Vienna, Austria, December 7, 2018 - Since establishment of a crises hotline between Armenia and Azerbaijan in October 2018, reports of ceasefire violations have decreased approximately 75% according to George Niculescu, Partnership for Peace Consortium's Regional Stability in the South Caucasus Study Group (RSSC SG) co-chair. These developments come in the wake of RSSC SG recommendations to keep communications cannels open between the leadership of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (June 10, 2016) – Experts from a broad spectrum of society came together at the George C. Marshall Center from 1-3 June to discuss security challenges related to the European migration crisis, including facilitating travel by foreign terrorist fighters to Europe and North America.  They shared perspectives and challenged conventional practices to produce a draft set of policy recommendations on how to best respond to the international secuity environment and counter violent extremism.

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Technology has been part of education and training in security and defense organizations for a long time. E-learning and advanced distributed learning (ADL) have helped to standardize, optimize, and scale education and training. Many organizations and affiliated institutions already make good use of Web-based technologies to provide training for performance support and career development. Over the past years, ADL solutions have become part of the standard procedures of many organizations. The Partnership for Peace Consortium (PfPC) plays an important role in facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experiences among ADL practitioners in defense academies. The ADL Working Group of the PfPC is home to a strong and active community that brings new technologies into the practice of education and training in security and defense organizations. In the past, the primary focus of ADL activities was creating and enhancing interoperable Web-based training modules by promoting the adoption of the Scalable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM). The joint learning management system of the PfPC that is hosted by the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) based in Zurich has become a hub for Web-based training resources that are shared and used by the entire PfPC ADL community.
The regional security of Central Asia hinges on the level of stability within Afghanistan and its foreign relations with its neighbors. Afghanistan is not only pivotal in the maintenance of regional security, but is also crucial to the region’s economic and political development. As Ashraf Ghani, chairman of the Afghan transition commission, stated, “The region needs to make a choice, a stable Afghanistan … is absolutely essential.” However, there is looming doubt as to the ability of Afghan forces to be able to defend the state against domestic and external insurgent movements and to sustain the progress in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency that the U.S.-backed, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan has established under UN mandates since the United States initiated military action against the Taliban in 2001. The year 2014 is the deadline that has been set for ISAF troops to withdraw from the war-torn country and hand over the responsibility for ensuring security in the nation to the Afghan Security Forces. Currently the U.S. and NATO forces are transitioning from a mission of combat to one of support. The participants of the “Bonn+10” conference identified 2011 as the dividing point “From Transition to the Transformation Decade,” during which the burden on the international community to assist Afghanistan in maintaining peace and continuing to develop its governmental reforms should gradually diminish. Several important questions require informed and insightful responses: During this “Transformation decade,” what will the security picture in Afghanistan look like? Who will supplant the U.S. forces and complement the Afghan security forces to establish the necessary stability in Afghanistan to allow further economic and political development in the country and the region?
In the Lopota Valley, a picturesque spot situated near Georgia’s mountainous northeast border with Russia’s Dagestani autonomous region, a series of skirmishes took place on the 28th and 29th of August 2012 that cost the lives of two troops from elite units of the Georgian Ministry of the Interior, a military doctor, and eleven gunmen identified as North Caucasus Islamist insurgents, leaving a few Georgian military personnel injured and one insurgent, a Russian citizen, captured by Georgian special forces. While the circumstances of what happened in the vicinity of the north Kakhetian village of Lapankuri have not yet been sufficiently revealed, the event might have considerable implications for the security situation in the entire region of the North and South Caucasus. The purpose of this article is to analyze various perspectives and issues related to this incident and to prove that the hostage crisis in the Lopota Valley indicates the existence of and the foreshadowing of much greater regional instability. The article shall outline the general course of events and those responsible for the incident. It will then introduce various perspectives on the incident from Georgian, Russian, and Dagestani authorities and sources, and analyze the short-term and long-term implications of the incident.
Significant changes in the global strategic landscape over the past two decades include the fall of the Iron Curtain and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, accelerated globalization, increasing reliance on digital information technologies in all aspects of life, the rise of China and India, global financial crises, the political revolutions of the Arab Spring, and the emergence of violent Islamist extremism as a key feature of the geopolitical landscape. Yet at the same time, many of the key dynamics of the international arena remain unchanged from twenty years ago, including the volatility and instability of the Middle East, the lack of development in most of Africa, the ever-increasing integration of the global economy, and the preeminence of the United States as an actor in global affairs, with other states, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and Russia also playing key roles. Among all that has changed and all that remains the same, new issues have emerged, few of which merit consideration in isolation. Rather, the complex and interconnected nature of today’s international system demands analysis that accounts for the relationships between actors and issues and considers the multiplicity of effects that their interaction unavoidably creates. Two key features of the current strategic environment—the two that are the focus of this article—are the indispensability of information technology in all aspects of modern life and the continued significance of Russia as an actor on the global stage. Driven by the growing dependence of modern society on digital technology and the vulnerability of digital systems to cyber threats, cybersecurity has emerged as a critical national security issue, spawning a growth industry that researches solutions to the technical, legal, and policy challenges of the day.
The last two decades have witnessed a tectonic upheaval in the international political milieu. In Eastern Europe, the collapse of the Soviet Union meant the sudden emergence of newly independent states and required a quick and proper reaction to the changing geopolitical context. Such is the challenge confronting Russia and the European Union (EU), the two major players in the region. In times of economic crisis and political uncertainty, both parties seek to achieve their goals and protect their interests in the shared vicinity by expanding cooperation with their neighbors. However, each side is conducting its actions in a different fashion, according to its own strategic plans. The pressing issue coming out of this situation is whether it is possible to label this dual struggle for broader political clout a new strategic competition. Or it is just an inevitable process of restructuring the regional political environment – a process that is still incomplete after the dissolution of the Soviet Union? Thus, this essay examines the practical nature and the ideological background of both the EU and Russian approaches and policies towards the common proximity of the former Soviet republics.
The Nash Equilibrium assumes that countries can reach the state of equilibrium only when none of them stands out in any special way. This, along with the fact that some countries consciously make other countries poorer on their own path to development—nonetheless giving them compensation exceeding the suffered loss (the Kaldor-Hicks Efficiency)—still results in more dynamic development in the benefiting countries than in the losing countries. This leads to discrepancies in the dynamics of different countries’ development, and provides one of the explanations for the existence of social unrest. However, the existence of threats resulting from differences in the level of development between countries is one of many causes that bears upon the issue of security, with regard to individual states as well as regions, and in fact the entire world.
Our world is on a trajectory leading to a point where terrorists will eventually acquire a nuclear weapon. It is only a matter of time. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States recognized the lack of effectiveness of its previous intelligence and military efforts in deterring terrorists and sought an alternate way to defuse the radical Islamist threat. By continuing to advocate the use of military force in Iraq after weapons of mass destruction were not found, the U.S. pursued a strategy in line with the idealist school of thought by attempting to plant a democracy in the heart of the Middle East. Iraq became the centerpiece of the United States’ ambitions to stop the region from exporting violence and terror, and attempted to transform it into a place of progress and peace. This effort was ambitious indeed, and many argued that these goals were beyond the United States’ ability to achieve. However, this strategy offered a possible solution to the endless cycle of violence across the Middle East and Africa and its continuing threat to U.S. national security. The current administration, in contrast, announced last year a “rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region,” ostensibly to counter the growing strength of China’s military power. Like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand, this shift pivots the U.S. away from its true threat and increases the peril its citizens will face. The United States should focus its efforts on supporting democratization in troubled regions, and policy makers must counter those who criticize this strategy, including military-industrial complex advocates of the “pivot.”
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