• IISS Voices

    Kiran Hassan: Pakistan’s landmark election may change little

    28 March 2013.  By Kiran Hassan, Research assistant, South Asia Programme Pakistan is heading for an historic election on 11 May, in which one democratically elected government is due to succeed another for the first time in the country’s existence. President Asif Ali Zardari finally called the election on 20 March, after criticism from Imran Khan and other politicians that he was delaying the process. In fact, the PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) government headed by prime...

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    Claire Willman: Congo’s ‘Terminator’ faces the ICC

    26 March 2013.  By Claire Willman, Director-General’s Office Why would one of Africa’s most wanted and most ruthless men walk into the US embassy in the Rwandan capital, asking that he be transferred to the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands? That must have been the question on the mind of surprised American embassy staff in Kigali when M23 rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda unexpectedly handed himself in to them last week. He has since been...

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    Alexa van Sickle: The debate about Trident

    26 March 2013.  By Alexa van Sickle, Assistant editor It was, several older colleagues told me, one of the most thought-provoking discussions they had heard at the institute. With Britain’s ageing Trident nuclear deterrent in the news again – as defence cuts bite and a divided coalition government reviews the options for a replacement system – four of the United Kingdom’s most respected former civil servants came to Arundel House last week and delivered a one-and-half-hour masterclass in nuclear...

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    Elly Jupp: Avoiding the resource curse

    22 March 2013.  By Elly Jupp, Research Associate, IISS-Middle East Today Economist readers voted in the newspaper’s latest debate that Africa’s rise is real. But the margin was ‘surprisingly narrow’. This is a resource-rich continent where economic growth has often been hampered by corruption and poor governance. Indeed, countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Uganda have all at times faced what is commonly called ‘the resource curse’, where the discovery and sale of oil or valuable...

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    Dina Esfandiary: Uncertain chemical-weapons claims in Syria

    21 March 2013.  Dina Esfandiary, Research Associate and Project Coordinator of the IISS Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme, has an article in The Diplomat analysing recent claims of chemical-weapons use in Syria. Syria’s state news agency, SANA, made the first allegations on Tuesday when it broadcast pictures of alleged chemical-weapons victims having difficulty breathing and foaming at the mouth, in what it reported was the result of a ’terrorist’ rocket attack near Aleppo. The Russian Foreign Ministry then released a statement confirming the opposition’s use of chemical weapons, but presented no evidence...

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    Giri Rajendran: Chinese-US defence spending projections

    19 March 2013.  By Giri Rajendran, Research Associate for Defence and Economics In preparing the latest edition of the Military Balance, launched last week in London and this weekin the United States, the IISS team behind the book decided to try an experiment. Since the United States and China are the world’s biggest spenders on defence, and China a distant second, we wanted to see when both countries’ defence spending might converge. We based our projections on several hypothetical scenarios, including...

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    Pierre Noel: Controversy in the pipeline

    18 March 2013.  By Dr Pierre Noel, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Senior Fellow for Economic and Energy Security Last week, the presidents of Iran and Pakistan inaugurated the final leg of a controversial pipeline enabling Iran to export gas to energy-hungry Pakistan. The US, which has long opposed the much-delayed project, is warning that if it ‘actually goes forward’ the pipeline could breach the sanctions regime against Iran’s nuclear programme and trigger US sanctions against Pakistan. China’s...

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    William Choong: Hard truths about Singapore’s defence

    15 March 2013.  By William Choong, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security Recent months have seen national service and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) popping up as topics of discussion and debate among Singaporeans. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Monday a new committee would conduct a comprehensive review of the support network around national service. Recently, Mr Hri Kumar Nair, a member of parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh constituency, called for a defence tax on...

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    Mark Fitzpatrick: Nuclear escalation in South Asia

    12 March 2013.  By Mark Fitzpatrick, Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme During visits to New Delhi and Islamabad last week, I was disheartened by some of the discussions I had on nuclear doctrine. In both capitals, a dominant theme was the perceived need to restore credible deterrence, with seemingly little consideration for the implications of sparking a nuclear war. In New Delhi, leading members of the strategic community insisted that the restraint India had shown after terrorist...

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    Antonio Sampaio: Where now for Chavismo?

    08 March 2013.  By Antonio Sampaio, Research Analyst for Latin America In life, Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez had an appetite for fiery rhetoric, conspiracy theories and unpredictable policy decisions. Upon his death on Tuesday night after a two-year battle with of cancer, it appeared that at least some of his theatrical style had survived in the government in Caracas. Chavez’s chosen successor, Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, promptly expelled US military attaches, accusing them of plotting...

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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.