• IISS Voices

    In praise of the Chemical Weapons Convention

    31 October 2013.  By Jenny Nielsen, Research Analyst, Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme Those of us who follow the review process of the inherently flawed, vague and discriminatory Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) often look envyingly at the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The CWC really is the Rolls Royce of non-proliferation and disarmament treaties, with its non-discriminatory architecture and extensive verification regime. As Daniel Feakes pointed out at IISS last week, the treaty‚Äôs blanket ban on...

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    ASEAN charmed, not spellbound, by China's moves

    28 October 2013.  By William Choong, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security With the continued US presence in Asia becoming shakier, and China stepping up efforts to gain influence, how is ASEAN reacting? Earlier this month, Chinese leaders pulled off a charm offensive in ASEAN that could well go down in the history books. Speaking to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders in Bali, Chinese President Xi Jinping doled out the goodies. These included more than...

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    Egypt in transition

    24 October 2013.  ‘The whole Middle East today is boiling,’ according to Ambassador Shaker, Chairman of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs. ‘And at the end of this boiling, probably something new will emerge … we don’t know what it is. It depends not only on us, but on the interference of world powers … we will have at the end perhaps a different Middle East than the one we expected to have.’ Sharing...

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    Nivedita Manchanda: Iran's Chabahar - a port of departure for India

    24 October 2013.  By Nivedita Manchanda, Intern, South Asia Programme The shipment was small but significant. When India received 20 containers of dried fruit from Afghanistan last month via the Chabahar port in Iran, it was an acknowledgement by New Delhi of its ties with two not universally popular countries. It also sent an unequivocal message to neighbouring Pakistan, which has historically blocked most trade between India and Afghanistan. India has made its position...

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    The way forward for Russia and Georgia

    17 October 2013.  IISS Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia, Samuel Charap, was interviewed by the Valdai International Discussion Club (Valdaiclub.com), a forum which focuses on Russia. In 2008, clashes between separatists and Georgian troops in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia resulted in a war, pitting Georgia against Russia, the separatist Republic of South Ossetia and the Republic of Abkhazia. In a five-day conflict, Russia defeated Georgia’s efforts to gain control of the area...

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    Virginia Comolli: The securitisation of drug policy in West Africa

    17 October 2013.  By Virginia Comolli, Research Associate for Transnational Threats  Over the past decade, there has been a growing concern among policymakers, international institutions and the media about West Africa’s role as a transit hub for drug trafficking; added to this are fears that terrorist groups are becoming involved in the drug trade. These issues complicate the already tense interplay between enforcing security and stability on the one hand, and delivering effective aid...

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    Secrets and spies

    14 October 2013.  UK politicians locked horns last week over ex-CIA analyst Edward Snowden's revelations about the extent of NSA and GCHQ surveillance, debating the morality of his actions and the potential fallout from the documents he leaked to the Guardian – and exposing the tension between privacy and security in a democratic society.    In a series of email exchanges published in the Guardian, IISS Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk, Nigel...

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    Rachel Ostrow: Russia looks to Asia

    11 October 2013.  By Rachel Ostrow, Intern, Russia and Eurasia Programme, IISS–US Like the United States, Russia has announced a ‘pivot’ to the Asia-Pacific region. Some Western analysts are sceptical that the pivot will have any substance, but perhaps, despite the obstacles Russia faces here, it would be a mistake to underestimate Russia’s relationships and ambitions in the region. Two prominent Western experts on Russia recently described Moscow’s shift as ‘not so much policy as...

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    Islam Al Tayeb: Sudan's Arab Spring?

    07 October 2013.  Protests in Sudan are entering a third week, as thousands have taken to the streets against cuts in fuel subsidies. In the worst civil unrest of President Omar al-Bashir’s 24-year rule, there were further demonstrations on the weekend in the capital, Khartoum, and in Sinnar, a farming town 250 kilometres southeast of it. The suspension announced on 22 September of fuel subsidies on gasoline and on gas canisters was the immediate...

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    Gulf states and the West

    07 October 2013.  A growing commitment from Western nations has contributed to the stability of Gulf states, but this relationship should include more formal mechanisms for enhancing regional security, argued participants at the Sherpa preparatory meeting for the 9th Manama Dialogue. The final session of the Sherpa meeting focused on the increasing importance of the relationship between the West and the Gulf. Traditionally, Gulf countries have seen their collective security as resting on two pillars: 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.