Regions and Powers

Coordinator: Pavel K. Baev

​​​The Regions and Powers research group examines the interplay between conflict dynamics in particular regions and the shifts in global power balance caused by the rise of new state-actors. Stimulating critical discussion and brainstorming, the group seeks to bring together theory-informed and policy-relevant analysis of two major themes:  

1. The evolving character of conflicts and the experiences in preservation of peace in several dynamic regional settings

2. The expanding interests of non-Western state-actors and their ambitions for altering the agenda on major international affairs.

​In the first theme, our goal is to compare the dissimilar and often unique combinations of drivers that determine the trajectory of the long-going and fast-evolving violent conflict in Afghanistan; the management of inter-state tensions and the minimization of the risk of war in East Asia; the existence of unrecognized quasi-states and the transformation of civil wars in the Caucasus. We will also make frequent inroads into the trouble spots in the Greater Middle East – from Kurdistan to Darfur.

In the second theme, our main interest is in assessing the influence of the so-called ‘rising powers’ (often presented as the BRICS group) on the reconfiguration of the international political and economic agenda in the time of crisis, and their impact on dealing with the regional crises (examined in the first theme). While Western political attention is increasingly focused on China, we will grant it due attention, but we will concentrate on the behaviour of India, Russia, and Turkey, and seek to develop expertise on Brazil.

The key research questions the group will be dealing with are:

  • What is really new in the ‘new wars’?
  • How are the regional powers using their growing economic and political might for gaining global profile and challenging Western dominance?
  • How does the ‘state sovereignty’ concept change under the impact of technological globalization and the influence of ‘rising powers’?
  • How do history and culture shape regional patterns of political contestation and (non)intervention in conflicts?
  • Are transnational militant groups in their own right posing a fundamental threat to existent states, or is the effectiveness of such groups a reflection of their alliances with state actors?
  • In what ways do internal conflicts impact on global power contestation and what new instruments are used for managing these conflicts?
  • How did the long peace in East Asia emerge in the 1980s and what are the factors sustaining or eroding it?
  • Could Russia and Turkey forge a meaningful partnership for maximizing their impact on conflict development in the Middle East and the Black Sea area?
  • What means could be used for managing the unique concentration of inter-state conflicts and civil wars in the Caucasus?
  • How do regional powers and organizations interact with the United Nations during periods of conflict and post-conflict intervention?​

Projects

Current Projects

Past Projects

Research Group News

Past Events

Publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Baev, Pavel K. (2016) What drives Moscow's military adventurism?, Current History 115(783): 251–260.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) "Hybrid War" Is Bad for Business: Russia Seeks in Vain to Upgrade Its Quasi-Alliance with China, Journal of Defense Studies and Resource Management 4(1): 1–6.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Cohesion and Flexibility of NATO's Response to Russia's Problem, The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs 25(1): 22–31.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia's pivot to China goes astray: The impact on the Asia-Pacific security architecture, Contemporary Security Policy 37(1): 89–110.
Hatay, Mete (2015) ‘Reluctant’ Muslims? Turkish Cypriots, Islam, and Sufism, Cyprus Review 27(2): 43–63.
Charalambous, Giorgos & Iasonas Lamprianou (2015) The (Non) Particularities of West European Radical Left Party Supporters: A Comparative Study of Left Party Families, European Political Science Review: 1–26.
Kim, Woosang & Scott Gates (2015) Power Transition Theory and the Rise of China, International Area Studies Review 18(3): 219–226.
Charalambous, Giorgos; Bambos Papageorgiou & Adonis Pegasiou (2015) "Surprising Elections amidst Exciting Times? Of Proxies and Second Order Events in the Cypriot European Elections 2014, South European Society and Politics 20(12): 403–424.
Charalambous, Giorgos (2015) No Bridge over Troubled Waters: The Cypriot Left Heading the Government, 2008-2013, Capital and Class 39: 265–286.
Tønnesson, Stein (2015) Deterrence, interdependence and Sino-US Peace, International Area Studies Review 18(3): 297–311.
Baev, Pavel K. & Stein Tønnesson (2015) Can Russia keep its special ties with Vietnam while moving closer and closer to China?, International Area Studies Review 18(3): 312–325.
Rolandsen, Øystein H. (2015) Small and Far Between: Peacekeeping Economies in South Sudan, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 9(3): 353–371.
Tønnesson, Stein (2015) The South China Sea: Law Trumps Power, Asian Survey 55(3): 455–477.
Rolandsen, Øystein H.; Helene Molteberg Glomnes; Sebabatso Manoeli & Fanny Nicolaisen (2015) A year of South Sudan’s third civil war, International Area Studies Review 18(1): 87–104.
Rolandsen, Øystein H. & David M. Anderson (2015) Violence in the Contemporary Political History of Eastern Africa, International Journal of African Historical Studies 48(1): 1–12.
Gürel, Ayla & Harry-Zachary Tzimitras (2015) Beyond Energy: Remarks about the Direction of Turkish-Russian Relations and Their Implications for the Cyprus Problem, Energy and Integration In the Black Sea Region(18): 28–38.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia as Opportunist or Spoiler in the Middle East?, The International Spectator: Italian Journal of International Affairs 50(2): 8–21.
Gürel, Ayla & Laura Le Cornu (2014) Can Gas Catalyse Peace in the Eastern Mediterranean?, The International Spectator: Italian Journal of International Affairs 49(2): 11–33.
Bryant, Rebecca (2014) Living with Liminality: De Facto States on the Threshold of the Global, Brown Journal of World Affairs 20(2): 125–143.
Kolås, Åshild (2014) Degradation Discourse and Green Governmentality in the Xilinguole Grasslands of Inner Mongolia, Development and Change 45(2): 308–328.
Deka, Arunima (2013) Indigenous People and the International Discourse: Issues and Debates, Journal of Humanities and Social Science (IOSR-JHSS) 17(1): 87–99.
Heian-Engdal, Marte; Jørgen Jensehaugen & Hilde Henriksen Waage (2013) ‘Finishing the Enterprise’: Israel's Admission to the United Nations, International History Review 35(3): 465–485.
Baev, Pavel K. (2012) Траектория военной реформы в России [Trajectory of the military reform in Russia], Pro Et Contra 16(4): 171–184.
Tank, Pinar (2012) “Tilbake til pragmatismen: Tyrkias Syria-politikk” [A return to pragmatism: Turkey's Syria policy], Internasjonal Politikk 70(4): 513–519.
Baev, Pavel K. (2012) How Afghanistan Was Broken: The Disaster of the Soviet Intervention, International Area Studies Review 15(3): 249–262.
Jensehaugen, Jørgen; Marte Heian-Engdal & Hilde Henriksen Waage (2012) Securing the State: From Zionist Ideology to Israeli Statehood, Diplomacy & Statecraft 23(2): 280–303.
Baev, Pavel K. (2012) Russian Energy as a Challenge and a Bonus for European Security, Studia Diplomatica 64(1): 91–100.
Mjøset, Lars;Butenschøn, Nils; & Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2012) USA og det utvidede Midtøsten - et hovedspenningsfelt i verdenspolitikken [USA and the Wider Middle East – a Main Field of Global Political Tension], Vardøger 33(1): 120–182.
Jensehaugen, Jørgen & Hilde Henriksen Waage (2012) Coercive Diplomacy: Israel, Transjordan and the UN — a Triangular Drama Revisited, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 39(1): 79–100.
Tiller, Stian Johansen & Hilde Henriksen Waage (2011) Powerful State, Powerless Mediator: The United States and the Peace Efforts of the Palestine Conciliation Commission, 1949–51, International History Review 33(3): 501–524.
Kolås, Åshild (2011) Naga Militancy and Violent Politics in the Shadow of Ceasefire, Journal of Peace Research 48(6): 781–792.
Waage, Hilde Henriksen (2011) The Winner Takes All: The 1949 Island of Rhodes Armistice Negotiations Revisited, Middle East Journal 65(2): 279–304.
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2010) Caught in the Middle: Regional Perspectives on Afghanistan, Comparative Social Research 27: 277–305.
(2001) Nationalism in the Russian political spectrum: Locating and evaluating the extremes, Journal of Political Ideologies 6(3): 263–288.
(2000) Putin's Leadership Style: Ethnocentric Patriotism, Security Dialogue 31(3): 377–380.

PhD Thesis

Nilsen, Marte (2012) Negotiating Thainess: Religious and National Identities in Thailand's Southern Conflict. PhD thesis, Lund Studies in History of Religions, Lund University, Sweden.

Monograph

Harpviken, Kristian Berg & Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh (2016) A Rock Between Hard Places: Afghanistan as an Arena of Regional Insecurity. London/New York: Hurst/Oxford University Press.
Tønnesson, Stein (2016) Den östasiatiska freden [The East Asian Peace]. Stockholm: Makadam. RJ:s skriftserie.
Roy, Kaushik (2015) Warfare in Pre-British India - 1500 BCE to 1740 CE. Abingdon: Routledge.
Roy, Kaushik (2015) Frontiers, Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies in South Asia. Abingdon: Routledge.
Waage, Hilde Henriksen (2013) Konflikt og stormaktspolitikk i Midtøsten. Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk.
Tunander, Ola (2012) Libyenkrigets geopolitik: Humanitär intervention eller kolonialkrig? [Geopolitics of the Libya War: Humanitarian Intervention or Colonial War?]. Lund (Sweden): Celanders Förlag.
Kolås, Åshild; & Thowsen, Monika P. (2005) On the Margins of Tibet: Cultural Survival on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier. : University of Washington Press. .

Book Chapter

Baev, Pavel K. (2016) The interplay between the "Hybrid war" narrative and the "Sovereignty-Territory-Resoirces" discourse, in Riccardo Mario Cucciola, ed., The Power State Is Back? the Evolution of Russian Political Thought After 1991. Rome: Reset Doc (98–107).
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Future approaches to the Greater Middle East, in Hiski Haukkala, ed., Russian Futures: Horizon 2025. Paris: EU ISS (LV-LXI).
Tønnesson, Stein (2016) The Tonkin Gulf Agreements: a model of conflict resolution, in Jenner, C. J.; & Trong Thuy Tran, eds, The South China Sea: a Crucible of Regional Cooperation or Conflict-Making Sovereignty Claims?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (151–170).
Gates, Scott; Kaushik Roy; Marianne Dahl & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2015) Continuity and Change in Asymmetric Warfare in Afghanistan: From the Mughals to the Americans, in Gates, Scott; & Kaushik Roy, eds, War and State-Building In Afghanistan: Historical and Modern Perspectives. London: Bloomsbury (21–42).
Roy, Kaushik (2015) Introduction, in Kaushik Roy, ed., Chinese and Indian Warfare - from the Classical Age to 1870. Abingdon: Routledge (1–14).
Papadakis, Yiannis & Mete Hatay (2015) The Cultures of Partition and the Partition of Cultures, in Demetriou, Nicoletta; & Jim Samson, eds, Music In Cyprus. Farnham: Ashgate (19–36).
Roy, Kaushik (2015) British-India and Afghanistan: 1707-1842, in Kaushik Roy, ed., Chinese and Indian Warfare - from the Classical Age to 1870. Abingdon: Routledge (91–120).
Tønnesson, Stein (2015) The 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea: Why Has It Not Brought More Peace and Cooperation?, in Le, Thuy Trang; & Trong Thuy Tran, eds, Power, Law, and Maritime Order In the South China Sea. Lanham: Lexington Books (91–100).
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) The Conflict of War and Politics in the Soviet Intervention into Afghanistan, 1979-1989, in Gates, Scott; & Kaushik Roy, eds, War and State-Building In Afghanistan: Historical and Modern Perspectives. London: Bloomsbury (113–130).
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia Gambles on Resource Scarcity: Energy Intrigues in a Time of Political Crisis, in Steven, David ; Emily O'Brien; & Bruce Jones, eds, The New Politics of Strategic Resources: Energy and Food Security Challenges In the 21St Century. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press (245–260).
Demetriou, Olga (2015) Grand Ruins: Ledra Palace Hotel and the Rendering of ‘Conflict’ as Heritage in Cyprus, in Stig Sørensen , Marie Louise ; & Dacia Viejo Rose, eds, War and Cultural Heritage: Biographies of Place. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (183–207).
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia reinvents itself as a rogue state in the ungovernable multi-polar world, in Lipman, Maria; & Nikolay Petrov, eds, The State of Russia: What Comes Next?. London: Palgrave Macmillan (Pivot) (69–85).
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2015) Heart or Periphery? Afghanistan's Complex Neighbourhood Relations, in Gates, Scott; & Kaushik Roy, eds, War and State-Building In Afghanistan: Historical and Modern Perspectives. London: Bloomsbury (245–279).
Tunander, Ola (2014) Diskurs, identitet och territorialitet: Kjellens tankar om ett europeisk statsfôrbund [Discourse, identity and territoriality: Kjellen's thoughts on a union of European states], in Edstrôm, Bert; Ragnar Bjôrk; & Thomas Lunden, eds, Rudolf Kjellen. Geopolitiken Och Konservatismen. Stockholm: Hjalmarson & Högberg (203-223).
Kolås, Åshild (2014) Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding: Ideas, Approaches and Debates , in Upadhyaya, Priyankar; & Samrat Schmiem Kumar, eds, Peace and Conflict - the South Asian Experience. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press India (1–22).
Jacobsen, Elida K. U. & Samrat Schmiem Kumar (2014) The Plurality of Peace, Non-Violence and Peace works in India, in Upadhyaya, Priyankar; & Samrat Schmiem Kumar, eds, Peace and Conflict - the South Asian Experience. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press India .
Jacobsen, Elida K. U. (2013) Preventing, predicting or producing risk? India`s national biometric identification, in Kolås, Åshild; & Jason Miklian, eds, India`S Human Security. Lost Debates, Forgotten People, Intractable Conflicts. New York: Routledge .
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2012) Blodig Møteplass i et Splittet Nabolag, in Dyndal, Gjert Lage; & Torbjørn L. Knutsen, eds, Exit Afghanistan. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget (203–211).
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2011) A Peace Nation in the War on Terror: The Norwegian Engagement in Afghanistan, in Hynek, Nik; & Péter Marton, eds, Statebuilding In Afghanistan: Multinational Contributions to Reconstruction. London: Routledge (157–173).
Harpviken, Kristian Berg(1998) The Hazara of Aghanistan: The Thorny Path Towards Political Unity, 1978-1992, in Atabaki, Touraj; & O'Kane, John, eds, Post-Soviet Central Asia. : I. B. Tauris(177–198).

Edited Volume

Charalambous, Giorgos; & Christophoros Christophorou, eds, (2016) Party-Society Relations in the Republic of Cyprus: Political and Societal Strategies. London : Routledge. Advances in Mediterranean Studies.
Roy, Kaushik (ed.) (2015) Chinese and Indian Warfare - From the Classical Age to 1870. Abingdon: Routledge.
Anderson, David M.; & Øystein H. Rolandsen, eds, (2015) Politics and Violence in Eastern Africa: The Struggles of Emerging States. London & New York: Routledge.
Kolås, Åshild; & Zha Luo, eds, (2013) Pastoralism in Contemporary China: Policy and Practice. Beijing: Social Science Academic Press.
Miklian, Jason; & Åshild Kolås, eds, (2013) India's Human Security: Lost Debates, Forgotten People, Intractable Challenges. London: Routledge. Routledge Studies in South Asian Politics.

Non-refereed Journal Article

Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Will the US and Russia trade blows over Syria?, Newsweek.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia's perilous glorification of militarism: 1–2.
Jumbert, Maria Gabrielsen; Kristian Hoelscher; Benjamin de Carvalho & Pinar Tank (2014) Brazil: An Aspiring Global Power, Government Gazette.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Нефтегазовые проблемы во внешней политике России [Oil and gas problems in Russia's foreign policy], ECO 43(4): 78–93.
Kolås, Åshild (2012) What's up with the territorial council?, Seminar New Delhi): a Monthly Symposium(640): 2–7.
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2010)Troubled Regions and Failing States: Introduction , Comparative Social Research 271–23.
(2000) You Take Your Oath Only Once - Crimea, the Black Sea Fleet, and National Identity Among Russian Officers, Nationalities Papers 28(2): 289–316.

Popular Article

Baev, Pavel K. (2016) In foreign policy pause, Putin tinkers with domestic corruption, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Putin will find the world according to Trump a tough habitat, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) As US elections conclude, Putin rediscovers moderation, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Putin casts shadow over US presidential campaign, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russian military bases in Cuba and Vietnam: A real threat?, CGI Analysis.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Moscow gambles on raising the stakes - in Syria and across the board, Order from Chaos.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Younger crowd will not rejuvenate Putin's court, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russian elections overshadowed by rampant corruption, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Latest Kerry-Lavrov deal on Syria destined to unravel, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) A String of Intrigues on Putin's Eastern Tour, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia underperforms at pivoting , Policy Forum.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russian economy deteriorates as Putin focuses on squabbles among siloviki, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Dialogue with Russia produces universal frustration, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia's Pivot to China Is Reduced to High-Level Bonhomie, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Moscow promises responses to US and NATO activities, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia is showing uncharacteristic prudence, Order from Chaos.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Putin commits to countering new strategic "theat" to Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Virtual Militarism Grows Into Real Peril for Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia Seeks to Reenergize Its Pivot to the East, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia’s Aggressive-Repressive Policies Bring No Long-Term Gains, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) The precarious China-Russia partnership erodes security in East Asia, Contemporary Security Policy Blog.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Newly-formed National Guard cannot dispel Putin's multiple insecurities , Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Nuclear security and arms control are non-issues for Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) US diplomacy feeds Putin's sense of self-righteousness, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Putin's not-quite-withdrawal signifies a strategic retreat, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. & Sergei Aleksashenko (2016) Did Putin win in Syria? Or is he cutting his losses?, Order from Chaos.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) A lost year for Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) For Moscow, talks are about sowing discord, not solving conflicts., Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) With Russia overextended elsewhere, Arctic cooperation gets a new chance, Order from Chaos.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia bargains and bluffs for a breakthrough in Ukraine, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Иллюзия эффективности: Куда летят поссийские ВВС? [Illusion of effectiveness: Where the Russian Air Force is going?], RBC.Ru.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia’s Economic Degradation as Putin’s New Norm, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Unfriended: How Russia's Syria quagmire is costing it Middle Eastern allies, Order from Chaos.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russian Strategy Seeks to Defy Economic Decline With Military Bravado, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Putin cannot swallow the Turkish insult – and cannot retaliate, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Putin's Russia seeks place in the international anti-terrorism coalition, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) What is Russian military good for?, Order from Chaos.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Putin's desperation deepens as his blunders accumulate, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) "Samson Kompleksi" ve İntihar Saldırıları [The "Samson Complex" and Suicide Attacks], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 18.10.2015.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Antropoloji ve Arkeoloji'nin Sömürgeci ve Irkçı Çalışmaları [Colonialist and Racist Politics of Anthropology and Archaeology], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 11.10.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Putin's Syrian intrigue has yielded zero divedends, European Leadership Network.
Hatay, Mete (2015) 1912 Limasol Olayları ve "Kollektif Histeri" [1912 Limmasol Events and "Collective Hysteria"], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 30.09.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Will Russian military intervention in Syria continue after today?, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Osmanlı ve İngiliz Döneminde Toplumsal Cinsiyet [The Gender Politics During Ottoman and British period], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 27.09.2015.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Gökyüzündeki Rekabet: Çan kuleleri ve Minareler [The Competition in the Sky: Bell Towers and Minarets], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 20.9.2015.
Hatay, Mete (2015) "Kısın Yahu bu Hoparlörlerin Sesini": Kıbrıs'ta Geçmişten Günümüze Ezan Meselesi ["Turn the Volume Down": From Past to Present, the Issue of Ezan in Cyprus], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 13.09.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) How Russia and America make the same mistakes in Syria, Order from Chaos.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Kıbrıs’ta Kolonyal Fuhuş ve Hijyen Politikaları [Colonial Politics of Prostitution and Hygine], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 06.09.2015.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Hem Modern Hem de "Hanım Hanımcık" [Both Modern and "Proper Little Lady"], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 04.09.2015.
Tønnesson, Stein (2015) Krigshistorien sett fra øst: Når Kina markerer krigens slutt i morgen, stadfestes også partnerskapet mellom Kina og Russland [War History in an Eastern Perspective: When China celebrates the end of WW2 tomorrow, it also reconfirms its partnership with Russia], Klassekampen.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia's Arctic illusions, Order from Chaos.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Din değiştirme ve Kıbrıs Köylerinin Etnik Homojenleşme süreci [Religious Conversion and Ethnic Homogenization Processes in Cyprus], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 23.8.2015.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Kıbrıs’taki ilk Emlak Krizi, Osmanlı Sultanı ve Banker Zarifi [The first property crisis in Cyprus, Ottoman Sultan and Banker Zarifi], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 16.8.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia's reputation sinks precipitously in international opinion polls, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Kenan kardeşler ve "makul şüphe" mahkümları [Kenan Brothers and the prisoners of "reasonable doubt"], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 02.8.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) How long can Putin continue doing nothing?, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Anadolu İşgali, Kurtuluş Savaşı ve Kıbrıslılar [Occupation of Anatolia, Turkish Independence War and Cypriots], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 26.7.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) The China factor in Russian support for the Iran deal, Order from Chaos.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) The air tragedy that condemned Putin's Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Greek agreement and Iranian deal leave Russia disappointed and irrelevant, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Kıbrıs ve "Siyonist Projeler" [Cyprus and "Zionist Projects"], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 12.7.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Greece's Russian fantasy; Russia's Greek delusion, Order from Chaos.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Nazi Almanyası Yahudiler ve Kıbrıs [Nazi Germany Jews and Cyprus], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 5.7.2015.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Suudi Kralı’nın Kıbrıs Vakıfları üzerindeki hak iddiası [The claims of the King of Saudi Arabia on Cypriot Evkaf], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 28.6.2015.
Hatay, Mete (2015) 35. Paralel ve Göç Hareketleri [35th Paralel and Forced Migration], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 21.6.2015.
Hatay, Mete (2015) İlk Taksim Tezi: "Adayı Britanya ve Yunanistan Arasında Bölelim" [First Partition Thesis: "Lets Divide the island Between Britain and Greece"], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 10.6.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia is not strong, and Putin is even weaker, Order from Chaos.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Cumhuriyet'i Kimse Sevmemişti [No One Wanted the Republic], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 7.6.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Weakening Russia Curtails Population’s Access to Publicly Available Information, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) "Sıçan Kral" ve Londra Antlaşmaları ["The King Rat" and the London Agreements], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 31.6.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) The Kremlin grows nervous about the future, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) TMT: "Evet biz öldürdük" [TMT: "Yes We Killed them"], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 24.5.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Dubious otcome of Kerry's meeting with Putin, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Dubious Outcomes of Kerry’s Meeting With Putin in Sochi, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) TMT'nin Kara Listesi [The Black List of TMT Underground Organization], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 17.5.2015.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) After the swaggering celebration, a "Now what?" moment for Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Putin's political pause amid national mobilization, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Gazprom must compromise on EU charges, but Putin cannot, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia needs a Middle east crisis, Order from Chaos.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) The faltering Russian economy makes a renewed Ukraine offensive more likely, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Iranian deal leaves Russia in deeper isolation, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Celal Hordan Dosyası [The Celal Hordan File], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 05/04/2015..
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Apocalypse a bit later: The meaning of Putin's nuclear threats, Order from Chaos.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Putin's conveniently imperfect memory, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti Bayrağı ve İngiliz Belgelerine Yansıması [Invention of the Cypriot Flag and British Involvement], Poli, Havadis Newspaper, 29.3.2015.
Tunander, Ola (2015) Massakern i Benghazi [The Massacre in Benghazi], Ny Tid.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Two summits and a military exercise, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Hatay, Mete (2015) 'Asrın Projesi'nin 60 Yıllık Tarihi [The History of the "Project of the Century"], Poli, Havadis Newspaper,22/03/2015..
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Putin's disappearing act may be a sign of leadership crisis, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Free rein of special services makes Russia ungovernable, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Murder that revealed truth, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) After Debaltseve - Is there a chance for ceasefire?, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Diplomacy delivers another pause for struggling Ukraine and sinking Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia makes haste in severing ties with Europe, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Amid mounting domestic troubles, Putin tries to regain initiative in Eastern Ukraine, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Futile Hope for the Dubious Summit in Astana, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia enters new year mired in troubles, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Putin’s Ukrainian Triumph Is a Major Setback for Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Iran’s New Flexibility Exposes Russia’s Arrogance and Irrelevance, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Lawlessness as the Central Pillar of Putin’s Authority, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Moscow Becomes an Intersection for Two Waves of Anti-Regime Protests, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Putin’s Valdai Vision and Sochi Olympics Preparations Underscore Failure, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Putin in Denial About Economic Stagnation, and in a Rage About Arctic Sovereignty, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Putin’s Machine of Repression Destroying the Legitimacy of His Regime, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Putin Tries to Build on the Success of His Syrian Coup, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Neither the G20 Summit, Nor the Moscow Elections Went According to Putin’s Script, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) The Policy of Procrastination Expires at the Junction of Russia’s Crises, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Problem-Rich Context for the Obama-Putin Non-Summit, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Xenophobia Becomes a Thorn for Putin’s Bubble, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Local Politics in Moscow Goes Global, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Navalny Becomes Only Real Thing in Fake Russian Politics, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) The Disappearing Sense of Talking to Putin, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) The Issue of Neutrality in Putin’s Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Russian Economy Stagnates and Simulates Success on the Wane of Putin’s Watch, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Stalin’s Shadow over the Post-Reset Meeting Between Putin and Obama, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Turkish Turmoil Adds Unpredictability to Putin’s Creeping Coup, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Russia’s Predicament and the Plight of One Economist, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) The Spy Story: An Episode in Russia’s Confusion, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) What Surkov’s Ousting Signifies About Russia’s Course in Syria, What Surkov’S Ousting Signifies About Russia’S Course In Syria.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Kerry Succeeds in Faking Respect for Putin, but Fails in Building Trust with Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Radicalization and Simulation Intertwine in Putin’s Russia, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Putin Adopts Stalin’s Style, but Remains a Late Oligarch’s Legacy, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) The Cyprus Test for Russian Foreign and Economic Policies, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Russia’s History Is Too Tragic and Its Society Too Complex to Fit into Putin’s Worldview, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 20 March.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Chagrin and Ambivalence in Putin’s Foreign Policy, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 11 March.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Putin Looks for an Escape from the Dead End of His Presidency, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 4 March.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Capital Flight from Russia Tells a Tale About Regime Failure, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 25 February.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Disarray Among Putin's Elites Deepens as Russia's Self-Isolation Progresses, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 18 February.
Eck, Kristine (2013) Myanmar's democratic transition: Doomed to stall, Al Jazeera, 12 February.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Militarism is a poor fit for Putin's 'patriotic' kleptocracy, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 14 January.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Russia takes pause after incredible year of discoveries and disappointments, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 7 January.
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2012) Økende konfliktnivå i det fjerne Østen? [Increasing conflict in the far East?], Ukens Analyse, Atlanterhavskomiteen.No, 26 November.
Baev, Pavel K. (2012) Dirty elections grant Putin disappearing power, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 19 March.
Baev, Pavel K. (2010) Russian Foreign Policy Takes a Sensible Course on Iran and in the Arctic, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 27 September.
Baev, Pavel K. (2000) Putin's Honeymoon Coming to the End, Johnson's Russia List, 17 February.

PRIO Report

Bryant, Rebecca; & Mete Hatay (2013) Soft Politics and Hard Choices: An Assessment of Turkey’s New Regional Diplomacy, PRIO Cyprus Centre Report, 2. Nicosia: PRIO Cyprus Centre.
Faustmann, Hubert; Ayla Gürel; & Gregory M. Reichberg, eds, (2012) Cyprus Offshore Hydrocarbons: Regional Politics and Wealth Distribution, PRIO Cyprus Centre Report, 1. Nicosia: PRIO Cyprus Centre.

Conference Paper

Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Military Force: A Driver Aggravating Russia's Decline, presented at Russia in Decline, Washington DC, London, 27 June 2016.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russian intervention in Syria, presented at Ninth Annual Terrorism Conference, the Jamestown Foundation, Washington DC, 08/12/2015.
Tunander, Ola (2014) Rudolf Kjellen and the Birth of Geopolitics: A Geopolitical Scholar of the First World War, presented at The International Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, 26 March 2014.

PRIO Policy Brief

Nilsen, Marte & Stein Tønnesson (2016) A New Era for Myanmar – Trouble Ahead for Ethnic Minorities, PRIO Policy Brief, 5. Oslo: PRIO.
Nilsen, Marte & Stein Tønnesson (2016) A New Era for Myanmar – Trouble Ahead for Ethnic Minorities (Burmese Version), PRIO Policy Brief, 5. Oslo: PRIO.
Brattvoll, Joakim (2016) Uzbekistan’s ambiguous policies on Afghanistan, PRIO Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Harpviken, Kristian Berg & Benjamin Onne Yogev (2016) Syria’s Internally Displaced and the Risk of Militarization, PRIO Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.
Brattvoll, Joakim (2016) Is Russia Back in Afghanistan?, PRIO Policy Brief, 4. Oslo: PRIO.
Tønnesson, Stein (2015) ASEAN’s Rohingya Challenge, PRIO Policy Brief, 9. Oslo: PRIO.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Partnership of Contrarians, PRIO Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Nilsen, Marte & Stein Tønnesson (2014) High Risk of Electoral Violence in Myanmar, PRIO Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.
Nilsen, Marte & Stein Tønnesson (2014) High Risk of Electoral Violence in Myanmar (BURMESE version), PRIO Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.
Nilsen, Marte & Stein Tønnesson (2014) Myanmar’s National Census – Helping or ​Disrupting Peace?, PRIO Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Nilsen, Marte & Stein Tønnesson (2013) Political Parties and Peacebuilding in Myanmar, PRIO Policy Brief, 5. Oslo: PRIO.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Russia and Turkey in conflict (mis)management in the Caucasus, PRIO Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.
Nilsen, Marte & Stein Tønnesson (2012) Can Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution Be Made To Satisfy Ethnic Aspirations?, PRIO Policy Brief, 11. Oslo: PRIO.
Peoples, Mareah (2012) Egypt, the Rafah Border and the Prospects for Gaza, PRIO Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Tuastad, Dag Henrik (2012) Democratizing the PLO, PRIO Policy Brief, 3. Oslo: PRIO.
Naftalin, Mark & Kristian Berg Harpviken (2012) Rebels and Refugees: Syrians in Southern Turkey, PRIO Policy Brief, 10. Oslo: PRIO.
Suhrke, Astri (2011) Disjointed Incrementalism: NATO in Afghanistan, PRIO Policy Brief, 3. Oslo: PRIO.
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2011) Power Prevails: The Failure of Whole-of-Government Approaches in Afghanistan, PRIO Policy Brief, 4. Oslo: PRIO.
Klein, Menachem (2011) The Israeli Perspective on the Two-State Solution, PRIO Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Hovdenak, Are (2010) Hamas in Gaza: Preparing for Long-term Control?, PRIO Policy Brief, 11. Oslo: PRIO.
Gomsrud, Lars Seland & Mohamed Husein Gaas (2010) Somalia's Transitional Federal Government at a Crossroads, PRIO Policy Brief, 10. Oslo: PRIO.
Tuastad, Dag Henrik (2010) The Hudna: Hamas's Concept of a Long-term Ceasefire, PRIO Policy Brief, 9. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou & Mohammad Fazeli (2016) Iran and its Relationship to Afghanistan After the Nuclear Deal: A New Era for Constructive Interaction?, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou (2016) Regional Responses to Radicalization in Afghanistan: Obstacles, Opportunities and an Agenda for Action, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Doucet, Rachelle (2015) Modèles locaux de prévention et de gestion des conflits dans le Sud-est et le Sud-ouest d’Haïti [Local Models of Conflict Prevention in the Southeast and Southwest of Haiti], PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Eide, Kai (2014) Afghanistan and the US: Between Partnership and Occupation, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou (2013) The Persian Gulf and Afghanistan: Iran and Saudi Arabia's Rivalry Projected, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Pattanaik, Smruti S. (2013) Afghanistan and Its Neighbourhood. In Search of a Stable Future, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou (2012) Central Asia and Afghanistan: Insulation on the Silk Road, Between Eurasia and the Heart of Asia, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
South, Ashley (2012) Prospects for Peace in Myanmar: Opportunities and Threats, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou (2011) South Asia and Afghanistan: The Robust India-Pakistan Rivalry, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2011) A Peace Nation Takes Up Arms: The Norwegian Engagement in Afghanistan, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Høigilt, Jacob & Øystein H. Rolandsen (2010) Making Cooperation Attractive: Post-referendum Relations between Egypt and the Sudan, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2010) Afghanistan in a Neighbourhood Perspective: General Overview and Conceptualisation, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - Other

Tank, Pinar (2012) The Concept of "Rising Powers" , Policy Brief for Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF) , .

Report - External Series

Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia and Central-Eastern Europe: Between confrontation and collusion, Russie.Nei.Visions, 97. Paris: IFRI.
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Mistrust sets low ceiling for Russia-China partnership, PONARS Eurasia memo, 447. Washington DC: George Washington University.
Miklian, Jason; & Devika Sharma (2016) India’s global foreign policy engagements – a new paradigm?, NOREF Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre, 2016. Oslo: NOREF.
Miklian, Jason; & Jayashree Vivekanandan (2016) Bringing the region back in? Deciphering India’s engagement with South Asia, NOREF Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre, 2016. Oslo: NOREF.
Miklian, Jason; & Atul Mishra (2016) The evolving domestic drivers of Indian foreign policy, NOREF Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre, 2016. Oslo: NOREF.
Tanchum, Michael (2015) A New Equilibrium: The Republic of Cyprus, Israel and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean Strategic Architecture, Occasional Paper Series , 1. Cyprus : PRIO Cyprus Centre and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
Baev, Pavel K.; & Juha Jokela (2015) Arctic Security Matters - Russia's Arctic Aspirations, EUISS Reports, 24. Paris: EUISS.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Ukraine: A test for Russian military reform, Russie.Nei.Report, 19. Paris: IFRI.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russian air power is too brittle for brinksmanship, PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo, 398. Washington DC: George Washington University.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia’s policy in the Middle East imperilled by the Syrian intervention, NOREF Policy Brief. Oslo: NOREF.
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Could Russia become a serious spoiler in the Middle East?, PONARS Eurasia: Policy Memo, 359. Washington DC: George Washington University.
Høigilt, Jacob; Akram Atallah; & Hani el-Dada (2013) Palestinian youth activism: new actors, new possibilities?, NOREF Report. Oslo: NOREF.
Baev, Pavel K. (2013) Russia assumes and exploits the chairmanship of the G20, NOREF Policy Brief. Oslo: NOREF.
Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2013) Initiatives to Foster an Afghan Peace Process, 2001-12: A Role for Norway? , NOREF Report Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF).
Rolandsen, Øystein H.; Ingrid Marie Breidlid; & Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert (2012) Negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan: a two-track process could facilitate agreements on outstanding issues., Noref Article. Oslo: Noref.
Tank, Pinar (2012) The Syria crisis: Challenges to Turkey’s role in the new Middle East, NA. IKOS, New Middle East Project - University of Oslo.
Tank, Pinar (2012) The AKP’s foreign policy challenges after the Arab Spring, IKOS, 3. University of Oslo: Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS).
Baev, Pavel K. (2012) Russia's Arctic Policy and the Northern Fleet Modernization , Russie.Nei.Visions , 65. IFRI.
Høigilt, Jacob (2011) Who's who in the new Egypt? A mapping of prominent actors of change, NOREF Report. Oslo: NOREF.
Høigilt, Jacob (2010) Darfur between war and peace, NOREF Article. Oslo: NOREF.
Suhrke, Astri;Wimpelmann Chaudhary, Torunn;Hakimi, Aziz;Harpviken, Kristian Berg;Sarwari, Akbar; & Strand, Arne (2009) Conciliatory Approaches to the Insurgency in Afghanistan: An Overview, CMI Report, 1. : Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Book Review

Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Review of Richard Shirreff, ed., 2017 War with Russia, in JPR .
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Review of David Shambaugh, ed., China's Future, in JPR .
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Review of Robert Legvold, ed., Return to Cold War, in JPR .
Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Review of Robert Blackwill, ed., War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft, in JPR .
Kolås, Åshild (2015) Review of The Arctic Contested, in International Affairs 91(2): 423–424.

Blog Posts

White Helmets in the Dark Night

Posted by Marte Heian-Engdal on Tuesday, 4 October 2016

In the long dark night that is the Syrian nightmare, the White Helmets have become the only ray of light. “In an earlier PRIO blog post, Erica Chenoweth observed that “there are really two types of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates – elites (or elite-led institutions) and ordinary people.” This year, for example, the Colombian nominees President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC guerilla leader Timoleón Jiménez, one of the duos on PRIO Director Kristian Berg Harpviken’s shortlist, would be an example of the former, while the Syrian Civil Defence, or the White Helmets as they are better known as, clearly ...

An Alarm from Aleppo

Posted by Marte Heian-Engdal on Friday, 30 September 2016

At dawn on 23 September, Syrian and Russian fighter jets roared over eastern Aleppo, bringing new death and destruction to the city’s besieged inhabitants. The attacks followed several days of relative quiet, but the ensuing days and nights were worse than ever. The chaos makes it difficult to determine exactly how many were killed, but between 50 and 70 people lost their lives in the course of that one morning. The death toll is not only difficult to confirm; it is also difficult to comprehend. When the United Nations stopped counting in 2014, the war had taken at least 300,000 ...

Women, Peace and Security?

Posted by Cecilie Fleming on Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Norwegian government had lofty ambitions to implement UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in Faryab Province in Afghanistan. However, attempts to realise these ambitions were half-hearted. The role of the gender adviser became a political alibi for the Norwegian Provincial Reconstruction Team’s haphazard efforts to implement the resolution. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in October 2000. Norway, a leading nation in the fields of peace negotiation, human security and women’s equality, became one of the first countries to develop a national action plan to implement the resolution. The national ...

Rhetoric as Required

Posted by Pia Bergmann on Tuesday, 20 September 2016

From “the pre-emptive defence of Norway”, to “conflict resolution and peace”, even in the event of “war-like actions”, Norwegian politicians have adapted their rhetoric on Afghanistan as required by circumstances and public opinion. From day one, the Norwegian government has been enthusiastic in its support of intervention in Afghanistan. But over the years many different reasons have been put forward to justify Norwegian involvement. If one considers the period from 2001 to the present day as a whole, the only phrase that has remained set in stone is “a clear UN mandate”. Apart from that, it is possible to identify ...

Latest Kerry-Lavrov Deal on Syria Destined to Unravel

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The agreement on managing the Syrian civil war, reached between the United States and Russia in Geneva in the early hours of Saturday, September 10, was both surprising and pre-determined. US Secretary of State John Kerry had invested so much effort in the endless rounds of marathon talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the absence of a deal would have amounted to a personal failure. US President Barack Obama, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin a week ago in Hangzhou, China, for the G20 summit (September 4–5), was far from enthusiastic about the prospects for such a ...

Are We Nearing an End to Buddhist Extremism in Myanmar?

Posted by Marte Nilsen on Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Ma Ba Tha and similar groups of extremist monks in Myanmar could face resistance after a government official finally rebuked their brand of nationalism. It took just one dismissive comment from the chief minister of Yangon to seemingly deflate Ma Ba Tha. The Buddhist nationalist organisation has become known for its provocative segregation policies and derogatory depictions of Muslims, but now, almost for the first time, they were the ones under attack. It was a big moment, but the events that followed should be viewed in context of the massive political and religious reorientation taking place in Myanmar. Both political ...

Russia Underperforms at Pivoting

Posted by Pavel Baev on Friday, 2 September 2016

Vladivostok, which had an expensive facelift for the 2012 APEC summit, will this week host the Eastern Economic Forum, and President Vladimir Putin is due to preside over the proceedings. His goal is to reassert Russia’s commitment to playing a major role in Asia-Pacific geopolitics and to reinvigorate business ties with this dynamic region. The provisional results of Russia’s “pivot” to the East, launched two and a half years ago against the backdrop of the Ukraine conflict, are nevertheless quite disappointing. Not only has the volume of trade shrunk by about a third in this time, but Moscow’s ability to ...

A Bug in the System

Posted by Marte Heian-Engdal on Friday, 2 September 2016

Palestine does not exist on the map and is also not easy to find in the jam-packed schedules of diplomats working with the Middle East. A Twitter storm was unleashed a couple of weeks ago when rumours spread among pro-Palestinian activists that Google had removed Palestine from its mapping service. The internet ignited as only the internet can. The hashtag #PalestineisHere went viral, accompanied by demands that Google reinstate Palestine on its map. It turned out, as happens from time to time, that the rumour mill was quite simply ill-informed. Google rejected the story. It had certainly not deleted Palestine ...

No More Lost Opportunities

Posted by Harry Tzimitras on Thursday, 1 September 2016

The leaders of Cyprus’ communities enjoy a rapport that would seem encouraging for settling decades-long differences. But new geopolitical realities could easily sideline progress. The time is now for visionary and credible political initiative, coupled with the constructive engagement of the international community. Few would disagree that negotiations for the solution of the decades-old Cyprus problem have made considerable progress. But few would agree that the final solution is only a matter of time. The euphoric climate surrounding the negotiations, prompted especially by the good rapport between the leaders of the two communities leads to much optimism. At the same ...

India’s Membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime

Posted by Rajiv Nayan & Åshild Kolås on Thursday, 18 August 2016

India became the 35th member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on 27 June 2016. The MTCR is an informal and voluntary association of suppliers of ballistic and cruise missiles capable of delivering Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), and other unmanned aerial vehicles. It was established in 1987 with merely seven countries. Though the MTCR does not force any of its members to take ‘legally binding obligations’, in reality, members normally incorporate decisions taken in the informal body. During the Cold War, as more countries joined the MTCR, there were frequent struggles among its members over harmonization. In 1992, ...

France’s Response to Terror

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken on Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Following the terror attack in Nice, the French President Hollande has responded to mounting criticism by sharpening both his rhetoric and the country’s proposed reactions to terror. But no society can be protected against all risks, and anti-terror efforts do not always have the intended effects. Within a split second, in the afternoon of 14 July, the beach promenade in Nice turned into a scene of terror . The weapon was an ordinary truck. The perpetrator was a petty criminal, a Tunisian citizen, with no known extremist propensities. It is not yet clear whether he carried out the attack alone, ...

Blair’s Global Vision – and Lacking Knowledge Base

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken on Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Tony Blair took the decision to take part in the military intervention in Iraq in 2003 more or less on his own, and based it on very scant knowledge. Are there reasons to fear the same happening again? The British Chilcot Commission has released a crushing verdict over former PM Tony Blair’s decision to stand side by side with the US in Iraq in 2003. How was it possible for such an important decision to be taken without serious consideration of its long-term consequences? Prior to the presentation of the Commission’s report, John Chilcot expressed that its aim was to ...

Putin's Trip to Beijing Yields few Fruits, if any

Posted by Pavel Baev on Thursday, 30 June 2016

Expectations regarding President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing on Saturday (June 25) had been rather subdued, and the modest results were mostly immaterial. Last year, the two leaders grandiosely celebrated their countries’ World War II victory over the Axis powers; and in 2014, they announced a great increase in economic ties and an allegedly historic natural gas deal (see EDM, May 22, 2014). But the implementation of this deal has been delayed, and the volume of bilateral trade—instead of the promised fast expansion—has contracted by about 30 percent. Thus, Putin’s argument that the Russia-China relationship should be redefined from a ...

The Right to Decide: Exit and Basque Self-Determination

Posted by Åshild Kolås on Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Five years ago, the Basque militant group ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom) announced a unilateral and permanent cessation of operations. Since then, the disappearance of political violence has given rise to a new debate on Basque nationhood: more inclusive, more open, more civic, and at the same time stronger in its affirmation of the legitimacy of popular sovereignty and the democratic demand to exercise ‘the right to decide’, as against the earlier radicalism of immediate independence. A new book edited by Pedro Ibarra Güell and Åshild Kolås, Basque Nationhood Towards a Democratic Scenario, takes stock of the contemporary re-imagining of ...

Political Defeat – Military Inadequacy! The Swaddling Blanket of Intervention

Posted by Robert Mood on Thursday, 9 June 2016

The military interventions by the West in the Middle East, Afghanistan and North Africa in recent years are examples of bold and efficient use of force resulting in immediate achievement of goals. Saddam Hussein’s military forces were defeated, the Taliban were deprived of their havens and possible massacres in Libya were prevented. The attempts however to build stable democracies in the aftermath of such use of military force have been less successful. Iraq, Syria and Libya are all once again experiencing significant conflict, and the Taliban are back on the advance. These are clear reminders that the use of classical ...

Russia is showing uncharacteristic prudence - Why, and will it last?

Posted by Pavel Baev on Monday, 6 June 2016

With the NATO summit in Warsaw coming up in July, the rhetoric in many Western quarters is becoming shriller about the need to contain Russian aggression. There are good reasons for concern about Russia’s intentions and capabilities, as elaborated at the recent Lennart Meri conference in Tallinn. But in the last couple of months, Moscow has actually been quite prudent. This self-restraint is entirely uncharacteristic and is often accompanied by typically assertive language, but it shouldn’t be ignored and deserves a closer look. What self-restraint? There is no denying Russia’s propensity to—and even preference for—using military force. However, this tendency hasn’t ...

The ‘Sovereign’ according to Ola Tunander

Posted by Åshild Kolås on Monday, 30 May 2016

On Friday 27 May 2016, PRIO celebrated Ola Tunander’s 30-year academic career with a seminar on ‘Sovereignty, Subs and PSYOPS’, and a reception. The celebration was, of course, focused on Ola and his work, spanning topics from the geopolitics and organic state theory of Rudolf Kjellén to the 27 October 1981 ‘Whiskey on the Rocks’ submarine crash in the Swedish Archipelago. Obviously, sovereignty was a key topic of the seminar, and is arguably also the critical theme of Ola’s work. As a digital footnote to the seminar, and a distillation of the ‘sovereign’ according to Ola Tunander, here are some ...

The Precarious China-Russia Partnership Erodes Security in East Asia

Posted by Pavel Baev on Friday, 22 April 2016

With the explosion of the Ukraine crisis in spring 2014, Russia made a determined effort to upgrade its strategic partnership with China and achieved instant success. Large-scale economic contracts were signed in a matter of a few months, and the military parades in Moscow and Beijing in respectively May and September 2015, in which the two leaders stood shoulder to shoulder, were supposed to show the readiness of two world powers to combine their military might. In fact, however, the partnership has encountered serious setbacks and as of spring 2016, is significantly off-track. It is the economic content of bi-lateral ...

Myanmar's Ethnic Minorities Marginalized More

Posted by Marte Nilsen & Stein Tønnesson on Wednesday, 13 April 2016

For the first time in over half a century, Myanmar has a government with a popular mandate, led by the National League for Democracy (NLD). Although the Myanmar armed forces still have extensive political powers under the 2008 constitution, and may seriously curtail the independent action of the new government, the inauguration of President Htin Kyaw represents a radical increase in the internal and international legitimacy of the Myanmar State. Paradoxically, this coincides with a setback for the country’s ethnic minorities and their struggle for autonomous status. Myanmar’s ethnic minority organisations now face a double marginalisation, militarily as well as ...

The Politics of Fun in Egypt

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Monday, 4 April 2016

Yes, this little piece will relate to Asef Bayat’s gem of an article ‘Islamism and the politics of fun.’ But first a comment on the current goings-on in Egypt. The last time I visited the country, in early February, the news about the murder of Giulio Regeni broke. The Italian PhD student was tortured for a week and then killed. The Egyptian security authorities deny that they have been involved, but nobody believes them, just as nobody believes them when they claim they do not abduct Egyptian citizens – the so-called ‘forced appearances.’ The murder of Regeni was chilling to ...

India’s Nuclear Behavior

Posted by ​Kanica Rakhra on Wednesday, 30 March 2016

India’s Nuclear Policy has been the subject of debate for many decades now. A non-signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, the country has pursued an atomic bomb amid regional tensions and precarious relations with its neighbors. India has also used its nuclear weapon to bolster its national identity tied to the concept of ‘security’. Despite all this, the state has been provided tacit support for its nuclear program and given back door entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group. As a recognized nuclear weapons state, India has been integrated economically as well as politically into the international system.This text explores the different ...

Ceasefire as a Fig Leaf for Carnage and Confusion

Posted by Pavel Baev on Thursday, 25 February 2016

Just a couple of weeks ago, Aleppo was seen as a crucial battlefield in the Syrian civil war and was compared with Sarajevo as a tragedy of intolerable proportions not only by hard-hitting journalists but also by such responsible politicians as Michael Fallon, UK Defence Secretary. Yet presently, this devastated city is portrayed as the main beneficiary of the ceasefire deal negotiated by US State Secretary John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and announced with due solemnity by President Vladimir Putin. The proposals for enforcing a no-fly zone and for punishing Russia with more sanctions appear to be ...

New Developments in Drone Proliferation: How Africa was Deployed to Rescue Drones

Posted by Kristin B. Sandvik on Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Debates on global drone proliferation tend to assume that adoption and adaptation of drones follow a universal logic and that the drone industry is a singular thing, geographically concentrated in the Global North. In this blog post I argue that these assumptions make it difficult to critically assess the growth in drone use across Africa. I suggest that one way to think about African drone proliferation is by considering the way drones and Africa are being construed as solutions to each other’s problems: drones are seen as a game changer for develop­ment and security, while in return Africa inspire new ...

The Iranian Nuclear Issue

Posted by Gregory M. Reichberg on Thursday, 18 February 2016

I have been tracking the Iranian nuclear issue for about ten years. Important in its own right, this issue also has significant implications for the international agenda on nuclear weapons disarmament. Let it be noted at the outset that the expression in question – “Iranian Nuclear Issue” – is a freighted one; it suggests the problem rested squarely with Iran, that the other countries involved (the P5 + 1 or more accurately the E3+3) were responding to a problem of Iranian making. Things were never so simple, as the issue was as much or perhaps even more a European and especially ...

Unfriended: How Russia's Syria Quagmire is Costing it Middle Eastern Allies

Posted by Pavel Baev on Friday, 8 January 2016

At a time when most Russians were taking a long break from politics until after the Orthodox Christmas on January 7, there has been no respite in Russia’s air operations in Syria, nor in the quarrel with Turkey. Rather than focus on the bread-and-butter issues of making ends meet, Russian policymakers seem to be instead preparing their next round of conflict escalation in an attempt to energize the populace around a new rallying cry. The Kremlin cannot afford a sobering up that awakens the public to the stress of falling incomes and shameless corruption. So, it is working to supply ...

Russian Strategy Seeks to Defy Economic Decline with Military Bravado

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 5 January 2016

President Vladimir Putin concluded 2015 with the approval of a revised National Security Strategy, which defines the strengthening of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a threat and commits to countering it by securing the unity of Russian society and by building up the country’s defense capabilities. In the course of the past year, Russia entered into a complex and self-propelling crisis—and the Kremlin’s only anti-crisis response has been to exploit the confrontation with the West as a means of sustaining “patriotic” mobilization and explaining away Russia’s deepening decline by pointing to hostile outside pressure. The new Strategy is ...

A Drama in Several Acts

Posted by Marte Heian-Engdal on Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Nearly five years since Tunisia’s revolution began to spread, the hopes and expectations of democracy have been replaced by despair and fear of what will follow. This has been an important and proud autumn for Tunisia and the Tunisian people. Ever since the Chair of the Nobel Committee, Kaci Kullmann Five, announced in October that the Peace Prize had been awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (and once everyone had discovered via Google that the Quartet was not in fact a group of jazz musicians) the “Tunisian Model” has quite rightly received much praise and attention. Both when announcing ...

Bosnia 20 Years On

Posted by Inger Skjelsbæk on Monday, 21 December 2015

The Dayton agreement ended the war. But with children from different ethnic groups unable to attend school together in many places, its intentions concerning reconciliation have unfortunately not been realized. “Of course I don’t need good grades in Bosnian when I’ve got good grades in English,” says a 13-year-old to his father in Sarajevo. The boy, who usually does well at school and has consistently good grades, has this year done slightly worse than usual in Bosnian, which is his mother tongue. His father is concerned. “But, why don’t you need good grades in Bosnian?” asks the father, with some ...

Myanmar: What now for Women and Minorities?

Posted by Iselin Frydenlund on Thursday, 17 December 2015

Will Aung San Suu Kyi dare to engage in a direct confrontation with religious nationalism and insist that the new parliament reconsider Myanmar’s laws on
 race and religion? Doing so could cost her dearly. Sexual violence Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) has been in a continuous state of civil war since its foundation as a state in 1948. Different ethnic minorities have opposed the central government, because they view the state as illegitimate. The resulting wars have led to enormous suffering for women, men and children. War affects women and men differently, however. A particularly serious consequence has been the ...

Dialogue is Not Enough

Posted by Kristian Takvam Kindt on Thursday, 10 December 2015

Why did Tunisia succeed in reaching a compromise that led to democratic development, while other countries in the region have failed? The answer does not lie in the large numbers of activists and demonstrators. There were also massive crowds protesting against the regimes in countries such as Egypt and Yemen. Nor is the answer an absence of Islamists. Islamist parties dominated in all the Arab countries. Following the award of the Peace Prize, politicians and commentators have emphasized that the award shows the importance of “dialogue” and “compromise” in the building of strong democracies. But dialogue alone is insufficient. In ...

Russia Breaks the Partnership with Turkey – but Builds a New One with Iran

Posted by Pavel Baev & Joakim Brattvoll on Thursday, 26 November 2015

De-escalation of the crisis between Russia and Turkey, caused by the first ever air fight between them resulting in a destruction of a Russian Su-24, has suddenly become the hottest issue in global affairs. What has been overshadowed by this clash of military missions and political ambitions is the strengthening of ties between Russia and Iran achieved in the course of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tehran on 23 November 2015. This partnership-building may be of importance for the Syrian war, for the wider Middle East and beyond. All war trails lead to Damascus Since the start of Russian military ...

What is the Russian Military good for?

Posted by Pavel Baev on Thursday, 5 November 2015

The Russian military intervention in Syria—launched in a great rush just over a month ago — came as a surprise; perhaps not as shocking as the swift occupation and annexation of Crimea, but a surprise nevertheless. But does Russia’s ability to surprise and to project force in Syria prove, as Garret Campbell claims, that Western attempts “to discredit Russian military capabilities” were inaccurate? In fact, the first month of the operation tells us little about Russian military capabilities. It does show that the Russian leadership is prepared to play with military instruments of policy way beyond the limit of, for ...

A Predicted Tragedy

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The last time that the Palestinians staged a collective uprising in anger and frustration was in 2000. Why is there a new wave of violence now? The Palestinians have been betrayed by everyone: by their own leaders, by Israel, and by the international community. Their sense of hopelessness has bred the recent uncoordinated knife attacks. The fundamental problem – one that is spoken of all too seldom by diplomats and politicians – is Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. In 2014, I wrote that any new Palestinian uprising would be chaotic, ineffective, and characterized by violent acts perpetrated by individuals. I ...

Russia's Syrian Entanglement: Can the West Sit Back and Watch?

Posted by Pavel Baev on Saturday, 10 October 2015

For observers who are confined by the boundaries of conventional strategic sense, every day of Russia’s military intervention in Syria brings fresh surprises. Indiscriminate strikes against Turkey-backed and CIA-trained opposition groups (which could not possibly be mistaken for ISIS) were followed by deliberate violations of Turkey’s airspace, and then by the spectacular cruise missile salvo from warships in the Caspian Sea. More astonishing turns are almost certain to come, prompting more reevaluation of the power projection capabilities that Russia brings to bear in this high-risk enterprise. Good morning, Latakia The intervention, which President Vladimir Putin preferred not to announce in ...

Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet – Immediate Thoughts on the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Friday, 9 October 2015

The choice of the Tunisian quartet as the receiver of the Nobel peace prize is surprising, but by no means unreasonable. Unlike the case of US President Barack Obama, who received the prize for his intentions rather than his achievements, this time, the prize is awarded to politicians who are in the midst of a difficult transition process. The award should remind us just how remarkable it is that Tunisia’s political elite has managed to avoid armed struggle and civil war, when all the other countries affected by the Arab spring have descended into civil war or renewed authoritarianism. However, ...

Putin's Syrian intrigue has yielded zero dividends

Posted by Pavel Baev on Thursday, 1 October 2015

Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war appeared to gain momentum every day over the past month, up until President Vladimir Putin’s address to the UN General Assembly on September 28th. The intention behind moving troops and equipment to Syria, while denying these deployments, was quite possibly to build momentum for Putin’s initiative. The content of this initiative has been clear since early August, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposed building a broad international coalition against the so-called “Islamic State” (or ISIS). Yet, the proposal fell flat. It looked fairly agreeable until the point that this coalition should include forces ...

Non-violent Resistance and Double Repression

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Tuesday, 29 September 2015

January 12, 2013: Israeli armed forces dismantle a peaceful Palestinian sit-in in the West Bank, arresting several of the organizers. July 6, 2012: the Palestinian Authority’s security forces violently attack a peaceful demonstration against normalization with Israel in Ramallah, the West Bank. These episodes illustrate the predicament of Palestinian non-violent activists. These activists experience what I call double repression, being harassed and persecuted not only by the Israeli occupation forces, but also by their own authorities in Gaza and in the West Bank. Yet it is this very activism that today holds the most promise for the Palestinian struggle against ...

How Russia and America make the same mistakes in Syria

Posted by Pavel Baev on Monday, 21 September 2015

Russia’s apparent escalation in Syria is less dramatic than it seems, but it still represents another depressing development in the ongoing nightmare of the Syrian civil war. While it appears no Russian troops are engaged in fighting, the volume of military cargo delivered from Russia to Syria by sea and air has significantly increased in the last couple of weeks. President Putin did assert that it was “premature” to talk about direct Russian participation in the yet-to-be-built coalition against the various terrorist groups in the country. And even though Putin says it, it might still be true. Clearly, putting scarce Russians ...

World War II Becomes a Chinese War

Posted by Stein Tønnesson on Thursday, 3 September 2015

70 years ago, Japan signed an agreement of formal surrender on an American warship in Tokyo Bay. The anniversary of this event will be marked in Beijing today, September 3rd by a massive military parade in which Chinese and Russian soldiers march together. President Xi Jinping’s most important guest during the parade will be Russian president Vladimir Putin. Thanks to Putin, the memory of World War II has shifted from Europe to Asia. Xi and Putin will celebrate their joint victory over German Nazism and Japanese militarism. When Russia invaded Crimea and sent troops into eastern Ukraine last year, an ...

Putin's Pivot to Asia: Profit-Free, but Problem-Rich

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The bilateral meeting in Beijing will be demonstratively cordial but loaded with mutual disappointment. Putin cannot fail to see that his hopes for harvesting rich dividends from closer Russian ties with China have failed to materialize and delivered him to a position of one-sided dependency. Xi, meanwhile, has few doubts about the trajectory of Russia’s crisis and probably understands that Putin’s mismanagement brings risks of a catastrophically hard landing. While Russia’s aggressive assault on the European security system is not helpful for China’s plans regarding the evolutionary transformation of the global order. Vladimir Putin has announced his intention to address ...

The “Sunnification” of Turkey´s Foreign Policy

Posted by Pinar Tank on Monday, 17 August 2015

Two months is a long time in politics – even more so in Turkish politics. At the beginning of June, the Turkish election brought a wave of hope across the country with results that broke the majoritarian (and authoritarian) rule of the reigning Justice and Development Party (AKP). The pro-Kurdish People´s Democratic Party (HDP), winning 13% of the vote, managed to cross the 10% threshold so gaining representation in mainstream politics for Kurds – as well as liberals desperate for a new democratic force in Turkey´s staid political landscape. It was a political victory that promised a continued normalization in ...

Russia’s Reputation Sinks Precipitously in International Opinion Polls

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Seven years ago, Russia launched its week-long war with Georgia. And what seemed then a victory can now be recognized as one of the worst August disasters in Russian history. On the one hand, it is true that the war generated a moment of national unity, which was deeply false but politically very useful. It also produced a conviction that the West was weak and divided, while the reproach in public opinion did not matter. Almost a year and a half ago, Putin sought to reproduce that moment of “patriotic” unity with the annexation of Crimea, but that spectacular triumph ...

Russia Insists on own Impunity, Gains Pariah Status

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Exactly 40 years ago, the Soviet Union signed the Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), accepting commitments to respect the norms of international behavior and to observe the standards of human rights. The Kremlin had, in fact, no intention to relax domestic pressure on dissidents (who formed the legendary Helsinki group) but saw the document as a matter of pivotal importance to establish the inviolability of European borders. Today, Putin’s Russia is recycling some of the most notorious Soviet methods of suppressing the human rights movement—but at the same time, Moscow also rejects ...

How Long can Putin Continue doing Nothing?

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Putin has always preferred to postpone decisions until the last possible moment and to keep his lieutenants and international counterparts in the dark about his intentions. This summer, however, he is arguably wasting time and maneuvering himself into a corner, from which the only escape will be jumping into another spasm of hostilities in eastern Ukraine with the hope that a victory can cancel all other problems. The risks are frighteningly high, and Putin has avoided them for yet another week. But now August is approaching—a month that has traditionally brought Russia multiple disasters. For the whole article, see Eurasia ...

14 March 1988: East Asia's Last Interstate Battle

Posted by Stein Tønnesson on Friday, 24 July 2015

Since the Sino-Vietnamese war of 1979 – a period of 36 years – there has not been one single war between states in the whole of East Asia, a region comprising one third of mankind, and which was ravaged by some of the word’s worst wars from the 1840s to the 1970s. There have been internal armed conflicts in several Southeast Asian countries since then (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand) but no interstate wars. Yet there have been some serious incidents, like the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in 2010, presumably by a North Korean torpedo, ...

The China Factor in Russian Support for the Iran Deal

Posted by Pavel Baev on Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The United States needed Russian support to conclude the Iranian nuclear deal. As U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledged, “we would have not achieved this agreement had it not been for Russia’s willingness to stick with us.” But with U.S.-Russian relations at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War, Russian support came as somewhat of a surprise, even to Obama. So, why was Russia willing to support an Iran deal that even the normally anti-American Russian media describes as Obama’s personal achievement? As usual, the answer is far from simple and resides ultimately in the fevered mind of ...

The Air Tragedy that Condemns Putin's Russia

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 21 July 2015

It was a year ago last Friday (July 17) that the Boeing 777 Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine, resulting in a loss of 298 lives. The shock of that tragedy awakened Europe and the wider global community to the grave risk that the localized armed conflict in Donbas posed to international security. Russia strenuously denied responsibility, despite its direct involvement in sparking the very war that turned the sky over Ukraine into a battle-zone, and despite supplying the separatists with the surface-to-air missiles that inflicted heavy ...

Putin Flexes Diplomatic Muscles on Iran

Posted by Pavel Baev on Friday, 17 July 2015

“Russia has been rather ambivalent about striking the deal, not because it is worried about the Iranian nuclear program, but because it is worried about the Iranian oil,” said Pavel K. Baev, a researcher at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo. Mr. Baev noted that at several crucial points in the long negotiations, Russia had seemed to be working to complicate things. In November, for example, it announced a new deal to build nuclear reactors in Iran, and in April said it was resuming the sale of S-300 surface-to-air missiles that Iran had ordered before a 2010 arms embargo was ...

Greek Agreement and Iranian Deal leave Russia Disappointed and Irrelevant

Posted by Pavel Baev on Wednesday, 15 July 2015

It was a rare coincidence in world politics that two pivotal and protracted negotiation processes—the European Union’s talks with Greece on managing its debt, and the “P5+1” talks on managing the Iranian nuclear program—both culminated in crucial agreements at the start of this week (July 13–14). Russia was a party (albeit not a very active one by the end) to the bargaining with Iran, but not with Greece (while demonstrating close engagement); and it has large stakes in both crises. Typically, while declaring support for reaching comprehensive agreements in both cases, Moscow was, in fact, more interested in the talks ...

The Genocide in Srebrenica

Posted by Inger Skjelsbæk on Friday, 10 July 2015

On 11 July this year, a number of heads of state and foreign ministers, including Bill Clinton, will meet on a plain seven kilometres outside Srebrenica. They will be there to commemorate the fact that it is twenty years since over 8000 men and boys were killed while the women were put to flight and were subjected to systematic persecution here in the heart of Europe. The site where they will be gathering, Potočari, was the headquarters of the UN forces who were supposed to protect the people of Srebrenica. Their total failure to protect the people of the little town ...

The Rise of Political Buddhism in Myanmar

Posted by Marte Nilsen on Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Narrow Burman-Buddhist nationalism remains the country’s biggest barrier to sustainable political reform. The Organization for the Protection of Race and Religion, known by the Burmese acronym Ma Ba Tha, is gaining ground in Myanmar. It has also been receiving increased international attention—last month for its proposal to ban Muslim headscarves in public schools. The organization was founded in 2014, when central figures from the more widely known 969 movement started campaigning for four laws to ban polygamy, restrict interfaith marriages and religious conversions, and enforce birth control measures among groups with high rates of population growth. All four laws, which ...

ASEAN’s Rohingya Challenge: Can ASEAN fail to act and yet be a Community?

Posted by Stein Tønnesson on Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A human tragedy has been unfolding in the Bay of Bengal. Thousands of poor Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees and job seekers have been the victims of xenophobia, cynical smugglers and incapable governance. What has ASEAN done? So far very little. Yet this crisis is exactly the kind of non-traditional trans-national security challenge that ASEAN must cope with if it means seriously its ambition to form a peaceful “ASEAN Community” by December 2015. The exodus of refugees and job seekers from Myanmar and Bangladesh presents an acute challenge for ASEAN Four member countries are directly involved: Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia ...

Celebrating Russia Day, the country finds itself with no future

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The pattern of brinksmanship, in which air incidents in the Baltic theater interplay with tank and artillery engagements in the Donbas war zone, is so obviously detrimental to Russia’s interests that a determined effort at breaking it appears inevitable. Western leaders focus on measures for containing Russia, expecting that the break may come in the form of discharging tensions and managing the hostilities. For the Kremlin, however, the incentives to go in this direction are weakened by the need to justify the consequences of the maturing economic crisis to the demobilized populace and disgruntled elites. The more emphasis is placed ...

Aborted Offensive in Donbass on the Eve of the G7 Summit

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The swiftly terminated rebel attack on Maryinka was probably meant to be Putin’s “warning shot” to the Western leaders. But he only succeeded in reminding them about the near certainty (rather than risk) of a summer spasm in the “hybrid war.” While the Russian battalions concentrated in the war zone appear far from eager to go into battle, the assorted war-bands of local thugs and Russian “volunteers” of invariably aggressive persuasions have nothing else to do but to resume fighting. It seems Putin’s support base is eager to cheer for new victories but absolutely not ready to keep waiting for ...

Turkey's Critical Election

Posted by Pinar Tank on Friday, 5 June 2015

With only days to go before legislative elections in Turkey on Sunday, 7 June, the political uncertainty of its possible outcomes are filling newspaper columns. This is a change from the past two elections where a victory for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was almost a foregone conclusion. As Turkey goes to the polls, two issues dominate. The first is the question of changes to Turkey´s constitutional order, replacing the present parliamentary system with a presidential one. Official polls closed ten days prior to the election (as is custom) and predictions indicated that while the ruling Justice and ...

Weakening Russia Curtails Access to Publicly Available Information

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 2 June 2015

These attempts at curtailing the flow of information and persecuting the disseminators of politically undesirable news (including bloggers) might appear old-fashioned and inspired by Soviet-era KGB practices, which are held dear by Putin and his henchmen. They are, nevertheless, more effective than the spread of Internet-based social networks would suggest—and not only due to the impact of their vicious propaganda but also because the mass production of “patriotic” illusions has left many people disoriented and averse to facts and figures that puncture these illusions and leave them with feelings of foreboding disaster. The Kremlin exploits this disorientation and presents its ...

After the swaggering celebrations, a "Now what?" moment for Russia

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The extraordinary pomp around the celebration of the V-Day made it possible for Putin to sustain the momentum of mobilization created by last year’s Crimean anschluss. Now that the fanfare and fireworks have fallen silent, this momentum may dissipate—and Putin, who has made himself into the central figure in militarized festivities, can ill afford such a slackening of “patriotic” fervor. The heavy emphasis on the decisive and glorious victory won by the “grandfathers” sits poorly with the evasive and ambivalent discourse on the on-going war with “brotherly” Ukraine. For the aggressively “patriotic” propaganda, it is hard to explain the point ...

Putin's Political Pause Amid National Mobilization

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The focal point for the “patriotic” propaganda for the last several months has been the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory in the Great Patriotic War (as World War II is known in Russia), which is now just a few days away. Reflections on the horrible costs of that bitter victory or on coalition efforts with the Allies have been nearly nonexistent; instead, jingoistic triumphalism, combined with the traditional display of military might, translates into an eager anticipation of yet another victorious campaign. Putin has invested a lot of personal effort in turning this celebration into ...

Earthquake in Nepal and we are Safe

Posted by Åshild Kolås on Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Peace researchers often have the opportunity to witness the ‘real world’ of conflict and post-conflict during fieldwork in countries such as Nepal. In some cases we also cooperate with local institutions where we benefit from working with fellow peace researchers and other partners. In Nepal we have had the great pleasure of working with Dr. Bishnu Raj Upreti, director of the Nepal Centre for Contemporary Research (NCCR) on a collaborative project called Making Women Count for Peace. When the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal’s capital Kathmandu and its surrounding areas on Saturday, our first thoughts naturally went to Bishnu, his colleagues ...

Recognising and Denying Armenian Losses in Cyprus

Posted by Olga Demetriou on Friday, 24 April 2015

Cyprus was one of the first countries to recognise the Armenian genocide, but the relationship that the country has with its own Armenian population is more complicated than it seems. The centenary of the Armenian Genocide on 24 April this year comes amidst heightened speculation about a resumption of peace negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The timing is coincidental and yet it is telling of how, in Cyprus, the Armenian issue (more so than others) has been mired in the Greco Turkish dispute. Against this backdrop, the question of Cyprus’ official recognition of the events that almost exterminated the ...

Comics and the Liberation from Patriarchy

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Thursday, 23 April 2015

New media, new content Warning: This is all work in progress, so it leaves much to be desired. But this subject is so fun working on that I wanted to share what I have even if it is still pretty undeveloped. OK, here goes: During the last few years, the literary scene in Egypt has been enriched by a new kind of medium: Comics for grown-ups. Arab comics for grown-ups is a new cultural phenomenon which is only now beginning to attract attention, not least thanks to the efforts of Marcia Lynx Qualey, and it provides a rich, fun and ...

Beware of Putin Talking Shop

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 21 April 2015

“Boring” is perhaps the prevalent impression of President Vladimir Putin’s televised four-hour-long Q & A session that aired last Thursday (April 16), which was meant to demonstrate his good health and relaxed attitude to the great many problems worrying his loyal subjects…. […] Typically, such commentary by high officials is merely camouflage for Russia’s real intentions. But Moscow is unlikely to try to escalate the conflict in the coming few weeks as the Russian Armed Forces are going through the spring draft cycle. Even more importantly, Putin obviously wants to stage picture-perfect May 9 Victory Day celebrations in Red Square, ...

Apocalypse a Bit Later: The Meaning of Putin’s Nuclear Threats

Posted by Pavel Baev on Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The words that Russian President Vladimir Putin chose for describing the nuclear angle of the special operation for seizing and annexing Crimea in March 2014, might appear so odd that it is well-nigh impossible to make sense of them. “Yes, we were ready,” he said to the question about whether the option of putting strategic forces on high alert was considered. He then clarified that these forces were always on high readiness status. And when “some military experts” advised him to use all available means of deterrence, he said “No,” according to the propaganda documentary shown two weeks ago on ...

Iranian Deal leaves Russia in Deeper Isolation

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 7 April 2015

While Iran appears to be recognizing the need to reform its domestic politics and change its attitude toward the West, Russia is turning into a massively corrupt police state and is apparently thriving in the atmosphere of confrontation. The contrast between these two regimes has become strikingly sharp as nuclear negotiations approached the final stretch toward a binding agreement. Moscow still tries to present itself as a responsible stake-holder in the international system. But with every turn of the screw in the government’s repressions against members of the domestic opposition—stigmatized as “traitors” and “foreign agents”—Russia’s external behavior tends to turn ...

An Uncertain Future in Afghanistan

Posted by Arne Strand on Thursday, 26 March 2015

Under the tripartite agreement entered into between Afghanistan, Norway and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Afghans who are refused asylum in Norway have two choices: either to take advantage of the assisted repatriation programme; or to reject this offer and risk being forcibly deported and returned to Kabul almost empty handed. The two groups return home under very different circumstances. Refugees on the assisted repatriation programme receive a cash sum on arrival in Kabul, and may apply for rent support for a limited period. They are also entitled to six months’ financial support in order to establish a ...

A Muted Voice? Religious Actors and Civil Society in Post-2001 Afghanistan

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken & Kaja Borchgrevink on Wednesday, 25 March 2015

In general, religious actors are not perceived as possible contributors to civil society. In Afghanistan, where religion permeates society and politics, and where religious leaders and networks bear considerable influence, this is particularly problematic. There is a need for a thorough rethink of what civil society is, and the role of religion within it. While knowledge is deficient in vital areas, what we do know merits a thorough reorientation of policy and practice. Religious actors are under double pressure. The Taliban, as the main armed opposition, see Islam as their main source of legitimacy. Religious leaders who express support for ...

A Young and Fragile Time in Afghanistan

Posted by Shaharzad Akbar on Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Afghanistan’s “youth boom” means that the country has a large generation of young people with high expectations for a better future – and high levels of frustration. Such a situation provides fertile ground for radicalization. Afghanistan’s population is estimated to have grown by as much as 2.4 per cent in 2014, and around 68 per cent of the total population is under 25 years of age. The absence of a strong and responsive state means that young Afghans’ prospects and quality of life are blighted by lack of security, poverty, drug dependency, lack of educational opportunities, and unemployment. At the ...

Two Summits and a Military Exercise

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 24 March 2015

While Putin may believe in his own infallibility, his courtiers have to persist in reassuring him about the fragility of Western unity. Just another push and a couple more bribes, they argue, will convince some North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members that Narva or Spitsbergen are not worth fighting for, or to persuade some EU members that the sanctions regime is counter-productive. This split needs to be achieved in the coming weeks, in time for a summer offensive in eastern Ukraine toward Mariupol and Melitopol (opening the land corridor to Crimea) to be condoned at new (Minsk Three) summit—where France ...

How can Norway best Support Afghanistan?

Posted by Arne Strand & Liv Kjølseth on Monday, 23 March 2015

The current situation in Afghanistan is the subject of two opposing narratives: one is a success story about international support and involvement since 2001; the other is a story where much has gone wrong and everything can only get worse. Agreeing on a narrative that is closer to the truth is crucial when deciding what form Norwegian support and involvement should take in the future. The lion’s share of international funding has so far been earmarked for security measures. Over time, the international forces have changed their focus from attacking Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to also rebuilding an Afghan army ...

Basta! Brazilians Move from Apathy to Action

Posted by Pinar Tank on Friday, 20 March 2015

In Rio de Janeiro, when the going gets tough, the tough… often go to the beach. The expanse of blue shoreline lined with small botecos (bars) is a sanctuary from the troubles of everyday life and according to some Cariocas – natives of Rio – the explanation for their relaxed attitude. On 15 March, they turned up – in droves – at Copacabana beach. Cariocas came dressed in the national colors green and yellow with some sporting the slogan “Basta” (Enough). The same scene was repeated in 160 towns across Brazil with numbers said to be as high as 1.5 ...

Putin's Disappearing Act is a Sign of Leadership Crisis

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Since the Ukraine crisis exploded a year ago, Putin’s system of power has rigidified into a uni-centric combination of a police state, kleptocracy and “propagandocracy” (if such a word could be invented), in which no transition of authority can be planned or envisaged. His recent poorly camouflaged and worse explained “disappearance” has not re-confirmed his indispensability, but signaled that the courtier-siloviki will not be able to manage the appointment of a new boss without unleashing a multi-clan feud—in which Kadyrov with his battalions and billions could be a major force. Putin is leading Russia toward state failure; and the incapacitation ...

Free Rein of Special Services makes Russia Ungovernable

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 10 March 2015

It took a week for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to produce a pair of plausible suspects in the shocking murder of Boris Nemtsov on February 28. Last Saturday (March 7), FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov reported to President Vladimir Putin that two men implicated in the crime were under arrest; and on Sunday, another man killed himself with a hand grenade in Grozny… Too many loose ends in this crime persist, however, for one to have any confidence in the official version. Putin is no more able to assert effective control over rogue elements within the special services than his ...

Murder that Revealed Truth

Posted by Pavel Baev on Friday, 6 March 2015

As days go by, the pain and shock from the news about Boris Nemtsov murder are turning into sad reflections on Russia’s predicament, and my bottom line goes as following: Nemtsov was a voice in the wilderness of Russian propaganda and self-deception. And his murder has cut away multiple layers of lies in Putin’s “war is peace” story. Tens of thousands of people who marched last Sunday across the bridge, which the man who refused to live a lie had walked to meet four bullets, may never learn the truth about the hand that pulled the trigger. They know, however, where ...

Between the Mosque and the Temple Mount

Posted by Trond Bakkevig on Friday, 27 February 2015

Unrest on and around the Al Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount in Jerusalem last autumn caused the Palestinian president, Mahmood Abbas, to warn that the conflict between Israel and Palestine could escalate into a religious war.  The site has extremely powerful national and religious symbolic value for both Palestinians and Israelis. Jordanian protection The tension caused Jordan’s King Abdullah to summon Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu to talks in Amman. The 1994 peace agreement between Jordan and Israel confirms the Jordanian king as custodian of the mosque. The king funds the mosque’s maintenance and the salaries of its staff. When King Abdullah demanded ...

After Debaltsevo - Is there a Chance for Ceasefire?

Posted by Pavel Baev on Wednesday, 25 February 2015

It is entirely correct to say that the “Minsk Two” agreement, reached on February 12, after painstakingly long talks between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, was broken inside the first week of implementation. Yet, as the battle for Debaltseve has drawn to its predictable end, the opposing parties may find it opportune to take a break from the trenches (RBC.ru, February 18). Ukraine has suffered another humiliating defeat, and President Petro Poroshenko needs time to deal with its consequences, though he would perhaps do better by not denying the scale of this tactical disaster (Kommersant, February 21). ...

Can Putin trust China?

Posted by Stein Tønnesson on Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Ukraine crisis has made Russia more dependent on China. Putin is popular in Beijing, and Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are the best of friends. But can China save Russia from its crisis? 70 years ago, from 4-11 February 1945, Josef Stalin received US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, and British prime minister Winston Churchill, at Yalta in the Crimea. Stalin was at the height of his power. Without informing Chinese generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who had been fighting against Japan since 1937, the “great leaders” agreed that the Soviet Union would join the war against Japan as soon as ...

Partnership of Contrarians

Posted by Pavel Baev on Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Russia connects with Turkey seeking opportunities in the Middle East. Violent conflicts in the Middle East gained new momentum in 2014, and the forceful multilateral efforts to contain them yielded far from satisfactory results. Both Russia and Turkey have remained aloof from these efforts, and often oppose US-led endeavors but they have major stakes in the overlapping regional conflicts and so are exploring opportunities to claim a key role in pro-active conflict management. Russia’s best opportunity to boost its role in the Middle East is by launching joint initiatives with Turkey. Energy ties are a less solid foundation for this ...

Ukraine takes Painful Hits - but Must Stay in the Fight

Posted by Pavel Baev on Wednesday, 11 February 2015

President Vladimir Putin loves to play the “divide-and-deceive” game, imagining that every split between the United States and Europe or inside the European Union is an opportunity to corrupt Western policies, opinions, and values. It was high time to turn this game against him, and last week he indeed found himself on the receiving end of an elegant “deter-and-engage” combination. As NATO announced the decision to strengthen its Response Force and military presence in the Baltic area, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande traveled to Moscow to impress upon President Vladimir Putin the urgent need to stop ...

Diplomacy Delivers Another Pause for Struggling Ukraine and Sinking Russia

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The week of February 2 registered an explosion in political intrigue around the war in eastern Ukraine, and some sort of pause in hostilities is likely to ensue. Undoubtedly, this is a positive development, but it would be an overstatement to describe the late-night talks in the Kremlin between President Vladimir Putin and the two European envoys—German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande—as the “last chance” to stop the war. The five-hour talks concluded without any agreement or press conference. And during their brief photo-session, the three leaders wore their sternest facial expressions, demonstrating how hard it was ...

The Effect of Proposed US Arms Supplies to Ukraine

Posted by Nic Marsh on Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A report published on Monday by the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs that calls for the US to supply Ukraine with arms has generated a lot of discussion on both sides of the Atlantic. Written by eight high ranking former US diplomats, defence and military personnel – Ivo Daalder, Michele Flournoy, John Herbst, Jan Lodal, Steven Pifer, James Stavridis, Strobe Talbott and Charles Wald – the report called for the supply by the USA of military equipment to Ukraine. Most of the equipment suggested is ‘non-lethal’, namely: radar that would identify the location ...

Russia Makes Haste in Severing Ties with Europe

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Russia has achieved much success last week in its rush toward self-isolation, and perhaps the most demonstrative step was made in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Sergei Naryshkin, the Chairman of the State Duma, came to Strasbourg as the head of the Russian delegation expecting to reach a compromise on the issue of restoring Russia’s full participation in this important pan-European forum. But he was so irked by the international body’s decision to prolong its sanctions against Russia (including the suspension of the right to vote) for another three months that he stormed out of the ...

Amid Mounting Domestic Troubles, Putin Tries to Regain Initiative in Eastern Ukraine

Posted by Pavel Baev on Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The sharp escalation of hostilities in eastern Ukraine last week (January 22) has disheartened many in Europe who had hoped for a gradual resolution of the Ukraine conflict. On the other hand, it has been a welcome return to the path of victory for many in Russia who consume or produce the flow of war propaganda. For some observers, the fragility of the ceasefire and the impossibility of “freezing” the conflict in the present configuration were beyond doubt, so the question that is looming large in the commentary is not “Why?” but rather “Why now?” The rest of the article ...

Boko Haram does not have the Fire Power of the Islamic State

Posted by Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos on Friday, 23 January 2015

Boko Haram’s influence and cruelty is still increasing. On the 3rd of January the Islamist group first attacked Baga, situated at the riverside of Lake Chad in the north of the State of Borno. They then came back several days later and demolished the entire city and its surrounding villages. The attack reportedly caused more than 2000 victims, although the numbers are not verifiable. The Nigerian army considers it as the most deadly attack since the beginning of the Islamist insurrection in 2009, so fare causing more than 13 000 causalities.  Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, specialist on Nigeria, and PRIO ...

A Third Palestinian Intifada?

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Monday, 19 January 2015

The level of conflict in Jerusalem is now so high that more and more people are talking of a “Third Intifada” – a new popular uprising by Palestinians against the Israeli occupation – that would be centred in Jerusalem. In fact, there is little to suggest that a Third Intifada is imminent, but it does seem likely that there will be an increase in violence and unrest in Jerusalem in the future. In this article I will attempt to explain why. There are two immediate reasons for the recent increase in political violence among Palestinian Jerusalemites. First, there was the ...

Futile Hopes for the Dubious Summit in Astana

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Despite the apparent deadlock in armed clashes in eastern Ukraine, an idea to bringing together the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, together with their peers from Belarus and Kazakhstan as well as the leaders of France and Germany, gained momentum at the end of last week. Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev made an unscheduled visit to Berlin on Friday (January 9), seeking to persuade German Chancellor Angela Merkel that a summit in Astana on January 15 could make sense to break the Russian deadlock in the talks, and he then had a telephone conversation with President Vladimir Putin (Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Kremlin.ru, ...

Russia Enters New Year Mired in Troubles

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The post–New Year holidays in Russia have brought less joy or happy expectations than usual to the country’s elites, the urban middle classes and even to Russia’s millions of labor migrants. Over the past 15 years, all these groups shared in the country’s prosperity, which had grown steadily since President Boris Yeltsin resigned and made Vladimir Putin his successor. The crisis of 2008–2009 delivered only a short interruption to this increase in incomes and fortunes, though the mass protests in 2012 revealed growing discontent among liberal-minded “creative classes” in Moscow. The year 2014, on the other hand, began with optimistic ...

With Ukraine going strong, Putin becomes lost in the fog of hybrid war

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Last weekend (November 21), Ukraine marked the first anniversary of the EuroMaidan—the public protests in Kyiv that lasted through the hard winter of discontent and brought down the corrupt regime of Viktor Yanukovych on February 21. As its war for state survival continues to rage, the country is in no mood for street festivities. Nevertheless, the EuroMaidan clearly still drives Ukraine’s policy, as was illustrated by the formation of a broad governing coalition pledging to restore the country’s territorial integrity and deepen its pro-Western orientation, including the goal of joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (Gazeta.ru, November 21). United ...

An Independent Iraqi Kurdistan?

Posted by Erlend Paasche on Monday, 24 November 2014

A change of prime minister will not resolve Iraq’s structural problems, and while a dysfunctional Iraqi state is reeling from onslaughts by Islamic extremists, the Iraqi Kurds in the north of the country have never been stronger. Even so, we are very unlikely to see an independent Iraqi Kurdistan in the immediate future. Behind the recent flood of news reports from Iraq, about the brutal efficiency of the Islamic extremists, ethnic cleansing, and Western intervention, there is another, deeper question that deserves more attention: Now that the Iraqi state is so weak, will the Kurds in the north of the ...

WWII Celebration Plans by Putin and Xi to Score Points

Posted by Stein Tønnesson on Monday, 17 November 2014

Russian and Chinese presidents aim to divide US and allies, including Japan, with WWII celebration. When Chinese President Xi Jinping met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, he stated that “Japan must look at history squarely and more towards the future.” Xi’s carefully selected words were taken from a text agreed upon in advance by the two countries’ foreign ministries. Behind the words lurk an agreement Xi has made with Russian President Vladimir Putin to jointly use the 70th anniversary in 2015 to “safeguard the outcome of the victory of World War II ...

Can Iraq be Fixed?

Posted by Erlend Paasche on Saturday, 15 November 2014

Iraq’s new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, faces the enormous task of uniting the country. But whatever the outcome, Iraq cannot be restored to how it was before the summer. There is broad agreement that the former Iraqi prime minister, Nour al-Maliki, was a part of the problem, and that his replacement by Haider al-Abadi is a positive development. But the attacks in August, on Shia and Sunni mosques respectively, show once again that Iraq’s problems are systemic. For several years Iraq has ranked among the world’s most failed states, alongside countries such as Somalia, Chad and Yemen. These states are ...

Putin goes to China, but fails to turn his illusions into reality

Posted by Pavel Baev on Wednesday, 12 November 2014

In a case of striking symbolism, President Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, as if seeking reassurance against the specter of a mass public uprising. The dismantling of that icon of the Cold War signified a breakthrough in finally achieving a Europe united by the vision of freedom and democracy. But for Putin, as his past remarks suggest, it was a painfully traumatic experience that left him forever in fear of a sudden explosion of popular discontent (Gazeta.ru, November 4). The Chinese leadership shares his deep hostility to revolutions and ...

Nationalism under Pressure: Islamic State, Iraq and Kurdistan

Posted by Erlend Paasche on Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Has the Iraqi Kurds’ sense of national identity been strengthened by the emergence of the so-called Islamic State? Not necessarily. If anything, mounting socio-economic and political tensions inside northern Iraq have been tearing at Kurdish nationalism for the last decade. The so-called Islamic State (IS) continues to pose a serious threat to the Middle East and beyond. Its fighters currently have the upper hand in parts of northern Syria, and continue to threaten Baghdad’s control over southern Iraq as well as the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in the north. And while the United States, United Kingdom and others continue to ...

Norway's Tightrope Walk in Myanmar

Posted by Marte Nilsen, Stein Tønnesson & Emil Jeremic on Thursday, 23 October 2014

Are the people of Myanmar able to distinguish between Norway’s role in promoting peace and the commercial interests of Norwegian businesses? Now that several state-owned Norwegian companies have entered into large and risky ventures in Myanmar, Norway is walking a tightrope between peace and commerce. The maintenance of support for the peace process is critical. Peace and commercial interests Norway has gained an international reputation as a peace builder, a role enabled by, among other factors, the Nobel Peace Prize and Norway’s status as a small country on the edge of Europe, without superpower pretensions. Norway’s oil wealth has made ...

A Dangerous Census

Posted by Marte Nilsen, Kristin Dalen & Kristin Jesnes on Friday, 17 October 2014

Norway has spent NOK 40 million to help fund a census in Myanmar (Burma). The census results are at odds with previous assumptions and may increase the level of conflict in the country in the run-up to the elections in 2015. Norway must take responsibility. Every country needs to know who is living within its borders. This is especially true of Myanmar, which is emerging from decades of military dictatorship and civil war. There is broad political consensus in Norway in favour of supporting reforms in Myanmar, and the census data will be important for decision-making in the future. At the ...

Article 9 and the East Asian Peace

Posted by Stein Tønnesson on Wednesday, 8 October 2014

World War 1 was primarily a European War. World War 2 was both European and Asian. World War 3 has not yet occurred. If it does, it will be mainly Asian. Provided the pattern of alliances and strategic partnerships continues to look the way it does today, World War 3 will pit a Russia-supported China against a grand alliance of the United States, Japan, India, Indonesia and Australia. This grand alliance will win the war but at the prize of unimaginable destruction, even risk of a nuclear exchange. The New Centre of the World East Asia is now the world’s ...

Forget the Economy - It's Geopolitics, Putin

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The trickle of sad and sour economic news continues to exacerbate Russia’s stagnant economic outlook, but the Kremlin authorities remain resolutely indifferent to these negative trends. They presume that the arrival of a “technical” recession does not constitute a political challenge because the “below-middle” classes have rallied around the flag of confrontation with the West, while the business elites are lined up to follow the government’s “patriotic” instructions. It is the urban middle classes that tend to sink into discontent, but they remain disheartened by the hard-hitting propaganda and divided by selective repressions. This confidence in political control over the ...

The Japanese Peace Clause

Posted by Gunnar Rekvig on Monday, 6 October 2014

The peace clause in the Japanese constitution, Article 9, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in April this year. No doubt some will ask why a Japanese constitutional clause is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize. An unconventional great power Japan is an unconventional great power with the world’s third largest gross domestic product and a military budget that is comparable to the United Kingdom. In spite of this and due to the military restrictions enshrined in Article 9, Japan has a military they cannot use in war, even in UN sanctioned peacekeeping operations. In addition to the restrictions it ...

Russia gears up for a new spasm in the hybrid war

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Big guns have mostly remained silent in eastern Ukraine last week, but diplomatic battles at the United Nations General Assembly have not shown any recess. Russia used to be able to score some easy points at this seasonal show by denouncing the United States’ unilateralism and hegemonic arrogance. This time around, however, it is Moscow which has been the main target of censure, a tone set by President Barack Obama, who defined Russia as one of the main threats to international security, on par with the Ebola epidemic and Islamist militant groups operating in Iraq and Syria (Kommersant, September 26). ...

A New Afghan Spring?

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken on Monday, 29 September 2014

Sitting in Kabul today, watching the Presidential inauguration on local television, it is difficult to say whether we are seeing a new Afghan spring or the onset of a disaster. After weeks and weeks of quarrelling, the two main presidential contenders settled on a power-sharing formula: Ashraf Ghani is the new president, while Abdullah Abdullah takes up a newly established Prime Minister post. The latter also demanded a more prominent role during the inauguration, however, which led to a hot debate over the inaugural liturgy during the last few days. In fear of Abdullah abstaining, many sighed with relief when ...

The pause in the Ukraine war is not Putin's victory

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The tragic battles around Donetsk and Luhansk (collectively known as the Donbas region) have taken a pause, and as civilians try to rebuild a semblance of normal life, leaders are figuring out how to now move forward. In his first 100 days, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has shown the ability to absorb hard blows, but now he needs to find both resolve to rebuild confidence in his shell-shocked country and caution to avoid a full-blown war with Russia. It is, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin who is finding himself in an impossible and entirely self-made jam. He has avoided a ...

Assaulting Ukraine, Putin dares the West to respond

Posted by Pavel Baev on Thursday, 4 September 2014

Just 75 years ago, the devastating war arrived to Europe – and this brave Polish cavalry perished fighting tanks. These days tanks are again rolling – and Europe needs to find a way to stop them. The summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that opens in the Welsh Celtic Manor resort tomorrow (September 4) will feature the Ukraine crisis as an agenda item of top priority and extreme urgency. Only a week ago, this crisis appeared manageable as Russian President Vladimir Putin shook hands with his Ukrainian counterpart, President Petro Poroshenko, in Minsk under the watchful eye of ...

Research Apartheid

Posted by Anja Sletteland on Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Academia has become its own battleground in the Israel-Palestine conflict. As a scholar of the Israel-Palestine conflict, I usually leave the Ben Gurion Airport with vivid images of checkpoints, separation barriers, demolished houses, crammed refugee camps, poverty, settlements, and soldiers. Earlier this summer, before the war broke out in Gaza, I visited Israel for the first time without entering either the West Bank or East Jerusalem. Without directly witnessing the occupation, Israel appears as a different country. The Palestinian experience of the country is nowhere to be seen, whereas celebration of diversity and tolerance is everywhere. This is Israel as ...

Putin Picks the Worst of all Bad Choices

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 12 August 2014

With the arrival of August, political expectations in Russia, informed by the long experience of setbacks and disasters, are turning negative. Second thoughts about the “victorious” war with Georgia that erupted six years ago blend with reflections on the centennial anniversary of World War I (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 6). At the same time, liberal-minded pundits remind the public about Russia’s 1998 fiscal default, while arguing that in a globalized world the most devastating battles are fought in the financial realm (Novaya Gazeta, August 6). Whereas, the smoke coming from the sunflower fields in eastern Ukraine, where the Moscow-backed separatist war ...

West pushes and eases Putin toward a "Diplomatic solution" in Ukraine

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Bad news hit the Kremlin thick and fast last week, but on Friday evening (August 1), President Vladimir Putin answered a phone call from US President Barack Obama, who again stressed that the Kremlin’s mounting problems can be resolved diplomatically (whitehouse.gov, August 1). Putin’s personal responsibility for the war in eastern Ukraine is apparently no longer up for discussion. Meanwhile, the West—after having vigorously mobilized a political effort to enforce far tougher sanctions than Moscow had budgeted for—is seemingly granting him an “honorable” way out. In Washington, and even more so in Berlin, there is understandable reluctance to heighten Putin’s ...

Israel and Hamas are Both Just Winging It

Posted by Erica Chenoweth on Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Israel is more than three weeks into Operation Protective Edge. With over 1328 Palestinians and 59 Israelis dead, numerous commentators have weighed in on what each side hopes to gain from the current violence. On the Israeli side, the stated military goal is to permanently diminish Hamas’ capacity and willingness to launch rocket attacks against Israel. Some suspect a wider political goal of weakening Hamas politically and elevating Fatah. Certainly there is the view that Israel must simply respond to force with force—that the only way to deal with Hamas’ rocket attacks is to inflict overwhelmingly pain on Hamas and ...

Putin held Personally Responsible for the War he is Losing

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 29 July 2014

If President Vladimir Putin really thought that the destruction of Flight MH17 with 298 people on board would soon blow over, the White House statement from last Friday must have disillusioned him—assuming his subordinates actually informed him about it. The White House statement directly noted: “we have concluded that Vladimir Putin and the Russians are culpable to this tragedy.” Russian media did its best to spin these words, whereas the official sources mentioned only the West’s lack of irrefutable evidence (Newsru.com, RIA Novosti, July 26). It is possible to interpret “the Russians” in this context in the narrow sense—as the ...

Putin tours Latin America, but his fate is decided in Ukraine

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The upcoming BRICS (a loose political-economic grouping of the large emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit, scheduled to take place in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15–17, provided an occasion for President Vladimir Putin to make a lengthy tour around Latin America, starting from Cuba last Friday and making a short unscheduled detour to Nicaragua on Saturday. Meetings with the Castro brothers as well as with Daniel Ortega did little to restore Putin’s international prestige, but they allowed him to make a grand gesture of writing off Cuba’s debt amounting to no less than $35 billion ...

Moscow Pulls a Diplomatic Pause as the War in Ukraine Rages

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The most dramatic turn in the protracted Ukrainian calamity last week was the decision of President Petro Poroshenko to end the ceasefire and resume the offensive against separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Poroshenko had every reason to conclude that the cessation of combat operations plays into rebel hands, since Ukraine’s control over the border with Russia was not restored and reinforcements from Russia were pouring into the motley gangs of pretentious warlords (RBC Daily, July 2). Heavy fighting brought casualties among civilians, so Poroshenko had to dismiss the top brass and appoint a new defense minister, while insisting ...

Putin Keeps Retreating from War but Cannot Accept Peace

Posted by Pavel Baev on Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The big picture of the Ukrainian conflict has changed significantly during the last week as this troubled state confirmed its hard-made European choice. The hundreds of rebels fighting in the trenches around Slavyansk and the hundreds of thousands of civilians, who are trying to make sense out of the violent disorder in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, are probably unaware of this change and may not know that the non-existent ceasefire is extended to Monday evening. Nevertheless, the signing of the association agreement with the EU was a major breakthrough in the efforts to pull Ukraine from the quagmire of state failure ...

An Own Goal in Brazil

Posted by Kristian Hoelscher on Monday, 16 June 2014

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff must see off two fast gaining rivals to win reelection in October. Problems during the World Cup might end up being be her political downfall. With the World Cup underway, the eyes of the world are on the football in Brazil. Off the field though, the focus has been on violence in the country’s cities and the wave of protests that started last summer. Protesters took to the streets over the lack essential investment in health, education, transport, and other critical areas of need in Brazilian society, and how this contrasted with the exorbitant sums spent ...

Ukraine and the Role of the Security Forces in Popular Uprisings

Posted by Marianne Dahl, Scott Gates, Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Håvard Strand on Thursday, 12 June 2014

The recent uprising in Ukraine echoes what happened in the earlier Orange Revolution. Much can be learned by comparing these events and looking at similar uprisings in other countries. This comparison clearly shows the important role played by security forces in determining whether brutal repression or successful regime change will follow. How the security forces react is intimately linked to the tactics employed by civil society. Brief Points: Nonviolent revolt is much more likely to succeed. This has been evident in Ukraine and the Arab Spring.  The actions of security forces largely determine the success of popular uprisings, as seen in ...

Renewed Violence in Pakistan

Posted by Erica Chenoweth on Monday, 9 June 2014

Last night, the Pakistani Taliban (otherwise known as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP) allegedly staged a bloody attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. Shahidullah Shahid, TTP’s spokesman, told Agence France-Press that the group launched the attack in revenge for the Pakistani government’s November 2013 killing of TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud. He also claimed the group intended to send a “message” to the Pakistani government that the TTP would continue to “react” to government killings of civilians in Pakistani villages. The New York Times notes that in spite of Shahid’s promise that such attacks will continue, he also insists that the ...

The Taliban are an Organized Fighting Force

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken on Sunday, 8 June 2014

A new UN report blames the Taliban for a sharp rise in violence against civilians. The Taliban are an organized fighting force. They combine a relatively strong central command with a networked structure in which each of the various factions operate with considerable independence. Establishing control over certain territories has been a main rationale for the Taliban. While their military tactics have changed a lot, their ultimate objectives have not. For the Taliban, military capacity and the ability to control territory are key to their success. Read more about structure, tactics and aims of the militants in DW’s in-depth interview with ...

How do we Maximise the Cyprus Peace Dividend?

Posted by Fiona Mullen on Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A solution to the longstanding Cyprus problem could raise per capita incomes by approximately EUR 12,000, expand the size of the economy by around EUR 20 bln and add on average 2.8 percentage points to real GDP growth every year for 20 years. However, it would be naïve to suggest that such growth rates are guaranteed. Important preparatory work needs to be done to ensure that these growth rates are possible. Read more in Fiona Mullen’s op ed in Financial Mirror, published 4 June 2014.

Thailand’s Fragile Democracy

Posted by Marte Nilsen on Friday, 30 May 2014

The traditional elite clings to an outdated world view. But a military coup offers no solution. ​Two days after the military coup in Thailand at least 13 bombs exploded, approximately simultaneously, in the city of Pattani. Three people, including a five-year-old child, were killed, and approximately 60 people injured. On Sunday there were clashes between anti-coup demonstrators and soldiers in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. A symptomatic feature of Thailand’s enduring power struggle is a failure to address the country’s underlying political conflicts. With last week’s military coup, the Thai army has once again put the country in a precarious position. ...

The Soma Mining Disaster: A Tragedy Foretold

Posted by Pinar Tank on Friday, 23 May 2014

As the rescue operation into Turkey´s worst industrial accident came to end on Saturday, 17 May, the number of dead was confirmed at 301 (of 787) with scores still unaccounted for. PRIO researcher Pinar Tank has published a post the New Middle East Blog 23 May 2014.

Business and Peace

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken & Harry Tzimitras on Wednesday, 14 May 2014

These days, the Business for Peace Symposium is happening in Oslo. Business leaders from all over the world are gathered to discuss how business can contribute to peace and hinder conflict. Some of the most distinguished guests have arrived from Cyprus, namely Manthos Mavrommatis, Honorary President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Vargin Varer, Vice President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce. The Cyprus issue is currently at its most critical conjuncture for at least a decade. It is indeed only the second time in 40 years that the prospects of a solution might actually be ...

Electing India's Future

Posted by Jason Miklian & Kristian Hoelscher on Monday, 12 May 2014

In April, 800 hundred million people began casting their ballots all across India in the largest election the world has ever seen. When we think of voting in India, we often picture a poor elderly villager showing a big ink-stained thumb and boasting a wide smile as proof of democracy in action. But elections in today’s India mean big money, big ideas and a growing focus on big urban centers as the drivers of development that will continue to catapult it from a 20th century agrarian laggard to a 21st century global power. ​India’s electorate is bigger than all of ...

Last Chance in the Middle East?

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Friday, 28 March 2014

This week, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 defendants to death after a two-day trial. Finally, after being mostly silent through more than half a year of brutal repression by Egypt’s military regime, Western governments expressed ‘shock’, judging the sentences to be ‘unacceptable’. Whatever the consequences this farcical trial will have for Western policies towards the military regime in Egypt (if any), it is probably going to be too little, too late. Since the military coup on 3 July 2013 over a thousand persons have been killed, and the super-rich Egyptians who fled the country after Mubarak’s ouster are starting to ...

Egypt: Silence Implies Consent

Posted by Jacob Høigilt & Kristian Takvam Kindt on Monday, 24 March 2014

​​Today’s death sentences of 529 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood must bring an end to the Norwegian Government’s tacit acceptance of the military regime in Egypt. ​Today, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, the latest in a number of moves towards authoritarian government by the military regime in Egypt. Since the coup d’état in Egypt on 3 July 2013, more than 1,400 peaceful protesters have been killed. The anti-Mubarak activists who manned the barricades in 2011 are now imprisoned. Journalists critical to the new regime have lost their jobs. All forms of organised opposition ...

Rwanda, Research and the Wisdom of (Non)Responsiveness (or, Email is a Gift Not a Responsibility)

Posted by Christian Davenport on Monday, 10 March 2014

As I prepare for the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan political violence of 1994 (i.e., the genocide, the interstate war, the civil war and the other forms of activity that are not easily named), I am reminded of earlier correspondence and how the modern period conceives of communication as well as what researchers must/need not respond to. EJ: Cue Rocky theme. You don’t need the link.  It’s in your head already. Read more at PRIO Global Fellow Christian Davenport’s blog Analog – the Anti-Blog

The True Cost of Turkey´s Crisis

Posted by Pinar Tank on Friday, 7 March 2014

One of the foundational concepts of good democratic governance is that of a separation of powers. French Enlightenment philosopher Baron de Montesquieu´s argument for the separation of political power between the three branches – executive, legislative and judiciary – hinges on the notion that power should not be centralized in a single sovereign to prevent rulers from usurping complete control. To these three branches can be added the Fourth Estate, the media. Independent from the state, it serves as a watchdog over the three branches. Finally, there is what Yochai Benkler (2006) refers to as the “Networked Fourth Estate” which ...

12 ways to navigate coverage for the 20th anniversary of Rwanda 1994

Posted by Christian Davenport on Monday, 3 March 2014

It is coming: the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan violence of 1994 (i.e., the interstate war, the civil war, the genocide, the sexual violence and some random wilding or, the genocide and civil war – depending upon who you are listening to).  Yes, it has been 20 years and yes it is going to be quite something.  Much has happened over the last 20 years and much has happened over the last 10 as it relates to what we have come to understand about what happened. Some of it is consistent but much of it is not. We will get to more ...

Violence and Non-Violence in Ukraine

Posted by Marianne Dahl on Monday, 24 February 2014

​​​The Ukrainian opposition is more likely to succeed if its campaign remains primarily non-violent, writes Marianne Dahl, Doctoral Researcher at PRIO. ​This is not the first time that Kiev’s streets have been filled with demonstrators wanting to end Viktor Yanukovych’s days in the presidential palace. In 2004, the Orange Revolution spread across the country and brought Viktor Yushchenko to power. While demonstrations against Yanukovych’s incumbent regime had started as early as 2001, it was first on 22 November 2004, following well-documented vote-rigging, that the protesters’ ranks swelled dramatically with millions of Ukrainians defying the bitter cold to express their discontent. ...

Myanmar's National Census - Helping or Disrupting Peace?

Posted by Marte Nilsen & Stein Tønnesson on Wednesday, 12 February 2014

In March/April 2014 Myanmar will carry out its first population and housing census in more than 30 years. If carried out properly it may provide reliable data to be used not just by the government, but also by civil society organizations and political parties, as a basis for negotiating the terms of the country’s future peace. In a PRIO Policy Brief we analyse the preparations for the census, discuss the risks and challenges, and provide recommendations for how to conduct the census in a conflict sensitive way. The Policy Brief aims to reach stakeholders in Myanmar, and has been translated ...

Ein Hijleh: A new Boost for the Popular Resistance

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The grassroots popular resistance movement in the West Bank continues its strategy of reclaiming Palestinian land to highlight how Israel slowly annexes big parts of the West Bank. This time they did not establish a new village, like the case was in early 2013, with Bab al-Shams and its offshoots. Instead, they re-established an existing village in the vicinity of Jericho. Its inhabitants were expelled by the Israeli army, which established a base near the site. Their descendants have been denied access to the village ever since. Read more in the blog post published February 12, 2014 on the New ...

The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Conflict Spillover

Posted by Kristian Skrede Gleditsch & Idean Salehyan on Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Syrian refugee crisis has been heartbreaking to watch. According to the United Nations, over 2.4 million people have fled the country, and many more have been displaced internally. This human tragedy has shocked the world’s conscience and has led for appeals for humanitarian relief. However, does the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees also pose security challenges for host countries? Today, PRIO researcher Kristian Skrede Gleditsch and Idean Salehyan have published a guest blog post on Political Violence @ a Glance. 

Nepal Moves Towards Democracy

Posted by Helge Holtermann & Scott Gates on Saturday, 8 February 2014

Democracy is to a large extent about parties being willing to accept electoral defeat. In Nepal the Maoist Party, previously engaged in guerrilla warfare, has done precisely this. A wave of election boycotts is sweeping across Asia. In Thailand’s election on 2 February the “Democrats” succeeded in preventing voting in enough constituencies to delay the result. Bangladesh’s New Year election descended into pure farce following a boycott by most of the opposition. Last year’s election in Malaysia triggered massive protests, while in Cambodia the opposition is refusing to accept the results of the 2013 election. While this unrest has attracted ...

Old Wine in an E-bottle (or, The Text that Mistook Itself for a Tactical Shift)

Posted by Christian Davenport on Friday, 31 January 2014

On January 24th Barbara Walter wrote a fascinating blog entry entitled “The Text that Changed the World”. It noted that the “Ukrainian government” had issued a text message to “thousands of protesters” effectively telling them that they had been busted (i.e., they were identified as participating in a protest event). While it is useful to think about the impact of this action on subsequent challenging behavior, given my interest in the end of repressive action it seemed useful to reflect for a moment as to how the text might be relevant. … Blog post by PRIO Global Fellow Christian Davenport ...

The Battle for Bangkok

Posted by Marte Nilsen on Monday, 20 January 2014

In the wake of the power struggle between the political elites in Thailand, we are now seeing a popular uprising. Once again Thailand’s capital is paralysed by demonstrations. The streets are filled with Thai flags and demands that the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, must step down. “Shut down Bangkok – Restart Thailand!” But behind the façade of colourful placards and catchy slogans lies a brutal political power struggle. The country’s political crisis seems to be worsening in proportion to the advancing age and deteriorating health of the people’s beloved King Bhumibol. The danger of violent confrontation is significant – just ...

No Prospects of Cooling Down: why the Crisis in South Sudan must be Solved Immediately

Posted by Øystein Rolandsen & Maral Mirshahi on Sunday, 22 December 2013

The South Sudan crisis becomes more difficult to solve by the hour. The window of opportunity to avoid a full scale civil war is rapidly closing. But, finding a viable solution is dependent on a precise diagnosis of core issues involved. Read more at the blog of the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies, posted December 21, 2013 by Maral Mirshahi for Øystein H. Rolandsen.

Diplomatic and Real Realities in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Friday, 25 October 2013

Over the last few years I have encountered a number of professional Western diplomats who express their disbelief in any serious Israeli intention of achieving peace with the Palestinians. To be sure, these diplomats also fault the Palestinian leadership for their ability to bungle almost any initiative and opportunity they encounter. But unlike the refrain in much of Western media and public opinion, they do not view Israel and the Palestinians as two equal parties with equal blame for the stalled peace process. They recognize that the onus is on Israel to achieve progress, and that while most Israeli politicians ...

Golden Sunset

Posted by Harry Tzimitras on Thursday, 3 October 2013

The recent crackdown on the Golden Dawn, the extreme right political party in Greece, met with a mixture of feelings on the part of the general Greek public: relief, exaltation, impatience, frustration, uncertainty, even fear. It was also surrounded with a number of questions. For some, just why? For most, why now? Why has it taken so long? What’s next? Will this backfire? The fact remains, of course, that belatedly or not, the government proceeded with nearly unprecedented determination to remove the gangrene of the Greek political system. There’s little doubt that this is a development of far reaching consequences ...

Moscow Gambles on Raising the Stakes - in Syria and Across the Board

Posted by Pavel Baev on Monday, 10 October 2016

The crisis in relations with Russia, and in particular Russia’s behavior in the Syrian war, has become an unusually prominent theme in the U.S. election campaign. That means that a new administration could start with a set of tough pledges, rather than with a clean slate. Campaign trail rhetoric is worth only so much, but a new president would still have to demonstrate both readiness to contain Russia’s experiments in power projection and commitment to rebuild Syria in the wake of the catastrophe it has experienced. Moscow can try to act as a spoiler in Syria, but it is already ...

No One can Fill King Bhumibol’s Shoes

Posted by Marte Nilsen on Monday, 17 October 2016

For 70 years, the beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) ruled Thailand, and to date he has represented the country’s only stable political reference point. Since the introduction of the constitutional kingdom in 1932, the country has been through 19 different constitutions and 12 military coups – the latest just two years ago. The King’s demise has long stood as a national trauma. Now the divided country is at a crossroads. The improbable monarch There was little indication that Bhumibol would become king. Bhumibol was born in the United States, in Massachusetts, in 1927. His father, Prince Mahidol, the 69th ...

To Tame a Hawk

Posted by Marte Heian-Engdal on Friday, 4 November 2016

Hillary Clinton is not seeking attention for her views on Syria. And she has her reasons for not doing so. We can safely say that the 2016 US election campaign has been one of a kind. There is nothing new about the use of harsh rhetoric in pursuit of votes. The candidates and their supporters will freely attack each other and opposing policies and proposals. Things may become heated, but usually the arguments are about substance. This year, focusing on issues of substance has proved to be more than usually difficult, primarily because one of the candidates has conducted a ...

What This Election Means for US Foreign Policy

Posted by Pavel Baev on Friday, 11 November 2016

The resonance of this U.S. election campaign is truly enormous, in every corner of the world. But despite much disgust about the mudslinging, it is not necessarily all that negative. Observers everywhere may be astounded that a candidate so arrogantly ignorant in international affairs could gather so much support, but that has also given them a greater understanding of the global stakes in this moment of choice. Paradoxical as it may seem, many people now have greater appreciation of the value of U.S. leadership and of their interest in preserving it. This leadership is indeed indispensable in various troubled areas, ...

Digital India: Less Cash, but not Cashless

Posted by Elida Kristine Undrum Jacobsen & Åshild Kolås on Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The past month has seen historic events in India. On Tuesday 8 November 2016, the Modi government announced without prior warning that all 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes would be rendered valueless more or less overnight. In effect, this meant immediate withdrawal of the largest bank notes in circulation, and issuance of new notes within a few days, renewing 86 percent of India’s cash economy. Is this another step towards a cashless economy? What has the cash withdrawal done to the black economy, and networks based on corruption? And what are the implications for the use of cash, especially ...