Articles

291 Items

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Journal Article - Journal of Conflict Resolution

Sovereignty Rupture as a Central Concept in Quantitative Measures of Civil War

| May 27, 2019

Empirical studies of the causes or consequences of civil war often use measures that do not correspond to theory and results are sensitive to small changes in the coding of civil wars. Civil war is an instance of “sovereignty rupture” and is inherently a polity-level phenomenon, but that understanding of civil war is not reflected in data in which civil war is coded as a dyadic conflict—the state fighting a domestic challenger. We demonstrate the consequences of conceptual ambiguity about which conflicts to code as civil war and when to code the start and end of a civil war. Using a new data set of civil wars from 1945 to 2016 that is consistent with the concept of sovereignty rupture, we replicate several studies and find that their results are often overturned or weakened when we use our data. We advocate for greater deliberateness in data selection in civil war studies, focusing on the fit between the question of interest and the concept of civil war that is underlying a given data set.

A funeral ceremony in Kobani, Syria

Wikicommons

Journal Article - E-International Relations (E-IR)

Societal (In)Security in the Middle East: Radicalism as a Reaction?

| Apr. 24, 2019

Societal insecurity, stemming from historical and functional realities has emboldened the identity-based gap of states vs. societies in the Arab region. The division of the Ottoman Empire into new states without much attention to identity lines, created a historical identity challenge in those states. On the other hand, Arab ruling elites’ efforts to enforce state-centred identities failed to prevent the challenge of conflicting identities. Later on, their functional inefficiencies emboldened the identity dichotomy.

As a result of threats perceived by Arab societies against their collective identity as well as separate challenges facing each state, the state-society gap continues to challenge state identities. Collectively perceived threats create and strengthen collective frameworks intended to address those threats. And among other frameworks come radical and terrorist organisations.

Iran Syria missiles

Associated Press

Journal Article - International Affairs

Iran's Syria Strategy: The Evolution of Deterrence

| Feb. 04, 2019

Iran has been a critical player in the Syrian war since 2011, crafting a complex foreign policy and military strategy to preserve its Syrian ally. What have been the drivers of Iranian decision-making in this conflict? And how has Iranian strategy evolved over the course of the war? This article argues that the logic of deterrence has been fundamental not just for shaping the contours of Iran–Syria relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but also for determining the overall trajectory of Iranian strategy in the Syrian war. The authors outline Iran's decision-making calculus and divide the country's strategy on Syria after the Arab Spring into four primary phases: 1) a ‘Basij’ strategy to establish local militias in Syria; 2) a regionalization strategy to incorporate transnational fighters and militias in the war effort; 3) an internationalization strategy to incorporate Russia and balance the United States; and 4) a post-ISIS deterrence strategy to balance against the United States, Turkey and Israel. Iran's Syria strategy progressively escalated in response to the possible defeat of its ally and the deterioration of its forward deterrence capacities against the United States and Israel. Today, the potential for direct inter-state conflict is rising as proxy warfare declines and Iran attempts to maintain the credibility of its forward deterrence.

Great Decisions Cover

Foreign Policy Association

Journal Article - Foreign Policy Association

The State of the State Department and American Diplomacy

| Jan. 03, 2019

During the Trump administration, the usual ways of conducting diplomacy have been upended. Many positions in the State Department have never been filled, and meetings with foreign leaders such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have been undertaken with little advance planning. What effect are these changes having now, and how will they affect ongoing relationships between the United States and its allies and adversaries?

A narrow road along a lush mountain slope in Ethiopia

Clay Knight, via Wikimedia Commons

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Wars within Wars: Why Windows of Opportunity and Vulnerability Cause Inter-rebel Fighting in Internal Conflicts

    Author:
  • Costantino Pischedda
| Summer 2018

Inter-rebel wars can be calculated moves to gain dominance or prevent deterioration, as shown through two insurgencies in Ethiopia. 

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Magazine Article - Vanity Fair

"Trial By Fire”: Will John Bolton Push Trump Toward War in Syria?

| Apr. 09, 2018

According to Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. ambassador who served Bill Clinton and in both Bush administrations, Trump’s approach in Syria has more in common with Obama’s than either would likely admit. “I think that the president’s tweet yesterday was specific enough that he has effectively drawn a red line as well. I think that the president needs to respond to this.”