Archive for the ‘International Conflict, Terrorism & Security’ Category

18
Oct

US President Donald Trump just made the first step to dismantle a deal that took more than four years to negotiate, from the first overtures made by the Obama administration to Iran in 2011 to the final signing of The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015.
Trump is seeking to undo the diplomatic legacy of the previous administration, arguing that the Iran nuclear deal failed to prevent the development of Tehran’s ballistic missile programme and end its support for terrorism.

Trump ostensibly wants a grand bargain that will cover all of these issues. The irony is that in the past such a grand bargain was put on the table and rejected. Iran itself proposed it in 2003, and it was Trump’s Republican predecessor, George W Bush, that failed to pursue it. That failure led to Iran waging a low-intensity proxy war against the US in Iraq.
Just as Iran had options then to communicate its displeasure when the US failed to engage with it, so it has now. And all of them would lead to more instability in Iraq and the region as a whole. Read more…

By Ibrahim Al-Marashi
Published on Oct. 14, in http://www.aljazeera.com

Ibrahim Al-Marashi is Associate Professor of Middle East History at California State University San Marcos. His publications include Iraq’s Armed Forces: An Analytical History, The Modern History of Iraq, and the forthcoming, A Concise History of the Middle East, and a regular contributor for Al-Jazeera English and TRT World.

26
Sep

What does the war in Syria have in common with the stand-off in North Korea? All the leaders involved in the conflict use missiles as a diplomatic tool to boast of their country’s strength, and to send political messages.

In a speech before the United Nations on Tuesday, President Trump branded North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “rocket man,” borrowing a term from an John Elton song.

However, Trump, is also a rocket man. So is Vladimir Putin. They all use “rockets,” or more specifically cruise and ballistic missiles to send political message to their rival “rocket men.”

Within the span of three months, from April 2017 to June 2017, the US, Iran, and Russia have all lobbed missiles over the skies of Syria, not for tactical military reasons, but to send symbolic political messages to their rivals, a form of “missile diplomacy”. Read more…

Published on Sept. 22nd, 2017 in http://www.trtworld.com

Ibrahim Al Marashi

Ibrahim al-Marashi is an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of The Modern History of Iraq, 4th edition.

30
Aug

The peaceful co-existence of Muslims, Christians and Jews in Spain might be more harmonious right now than at any other time in its history. That could be, in fact, what Daesh is targeting.

The attacks in Barcelona on August 17, 2017, conducted by terrorists pledging their allegiance to Daesh, demonstrate that despite the loss of the Islamic State’s spiritual capital Mosul over the summer, its ideology still inspires violence.

The attacks also fit a wider pattern this summer of urban terrorism having returned to Europe this summer and over the last one year. However, unlike the attacks in the UK earlier this summer, the attacks in Spain have invariably evoked the nation’s Islamic history by the media, analysts, and terrorist themselves.

Whether it was the 2004 bombing of commuter trains in Madrid or these vehicular attacks in Spain’s Catalonia region in 2017, the terrorists legitimize their violence by invoking the eight centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula from 711 to 1492.

The symbolism of catalonia’s Islamic history

When reading about the vehicular attack on Barcelona’s pedestrian boulevard, Las Ramblas, I could not help but to analyze how a Spanish-Muslim terrorist was attacking part of Spain’s Muslim past. Barcelona was never under Muslim rule, although it was sacked by Muslim general al-Mansur in 985. Nonetheless, its most iconic thoroughfare, Las Ramblas comes from the Arabic word “raml” for “sand.” Las Ramblas was a wadi, a dry river bed. Read more…

Written on Aug. 30th, 2017 by Ibrahim-Al Marashi in http://www.trtworld.com
Ibrahim al-Marashi is an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of The Modern History of Iraq, 4th edition.

24
Apr

Francia ha sido golpeada de nuevo por un ataque terrorista. Esta vez en el centro de París y a pocos días de la primera ronda de las elecciones presidenciales. Al margen de las graves consecuencias inmediatas, como la pérdida de vidas o los daños materiales producidos por el propio ataque, lo realmente preocupante es la posible reacción colectiva a estos incidentes. Solo a través de la manipulación del comportamiento colectivo pueden los terroristas infligir verdadero daño en nuestras sociedades. Si el ataque del jueves, o cualquier otro incidente análogo, facilitara la victoria de Marine Le Pen en las elecciones francesas, el daño producido a Francia y a la Unión Europea sería infinitamente superior al que IS, Al Qaeda o la totalidad de organizaciones terroristas podrían infligir de forma directa sobre Occidente.

Empecemos en todo caso por el principio. El telón de fondo es el siguiente: vivimos hoy en las sociedades más pacíficas y seguras de la Historia. El trabajo de Steven Pinker de la Universidad de Harvard demuestra que nunca había sido la violencia física tan improbable en los colectivos humanos. Esto es cierto a nivel global y en términos de muertos en conflicto armado inter-estatal, como a nivel nacional y en términos de criminalidad común. El fenómeno terrorista no ha cambiado la tendencia general. Sabemos, por ejemplo, que en EEUU es mucho más probable morir por las lesiones producidas en una caída grave en la bañera que en un atentado terrorista.

Sabemos también que los grupos terroristas rara vez logran sus objetivos políticos; ya sean estos reformas legislativas concretas o transformaciones más profundas del status quo político. Las cifras del Profesor Max Abrahms de la Universidad Northeastern son contundentes: de 28 grupos terroristas analizados en su ensayo “Why Terrorism Does Not Work” tan solo el 7% logra alguno de sus objetivos políticos. De hecho, los que menos éxito tienen son aquellos que optan por atentar contra civiles en vez de contra las fuerzas de seguridad. El público general percibe esa táctica como amoral y criminal, y no como la actuación de un movimiento revolucionario merecedor de apoyo. Por lo tanto, el terrorismo y, en particular el terrorismo islámico, no logrará una victoria convencional directa, sino tan solo de forma indirecta a través de la reacción a sus actos. No busca convencer sino debilitar a través de la sobrerreacción de las víctimas.

Por lo tanto, si sabemos que vivimos en sociedades eminentemente seguras y que la táctica terrorista es eficaz en tanto en cuanto produce miedo, es evidente que nuestro único enemigo somos nosotros mismos. Debemos desarrollar estrategias específicas para contener los efectos de ataques terroristas al igual que lo hacemos en relación a otras muchas amenazas. Esa estrategia pasa por acotar la descripción de terrorismo de forma estricta para no caer en el error de entender toda manifestación de inseguridad como un hecho terrorista, informar al público de la escala real del problema, calibrar correctamente la reacción de las fuerzas de seguridad así como acordar con los medios de comunicación estrategias de comunicación que permitan revelar los hechos sin producir pánico. En esencia la clave será el acotar la onda expansiva de estos acontecimientos que es donde realmente radica el potencial de daño.

La peor reacción posible es la que hemos observado por parte de la Administración Trump en EEUU. Donald Trump ha elevado el nivel de alerta sobre el terrorismo islámico posicionándolo en el centro de su estrategia de seguridad nacional y aprobando medidas legislativas, como por ejemplo la orden ejecutiva que prohíbe la concesión de visados de entrada en EEUU a siete países de mayoría musulmana, que afectan a millones de personas de forma innecesaria. En Francia la reacción más perjudicial sería un aumento de apoyo a Marine Le Pen y al Frente Nacional. Una victoria de Le Pen pondría en peligro la pertenencia de Francia al Euro, a la Unión Europea y a la Alianza Atlántica. De producirse semejante reacción el terrorismo islámico habría logrado que los europeos nos infligiésemos uno de las mayores daños posibles en un momento de gran debilidad e incertidumbre.

22 de abril de 2017, el.mundo.com

1
Feb

 

 

On January 30th, students from the Bachelor and Master in International Relations had the unique opportunity to dialogue with a true man of peace, former President of Timor-Leste (2007-2012) José Ramos-Horta. On his way to Bogota, where he had been invited by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, to help him in the process of building peace after decades of conflict, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1996) and member of the Club of Madrid José Ramos-Horta stopped by Madrid and visited IE School of International Relations.

José Ramos-Horta is a journalist and political activist who, along with Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, received the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to lead Timor-Leste, a former Portuguese colony that was under Indonesian control from 1975 to 1999, into a peaceful transition to independence. “Today, there are no countries in Asia that have a better relationship than Timor-Leste and Indonesia”, a relationship that has impressed everyone, even Shimon Peres, former President of Israel.

How was that possible? By “making prevention a doctrine”, by having humble leaders who listen their people, make education a priority and managing the country’s resources in a reasonable way. José Ramos-Horta served as Prime Minister of Timor-Leste from 2006 to 2007 and as President from 2007 to 2012, a period of time in which several oil and gas reserves were discovered in Timor-Leste, bringing rapid economic growth to the country. “One of the smartest things we did, explained José Ramos-Horta, was the national sovereign fund, where all oil and gas revenues go”. In 6 years, Timor-Leste collected $16 Billion, divided into 1.000 portfolios.

In 2013, José Ramos-Horta became the United Nations’ special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS). A year later, he was appointed by Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon to chair the United Nations High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. The Panel drafted a comprehensive report in 2015, providing observations and recommendation to keep building Peace. Some of these recommendations have certainly inspired the Colombian President José Manuel Santos in his negotiations with the FARCs. But José Ramos-Horta warns us: “each country is different and has to find its own peace.” His advice to Colombia: “it’s time to forgive, not to forget”.

Written by Soizic Belliard, Associate Director of Admissions, IE School of International Relations

 

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