Category Archives: Uncategorized

Does it ring any bells?

Many have suggested whats going in Syria is part of the new cold war between Russia on one side and the US on another (along with the EU) despite the instabilities over the Ukrainian matter and the breaking of the nuclear agreement by russia.. i just found whats going on very similar to what have actually happened in Nicaragua during the 1980’s.Where a group of revolutionary communists, funded and motivated by the soveit union, took over the Somoza regime.

As a result, the US government along with the CIA were not satisfied with communism reaching their back yard, they have spent millions of dollars worth of weapons in a” drug vs weapons trade” , in order to strengthen the capabilities of a terrorist group known as the Contras, to fight the FSLN..

What am trying to point out at here, as the Syrian conflict has marked its 5th year, and the majority still believe that it is a sectarian war based between sunnis and shiaa.

I actually believe, that the syrian conflict is just another result of the never ending dispute over power in the region and the world. Lastly, and as we can see now, the Russians are fighting along and funding al assad regime, while the Americans along with the EU turned the focus on whats called “The Syrian Free Army”..

Is it just a showoff game? Strategic and foreign political  interests? Business” oil and gas pipelines deals”?

SCID Panel of Experts – Online Guest Lecture – Dr David Chuter – Writing Your Essay: Things to Do, Things to Avoid

This is the 11th Online Guest Lecture by members of the SCID Panel of Experts. Dr David Chuter presents a lecture entitled Writing Your Essay: Things to Do, Things to Avoid.


David’s lecture will be enormously useful to all SCID students when planning, writing and reflecting on feedback on their essays. David provides advice and guidance on how to write an essay with a strong structure, containing a persuasive and logical argument, that responds to the expectations of the University, and which is appropriate in its content, tone and style.

Click on the link below to access David’s Lecture (it is large so it will take a while to download). Please submit any questions or comments within the next two weeks for David’s attention and/or discussion by other SCID Panel members, students and staff.

David Chuter Guest Lecture – Essay Writing

SCID Students at Work

Further to a request last year from the University for students to provide photos of themselves at work / study in unusual environments – which tend to be usual environments for SCID students! – Ahmed has kindly provided this photo of him reviewing the referencing guidance (well done!) in Garowe in Somalia. Thank you very much Ahmed.

If anyone else would like to share a photo of themselves studying, it’s always more than welcome.

Ahmed Ali - SCID - Somalia

New Forms of Emancipatory Peace: Arbitrage, everyday mobility and networks

Prof. Oliver P. Richmond Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester

We know a lot about an emancipatory peace by now, both in terms of war settlements since Westphalia, and in terms of structural violence and inequality after the Cold War. We know that military security and law and order are required. From the…

Source: New Forms of Emancipatory Peace: Arbitrage, everyday mobility and networks

Post-crisis stabilization: Case study of Burkina Faso!

The events currently striking Burkina, just reflect how much the post-crisis stabilization process was not conducted in a positive manner. The military coup which started on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015, shows one more time the destabilizing role of the African armies, when they are instrumented. Burkina which was about to finalize its transition, finds itself in a catastrophic situation with this military takeover by force.

The armies are very often, the engines of destabilization of the African regimes. The causes were widely examined, but the main ones remain the political instrumentalization and the lack of civic virtue. Mali was destabilized by its army, the same goes for many countries of which Ivory Coast in 1999. Indeed, many servicemen are actors of the destabilization of their countries, but not all of them. It is not a question of saying that all the servicemen are instrumented and to throw depreciation on the profession. Quite the opposite, it is a question of reminding how much responsible the African Armies are in the instability of the continent. The case of Burkina is very interesting, because while we are writing this post, the armed forces (army, gendarmerie and air force) are intervening to bring the transition back to its initial point, due to the unsatisfactory ECOWAS agreement proposal with the rebels (RSP). The RSP (elite presidential force) which conducted the military coup is facing the rest of the defense and security forces.

Countries in post-crisis situation or which are in full reconstruction, often overestimate their stabilization process. Some, consider themselves even stable, without all the prerequisites being taken into account. It is exactly this excess of confidence in a galloping economy, in some positive signs of recovery, that deceive the decision-makers and their vigilance.

The armies which are often affected by the interference of politics in the military affairs, find themselves compromised and partial. Moreover, an “elite unit” (RSP of Burkina), is often excessively armed and affiliated with a regime. However, it is good to underline that the army is in principle, the emanation of the nation and thus its reflection. A divided nation has a vulnerable army. On the contrary, A united army, worried of serving the Nation and apolitical, reflects a solid and constructed nation. How many African countries can boast to have such defense and security forces? Little, except some exceptions such as, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco and Senegal.

We shall now recall what we consider as being the major points of any post-crisis stabilization process, by emphasizing the fact that there are no “miracle solution” :

1/ The question of the national ownership of multisectorial stabilization is major. Indeed, several countries essentially built their stabilization process around an economic recovery program which is naturally insufficient (Cote d’Ivoire, etc.). Post-crisis stabilization is multidimensional and has to be considered as such! For instance, some countries implemented a heavy and expensive DDR program with mitigated results.

2/ Economic recovery, reconciliation and pacification of the territory must be concomitantly driven. In many cases, one is achieved to the detriment of the others, which has the effect of weakening the whole social reconstruction effort.

3/ To be successful, post-crisis stabilization and recovery must be inclusive. It is up to the political decision-makers to allow that any process of stabilization takes into account all the national stakeholders (civil society, NGOs, etc.). The marginalization of any of them, would weaken the whole process. Only an inclusive stabilization process is viable.

4/ Stability relies upon justice, reconciliation, good governance, social and economic reconstruction, political will from the “winner” and Security Sector Reform (SSR) implementation. The case of Burkina Faso, illustrates the necessity of an in-depth reform of its security and defense systems. An army which contributes constantly to destabilize a country is in distress. SSR brings coherence and professionalism in the defense and security sector.

5/ Mediation from exterior partners is vital. For instance the role of France in contributing to achieve stability in Côte d’ivoire is noteworthy. More than that, the role of international actors like Human Rights Watch, the United Nations and others to monitor the evolution of major issues in post conflict countries is also noticeable. Regional actors are as important. In the case of Burkina Faso, the involvement of ECOWAS is necessary.

6/ The inestimable financial and technical contribution of exterior partners, is an important factor of a successful post-crisis stabilization process. Indeed, the role of the international organizations and the bilateral partners is not to be underestimated. Very often, it is the exterior stakeholders who create the conditions of return to normality by accompanying countries afflicted by many years of conflict.

So as to conclude, we must keep in mind that once Burkina Faso will come out of this major crisis, the country will have to implement its transition process until the elections take place. Then, a post-crisis stabilization process could be conducted in a sustainable manner by being inclusive and comprehensive.

A Picture’s Worth…

The attached photo captures the scale of the Syrian displacement of persons to Jordan. There are four main camps in Jordan; together they comprise 20% of the displaced population which has relocated to the country.

This is a single camp, and represents a fraction of the .6 million people who are cobbling together new lives in the absence of true opportunity.

2 million more people have fled to Turkey, and an additional 1m to Lebanon.

Syrian Refugee Camp

The political economy of Europe’s refugee crisis

A postscript to ‘Where is the Diplomacy?’ – perhaps the answer lies, as might be expected, in that less-than-effective responses to insecurity, conflict and other crises are, in fact, effective in meeting other goals (such as creating conditions in which the general public may be more amenable to further cut-backs in public spending and, possibly, strengthened social control mechanisms).


There has been quite a bit of commentary lately on post-capitalism, or the massive contradictions and unsustainability of predatory casino capitalism. Certainly the evidence of the dysfunctions of capitalism are there for all to see: massive and growing inequality, environmental degradation, the entrenchment of undemocratic regimes, the undercutting of social contracts so that the very purpose of life is reconceptualised into being a consumer, producer, worker, customer and general servant of the market.

Yet we should never underestimate the shape-shifting ability of capitalism. Like the state, another entity whose demise has been erroneously predicted many times, capitalism has been able to adapt to survive. Surely the private sector carried out the ultimate confidence trick in 2008 by having its indebted banks bailed out by public monies? Now, with Europe’s refugee crisis gathering pace, it is possible to see how capitalism will benefit in two quite significant ways.

The first is…

View original post 334 more words

Programming Tools: Another Way of Keeping External Control of the SSR Process?

csg sept 15Dr Tony Welch OBE, member of the SCID Panel of Experts, has recently published an excellent paper for the SSR Resource Centre / Centre for Security Governance on Programming Tools: Another Way of Keeping External Control of the SSR Process? which he has very kindly agreed to be linked to on this Blog.

Where is the diplomacy?

An excellent piece by Roger Mac Ginty on the usual tokenistic knee-jerk response to perceived public opinion of politicians everywhere, rather than more strategic, comprehensive, long-term and, consequently, effective approaches to matters under their remit, which in this case does little to address drivers of insecurity and the needs of those fleeing conflict.

Source: Where is the diplomacy?

Is the IMF obsolete? Or more necessary than ever?

Departing from the ‘textbook history and rationale’ behind the IMF, this 30 minute panel discussion (link below) exposes the controversies, complexities, and utility underlying the IMF today. Needless to say, all of these topics hold relevance regarding conflict prevention, resolution and post-conflict stability.

Trigger warning: Neither Dr Evil nor Keyboard Cat appear in the discussion. Nevertheless, other A-List celebrities were found.  These include:

     David Lipton: IMF First Deputy Managing Director

     Ngaire Woods: Dean of Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic       Governance, Oxford

     Professor Kenneth Rogoff: Professor of Economics at Harvard University and former Chief              Economist at the IMF

SCID Panel of Experts – Online Guest Lecture – Dr David Chuter – The Rule of Law: What’s it Good For?

This is the 9th Online Guest Lecture by members of the SCID Panel of Experts. Dr David Chuter presents a lecture entitled The Rule of Law: What’s it Good For?

DC Guest Lecture June 2015The complicated and frequently contradictory discourse surrounding what is often called the “Rule of Law” tends to conceal an issue of great political importance: the relationship between the state and the people, and how the state chooses to enforce (or not) the peoples’ norms and standards. This Lecture focuses on the rather different norms and traditions which are uneasily combined in the concept of the “Rule of Law”, and the practical difficulties involved in trying to apply that concept, in Western societies as much as elsewhere.

This Lecture will be an essential resource for SCID students in its discussion of the rule of law, how it is variously defined and understood and, essentially, the relationship between the state and its citizens. Moreover, its importance lies in encouraging a critical reflection upon the amorphous and often ambiguous terms frequently used with the field of post-conflict intervention (rule of law, governance, development and so on).

Click on the link below to access David’s Lecture (it is large so it will take a while to download). Please submit any questions or comments within the next two weeks for David’s attention and/or discussion by other SCID Panel members, students and staff.

David Chuter Guest Lecture RoL June 2015

Global Anti-corruption Blog

Guided by  Richard Messick,  former Chief Counsel of the (US) Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Matthew C Stephenson, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, the Global Anticorruption Blog offers insights into the topic of corruption.

Given the importance of corruption in regards to each pillar of the SCID programme, and in relation to emerging transnational security concerns, I thought I would share the link with you. 

PS the Resources Page of the Blog is extremely handy!

Free UN Certifications

Whatever one’s position on the UN actually is, fluency in the UN’s standards can be dead handy when making an argument as to the successes and failures of the institution.

Such fluency can also be useful when examining the gaps between rhetoric and operations for the wider international community as well.

Accordingly, I thought I would share that POTI (the United Nations Peace Operations Training Institute) is providing free training and certification in the following:

Gender Awareness Training 

  1. Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in South Africa
  2. Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in Asia and the Pacific
  3. Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean

“Common Core” Courses

  1. Principles and Guidelines for UN Peacekeeping Operations
  2. Core Pre-deployment Training Materials

Each course appears to be approximately 300 pages of reading and comprehension, and comes with free online practice exams.

Successful completion of each course provides a POTI Certificate – which might look quite nifty on one’s CV (but nowhere near as spiffy as the uber-nifty, magical and deep-level understanding of a SCID MSc credential!!!)

Each course is designed to be completed via distance learning and is readily portable (The PDFs can be downloaded onto your iPad)

The fact POTI is providing Gender Awareness Training free of charge indicates a certain level of commitment to changing the global paradigm, and (I suspect) the credential would be reviewed with additional favour for anyone seeking to slip into the future stream of UN endeavours. Of course, what one section of the UN is thinking might very well be different from another.

Here is the link for all interested parties…

Security in Africa: Three major challenges

The current events on the African continent are rich enough to remind us how much instability strikes the region but very often with the same denominators. North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa are confronted with common challenges such as terrorism, illegal immigration, problems of governance, military empowerment, etc. Moreover, the recent visits of King of Morocco in Senegal then in Ivory Coast, testify of the necessity of strengthening the regional cooperation. The stakes are multiple and rather complex to be all covered in this article. We are thus going to look at three major issues for the African countries to consider:

1/ The fight against terrorism: while the fight against AQMI, BOKO HARAM and AL SHEBBAB seems to stagnate, it is important to put in perspective the partial results of this ongoing fight. Indeed several leaders of those groups were neutralized by the special forces of ” qualified and equipped” countries. Moreover, sleeper cells were identified then handled in countries of the region. Is it sufficient when we know that the recruitment of the followers of religious extremism and its realization through terrorism, continues to make emulators?  It is unfortunately the most vulnerable populations which are the favourite targets of the recruiters of these extremist groups. In other words, the poor people are specifically targeted because very often or too often receptive to messages conveyed by these movements. We thus insist on the necessity for the African countries, to create effectively the conditions of human development for their populations, poverty must be fought. The redistribution of wealth has to be a reality once and for all in Africa. The armed struggle against these movements must too be maintained, but especially the anticipation of this threat has to be the keystone of this war. The African armies must be trained and supported in logistics by the West, to eradicate this permanent threat. Besides, the African States have to develop an inclusive African strategy of fight against this plague, based on the key role of communities. Finally, the raising awareness of the youngest, remains a success factor of this fight against terror. The African countries must be more active on the frontlines of psychological warfare against terrorism and to do so, they can outsource this merciless fight.

2/ The fight against illegal immigration: on this point, the current event reflects the urgency to act for the African governments. The images of illegal immigrants or refugees, piled up in boats and for many having died during their crossings towards Europe, shocked the world opinion. But did these images really move the African themselves? What about the mobilization of countries where these immigrants’ waves come from? What about the African solidarity in front of this drama, which testifies of a collective failure to ensure the human development on the continent and so to make it attractive for all these desperate persons? Let us not forget that all these migrants, fled their countries for a quest of human dignity somewhere else. Living in better conditions, free and far from the possible oppression of some regimes, that is what also motivates the illegal immigration. The time is for the mobilization of countries suppliers of these immigrants to create the conditions of their care and especially the conditions of their self-fulfilment on their lands of origin. Indeed it is of the responsibility of the Africans, to make attractive their countries not only for the foreign investments but especially to avoid these flows of refugees or immigrants. If the socioeconomic conditions were gathered, if these countries had a sustainable policy in favour of the citizen, job opportunities and a strategy of effective redistribution of wealth, we would not certainly be there! It is thus urgent that the continent, which aspires to emergence, begins to emphasize the human development. Why leave when one feels at home and cared about? Finally, let us not forget that these refugees are the visible face of the iceberg, but what about all those who cannot leave, who are in a total precariousness and thus vulnerable to terrorism and to crimes of any kind? Today, we think that the priority for the African Union ( AU), should be to set up a mechanism of fight against this massive illegal immigration then to dismantle the networks which are associated to it. The priority for the member states of the AU, has to be: the redistribution of the wealth, the emergence of a strong middle class, more jobs and a national attractiveness.

3/ The military empowerment: the North / South military cooperation is in a permanent imbalance. An imbalance widely in favour of the most advanced countries. The military-industrial complexes of these countries, are in a constant war of influence and economic warfare. The competition is rough to win markets with countries of the “South”, in search of stability and often little democratic. France, the United States, Israel and China, to quote only those, intervene either directly, thus officially (technical support, equipment, logistics, training, etc.), or indirectly, thus unofficially (covert operations, arms sales, discreet support for a regime, etc.). Every time, a common denominator: the economic interest, the regional positioning, etc. China has for example, a tradition of discreet arms sale, to regimes wishing to remain and undergoing rebellions. As for France, it operates openly in Mali for a certainly noble cause but obviously interested. The United States too, intervene discreetly in the training and the logistic backup, in particular in the fight against terrorism and regarding intelligence. The strategy of influence is thus very active in Africa on the military sector. The empowerment of the African countries regarding security and defence, should constitute a priority for their leaders. How to create the conditions of a credible national defence, a capacity to defend oneself only then within a coalition? The example of Ivory Coast is edifying on this question of the autonomy. Indeed, by creating with the support of France, an Institute of Strategic Studies and Defence, Ivory Coast makes a commitment on the ground of regional training, thus capacity building. Capacity building, is the basis of empowerment in the sector of security and defence. The African Union and the sub-regional organizations, should urgently, accelerate their reflections on the strategic autonomy which would allow the African to assume without complex , their security on the continent. We suggest that the African countries, actually emphasize training and equipment. All this, that must obey a precise and coherent sequencing. These countries, should formulate national security policies, laws of military and security programming and by effectively implementing them. Finally it would be useful for some African countries, not able for multiple reasons to aspire to military autonomy, to consider the example of Costa Rica, which chose to have no army but a strong police. To ensure its national defence, Costa Rica signed a military agreement with the United States, which are ready to intervene if needed. This measure allowed Costa Rica to dedicate its budget to education, environment, training, research and tourism. Costa Rica is not thus autonomous militarily but it is an emerging country.

These three security related issues are only a tiny part of the challenges facing Africa. The continent presents in spite of all the troubles which it faces, indicators favorable to its emergence, such as the massive investments. It is important that the African leaders meet around a table, to review all the challenges of the continent and bring it viable, inclusive and coherent solutions, once and for all. By putting in the center of this collective reflection, ” the African citizen “. To resume Antonio Gramsci’s quotation, it will be a matter for the African leaders “to ally the pessimism of the mind with the optimism of the will “.




Peace is what we make of it? Peace-shaping events and ‘non-events’

Dr Gëzim Visoka, Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies, Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction (IICRR), School of Law and Government, Dublin City University, Ireland has written an excellent article on peace-shaping events and “non-events” which has just been posted to PAX In Nuce: Peace is what we make of it? Peace-shaping events and ‘non-events’. In this article, Visoka argues that policy makers tend to ignore or class as ‘non-events’ those events or phenomena which make them/the wider international community look less successful (such as parallel structures in Kosovo post-’99, the control of police structures in Bosnia and Herzegovina by nationalist parties and their involvement in organised crime, and dissatisfaction in Timor-Leste with recruitment policy for the police and defence forces). As Visoko argues, ‘reducing inconvenient events to “non-events”‘, of course, limits the extent to which conflict-affected environments can be understood and the extent to which positive and sustainable peace can be built.

Post-Conflict Berlin Video

In light of VE Day this week I humbly share a chilling 7-minute video shot in May 1945.

I was left contemplating three questions:

  • Was post-conflict Berlin less chaotic than today’s post-conflict theatres?
  • If so, is the difference cultural in its derivation or simply based on the sheer exhaustion of the survivors?
  • What, if anything, can we take from the success of Europe’s reconstruction and apply to other nations emerging from ruined infrastructure and profound lack of resources? Syria? Iraq? Afghanistan?

While the footage below was shot with sound, the absence of narration creates a warranted philosophical space in which to form and internalise personal views.I found the final minute especially worthy of contemplation.

April Survey Results!

In light of UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura’s efforts in Geneva this month, I thought now would be an appropriate time to share the results of April’s SCID survey.

Beyond the April results (table below), I thought I would reinforce the severity of the situation as generally understood today:

  • 7.6 million people have fled their homes
  • 4 million people have fled the country (1.5 million since peace talks commenced in February 2014)
  • 220,000 people have been killed since the civil war broke out (VOA News / Middle East as cited in the Embassy of the United State London Weekly Update, 7 May, 2015

These facts, combined with the future activities associated with the conflict, will most likely translate into even more exceptionally complex and dire conditions for post-conflict peacekeeping than is already the norm.  I, for one, would be especially interested in learning just how much forethought, planning, and staging has already been executed for when the conflict finally ceases. If any.

As for the survey results, I have formed the opinion that dinner conversations among the respondents could be especially lively and worthy of ethnographic observation. 🙂


Do you believe the momentum of ISIS is derived more from Sunni grievance at the hands of prior Shia control or more from deeply held religious ideology?
Answer Choices Responses
More from grievance 25%
More from deeply held religious ideology 37.5%
Equal amounts grievance and ideology 37.5%
Neither are primary drivers (numpty) 0%


Do you believe the areas affected by ISIS reveal the disintegration of traditional nation states or the formation of new nation states?  
Answer Choices Responses
Disintegration of states 50%
Formation of new nation states 50%
Do I look like I have a crystal ball? 0%


Do you believe weakening ISIS via military intervention will weaken Jihadist movements as a whole or beget their consolidation?  
Answer Choices Responses
Weaken Jihadist movements as a whole 50%
Beget their consolidation of Jihadist movements 50%
Only kittens can melt those cold, hard, hearts 0%


Do you believe the more we succeed in hard power tactics the more ISIS will gain in soft power?  
Answer Choices Responses
Yes – I believe hard power will strengthen ISIS soft power 12.5%
No – I believe hard power will weaken ISIS’s soft power 62.5%
Depends on external dynamics and whether groups consolidate 25%