Following the abduction of over 200 school girls from Chibok in northern Nigeria, clarion calls on social media for action in Africa have once again become an excuse to flex military muscle, as the rhetoric of ‘humanitarian’ interventions is increasingly outfitted with the tactics of the war on terror.
The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, highlighted by a wide-ranging, cross-grouping, multi-aim initiative which continues to consolidate itself in the non-proliferation regime, has come to the fore in the 3rd Prepatory Committe for the 2015 NPT Review Conference. Frustrated with the lack of progress towards NPT Article VI commitments to complete nuclear disarmament, the initiative has invigorated attention to the urgency of nuclear disarmament and a need for a change in the status quo. NPT member states and civil society continue to engage actively in publicizing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons as an impetus to progress towards nuclear disarmament.
Tackling South African water insecurity will require addressing the technical deficiencies, governance gaps and social inequality that are currently having a dangerous and environmentally devastating impact. The links between environmental health and socio-political stability are clear in South Africa, where there has been an exponential increase in violent protests over poor or privatized service delivery, social marginalization, and unequal access to water. South Africa must act to solidify the links between resilient societies and resilient ecosystems.
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.
If events like those in Ukraine have taught us anything it is that, despite the predictions of many, the potential for conflict between the major powers is still one of the defining characteristics of world politics. Crisis diplomacy and inter-state rivalry is back on the global agenda. But if policymakers, analysts and civil society actors are to try and come up with ways of reversing the trend towards an increasingly competitive, militarised and crisis-driven inter-state order, then thinking carefully through the implications of a sustainable security approach to great power politics would appear to be a most useful starting point.
Mexico has rapidly become a major site of transmigration from Central America to the United States, as people move in search of employment opportunities or escape from social violence. This rise in migrant flows from Mexico’s southern border overlaps with problems of control of contraband, organised crime, and the trafficking of drugs and arms. However, the government’s militarised approach to the phenomenon means that the use of force and human rights violations go unresolved and military approaches to preserving public order go unchecked. As long as migration remains a security issue, instead of a developmental and human rights matter, it will not be tackled appropriately. Instead, the government must start to view the matter through a citizen, not national, security lens.
In considering security sector reform, questions of affordability have often been subordinated to questions of effectiveness and expediency. A recent series of reviews of security expenditures by the World Bank and other actors in Liberia, Mali, Niger and Somalia has highlighted several emerging issues around the (re)construction of security institutions in fragile and conflict-affected states.
April 2nd marked the first anniversary of the adoption of the much celebrated Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the world’s first treaty to establish common standards of international trading in conventional weapons and which in turn aims to ‘ease the suffering caused by irresponsible transfers of conventional weapons and munitions’. But with the continued irresponsible arms trading and an overall rise in the global arms trade, it seems that some states have yet to put the ideals of the ATT into practice.
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.
The dramatic decrease in public awareness and engagement in the nuclear weapons debate since the 1980s poses a risk to our future, as younger generations and future policy shapers will be less familiar with the challenges posed by nuclear weapons when they take the helm. But nuclear weapons are too dangerous a threat for an entire generation to disconnect from. BASIC’s Rachel Staley explores the ramifications of not updating the nuclear debate.