IISS Voices


Torture and the CIA

The unclassified version of the United States Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation of suspected al-Qaeda detainees released on 9 December 2014 makes sobering reading, says Nigel Inkster.

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    Nigel Inkster: Torture and the CIA

    10 December 2014.  By Nigel Inkster, Director for Transnational Threats and Political Risk The unclassified version of the United States Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation of suspected al-Qaeda detainees released on 9 December 2014 makes sobering reading. The facts of the Senate report are not disputed. Between 2001 and 2006, the CIA detained 119 suspected al-Qaeda operatives in a number of secret locations. Of these, 26 subsequently proved to have had...

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    Nicholas Redman: Putin and the plunging oil price

    06 December 2014.  By Nicholas Redman, Senior Fellow for Geopolitical Risk and Economic Security Vladimir Putin depicted Russia as a state defiant under siege in his 4 December speech to both houses of Russia’s parliament. Sanctions imposed over the course of this year have hurt the Russian economy, which was already misfiring, but the bigger story of late has been the fall in the price of oil, from over $110 per barrel in...

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    Kiran Hassan: Pakistan and Iran - Jittery Neighbours

    03 December 2014.  By Kiran Hassan, Research Assistant, South Asia The relationship between Pakistan and Iran appears to be on an unstable trajectory. Although recent border tensions have exacerbated the situation, this negative state of affairs is ultimately the combined effect of several key political developments from the past sixty years. Border friction On 17 October, Iranian border guards killed one and injured three of their Pakistani counterparts in the Mand Tehsil of Balochistan's Kech district...

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    Nigel Inkster: Countering ISIS - the terrorist threat

    28 November 2014.  By Nigel Inkster, Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk At an IISS discussion meeting entitled ‘Countering ISIS’ at Arundel House on 27 November, Nigel Inkster, Director of Transnational Threat and Political Risk, said that young people who return from finding themselves ‘out of their depth’ in Iraq and Syria need to be distinguished from truly ‘dangerous extremists from whom the public needs to be protected.’ Further, these ‘misguided’ young men...

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    Becca Wasser: Unity restored among GCC states

    19 November 2014.  By Becca Wasser, Program Officer & Research Analyst, IISS At a surprise meeting in Riyadh two days ago, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain agreed to return their ambassadors to Qatar. This decision ends eight months of tensions with Doha and, in theory, signals a return to unity among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. At a time when the Gulf states are concerned with a volatile regional landscape...

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    Hanna Ucko Neill: Burkina Faso - a warning for Africa’s strongmen

    14 November 2014.  Will a popular uprising in a relatively stable nation force other African leaders to rethink plans to extend their time in power?

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    Matthew Cottee: The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit – a bridge too far for Obama?

    12 November 2014.  By Matthew Cottee, Research Analyst, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme In a serious setback to Barack Obama’s presidential legacy, last week Russia announced that it will boycott the final Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), an international gathering of world leaders convened to discuss how to prevent the threat of nuclear terrorism. The fourth iteration of the event, to be held in the United States in 2016, was apparently requested by Obama personally, despite...

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    John Chipman: IISS Cartagena Dialogue - The Trans-Pacific Summit

    06 November 2014.  By Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive of the IISS The IISS is delighted to launch a new international ‘Dialogue’ following in the footsteps of the successful Shangri-La Dialogue (Singapore) and Manama Dialogue (Bahrain). The inaugural ‘IISS Cartagena Dialogue: The Trans-Pacific Summit’ will convene from 6–8 March in Cartagena, Colombia. The summit enjoys the full support of the government of Colombia. A number of businesses have also confirmed sponsorship of...

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    Herve Lemahieu: Pre-election deadlock in Myanmar

    05 November 2014.  By Hervé Lemahieu, Research Associate for Political Economy and Security Speculation abounds over President Thein Sein’s decision to convene a roundtable bringing together party leaders with the heads of the military and election commission for the first time last Friday. Some analysts have interpreted the move as an attempt at reaching a ‘grand bargain’ between competing political actors and the military ahead of general elections scheduled for November 2015. Aung San Suu...

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    Antonio Sampaio: Mexico disappearances expose corruption undermining anti-drugs fight

    05 November 2014.  The disappearance of 43 student teachers in the town of Iguala proves that, having restructured federal security agencies in its war against drug cartels, Mexico must now reform local agencies and police

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