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ETH Zurich
International Relations and Security

This Week at the ISN

Our Weekly Content Roundup

913 November 2015

JUMP TO Editorial Plan | Security Watch | Blog | Video

// Security Watch

This week, our hard power-centered Security Watch (SW) series examines the general and specific measures North
African states are taking to deal with the foreign fighters returning home from Syria and Iraq; the US Army's Regional
Alignment of Forces (RAF) concept; the recent battle for Kunduz and its repercussions; Europe's anti-access/area denial
(A2/AD) challenges; and why the US Navy needs to build-up its "in-fighting" capabilities. Then, in our second, more wideranging SW series, we look at the US' climate action plan; Gazprom's declining influence in post-Soviet gas markets;
Africa's maritime boundary disputes; Turkey's refugee politics; and the myth of China's economic downturn.

Foreign Fighters and Their Return: Measures Taken by North African Countries
9 November 2015

Indeed, what steps are North African states taking to deal with their foreign fighters returning home from Syria and Iraq?
Today, the CSS' Lisa Watanabe looks at the countries' counter-terrorist operations, border security initiatives, counterincitement and counter-radicalization measures, etc. More

However Welcome, Overdue US Climate Plan Falls Short

9 November 2015

The United States' current plan to tackle climate change is neither ambitious nor equitable, say Sunita Narain and
Chandra Bhushan. Their research suggests that it will have only a minimal impact on emissions reductions and the
domestic consumption of fossil fuels. More

Regionally Aligned Forces: The Army's Answer to a Complex World

10 November 2015

Gazprom in the Post-Soviet Region: Shrinking Markets, Politicised Relations

10 November 2015

Why has Gazprom's traditional dominance of post-Soviet gas markets declined in recent years? Ingerid Opdahl points to
1) the search for and expansion of alternative gas supplies throughout Europe; and 2) the role the gas giant plays in
Russia's coercive foreign policies.

The Battle for Kunduz and Its Repercussions

11 November 2015

What does the recent battle for Kunduz tell us about the security and stability of Afghanistan and its neighbors? As
Stephen Blank sees it, the battle reconfirmed that the US can't leave the country to its own devices, that Central Asia is
vulnerable to similar attacks, etc. More

Why Africa Must Resolve Its Maritime Boundary Disputes

11 November 2015

The reasons are clear enough, argues Timothy Walker. The present disputes not only imperil the short- and long-term
implementation of needed maritime policies and strategies, they also continue to jeopardize the continent's economic
development. More

The Third US Offset Strategy and Europe's Anti-Access Challenge

12 November 2015

Europe has more than a passing interest in the US' efforts to offset its anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) challenges in the Western Pacific,
says Luis Simn. After all, the continent now faces similar problems along its increasingly bellicose eastern flank. More

Turkey's Refugee Politics

12 November 2015

Is Turkey trying to adopt a predictable, long-term approach to the refugee crisis it's facing along its southern border?
Roderick Parkes believes so. That's because the sheer number of displaced persons entering the country is upsetting
Ankara's relations with its minority groups, southern neighbors and the European Union. More

In-Fighting: A Needed Warfighting Skill

13 November 2015

Why is it in the US Navy's interest to develop its littoral 'in-fighting' capabilities? Robert Rubel believes that mastering this
key skill will allow it to 1) maintain targeting-quality situational awareness (SA); 2) disrupt its adversary's SA capabilities;
and 3) demonstrate that it takes this type of warfighting seriously. More

China's Economic Downturn: The Facts behind the Myths

13 November 2015

Franois Godement believes that the crisis of confidence that followed China's recent stock market plunge is misplaced.
As he sees it, the downturn demonstrates that the country has started its long- awaited transformation into a servicebased and consumer-driven market economy. More

// Blog
Could Iran Be the Next Country to Legalise Cannabis and Opium?
9 November 2015

Well, how might Iran benefit from legalizing the consumption and production of these drugs? As Maziyar Ghiabi sees it,
legalization would 1) open up new ways to combat the country's drug-related problems, 2) boost the agricultural sector,
and 3) free up money for other purposes. More

Obama's Failure to Demilitarize US Foreign Policy

10 November 2015

As John Deni sees it, Barack Obama has failed to make diplomacy and development the main pillars of US foreign policy.
Just like his predecessors, Obama has instead relied on the Department of Defense to achieve national security objectives
that fall outside its specific areas of expertise. More

Does Surveillance Mean the Death of Democracy?

11 November 2015

Are increased levels of surveillance really eroding the democratic principles that we take for granted? Not necessarily,
says Manuel Arriaga. He thinks the real challenge to democracy is a compliant and fearful public that has forgotten the
true meaning of freedom. More

THINK AGAIN: Is Somaliland Still a Good News Story?

12 November 2015

Simon Allison is worried that Somaliland's much touted unity and stability is beginning to crack. For example, the
breakaway state has a habit of delaying elections and continues to lack any form of recognition from the international
community, much to the annoyance of its population. More

Cuba: Russia's Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier

13 November 2015

Why is Russia determined to rejuvenate its political, economic and military ties with Cuba? The answer is that Russian
politicians are once again starting to see the island as an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" and a possible springboard for future
confrontations with the United States. More

// Video

Leading at the Nexus of Development and Defense

In today's video, General John Kelly, who is the Commander of the United States Southern Command, focuses on the
complex economic, socio-political and security challenges facing Central America.

Present & Future Trajectories of Terrorist Groups and Armed Non-State Actors in Africa

In today's video, Idayat Hassan and Benjamin Nickels explore the present and probable trajectories of violent extremism in
North Africa, West Africa, and the Sahel region. More

Libya: Failed or Recovering State?

In this video, Deborah Jones, who was the US Ambassador to Libya from 2013 to 2015, answers a series of questions
about the country's current status. For example, does the preliminary framework agreement to resolve the conflict that has
divided Libya into two competing parliaments, governments, and military coalitions offer a legitimate path toward a stable

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

Publications More
// Homo Jihadicus: Islam in the Former USSR and the Phenomenon of the Post-Soviet Militants in Syria and Iraq More
// The Politics Behind the Ebola Crisis More
// Egypt's Escalating Islamist Insurgency More

Videos More
// Warfighting at Sea: What Has Changed Since the Falklands War of 1982
Defense Innovation: Lessons from Silicon Wadi More
/ The Islamic State and the Intifada of Knives More

Audio / Podcasts More

// The Politics of Race in Britain and South Africa
// Women, Religion, and Peace
// "The Government in Kiev is not Interested in the Dialogue with the Eastern Regions" - Alexei MatsukaMore

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