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International Relations and Security


This Week at the ISN

Our Weekly Content Roundup

6 10 April 2015

JUMP TO Editorial Plan | Security Watch | Blog | Video

// Security Watch
This week, our hard power-centered Security Watch (SW) series asks whether the West should be putting the al Qaedaaffiliated Nusra Front and the so-called Islamic State in the same terrorist basket; whether the concept of proportionality
has any meaning when discussing hypothetical military attacks; why having a winning strategic narrative is critical in
today's conflicts; what are the implications of the recently concluded Iranian nuclear deal; and why US-China relations will
remain dicey for the foreseeable future. Then, in our second, more wide-ranging SW series, we look at how falling oil
prices are impacting the security of Latin American states; why some resistance movements remain non-violent and
others don't; why Morocco's Islamists remain at the head of the country's coalition government; what the international
community can do to mitigate the development and security threats now coming out of Africa; and how Yemen's warring
parties can pull the country back from the brink of prolonged conflict.

The Nusra Front's Game-Changing Rise in Syria

6 April 2015

Should the West be putting the Nusra Front and the so-called Islamic State in the same terrorist basket? Not according to
Lina Khatib. If anything, Western actors should be looking beyond the Front's ideological ties with al Qaeda and
encourage the pragmatism that has marked its role in the Syrian conflict. More

Are Oil Prices Latin America's Newest Threat?

6 April 2015

Roberta Gerevasi fully expects declining oil prices to aggravate the internal security of Venezuela, Ecuador and other
Latin American states. Worse still, oil-related conflict in any of these countries could have dangerous spillover effects in
their immediate neighborhoods. More

Surveying Proportionality: Whither the Reasonable Commander

7 April 2015

Manufacturing Dissent? Why Civil Resistance Starts

7 April 2015

Why do some resistance movements remain non-violent while others do not? Charles Butcher believes that a society's
level of industrialization may be the key variable, as illustrated by the experiences of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya during the
once promising Arab Spring. More

The Future of War and the Fight for the Strategic Narrative
8 April 2015

Why is having a winning strategic narrative critical in today's struggles with the so-called Islamic State and other
propaganda-wielding groups? This article argues that failing to prevail in such a fight will only lead to other conflicts where
the West wins the tactical engagements but ends up losing the war. More

His Majesty's Islamists: The Moroccan Experience

8 April 2015

Morocco's Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD) continues to lead the country's coalition government.
According to Mohammed Masbah, that's because the North African state is an established constitutional monarchy that
has worked closely with opposition groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. More

Iran Celebrates Historic Nuclear Deal All Eyes Now on the Supreme Leader
9 April 2015

What should we make of the tentative nuclear deal between the P5+1 nations and Iran? For Scott Lucas, the agreement is
a win for both sides, although we'll have to see if Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khameini approves the final deal in June.

Global Threats in Africa

9 April 2015

What steps should the international community take in order to mitigate the development and security threats coming out
of Africa? Shannon Dick recommends adopting a broad brush approach that engages with non-traditional partners from
the security, development, environmental, and health fields. More

Systemic Tension between China and the US

10 April 2015

Despite a mutual desire for cooperation, relations between Washington and Beijing will remain tense for the foreseeable
future. Today, Denny Roy cites two reasons why 1) Beijing doesn't appreciate how the existing East Asian order has
contributed to its prosperity, and 2) its historical fear of encirclement has decreased. More

Yemen at War
10 April 2015

What will it take to get Yemen's warring factions to sit at a negotiating table? According to the International Crisis Group,
they must accept an immediate ceasefire and reach a consensus on the country's next president and members of the
presidential council. Oh, and then there's more. More

// Blog

Juncker's EU Army: A Tool of Politics more than Defence

6 April 2015

Why has Jean-Claude Juncker revived past calls for a European Army? Pol Morillas doubts that security is his primary
concern. If anything, the President of the European Commission is trying to secure leading roles for his organization in
debates that remain central to European integration. More

An Irresistible Force? Arab Citizens of Israel after the Elections

7 April 2015

Andreas Hackl thinks that the recent electoral success of the Joint List alliance has strengthened the position of Israel's
Palestinian population. That's because the List's parties have effectively coalesced around shared grievances and a
shared history while also preserving their distinct ideologies. More

The U.S. Energy Pivot: A New Era for Energy Security in Asia?
8 April 2015

Will liquid natural gas and crude oil imports from the United States help strengthen Asia's energy security? It's possible,
says Qinnan Zhou, but there are significant diplomatic and regulatory hurdles that must be cleared first. More

Is Russia Really a Threat to NATO?

9 April 2015

Elizabeth Zolotukhina thinks that NATO should be paying less attention to Russia's military modernization program and
more to Moscow's growing interest in hybrid warfare. The latter, though, might be a sign that the Putin administration is
struggling to bankroll the hardware it wants. More

Ethics on Film: Discussion of "Timbuktu"

10 April 2015

What does this Oscar-nominated Mauritanian film reveal about living under the rule of Islamist extremists? The answer,
according to Alex Woodson, is that everyday life in such territories tends to be harsh and mind-numbingly dull. More

// Video

Agility, Acquisition, and American Security

In this video, Mac Thornberry, who is the Chairman of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee,
discusses 1) the institutional challenges that confront the US Department of Defense, and 2) the departmental reforms he
hopes to enact, particularly in the acquisitions realm.

The Global Transformation: History, Modernity and the Making of International Relations

In this video, five academics discuss Barry Buzan and George Lawson's book, "The Global Transformation," which
focuses on how the cultural, economic, political, and military revolutions of the 'long 19th century' (1776-1914) shaped
modern international relations.

The Kurdish Spring: A New Map of the Middle East

In this video, Columbia University's David Phillips discusses his new book, "The Kurdish Spring: A New Map of the Middle
East," which explores 1) the past subjugation of the Kurds, 2) why they're now becoming a coherent political community,
and 3) what they can do to advance US strategic and security interests in the Middle East. More

// Multimedia Content
Here is a selection of this week's additions to the ISN Digital

Publications More
// Digital Jihad: How Online Networks are Changing Extremism More
// The US-Japan Alliance: Review of the Guidelines for Defense Cooperation
// The North Korea Crisis and Regional Responses

Videos More
// A Conversation with Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall
State Behaviour in Cyberspace: How to Advance the International Dialogue?More
to Do about ISISMore

Audio / Podcasts More

// Charting a Future for US Air Power More
// The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia's New Geopolitics
// Germany, Russia, and the Rise of Geo-Economics More

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