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Mapping the Belt and Road Initiative: Geography and Architecture

Mapping the Belt and Road Initiative: Geography and Architecture

International Affairs

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a large-scale international cooperation project which was announced by the Chinese government in 2013. This grand project aims to improve international cooperation across regions and continents, linking together more than 60 countries and (re)creating both maritime (the “belt”) and terrestrial (“the road”)...

06 Sep 2018

Religious Foundations for Political Violence

Religious Foundations for Political Violence

Religious Foundations of Political Violence

Although it is on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq that the destructive capacity of political violence driven by religious dogma is most apparent, the impact of soteriological narratives have become apparent across the world. The contours of power continue to be recast across the Arab world, which has...

30 Aug 2018

The Challenges Facing Refugee Integration in Europe

The Challenges Facing Refugee Integration in Europe

Humanitarian Governance

According to Eurostat, an unprecedented number of asylum seekers arrived in Europe in 2015, the majority of whom were primarily fleeing the civil war in Syria. As of early 2018, Germany has been host to the largest number of people, having granted protection to 593,410 asylum seekers in 2015...

26 Aug 2018

Strategic Competition for Bases in Djibouti

Strategic Competition for Bases in Djibouti

International Security

The small country of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa made the headlines in May 2018 due to claims that soldiers on the new Chinese base were pointing lasers at U.S. aircraft landing at the American base. Djibouti is the only “official,” permanent American base in Africa, and the...

16 Aug 2018

Liwa al-Baqir (The Baqir Brigade) in Syria

Liwa al-Baqir (The Baqir Brigade) in Syria

Security, Defense & Terrorism

Liwa al-Baqir (The Baqir Brigade, named for the fifth Shi’a Imam) is a militia group that is as part of the Syrian “Local Defence Forces”  and strongly linked to Iran, Hezbollah and Harakat Al-Nujaba. The origins of the group appear to date to around 2012 in the eastern and...

06 Aug 2018

Afghanistan: New initiatives, old problems

Afghanistan: New initiatives, old problems

Security, Defense & Terrorism

War and chaos have been present in Afghanistan for almost all of the past four decades.  The current conflict there in 2001, when the United States and NATO allies invaded in response to al-Qaeda attacks on the United States on September 11 of that year.  Recently the United States...

06 Aug 2018

A Review of China-UAE Relations in the Context of Xi Jinping’s Visit to the UAE

A Review of China-UAE Relations in the Context of Xi Jinping’s Visit to the UAE

Foreign Policy & International Relations

Starting on July 19, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This was the first visit of the Head of State of China to the UAE in the past 29 years. It was also the first visit by Chinese Communist party and...

24 Jul 2018

Is the Past Prologue? North Korea and Denuclearization

Is the Past Prologue? North Korea and Denuclearization

International Security

The future of negotiations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea), South Korea, and the United States over the North’s nuclear program have swung dramatically between warm embraces across an armistice line and renewed threats of nuclear warfare.  What is happening, and what is at stake?...

12 Jun 2018

Franco-British-American Relations in Syria and Iran

Franco-British-American Relations in Syria and Iran

International Security

French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the United States for three days in late April showed a somewhat surprising effort by the French head of state to demonstrate a close friendship with U.S. President Donald Trump. In the U.S. media, more attention was paid to the so-called ‘bromance’...

12 Jun 2018

The UAE – Soft Superpower in the Making?

The UAE – Soft Superpower in the Making?

Foreign Policy & International Relations

Just over a year ago His Highness Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated the UAE’s Soft Power Council. The Council, which launched the UAE’s Soft Power Strategy during the Government’s Annual Meetings in September 2017, will oversee efforts to enhance the country’s international reputation. In taking this initiative, the...

30 May 2018

US Withdrawal from the Iran Deal – What Comes Next?

US Withdrawal from the Iran Deal – What Comes Next?

International Security

On 8 May the President of the United States announced the USA would no longer participate in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran Deal), effective immediately.  Furthermore, the President announced that US sanctions on Iran relating to its nuclear activity would be reinstated....

20 May 2018

The Strategic Situation in Somalia and the Upcoming Withdrawal of International Forces

The Strategic Situation in Somalia and the Upcoming Withdrawal of International Forces

Security, Defense & Terrorism

The Strategic Situation in Somalia and the Upcoming Withdrawal of International Forces Last year, on March 6, 2017, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) marked its tenth year of combat operations against Al-Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-affiliated insurgent group. Six African countries provide the soldiers for AMISOM: Uganda, Burundi,...

09 May 2018

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