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“Stabilising” the Middle East: A Historical Perspective

Image courtesy of ErikaWittlieb/Pixabay.

This article was originally published by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) on 28 March 2019.

The relevance of “continuities” in relation to the history of the region and its inhabitants has been evident throughout most of its millenary past, and from a wide range of different angles. For instance, the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100 BCE), a literary product of Mesopotamia, encompasses a number of themes and motifs (including, among others, the flood myth adopted in the narrative of Noah’s ark) later included in the Bible and other religious books.

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FNC Groups (Partners and Observers), as of November 2017

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This graphic features the different groups in NATO’s Framework Nations Concept (FNC) to highlight the trend of regionalization within NATO. But what does the FNC, with its emphasis on national sovereignty, actually mean for defense cooperation? See Rainer L Glatz and Martin Zapfe’s CSS Analysis in Security Policy here. For more CSS charts and graphics, click here.

Steps Towards Rapprochement Between North and South Korea

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This graphic outlines the key rapprochement-related events between North Korea and South Korea since the 1972 reunification talks. For more, read Linda Maduz’s recent CSS Analyses in Security Policy on the prospects for rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula here. For more CSS charts and graphics, click here.

The Yemen War: A Proxy Sectarian War?

Image courtesy of Ibrahem Qasim/wikimedia. (CC-BY-SA 3.0)

This article was originally published by The Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) on November 14 2018.

The diffusion of protests against authoritarian regimes across the Arab world in 2011 reinvigorated Yemen’s marginalized social movements and united different geographical and political factions in Yemen, such as the northern Houthi movement and the southern secessionist movement Hiraak.1 The Saudi Kingdom, along with other Gulf monarchies, swiftly designed a transitional plan for the country to ensure that President Ali Abdullah Saleh wass replaced with a friendly government led by President Abd Rabo Hadi. Disillusioned by the transition, the Houthis took military control of the capital Sana’a in September 2014, and Yemen descended into a civil war. On 26 March 2015, Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes on Yemen with the aim to restore the Saudi-backed Hadi government and destroy the Houthi movement. What was initially planned as a limited operation degenerated into a war of attrition without a conclusion insight. Scholars and policy analysts moved quickly to examine the Yemen war as a by-product of Saudi-Iranian rivalry and another manifestation of a region-wide war between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. Yet, the crisis in Yemen is more complex; it is neither an international proxy war nor a sectarian confrontation.

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Middle East

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This map shows the key players in the Middle East. For more on how Trump’s Middle East policy differs from that of Barack Obama, see Jack Thompson’s recent addition to the CSS Analyses in Security Policy series here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on proliferation, click here.

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