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Launch of the Transnational Security Report in Abuja
  1. An evolving setting for regional conflict management
  2. The Middle East in the Shadow of Afghanistan and Iraq | RAND
  3. Two strategies for Europe: De Gaulle, the United States, and the Atlantic Alliance

Syria remains the most confusing state. There ISIS has played a significant role, though President Assad and his allies and opponents have continuously dominated developments. While Syria has been sliding gradually toward a potential military victory, efforts continue in search of a negotiated solution.

An evolving setting for regional conflict management

Yemen, while less in the public eye, remains similarly entangled with each side characterizing the opposition as violent extremists. Meanwhile, Libya is even more complex and is fraught with actions by Egypt and other outside players that have contributed to a domestic mess, which is difficult to unravel. All the while, fragility exists in other parts of the region—Jordan, Lebanon, and Bahrain. Each in its own way has carried the burden of domestic disruption aggravated by the intrusion of non-local, and often violent, players. The history of the Kurds, who have been known for tolerance and relatively low religiosity, is replete with tragic events.

They have had historically complicated relationships with the titular nations in the states where they live. In Iraq, during the course of this decade, Islamist terrorists have targeted Kurds, especially Yezidis who are treated as infidels by ISIS and other terrorist organizations that have been killing Yezidi men, enslaving and raping women, and selling their children. At the same time, the YPG and their political arm are considered terrorists by Turkey whose leadership views them as the main threat to the security of their country.

This controversial interplay of different forces is a part of the political landscape in the Middle East where the Kurds—with a growing sense of national identity—will continue to play an important role in regional politics. Policy in Countering Violence. A recent RAND study concluded that the most effective government role against domestic threats is to support state, local, and nongovernmental efforts. A noteworthy challenge is dealing with the large number of foreign fighters leaving the battlefields in Syria and Iraq.


Also, the displaced persons in Syria—particularly mothers and children—deserve special attention. Ludmila Babynina , Institute of Europe Russia. If Brexit is implemented, the border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland will become the external border for the European Union. The restoration of the Irish border will disrupt the functioning of the Good Friday Agreement, which will affect the entire peace process in Northern Ireland.

Although the Irish Republican Army IRA has disbanded with some of the former leaders becoming mainstream politicians, marginal extremist groups have remained in the region, ready to take advantage of an unstable situation. Although the Gulf Cooperation Council GCC states are united by historical, cultural, and social bonds, they remain distinct entities with unique specificities and vulnerabilities.

They have conflicting conceptualizations concerning Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Of particular importance has been the shift from inter-state wars toward conflicts with non-state actors that are focused on sectarian violence. The GCC states have become more proactive and assertive as regional powers with more expansive policy interests as oil prices fluctuate, and with the impacts of far-reaching economic and subsidy policy reforms.

It has a reputation of political stability and has not had a serious terrorist attack thus far. Violent Extremism and Sacred Values. The spread of transnational terrorism in tandem with the revival of parochial nationalism is fragmenting social consensus across the world.

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Governments and experts are struggling to understand how to get along with constantly polarizing conflict. Can social science help? What psychological and social factors operate to institutionalize and sustain extreme forms of group conflict, and what might be done? The moral and revolutionary aspects of transnational terrorism are significant.

The Middle East in the Shadow of Afghanistan and Iraq | RAND

Water Scarcity and the Rise of Violence. The relationship between access to water and violence is extensive. Interruptions of access may be used as a tool of violence, and loss of access to water at times follows the outbreak of violence. The interplay of water-related tensions with political, socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural factors often determines whether violence will result. About 1, new dams and water diversion projects with cross border impacts are planned or under construction world-wide. Pressures on limited water supplies are increasing, and climate change has been described as the ultimate threat multiplier Figure 2.

The need for adventure and glory have often been mentioned to explain why so many people are drawn to extremism—especially among young people. While the quest for glory has been documented, empirical evidence for the attraction of excitement and adventure has yet to be reported in the literature.

Several studies have shown that sensation-seeking mediates the relationship between the search for meaning in life and extreme behavior.

Two strategies for Europe: De Gaulle, the United States, and the Atlantic Alliance

Subsequent studies also indicated correlations between sensation-seeking and support for political violence. Very often it is not violence per se but rather excitement that attracts sensation-seekers, Schumpe and her colleagues successfully tested an intervention that mitigates support for political violence. Their findings showed that providing exciting yet peaceful alternatives such as membership in nonviolent groups can re-channel the sensation-seeking motivation into a pro-social direction Figure 3.

Shias, Sunnis, and Christians. What Are the Challenges for Iraqi Security? The establishment of al-Hashd ash-Sha'abi forces in Iraq changed the balance of power at the local territorial level across Iraq. Despite divisions within some confessional groups, the nature of al-Hashd has strategically strengthened the state. At the same time, this new approach carried with it many risks. The groups in control were not united and belonged to political forces with different agendas.

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  6. Nevertheless, the new structure largely determines and influences the formation of the Iraqi security landscape and its statehood. Developments, Challenges, and Messages in East Africa. To this end, some governments such as those of Somalia and Kenya have changed their counter-terrorism policies, including adding an element focusing specifically on countering violent extremism CVE.

    Uganda and Tanzania are also in talks with international organizations to develop a CVE component to their strategy. In this context, several community-based initiatives aimed at countering the narratives of al-Shabaab are underway. Some of these efforts aim to strengthen opportunities for voicing structural grievances within the current system and avoiding the use of violence to create positive social change.

    Others harness the energy of youth to speak out against terrorism in their communities Figure 4. On the other hand, data collected to assess the efficacy of de-radicalization programs, involving thousands of detained terrorists, suggest that the quest for significance can be turned around and redirected into a constructive direction, paving the way to conciliation, conflict resolution, pro-social behavior, and harmony in inter-group relations. Supportive outposts are being created there where people from Central Asia, Russia, and other states undergo special training.

    This can be seen as a direct threat to regional and international security, which urgently requires intensive efforts to curb common threats. One analysis shows that the new tactics of ISIS, which are banned in Russia, pose a complex set of threats for regional security; and a coordinated counterpoint has not yet been found.

    The Middle East in an Emerging World

    The best countermeasures include building Eurasian integration, including a coordination of the activities of law enforcement agencies; b harmonization of regulatory frameworks; and c intensification of interactions between civil society institutions, religious and education institutions, and humanitarian organizations in all states of the region. The role of political parties in providing non-violent outlets to armed violence is specific to patronage democracies, including India. In democracies that are not patronage-based, parties may remain important, but their platforms may matter more than the ethnicities of their leadership.

    In non-democratic states, institutions other than parties e. Some ethnic parties can deter armed violence despite an extensive body of literature that suggests that ethnic parties have a destabilizing effect on democratic systems i. Indeed, the framing of a civil war itself can have long-term consequences for the length of a war, the response of the state, the networks that are linked to the participants, and the lives of individuals who are involved.

    Based on research in Morocco, Iraq, France, and the Turkey-Syria border area, the revolution in Syria and the American invasion of Iraq are examples of the formation of groups that chose governing in accordance with the structure of the State. These groups resorted to violence to establish territories with a perfect continuum in the form of a modern nation-state. The militants who escaped the State advocated a utopian Islam based on law and bureaucracy.

    However, their struggle within the structure of ISIS failed. Therefore, the approach was to promote ISIS within the internal struggle of a revolutionary and non-revolutionary Islamic approach that derives legitimacy from modern political experience and translation from prophecy to ISIS theorists. With the fall of ISIS, the threat of jihadism will not diminish as a new phase of activity begins. Foreign fighters are returning home with the goal of resuming terrorist activities in appropriate settings.