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  • Author: Anatol Lieven
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: The unresolved conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the Donbas region represents by far the greatest danger of a new war in Europe — and by far the greatest risk of a new crisis in relations between the United States and Russia. The Biden administration does not wish to escalate tensions with Russia, and no doubt appreciates that admitting Ukraine into NATO is impossible for the foreseeable future, if only because Germany and France would veto it. Nonetheless, so long as the dispute remains unresolved, the United States will be hostage to developments on the ground that could drag it into a new and perilous crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, War, Conflict, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Enea Gjoza, Benjamin H. Friedman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Defense Priorities
  • Abstract: The Yemeni Civil War is in its fourth year, and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and their allies are not close to a victory over the Houthi rebels.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Military Spending, Military Intervention, Peace
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Benjamin H. Friedman, Justin Logan
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Defense Priorities
  • Abstract: The United States intervened in Syria’s civil war in two ways: (1) anti-Assad efforts—through aid to rebels to help foster regime change and with airpower, troops and support to a militia—and (2) anti-ISIS efforts—through aid to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to destroy the Islamic State’s territorial caliphate. The first mission was an ill-considered failure, the second a success.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs, Military Intervention, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Benjamin H. Friedman
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Defense Priorities
  • Abstract: The war in Afghanistan—now America’s longest at nearly 18 years—quickly achieved its initial aims: (1) to destroy the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization and (2) to punish the Taliban government that gave it haven. However, Washington extended the mission to a long and futile effort of building up the Afghan state to defeat the subsequent Taliban insurgency.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: World Politics Review
  • Abstract: What does victory on President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal terms look like? How has the rise and fall of the Islamic State changed Syria’s political map? How will U.S. President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and the subsequent Turkish invasion of the area change the situation?And what about reconstruction, let alone reconciliation? This WPR report provides a comprehensive look at those questions and several others that will determine what’s to come in Syria, with impacts far beyond the Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Proxy War, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: David Santoro, Anton Khlopkov
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: Much ink has been spilled on the return to major-power competition in recent years, singling out three states: the United States, Russia, and China. For good reasons: the relationships between these three states have become increasingly complicated, notably between the United States and Russia and between the United States and China. What’s more, there are few signs that the current trajectory could change for the better. If anything, we can expect these relationships to become more, not less, complicated.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: Lys Kulamadayil
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: In the last 20 years, a significant body of literature has evolved around the phenomenon of resource wars. The term “resource war” is used to describe different linkages between natural resources and conflict. It refers to: (1) conflicts that are fought over access and control of scare, or valuable resources; (2) conflicts sustained through the trade with resources; (3) conflicts that involve the looting of the natural resources by an occupying power, and finally; (4) conflicts where the destruction of the environment or of industrial facilities serving resource exploitation is used as a strategy of warfare. Resource wars certainly have diverse legal implications, yet international law norms have primarily developed in response to the following sets of issues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Natural Resources, Conflict, Law of Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Sierra Leone
  • Author: Andrew Shaver
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: The unemployed are often inculpated in the production of violence during conflict. A simple yet common argument describes these individuals as disaffected and inclined to perpetrate affectively motivated violence. A second holds that they are drawn to violent political organizations for lack of better outside options. Yet, evidence in support of a general positive relationship between unemployment and violence during conflict is not established. Drawing from a large body of psychological research, I argue that a basic but important relationship has been overlooked: Loss of employment, rather than rendering individuals angry, increases feelings of depression, anxiety, helplessness, and belief in the power of others. Members of this segment of society are more likely than most to reject the use of violence. Drawing on previously unreleased data from a major, multi-million dollar survey effort carried out during the Iraq war, I uncover evidence that psychological findings carry to conflict settings: unemployed Iraqis were consistently less optimistic than other citizens; displayed diminished perceptions of efficacy; and were much less likely to support the use of violence against Coalition forces.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Labor Issues, Conflict, Violence, War on Terror, Quantitative
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea last week rejected South Korea’s invitation to attend the Seoul Defense Dialogue in September, denigrating the talks as “puerile.” In the same breath, it also rejected a proposal by National Assembly speaker Chung Ui-hwa for a meeting with his northern counterpart to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Korean Peninsula on Aug. 15. If you ask an Obama administration official about America’s “strategic patience” policy of non-dialogue with North Korea, he or she will tell you that the problem is not an unwillingness on the part of the United States to have dialogue. On the contrary, the Obama administration has tried every channel possible, from six-party talks to personal communications to secret trips, to jump-start a dialogue. But the regime in Pyongyang has rejected all of these.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf has become a flashpoint for cyber conflict. Cyberspace has become an arena for covert struggle, with the United States, Israel and other nations on one side, and Iran and Russia on the other. Iran has far outpaced the GCC states in developing its cyber capabilities, both for monitoring internal dissent and deploying hackers to disrupt or attack foreign targets. Several such attacks over the past two years were likely either directed or permitted by Iranian state authorities. Even if Iran holds back from offensive actions as nuclear talks progress, the growth in Iranian capabilities remains a potential security threat for other Gulf states. The GCC countries have begun to develop their defensive capabilities, but they will need to expand their defenses and collaborate more effectively to deter future threats.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: John Campbell
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The April 2014 kidnapping of more than 250 schoolgirls from Chibok in northern Nigeria by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram—and the lethargic response of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's government— provoked outrage. But the kidnapping is only one of many challenges Nigeria faces. The splintering of political elites, Boko Haram's revolt in the north, persistent ethnic and religious conflict in the country's Middle Belt, the deterioration of the Nigerian army, a weak federal government, unprecedented corruption, and likely divisive national elections in February 2015 with a potential resumption of an insurrection in the oil patch together test Nigeria in ways unprecedented since the 1966–70 civil war.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Nigeria
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The rapid succession of events in Ukraine is impressive but the story is far from over: the state faces an economic crisis and the risk of default; pro-Russian separatism in Crimea threatens the territorial integrity of the country. How should the new government deal with these old challenges and what role could be envisaged for the EU and the US to assist Ukraine in this difficult moment of its statehood? The main objective of the Ukrainian government should be to stand united to overcome the monumental economic, social and political crisis. The EU and the US should encourage coalition-building initiatives to achieve this end. As for the separatist claims, Kiev needs to be more proactive in accommodating minority rights, while the EU should boost people-to-people contacts and promote cooperation between western and eastern Ukrainian civil society. In order to encourage long-lasting political and social reforms, the EU should begin to talk about Ukraine's membership perspective. On the international level, the West should acknowledge that Russia is part of the problem, but also an indispensable part of the solution. Securing Ukraine's integration within the EU, but maintaining the neutrality of its security posture may be a possible way out.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Economics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, Ukraine
  • Author: Bruce "Ossie" Oswald
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Between 1981 and 2007, governments in eighty-eight countries established or supported more than three hundred armed militias to provide security to local communities. Such militias often directly engage in armed conflict and law-and-order activities. A number of state-supported civil defense groups make local communities less secure by refusing to respond to state direction, setting up security apparatuses in competition with state authorities, committing human rights violations, and engaging in criminal behavior. The doctrine of state responsibility and the application of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international criminal law obligate the state or states that establish or support civil defense groups to investigate, prosecute, punish, and provide reparations or compensate victims. In many cases, the domestic laws of states are ineffective at holding members of govern¬ments or civil defense groups accountable. Local law enforcement authorities also often fail to investigate or prosecute members of civil defense groups. At present there is no specific international legal instrument to guide the responsible management of relationships between states and civil defense groups. Thus, the international community should develop a legal instrument that specifies the rules and principles that apply to states and civil defense groups and that includes a due diligence framework that focuses on accountability and governance of both states and civil defense groups. Such a framework would enhance the protection and security of communities by setting accountability and governance standards, assisting in security sector reform by establishing benchmarks and evaluation processes, and contributing to the reinforcement of legal rules and principles that apply in armed conflicts. For fragile states or those in a post conflict phase of development, the better management of such forces is likely to build state legitimacy as a provider of security to vulnerable communities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Princeton N. Lyman, Robert M. Beecroft
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Special envoys or representatives (SE/SRs) have been used by nearly every administration to address high-stakes conflicts. They are most useful when a conflict situation is of major importance to the United States, has strong regional as well as bilateral aspects, and exceeds the State Department's capacity to address it. To be effective, an SE/SR must be recognizably empowered by the president and the secretary of state, have clear mandates, and enjoy a degree of latitude beyond normal bureaucratic restrictions. While the secretary of state needs to be actively engaged in the conflict resolution process, the envoy should be sufficiently empowered to ensure that the secretary's interventions are strategic. Chemistry matters: in minimizing tensions between the SE/SR and the relevant State Department regional bureau and with ambassadors in the field, in overcoming State- White House rivalries over policy control, and in mobilizing support of allies. There are no “cookie cutter” solutions to overlapping responsibilities and the envoy's need for staff and resources; rather, mutual respect and flexibility are key. Senior State Department officials have the required skills for assignments as SE/SRs. Enhancing the department's resources and reinforcing the ranks of senior department posi¬tions would increase such appointments and the department's capacity to support them.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: V. Orlov
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, the issue of nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine and, accordingly, of security assurances to Ukraine in the case of its achieving a non-nuclear status was the focus of attention for policymakers, diplomats and the international expert community. It was also then that it was seemingly resolved once and for all – first through the Trilateral statement by the presidents of Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine (Moscow, January 14, 1994), then through a Memorandum on security assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (Budapest, December 5, 1994), signed by the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Bryan Gold
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The report shows that Iran's current missile and rocket forces help compensate for its lack of effective air power and allow it to pose a threat to its neighbors and US forces that could affect their willingness to strike on Iran if Iran uses its capabilities for asymmetric warfare in the Gulf or against any of its neighbors. At another level, Iran's steady increase in the number, range, and capability of its rocket and missile forces has increased the level of tension in the Gulf, and in other regional states like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. Iran has also shown that it will transfer long-range rockets to “friendly” or “proxy” forces like the Hezbollah and Hamas. At a far more threatening level, Iran has acquired virtually every element of a nuclear breakout capability except the fissile material needed to make a weapon. This threat has already led to a growing “war of sanctions,” and Israeli and US threats of preventive strikes. At the same time, the threat posed by Iran's nuclear programs cannot be separated from the threat posed by Iran's growing capabilities for asymmetric warfare in the Gulf and along all of its borders. It is far from clear that negotiations and sanctions can succeed in limiting Iran's ability to acquire nuclear weapons and deploy nuclear-armed missiles. At the same time, the report shows that military options offer uncertain alternatives. Both Israel and the US have repeatedly stated that they are planning and ready for military options that could include preventive strikes on at least Iran's nuclear facilities and, and that US strikes might cover a much wider range of missile facilities and other targets. A preventive war might trigger a direct military confrontation or conflict in the Gulf with little warning. It might also lead to at least symbolic Iranian missile strikes on US basing facilities, GCC targets or Israel. At the same time, it could lead to much more serious covert and proxy operations in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, the rest of the Gulf, and other areas.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Byran Gold
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iran almost certainly recognizes that US conventional superiority would give the US and its Gulf allies the upper hand in a serious conventional conflict where they could use the full spectrum of their abilities to attack a range of Iranian military targets. As a result, Iran is linking the steady expansion of its asymmetric forces to new uses of its conventional forces, and is building up its missile and nuclear capabilities, in part to deter retaliation against its use of asymmetric warfare, and in part to pose a major challenge to US and allied conventional superiority If the US is to successfully neutralize this complex mix of threats that can be used in so many different ways and at some many different levels of escalation, it must continuously adapt its forward deployed and power projection forces to deal Iranian efforts to improve its capability conduct a battle of attrition in the Gulf or near it, and deal with contingencies like Iran's use of free floating mines, unattributable attacks, and any other form of asymmetric warfare than threatens friendly Gulf states and the flow of world energy exports from the region. The US, must also work with its Gulf partners and other allies to deter and defend against very different types of conflict and be prepared to face sharp limits on the amount of force it can use. US success depends on building up the capabilities of its strategic partners in the Arab Gulf, as well as improving its cooperation with more traditional partners like Britain and France.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II, Omar Mohamed
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Yemen is the most troubled state in the Arabian Peninsula. It remains in a low - level state of civil war, and is deeply divided on a sectarian, tribal, and regional level. A largely Shi'ite Houthi rebellion still affects much of the northwest border area and has serious influence in the capital of Sana and along parts of the Red Sea coast. Al Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) poses a threat in central Yemen, along with other elements of violent Sunni extremism, there are serious tensions between the northern and southern parts of Yemen, and power struggles continue between key elements of the military ruling elite in the capital and outside it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US is already at least six months behind in shaping an effective Transition in Afghanistan. It has not laid credible plans for the security, governance, and economic aspects of Transition. It has not made its level of future commitment clear to its allies or the Afghans, and it has failed dismally to convince the Congress and the American people that there is a credible reason to support Transition beyond the end of 2014.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Islam, War, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Jeff D. Colgan
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Although the threat of “resource wars” over possession of oil reserves is often exaggerated, the sum total of the political effects generated by the oil industry makes oil a leading cause of war. Between one-quarter and one-half of interstate wars since 1973 have been connected to one or more oil-related causal mechanisms. No other commodity has had such an impact on international security.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In a region that recently has produced virtually nothing but bad news, Hassan Rouhani's 4 August swearing in as Iran's president offers a rare and welcome glimmer of hope. There are still far more questions than answers: about the extent of his authority; his views on his country's nuclear program, with which he long has been associated; and the West's ability to display requisite flexibility and patience. But, although both sides can be expected to show caution, now is the time to put more ambitious proposals on the table, complement the multilateral talks with a bilateral U.S.-Iranian channel and expand the dialogue to encompass regional security issues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Democratization, Diplomacy, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Bruce E. Bechtol
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: South Korea is in a unique position. It is an economic powerhouse and a thriving democracy that faces the most ­ominous and imminent threat on its borders of any democracy in the world. Moreover, this is a threat that continues to evolve, with increasing missile, cyber, special operations, and nuclear capabilities and a new leader who shows no signs that he will be any less ruthless or belligerent than his father. To meet this threat, Seoul has undertaken a number of efforts to better deter and defend against North Korean capabilities and provocations, including increasing the defense budget, upping training with US forces, creating new command elements, and establishing plans for preemptive strikes against imminent North Korean missile launches. However, in part because of administration changes in Seoul, the South Korean effort has been uneven. And decisions remain to be made in the areas of missile defense, tactical fighter aircraft, and command-and-control arrangements that will be significant for not only South Korea but all states that have an interest in Northeast Asia's peace and stability.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Development, Emerging Markets, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Walter H. Shorenstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Meeting after North Korea had raised tensions on the Korean Peninsula in the spring, participants in the Tenth Korea-U.S. West Coast Strategic Forum focused on the implications for the Korean Peninsula of leadership changes in North and South Korea and especially China. Participants also focused on regional dynamics, including increased confrontation between China and Japan and various, sometimes conflicting, efforts to increase regional economic integration in Northeast Asia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Jacqueline McLaren Miller
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: More than a decade after the United States and allied troops began military operations in Afghanistan, the country remains a major conflict zone. Afghanistan's continuing instability constitutes the largest security issue in the region. The country's role as the center of global opiate production contributes heavily to this instability. The grave social, economic, political, and security implications of the trafficking of the Afghan opiates extend beyond the regions of South, Southwest, and Central Asia. The opium economy in Afghanistan has become deeply entrenched and shows no signs of declining. Inside Afghanistan, narcotrafficking contributes to insecurity and feeds corruption, warlords, and insurgents. All this vastly complicates the prospects of the Afghan central government consolidating its power and effectively governing. Compounding these issues is the scheduled withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014 and the ongoing drawdown of U.S. troops.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War on Drugs, Counterinsurgency, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Scott Stedjan
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: By signing the Arms Trade Treaty on September 25, Secretary John Kerry took an important step toward a safer and more secure world. The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is the first-ever multilateral treaty on the global trade in conventional arms. It is a common sense agreement that establishes standards for the $40 billion legal international weapons trade and seeks to reduce the illicit arms trade.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Poverty, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Andreas
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: A great deal of scholarly and policy attention has been given in recent years to the relationship between illicit trade and armed conflict. Much of the focus has been on how violent non-state actors have exploited illicit commerce to fund and sustain rebellion. It is commonly asserted that this is a distinctly post-Cold War phenomenon—even a defining characteristic of so-called "new wars."1 A frequent argument, for example, is that in the absence of formal external sponsorship from the United States or the former Soviet Union, insurgents have increasingly turned to alternative forms of material support. This includes illicit exports dubbed "conflict commodities," such as drugs, timber, ivory, diamonds, and so on. Thus, partly thanks to the campaigns of international NGOs such as Global Witness, diamonds from conflict zones in West Africa have been labeled "blood diamonds" (inspiring a James Bond movie and other major Hollywood productions).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Crime, International Trade and Finance, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union, West Africa
  • Author: Ondřej Ditrych
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The Putin regime seems to have chosen to publicly expose Ryan Fogle not simply as a “tit-for-tat” for the embarrassing release of footage by the FBI of the meetings of “illegals” detained in the U.S. (2010) with Russian diplomats, but to gesture toward domestic audiences and to humiliate the U.S. in order to weaken its position in mutual negotiations, knowing that Washington may not be in the position to retaliate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Intelligence, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Anouar Boukhars
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Western Sahara, a former Spanish territory annexed by Morocco despite Algerian objections, is a critical region that could quickly become part of the criminal and terrorist networks threatening North Africa and the Sahel. The undergoverned areas abutting the territory are becoming major hubs for drug trafficking, contraband smuggling, and weapons circulation. And Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is extending its reach in the region. The potential for destabilization is real.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Terrorism, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Brandon Fite
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iran pursues cooperation with states on the geographic and strategic periphery of the competition between the US and Iran in order to create a network of diplomatic and economic relationships or “partners” that can lessen the blow of international sanctions and generally oppose Western attempts to constrict its ambitions. These peripheral “partners” located mainly in Africa and Latin America, also serve as alternative markets for Iranian oil, provide diplomatic cover for Iran's nuclear efforts, and aid Iran's acquisition of goods proscribed by international sanctions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iran, Latin America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sean T. Mann, Bryan Gold
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In a little over two years the US and its allies plan to hand over security and other responsibilities to the Afghan government as part of a process labeled “Transition.” Afghanistan is still at war and will probably be at war long after 2014. The political, governance, and economic dimensions of this Transition, however, will be as important as any developments in the fighting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Biddle, Jacob N. Shapiro, Jeffrey A. Friedman
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Why did violence decline in Iraq in 2007? Many credit the "surge," or the program of U.S. reinforcements and doctrinal changes that began in January 2007. Others cite the voluntary insurgent stand-downs of the Sunni Awakening or say that the violence had simply run its course after a wave of sectarian cleansing. Evidence drawn from recently declassified data on violence at local levels and a series of seventy structured interviews with coalition participants finds little support for the cleansing or Awakening theses. This analysis constitutes the first attempt to gather systematic evidence across space and time to help resolve this debate, and it shows that a synergistic interaction between the surge and the Awakening was required for violence to drop as quickly and widely as it did.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Olli Heinonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: International diplomacy efforts dealing with Iran's nuclear program continue to fill the daily news headlines. The efforts of P5+1, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have tried, in various formats, to encourage and enforce Iran to comply with the provisions of the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) to ensure that Iran's nuclear program is not used as a cover for the development of nuclear weapons. The challenge of discovering what has taken place as well as currently with Iran's nuclear ambitions is difficult not only because of Tehran's obstructionism, but also because the same nuclear technologies, particularly uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing, can be used for both civilian and military purposes.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Richard Giragosian, Sergey Minasyan
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: After twenty years of independence, the three counties of the South Caucasus-Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia-continue to struggle with a daunting set of challenges. In light of several unresolved conflicts and profound deficiencies in efforts directed at democratic and economic reform, the South Caucasus continues to be a "region at risk." As if this rather bleak landscape was not enough, three more recent trends have emerged to further threaten the region's security and stability. The first trend, and one that is likely to have the most profound effects over the long term, is evident in a subtle shift in the already delicate balance of power in the region, driven largely by a steady surge in Azerbaijani defense spending and exacerbated by a lack of progress in the mediation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Since the 1994 ceasefire that resulted in the suspension of hostilities over Nagorno-Karabakh (but that did not definitively end them), this unresolved or "frozen" conflict has been subject to an international mediation effort conducted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) so-called Minsk Group. This tripartite body co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States seeks to engage and prod the parties to the conflict toward a negotiated resolution of the conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Caucasus, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Max Boot
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Afghanistan is approaching a major inflection point in its long and turbulent history. In 2014 most of the foreign military forces are due to pull out. With them will go the bulk of foreign financing that has accounted for almost all of the state's budget. Twenty fourteen is also the year that Afghanistan is due to hold presidential elections. Hamid Karzai, the only president the country has known since the fall of the Taliban, has said he will not seek another term in office. Thus Afghanistan is likely to have a new president to lead it into a new era. This era will be shaped by many factors, principally decisions made by Afghans themselves, but the United States has the ability to affect the outcome if it makes a sustained commitment to maintain security, improve the political process, and reduce Pakistani interference so as to build on the tenuous gains achieved by the U.S. troop surge since 2010.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Islam, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Douglas A. Ollivant
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Iraq remains a fragile state deeply traumatized and riven by thirty years of war, sanctions, occupation, and civil strife. Although there are numerous positive signs of progress in Iraq—violence has fallen to its lowest level since 2003, its economy is growing modestly, oil production recently surpassed that of Iran, and foreign investment is beginning to restore infrastructure decayed by years of war and sanctions—the risk of acute instability and renewed conflict remains. Already, in the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal in December 2011, Iraq has seen a fierce political struggle between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and many of his rivals in the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya parliamentary coalition, plus increasing tension with at least some segments of the Kurdish minority. For the positive trends to continue, Iraq will need to contain various threats to internal stability and weather regional turmoil that could worsen significantly in the coming months. The United States has a significant stake in helping Iraq overcome these challenges; Iraq is a critical state within a critical region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Oil, Fragile/Failed State, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Austin Long
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: The possibility of Israeli military action against the Iranian nuclear program has existed since at least 2002. However, beginning in the fall of 2011, Israeli rhetoric and international concerns about military action against Iran have reached unprecedented levels. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak began to proclaim that Iran was nearing a “zone of immunity” to Israeli attack and therefore Israel would have to act soon. In contrast, former heads of Israel's foreign and domestic intelligence services question the utility of such an attack.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Erik Beukel
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The divided Korean peninsula is a flashpoint in the regional security complex in East Asia. The central issue is the threat posed by North Korea and how to meet it. After a review of North Korea as an international actor and of two important incidents in 2010 (the sinking of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan and North Korea's shelling of the South Korean coastal island of Yeonpyeong), the rationality underlying the country's military efforts is considered. South Korea's Nordpolitik is reviewed and the rise and decline of its sunshine policy and the role of its alliance with the United States is described. Two non-Korean great powers, China and the United States, are important actors in the region, and their relations with North Korea, goals and priorities, and implementation strategies are outlined. The report concludes with reflections on the potential for changing the present security complex, which is marked by a fear of war, into a restrained security regime, based on agreed and observed rules of conduct.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War, Communism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, East Asia, Korea, Island
  • Author: Philip K. Verleger
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The United States has initiated new sanctions against Iran aimed at preventing it from collecting revenue from exports of crude oil. The European Union has followed, embargoing all imports of Iranian crude from July 1, 2012 and preventing any firms from entering into new contracts to import Iranian oil after January 23, 2012. The new US and EU sanctions could be the most draconian in many years. If implemented fully, US sanctions would force trading partners to choose between the United States and Iran. EU sanctions would cut Iran off from an important market. These sanctions, while reducing Iranian income, could pose a very serious economic threat to countries that have significant trade with the United States and/or import significant quantities of oil from Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Oil, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Timo Behr, Charly Salonius-Pasternak
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: States which contribute to various international efforts in Afghanistan will find it increasingly difficult to balance a need to show long-term commitment with an unpredictable political and quickly changing operating environment. Recent events in Afghanistan are threatening to undermine the plans for an orderly transition of security responsibilities to Afghan authorities by the end of 2014. Countries must be ready to adjust contributions in both size and task during both 2012 and 2013. Germany has pledged to only gradually withdraw its forces and maintain its focus on partnering and training, despite an increasingly unstable environment. Current planning also foresees a German commitment in the post-2014 period. Finland will increasingly focus on civilian crisis management efforts and development assistance, and will stay engaged and committed as long as its closest partners also do so. Sweden is set to continue leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), but post-2014 commitments are unclear. The United States is set to return to 'pre-surge' force levels (though with a different force structure) of around 68,000 soldiers by autumn 2012. Further withdrawals of up to 30,000 soldiers are being discussed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Finland, Germany, Sweden
  • Author: Matthieu Aikins
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: As Afghanistan approaches the 2014 deadline for assuming responsibility for its own security, and the international community becomes preoccupied with the challenge of reducing its vast entanglement with the country's politics, economy, and society, the critical question is whether NATO's transition will succeed in stabilizing Afghanistan—or whether it will result in further destabilization, as seen following the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, which eventually led to the collapse of the central government, large-scale civil war, and the country's development into a haven for international terrorism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Crime, Islam, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Joseph Felter
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University
  • Abstract: My testimony draws on experience and perspective gained during my career as a US Army Special Forces officer with deployments to Afghanistan most recently in 2010- 2011 as commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT) deploying experienced counterinsurgency advisors across all five ISAF regional commands and reporting directly to COMISAF. It is also informed by participation in efforts to build host nation security force capabilities in the Philippines and elsewhere as well as by scholarly research on the effective employment of state security forces to combat insurgency.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Terrorism, War, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Qamar ul Huda
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The recent desecration of the Koran and Islamic writings caused violent unrest in Afghanistan and raises concerns about essential training in culture and religion for U.S. personnel. Basic knowledge of religious actors and their roles in peacebuilding and conflict management is still barely factored in by policymakers and advisers to U.S. government. There needs more effort by local, regional, and international religious leaders to promote nonviolent and tolerant reactions even in midst of incendiary events. An assessment is needed to evaluate whether efforts at promoting inter-cultural sensitivity are working or not, and identifying processes for mitigating tensions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Religion, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Susan Hayward
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The field of religious peacebuilding has begun to move closer to the mainstream of conflict resolution practice and theory. The 2011 unrest in the Middle East and North Africa—the Arab Spring—reflects ongoing challenges and opportunities for the field. American and European nongovernmental organizations, agencies in the U.S. government, academia, and international organizations—sectors that once held religious issues at a distance or understood religion mainly as a driver of violence—increasingly engage religious communities and institutions as partners in creating peace. Meanwhile, religious organizations that have been involved in creating peace for decades, if not longer, increasingly have institutionalized and professionalized their work, suggesting ways that religious and secular organizations could coordinate their efforts more closely. The U.S. Institute of Peace's own programs on religion reflect the development of the wider field, having moved from research and analysis to on-the-ground programming to foster interfaith dialogue in the Balkans, Nigeria, Israel-Palestine, and Sudan. In addition, it has trained religious actors in conflict management in Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Colombia and developed peace curricula based on Islamic principles for religious and secular schools in Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and elsewhere. As the U.S. field of religious peacebuilding continues to develop, challenges include integrating further with secular peacebuilding efforts, engaging women and youth and addressing their priorities, working more effectively with non-Abrahamic religious traditions, and improving evaluation, both to show how religious peacebuilding can reduce and resolve conflict and to strengthen the field's ability to do so.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Peace Studies, Religion, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, John Forrer, Timothy L. Fort
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The business sector can promote prosperity and stability in conflict-prone and conflict affected regions through good corporate citizenship, but operating in these high-risk, high-reward environments is fraught with great difficulty. Many firms develop risk mitigation strategies designed to minimize exposure and cost without accounting for costs to the country, its population, and the environment. Poor risk management strategies combine with endemic corruption and myriad market failures and distortions resulting from weak economic governance to reinforce aspects of the political economy that could trigger and sustain violent conflict. Effectively addressing these failings could reduce business costs, increase efficiency, and improve governance and livelihoods in fragile regions. U.S. government policy documents, such as the Quadrennial Defense Review, Quadrennial Diplomacy and Defense Review, and National Security Strategy, allude to a potential role for firms in furthering stability and promoting peace but do not clearly analyze the complexities such endeavors entail or identify workable solutions. Strategies to capitalize on the immense potential of the business sector to foster peace must account for the size of firms, whether they are state or privately owned, which industries they are involved in, and their interconnectedness within supply chains. Key components of effective strategies include crafting incentives to reward investing firms that espouse good corporate citizenship, strengthening international initiatives that promote transparency and contain corruption, developing initiatives to more fully incorporate the local economy into global value chains, and introducing mechanisms to forge global consensus on appropriate conflict-sensitive business practices.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Poverty, War, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: In 2012 Western sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran's oil and gas industry, aimed at putting economic pressure on it to change its nuclear policy, have reached an unprecedented level. Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, Iran has been in a state of hostility with the US, and has had cool relations, at best, with most European states. Sanctions against official Iranian financial institutions, individuals associated with the Islamic Republic and organisations suspected of being involved in nuclear proliferation activities have been mounting for some time. However, it is only recently that Iran's oil and gas sector has been specifically targeted by both the US and the EU in such a co-ordinated manner. Importantly, this marks the first time since the foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran that the EU member states have collectively put in place sanctions on the export of Iranian crude oil—until now an action that, with a few exceptions, had only been taken by the US. The stakes have therefore been raised in Iran's confrontation with Western powers over the nuclear issue.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Oil, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Ross Eventon
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: At its core, the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan is an attempt to establish a client regime supported by a military operation to pacify resistance. In May 2012, the Obama administration took a major step towards consolidating its war aims and signed the Enduring Partnership Agreement with President Karzai, which ensures a U.S. military presence for at least a decade after 2014. It is clear from this agreement, the previous memorandums on detention and night raids, and the continuing development of U.S. mega-bases in the country that 2014 is far from a “withdrawal” date.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Although meaningful cooperation in the region surrounding Afghanistan is of vital importance, it has been elusive because Afghanistan\'s key neighbors have significantly divergent aims. Engineering a successful regional solution would require the United States to fundamentally transform either these actors\' objectives or their dominant strategies. Achieving the latter may prove more feasible, most crucially vis-à-vis Pakistan. The region\'s history of discord is mainly rooted in the troubled relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although Pakistan\'s involvement in Afghanistan is colored by its rivalry with India, its relations with Afghanistan are a geopolitical challenge independent of India because of its fears of disorder along its western borders, the unwelcome idea of “Pashtunistan,” and a related long-standing border dispute. Pakistan\'s reaction to these problems has only exacerbated them. As Islamabad, by supporting the Taliban insurgency, has sought to exercise preponderant, if not overweening, influence over Kabul\'s strategic choices, it has earned Kabul\'s distrust, deepened the Kabul–New Delhi partnership, and increased the risk to its relations with Washington—not to mention threatening the lives of U.S. and other coalition forces operating in Afghanistan. Despite widespread support in Afghanistan for ending the war through a negotiated settlement if possible, the Afghan Taliban leadership is unlikely to consider reconciliation unless it is faced with the prospect of continued losses of the kind sustained as a result of coalition military operations in 2010. A regional solution is similarly unlikely as long as Afghanistan and its neighbors, including India, perceive Islamabad as bent on holding Kabul in a choking embrace. Solving these problems lies beyond the capability of American diplomacy, and right now even of the promised diplomatic surge. The best hope for progress lies in continuing military action to alter the realities on the ground— thereby inducing the Taliban to consider reconciliation, while simultaneously neutralizing the Pakistani strategy that is currently preventing a regional solution. To increase the probability of military success, however, President Obama will need to forgo the politically calculated drawdown of combat troops this summer and instead accept the advice of his field commanders to maintain the largest possible contingent necessary for the coming campaign in eastern Afghanistan. Hard and unpalatable as it might be for the president, this course alone offers a solution that will protect the recent gains in Afghanistan and advance American interests over the long term.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America, Washington
  • Author: Gilles Dorronsoro
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: A combination of two critical problems threatens to undermine the mission of the United States-led coalition in Afghanistan: the failure of the counterinsurgency strategy and a disconnect between political objectives and military operations. If anything, the current strategy is making a political solution less likely, notably because it is antagonizing Pakistan without containing the rise of the armed opposition. That has put the coalition in a paradoxical situation, in which it is being weakened militarily by a non-negotiated and inevitable withdrawal while at the same time alienating potential negotiating partners.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: John Heathershaw, Nick Megoran
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Western geopolitical discourse misrepresents and constructs Central Asia as an inherently and essentially dangerous place. This pervasive 'discourse of danger' obscures knowledge of the region, deforms scholarship and, because it has policy implications, actually endangers Central Asia. This article identifies how the region is made knowable to a US-UK audience through three mutually reinforcing dimensions of endangerment: Central Asia as obscure, oriental, and fractious. This is evidenced in the writings of conflict resolution and security analysts, the practices of governments, the activities of international aid agencies and numerous lurid films, documentaries and novels.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Central Asia
  • Author: Brandon Fite
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The various states that comprise the EU and non-EU Europe collectively and individually influence US-Iranian competition in a number of ways. The EU, and particularly the EU3 (Britain, France, and Germany), are the United States' most consistent allies in seeking to roll back Iran's nuclear efforts. Though the European approach has not always paralleled that of the US, unlike China and Russia, European disagreements with the US serve to moderate rather than to weaken or spoil American efforts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Iran