Month: September 2014

The Danger of Unfinished Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan

Although it is not entirely clear how Afghanistan’s newly-formed unity government will function on a day-to-day basis, the arrangement is nonetheless considered a political victory. While a political catastrophe has been headed off for now, a stubborn security crisis is worsening by the day and the glow from this historic achievement is likely to wear off soon.

Read More

Killing of al-Shabaab Leader Throws Future of Militant Group into Question

On September 1, the leader of the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabaab, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in a US-led drone strike in an al-Shabaab stronghold in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. The drone strike coincided with an ongoing military offensive launched August 25 by both the African Union Mission to Somalia and the Somali government forces. The long-term implications of impact of Godane’s death are difficult to assess.

Read More

Understanding the New War for Post-Liberation Libya

Libya is entering a dangerous new phase in its post-liberation politics. Regional dynamics (among many other factors such as religion and ideology) have significantly contributed to the outbreak in violence. While a precise understanding of the current Libyan conflict remains obscured by rapidly unfolding events and a constantly shifting patchwork of alliances, it is clear that the next few months will be formative for the country’s future.

Read More

Waiting for the African Standby Force: another aborted start in Kingali?

Recent commitments made by ten African nations to contribute toward the creation of an Eastern Africa Standby Force with the help of the African Union have raised a series of important questions that have yet to be addressed. In particular, what has actually been promised?; how often was it promised before?; and why would one expect the pledges now to become reality?

Read More

Policing the Past and Present in Northern Ireland

The current political impasse over Northern Ireland’s peace process stems from the inability of local parties to agree on several issues including welfare reform, parades, flags, and notably dealing with the past. In particular, the latter remains a significant obstacle for peacebuilding as well as policing an ethno-politically divided post-conflict society. The strength of the reformed police service has been tested in the process.

Read More

Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency: Reform and Its Challenges

Indonesia’s president elect, Joko Widodo, is busy drafting the cabinet lineup for his upcoming administration, which will take power in October 2014. As he looks to fill high-profile positions, he will also have to grapple with structural and organizational reforms to the State Intelligence Agency (Badan Intelijen Negara or BIN) implemented by Intelligence Law No. 17/2011.

Read More

Time to get serious about Ebola

Even with the United States committing military assets to help combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the international effort still required to stop the outbreak remains daunting. It extends beyond the deployment of doctors, nurses, health workers, or even isolation wards and treatment facilities. Specifically, what is needed is a massive logistics effort to establish the necessary capabilities for the reception, staging, and onward transportation of the equipment and supplies necessary.

Read More

The 2014 NATO Summit: President Putin’s Take

Since rereading the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit Declaration issued in Cardiff, Wales, David Law aims to put himself in President Putin’s place in order to understand how Putin, directly or through his advisors, would react to the Declaration. This article is an attempt at this exercise.

Read More

What Role for UN Peacekeepers in Tackling Ebola?

The spread of the Ebola virus throughout West Africa is occurring at a faster rate than aid efforts can mobilize. International media attention is focusing on the efforts of frontline health and humanitarian organizations such as the WHO, UNICEF, and Médecins Sans Frontières. However, UN peacekeepers currently stationed in Liberia part of the UN mission known as UNMIL could also play a role in these efforts.

Read More

Countering ISIS: A Special Kind of Insurgency

It is commonplace these days to refer to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām (i.e. Greater Syria) – henceforth, ISIS – as the greatest threat to regional, international, and for some countries, even national security. Yet, one of the biggest questions that needs to be answered is, how do we counter ISIS? In what follows, the particular character of the group is identified in order to suggest appropriate countering strategies.

Read More

What next for Lesotho?

South Africans woke up on Saturday morning to the news that a coup d’état was taking place in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, with the country’s prime minister fleeing in fear for his safety. While the news came as a surprised to many South Africans, the ongoing power struggle between Prime Minister Thabane and Deputy Prime Minister Metsing that led to the suspension of Parliament this year provide the backdrop to the recent coup.

Read More

Truce in Mozambique Offers Tentative Peace and a Return to Politics

Following months of conciliatory talks, Mozambique’s Frelimo ruling party and the Renamo opposition party agreed to a ceasefire on Sunday, August 24. The deal between the government and the former rebel group formalized a peace agreement brokered between the two parties earlier in the month. It aims at finding a binding and peaceful solution to the recent political impasse ahead of presidential elections due to take place in October.

Read More