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Abstract: The US is changing its policy towards the Middle East and North Africa in response to shifting geopolitical realities in the region. Confronted with new political actors and intractable political issues, President Obama has adopted a more realist approach. This is not the US turning its back on the Middle East or Europe, but rather a redistribution of resources as a consequence of an adjustment of US tactics towards the region.
Abstract: The time to normalize US diplomatic relations with the two Sudans is now. After more than a decade of US special envoys (Danforth, Zoellick, Natsios, Williamson, Gration, and Lyman)* and the independence of South Sudan in July 2011, it is time for the United States to reevaluate what it is trying to achieve in its relations with the two Sudans and how best it can do that. In other words, does the United States still need a special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan and, if so, why? This paper argues that to achieve peace and stability within and between Sudan and South Sudan, the United States must now refocus its diplomatic engagement on the internal governance challenges in both states by moving to more normal diplomatic relations with each.
Abstract: Over the past decade, the use of unmanned aerial systems—commonly
referred to as drones—by the U.S. government has expanded exponentially
in scope, location, and frequency.1 From September 2001 to
April 2012, the U.S. military increased its drone inventory from fifty
to seventy-five hundred—of which approximately 5 percent can be
armed.2 Yet despite the unprecedented escalation of its fleet and missions,
the U.S. government has not provided a clear explanation of how
drone strikes in nonbattlefield settings are coordinated with broader
foreign policy objectives, the scope of legitimate targets, and the legal
framework. Drones are critical counterterrorism tools that advance
U.S. interests around the globe, but this lack of transparency threatens
to limit U.S. freedom of action and risks proliferation of armed drone
technology without the requisite normative framework.
Existing practices carry two major risks for U.S. interests that are
likely to grow over time. The first comes from operational restrictions
on drones due to domestic and international pressure. In the United
States, the public and policymakers are increasingly uneasy with limited
transparency for targeted killings.3 If the present trajectory continues,
drones may share the fate of Bush-era enhanced interrogation
techniques and warrantless wiretapping—the unpopularity and illegality
of which eventually caused the policy’s demise. Internationally,
objections from host states and other counterterrorism partners could
also severely circumscribe drones’ effectiveness. Host states have
grown frustrated with U.S. drone policy, while opposition by nonhost
partners could impose additional restrictions on the use of drones.
Reforming U.S. drone strike policies can do much to allay concerns
internationally by ensuring that targeted killings are defensible under
international legal regimes that the United States itself helped establish,
and by allowing U.S. officials to openly address concerns and
Abstract: Congress has maintained significant interest in Mexico and played an important role in shaping
bilateral relations. Recently, the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that governed
Mexico from 1929 to 2000 retook the presidency after 12 years of rule by the conservative
National Action Party (PAN) in the July 1, 2012 elections. The party also captured a plurality (but
not a majority) in Mexico’s Senate and Chamber of Deputies. PRI President Enrique Peña Nieto,
a former governor of the state of Mexico, took office on December 1, 2012, pledging to enact
bold structural reforms and broaden relations with the United States beyond security issues. U.S.
policymakers are closely following what the return of a PRI government portends for Mexico’s
domestic policies and relations with the United States.
This report, which will be updated, provides an overview of the leadership, priorities, and
prospects for Mexico’s new administration. It then briefly analyzes how those priorities may
affect key bilateral issues of interest to the 113th Congress and suggests possible questions for
oversight related to each issue area. The report concludes with an outlook section containing key
questions that may be used to assess the Peña Nieto Administration and its impact on U.S.-
Abstract: What is strategic stability and why is it important? This edited collection offers the most current authoritative survey of this topic, which is central to U.S. strategy in the field of nuclear weapons and great power relations. A variety of authors and leading experts in the field of strategic issues and regional studies offer both theoretical and practical insights into the basic concepts associated with strategic stability, what implications these have for the United States, as well as key regions such as the Middle East, and perspectives on strategic stability in Russia and China. Readers will develop a deeper and more developed understanding of this concent from this engaging and informative work.
Abstract: In the 4 decades since President Richard Nixon first declared war on drugs, the U.S. counter drug strategy has remained virtually unchanged—favoring supply-reduction, law enforcement, and criminal sanctions over demand reduction, treatment, and education. While the annual counter drug budget has ballooned from $100 million to $25 billion, the availability of most illicit drugs remains at an all-time high. The human cost is staggering—nearly 40,000 drug-related deaths in the United States annually. The societal impact, in purely economic terms, is now estimated to be approximately $200 billion per year. The global illicit drug industry now accounts for 1 percent of all commerce on the planet—approximately $320 billion annually. Legalization is almost certainly not the answer; however, an objective analysis of available data confirms that: 1) the United States has pursued essentially the same flawed supply-reduction strategy for 40 years; and, 2) simply increasing the amount of money invested each year in this strategy will not make it successful. Faced with impending budget cuts and a future of budget austerity, policymakers must replace the longstanding U.S. counter drug strategy with a pragmatic, science-based, demand-reduction strategy that offers some prospect of reducing the economic and societal impacts of illicit drugs on American society.
Abstract: This report is based on interviews conducted in Libya with 14 former detainees, most of whom belonged to an armed Islamist group that had worked to overthrow Gaddafi for 20 years. Many members of the group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), joined the NATO-backed anti-Gaddafi rebels in the 2011 conflict. Some of those who were rendered and allegedly tortured in US custody now hold key leadership and political positions in the country.
Abstract: This is a summary of an event held at Chatham House on 5 July 2012.
Professors Charles Garraway and Sean Watts discussed the war crimes investigation practices of the UK and US, highlighting and contrasting comparative reporting requirements as well as the extent of international influences in each system.
Abstract: The emergence of new hybrid (state and nonstate) transnational criminal/terrorist franchises in Latin America operating under broad state protection now pose a tier-one security threat for the United States. Similar hybrid franchise models are developing in other parts of the world, making understanding the new dynamics an important factor in a broader national security context. This threat goes well beyond the traditional nonstate theory of constraints activity such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking into the potential for trafficking related to weapons of mass destruction by designated terrorist organizations and their sponsors. These activities are carried out with the support of regional and extra regional states actors whose leadership is deeply enmeshed in criminal activity, which yields billions of dollars in illicit revenues every year. These same leaders have a publicly articulated, common doctrine of asymmetrical warfare against the United States and its allies that explicitly endorses as legitimate the use of weapons of mass destruction. The central binding element in this alliance is a hatred for the West, particularly the United States, and deep anti-Semitism, based on a shared view that the 1979 Iranian Revolution was a transformative historical event. For Islamists, it is evidence of divine favor; and for Bolivarians, a model of a successful asymmetrical strategy to defeat the “Empire.” The primary architect of this theology/ideology that merges radical Islam and radical, anti-Western populism and revolutionary zeal is the convicted terrorist Ilich Sánchez Ramirez, better known as “Carlos the Jackal,” whom Chávez has called a true visionary.
Abstract: The framework on which the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty [ATT], currently being negotiated, is likely to be based is clear: It will set out criteria that signatories must apply to proposed arms transfers and require them to decide whether the proposed transfer poses a risk under any of those criteria. But these criteria are likely to be ill-defined, and the ATT's "checklist" model differs fundamentally from the "guidance" model that the U.S. currently employs. Worst of all, the ATT will enumerate criteria that will be easy to expand in ways that the U.S. cannot control. If the ATT is to exist, it should be based on a commitment by willing and democratic signatories to develop effective systems of border and export control.
Abstract: In October 2011, President Obama announced the deployment of nearly 100 US military advisers to central Africa to assist Ugandan and regional military forces in defeating the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group that has committed atrocities against civilians in the region for over two decades.
While just over half of the 100 advisers are based in Uganda, where the LRA has not operated since 2006, the rest are deployed to four bases in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan, all countries where the LRA continues to threaten civilians.
In the first seven months of their deployment, the advisers have had a significant impact.1 They have helped streamline logistical and intelligence support to Ugandan military forces, now authorized by the African Union, that are primarily focused on pursuing senior LRA commanders in southeast CAR. This has led to more intense military pressure on LRA groups and enabled more LRA combatants there to escape. The advisers have established operations and intelligence “fusion centers” in forward operating locations. They have also worked with State Department field staff dedicated to counter-LRA efforts to improve crossborder information-sharing on LRA activity among both military and civilian actors, and to strengthen civilian protection efforts. US advisers and civilian staff have also played a key role in expanding “come home” messaging distributed through leaflets and FM radio broadcasts to encourage defection of LRA combatants in southeast CAR.
Abstract: Evidence continues to mount that the government of Rwanda has been harboring, supporting, and arming war criminals and mutineers, including Bosco Ntaganda, in neighboring eastern Congo. Former rebels from the Rwanda-linked National Congress for the Defense of the People, or CNDP, and an affiliated offshoot group called the M23 movement are currently in open rebellion against the government in Kinshasa and fighting the Congolese national army, or FARDC. Further, recent documents leaked by the United Nations Mission to Congo, or MONUSCO, as well as several interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch and corroborated by the Enough Project field team are pointing to the government of Rwanda forcibly recruiting men and boys into the Rwandan army, or RDF, sending them to fight as rebels for M23 in eastern Congo, and summarily executing them if they prove too weak or try to escape.
Additionally, as part of its annual reporting process, the U.N. Group of Experts on Congo conducted an investigation into the allegations of Rwandan support to the M23 rebellion in Congo. In the process of briefing U.N. Security Council member states as part of the group’s interim report process, the results of this investigation were shared. Several U.N. diplomats as well as NGOs have confirmed that the investigation uncovered evidence of direct Rwandan involvement in the rebellion. Several sources also indicated that this group is best suited to continue investigation into the matter through the remainder of this year.
Abstract: The report gives a chronological listing of terrorist attacks causing ten or more deaths, month by month. It states, "over 10,000 terrorist attacks occurred in 2011, affecting nearly 45,000 victims in 70 countries and resulting in over 12,500 deaths. The total number of worldwide attacks in 2011, however, dropped by almost 12 percent from 2010 and nearly 29 percent from 2007. Although the 2011 numbers represent five-year lows, they also underscore the human toll and geographic reach of terrorism. The Near East and South Asia continued to experience the most attacks, incurring just over 75 percent of the 2011 total. In addition, Africa and the Western Hemisphere experienced five-year highs in the number of attacks, exhibiting the constant evolution of the terrorist threat."
Abstract: The upheaval that has shaken the Middle East since January 2011 has clearly demonstrated some of the faulty assumptions that have long underpinned U.S. policy in the region. In Strategic Adaptation: Toward a New U.S. Strategy in the Middle East, authors Dr. Bruce W. Jentleson, Dr. Andrew M. Exum, Melissa G. Dalton and J. Dana Stuster chart the fundamentals of a revised strategy for U.S. Middle East policy, starting with a reevaluation of U.S. interests and an assessment of the evolving strategic context. The approach they propose is one of “strategic adaptation” to meet immediate challenges while simultaneously responding to regional trends that will affect the region – and U.S. engagement – for decades to come.
Abstract: The U.S. military for years has debated the utility of counterinsurgency operations. Drawing from a sentiment that harkens back to the Vietnam War, many within the military have long opposed counterinsurgency operations. Others see counterinsurgency as the unavoidable future of U.S. warfare. The debate is between those who believe the purpose of a conventional military force is to defeat another conventional military force and those who believe conventional military conflicts increasingly will be replaced by conflicts more akin to recent counterinsurgency operations. In such conflicts, the purpose of a counterinsurgency is to transform an occupied society in order to undermine the insurgents.
Understanding this debate requires the understanding that counterinsurgency is not a type of warfare; it is one strategy by which a disproportionately powerful conventional force approaches asymmetric warfare. As its name implies, it is a response to an insurgency, a type of asymmetric conflict undertaken by small units with close links to the occupied population to defeat a larger conventional force. Insurgents typically are highly motivated -- otherwise they collapse easily -- and usually possess superior intelligence to a foreign occupational force. Small units operating with superior intelligence are able to evade more powerful conventional forces and can strike such forces at their own discretion. Insurgents are not expected to defeat the occupying force through direct military force. Rather, the assumption is that the occupying force has less interest in the outcome of the war than the insurgents and that over time, the inability to defeat the insurgency will compel the occupying force to withdraw.
Abstract: In recent years, many analysts have expressed concern that the international community’s effortsover the past 15 years to stabilize Bosnia are failing. Milorad Dodik, president of the Republika
Srpska (RS), one of the two semi-autonomous “entities” within Bosnia, has obstructed efforts to
make Bosnia’s central government more effective. He has repeatedly asserted the RS’s right to
secede from Bosnia, although he has so far refrained from trying to make this threat a reality.
Some ethnic Croat leaders in Bosnia have called for the creation of a third, Croat “entity,”
threatening a further fragmentation of the country.
The Office of the High Representative (OHR), chosen by leading countries and international
institutions, oversees implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the 1992-1995
war in Bosnia. It has the power to fire Bosnian officials and impose laws, if need be, to enforce
the Dayton Accords. However, the international community has proved unwilling in recent years
to back the High Representative in using these powers boldly, fearing a backlash among Bosnian
Serb leaders. As a result, OHR has become increasingly ineffective, according to many observers.
The international community has vowed to close OHR after Bosnia meets a series of five
objectives and two conditions.
Abstract: Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
In his testimony the speaker shares his views on the future of insurgency and its relationship to terrorism and crime. He gives suggestions on how the US could better meet the challenges posed by insurgency in the 21st century.
Abstract: Maintaining the U.S. military’s global pre-eminence is vital to protecting American interests and promoting American values. However, the Pentagon still has not enacted the types of reforms that are necessary to sustain that pre-eminence into the future. The reality of constrained defense budgets presents DOD with an opportunity to adopt reforms that will make the U.S. military more effective as well as less expensive.
In Sustainable Pre-eminence: Reforming the U.S. Military at a Time of Strategic Change, CNAS experts LTG David W. Barno, USA (Ret.), Dr. Nora Bensahel, Matthew Irvine and Travis Sharp argue that DOD should organize and operate America’s armed forces in new ways. The report outlines how DOD should strengthen joint force integration, downsize military headquarters and reduce its civilian and contractor workforces. It then offers specific recommendations for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and special operations forces.
Abstract: Famine, drought, war, piracy,
international terrorism, and the
absence of democratic governance:
The factors behind, as well as the
symptoms of, the failed Somali state
are legion. Despite its woes, Somalia
has not been considered a U.S. foreign
policy priority—an unfortunate
relegation that has undermined
national security. Yet, as terrorist
groups like al-Shabaab increase
their grip on the region, the U.S. can
no longer afford to be anything but
fully engaged with Somalia. Rather
than attempting another round of
unsuccessful “nation building,” the
U.S. should set the conditions that will
allow the Somalis to secure a more
prosperous and secure future, while
mitigating threats to U.S. security.
Abstract: The goal of this National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security is as simple as it is profound: to
empower half the world’s population as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in
countries threatened and affected by war, violence, and insecurity. Achieving this goal is critical to our
national and global security.
Deadly conflicts can be more effectively avoided, and peace can be best forged and sustained, when
women become equal partners in all aspects of peace-building and conflict prevention, when their lives
are protected, their experiences considered, and their voices heard.
As directed by the Executive Order signed by President Obama entitled Instituting a National Action
Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, this Plan describes the course the United States Government will
take to accelerate, institutionalize, and better coordinate our efforts to advance women’s inclusion in
peace negotiations, peacebuilding activities, and conflict prevention; to protect women from sexual and
gender-based violence; and to ensure equal access to relief and recovery assistance, in areas of conflict
Abstract: It is surprisingly difficult to get a meaningful estimate of the total cost of the Afghan conflict, total spending on Afghan forces and total spending on various forms of aid. More data are available on US efforts – which have dominated military and aid spending, but even these data present serious problems in reliability, consistency, and definition. Moreover, it is only since FY2012 that the US provided an integrated request for funding for the war as part of its annual budget request. The data for the period before FY2009 are accurate pictures of the Department of Defense request, but there is only a CRS estimate of total spending the previous years.
This report addresses the fiscal cost to the US of the Afghan War from FY2000-FY2013. It provides estimates of total cost, cost to the Department of Defense, and estimates concerning aid costs to State, USAID, and other federal agencies. It also reports on the total cost of international aid when this takes the form of integrated aid to Afghan development and Afghan forces – a fraction of total aid spending. No reliable estimate exists of total international aid to Afghanistan, since so much of this aid has been direct and has not passed through the Afghan Central government.
The resulting figures provide important insights for “transition.” They show the scale of past US efforts, how the aid has been allocated, and the differences between the total aid appropriated during the course of the war, the amount obligated (around 60% of the amount appropriated), and the amount actually disbursed (around 45% of the appropriation).
Abstract: The International Criminal Court as a site of public affairs is a magnet for political and legal participation. This participation often oversteps the geographical frontiers of sovereign states. Following the signing of the Rome Statues in 1998 by the then US President Bill Clinton and the subsequent birth of the International Criminal Court in 2002, an international legal structure based on the framework of the US Constitution was established. While Clinton argued that the US should be given a chance to assess the benefit of choosing whether it wanted to be under the ICC jurisdiction, the support of the senate on this matter at that time was unclear. This lack of clarity and ambiguity led to the “unsigning” of the US from ICC during the Bush Administration following a congressional debate to pull out. The US withdrawal from ICC emanated from congressional debates that were anchored on the idea that ICC is unconstitutional, contending that ICC places itself above the US justice and court system. The US Congress also claimed that some clauses of the Rome Statues were open to subjective interpretation by member nations and could jeopardize US national interests. Many congressional members argued that ICC duplicates the roles of the United Nations.
Abstract: This report is a study of 17 declassified documents captured during the Abbottabad
raid and released to the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). They consist of electronic
letters or draft letters, totaling 175 pages in the original Arabic and 197 pages in the
English translation. The earliest is dated September 2006 and the latest April 2011. Some
of the letters are incomplete and/or are missing their dates, and not all of the letters
explicitly attribute their author(s) and/or indicate the addressee. In addition to Bin
Ladin, the recognizable individuals who appear in the letters either as authors or as
recipients are `Atiyyatullah and Abu Yahya al-Libi, both of whom are al-Qa`ida leaders;
Adam Yahya Gadahn, the American al-Qa`ida spokesman and media advisor; Mukhtar
Abu al-Zubayr, the leader of the Somali militant group Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin;
Abu Basir (Nasir al-Wuhayshi), the leader of the Yemen-based al-Qa`ida in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP); and Hakimullah Mahsud, the leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
(TTP). Given the small collection of documents released to the CTC, it is impossible to
construct a coherent evolution of al-Qa`ida or its current state. “Letters from
Abbottabad” is an initial exploration and contextualization of 17 documents that will be
the grist for future academic debate and discussion.
A note on translation:
The quality of the English translation provided to the CTC is not adequate throughout. When the translation was deemed inadequate, quotations cited in this report have either been amended or translated a new by Nelly Lahoud. Furthermore, the conversion of the dating of the letters from the Hijri to the Gregorian calendar is inaccurate in some places. The Appendix provides corrected dates to some of the letters, along with some pointers on how some letters relate to others. For those wishing to conduct their own analysis of the documents, it is highly recommended to refer to the original Arabic documents, not the translations.
Abstract: One year after the death of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil, the tenuous relationship between the US and Pakistan is critically analyzed. As President Obama returns from his surprise visit to Kabul after signing a strategic agreement with Afghanistan, the relationship between the United States and Pakistan and their involvement with key regional players is now more important than ever.
Few would disagree that 2011 was a difficult year for the United States and Pakistan. The shaky relationship deteriorated rapidly over the past twelve months as a result of a series of incidents shortly after the American raid on the Pakistani compound that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2 of last year. It has become a cliché to compare the rocky relationship to a bad marriage, one in which divorce is impossible yet both parties are forced to trudge along unhappily. Never smooth even during the best of times, the past year has brought the relationship to an all-time low. In a November 2011 CBS poll, a majority of Americans said that Pakistan is either unfriendly (39%) or an enemy (24%).Only 2% called it an ally. For their part, Pakistanis don’t see the relationship as any healthier. A June 2011 Pew Research poll showed that most Pakistanis see the United States as an enemy and a potential threat to their country’s security. This paper will address the tumultuous relationship between these two countries including recent turmoil, regional dynamics, often opposed agendas of each country, and options for rebuilding the relationship.
On the one hand, since joining hands in late 2001, Washington has been praising Islamabad for its commitment and sacrifice of more than 3,500 military personnel and as many as 35,000 Pakistani civilians in the “war on terror.” Last year, soon after the killing of Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, President Barack Obama said, “We have been able to kill more terrorists on Pakistani soil than just about anyplace else. We could not have done that without Pakistani cooperation.” On the other hand, American officials have suspected and often accused the Pakistani military of supporting militant groups, particularly the Afghan Taliban. Although Washington and Islamabad have never been on the same page since 9/11, both sides have always made an effort to maintain their ties.