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  • Author: Meg Murphy
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Andrea Ortiz went down to the Charles River on the afternoon that she—victoriously—submitted her senior thesis. There she was, a girl born in Mexico City, an immigrant raised in Miami, a bright light, the first in her family line to get to Harvard. Yet she felt a wave of sadness, and that, she reasoned, made no sense. So she sat by the river to think until it came to her: this was yearning. “You never accomplish anything alone. I was feeling the absence of the people who were most influential in getting me to this point,” she said later. “I wished they could be here too.” Her grandmother is one of those people. She is a woman who created her own philosophy and humanities class in Mexico City for people, like herself at the time, without access to a college education. Later in rural Comitán de Dominguez, where Ortiz spent childhood summers, her grandmother mail-ordered hundreds of books. The family home became an informal library for rural housewives.
  • Topic: Poverty, Social Services, Community, Housing
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Megan Margulies, Amanda Pearson
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Friday will welcome 130 heads of state who have pledged to sign the Paris Agreement, the UN global agreement on managing climate change. For William Clark, Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), sustainability is a global imperative and a scientific challenge like no other. He sees the Paris Agreement as just one step, though an important one, in this urgent pursuit, as officials wrestle with how to meet the needs of a growing human population without jeopardizing the planet for future generations. Clark and co-authors Pam Matson of Stanford University and Krister Andersson of University of Colorado at Boulder, tackle that issue in a new book, Pursuing Sustainability: A Guide to the Science and Practice. By looking at sustainability as a means to alleviate poverty and enhance well-being, the book highlights the complex dynamics of social-environmental systems, and suggests how successful strategies can be shaped through collaborations among researchers and practitioners. Clark, who trained as an ecologist, said that while exhausting Earth’s natural resources would jeopardize future generations, sustainability could be achieved to counter that. The goal is to find a healthy equilibrium between human adaptation and natural evolution. Co-director of the Sustainability Science Program at HKS, Clark spoke with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs about building a more sustainable future.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, United Nations, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amanda Pearson
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: It’s an argument we’ve heard before: governments should not negotiate with terrorist organizations that engage in violent activity. This idea is pervasive throughout the academic and policy worlds, but what about public opinion? Do citizens think the government should shun social movements that adopt extreme tactics often associated with terrorist organizations? Social protest takes various forms, and organized social movements have various intentions—from benign disruption to purposeful violence. In their forthcoming paper for Comparative Political Studies, Connor Huff and Dominika Kruszewska look at how the tactical choices of social movements affect public opinion about whether or not—and to what degree—governments should negotiate with social movements.1 In research involving 2,000 Polish citizens, Huff and Kruszewska document what many already believe: people were approximately 30% less likely to support government negotiations with organizations that use bombs compared with occupations. “Our results show that public support decreases for both separatist organizations and social movements that adopt bombing as a tactic when compared against occupations and demonstrations,” they write. The researchers find mixed support for whether respondents think organizations that use bombings should receive fewer concessions once negotiations begin.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Terrorism, Social Movement, Protests, Violence, Demonstrations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amanda Pearson
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: After months of vitriolic campaigns, on June 23 voters began to emerge from polling stations throughout the United Kingdom having cast their ballots in a nationwide referendum on European Union (EU) membership. The possibility of a British exit, or “Brexit,” has shined a spotlight on the institutional, political, and economic woes of the EU and the eurozone. But for political economist Jeffry Frieden, Stanfield Professor of International Peace at Harvard University, this moment in British political life is merely the latest expression of domestic political unrest in a host of European countries. Elections loom throughout Europe: in Spain three days after the UK referendum, in France and Germany next year. In a final irony, Britain is due to take the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in July 2017. What does the future look like for a European Union tethered to a single market and a single currency? From the economic woes of the eurozone, to the political debates brought about by the refugee crisis, tension among EU member states has brought into question the very nature and future of European integration generally, and of monetary integration specifically.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Europe Union, Brexit, Eurozone
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bart Bonikowski
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Harvard sociologist Bart Bonikowski explains why Brexit has two important lessons for political analysis on both sides of the Atlantic
  • Topic: Nationalism, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Brexit, Populism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Racism and discrimination are daily realities for members of marginalized groups. But what does it look like at the ground level, and how do individuals from various groups and countries respond to such experiences? Drawing on more than 400 in-depth interviews with middle class and working class men and women residing in the multi-ethnic suburbs of New York, Rio, and Tel Aviv, and representing five different racial “groups,” a team of sociologists examine how people deal with and make sense of the various forms of exclusion that are ever present in their lives.
  • Topic: Race, Women, Discrimination, Marginalization
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Brazil, South America, North America
  • Author: Amanda Pearson
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: “The quality of life that a person leads,” writes Prerna Singh, “depends critically on where she leads it.” How Solidarity Works for Welfare: Subnationalism and Social Development in India is at its core an unpacking of that sentence and its implications for international development. Why do some states in India deliver better schools and health care systems than others? Economic factors explain some of this variation, but there are other forces, too. Singh’s novel argument marks a departure from existing theories about social welfare, which emphasize the importance of economic development or the nature and extent of democracy and political parties. Instead, Singh attributes this variation to the strength of collective identity—the sense of “we-ness”—among the state’s citizens. Her award-winning book received the Woodrow Wilson Prize for the best book in politics and the Barrington Moore Prize for the best book in comparative historical sociology, both in 2016. What was it that so impressed them? Using an innovative mix of statistical and comparative historical analyses, Singh packed her book with a wealth of evidence on the perplexing differences in social welfare between places that are otherwise similar demographically, socially, economically, and politically.
  • Topic: Demographics, Nationalism, Socioeconomics , Subnationalism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India, Asia
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: During the 2016 primaries, Donald Trump claimed he had more foreign policy experience than any of the GOP contenders. In fact, he has traveled widely to meet with presidents, prime ministers, financiers, and developers over the past decade as part of his highly profitable business of licensing the Trump name to large real estate developments around the world. On the campaign trail, Trump’s provocative statements about foreign policy have become part of the public record. From pressuring NAFTA members to bombing ISIS, his pledges have caused a stir in the arena of foreign relations. Publicly, candidate Trump threatened to close borders to Mexicans, slap tariffs on Chinese goods, restrict Muslims in the United States, among other vows. Without a record of public service to draw on, it is difficult to know how these declarations might translate into a Trump foreign policy. To understand what lies ahead for the new president, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs asked its Faculty Associates in international relations to comment on the challenges and opportunities that await in five regions of the world: Africa, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Latin America, Europe, and China.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Elections, ISIS, NAFTA
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: To read Charles Maier’s latest book, Once Within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging Since 1500, is to take a bird’s-eye-view journey through five centuries of geopolitical history, to witness how societies have regarded and apportioned space on our planet. As concepts of boundaries and territories are being reconceptualized in the twenty-first century, the notion of what it means to be part of a particular society takes on new dimensions. For most of us, traditional concepts of nation, state, and territory remain deeply ingrained in our sense of self and belonging. In his book, Maier takes readers on a meditative journey through the “fitful evolution of territorial organization,” and reflects on how science and technology have expanded our conceptualization of space, authority, and sovereignty. Once Within Borders invites us to step back and consider the many ways in which human societies have claimed borders and territories to consolidate power, wealth, and group affiliation—and how those borders have shaped our consciousness through time. The Weatherhead Center engaged Charles Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History at Harvard University, in a discussion about the value of borders in today’s networked world.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Territorial Disputes, Borders, Nation-State
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dennis J. Blasko
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: China’s participation in UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) has received considerable media attention for the past several years as Beijing’s international profile has expanded. To be sure, of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), China contributes the largest number of military and civilian personnel to these missions. According to UN statistics as of August 31, 2016, China provides 2,436 troops, 30 military experts, and 173 police for a total of 2,639 personnel out of just over 100,000 uniformed and civilian personnel from all countries performing PKO duties. But this is not a new development and when the details below these surface numbers are examined, it becomes clear that, with the help of the foreign media, Beijing has garnered maximum political and propaganda value from a minimal investment in personnel and money.
  • Topic: United Nations, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Peter Wood
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In mid-October, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited China. His visit was marked by a recalibration in Philippine policy toward China and the announcement of economic and military “separation” from the United States.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: China, Malaysia, Asia, Philippines, United States of America
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Himalayan region places tough logistic burdens on militaries operating there, making improvement of roads and rails a priority for China and India. While framing their infrastructure projects in economic terms, China’s progress has real strategic implications. Though the Indian government has often promised to prioritize its own building programs, these have yet to pan out.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Infrastructure, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Himalayas
  • Author: Peter Wood
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Although it is highly unlikely that China will deploy a large force or even, as one widely disseminated and erroneous report suggested, its aircraft carrier to fight in Syria, it is clear that China is increasing the visibility of its support for Bashar al-Assad’s government to improve its level of influence in whatever resulting post–civil war government emerges.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Humanitarian Aid, Bilateral Relations, Military Affairs, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Chris Zambelis
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: While the full implications of the JCPOA on Iran’s regional and international standing have yet to be realized, the outcome of Xi’s 2016 visit to Tehran is likely to presage years of continued Sino-Iranian engagement and cooperation. At the same time, China is steadily being confronted with outside competition for Iran’s most promising markets and similar challenges. In terms of its history of dealings with Iran in recent years, this represents unfamiliar territory for China.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Thomas J. Scotto, Jason Reifler
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: A large body of research suggests mass publics are capable of thinking coherently about international relations. We extend this body of research to show that domain relevant postures – in our case, more abstract beliefs about foreign policy – are related to how tough of a line representative samples of US and UK respondents want their governments to take toward China. More specifically, we utilize a unique comparative survey of American and British foreign policy attitudes to show broad support for toughness toward China. Beliefs about the use of the military and attitudes regarding globalization help explain preferences for tough economic and military policies toward China. In the two countries, the relationship between general foreign policy outlooks and the positions citizens take is robust to the addition of a general mediator that controls for the general affect those surveyed have toward China. Finally, the strength of the relationship between these abstract postures and specific preferences for a China policy are different across the countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Affairs, Political Science, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: China, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Seung Hyok Lee
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: When Kim Dae-jung and Koizumi Junichiro visited Pyongyang in 2000 and 2002, their visits facilitated a perception shift toward North Korea in South Korea and Japan. This was a consequence of the two democratic societies expanding and redefining the acceptable boundaries of their national security identities and principles in a changing regional environment. Although the expansion of societal security discourse did not lead extreme ‘revisionists’ to implement drastic strategic policy transformations in either country, it did provoke a ‘mutual security anxiety’ between the South Korean and Japanese publics, as they felt increasingly uncertain about each other's future security trajectory. This mutual anxiety, in which both countries tend to view each other as potential security risk, while overlooking the existence of moderate democratic citizens on the other side, continues to provide a powerful ideational undertone to the bilateral relationship, which contributes to persistent misunderstanding at various levels.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Steve A. Yetiv
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: United States foreign policy in the Middle East over the last few decades has been controversial and checkered, and Washington has certainly flexed its muscles in the region. However, the question arises as to how aggressive America has been with regard to oil in the region. I distinguish between two perspectives in how America is viewed, which we can simply call the offensive and defensive perspectives, recognizing that there is a continuum of views. From the offensive perspective, America is viewed as having one or more of these goals: steal or own Middle East oil; control Middle East oil in order to undermine Muslims; dominate Middle East oil to advance global hegemony; or exercise “puppet” control over oil producers like Saudi Arabia to coerce them into charging far lower oil prices than markets would warrant.1 By contrast, from the defensive perspective, America chiefly aims to prevent others from threatening oil supplies in a manner that would spike global oil prices and possibly cause a recession or depression. Muslim opinion polls have revealed that oil issues are a broader source of tension in relations between elements of the Muslim world and the West. The U.S. role in oil-related issues feeds into historical, political, and religious perspectives of an imperialist and power-hungry America. In fact, a not uncommon view in the Middle East is that America seeks to exploit, even steal the region’s oil resources, a viewpoint much in line with the offensive perspective described above. I argue that the history of America’s role in the region suggests that this is largely a misconception, and that this misconception is not immaterial. It seriously raises the cost of the use of oil and of American regional intervention. This misconception not only stokes terrorism and anti-Americanism, but also complicates America’s relations with Middle Eastern countries, affects its image among Muslims, and hurts its global leverage insofar as such views become internationally prominent. Indeed, it is almost a maxim in many capitals in the Middle East that close cooperation with Washington carries a domestic political cost. Recall, for example, that the Saudis were initially reluctant to host American forces after Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, even though they felt seriously threatened by Saddam Hussein.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Oil, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, North America, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Amy Myers, Jaffe Jareer Elass
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Oil has shaped international conflict for decades. According to one estimate, twenty-five to fifty percent of interstate wars between 1973 and 2012 had oil-related linkages. 1 But the cyclical nature of oil’s contribution to global conflict is not well understood. Not only are oil prices cyclical, but the geopolitics of oil are linked inexorably to the same boom and bust price cycle. Military adventurism, proxy wars and regional pathologies in the Middle East expand and contract with the ebb and flow of massive petrodollar accumulations related to the oil price cycle. The massive inflow of petrodollar revenues when oil prices are high creates disposable incomes that can be easily dispensed on regional arms races, especially since oil consuming countries like the United States are incentivized to increase arms sales as a means of solving oil import related trade deficits. Besides transferring wealth from industrialized countries to oil producers in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region and Russia (and stimulating renewed drilling for oil and gas in North America), high global oil and natural gas prices also slow global economic growth and encourage energy conservation. This causes petroleum demand to slow globally, lowering oil prices. Social and political problems in the region reemerge as oil prices recede. Regional governments have fewer resources to spend on restive populations that have become accustomed to generous handouts enabled by high oil prices. Job creation and visible social programs slow, dissatisfaction rises, and the consequences of economic downturns incite support for militants. Ensuing instability forces governments to use newly purchased arms, which ironically begins the cycle yet again, as new conflicts disrupt oil supplies. In this manner, the world experiences perpetuating patterns of military conflict, followed by oil supply crises, and accompanying global financial instability. In effect, the Middle East resource curse has become globalized. The challenges this is presenting on humanitarian, security and economic fronts have become increasingly dangerous. The arms race that has accompanied the rise of oil prices over the 2000s has been no exception and is now all the more complicated due to the violent participation of sub-national radicalized groups that are less susceptible to diplomatic pressures or initiatives. In this emerging geopolitical context, the rise of violent subnational groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda are increasingly putting oil infrastructure at risk, laying the groundwork for a future oil crisis that may prove harder to solve than in the past. As borders and ruling institutions have become contested, so has control of the region’s major oil and gas facilities. Initially an outgrowth of disunity inside Iraq, the conflict over oil and gas facilities is now accelerating across ungoverned territories, with important long-term consequences for global energy markets. Mideast oil and gas production capacity, along with surface facilities, are increasingly being damaged in ways that will make them hard to repair. Export disruptions, which were once sporadic, are becoming a more permanent feature of the civil war landscape. The level of destroyed capacity is currently estimated at about 2 million b/d and rising.2 The longer Mideast conflicts fester, the more that infrastructure could become at risk. There is an additional element to this oil and war story that links structurally with the oil boom and bust cycle. As oil prices recede, along with a decreased demand for oil and accelerating regional conflict, wealthy oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, are often tempted to use large oil production capacity as a strategic asset. They flood the market with increased supplies in order to lower prices, thereby hurting geopolitical rivals. This price war strategy, which was notably present during the prolonged Soviet war in Afghanistan and the eight year Iran-Iraq War, temporarily ameliorates the short run effects of war on surface export facilities through excessive production rates. In addition, it lays the seeds for the future uptick in the oil market, by discouraging investment in future oil productive capacity outside the Middle East when prices are extremely low. In the case of the 2000s, the destruction caused by ISIS on the oil sector in many locations around the Middle East, combined with expected losses in investment in other parts of the world (like Canada’s oil sands and the Arctic due to current low oil prices), may be creating the conditions for a future oil supply crunch. This has major implications on U.S. policy. This article asserts that the United State would be, in light of these circumstances in the Middle East, unwise to dismantle its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as has been suggested on Capitol Hill. It would be similarly unwise for the United States to lose focus on the importance of conservation efforts in the transportation sector which has both national security and climate benefits. The United States would benefit strategically from a reevaluation of its ban on oil exports. Finally, the United States should place a greater emphasis on conflict resolution in troubled states. By resolving internal conflicts over the distribution of oil revenues, the United States can better pave the way for long-term solutions whereby those same revenues can be integrated into national budgets in ways that brings economic prosperity to populations instead of rising military expenditure.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Military Strategy, Gas, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, North America, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Graeme P. Auton, Jacob B. Slobodien
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Several factors contribute to or inhibit the “contagiousness” of regional conflict and irregular warfare, whether conducted at the interstate, extrastate, or intrastate level. Five broad drivers of the diffusion of regional conflict are (1) weak states, (2) anticipated power shifts, regional and domestic, (3) unstable and poorly controlled border regions, (4) large refugee flows, and (5) the religiously-based non-state militant campaign against the state as an organizing principle of world politics. These factors are both endogenous and exogenous to particular states and societies, and must be considered alongside the standard factors considered in international relations literature to be the basis of “dangerous state dyads:” geographic contiguity, absence of alliances, absence of an advanced economy, absence of a democratic polity, and absence of a regionally preponderant power. Two case studies illustrate this argument: the rise of Islamic State, and the awareness of the causes of contagion in regional conflict implicit in Israeli security policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, International Affairs, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elihugh M. Abner
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: This article points out the cataclysmic power shift that would take place in the event of Saudi Arabia’s descent into political turmoil, and briefly covers some of the catalysts that could bring about such an event. Overall, the oppressive policies towards the Shia minority carried out by the Sunni-dominated Saudi monarchy are detrimental to the country’s national security. The religious disparities in the country have given the monarchy’s enemies—primarily Iran and Russia—a weakness to exploit. This article does not give evidence of any clandestine operations taking place within the Kingdom; however, it gives evidence that Iran and Russia have much to gain and virtually nothing to lose if the country was to spiral into violence like so many others in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, National Security, Fragile/Failed State, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Sama Habib
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: As a result of the 70-year conflict between Israel and Palestine, the United States should reconsider its support for a two-state solution and instead pivot to a one-state solution. Policymakers have assumed that deep hatreds can only be settled through separation. However, this policy has caused a stalemate and does not take into account fluctuating developments in the region. A more adaptive strategy is necessary. Using theories of ripeness and conflict mediation, this bold flip in policy can pave the path towards lasting peace. Exercising the instability created from Syria’s civil war, the United States. can ripen the Israel-Palestine conflict by exposing the mutual security benefits gained from uniting against a common enemy: ISIS. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria offers the parties a unique opportunity for peace as a rallying cause. As a close ally of Israel, the United States is in the ideal position to lead mediations centering around talks of permanent ceasefires, economic integration, and eventually political power sharing of a unified, binational state. In conjunction with Qatar acting as the Arab broker for Palestine, the United States should leverage its power to get the parties to the table in order to create the framework for a pocket of peace in an ever-rickety Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Political Power Sharing, State Building
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Yasir Kuoti
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the origins of political violence in Iraq. It argues that, in the wake of the democratic transition process in from 2004 to 2005, Iraqi exiles, who were chiefly Shiite Muslims and Kurds appointed by Paul Bremer, Iraq’s U.S. civilian administrator, moved to write a constitution and set up a political system that deliberately marginalized minorities. Since then, the Sunni minority began and continues to engage in or support violence against the state. It suggests that violence and instability in Iraq are to be understood in terms of local contexts of meaning, notably the nature of struggle for political power.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Political Power Sharing, Violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Hamada D. Zahawi, Khaled A. Beydoun
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Until recently, Iran has been economically isolated by way of sanctions, preempting investment opportunities with states allied with the United States. However, the Obama administration’s recent effort towards economic normalization with Iran affords it with unprecedented commercial possibilities, and per the focus of this article, legalized commercial enterprising within Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States—across sectarian tensions and fault lines. From both a legal and practical prism, this article investigates the recent lifting of sanctions, which opens the door for Iran’s investment within neighboring states including the GCC. Subsequently, it analyzes how commercial investment and the reciprocal advancement of economic interests offers a promising pathway toward eroding political standoffs, economic inequities, and the politicization of sectarianism. In closing, the article addresses salient challenges that may hinder the potential of this economic rapprochement, and ways forward.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Sanctions, Investment
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Persian Gulf, Gulf Nations
  • Author: H. Akin Unver
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: As the Middle East goes through one of its most historic, yet painful episodes, the fate of the region’s Kurds have drawn substantial interest. Transnational Kurdish awakening—both political and armed—has attracted unprecedented global interest as individual Kurdish minorities across four countries, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, have begun to shake their respective political status quo in various ways. It is in Syria that the Kurds have made perhaps their largest impact, largely owing to the intensification of the civil war and the breakdown of state authority along Kurdish-dominated northern borderlands. However, in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran too, Kurds are searching for a new status quo, using multiple and sometimes mutually defeating methods. This article looks at the future of the Kurds in the Middle East through a geopolitical approach. It begins with an exposition of the Kurds’ geographical history and politics, emphasizing the natural anchor provided by the Taurus and Zagros mountains. That anchor, history tells us, has both rendered the Kurds extremely resilient to systemic changes to larger states in their environment, and also provided hindrance to the materialization of a unified Kurdish political will. Then, the article assesses the theoretical relationship between weak states and strong non-states, and examines why the weakening of state authority in Syria has created a spillover effect on all Kurds in its neighborhood. In addition to discussing classical geopolitics, the article also reflects upon demography, tribalism, Islam, and socialism as additional variables that add and expand the debate of Kurdish geopolitics. The article also takes a big-data approach to Kurdish geopolitics by introducing a new geopolitical research methodology, using large-volume and rapid-processed entity extraction and recognition algorithms to convert data into heat maps that reveal the general pattern of Kurdish geopolitics in transition across four host countries.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Borders, Translation
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Margaret Williams
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: The important role of young people in building peace and challenging violent extremism is gaining recognition within the international community. The United Nations Security Resolution on Youth, Peace, and Security (SCR 2250), passed in December 2015, is evidence of this trend. It represents a shift from the dichotomy of youth as either perpetrators or victims of violence to a perspective in which youth are viewed as agents of positive change and peace. In moving forward with this resolution and similarly reflective and supportive policy, one of the greatest challenges for the Middle East and North Africa will be the current geopolitical context and obstacles to opportunity. In a region fraught with conflict, stemming from domestic and foreign policies, as well as a history of unrepresentative and repressive governance systems, leaders have often sought to maintain the status quo. This is a problem in a region where more than 30 percent of the population is between 15 and 29 years of age, and are increasingly frustrated with and stymied by a lack of meaningful political space—leading to lost faith in political systems.1 In such a setting, regional policymakers must be challenged to meaningfully incorporate young people into decisionmaking processes, to ensure that peacebuilding programs target young people early on in their development, to avoid the securitization of youth in the development and implementation of national and local policies, and to address the underlying social, economic, and political grievances that often drive extremism and impact young people’s relationships with their communities and states.
  • Topic: Security, Youth, Peace, Young Adults
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Ghimar Deeb, Jeffrey Woodham, Mia Chin, Sawsan Gharaibeh
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Following the uprisings in the Arab world, the region has lurched into a period of massive change and instability. An unfortunate consequence of this change has been the rise and proliferation of militant groups such as ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) and Jubhat al-Nusra in Iraq and Syria. These militant groups successfully recruit members from the region and beyond, fueling conflict in countries that have witnessed unrest, such as Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria. Although Jordan has long been seen as a regional hub of stability and security, especially by its Western allies, it increasingly exhibits symptoms of the long-standing pressures exerted upon it by the surrounding conflicts, resulting refugee crises, and pre-existing domestic challenges. Jordan’s hypothetical fall into instability could have catastrophic consequences for the region, exacerbating the crises in Syria and Iraq, empowering ISIS and other militant groups, and threatening regional and global security. In response, this article offers a general framework for the expansion of the country’s nascent Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) program, including both preventative and remedial measures. Beginning with an overview of the processes of radicalization and de-radicalization, this article proceeds with a brief discussion of Jordan’s current situation before synthesizing scholarly articles and analyses of other CVE programs in order to establish a framework to guide Jordan’s developing CVE interventions.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Refugee Crisis, ISIS, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Peter Kikkert
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The documents in this volume provide insights into the Canadian Army’s attempts to secure a better knowledge of the characteristics of Northern operations during the Second World War and early Cold War. An extensive series of Subarctic and Arctic training exercises yielded valuable “lessons learned” that informed the planning, training, and equipping of the Army for Northern missions. The challenges encountered in these operations, the questions raised, and the lessons observed remain remarkably consistent with those experienced during Arctic deployments over the last decade.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Ryan Dean
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The speeches and media releases collected in this volume help to reveal the narratives on Arctic sovereignty, security, circumpolar affairs, and governance that the Harper Government sought to construct during its near-decade in office. While the government touted its own achievements in regular updates on its Northern Strategy, other commentators have been more critical, suggesting that either the government’s priorities were misplaced or it promised more than it delivered. This volume is intended to preserve these primary resources for researchers to facilitate ongoing debate and discussion
  • Topic: International Affairs, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Adam Lajeunesse, P. Whitney Lackenbauer
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Arctic has emerged as a topic of tremendous hype over the last decade, spawning persistent debates about whether the region’s future is likely to follow a cooperative trend or spiral into conflict. Official Canadian military statements, all of which anticipate no near-term conventional military threats to the region, predict an increase in security and safety challenges and point to the need for capabilities suited to a supporting role in an integrated, whole-of-government (WoG) framework. This entails focused efforts to enhance the government's all-domain situational awareness over the Arctic, to prepare responses to a range of unconventional security situations or incidents in the region, and to assist other government departments (OGD) in their efforts to enforce Canadian laws and regulations within national jurisdiction. Despite popular commentaries suggesting that military deficiencies in the North make Canada vulnerable, we argue that the Canadian Armed Forces are generally capable of meeting its current and short-term requirements and is responsibly preparing to meet the threats to Canadian security and safety that are likely emerge over the next decade.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Nationalism, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, Arctic
  • Author: Ben Wan, Beng Ho
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The fleet aircraft carrier possesses a number of unique advantages such as territorial independence and mobility that make it the United States National Command Authorities’ platform of choice to deal with a crisis or war. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the successful and unencumbered application of American carrier airpower in the post-war period has been significantly aided by the benign environments where the flat-tops have operated. In the modern combat environment, critics contend that anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities would render the vessel obsolete. Uncertainty clouds this issue as American carriers have yet to be subjected to A2/AD threats. Nevertheless, it is possible to draw two conclusions based on related empirical evidence. They are namely, 1) the submarine poses a credible challenge to American flat-tops, provided the sub is able to find and track them; 2) the anti-ship missile constitutes less of a “mission-kill” threat compared to the torpedo.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Maritime, Missile Defense, Air Force
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Lee Lacy
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The history of strategic bombing in World War II is well-documented, but is also found in the unlikeliest of places, in a theatrical production performed in the New York theater—on Broadway— in 1947. The play, Command Decision, by William Wister Haines, is an examination of the decision making process involved with the strategic bombing campaign in the European Theater of Operations. This paper uses Command Decision to examine real events in 1943—notably the raids on industrial targets of Regensburg, Schweinfurt and Stuttgart, where the 8th USAAF sustained punishing losses. Out this terrible episode of the war, when thousands of airmen lost their lives, the lessons of the bombing campaign’s Combined Bomber Offensive are significant. The leaders, events and decisions that influenced this intense and deadly episode of World War II remain relevant. The powerful lessons of leadership and command— mixed with human failing and the suffering of mankind, make a compelling story.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, World War II, Air Force
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Piotr Kobza
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: he introduction of a new, enhanced autonomy status for Greenland within the Danish Realm since 21 June 2009, after the referendum of 25 November 2008, brought about a new chapter in the history of the emancipation of Greenland from Copenhagen. In comparison with the previous status, in force since 1979, competences of the home-rule government in Nuuk were broadened, especially in the domains of jurisprudence, public order and management of the natural reserves. It was recognized that the Greenlandic nation was a subject of the international law with an inherent right to declare independence, which in turn should be respected by Denmark. The financial subsidies from Denmark were to be reduced, and economic dependence of Greenland on the Danish budget – diminished. All these introduced new possibilities for the Greenlanders to shape political and economic development of their island. The purpose of this text is to set out the reasons, ways and methods of the process of deepening relations between the European Union and Greenland, seen against the background of interests and activities of other international actors.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greenland
  • Author: Michael Tierney
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Central Eurasia has long been an area that occupies utmost geostrategic importance inthe international system. Scholars throughout the 20th century identified Central Eurasia as the singlemost pivotal area for powerful states to gain influence and control. Their theories were based upon the fact that the region contained vast natural resources, a large population, high economic potential, and was geographically situated in a location strategically important for all world powers. As aresult, Central Eurasia’s importance in international affairs influenced geostrategic thinking during the inter-war years into WWII, the Cold War, and the post-Cold War era. Yet the shift in power that has occurred globally in recent years has caused scholars to signal the emergence of a new multipolar world. Some scholars have additionally hypothesized that there will be new geostrategic pivot states and regions located outside of Central Eurasia as a result. This study uses both historical and contemporary literature from the field of geopolitics to construct a list of potential pivots in the current international system. It then compares potential new pivot areas to the traditional Central Eurasian region using the variables listed above. The study finds that there are in fact comparable geostrategic pivots located outside of the Central Eurasian region in the contemporary international system. The implications of these findings are then discussed in the context of geostrategy and international security.
  • Topic: Cold War, International Affairs, Natural Resources, Geopolitics, World War II
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Asia, Central Eurasia
  • Author: Riley Collins, Sabrina Peric
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Cultural data gathered by researchers has provided militaries across the globe with intelligence and a unique insight into a category of analysis that is not normally given primacy in military strategic planning. Such data has been used in the past; it was used during World War Two to gain insight into the Japanese mind; it was used during British Colonial pacification efforts in Northern Africa; and it is again used today by the U.S. armed forces’ Human Terrain Teams to understand and relay cultural expectations and needs of occupied communities. This paper examines how the U.S. forces relate to an idea of culture for consumption as intelligence through an analysis of the Human Terrain Teams Handbook. Through this lens, we show how the U.S. armed forces condition members of Human Terrain Teams to interact with and think about local cultures in certain ways that are operationally relevant to military activities.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Military Strategy, Culture
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Japan, Asia, North Africa
  • Author: Christopher Roberts, Tim Stapleton
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: During the Second World War, Canadian expeditionary forces played a proportionally significant role in the war in Europe, but, just like the First World War, Canada avoided or was not asked to consider deployment of land forces in any significant way to African theatres of operations. Not since the South African War (also known as the Second Anglo-Boer War) of 1899-1902 had Canadian-raised combat arms units been sent to the continent. Between 1956 and 1969, however, Africa became an active theatre of operations for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), but in substantially new roles: peacekeeping (Suez, Congo) and military training and assistance outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria). Africa was the experimental lab for both of these new taskings, and the first time Canadians served alongside, under, or trained soldiers from newly independent African states. Canada’s early engagement with post-colonial Africa was led by security, commercial, and world order considerations, with the CAF and not official humanitarian and/or development assistance at the forefront. Where commercial and security concerns characterized Canada’s initial activity (1955-1965), between 1965 and 1975 development, “facilitated by, rather than caused by, the public’s increasing responsiveness to the humane internationalism of the era,” came to dominate Canada-Africa relations.1 From one of the lowest contributors to foreign aid on a proportional Gross National Product basis in the early 1960s, Canada had surpassed many other major and minor Western donors by the middle of the 1970s.2 Not unrelatedly, the 1970s also marked a nadir of Canadian defence spending, with the CAF shrinking in personnel, its presence in Europe halved, and its ships, aircraft, vehicles, and even small arms aging without replacement. Under Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, from 1968 to 1979, the government’s international fiscal envelope skewed spending heavily towards development at the expense of defence. Peacekeeping – or at least support for “Collective Measures for maintenance of peace and security embodied in the Charter of the United Nations”3 – that rated first mention in the 1964 White Paper on Defence – dropped to last in the foreign policy priorities articulated in the 1970 foreign policy overhaul, Foreign Policy for Canadians,4 and the subsequent 1971 White Paper on Defence. Military training assistance efforts shrank to a care and maintenance basis in the 1970s, totalling less than 0.25% of Canada’s growing annual foreign aid budget.5 Kilford concludes his chapter on the winding down of military assistance in the early 1970s with the observation that it took thirty years (until the early 2000s) “before the funds allocated for military assistance even came close to the amount spent in the 1960s.”6 These periodic shifts that privileged defence/security over development, or development over defence/security (to use two of the “3Ds” of diplomacy, defence, and development now in regular use), have represented a somewhat regular thematic influence in Canadian relations with Africa. At times, especially during the “human security” era of the late 1990s, development and security were seen as complementary. In the mid-2010s, however, there is wide consensus that security, development, and governance are the three crucial interlocking pillars required to underpin Africa’s economic prosperity, human empowerment, and regional stability. In other words, one cannot be prioritized at the expense of the others if any kind of long-term stability is the goal of local and international stakeholders. Over fifty years of pursuing development and conflict-management in Africa and fifteen years of doing the same in Afghanistan have produced agreement on the three pillars but no consensus about how to go about cultivating them concurrently. Many good intentions around state-building, poverty alleviation, humanitarian intervention, and conflict amelioration have foundered on the shoals of the hard reality of political and economic complexity and vested interests, both local and international. This is the conundrum which lies behind this “African security” themed issue of the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies. It follows a workshop the editors co-chaired, in June 2016 at the University of Calgary, on the precise theme of “Revisiting Africa in Canadian security planning and assessment,” an initiative which grew out of that conundrum.7 As Canada signals it will again increase its involvement in addressing African security and development challenges,8 the workshop examined the difficulties in mobilizing consensus around what Canada and other external actors can and should do, as well as some of the multifaceted security challenges facing contemporary Africa, from terrorism and transnational criminal networks to political elites who are not that interested in deepening constitutionalism. This collection of essays showcases the research and insights of a handful of the over thirty participants at the June workshop.9
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Canada, North America
  • Author: Marina Caparini
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines the significant challenges faced by the numerous and large PSOs in Africa including the involvement of non-state actors within fragile states, the rising expectation to focus on protection of civilians without appropriate resources, African suspicions of neo-colonial agendas by Western powers and the pursuit of ambitious yet vague mandates.
  • Topic: Post Colonialism, Peacekeeping, Fragile States, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ulf Engel
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Ulf Engel assesses the recent evolution of German security policy towards and engagement in Africa which should serve as a useful comparative model for Canada. Notably, in 2014 the German government adopted a comprehensive and networked approach through its Africa Policy Guidelines which is something completely lacking in Canada.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Canada, Germany, North America
  • Author: Kwesi Aning, Lydia Amedzrator
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This is an overview of the impact and challenge of transnational organized crime which often overlaps with Islamist insurgency in West Africa. Although these developments threaten the foundations of the state in West Africa, the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been unable to deal with the situation. Canadian policy makers pondering a troop commitment to Mali should pay particular attention to this piece.
  • Topic: Crime, Insurgency, Fragile States, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa, Mali
  • Author: Pacifique Manirakiza
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This article investigates the AU’s approach to mitigating unconstitutional changes of government. While military coup d’état’s were once the most common form of regime change on the continent, the post-Cold War democratization process and the adoption of anti-coup diplomatic interventionist policies by the AU have reduced this phenomenon. However, it remains uncertain as to the effectiveness of the AU in curtailing the new trend of undermining African democracy by manipulating national legal structures so as to extend the life of a regime.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change, Coup, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Romain Malejacq
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Security Studies
  • Institution: Security Studies
  • Abstract: Despite efforts to bolster failed states over the past two decades, many states in the international system still exhibit endemic weakness. External intervention often leads to political instability and in most cases fails to foster state consolidation, instead empowering and creating ties with the ones it aims to weaken. Using the case of Afghanistan, I develop a typology of political orders that explains variation in degrees of state consolidation and provides the basis for more systematic comparative analysis. I demonstrate the resilience of a political logic according to which non-state armed actors (warlords) “shape-shift” and constantly reinvent themselves to adapt to changing political environments. This article, based on extensive field research in Afghanistan, shows why failed states are unlikely to consolidate and exhibit Western-style state building, as a result of intervention or otherwise.
  • Topic: Fragile/Failed State, Non State Actors, State Building, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey Ghannam
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: As the humanitarian crises following the Arab spring enter their sixth year, the media coverage of war, displacement, and migration in the Middle East and North Africa tragically have become all too familiar. For mainstream media, the millions of people whose lives have been upended are mostly data points, illustrations of the misery and upheaval that have swept across Syria, Yemen, Gaza, Iraq, and many places between. Yet for those who are caught in the crises, and plagued not only by insecurity and uncertainty but a lack of information, relatively little is available to help them make informed decisions for their own survival.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Media, Journalism, Humanitarian Crisis, The Press, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anne Nelson
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The Cuban government’s heavy-handed censorship practices are well documented, and evident in the virtual absence of independent print and broadcast journalism. Yet recently, many Cubans have shown themselves remarkably well informed about the outside world, in ways that cannot be explained by their traditional media offerings. This newfound benefit is the result of a parallel world of digital media, supported by ingenious Cuban workarounds. In “Cuba’s Parallel Worlds: Digital Media Crosses the Divide,” Anne Nelson analyzes the findings of two years of research, including extensive field work and on-the-ground surveys across the island. Nelson explores how the Cuban population has overcome restrictive information policies and limited infrastructure to access news and information. Indeed, the spread of technology on the island may be creating a new opening for long-stalled media development efforts. We are pleased to share this fascinating research in hope that it will not only inform the development of a more open and vibrant media ecosystem in Cuba, but also offer lessons for other countries struggling with similar conditions.
  • Topic: Media, Propaganda, Repression, The Press, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Caribbean, North America
  • Author: Leonardo R. Arriola, Terrance Lyons
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Ethiopia’s 2015 elections confirm that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)—having won 100 percent of parliamentary seats—has chosen to entrench an authoritarian system. We argue that this total election victory was meant as a signal to party cadres that defection is not tolerated. Our analysis of intra-regime dynamics shows how the EPRDF has responded to the death of Meles Zenawi through greater reliance on trusted party stalwarts for high-level posts. We conclude that growing demands from lower-level party cadres threaten to transform the ruling party from a disciplined national organization into a patronage-based alliance of ethnic factions.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Democracy, Rigged Elections
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Igor Blazevic
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy’s sweeping victory in Burma’s November 2015 elections and the military’s acquiescence in allowing the NLD to take the reins of power have justly been described as remarkable and historic milestones. Yet a number of unresolved critical issues still loom. The aspirations of the people of Burma and of the newly elected democratic forces are still seriously constrained by the constitution imposed by the military, by Burman Buddhist nationalism, by entrenched oligarchic interests, and by tough structural conditions. The biggest challenge of all: Burma is a “robustly” plural and deeply divided society. Without political consensus about the nature of the state among key stakeholders, including all significant ethnic and religious groups, the military will not withdraw from politics, the transition to civilian rule will not happen, peace will remain elusive, and Burma’s democratization will stagnate. Burma’s transition can succeed and serve as an example of a “hard-case” country that successfully democratizes despite lacking favorable structural conditions. Yet it is important to understand just how fragile and unsettled the whole process still is.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Authoritarianism, Elections, Democracy, Military Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Burma, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Marcus Andre Melo
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: For Brazil’s young democracy, this might seem to be the worst of times. The country’s once-booming economy has taken a nosedive along with global commodity prices; a monster public-corruption scandal is engulfing much of the political class and infuriating millions of ordinary Brazilians; and a president who barely won reelection only to abandon her basic fiscal-policy approach now teeters on the brink of impeachment and expulsion from office. Yet these storm clouds have a silver lining. For, grave as they are, they have put on vivid display the strength, independence, and public trust enjoyed by the country’s web of judicial and public-accountability institutions and attested to the free and energetic nature of the media in a country that only three decades ago was held under lockdown by a military dictatorship. Politics and the economy are in a crisis, but looking beneath the turmoil we can glimpse the power of the rule of law and see Brazilian constitutional democracy’s institutional resilience and fortitude.
  • Topic: Democracy, Economy, State Building, Dictatorship
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Andrew J. Nathan
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The Chinese middle class differs from the middle class of Lipset’s classic theory in four ways. It is a smaller fraction of the population. It is directly or indirectly dependent on the state. It is new, with most of its members the first generation of their families to achieve this status. And its associational life is severely restricted. Although middle class persons have more prodemocratic attitudes than other Chinese, few are prepared to oppose the current regime. However, their support for the regime is fragile and subject to erosion, especially if economic conditions worsen.
  • Topic: Class, Economic Mobility, Middle Class
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Suisheng Zhao
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: After making himself one of the most powerful leaders in PRC history, Xi Jinping launched the largest ideological campaign that China has seen since Mao—a mixture of communism, nationalism, and Leninism that is meant to strengthen and discipline the CCP, reinforce its grip on power, maintain political stability, and (more nebulously) achieve the “China dream” of national rejuvenation. Xi’s ideological gambit now looks less like a show of strength than an embarrassing confession of regime fragility in a twenty-first century China buffeted by fears of economic slowdown, impatient liberals, and a public angered by rampant corruption.
  • Topic: Communism, Nationalism, Fragile States, Political stability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Henry E. Hale
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: A quarter century after the USSR’s breakup, the region it occupied has become more rather than less authoritarian on average. The rise has been neither steep nor steady, however, and the dominant regional pattern has been regime cycling, with movement both toward and away from authoritarianism at different points in time. Key causes are the tenacious pre-Soviet legacy of patronalism, the prevalence of presidentialist constitutions, and strong leadership popularity without the strong Western linkage and leverage that has often mitigated similar authoritarian tendencies in places like Africa and Latin America.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Roberto Stefan Foa, Yascha Mounk
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The citizens of wealthy, established democracies are less satisfied with their governments than they have been at any time since opinion polling began. Most scholars have interpreted this as a sign of dissatisfaction with particular governments rather than with the political system as a whole. Drawing on recent public opinion data, we suggest that this optimistic interpretation is no longer plausible. Across a wide sample of countries in North America and Western Europe, citizens of mature democracies have become markedly less satisfied with their form of government and surprisingly open to nondemocratic alternatives. A serious democratic disconnect has emerged. If it widens even further, it may begin to challenge the stability of seemingly consolidated democracies.
  • Topic: Public Opinion, Democracy, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Western Europe
  • Author: Mieczyslaw P. Boduszynski
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Iraqis of all ethnic and sectarian groups are fed up with the ineptitude and corruption of their political leaders and the institutions they control. Since 2015, they have turned out in record numbers to protest against their political elite. The protests that unfolded in 2015 and 2016 have highlighted two failings of Iraq’s post-2003 “democratic” order: 1) the entrenchment of a corrupt “partyocracy” that has captured the state and deepened sectarian divisions, and 2) the weakness of state institutions and the absence of the rule of law that have encouraged widespread corruption and fostered broad popular distrust of the post-Saddam Iraqi state.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Democracy, Rule of Law, Protests, Diversity
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Ivan Krastev
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: This article argues that the unraveling of the post–Cold War liberal order is manifested by the West’s declining influence in international politics; the waning attraction of liberal democracy; and the maturing tensions within liberal democratic regimes. This unraveling renders problematic the European project of trying to extend democracy beyond the nation-state—a project that has enhanced the appeal of illiberal democracy, defined by majoritarian regimes in which the majority transforms the state into its own private possession. These regimes have become an answer to the pressures of a world where popular will is the only source of political legitimacy, and global markets are the only source of economic growth. Their rise portends devastating and far-reaching consequences throughout Europe.
  • Topic: Democracy, Global Markets, Legitimacy, Post Cold War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Takis S. Pappas
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: This article takes issue with the common practice of uncritically lumping together as “populist” the various and distinct challengers to democracy in contemporary Europe. It disaggregates and then classifies such challengers into three analytically distinct categories: antidemocrats, nativists, and populists. In so doing, the article reveals the geographical distribution of these categories across Europe, and highlights the value of treating each category based on its unique set of symptoms. It further shows that the gravest threat to contemporary liberalism comes from populist rather than from antidemocratic or nativist parties.
  • Topic: Democracy, Populism, Liberal Order, Nativism, Post Cold War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: On May 12, 2016, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment hosted a one-day workshop on international investment and the rights of indigenous peoples. This outcome document synthesizes the discussions that took place during the May 12 workshop. The workshop was part of a series of consultations undertaken to support the Special Rapporteur’s second thematic analysis on the impact of international investment agreements on the rights of indigenous peoples (available here). Held at the Ford Foundation in New York, the workshop brought together 53 academics, practitioners, indigenous representatives, and civil society representatives to explore strategies for strengthening the rights and interests of indigenous peoples in the context of international investment. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to share their diverse perspectives, experiences, and insights regarding the intersection of international investment and human rights, and to discuss creative and pragmatic approaches to short and long-term reform of both the investment and human rights regimes, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that indigenous rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This paper explores both the role that local content measures can play in advancing sustainable development, and the impact that trade and investment treaties concluded over the past 20 years have had and will continue to have on the ability of governments to employ those tools. Certain local content measures had been restricted under the WTO due to wide agreement by negotiating parties that their costs outweigh their benefits. But the WTO also left a number of local content measures in governments’ policy toolboxes. As is discussed in this paper, however, that is changing, with the range of permissible actions for many countries being significantly smaller than it was even a decade ago. This narrowed policy space, in turn, can limit the steps governments can take to make progress on the universally adopted Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Olle Östensson, Perrine Toledano
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Employment creation is often seen as a key benefit of investment in natural resources. However, this benefit sometimes falls short: job estimates may be inflated, governmental policies may fail to maximize employment generation, and, in some cases, investments may lead to net livelihood losses. A more thorough examination of employment tied to mining and agricultural investments is thus useful for assessing whether and how employment from natural resource investments contributes to sustainable economic development—a particularly timely topic as countries consider how they will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Affairs, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: CCSI has been working with the World Economic Forum, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to create a shared understanding of how the mining industry can most effectively contribute to the SDGs. The report will help mining companies navigate where their activities – from exploration, through operations and mine closure – can help the world achieve the SDGs. Governments, civil society and other stakeholders can also identify opportunities for shared action and partnership with the industry.
  • Topic: International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: With support from GIZ, CCSI prepared a report titled “Linkages to the Resource Sector: The Role of Companies, Governments, and International Development Cooperation.” It outlines options for how these stakeholders can increase the economic linkages to the extractive industries sector not only in terms of ‘breadth’ (number of linkages) but also in terms of ‘depth’ (local value added). Apart from providing the theoretical framework for linkage creation and an overview of existing literature on this topic, the study highlights successful case study examples. Recommendations are provided for the three types of stakeholders.
  • Topic: Government, International Political Economy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: CCSI developed A Policy Framework to Approach the Use of Associated Petroleum Gas. Associated Petroleum Gas (APG) is a form of natural gas that is found associated with petroleum fields. APG is often flared or vented for regulatory, economic or technical reasons. The flaring, however, is problematic from health and environmental perspectives. Moreover, flaring and venting APG wastes a valuable non-renewable resource that could be re-injected into the oil field or used for local and regional electricity generation. This framework aims at providing guidance for regulators, policymakers, and industry leaders seeking to develop practical approaches to unlock the economic value of APG.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kaitlin Y. Cordes
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Land-based investments can create significant grievances for local individuals or communities, and host governments seeking to address those grievances must navigate a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This report, funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development, focuses on practical solutions for governments confronting grievances that arise from large-scale investments in agricultural or forestry projects. The report considers such solutions in the context of governments’ legal obligations, particularly those imposed by international investment law, international human rights law, and investor-state contracts. Understanding the implications of this diverse range of legal obligations is particularly important in light of investors’ growing recourse to international investment arbitration, which can expose a government to liability under an international investment treaty for actions that may be in the best interest of a country and its citizens. Analyzing such obligations is a useful first step for a government seeking to protect its citizens against the negative impacts of land-based investments.
  • Topic: International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Agricultural investment contracts can be complex, with complicated provisions that are difficult to understand. This Guide provides explanations for a range of common provisions, and includes a Glossary of legal and technical terms. It assists non-lawyers in better understanding agricultural investment contracts, such as those available on OpenLandContracts.org. The Guide was prepared by International Senior Lawyers Project staff and volunteers in collaboration with the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Timothy Loh
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Recent technological advances have brought with them a swath of benefits for displaced persons fleeing their country of origin. Relatively cheap mobile devices have made it easy for refugees today to keep in touch with each other and with their families over large distances using instant messaging or video-calling services. These capabilities provide refugees with a larger social network, and may prove especially important to those not as well-integrated into their host communities, such as Somali refugees in Jordan. Improved formal wire transfer systems and informal banking systems have also eased the sending of monetary remittances, a crucial aspect of social ties between refugees and their families in the homeland, who use the money for immediate subsistence needs as well as social functions. Transnational social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter have, in some cases, also benefited refugees, often in raising awareness of the refugee crisis.
  • Topic: Migration, Science and Technology, Refugees, Internet, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Fida Adely, Michael Hudson, Joseph Sassoon, Noureddine Jebnoun, Marwa Daoudy, Emad El-Din Shahin, Rochelle A. Davis
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: In this fifth year anniversary of the Arab revolts or “Arab Spring,” we might ask ourselves “what has changed in the region?” Given the conflicts raging in the Arab world as we speak, many have concluded that the revolts failed, or that rather than bringing “progress” they have pushed us back—entrenching authoritarianism, displacing millions, exacerbating sectarian differences, etc. But such conclusions reflect a short view of history and a truncated understanding of change. More troublesome, they can fuel a view of the region as unchanging, stagnant, and even backward.
  • Topic: Arts, Culture, Social Movement, Economy, Arab Spring, Youth, Syrian War, Revolution, Counterrevolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Arab Countries, Syria, North America, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Elizabeth Kelley
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Oh, I just loved The Kite Runner,” people in North America sometimes tell me when I explain what my research is about: the translation and circulation of Arabic novels in English. In these cases, the individuals, who are not usually scholars or students of Arabic or the Arab world, go on to explain how much they enjoyed Khaled Hosseini’s novel, how they felt it helped them to learn about life in Afghanistan and what it was like to grow up there. In some ways, The Kite Runner is quite far from my research topic, given that the novel was written in English, was not translated from any language, and that the author had been living in the United States for decades prior to writing it. Not to mention that Arabic is not the language of Afghanistan, and although it is part of the Muslim world, Afghanistan is not generally considered part of the Arab world. Thus, linking Afghani literature with literature of the Arab world may rely on collapsing regional, linguistic, and cultural differences under the undifferentiated sign of Islam.
  • Topic: Research, Literature, Higher Education, Translation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Alexander Henley
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Reflections on the problem of sectarianism in the wake of the Arab Revolutions from CCAS’ inaugural American Druze Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. Why has Sunni-Shi’i sectarianism become the leading issue of debate in Middle East politics over the last few years? Led by rival Sunni and Shi’i theocracies, Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively, the region seems to have fallen into opposing camps in a sectarian cold war. Along the fault-lines in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain, Sunnis and Shi’is are fighting for supremacy, backed and incited by coreligionists across the region. The Middle East is in a lamentable state, but this is not— despite what we are increasingly told by news media and political leaders—its natural state. The Middle East’s problems are not “rooted in conflicts that date back millennia,” the excuse President Obama used to explain away foreign policy failures in his final State of the Union address. Phrases like “ancient conflict” or “deep-rooted hatreds”—heard more and more commonly—do not explain the actions of our contemporaries in the Middle East any more than they do yours or mine. And they certainly don’t explain why sectarianism, which emerged as a central feature of regional politics only in the past decade, is so new.
  • Topic: Islam, Sectarianism, Authoritarianism, Ethnicity, Arab Spring, Protests
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, North America
  • Author: Benan Grams
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: After four years of being unable to travel to see my home and family in Damascus during what Syrians refer to as “The Crisis,” I am now visiting them for the third time in recent months. The political chaos that swept the country between 2011 and 2015 created high levels of uncertainty about who might be perceived as a threat to the regime, while the deteriorating security conditions elevated the risk of kidnapping and blackmailing. Although for an outsider, the situation does not seem to have become any safer, Syrians, particularly in Damascus, have learned to adapt to the current situation and find a sense of stability in the chaos.
  • Topic: Security, Arab Spring, Syrian War, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria, Damascus
  • Author: Susan Douglass
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Unlike the few great figures depicted in legends and memorialized in statuary, most inhabitants of this earth have lived their lives—and passed away—invisible to history. Occasionally, the stories of ordinary people do emerge from the shadows of history, but the evidence left behind rarely tells us much about their personalities or characters, as such humble individuals likely drew little public notice during their lifetimes. Yarrow Mamout, a citizen of Georgetown who died in 1823, is one very notable exception.
  • Topic: History, Slavery, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: West Africa, North America, United States of America, Washington, D.C.
  • Author: Rochelle A. Davis, Fowzia Abdullahi Abukar, Emma Murphy
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Since 2010, Professor Rochelle Davis has conducted research among the refugee communities in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, working with MAAS Alum Abbie Taylor. With 60 million people counted as refugees or internally displaced, we are currently witnessing the largest global forced displacement since World War II. These displaced millions are primarily fleeing war, conflict, and persecution, but a host of other factors also contribute to the unstable conditions they face in their home countries: forced conscription; lack of access to health care, jobs, and education; drought and environmental degradation. More than half come from the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa. Despite the news of migrants arriving daily in Europe, the overwhelming majority of those displaced remain in or near their home countries.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Refugees, Islamic State, Research, Displacement, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Somalia
  • Author: Will Todman, Mohammad AlAhmad, Dana Dairani
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: On April 22, 2015, CCAS Visiting Lecturer Dr. Mohammad AlAmad and his family left their home and lives in Syria behind. “Human smugglers drove us to the Turkish border,” says AlAhmad, “and then my wife and I carried our two young children, walking through barbed wire and muddy water into Turkey. We were full of trepidation, fear, and the pain of being displaced.” Though AlAhmad left Syria because he had been accepted to participate in the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund, which provides support for threatened scholars and places them with visiting appointments at partner academic institutions, he did not yet know his family’s ultimate destination. Once in Turkey, AlAhmad learned that his appointment would be at Georgetown, starting in August.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Refugees, Islamic State, Arab Spring, Syrian War, Literature, Revolution, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America, Raqqa
  • Author: Noga Malkin
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: In the city of Mardin, the Tower of Babel cliché holds particular relevance. The old city—a beautiful array of historic stone houses stacked on a mountain slope in southeast Turkey—is located at the northern edge of Mesopotamia, once the land of Babylon. More than geography, the linguistic panorama of the area evokes the Genesis Babel story, the myth used to explain the variation of human tongues. Mardin is a microcosm of the Ottoman Empire’s ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity, largely eroded by nationalism’s drive for homogenization. A large Kurdish population lives in Mardin, holding on to their mother tongues despite decades-long Turkish “assimilation” policies. A sizable Arab population lives here too, separated from Arabs in Syria and Iraq after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Linguists classify their language as “Mesopotamian Arabic,” related to bygone Iraqi dialects. Most Mardinites grow up speaking at least two—sometimes three—languages, learning either Kurdish or Arabic at home, the other on the streets, and Turkish at school. Further adding to the linguistic diversity, there remain several hundred neo-Aramaic speaking Assyrians and even fewer Armenians who once made up the majority of the city’s population; despite their now meager numbers, they attract tourists who come for the locally produced Assyrian wine and traditional Armenian and Assyrian silver crafts.
  • Topic: Refugees, Research, Linguistics, Language, Kurds, Arabic
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Katherine Dunn
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: MAAS Alum Katherine Dunn shares her experiences working with refugees in Jordan. In the northwest part of Jordan, approximately 160,000 Syrian refugees are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). All but about 1,000 of them live outside of refugee camps, spread throughout towns and villages. For many of them, the UNHCR help desk is the frontline of contact with the organization’s staff; we answer over 20,000 inquiries annually in Irbid alone. People come to ask about monthly financial assistance, which is available to the most vulnerable, and also to seek advice on other protection issues. Amid such daunting numbers, we risk becoming mechanical in our approach. Each person brings reminders, however, of his or her particular needs and experiences.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Refugee Crisis, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Vicki Valosik
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: After three generations of Hoyas, CCAS Board Member Peter Tanous is investing in future students through new MAAS scholarship. When Peter Tanous walked across the stage to accept his diploma from Georgetown University almost thirty years after his father had done the same in 1932, he was establishing a family tradition—becoming the second of three generations of Tanouses to graduate from Georgetown, including two of his own children who would later attend. Now Tanous, a member of the CCAS Board of Advisors, is making it possible for others to gain a Georgetown education. The new Tanous Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, which Tanous established at CCAS earlier this year, will support students of the Master of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS) program.
  • Topic: History, Higher Education, Profile
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: This study investigated the economic and social impact of mobile internet technology across the economies of South East Asia. In-house econometric research established the relationship between mobile internet penetration and key enablers of supply side growth including productivity and labour force participation. These results were applied to a group of economies in South East Asia to quantify the economic benefits of observed and forecast future increases in mobile internet penetration. Overall, increased mobile internet penetration is forecast to create an extra $58.1 billion in GDP and one million new job opportunities by 2020.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Internet
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Andrew P. Goodwin
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Access to talent is central to London’s competitiveness. It is important that all companies can recruit the skills and experience they need to innovate and grow. Tier 2 of the UK’s visa system is the main economic route for skilled immigration from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), where the position cannot be filled by a UK/EEA national or is on the Shortage Occupation List. This report assesses the extent to which start-ups and SMEs, particularly those in the science and technology sectors, have difficulties in recruiting from outside the EEA through Tier 2. It finds that while some firms are undoubtedly facing challenges, the problem is not especially widespread across the science and technology sector as a whole. However, at least some employers are encountering difficulties with Tier 2 and a faster, better-supported, and simpler process would make a real difference to employers.
  • Topic: Migration, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Immigrants
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, London, England
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Australia has a long history of immigration, including accepting refugees. Over the years, it has developed mechanisms and instruments that aim not only to help people in need but also to provide for the country’s stability and prosperity. However, in recent years some elements of Australia’s refugee policy, especially its approach towards the so-called boat people, have come under fire. Nevertheless, the solutions implemented by Australia should be part of the EU’s efforts to find ones useful for dealing with its current migration crisis.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, Refugee Issues, Immigration, European Union
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In a communication of 12 April, the European Commission assessed the potential political and economic consequences of suspending visa exemption for U.S. citizens. Lacking pressure from individual EU Member States, the Commission discouraged such a move and gave the EU Council and European Parliament three months to take an official position. It seems almost certain that the measure of applying pressure on a non-EU country will not be used to help Poland and four other Member States obtain visa-free travel to the United States or other countries with a similar restriction. However, if current trends continue, Poland should join the U.S. Visa Waiver Programme in five years.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, European Union, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Carolina Salgado, Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Visegrad Group is still a new label among policy makers as well as public and private investors, scholars and media in Brazil. However, since their accession to the EU in 2004, and the financial crisis that started in 2008, the four Central European countries in this group have started to look beyond Europe in order to formulate their economic and political agenda, aiming to boost partnerships, for example among the biggest South American countries such as Brazil. V4 and Brazil should build momentum to deepen cooperation in the most promising prospective areas such as trade, military, tourism and education.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Brazil
  • Author: Cordella Buchanan Ponczek
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Traditionally, there is a partisan split on foreign policy in the United States: Republican candidates and voters worry more about terrorism, defense and national security than Democratic candidates and voters, thereby putting more stock in foreign policy issues, which manifests itself in the aggressiveness—of lack thereof—of each party’s foreign policy platform. But the candidates in the 2016 U.S. presidential election can be categorised by more than just party: a line can also be drawn between conventional candidates—Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Republicans—and unconventional candidates—Donald Trump, a Republican, and Bernie Sanders, a Democrat. Should a conventional candidate be elected president, U.S. foreign policy would be based on predictable adaptation to the changing international environment. An unconventional candidate, however, would be a wild card, whose actions would be difficult to predict.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Justyna Szczudlik
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Asia could be described as the world’s great construction site, and is already the focus of a scramble for infrastructure projects. Among countries competing for investments are not only China with its Silk Road initiative, but also Korea, Japan, India and ASEAN, which have prepared their own infrastructural strategies. The plethora of initiatives may have a positive impact on Asia, offering diverse solutions to the infrastructural bottleneck and reforms of existing institutions and modes of assistance. But there is also the risk that fierce competition may result in unprofitable projects, while economic slowdown could cause a decline in funding. For Europe these initiatives create opportunities to take part in new projects, but the EU should be aware that the projects will be implemented mainly in Asia and by Asian countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Tomasz Żornaczuk
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the beginning of 2016, almost 13 years after the Thessaloniki declaration to integrate the Western Balkans into the European Union, Brussels is left with Croatia as a Member State, Montenegro half way, at best, to becoming one, Serbia with first negotiation chapters just opened, and half of the region with no clear prospect of membership. But the wait-and-see approach that the EU had been employing for a number of years towards the enlargement policy in the Balkans has become even riskier in times of new international challenges. Among them, the ever-growing tensions between the West and Russia should, in particular, serve as motivation for the Union to look at enlargement in the Balkans from a geopolitical angle. Even if the Member States have in recent years shown less enthusiasm towards further rounds of enlargement, this should not discourage the EU institutions from undertaking an active role to revive the European integration process in the Balkans.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Serbia, Croatia
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The transformation of ASEAN into an economic community is a significant step in the organisation’s integration process. The project, formally launched at the beginning of 2016, aims at creation of a single market of more than 620 million people, loosens the flow of goods, services and investment, which should underpin regional economic growth and catch the attention of foreign businesses. However, obstacles to economic cooperation remain, such as limitations on the movement of labour or capital, which shows that the integration process is not yet complete. The EU, which can benefit from a well-functioning market in this region, should share its own experience to support the ASEAN integration process.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although Transnistria, in exchange for meeting certain conditions, was allowed to benefit from the free trade agreement that Moldova signed with the EU, there are plenty of obstacles which could derail the deal. The business community in the breakaway republic is eager to enjoy the fruits of the DCFTA but is reluctant to shoulder the price of necessary reforms, the outgoing leader of the separatist enclave could undermine the agreement for electoral reasons, Russia might be tempted to test the EU’s resolve to defend its trade-related norms, and Moldova could erect bureaucratic barriers for producers from the left bank of the Nistru River. In the light of these many risks, the EU should persistently encourage all sides to stick to their commitments while averting disputes that would undermine enforcement of the DCFTA in Transnistria in a timely manner.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Elections, European Union
  • Political Geography: Moldova, Transnistria
  • Author: Pinar Elman
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the EU-Turkey deal on refugees on 29 November, there has not been a significant reduction in the numbers of migrants crossing into the EU from Turkey. One of the main reasons is probably lack of trust between Turkey and European Commission in their readiness to keep promises. EU can break the impasse by offering Schengen visa liberalisation but at the same time should use the accession negotiations to exert greater pressure on Ankara.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues, European Union
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Piotr Kościński
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At a time when many European countries are strengthening border protection (including building walls), migrants will seek new avenues to Europe. In this context and of particular importance will be the policy of the authorities of Ukraine, which currently, and despite the still unstable situation in the country (war in the east and economic problems) could become the country of choice for migrants. Another problem for Kyiv may be internal migration. Both forms increase the risk of migration to EU countries such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, which are neighbours of Ukraine. In this situation, additional EU assistance to the authorities in Kyiv will be necessary.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Clare Castillejo
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Political parties can play an important part in shaping the direction of post-conflict peacebuilding, and parties that emerge from rebel movements have a particularly central role to play in this regard. While such groups are often uniquely placed to articulate the grievances that underlie the conflict and channel these into political processes, they are also able to remobilise for violence and undermine progress on peace. This report discusses existing knowledge about the ways in which rebel groups transform into political parties and the factors that shape their contribution to peacebuilding. It then examines three cases of political parties that have emerged from rebel groups – the FMLN of El Salvador, UCPN (Maoist) of Nepal and SPLM of South Sudan. In each case it explores how the internal dynamics of the group and its relationship to society, the nature of the peace settlement, and the broader local and international context determine the group’s engagement with democracy and peace processes. Finally, the report examines how international actors can support rebel-to-party transition and the integration of these parties into peace processes and political systems in ways that promote a sustainable and inclusive peace.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Peacekeeping, Political Parties, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Nepal, Latin America, El Salvador, South Sudan
  • Author: Clare Castillejo
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: International peacebuilding actors have so far been wary of engagement with political parties. However, there is growing recognition of the importance of working with local political systems, institutions and parties in the promotion of peace. It is therefore important that international actors strengthen their understanding of political parties in conflict-affected contexts and how such parties relate to conflict and peacebuilding, as well as examine how best to deepen engagement with them. This report examines the nature of political parties in conflict-affected contexts and the challenges such parties face in becoming effective actors for peace. It analyses three cases – Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar – where parties have played very different roles in relation to both the grievances and struggles that have fuelled conflict, and efforts to build and sustain peace. It then discusses how lessons from these cases can inform the work of international peacebuilding actors. Finally, the report examines the track record of the international community in working with political parties in conflict-affected contexts. It argues that international actors must move beyond “blueprint” approaches to party support and instead develop more comprehensive and context-relevant responses to the specific challenges that such parties face. There is growing awareness among international peacebuilding and statebuilding actors of the importance of engaging more effectively with political processes and structures in conflict-affected and post-conflict states. Although political parties are frequently at the centre of such processes and structures, international actors have generally been wary of working with them beyond limited capacity-building activities, seeing this as a sensitive and high-risk area. Political parties can help build peace. However, they can also fuel antagonism, grievance and conflict. If international peacebuilding and statebuilding actors are serious about working more effectively with local politics, it is essential that they strengthen their understanding of political parties and the roles they play in relation to conflict and peacebuilding, as well as rethink how best to engage with them.
  • Topic: Peacekeeping, Local, State Building, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: Asia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar
  • Author: Elisa Tarnaala
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Despite their involvement in strategic, material and logistical support and combat, women’s roles as "soldiers" and "victims" are narrowly defined by post-conflict programmes. Most disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes are limited in the ways in which issues specific to female combatants are addressed. Gender-sensitive DDR programming must be linked into the entire peace process, from the peace negotiations through peacekeeping and subsequent peacebuilding activities. This process should include issues such as identifying women and setting the appropriate criteria for their entering DDR processes; understanding identity issues and obstacles facing women’s post-conflict political participation; targeting women as larger units with their children and partners rather than merely as individuals; addressing female health and psychosocial needs; and sensitisation to the particular issues around the gender dimensions of violence and community acceptance. This report highlights lessons learned from gender and DDR processes and notes that with regard to territorial implementation, national DDR commissions should be encouraged to work closely with government entities in charge of gender and women’s affairs, and – especially where governments are responsible for all or part of the DDR process – with women’s peacebuilding networks that can serve as bridges in the transition to civilian life, and facilitate social, political and economic reintegration
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Peacekeeping, Women, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Clare Castillejo
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Over the past 15 years there has been growing recognition of the gender-differentiated impact of conflict, the opportunities to promote women’s rights that post-conflict peacebuilding processes provide and – crucially – the value that women bring to peacebuilding. Yet in many conflict-affected settings women’s participation and leadership in shaping the peacebuilding agenda remain strongly resisted by male elites and are not prioritised by international actors. This report explores the opportunities for achieving women’s meaningful participation and influence in peacebuilding, and the challenges faced by such an agenda. Given the crucially important role that political parties can play in shaping the direction of peacebuilding and post-conflict politics, the report focuses particularly on the ability of women to exercise political voice and leadership through parties and the party system. Finally, it examines why international actors have failed to live up to their commitments on women’s inclusion in peacebuilding, and identifies opportunities and strategies to strengthen international support for women’s participation and influence in the politics of peace.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Peacekeeping, Women, Feminism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marco Mezzera
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: This concept note presents an analysis of the use of a “social contract” as a way of framing UNDP’s governance and peacebuilding practices in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. It forms part of the follow-up to the UNDP report “Governance for Peace: Securing the Social Contract” (UNDP, 2012) both to contribute further to UN policy discussions and to help chart ways forward. The social contract is the process by which everyone in a political community, either explicitly or tacitly, consents to state authority, thereby limiting some of her or his freedoms, in exchange for the state’s protection of their universal human rights and security and for the adequate provision of public goods and services. Divided into five sections, this note provides both a conceptual understanding of the social contract, as well as policy implications for UNDP projects moving forward. The note also examines case studies of post-conflict regions where the social contract has been rebuilt and proposes areas for further study in order to help fully capitalize on the potential that the social contract offers. Finally, the two annexes provide a framework for a tool to help practitioners analyze the structure and dynamics of the social contract in a fragile setting.
  • Topic: Governance, Peacekeeping, Conflict, Social Contract
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kristian Herbolzheimer
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The peace agreement is a major milestone in the process of settling one of the world’s most protracted and violent conflicts. At a time of unprecedented humanitarian crisis, Colombia is becoming a global reference for identifying political solutions to apparently intractable conflicts. In their third major attempt in five decades to reach a negotiated solution to the conflict, the parties to the conflict have taken stock of both their own past failures and lessons learned from other peace processes. In doing so they have developed innovative frameworks and approaches, e.g. a clear procedural distinction between peace negotiations and the peace process; positioning the rights of the victims at the centre of the talks; addressing the structural problem of rural development; creating a Gender Subcommission; and planning for implementation long before the agreement is signed. This report describes all these innovations and other developments which have led up to peace agreement. Many of these innovations could have relevance to peace processes elsewhere.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, United Nations, Peace, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Author: Joeven Reyes
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The Philippines has a long history of armed conflicts caused by various factors, including poverty, lack of social justice, continuing HR violations and impunity, discrimination, and non-recognition of the right to self-determination. In spite of this long-standing situation of conflict, only a few CSOs focus directly on supporting peace and peace processes. This can be attributed to the fact that Filipinos’ major concerns, especially in rural areas, are focused more on day-to-day survival and family- and community-related issues than larger national issues. They cannot immediately associate or see the link between their present issues and concerns and the peace process. In addition, there is also a lack of information and knowledge about the peace processes taking place in the country. The intention of this mapping is to identify possible key leaders and organisations in an attempt to ascertain how they perceive the ongoing peace negotiation between the GPH and NDFP, and to identify key issues in the conflict-affected areas that can influence the GPH-NDFP peace process. The research also seeks to ascertain what these leaders/organisations recommend should be done to sustain the peace negotiation and maintain their own interest in and willingness to commit to reviving, revitalising and sustaining a national peace movement that is supportive of the GPH-NDFP peace process.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Self Determination, Social Justice, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, Philippines
  • Author: Francisco Rey Marcos, Josephine Dubois
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The peace agreement that is expected to be reached between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) will end more than 50 years of armed conflict. It will also highlight new opportunities for the country, and also new violence dynamics that are especially present in remote regions of the country and some urban areas. The role of other armed groups besides the FARC-EP, especially post-demobilisation armed groups, is one of the greatest risks facing the consolidation of a peace process. While the peace talks in Havana were still ongoing, these actors reconfigured their operations and have been responsible for serious humanitarian impacts on some communities. Despite seeing improvements in many indicators (e.g. the homicide rate, acts of war, etc.), other more surreptitious activities such as threats, individual displacement, extortion and social control have increased, indicating that the humanitarian situation remains alarming. This should be a priority in post-agreement peace planning, since this type of violence has a more subtle humanitarian impact and there is the danger that it could become invisible. This report analyses these conflict dynamics, their possible evolution during the post-agreement stage, and their humanitarian and social consequences. It also highlights the need to improve monitoring systems and improve protection for affected communities.
  • Topic: Violence, Peace, Humanitarian Crisis, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Author: Danilo Carranza
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Agrarian reform and conflict in the rural areas of the Philippines are closely intertwined. The weak government implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme, inherent loopholes in the law, strong landowner resistance, weak farmers’ organisations, and the continuing espousal by the New People’s Army of its own agrarian revolution combine to make the government’s agrarian reform programme only partially successful in breaking up land monopolies. This is why poverty is still pronounced in many rural areas. The rise of an agrarian reform movement has significantly contributed to the partial success of the government’s agrarian reform programme. But the government has not been able to tap the full potential of this movement to push for faster and more meaningful agrarian reform. The agrarian reform dynamics between pro- and anti-agrarian reform actors create social tensions that often lead to violence, of which land-rights claimants are often the victims. This is exacerbated and in many ways encouraged by the government’s failure to fulfil its obligation to protect the basic human rights of land-rights claimants. This report outlines the pace and direction of agrarian reform in the Philippines and its role in fighting poverty and promoting peace in rural areas. It emphasises the importance of reform-oriented peasant movements and more effective government implementation to the success of agrarian reform. The report also asserts the need for the government and the armed left to respect human rights and international humanitarian law in promoting the full participation of land-rights claimants in shaping and crafting public policy around land rights.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Poverty, Reform, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, Philippines
  • Author: Mabel Gonzalez Bustelo
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The conflict that has affected Colombia for the last 50 years, has reinforced economic inequalities and widened the divide between urban and rural areas. It has also severely affected children’s access to quality education. There is now a three-year difference in learning levels between children in the same grade in urban and rural areas. To bridge this gap and ensure sustainable reintegration of children formerly associated with armed groups, considerable investments should be made to strengthen access to quality education in rural areas. This is a co-publication in Spanish published by NOREF and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
  • Topic: Agriculture, Poverty, Child Poverty, Conflict, Economic Inequality, Urban, Rural
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Author: Abdisaid Ali
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The growth of Salafist ideology in East Africa has challenged long established norms of tolerance and interfaith cooperation in the region. This is an outcome of a combination of external and internal factors. This includes a decades-long effort by religious foundations in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to promulgate ultraconservative interpretations of Islam throughout East Africa’s mosques, madrassas, and Muslim youth and cultural centers. Rooted within a particular Arab cultural identity, this ideology has fostered more exclusive and polarizing religious relations in the region, which has contributed to an increase in violent attacks. These tensions have been amplified by socioeconomic differences and often heavy-handed government responses that are perceived to punish entire communities for the actions of a few. Redressing these challenges will require sustained strategies to rebuild tolerance and solidarity domestically as well as curb the external influence of extremist ideology and actors.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Violent Extremism, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Oluwakemi Okenyodo
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: As in much of Africa, the vast majority of security threats facing Nigeria are internal, often involving irregular forces such as insurgents, criminal gangs, and violent religious extremists. Effectively combating such threats requires cooperation from local communities—cooperation limited by low levels of trust in security forces who often have reputations for corruption, heavy-handedness, and politicization. Tackling modern security threats, then, is directly tied with improving the governance and oversight of the security sector, especially the police. Key paths forward include clarifying the structure of command and oversight, strengthening merit-based hiring and promotion processes, and better regulating private and voluntary security providers.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, International Affairs, Governance
  • Political Geography: Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The strong overlap of autocracy and conflict in Africa underscores the strong political dimensions of Africa’s contemporary conflicts.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Central Africa, Horn of Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: While much attention has focused on refugee migration into Europe, two-thirds of Africa’s dislocated population are internally displaced.
  • Topic: Migration, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Diaspora
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A review of militant Islamist group activity in Africa over the past year reveals considerable variation and a geographic concentration.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa
  • Author: Jameela Raymond, José María Marín
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: At the Anti-Corruption Summit held in London in May 2016, 42 governments made more than 600 commitments across a range of issues. From anti-money laundering regulation to open data to public sector integrity, ambitious ideas for tackling corruption were central to the Summit.1 Transparency International evaluated the commitments made at the Summit and found many to be significantly new (generated by the summit), ambitious (strong steps in the context of the country they are coming from) and concrete (actionable and measurable). But without any formal mechanism in place for follow up, the commitments are at risk of being forgotten or left behind. Open Government Partnership Action Plans have offered a key means of implementing and monitoring Anti-Corruption Summit pledges. In fact, the Anti-Corruption Summit communiqué2 states:
  • Topic: Corruption
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Our new publication focusing on corrupt wealth in London property. Using multiple data sources, this report finds that there is no data available on the real owners of more than half of the 44,022 land titles owned by overseas companies in London whilst nine out of ten of these properties were bought via secrecy jurisdictions
  • Topic: Corruption, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain