• IISS Voices

    Jenny Nielsen: Egypt exits non-proliferation meeting

    02 May 2013.  By Jenny Nielsen, Research Analyst, Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme Egypt has walked out of talks on the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) this week, over the slow progress on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East (MEWMDFZ). The unprecedented move presents a serious headache for the non-proliferation regime. Announcing his delegation’s withdrawal from the Preparatory Committee to the 2015 NPT Review Conference (2013 NPT PrepCom) on...

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    Sarah Johnstone: Tunisia’s wilting Jasmine Revolution

    30 April 2013.  By Sarah Johnstone, Assistant editor ‘Sorry ladies and gentlemen,’ the sharply dressed young man at the table behind me deadpans in French, as his female companion’s wild gesturing sweeps a bottle of wine onto the floor, ‘but we were talking about Rachid Ghannouchi.’ By bitterly invoking the name of the Islamist Ennahda party leader in a half-empty restaurant in downtown Tunis, my fellow diner neatly encapsulates the problems afflicting his country. More...

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    Wafa Alsayed: Kuwait’s opposition finds a focus

    29 April 2013.  By Wafa Alsayed, Research Analyst, IISS-Middle East The trial of outspoken political activist Musallam al-Barrak seems to be galvanising Kuwait’s fragmented opposition – at least for the time being. Thousands of Kuwaitis took to the streets in protest on 15 April, after Barrak was sentenced by a lower court to a five-year jail term on charges of ‘offending the emir’. The Court of Appeal’s decision to release him on bail last Monday defused some...

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    Mark Fitzpatrick: Sarin in Syria: What standard of proof?

    26 April 2013.  By Mark Fitzpatrick, Director, Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme Yesterday US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said it was likely that chemical weapons (CW) had been used on a ‘small scale’ in Syria. President Obama claimed in August that the use of CW in Syria would change his calculus on US intervention, but the intelligence must be examined carefully to assess whether his ‘red line’ on CW has actually been crossed. On Thursday, the White House said that although...

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    Virginia Comolli: The lost boys of Kano

    24 April 2013.  By Virginia Comolli, Research Associate for Transnational Threats What strikes me the most on my arrival in the city of Kano, in northern Nigeria, is the number of boys roaming the streets. Here in the heartland of the Islamist insurgency that has afflicted Nigeria for the past few years, children as young as four or five spend their days weaving among the chaotic traffic and begging for food. Sent to religious boarding...

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    William Choong: US pivot to Asia must come with reassurances

    24 April 2013.  By William Choong, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security Under sunny skies, the USS Freedom – the US Navy’s newest littoral combat ship (LCS) – cut a sleek silhouette as it approached Changi Naval Base last week. The warship’s arrival marked the start of an eight-month deployment to southeast Asia. Under a Singapore-United States agreement, up to four of these ships will be put on rotational deployments through Singapore. Speaking to reporters on the deck of...

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    Jenny Nielsen: An A-Z of the NPT preparatory committee

    24 April 2013.  By Jenny Nielsen, Research Analyst, Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme Acronym alert! Until 3 May, the Second Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2015 Review Conference (RevCon) of the parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will be meeting at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva. Still with us? The following alphabetical lists provides a flavour of what can be expected at this two-week gathering of states parties to the cornerstone...

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    Christian Le Miere: China’s new maritime focus ‘not all bad’

    23 April 2013.  China has clearly turned its eyes to the sea in its new defence white paper, which for the first time officially suggests ‘safeguarding maritime rights and interests’ and ‘protecting overseas interests’. The fact that Beijing followed up these words with a naval excursion in March to the James Shoal (or Zengmu Reef), the southernmost point of its extensive claim to the South China Sea, has only increased the nervousness among its neighbours...

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    Michael Elleman: Bushehr quake revives nuclear safety fears

    11 April 2013.  By Michael Elleman, Senior Fellow for Regional Security Cooperation, IISS-Middle East Gulf leaders have long been concerned that a serious accident at the Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr could expose their citizens to radiation. Bushehr’s location in an area of high seismic activity adds to public anxiety over the reactor’s safety. And on Tuesday, nerves were rattled when a magnitude 6.3 earthquake centred less than 100 kilometres from Bushehr killed at least 37 people...

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    Virginia Comolli: A new path for drug law enforcement

    08 April 2013.  By Virginia Comolli, Research Associate for Transnational Threats New approaches to combat the illegal drugs trade that focus on reducing the harm caused by drug markets are being debated, and have in some places been implemented, but changing the existing prohibition and enforcement ‘culture’ is proving difficult. ‘Zero tolerance’ approaches to combating the trade and use of illegal drugs, such as mandatory minimum sentences and automatic penalties, have often failed to reduce the...

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IISS Voices

The IISS Voices blog features timely comment and analysis on international affairs and security from IISS experts and guest writers.