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Europe Security

Ukraine: In the Middle of Great Power Politics

Under pro-Western President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine has made substantial progress in its drive for EU and NATO membership. However, domestic successes have been overshadowed by the increasingly difficult international position Kiev finds itself in. Russia remains a security threat as the frozen conflict in the Donbass persists; yet the US appears to be pulling support, most notably by lifting sanctions concerning Nord Stream 2. China, a major trading partner and vital vaccine supplier, is offering a hand to Ukraine. But at what cost?  

Security South and Central Asia

Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan: The World’s Next Narco-State?

Shortly after capturing Kabul, the Taliban announced that it would crack down on opium production in Afghanistan, threatening a blow to one of the country’s most profitable industries. While the group was somewhat successful at drug interdiction during its previous stint in power two decades ago, a number of factors, including the need for popular support, international pariah-hood, and ongoing economic collapse, render it unlikely that the Taliban will truly follow through on its promise.

Africa Security

Will France withdraw from Mali?

The internal affairs of Mali have been closely watched by France since the Malian government requested defence from armed groups in the North, leading to the 2013 French intervention.  France has since invested large amounts of aid in developing the Malian army and state infrastructures to regain the trust of a large segment of the alienated rural population. Yet, the state-building element of the mission, as has often been the case during the 21st century, seems to not be producing the necessary effects, perhaps – along with the more recent actions of the Malian government – opening the door for a complete French withdrawal.

Middle East/North Africa Security

The Future of Afghanistan: Social Media Companies and the Taliban

Many political figures and analysts have made statements regarding their skeptical eye towards the progressive sentiments being shared on social media platforms by the Taliban. Yet, the terrorist group is still able to post freely facing barely any difficulties. The mass amounts of Taliban propaganda being spread online may increase the group’s political popularity, expand their member-base as well as international support, and ultimately, solidify their control in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s utilization of media platforms could potentially ignite a revitalized global Islamist militant movement and must be taken more seriously by social media companies.

Africa Security

Is Climate Change Fuelling Al-Shabaab’s Resurgence in Somalia?

Somalia has long struggled with the dual challenges of armed conflict and climate change, as observers of the fragile state suggest that the two phenomena are inextricably interlinked. Somalia’s experience illustrates how these complex linkages are indirect and contextual as shifting migration patterns, internal displacement and increased resource pressures exacerbate communal tensions and place unprecedented strain upon traditional modes of conflict management. Al-Shabaab has proved adept at exploiting such natural resource pressures and interclan tensions to fuel their jihadist insurgency in a manner which ominously foreshadows the future climate wars of the twenty-first century.

Europe Security

The Afghanistan Withdrawal’s Impact on the EU’s Strategic Autonomy

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan throws the NATO alliance’s sustainability into a state of flux.  European policymakers may pursue a more deliberate course toward strategic autonomy if they determine that America is no longer a credible partner.  Some quarters consider  independent European security to be an impractical overcorrection given Europe’s capability deficiencies.  The withdrawal from Afghanistan provides the opportunity for transatlantic policymakers to reassess NATO’s strategic priorities. 

Security South Africa

Mozambique: Cabo Delgado deployments pits SADC solidarity against Rwandan unilateral interests

Throughout July, both Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) deployed troops to Mozambique to combat the long-running Islamist insurgency. While the Rwandan troops were first to deploy, their secretive arrival has been dogged by controversy surrounding Rwanda’s intentions. Meanwhile, the SADC force has been troubled by more tangible concerns, such as funding. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi’s role in both cases has been contentious; pivotal in allowing the Rwandan mission whilst delaying the SADC deployment. 

Middle East/North Africa Security

Khorasan as the Next Syria?

As NATO forces prepare to finally depart Afghanistan, a resurgent Taliban, al-Qaeda and Islamic State threaten to reverse two decades of progress. Given the toxic combination of poor governance, political exclusion, dysfunctional economies, security vacuums and repressive regimes along Afghanistan’s porous borders, the potential resurgence of al-Qaeda and emergence of new challenges such as Islamic State-Khorasan Province threatens to transform the country into the epicentre of a new regional conflict complex across South and Central Asia. Despite assumptions that NATO’s withdrawal represents a conclusive end to the ‘War on Terror’, current indicators suggest this merely represents a dangerous new chapter in the struggle against global jihadism.

Middle East/North Africa Security

Rising tension due to Gulf maritime security: Possible threat to the global economy?

There was recently an attack on the Mercer Street vessel belonging to an Israeli billionaire, with Iran being blamed for the incident. These kinds of attacks have been happening since the beginning of the year, and it appears highly likely that they will continue. There is a possibility of maritime security breaches in the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz. Such developments could lead to a rise in political, economic and security issues, especially if they were to coincide with an Israel-Iran confrontation.

Security Southeast Asia

Hollow Diplomacy: Backlash at ASEAN’s Response to the Myanmar Crisis

As violence between anti-coup protesters and the Tatmadaw regime in Myanmar worsens, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member, remains uniquely situated to navigate towards a return to democracy. Their policy of ‘non-interference’, however, restricts the extent to which they can engage the crisis directly. The international attention and responsibility that ASEAN has accrued, with backing from international organisations and countries like the US, poses a risk to their credibility. If they cannot overcome their diplomatic limitations, ASEAN risks appearing ill-equipped to maintain regional peace and security.