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Policy and Research Papers
This paper is a summary of the discussions which took place at the roundtable event on 'Rebuilding Yemen: Roadmap for a National Dialogue’ held at Chatham House on 14 March 2012. The meeting brought together key Yemen Forum stakeholders, including academics, journalists, private-sector representatives, NGOs and members of the UK-based Yemeni diaspora. The discussion addressed two of the major challenges Yemen currently faces: the ‘Southern question’; and developing a ‘national dialogue’ process as stipulated by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreement.
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This article published by Chatham House offers a discussion of nuclear doctrines and their significance for war, peace and stability between nuclear-armed states. The cases of India and Pakistan are analysed to show the challenges these states have faced in articulating and implementing a proper nuclear doctrine, and the implications of this for nuclear stability in the region.
The authors argue that both the Indian and Pakistani doctrines and postures are problematic from a regional security perspective because they are either ambiguous about how to address crucial deterrence related issues, and/or demonstrate a severe mismatch between the security problems and goals they are designed to deal with, and the doctrines that conceptualize and operationalise the role of nuclear weapons in grand strategy. Consequently, as both India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear doctrines and postures evolve, the risks of a spiralling nuclear arms race in the subcontinent are likely to increase without a reassessment of doctrinal issues in New Delhi and Islamabad. A case is made for more clarity and less ambition from both sides in reconceptualising their nuclear doctrines. They conclude, however, that owing to the contrasting barriers to doctrinal reorientation in each country, the likelihood of such changes being made—and the ease with which they can be made—is greater in India than in Pakistan.
For the full report on Nuclear doctrines and stable strategic relationships: the case of south Asia, kindly follow the link.
Placing human security and survival of the species at the centre of international decision-making is now necessary as nuclear weapons pose overwhelming dangers to global health, development, climate, social structures and human rights. The purpose of this paper is to outline the connections between nuclear disarmament and some of the key issues facing humanity today.
There is a persistent belief that the risks associated with nuclear weapons are no longer as high as they were during the Cold War. There is also a belief that nuclear disarmament is underway and therefore no longer requires the same level of attention.
This paper explores how the detonation of nuclear weapons would impact the following headline issues and how they connect to nuclear disarmament:
- Climate change
- International law
- Protection of cultural heritage
- Public health
- Non-state armed groups
- Humanitarian action
To access the paper Nuclear Disarmament: The Missing Link in Multilateralism kindly follow the link.
It is not the absence of law that is causing casualties, destruction and unprecedented displacement in armed conflict, but flagrant breaches of the most fundamental rules of international humanitarian law.
For this purpose, Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross conducted consultations, between 2011 and 2015, and then proposed the establishment of a regular meeting of states parties to the Geneva Conventions. This proposal was not accepted. Negotiations under a new process continue.
New avenues also need to be considered for strengthening compliance with international humanitarian law by non-state armed groups. Possible approaches include those linked with motivating factors: ‘ownership’ of the law, incentives, monitoring, and technical assistance.
Read the full Briefing on Promoting Compliance with International Humanitarian Law
The three major crises the EU has faced since 2009 – concerning the euro, migration and Brexit – reflect a broader crisis of its intergovernmental governance. There are a number of negative spillover effects of this crisis of governance: a disproportionate focus in the European Council and among political elites on internal EU matters to the detriment of political attention to external foreign policy issues; a more challenging political and public opinion environment that opposes greater involvement abroad; constrained resources for international engagement; and commercialization of national foreign policies.
As a response to these developments, the EU must adapt its foreign policymaking processes. It must find ways to integrate long-term strategic debates into European Council deliberations and build on the expertise that its expanded and variegated membership has to offer. It should also clarify the division of labour between the European External Action Service and the European Council, with the former acting as its main diplomatic operator and the latter as the prime locus of political authority.
For full access to The EU’s Crisis of Governance and European Foreign Policy, kindly follow the link.
In modern warfare, armed conflicts are increasingly undertaken in coalition, with states offering technical, financial and logistical assistance to one other. Cooperation between states on security arrangements for the purposes of counterterrorism is also on the rise, including in the form of capacity-building, military training, weapons transfers, intelligence cooperation and ‘proxy detention’. The legal issues surrounding cooperation among states in the fields of armed conflict and counterterrorism are thus highly topical today.
For full access to research paper Aiding and Assisting: Challenges in Armed Conflict and Counterterrorism, kindly follow the link.
Syria is without functioning government in many areas but not without governance. In the northeast, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has announced its intent to establish the federal region of Rojava. The PYD took control of the region following the Syrian regime’s handover in some Kurdish-majority areas and as a consequence of its retreat from others. In doing so, the PYD has displayed pragmatism and strategic clarity, and has benefited from the experience and institutional development of its affiliate organization, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PYD now seeks to further consolidate its power and to legitimize itself through the provision of security, services and public diplomacy; yet its local legitimacy remains contested.
For full access to the report Governing Rojava: Layers of Legitimacy in Syria, kindly follow the link.
Humanitarian operations for civilians under the effective control of non-state armed groups (NSAGs) have in recent years faced an additional hurdle: sanctions and counterterrorism measures requiring states to ensure that funds and other assets do not directly or indirectly benefit groups designated under such instruments. The UN Security Council should be encouraged to systematically include humanitarian exemption clauses in sanctions regimes, as this is the best way of ensuring they are replicated in national law.
To access the full research note Humanitarian Action and Non-state Armed Groups: The International Legal Framework, kindly click on the link.
Maritime Security in the Asia-Pacific: China and the Emerging Order in the East and South China Seas
Dr. Kun-Chin Lin and Dr Andrès Villar Gertner argue in this Chatham House Research Paper argue that the maritime domain embodies unique risks that require different solutions from those deriving from a Westphalian notion of statehood and land-based projection of power. The United States and China in particular need to exercise statesmanship in the deteriorating context of the South China Sea. Four dimensions of tensions are evaluated: geostrategic balance, national identity politics, regional and domestic institutions, and international maritime law.
Instruments and institutions of collective commitment, voluntary compliance and dispute resolution – from bilateral agreements on fisheries management to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – are available to support shared values on sustainable development of ocean resources and freedom of navigation. More generally, the authors argue that a breakthrough in maritime governance will depend on the representation of a broad constituency that encompasses trading sectors, fisheries, energy and transport industries, scientific communities, NGOs, think-tanks, environmental activists and local communities.
To access the research paper on Maritime Security in the Asia-Pacific: China and the Emerging Order in the East and South China Seas, kindly follow the link.
The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda was developed at the United Nations over the course of the past 15 years, and there have been critical engagements with it for nearly as long. In this article published by Chatham House, the authors first take stock of the operationalisation of the WPS agenda, reviewing its implementation across a number of sectors. In the second section, they expose the tensions that have marked the WPS agenda from the start. With others, they argue that there has been a narrowing of the agenda’s original scope, reducing it to the traditional politics of security rather than reimagining what security means. The authors highlight this reduction primarily through an analysis of the tension between the ‘participation’ and ‘protection’ pillars of the agenda. Further, they argue that the WPS agenda faces a current challenge in terms of the actors entrusted with it. Although in some ways involving civil society, the consolidations and implementation of WPS principles at the national and international levels have become increasingly state-centric. Third, they imagine some possible futures of the agenda, from a trajectory characterised by increasing marginalisation or even irrelevance, to new avenues like the emergent, albeit tentative, ‘Men, Peace and Security’ agenda. They finally close with an argument for a revival of the WPS agenda beyond a fixation on states, beyond a narrow heteronormative or essentialist focus on the ‘Women’ of the WPS resolutions, and moving towards the radical reimagining of security as peace that inspired the original architects of these important resolutions.
For full access to the report on The futures past of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, kindly follow the link.
This report discusses the disconnect between foreign policy strategies and media engagement. It argues that media engagement tends to be directed at reconciling policy with actions, rather than defining policy at the outset.
For full access to Strategic Communications and National Strategy, please follow the link.
Recommendations for Reducing Tensions in the Interplay Between Sanctions, Counterterrorism Measures and Humanitarian Action
Civilians in need frequently find themselves in the effective control of non-state armed groups (NSAGs) that are designated under sanctions and counterterrorism measures, including in contexts identified as at risk of famine. The prohibitions in these instruments on providing funds or other assets directly or indirectly to such groups are framed extremely broadly, and can potentially include incidental payments that humanitarian actions may need to make in order to operate or relief supplies that are diverted to such groups or that otherwise benefit them. This paper by Chatham House sets out a series of steps for systematically gathering information on the adverse impact of sanctions on humanitarian action and bringing it to the attention of Security Council members as well as the broader UN membership.
For full access to Recommendations for Reducing Tensions in the Interplay Between Sanctions, Counterterrorism Measures and Humanitarian Action, kindly follow the link.
This expert comment questions whether agreements regarding migrant containment, such as that between the EU and Turkey, run the risk of undermining refugee protection regimes and potentially breaching international law.
For full access to Migration Deals Risk Undermining Global Refugee Protection, please follow the link.
This article examines the obstacles facing the UN's Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) Plan of Action. The Plan of Action, which rightly seeks to address the causes of violence by transnational extremist groups, has been hampered in the implementation phase by a lack of support from some member states and administrative errors. The author, David Ucko, assesses the future prospects of the PVE agenda, and UN-based counterterrorism efforts more broadly, arguing that expectations may have to be adjusted for such multilateral efforts to succeed.
For access to the full article "Preventing violent extremism through the United Nations: the rise and fall of a good idea", Please follow the link.
Clarification of international humanitarian law is important in ensuring compliance with the rule of proportionality, but a culture of compliance within armed forces and groups is also crucial.
Military operations are taking place with increasing frequency in densely populated areas. In order to protect civilians, it is imperative that armed forces and groups comply with the rules of international humanitarian law on the conduct of hostilities, including the rule of proportionality.
Proportionality assessments before or during an attack must determine whether the expected harm will be caused by the attack, and whether that harm could be expected (that is, was it reasonably foreseeable).
Belligerents should develop methodologies so that those planning and deciding attacks are provided with all necessary information on expected incidental harm, and to assist them in assigning weight to the incidental harm to be considered.
If it becomes apparent that the rule of proportionality will be contravened, the attack in question must be cancelled or suspended. Clarification of the law is important in ensuring compliance with the rule of proportionality, but a culture of compliance within armed forces and groups, inculcated by their leaders, is also crucial.
To read more about the paper Proportionality in the Conduct of Hostilities: The Incidental Harm Side of the Assessment, please follow the link provided.
Hosted by the International Law Programme and the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House on 27 March 2019, the conference focused on three themes: trade and investment, maritime security and governance, and emerging security challenges. What trends are emerging in terms of engagement with international law in the region, and how can international standards play a greater role in encouraging collaboration and reducing tensions? And, with the eastward shift in geopolitical power, how will Asia-Pacific states shape the future of international law?
For full access to the event report on Security and Prosperity in Asia The Role of International Law, please follow the link.
A partial handover of political power through an orchestrated transition takes Kazakhstan into uncharted territory. Will it be able to pursue modernization and reform, and break from its authoritarian past?
For full access to the paper Kazakhstan: Tested by Transition, please follow the link.
In recent years, many of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries have enacted legislation on cybercrime, reflecting increasing awareness among policymakers of the important role of legislative frameworks in its prevention and combat. This research paper however maintains that there is still much to be done, and that the existing legislation needs both revision and reform in order to ensure better security and civil liberties.
To read Cybercrime Legislation in the GCC Countries: Fit for Purpose?, please follow the link.
Despite the tumult of Brexit, it hasn’t yet led to the sort of fragmentation of the party system in Britain that has affected other European democracies in recent years. Rather, Britain’s broad church political parties have been able to absorb their own more radical fringes, adapting to reflect shifts in opinion within their membership, voter base and the public at large.
An end to the liberal consensus means a new world role for Britain. To read the full article, UK Foreign Policy: It’s All Change, kindly follow the link provided.