Making Victory Count After Defeating ISIS: Stabilization Challenges in Mosul and Beyond

Making Victory Count After Defeating ISIS: Stabilization Challenges in Mosul and Beyond. RAND Corporation. Shelly Culbertson, Linda Robinson. July 24, 2017.

This report investigates humanitarian and stabilization needs in Iraq, through a case study of Mosul, and offers recommendations for immediate actions for stabilization after military operations to liberate it from ISIS. The study is based on data collection and review; visits to Iraq; and more than 50 in-depth interviews with a range of key senior officials. The research team examined humanitarian needs, security implications, infrastructure and services, and governance and reconciliation. All of these activities will affect the immediate stabilization of Mosul, and Iraq more broadly, including whether civilians can return home. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 99 pages, 2.53 MB].

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Globally, People Point to ISIS and Climate Change as Leading Security Threats: Concern About Cyberattacks, World Economy Also Widespread

Globally, People Point to ISIS and Climate Change as Leading Security Threats: Concern About Cyberattacks, World Economy Also Widespread. Pew Research Center. Jacob Poushter and Dorothy Manevich. August 1, 2017.

People around the globe identify ISIS and climate change as the leading threats to national security, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The survey asked about eight possible threats. While the level and focus of concern varies by region and country, ISIS and climate change clearly emerge as the most frequently cited security risks across the 38 countries polled. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 32 pages, 1.29 MB].

Sustaining Progress in International Negotiations on Cybersecurity

Sustaining Progress in International Negotiations on Cybersecurity. Center for Strategic & International Studies. James Andrew Lewis. July 25, 2017

Concern over the risk of cyber attack led Russia in 1998 to propose at the United Nations a treaty to limit the use of cyber attack and cyber weapons. The Russian proposal drew on the experience of arms control and disarmament, but it found little support and was opposed by the United States. During the same period, there were also various proposals from the academic community for some sort of formal international cybersecurity convention, but many of these proposals were impractical and they too garnered little support. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 7 pages, 268.20 KB].

The Patterns in Global Terrorism: 1970-2016

The Patterns in Global Terrorism: 1970-2016. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Anthony Cordesman. August 14, 2017

The Burke Chair at CSIS has prepared a graphic overview of the trends of terrorism development as of the end of 2016. It traces the patterns since 1970, and focuses on the period from 2011-2016 — the years since the sudden rise of massive political instability and extremism in the MENA region. It covers global, regional, and key national trends and compares different estimates and sources for 2015 and 2016.

The report draws primarily on reporting in the START database, but uses other reporting from sources like EU/Europol, IHS Jane’s, and the IEP to illustrate different estimates, different perspectives, and the uncertainties in the data. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 368 pages, 11.20 MB].

Russia’s Design in The Black Sea: Extending the Buffer Zone

Russia’s Design in The Black Sea: Extending the Buffer Zone. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Boris Toucas. June 28, 2017

This commentary is the third in a series of essays on the geostrategic importance of the Black Sea that already includes a brief historical perspective and an assessment of NATO-Russia tensions in the region. As the White House is reflecting on the conditions for resuming dialogue with Russia, this commentary focuses on Russia’s use of territorial, cultural, and ethnic regional dynamics in the region to create a buffer zone against the West and presents options for Black Sea states and their allies and partners. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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The Impossible Quest for Absolute Security

The Impossible Quest for Absolute Security. YaleGlobal. Richard Weitz. July 11, 2017

An immediate challenge for the international community, one that dominated discussions at the G20 summit in Hamberg, is North Korea. The dogged pursuit of a nuclear weapons by the rogue nation illustrates the repercussions and security dilemma of any nation’s quest for absolute security, heightening anxiety among neighboring states along with hostile rhetoric and buildup of catastrophic weapons. Richard Weitz, director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, suggests that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization formed by China, Russia and other neighbors after the Cold War, may offer some lessons. “Although rarely openly discussed at Eurasian meetings, member states value the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a means of enhancing mutual reassurance among members to reduce regional security dilemmas,” he writes. “SCO documents and statements repeatedly renounce the logic of absolute security, and members overly commit to eschewing actions that could harm other members’ security.” A challenge for the SCO, of course, is balancing relations between Russia and China. Unequivocal pursuit of dominance in security and economic affairs, without concern for neighboring states, is a recipe for disaster. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Meeting Security Challenges in a Disordered World

Meeting Security Challenges in a Disordered World. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Rebecca Hersman et al. June 6, 2017

Today the world faces a volatile convergence of instability, state weakness, and conflict. Lethal civil conflicts rage in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and South Sudan, stoking regional rivalries, offering safe havens to violent extremist groups, and triggering immense and unprecedented humanitarian crises. Even in regions and states where overt conflict is absent, such as West Africa or Central America, institutional and economic weakness creates unstable conditions that may enflame low level shocks or simmering criminal activity. At times resolution of these conditions may prove elusive and intervention fruitless; however, sometimes security challenges emerging in these environments require immediate and direct response.

The United States must be prepared to operate in a range of complex environments to meet a range of security challenges and threats, such as humanitarian emergencies, terrorism and violent extremism, great power aggression, health security crises, and international criminal violence. This study focuses on these five functional security imperatives and illustrates each imperative through regionally or subnationally defined operating environments. In each case, the selected security imperative must be addressed in the near term to help meet other U.S. objectives. The goal of the case studies is to characterize the operating environment, identify key tasks and responsibilities to address the security imperative, and develop a set of tools and policy recommendations for operating in those specific environments. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 130 pages, 18.74 MB].