Search

Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Matteo Ilardo
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: When the price of oil goes down, there is often a sigh of relief among oil-importing countries, as cheap oil means a boost for the economy and increased savings for consumers and businesses. As a result, most of Europe tends to notice price shocks only when prices go up: consumers are squeezed while producers accumulate enormous wealth. Yet, for oil-exporting countries cheap oil means increased poverty and tighter budgets – a recipe for instability and conflict. This Conflict Series Brief analyses the effects of the recent pandemic-induced oil price shock on three vulnerable, conflict-affected countries. This is done by testing the two competing theories of the resource curse and of the rentier state, each offering a different interpretation of the oil-conflict nexus: The resource curse theory posits that an abundance of natural resources, and in particular oil, raises the probability, frequency, and intensity of conflict. The rentier state theory sees the presence of oil as having a positive effect on peace, as regimes use revenues to either buy off political opposition or suppress it. The recent price crash and its effects on conflicts in South Sudan, Libya and Iraq provide empirical support to the analysis. This Brief argues that both the stabilising and destabilising mechanisms identified in the two grand narratives are simultaneously at play in oil-rich countries. It shows that oil prices occupy a central role in determining which theory provides the most accurate outcome prediction. As a result, we hope to get a better understanding of the often-counterintuitive role that the resource plays in the onset of civil war. Building on the experience of the 2020 pandemic price plunge, the Brief ends with an overview of the future challenges that cheap oil will entail for producers and for Europe as oil demand peaks and the world moves away from fossil fuels.
  • Topic: Civil War, Energy Policy, Oil, War, Natural Resources, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Although all indications are that most of the principal players favour a political resolution, the military situation will remain volatile as long as Haftar’s forces are in Sirte and remain in control of the economically vital oil region.
  • Topic: War, Natural Resources, Conflict, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Katariina Mustasilta
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: In December 2019, when the novel strain of coronavirus first hit the headlines, 12 countries in the world were experiencing organised violence on an extensive scale, with more than 100 incidents of violence and attacks against civilians recorded in that month. To most of these countries, the virus seemed a distant threat at the time. Yet, a few months and over 7 million recorded Covid-19 cases later, it has evolved from a distant threat to a stark reality. The global crisis – which has unleashed an emergency in the world’s public health, political, and economic systems simultaneously – has subjected even the most stable societies to unprecedented disruption. In conflict-affected countries, i.e. countries with ongoing conflicts or a high risk of relapse into conflict, and countries emerging from conflicts, the pandemic has added another layer on top of often multiple existing layers of crisis. Against the backdrop of expert warnings over the particular vulnerabilities of conflict-affected countries to Covid-19, this Brief analyses key emerging dynamics and repercussions in conflict-affected countries in general, and in five countries in particular: Colombia, Libya, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen. The focus here is especially on conflicts and countries previously covered by our Conflict Series, so as to build on already accumulated analysis. The Brief identifies three main ways in which the global crisis impacts conflict-affected countries. First, the pandemic itself risks exacerbating inequalities and further burdening already vulnerable groups within conflict-affected societies. Second, local and external conflict parties are quick to capitalise on various opportunities arising from the policy responses to the crisis which also complicate peace and crisis management efforts. Third, the economic fallout puts severe strain on already weak state institutions and undermines governance outcomes (thus increasing the risk of conflict). Of these three dimensions, the policy responses and distraction created by the pandemic have thus far had the most significant repercussions for conflict dynamics, unfortunately often for the worse. The global scale of the crisis and its continuing evolution complicate efforts to seize momentum for peace and set the pandemic apart from previous catastrophic/disruptive events, such as the tsunami in 2004, that in some cases led to a positive shift in local conflict dynamics. The Brief is structured as follows: the main text analyses the emerging trends catalysed by the pandemic crisis in conflict-affected contexts, while the case study boxes discuss the unfolding processes in specific countries. The last section discusses the policy options for preventing further escalatory repercussions.
  • Topic: War, Inequality, Conflict, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Asia, South America, North Africa, North America, Africa
  • Author: Hamzeh al-Shadeedi, Nancy Ezzeddine
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: National politicians and international actors cannot ignore the resilience of premodern tribalism in Libya. Libyan governance structures have historically relied on the top-down distribution of favours to selected tribal allies, rather than on inclusive and representative governance. Such arrangements took the shape of cyclical processes of selective co-optation, exclusion, rebellion and, again, new forms of selective co-optation. Even the uprisings of 2011, which symbolise the appearance of a national Libyan polity, was mobilised and organised along tribal lines. Accordingly, efforts to build a new Libyan state today should take into account the strong tribal character of Libya and should look into integrating tribal forces into the state in a manner that favours the central state project while simultaneously allowing for true representation and inclusion of all local and tribal entities. In this policy brief authors Al-Hamzeh Al-Shadeedi and Nancy Ezzedine provide recommendations on how to realistically and effectively engage with tribal actors and traditional authorities for the benefit of the current central state-building process while avoiding past mistakes.
  • Topic: War, Governance, Conflict, Tribes
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Wolfgang Pusztai
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Eight years after the revolution, Libya is in the middle of a civil war. For more than four years, international conflict resolution efforts have centred on the UN-sponsored Libya Political Agreement (LPA) process, unfortunately without achieving any breakthrough. In fact, the situation has even deteriorated since the onset of Marshal Haftar’s attack on Tripoli on 4 April 2019. An unstable Libya has wide-ranging impacts: as a safe haven for terrorists, it endangers its north African neighbours, as well as the wider Sahara region. But terrorists originating from or trained in Libya are also a threat to Europe, also through the radicalisation of the Libyan expatriate community (such as the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017). Furthermore, it is one of the most important transit countries for migrants on their way to Europe. Through its vast oil wealth, Libya is also of significant economic relevance for its neighbours and several European countries. This Conflict Series Brief focuses on the driving factors of conflict dynamics in Libya and on the shortcomings of the LPA in addressing them. It shows how the approach ignored key political actors and realities on the ground from the outset, thereby limiting its impact.
  • Topic: Civil War, Migration, Oil, War, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Alan J. Kuperman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many commentators have praised NATO\'s 2011 intervention in Libya as a humanitarian success for averting a bloodbath in that country\'s second largest city, Benghazi, and helping eliminate the dictatorial regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi. These proponents accordingly claim that the intervention demonstrates how to successfully implement a humanitarian principle known as the responsibility to protect (R2P). In-deed, the top U.S. representatives to the transatlantic alliance declared that “NATO\'s operation in Libya has rightly been hailed as a model intervention.” A more rigorous assessment, however, reveals that NATO\'s intervention backfired: it increased the duration of Libya\'s civil war by about six times and its death toll by at least seven times, while also exacerbating human rights abuses, humanitarian suffering, Islamic radicalism, and weapons proliferation in Libya and its neighbors. If this is a “model intervention,” then it is a model of failure.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, War, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: United States, Libya, Arabia, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Will the next Middle East conflagration involve Israelis and Palestinians? After the serious escalation of the past week in which eight Gazans, including children, were killed in a single day, and the 23 March 2011 bombing in Jerusalem, that took the life of one and wounded dozens, there is real reason to worry. The sharp deterioration on this front is not directly related, nor is it in any way similar to the events that have engulfed the Middle East and North Africa. But the overall context of instability and uncertainty undoubtedly has made a volatile situation even more so. Israelis' anxiety is rising and with it the fear that outside parties might seek to provoke hostilities to divert attention from domestic problems and shift the focus back to Israel. Hamas has been emboldened by regional events and is therefore less likely to back down from a challenge. The combination, as recent days have shown, has proven combustible.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Jerusalem, Gaza, Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: Daniel Zisenwine
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The August 3 bloodless military coup in Mauritania that removed president Maaouiya Ould Taya from power took place in one of the world's most impoverished nations, situated on Africa's northwest coast between Arab North Africa and black sub-Saharan Africa. The coup had all the familiar trappings of an African military overthrow of a corrupt and detested civilian regime. Mauritania has supported the American-led war on terror and actively supports Washington's counterterrorist and training operations in the trans-Sahara region. It is also among only three Arab League members (along with Egypt and Jordan) that maintain full diplomatic relations with Israel. As Mauritania's new leaders seek to stabilize their authority, they are likely to come under considerable pressure from local opposition forces opposed to existing pro-American policies and its links with Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Washington, North Africa