CONFLICT AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
November 26, 2015
By David Ignatius, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project
If you’re cringing this Thanksgiving at the homicidal youth gang that calls itself the Islamic State, you might consider the narratives of three young people in the Middle East who are trying to make a positive difference. The killers and fanatics may get the headlines, but these three represent an untold part of the story.
November 25, 2015
By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
On November 24th, 2015, fighter aircraft from Turkey, a NATO state, shot down a Russian Su24 fighter along the Turkish-Syrian border. A local Syrian rebel group claimed to have found one of the pilots dead. Not since a Soviet sentry shot US Army Major Arthur Nicholson in 1985, has there been a shooting death between the forces of Russia and members of NATO.....
Even if it is not possible to reconcile the two sides politically and diplomatically, it is vital that a military dialogue reopen now to provide national leaders with a means to deconflict and resolve security issues without resorting to force. NATO and Russia should reopen military-to-military contacts to provide transparency over capabilities and intentions – the two components of a threat. This kind of dialogue was able to keep the Cold War “cold” and is needed again.
November 25, 2015
"ISIS has recently suffered massive losses of territory, income, and people. ISIS has lost 25 percent of its territory since the United States began its bombing campaign. The successful Kurdish recapture of Sinjar effectively divided ISIS territory in half and severed its access to the highway that was its main supply route. Based on data we have gathered on the ground, within ISIS territory, in 2014, ISIS was receiving up to 3,000 new recruits and volunteers per day, more than it could process at its own recruiting stations. Just before the Paris bombings, that number had decreased to 50–60 per day, not enough to offset the massive casualties sustained in Sinjar and elsewhere."
November 24, 2015
By Doug Gavel
Future of Diplomacy Project and Middle East Initiative Faculty Director R. Nicholas Burns spoke with Doug Gavel at Harvard Kennedy School about the Syrian refugee crisis and the recent House of Representatives' vote.
November 20, 2015
Op-Ed, Foreign Policy
By Emile Simpson, Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy, International Security Program
"...[W]e now know that the notion that regime change leads to a better democratic or a humanitarian outcome is decidedly false. From Iraq, where the West tried a heavy footprint strategy, to Libya, where it opted for a light one, the idea that Europe or the United States can actually execute democratic change by force has been exposed as a fallacy."
November 20, 2015
Op-Ed, Just Security
By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
They say we are at war.
What does war look like?
Our enemy is violent Islamic extremism. He is Daesh. He is al-Qaeda. The enemy consists of all groups and adherents of violent Islamic extremism. Our enemy is the “global jihad” movement inspired by the 9/11 attack. They seek to impose an aberrant ideology on the world. For Daesh and their allies, coexistence with their enemies is unimaginable. Compromise is impossible. Daesh has adopted the mindset of an apocalyptic cult group.
November 19, 2015
Op-Ed, The National Interest
By Jill Goldenziel, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program
"In an act of utter redundancy last month, the UN Security Council passed a resolution approving an EU naval operation that was already underway. The Security Council rubber-stamped Operation Sophia, which was ostensibly devised to stop Mediterranean smugglers. But the operation is unlikely to deter smugglers from continuing their illegal trade, and might actually encourage migration by making it easier for migrants to reach Europe."
November 19, 2015
Op-Ed, Project Syndicate
By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
RIYADH – Inviting Iran to the next round of talks on the Syria crisis in Vienna, Austria – an invitation that was reiterated last week – has far-reaching implications. In fact, Iran’s current government is attempting to overthrow a balance of power that has endured for some 1,400 years – and Saudi Arabia, as the cradle of the Muslim world, will not allow it.
November 17, 2015
The terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, which killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds of others, stunned the international community. In the days since, there has been renewed debate over a host of issues, including the strategy to defeat ISIS, the Syrian migrant crisis, and where the terrorist group might strike next. The attacks have also intensified the diplomacy surrounding the Syrian Civil War, and reopened the debate over the proper balance between security and privacy in the Western world.
Belfer Center experts have been weighing in on these and related topics. See our guide to their thoughts and insights.
November 16, 2015
By Michael Morell, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
The nature and significance of the threat flows from the fact that ISIS is—all at the same time—a terrorist group, a state, and a revolutionary political movement. We have not faced an adversary like it before.
I was an intelligence officer for 33 years. When intelligence officers write or brief, they start with the bottom line. Here it is: ISIS poses a major threat to the US and to US interests abroad and that threat is growing every day.