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Covid-19 Guest Post Insights International

GRI interview: Princeton historian discusses Covid-19 and macro risks

GRI recently sat down (virtually) with financial historian Harold James to discuss Covid-19 and emerging macro risks. James is the Claude and Lore Kelly Professor in European Studies and Professor

Security Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict: A Humanitarian Disaster

The ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray province threatens to become the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. War crimes, sexual violence and famine are reported to be widespread, and the Ethiopian government is restricting access for humanitarian actors and human rights inspectors. The escalating severity of the situation is eerily similar to scenes from the Tigrayan famine of 1983-85, and it is likely that it may play out in a similar, devastating way.

Security Sub-Saharan Africa

The Political Economy of Mozambique’s ‘Faceless Insurgency’

Since 2017, Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province has grappled with a brutal jihadist insurgency which threatens to spiral out of control and precipitate destabilising effects across East Africa. Ansar al-Sunnah, the militant group behind the escalating insurgency, has often been described as ‘more criminal than jihadi’, highlighting the centrality of the crime-terror nexus and underlying socioeconomic grievances as structural drivers of conflict that must be fully unpacked in order to respond effectively to Mozambique’s ‘Faceless Insurgency’. 

Latin America The Energy Briefing

The Struggle over Mexico’s Energy Sector: What’s At Stake?

Recently, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stepped up his administration’s efforts to reform the country’s Electricity Industry Law. However, these attempts have received criticism from the private sector and lawmakers. The dispute has the potential to affect Mexico’s relations with regional partners like the USA and Canada and, depending on the outcome of legislative elections in June, may even cause constitutional changes.

Africa Security

Hundreds of Nigerian Students Kidnapped… Again: Is Nigeria a Failed State?

The NY Times reported another kidnapping in northern Nigeria this past Friday. Armed men abducted 317 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara state. One police officer was killed during the attack. 

This is the second mass abduction in as many weeks and part of an alarming trend going back to 2014, when the violent extremist organization (VEO) Boko Haram abducted 276 girls from a school in Chibok, Borno state. 

Europe Insights

Future Trends: Far-Right Terrorism in the UK – A Major Threat?

Since the late 1990s, the threat to UK security from far-right terrorism has been considered to have been of minor concern compared to Islamist or Northern Ireland-related terror. However, within the past few years there has been a growth in concern about rising levels of far-right extremism. With the ideology spreading via the internet amongst a young audience, is it possible that far-right terrorism could become the major domestic threat to UK security?

Africa Politics

Elections called in a Contested Ethiopia

The political crisis in the North of Ethiopia is currently one of the most notorious humanitarian disasters in global affairs. The tragedy and ferocity of the conflict has sometimes distracted from it’s trigger: the delay of the 2020 federal & regional elections. Now, one year since their postponement, Ethiopians head to the polls to contest the leading Prosperity Party’s grip on power. Whether this will prove to be an opportunity to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions or a gateway to further crises remains to be seen.

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?

Politics South and Central Asia

Russia-Armenia Ties Complicate Turkish Regional Plans

In ending Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian-brokered accord between Armenia and Azerbaijan in November 2020 removes the Azerbaijani condition for the creation of a regional stability pact in the South Caucasus first proposed in 1999. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, hopes that Armenia will now take the steps needed to establish such a security system. However, the political crisis in Armenia since the November ceasefire calls into question whether Yerevan will have the willingness to commit to this regional initiative.

International South and Central Asia

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: How Delhi is losing the Indian-Chinese soft power game in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has increasingly become a focus of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the last decade. The Hambantota port development project is a notable example, an ambitious but costly endeavour by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which was in the end handed over by the government to a Chinese enterprise on a 99-year lease in 2017 to reduce its spiralling debt burden.