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This Week at ISN 2013-08-16

This Week at ISN 2013-08-16

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Published by: ISN Zurich on Aug 16, 2013
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ISN ETH Zurich
International Relations and Security Network    www.isn.ethz.ch  ///   

This Week at ISN
12 – 16 August 2013

Our Weekly Editorial Roundup

» Editorial Plan | Security Watch | Blog | Video

//   The Middle East: Contexts and Dynamics
Despite the recent disappointments experienced in the Middle East, there is still room for optimism. Behind the 'great game' between Iran and Saudi Arabia, for example, there is a deeper struggle to shed traditional zero-sum game thinking for more liberal, cooperative approaches, especially in the case of security. At the same time, the Arab uprisings have already succeeded in pushing for further socio-economic reforms. The question now is whether these demands will be   fulfilled or whether new challenges, such as those caused by climate change, will undermine them.

The Middle Eastern 'Great Game'
12 August 2013

The strategic competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran now involves proxy struggles throughout the Middle East – in Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Syria and now Qatar. Simon Mabon explores the ethnic, sectarian and geopolitical contours of this contest, which he calls the region's 'great game'. » More

Living with the Middle East's Old-New Security Paradigm
13 August 2013

Despite attempts to put the Arab uprisings within a comprehensive geopolitical framework, FRIDE's Richard Youngs argues that none of them has truly captured the security dynamics in the region. A wide variety of security regimes could still emerge, ranging from the Hobbesian to the cooperative and liberal.  » More

Regionalism and Regionalization in the Middle East
14 August 2013

While many attempts to regionalize the Middle East have occurred over the last half century, political, security, and economic cooperation still remains limited. Matteo Legrenzi examines where these attempts have gone wrong and explores the prospects for greater regional unity in the future.  » More

The Political Economy of the Arab World
15 August 2013

The Arab Spring has both complicated the socio-economic challenges facing the Middle East and created opportunities for unprecedented change. In this feature, the German Marshall Fund outlines some of these challenges.  » More

The Arab Spring and Climate Change
16 August 2013

Here's an uncommon question – What role has climate change played in the Arab Spring and how has it acted as a 'threat multiplier' in the Middle East? This collection of essays from the Stimson Center explains how the region's changing climate is indeed helping exacerbate different forms of unrest.  » More

//   Security Watch
The Russian Army - The Priority for Putin's Third Term
12 August 2013

Not only has Russia recently conducted its largest unscheduled military exercises since 1991, it has also announced a 63% increase in its defense spending. The message is quite clear, says Andrzej Wilk – rejuvenating the Russian Army is a top political priority for Moscow. » More

The Great Anatolian Project: Is Water Management a Panacea or Crisis Multiplier for Turkey's Kurds?
13 August 2013

Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia Project is scheduled for completion by 2015. Ilektra Tsakalidou predicts that the project will negatively impact Turkey's Kurdish community, especially when it comes to economic development and property rights. » More

Network-Centric Warfare in Asia
14 August 2013

The militaries of the Asia-Pacific region continue to invest heavily in strategic communications systems. According to Gordon Arthur, this all points to one thing – they are getting serious about enhancing their Network-Centric Warfare (NCW) capabilities.  » More

What Future for French Military Interventions?
15 August 2013

France traditionally regards military interventions as an essential feature of its strategic posture. Aline Leboeuf warns, however, that stringent budget cuts, doctrinal disagreements and a lack of strategic hindsight may result in the country losing its status as a frontline military power.  » More

Land of Gold
16 August 2013

The humanitarian situation in Darfur has recently taken a dramatic turn for the worse. While inter-tribal rivalries are likely to be blamed for the upsurge in violence, Hagar Taha detects the influence of two other factors – the discovery of gold reserves and, yes, the Sudanese government.   » More

//   Blog
Germany, the Euro and the Euro Crisis
12 August 2013

Although it's been suggested that Germany has 'won' the Euro crisis, Thieß Petersen isn't so sure. He believes, as do others, that because the country is a major exporter, it's in its own best interest to continue assisting the crisis-ridden countries of the Eurozone.  » More

How Organized Crime and UN Peace Operations Came to Converge In Fragile States
13 August 2013

Despite the presence of UN peace operations in fragile states, organized criminal activity has largely remained unaddressed there. M. Meduna writes that this is because peace operations tend to be politically rather than economically driven, and because they typically lack an explicit mandate to address criminal activities.  » More

Review – Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus
14 August 2013

Does Robert Schaefer's "Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus" offer a comprehensive and detailed examination of the Chechen conflict? Elizabeth Austin believes it does. Schaefer, in her eyes, provides his readers with an eye-opening tutorial on this war-torn region.  » More

Debating the Use of Force: When Should We Intervene to Stop Mass Atrocities?
15 August 2013

What kind of humanitarian crisis demands international military action and when should the international community intervene to protect civilians? These questions are behind Adam Lupel's examination of Robert Pape's pragmatic standard for humanitarian intervention' and subsequent critiques by Gareth Evans and Ramesh Thakur.  » More

Realising the Dream of Greater Intra-African Trade
16 August 2013

African nations have a long-standing pattern of exporting goods overseas. But what can they do to increase their level of trade within their own continent? Liesl Louw-Vaudran believes a recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) offers some interesting food for thought.  » More

//   Video
The Middle East in the Global Context
In this video, Professor Michael Hudson, who is the Director of the Middle East Institute, discusses the global status of the Middle East, particularly when it comes to the region's natural resources, its ongoing conflicts and general insecurity, and its external relations. » More

Immanuel Wallerstein Opens Left Forum 2013
"The message we are hearing is that the world is going to pot and very fast and I entirely agree. However, the real question is what should we do about it." With that assertion made at the very beginning of this video, noted Immanuel Wallerstein explores the state of crisis in the World System, which he expects to last 20-40 years, and which will yield a new system based either on 'the spirit of Davos' or 'the spirit of Porto Alegre.' » More

Who or What Drives Climate Change Policy in the Arab World?
In this video, four experts examine some of the factors currently shaping climate change policy in the Arab World. (Note: The discussants include Karim Makdisi from the American University of Beirut; Roula Majdalani, who is a member of the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia; Lama El Hatow, who represents IndyACT-The League of Independent Activists; and Rabi Mohtar from the Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute.)  » More

Coming Up
Next week we consider a selection of issues shaping the Middle East and North Africa.

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