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Middle East/North Africa Security

Iraq and Syria: Do Profits Perpetuate Violence?

Years of civil war and political instability in Iraq and Syria have seen non-state actors rise to prominence. Many take a hybrid form, in which they have been semi-institutionalised by the state, qualifying them for the state payroll. However, the majority of these militias sustain themselves in other ways, notably from the shadow economy. This begs the question: for how long will illicit and informal economic activity persist and does its profits perpetuate violence?

Europe Security

The Turkish intervention in Nagorno-Karabakh may favour EU interests

As mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russia has sought to maintain influence in Azerbaijan and Armenia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In pursuing a strategy based on balancing competing Armenian-Azerbaijani interests over the disputed territory, Moscow is able to wield leverage in the South Caucasus without antagonising either Baku or Yerevan. However, the Turkish intervention on the issue in 2020 in full support of Azerbaijan tilted the power-balance of the conflict and cemented Ankara as a new security actor in the region.

Middle East/North Africa Security

The early dilemmas of Biden’s foreign policy towards the Middle East and the Iranian factor

During his first speech on foreign policy earlier in February, President Biden announced his decision to terminate US support for Saudi Arabia’s military operations in Yemen. Suspending offensive aid for the Saudi-led coalition, the recently-elected President decided to reverse one of the last foreign policy moves of Trump’s administration, by lifting the designation of Yemeni Houthi as a terrorist group.

Europe Security

A Common European Defence Policy may realise Georgia’s NATO ambitions

Since the Russo-Georgian conflict in 2008, Moscow has compromised the territorial integrity of Georgia through its occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Despite NATO’s concerns that offering a Membership Action

Asia Pacific Security

The Maldives – An Unlikely ISIS Haven

The Maldives, a small republic of 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, is traditionally a peaceful place, with most locals taking their security and stability for granted. However, today the Maldives has the highest per capita number globally of foreign fighters who have travelled to take up arms and fight in Syria. The government must reinforce its efforts to tackle the root causes of radicalisation, as well as the exacerbating factors in play on the islands. 

Security Southeast Asia

Myanmar Coup: a Return to the Dark Ages?

Myanmar is turning its back on a decade of democratization processes whilst facing a nationwide reckoning with its historical ethnic and religious divisions. If the military junta has decided power-sharing is no longer on the table, the choices Myanmar faces are stark.

Europe Security

NATO and the EU: What Does Brexit Mean for The UK’s Position in European Security?

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU last year calls into question the security implications that the split will have. The UK has continued to support NATO as the primary security provider on the continent and has acted at the forefront to reform the organisation to better address the changing security environment in Europe. On the other hand, the EU forges on with its efforts to form an autonomous strategic partnership to ensure European security through collective efforts. Without resistance from London, this policy is likely to go ahead creating uncertainty for the future of NATO in Europe and UK’s place in the security of the continent.

Africa Politics Security

The Political Economy of Sudanese Reform

Since the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir, the civilian Council of Ministers headed by Abdullah Hamdok has been tasked with realising the aspirations of the Sudanese people who took to the streets to protest for a better future. All the while, they are hindered economically by the legacy of Sudan’s affiliation with transnational terrorism. Meanwhile, the presence and influence of Sudan’s military officers remains significant, especially in the face of myriad security concerns, whose political ambitions are undimmed.

China Security

China in Mali and the Sudan: A Stepping Stone to Greater Chinese Influence in the UN?

China is pushing to become a bigger player in UN peacekeeping. Past involvements in conflicts in Mali and Sudan have shown that China is capable and willing to involve its own troops in UN missions. The decreased presence of other major contributors has allowed China to gain more influence within the UN. It is likely that China will capitalise on this, but at what cost?

Middle East/North Africa Security

Middle East – The resurgence of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq

Islamic State (IS) rarely makes the mainstream media headlines these days. After losing the last of their territory during the Battle of Baghuz Fawqani in early 2019, the “caliphate was declared “defeated”. However, 2020 saw a significant growth in IS attacks in their traditional heartlands of Syria and Iraq, as well as a growing presence in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and across large parts of the African continent continent. Despite the loss of territory, the ideology of ISIS was not defeated, and although it’s difficult to put a precise number on their manpower, there is evidence that they are re-establishing themselves in the Middle East.