In response to the death of 36 of its troops in a Russo-Syrian airstrike in Idlib, the Turkish authorities encouraged migrants to go to the Greek border to pressure the European Union into action. The move was motivated by Erdogan’s desperate attempt to save face at home.
With conflict raging on for years, none of the Western interventions in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Mali may be called a success to date. This raises some serious questions about their legitimacy and efficacy that will be addressed in this episode of the Clingendael Spectator series on Western interventions. Given their limited impact and due to geopolitical shifts, will it become more difficult for Western nations to engage in such armed interventions? Is the UN still relevant in addressing conflicts with major humanitarian crises? What are the consequences of intervention without a UN mandate?
Everybody talks about the momentum for peace in Afghanistan following the US-Taliban agreement signed on 29 February 2020 in Qatar’s capital Doha. What is really going on? Clingendael fellow Jorrit Kamminga has been working in Afghanistan for the past fifteen years and talks you through it in this explainer.
Of all the new military hardware that passed along the stands during the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 2019, one of the most scrutinized weapons was the Dong Feng 17 (DF-17) short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). The first hypersonic boostglide weapon system to enter military service worldwide, China’s DF-17 illustrates that these systems are now transitioning from the weapons laboratories to operational inventories. With the development and operational deployment of the DF-17 China has broken the hypersonic glide barrier and started the ball rolling. Additional arms control measures will be needed, and soon, if the proliferation of such advanced systems and its impact on international security are to be managed.
The Desert Hawks were a pro-Assad paramilitary group of 5,000 – 12,000 fighters that fought in the Syrian civil war between 2014 – 2017. Its postmortem highlights how the politics of coercion and the economics of loyalty can link in a wartime autocracy. Having amassed their fortune and influence in Syria before 2011 as part of the patronage systems of the Assad family, the brothers Mohammad, Ayman and Ibrahim Jaber created the Desert Hawks when wartime manpower shortages threatened regime survival.
This report is published by the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) chaired by Tom Middendorp, former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands and Senior Research Associate at the Clingendael Institute. Louise van Schaik, Head of our EU & Global Affairs Unit & Planetary Security Initiative, is a co-author.
Forget all the celebrations. Forget the countdown and the 50p coin. Forget the flags, and the commemorative tea towels. January 31, 2020 did not spell the end of Brexit. Brexit is nowhere near over.
Arms control is often associated with weapons of mass destruction. Yet all current armed conflicts are fought with conventional weaponry. Third stop in this Clingendael Spectator series on arms control: are conventional arms control treaties all dead letters, or can Europe’s sleeping beauties be brought back to life?
Recently, I participated in a conference on NATO’s approach to communications. Apart from NATO officials, the meeting involved academics, think tankers, representatives from PR and social media companies as well as members from the various Atlantic Associations that promote the Alliance in their home countries. It goes without saying that the event took place against the backdrop of mounting tensions within the organisation, caused by serious doubts about American leadership and Turkey’s independent behaviour, to name but two of the most pressing issues.
Shortly before the Christmas break the new European Commission published its long-awaited Green Deal. Once more the European Union showed its green ambitions and proclaimed environmental leadership by drafting a document full of strong environmental objectives. However, at the face of it, the announced European policies still need to be connected with the EU Member States, EU citizens and geopolitics in order to pass from words on paper into concrete actions.