.” Coupled with previously unpublished work developed under a prior “Winning Without War” theme, the articles therein honor Professor Martel’s diverse, yet forward-leaning, research interests. This edition maintains the journal’s four traditional sections of policy, history, interviews, and current affairs. Our authors include established academics and practitioners as well as two Fletcher students, Nikolas Ott and Michael Wackenreuter. Each of the articles analyzes critical issues in the study and practice of international security, and our authors make salient arguments about an array of security-related issues. The articles are borne out of countless hours of work by FSR’s dedicated editorial staff. I deeply appreciate the time and effort they devoted to the publication of this volume. They are full-time graduate students who masterfully balanced a host of responsibilities.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Intelligence, International Cooperation, International Law, History, Military Affairs, Counter-terrorism, Cybersecurity, Navy, Conflict, Space, Interview, Army, Baath Party, Norms
  • Political Geography: China, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Taiwan, Germany, Asia-Pacific, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Michael Wackenreuter
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: On March 12, 2003, a week before the invasion of Iraq, a Principals Committee meeting of the National Security Council was held at the White House to formally decide the fate of the Iraqi Army.[1] The participants, having all received extensive briefings on the subject prior to meeting, voted unanimously and with little discussion that after disbanding the Republican Guard, the “regular soldiers” of the Iraqi Army would be called “back to duty.”[2] In spite of this decision, on May 23, 2003, L. Paul Bremer III—President Bush’s “special envoy” in Iraq—announced Coalition Provisional Authority Order No. 2, “Dissolution of Entities.” Among the relevant entities to be dissolved by the decree was the Iraqi Army.[3] In an interview with the journalist Robert Draper at the end of his presidency, President Bush commented on this apparent dissonance when he remarked, “The policy was to keep the army intact; didn’t happen.” When asked further of his reaction when he found out about the decree, Bush replied, “Yeah, I can’t remember, I’m sure I said, ‘This is the policy, what happened?’”[4] Having endured significant criticism over CPA Order No. 2, Mr. Bremer was quick to defend himself, providing letters to The New York Times to and from the president “in order to refute the suggestion in Mr. Bush’s comment that Mr. Bremer had acted to disband the army without the knowledge and concurrence of the White House.”[5] Such a puzzling exchange over such an important topic serves to illustrate a larger point. That is, despite its centrality to America’s involvement in Iraq, from the emergence of the insurgency onward to its current conflict with ISIS, it still remains unclear how and why the decision to disband the Iraqi Army was made. In this paper, I demonstrate that the impetus for CPA Order No. 2 came from the prominent Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi, and was carried out under the authority of Vice President Richard “Dick” Cheney by a small group of Chalabi’s supporters in the Office of the Vice President and the Pentagon. I do so first by establishing the lengths to which those in the vice president’s office, in concert with like-minded officials at the Defense Department, were willing to go in order to support Chalabi, who favored disbanding the army. Secondly, I identify the striking similarities between the events surrounding the order and other instances involving the vice president that involved a bypass of the normal interagency policy-making process...
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, History, Army, Baath Party, Iraq War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Charles Simpson
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: In 2003, Dr. Richard Norton presented a gloomy picture of urbanization: “Imagine a great metropolis covering hundreds of square miles… a territory where the rule of law has long been replaced by near anarchy in which the only security available is that which is attained through brute power.” Norton is describing his vision of the “feral city,” a space where political, economic, and military stressors bring about a city’s decline, a concept that became a major concern of security thinkers over the next decade. Reading Norton’s descriptions, large urbanized refugee communities of the Syrian crisis appear especially vulnerable to feral relapse. However, despite superficial parallels to Norton’s description, field research presented in this article will argue that the 82,000-resident Za’atari Syrian refugee camp—perhaps the most grimly reported refugee camp in the region—stands significantly in contrast to the “feral city” model: rather than declining to a “feral” state, Za’atari’s residents and authorities have demonstrated incredible resilience while maintaining, strengthening, and innovating new governance mechanisms for achieving human security. A wider search for feral cities in Mogadishu and Syria suggests that this resilience to feral decline is more the rule than the exception for modern cities.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Urbanization, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Jordan, Somalia
  • Author: Colin P. Clarke
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: On November 5, 2015, authorities in the Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels, Belgium shut down Café del Beguines. The bar was frequently host to drug deals and other illicit activities, known to “[compromise] public security and tranquillity.”[1] The bar manager, Ibrahim Abdesalam, was one of the attackers involved in the Paris terror events in mid-November 2015. The attacks shook France and shocked the world, and at the year end, investigation of the events still posed many unanswered questions. French and international investigators have focused their efforts on exposing the source of funding for the attacks. Although an important part of any investigation, it must be understood that the funds necessary to plan and conduct attacks like these are minimal, often requiring less than $10,000[2] Unfortunately, terrorists have learned that small sums of money collected over time through the use of somewhat banal criminal activities can be effective, and even reliable, sources of funding.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Spain