South Asia

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Report - Washington Institute for Near East Policy

How Al-Qaeda Survived Drones, Uprisings, and the Islamic State: The Nature of the Current Threat

    Editor:
  • Aaron Y. Zelin
| June 2017

In this new Policy Focus, Washington Institute fellow Aaron Y. Zelin compiles case studies demonstrating how each part of al-Qaeda's network has evolved and survived the various challenges it has faced roughly since the Obama administration took office. Written by eminent scholars, practitioners, and government officials from the United States and abroad, the chapters are informed by a recent workshop in which the participants gave candid, off-the-record assessments of numerous key issues, including al-Qaeda's current strategic outlook, a close examination of its branch in Syria, its branches outside of Syria (AQAP, AQIM, al-Shabab, and AQIS), and its current financial situation.

Photo of troops during World War I.

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - USA Today

The 'Wonder Woman' guide to avoiding war with China: It might take a woman

| July 7, 2017

"Is war the natural condition of mankind? That question drives a deeper story line in the summer blockbuster 'Wonder Woman.' While she is stopping a massive German gas attack, Princess Diana also finds herself grappling with a fundamental question about the relationship between mass violence and human nature.

Wonder Woman's first face-off against a World War I villain, German Gen. Erich Ludendorff, takes a dark philosophical turn. 'Peace,' Gen. Ludendorff sneers, 'is only an armistice in an endless war.' Wonder Woman immediately identifies the author of the quote: the ancient Greek historian Thucydides. But she disagrees, arguing instead that war is a seductive spell on mankind, not a reflection of our inherent corruption."

Graham Allison writes that the dangerous dynamic of a rising power that threatens to displace a ruling power is Thucydides’ Trap. "It is one of history’s deadliest patterns. Over the past 500 years, this has occurred 16 times. In 12 cases, the outcome was war. Today, the contest between an irresistible rising China and an immovable America is the 17th case."

Solar panels at sunrise.

Karsten Würth

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Geopolitics of Renewable Energy

| June 28, 2017

For a century, the geopolitics of energy has been synonymous with the
geopolitics of oil and gas. However, geopolitics and the global energy economy
are both changing. The international order predominant since the
end of World War II faces mounting challenges. At the same time, renewable
energy is growing rapidly. Nevertheless, the geopolitics of renewable
energy has received relatively little attention, especially when considering
the far-reaching consequences of a global shift to renewable energy.

The paper starts with a discussion of seven renewable energy scenarios
for the coming decades: the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2016, the EIA’s
International Energy Outlook 2016, IRENA’s REmap 2016, Bloomberg’s
New Energy Outlook 2016, BP’s Energy Outlook 2016, Exxon-Mobil’s Outlook
for Energy 2016 and the joint IEA and IRENA G20 de-carbonization
scenario.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Security Science, July 2015

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

When Did (and Didn’t) States Proliferate?

| June 2017

In this Project on Managing the Atom Discussion Paper, Philipp C. Bleek chronicles nuclear weapons proliferation choices throughout the nuclear age. Since the late 1930s and early 1940s, some thirty-one countries are known to have at least explored the possibility of establishing a nuclear weapons program. Seventeen of those countries launched weapons programs, and ten acquired deliverable nuclear weapons.

satellite images of what the State Department described as a building in a prison complex in Syria that was modified to support a crematorium

State Department/DigitalGlobe via AP

Analysis & Opinions - War on the Rocks

How to Get Away with Mass Murder: Denying Mass Atrocities in Sri Lanka and Syria

| May 18, 2017

"Much has been made of the example set by Sri Lanka's ruthless strategy as an alternative to 'hearts and minds' counterinsurgency efforts. Governments battling stubborn militant movements continue to seek advice from Colombo on employing the 'Rajapaksa model.' But the successful elimination of the LTTE in 2009 wasn't the only unexpected feat Sri Lanka accomplished. It also managed to preempt international action long enough to conclude its brutal campaign, despite state-perpetrated civilian casualties on a massive scale. Syria, where more than 200,000 civilians have died since 2011, is poised to test the limits of this precedent."

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster pauses while speaking to members of the media

AP

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

What's the Point of Donald Trump's Afghan Surge?

| May 17, 2017

"I don't really think Trump understands any of the underlying issues, but McMaster — who served for several years in Afghanistan and has the reputation of being an independent thinker — should. Here are five questions someone should ask McMaster about this new policy, along with some background to each one."

silhouettes of U.N. peacekeepers from Brazil at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

AP

Analysis & Opinions - Aljazeera

UN Peacekeepers: Keeping the Peace or Preventing It?

| May 02, 2017

"While it is incontrovertible that peacekeepers who abuse civilian populations should be prosecuted for their crimes, these individual trials are not enough. Peacekeeper violence should be treated with the same seriousness as other types of conflict-related sexual violence. National contingents should be more thoroughly vetted before deployment, and stronger monitoring and disciplinary sanctions should be imposed to prevent and punish violations on the ground. Without these comprehensive measures, UN peacekeeping forces will not only fail in their mission to create the conditions for lasting peace, they will be one of the driving forces behind a resurgence of violence — wherever they go."