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  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Newsru.com reported on September 11 that unidentified attackers had fired grenade launchers and machine guns at Ingush President Murat Zyazikov's home in the Nazran municipal district village of Barsuki the previous evening. A home located nearby belonging to relatives of Zyazikov was also reportedly targeted. According to Ingushetiya.ru, there was no information on whether there were any casualties from the attack, which lasted around 20 minutes. Ingushetia's Interior Ministry, meanwhile, denied that such an attack took place, Interfax reported.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Nicholas R. Lardy
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China\'s banking sector has been largely transformed over the past decade. Several of the largest banks have been restructured, recapitalized, and listed. Governance has improved, notably through the appointment of independent members to boards of directors. A vigorous new regulatory and supervisory agency, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), has introduced new accounting standards, a revised risk weighting system for measuring capital, more rigorous loan loss criteria, heightened provisioning requirements, and other significant changes. Foreign banks have entered the market, both through their own branches and subsidiaries and through strategic investments in domestic banks, bringing better banking practices and much needed additional competition.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Dagestani branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB) reported on September 17 that it had killed ten militants in an operation that day. According to the Moscow Times, the Dagestani FSB said in a statement that a Gazel minivan that was carrying the insurgents, along with arms and explosives, was ambushed on a road near Russia's border with Azerbaijan. The FSB commandos reportedly fired several rocket-propelled grenades into the minibus and sprayed the rebels with automatic gunfire. According to the FSB statement, two of its officers were wounded in the fighting, one of whom died later in a hospital.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow
  • Author: R. Kent Weaver
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Efforts by President George W. Bush to promote major reforms in the Social Security retirement program have not led to policy change, but rather to increased polarization between the two parties. And the longer we wait to address Social Security's long-term funding problem, the bigger and more painful the changes will need to be.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Albert Keidel
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: China's economy will surpass that of the United States by 2035 and be twice its size by midcentury, a new report by Albert Keidel concludes. China's rapid growth is driven by domestic demand—not exports—and will sustain high single-digit growth rates well into this century. In China's Economic Rise—Fact and Fiction, Keidel examines China's likely economic trajectory and its implications for global commercial, institutional, and military leadership.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: George Perkovich
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Neither Iran nor the United States can achieve all it wants in the current nuclear standoff. Iran has demonstrated its unwillingness to comply with IAEA and UN Security Council demands to cease its enrichment activities or to negotiate seriously toward that end. The United States and other interlocutors should offer Iran a last chance to negotiate a suspension of its enrichment program until the IAEA can resolve outstanding issues in return for substantial incentives. If that package were rejected, the P-5 plus Germany should withdraw the incentives and commit to maintaining sanctions as long as Iran does not comply with IAEA demands. Simultaneously, the U.S. should take force “off the table” as long as Iran is not newly found to be seeking nuclear weapons or committing aggression.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Organization, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Peter Middlebrook, Gordon Peake
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Security sector reform (SSR) in weak and fragile state environments encompasses a broad range of efforts to improve the capacity, governance, performance, and sustainability of the security system. Financial dimensions of SSR include the allocation of resources according to well-defined priorities, both across sectors and within the security system, and ensuring that expenditure is transparent, efficient and effective. Issues of financial management were central to the origins of SSR in the 1990s, and they are no less central to security sector reform today. Yet current SSR strategies and programming all too often pay insufficient attention to public finance issues. As a result, the medium and long-term fiscal implications of short-run policy decisions are not factored into early post-conflict engagement processes. The negative consequences include unsustainable reforms, the squeezing out of other vital sectors, and, conversely, the under-provision of security. This paper argues for the “right-financing” approach to be adopted for the security sector – striking an appropriate balance between current security needs and the goal of building a fiscally sustainable security sector based on realistic resource projections. This paper makes four policy proposals.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Government, International Cooperation
  • Author: Philippe Le Billon
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Revenues from extractive sectors play an important role in many post-conflict environments. Oil and gas, minerals, and logging often provide more than 30% of state fiscal receipts.When managed well, these revenues can help to finance postwar reconstruction and other vital peace-related needs. When mismanaged, however, resource revenues can undermine both economic performance and the quality of governance, thereby heightening the risk of renewed violence. Managing revenues from extractive industries is a crucial challenge for peacebuilding. This paper offers seven proposals that address this challenge.
  • Topic: Oil
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Global demand for peacekeepers continued to rise in 2007. By the end of the year, there were over 160,000 peacekeepers in the field. The UN remained the centerpiece of the international peacekeeping system, providing nearly 50 percent of all peacekeepers in the field. In 2007, the UN's deployments of uniformed personnel grew by 10 percent to 83,000 personnel. In addition, there were nearly 20,000 civilian staff serving in UN peace operations.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Policy-makers are increasingly concerned by what appears to be a growing body of 'weak,' 'fragile', or 'failing' states. This is understandable, as few issues are so central to contemporary international politics – to questions of development, management of the global commons, or human and collective security – as that of well-organized cooperation between effective states. States retain the central responsibility for assuring the safety and security of their citizens, protecting property rights, and providing public goods to enable a functioning market. Many states do more, taking on critical welfare functions for their populations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Development, International Political Economy