Saturday, February 16, 2019
Security Challenges

Russia’s aggression in the Black Sea shows how little it worries about a strong response from the West

By Ann-Dorit Boy

For the first ten months of 2018, the war in Ukraine continued to simmer without making front-page news abroad. Neither the Russianbacked separatists nor Ukrainian forces escalated the fighting beyond limited but often deadly violations of the Minsk II agreement along the Eastern Ukrainian frontline. The situation changed on Nov. 25, when Russian coast guard vessels attacked and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels, two small gunboats and a tug in …

All terror politics is local: Jihadi groups in sub-Saharan Africa are more of a regional than a global threat

All terror politics is local: Jihadi groups in sub-Saharan Africa are more of a regional than a global threat
By Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos

France’s former minister of defense and current minister of foreign affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, takes very seriously the threats currently destabilizing the Sahel, especially since the intervention in Mali by French troops in January 2013. He co-organizes the annual Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa. At the most recent forum, on Nov. 6, 2018, he declared: “Cybersecurity is a priority in the fight against terrorism.”

This echoed …

For a future without chains : African authoritarianism and Western intrusion are blocking the continent’s development

By Dominic Johnson

Africa is the cradle of humanity and simultaneously the world’s youngest continent. It is home to more than 1.3 billion people (including North Africa), a number that continues to increase by roughly 50 million each year. According to UN projections, the population is set to almost double to roughly 2.5 billion people by mid-century. In Europe, this rise is often depicted as a horror scenario, with many focusing on the …

Terror, old and new: In Africa, militant groups swearing allegiance to the Islamic State are multiplying.

By Marc Engelhardt

On Dec. 21, 2018, the declaration of war came from an unexpected source: “A so-called Islamic State has appeared in our country,” it said. “We have been observing its dangerous behavior for a time in the hope that it would change, but this has not taken place.” The speaker was Ali Rage, leader of Al Shabaab – the biggest Islamist terrorist militia in Africa.

According to estimates by the US …

Russia reloaded. What should the West expect from Russia? A look ahead to the next five years.

By Dmitri Trenin

The renewed conflict between Russia and the US – one that harkens back to the Cold War yet remains essentially distinct from the former – began in 2014 and has intensified ever since. Russia fundamentally opposes global American hegemony and remains profoundly skeptical of the prospects for a liberal world order. This confrontation is unlikely to dissipate and its effects, above all on Europe and especially on Germany, are best …

The political geometry of the Middle East has been redrawn in the last year

By Volker Perthes

Three issues are likely to determine the Middle East agenda in 2018: ongoing efforts to unwind the war in Syria, the Saudi-Iranian rivalry and, of course, the positioning and policies of Russia and the US. Other unresolved conflicts will continue to be enormously consequential to the people affected by it – the war in Yemen and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular – but are likely to have a lesser impact …

Erdoğan wanted Turkey to embrace its Western and Arab allies. Now he’s tied to Putin

By Can Dündar

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power in 2002 with a commitment to full membership of the EU. His then Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu initially endeavored to deliver on his promise of “zero problems with neighbors,” making advances to Armenia and the Kurds of Northern Iraq while promoting commerce with Russia. On the back of amicable breezes blowing between Greece and Turkey, attempts to engineer a solution to Cyprus accelerated. Radical …

Turkey seeks to destroy Kurdish self-government in Syria – but it just might achieve the opposite effect

By Michael Martens

The Turkish invasion of the Kurdish canton of Afrin has added yet another facet to the proxy war in Syria. The Turkish army and its Arab auxiliaries are now fighting against Syrian Kurds in northwestern Syria. However, events in the area involve the interests of at least four other actors, namely Washington, Moscow, Tehran and the regime of Bashar al- Assad. Ankara had announced an attack on Afrin Canton years …

Squaring the triangle of security, migration and state-building in Libya

By Silvia Colombo and Nathalie Tocci

Making sense of Libya through the lens of the nation state was never easy. This has been all the more true since 2011 when the country plunged into chaos and violence, triggering seven years of multi-layered intra-state conflicts, the proliferation of non-state actors, external interference and regional rivalries. The outcome has been the disintegration of the Libyan state in all but name.

But rather than targeting efforts on (re)constituting state …

Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are planning a massive boost to domestic weapons production by 2030

By Markus Bickel

The goal is ambitious. Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) will create 40,000 new jobs by 2030. And that’s not all: The new state-owned defense contractor would produce half of the Saudi forces’ weapons requirements by the end of the next decade. The Saudi Kingdom, which of late has made headlines primarily through vast imports of state-of-the-art weaponry, plans to start exporting to all parts of the world. Most recently, on …