In this talk for the Food Systems Academy, Paul Rogers puts the challenges of transforming food systems in a global, human security context. He argues that food is at the centre of the third great transition humankind has to go through.
Barack Obama’s new strategy against the Islamic State commits the United States to further long-term conflict. It involves a great forgetting of the recent war in Iraq.
Israel’s current military operation, ‘Protective Edge’, has now exceeded the length and scale of the 2008-09 was, with no end in sight. And like Israel’s previous operations, the current undertaking is failing to undermine Hamas’s paramilitary capabilities and support base.
An unlikely alliance of four states – Iran, Syria, the United States and Russia – is coalescing to oppose the ISIS advance in Iraq. Is military intervention in Iraq imminent?
The Syrian War is now in its fourth year and the indications are that the regime will survive and consolidate its position in 2014. This is radically different from early last year when many analysts thought it was under serious pressure, and it should be recalled that in mid-2011, a few months into the war, the prevailing view was that the regime would not last to the end of that year. The costs have been huge, with around 140,000 killed, twice that number injured and more than a third of the population displace, millions of them refugees in other countries. Here, Paul Rogers seeks to put this appalling conflict in a longer term regional context as an aid to looking at possible policy options in attempting to bring the war to an end.
The Russian annexation of Crimea may be in direct contravention of international agreements but is popular in Russia and almost certain to hold. Given tensions within Ukrainian society and its weak transitional government, there remains some risk of further intervention in eastern Ukraine and possibly the Trans-Dniester break-away region of Moldova. Even if there is no further escalation in the crisis, the deterioration in EU/Russian and US/Russian relations is of great concern, not least in relation to two aspects of Middle East security – the Syrian civil war and the Iran nuclear negotiations.
Recent examples of short-term climate disruption have done much to bring the overall issue of climate change up the political agenda. In responding to what will be one of the key challenges of the next decades – well beyond the 15-year lifetime of the post-2015 global development goals currently under discussion – much of the attention has been focused on the need to adapt to those elements of climate change that are already irreversible and also to the need to decarbonise existing high carbon-emitting economies. What needs much greater attention is the fundamental need to ensure that low-carbon emitters in the Global South are enabled to combine effective human development with responding to the challenges of climate change.
If Iran and the P5+1 succeed in negotiating a robust agreement on the nuclear issue, then Iran will be less preoccupied with rebalancing its relationship with antagonistic western powers and its role in the Middle East and the wider region has scope for developing in many new directions. This briefing looks ahead to a post-agreement environment and assesses where Iran might chose to concentrate its resources. A key question is whether it will work to build better links with the US and selected European states or whether it will be more interested in the BRIC and other states, not least Turkey. Its choice will be influenced strongly by domestic politics and the urgent need for a more stable region.