The CSS Blog Network

Mediation Perspectives: Training Secular Diplomats on the Religion-Peacebuilding Nexus

Image ‘Signing the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty‘ courtesy of Government Press Office/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.

The waters of international relations and diplomacy for peacebuilding can no longer be effectively navigated without understanding religion and its role in armed conflict. Some foreign ministries like Switzerland, Finland and Germany have started training their staff. However, many secular or non-religious diplomats who serve as their foreign ministries’ skippers in the peace processes their countries support are not equipped to deal with religion. This blog offers thoughts on why this is and where diplomats can receive the knowledge and skills they need.

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What We Know – and Don’t Know – about Religious Civil Wars

Image ‘Nigeria Unrest’ courtesy of Diariocritico de Venezuela/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by Political Violence @ a Glance on 23 May 2018.

Ongoing civil wars in Syria, Mali, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Uganda illustrate the need to better understand religious dimensions of armed conflicts. In a recent article published in Journal of Conflict Resolution, we provide new data on religion and conflict worldwide – during the time period 1975-2015 – which can help inform our understanding of the religious dimensions of armed conflicts. Drawing on the data and findings presented in that article, we shed light on three widely held beliefs concerning religious conflicts.

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Prior focus: CSS Graphics

The US National Defense and International Affairs Budget

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This graphic outlines the US national defense and international affairs budget from 1990-2019. To find out more, click here to read Jack Thompson’s Strategic Trends 2018 chapter on how the US is struggling to manage external challenges as well as domestic constraints, such as the underfunding and mismanagement of the military and diplomatic corps. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on defense policy, click here.

Jihadi Networks in Switzerland: Regional Clusters and their Transnational Links

On 25 May 2018, the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich, together with the Austrian Institute for International Affairs (oiip) and the University of Lucerne, hosted a conference on “Jihadi Networks in Switzerland: Regional Clusters and Transnational Links”. Experts from academia and politics discussed the similarities, differences and connections of jihadist networks in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and the Balkans.

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Global Military Spending Remains High at $1.7 Trillion

Image courtesy of the Ignacio D. Perez/US Navy/Flickr. US government work.

This article was originally published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on 2 May 2018.

Total world military expenditure rose to $1739 billion in 2017, a marginal increase of 1.1 per cent in real terms from 2016, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). China’s military expenditure rose again in 2017, continuing an upward trend in spending that has lasted for more than two decades. Russia’s military spending fell for the first time since 1998, while spending by the United States remained constant for the second successive year. The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible from today at www.sipri.org.

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