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IISS Voices

Strategic Snapshots

Surveillance diplomacy

This week the UK passed the DRIP bill in response to a European Court ruling limiting the retention of data, while continuing revelations on NSA spying strained US-German relations. In the latest IISS Strategic Snapshot, Nigel Inkster discusses the politics of surveillance.

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    John Drennan: For the First Time, Yerevan Rebukes Moscow

    26 August 2014.  By John Drennan, Research Assistant and Programme Officer, Russia and Eurasia Programme On 10 July, the Armenian leadership publicly rebuked its ally and patron, Russia, regarding its engagement on regional security for the first time. President Serzh Sargsyan criticised the Russian government for its decision to move forward with a $1 billion arms delivery to Baku, saying: ‘This is a very painful issue for us. Our people are extremely concerned that our...

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    Nigel Inkster: ISIS - Shock and Awe

    22 August 2014.  By Nigel Inkster, Director, Transnational Threats and Political Risk  The progression of Islamic State militants through the Sunni heartlands of Iraq this year has been accompanied by shocking levels of brutality. The group – which began as al-Qaeda in Iraq before rebranding itself as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) – has made a show of beheading or crucifying hundreds of opponents. Minority groups like Christians and the Yazidi have...

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    Kiran Hassan: Pakistan cannot afford further domestic discord

    20 August 2014.  By Kiran Hassan, Research Assistant, South Asia Thousands of protesters peacefully marched towards the red zone in Islamabad on 19 August 2014, paralysing Pakistan’s capital city. Using a crane and bolt cutters to force their way past barricades of shipping containers, they camped in front of the parliament and are refusing to budge unless their demand is met. Their call is simple – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should resign. Sharif formed a...

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    Strategic snapshots: The Ukraine Crisis and the International System

    20 August 2014.  Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, will sit down on August 26 to discuss ways of containing unrest in Ukraine. In this GSR preview, Dr Samuel Charap addresses the motives and constraints of the players involved, whether an endgame or workable modus vivendi is in sight, and how the Ukrainian crisis will affect the long-term coherence of the international system and the rules by which it...

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    Karl Eikenberry: Sino-American conflict is not inevitable

    08 August 2014.  China’s recent economic rise has generated widespread predictions of an inevitable conflict with the United States. But, IISS Council Member Lieutenant-General Karl Eikenberry argues in a recent article for American Review  that while there’s a long history of conflict between established and emerging powers, China and the United Sates are not necessarily fated to repeat the pattern today. Acknowledging the numerous points of tension between the two countries, Eikenberry suggests...

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    Strategic Snapshots: US Power Projection: Measured or Enfeebled?

    05 August 2014.  Is a US abdication of global leadership and military power, perceived or otherwise, exacerbating conflicts such as those in Syria and Ukraine? Dana Allin expands on his recent Survival article to argue that restraint in US foreign policy has good precedent, despite fears that Washington has ‘overlearned’ the costs of military adventurism.

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    Strategic Snapshots: Hybrid Insecurity

    31 July 2014.  A new IISS research programme explores the threats to long-term development posed by complex security challenges. Virginia Comolli elaborates on the ‘hybrid insecurity’ confronting many developing countries, including the Boko Haram insurgency troubling Africa’s largest economy, instability posed by rapid urbanisation, and the role of organised criminal networks as surrogate providers of public services. 

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    Braz Baracuhy: The BRICS New Development Bank: A Geo-economic Game-Changer

    24 July 2014.  By Braz Baracuhy, Consulting Senior Fellow for Geo-Economics and Strategy The sixth BRICS summit, held in Fortaleza, Brazil, on 15 July 2014, is a milestone for the bloc of emerging powers. After two years of technical consultations among finance officials, this meeting led to the establishment of the BRICS New Development Bank and a Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). These innovations represent a geo-economic game-changer for the BRICS’ financial cooperation and its...

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    Virginia Comolli: 100 days and counting - a view from the US

    23 July 2014.  By Virginia Comolli, Research Fellow for Security and Development Today marks 100 days since over 200 girls were abducted in Northern Nigeria by Islamist militants belonging to Boko Haram. Following the widely embraced, albeit now nearly forgotten #BringBackOurGirls campaign, a new slogan in the ongoing Boko Haram saga appears to have been coined: ‘Bring back our army’.  This time however, it was not the parents of the missing girls who created...

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    Strategic Snapshots: Iran nuclear talks, glass half full?

    23 July 2014.  Is the decision to roll over negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme politically sustainable? Mark Fitzpatrick and Adam Ward discuss Ali Khamenei’s redline over centrifuges, the uncertain effects of the US midterm elections and the difficulty of calibrating sanctions with political pragmatism. 

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