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Topical Alert: Security Affairs

(Updated March 3, 2014)


Summary [PDF format, 12 pages, 0.1 MB]
Full Text [PDF format, 254 pages, 1.3 MB
The report describes counterinsurgency strategies and practices and conditions in which U.S. "small-footprint" partnerships may succeed. Successful U.S. operations have been concentrated in favorable conditions, but most insurgencies occur in worst-case conditions. Case studies of the Philippines and Pakistan reinforce findings of the analysis and highlight challenges for the U.S. in trying to influence partners. The authors provide recommendations are offered for managing troubled partnerships. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]


VISA WAIVER PROGRAM. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Alison Siskin. February 12, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 25 pages, 382.6 KB]
The visa waiver program (VWP) allows nationals from certain countries to enter the United States as temporary visitors (nonimmigrants) for business or pleasure without first obtaining a visa from a U.S. consulate abroad. Temporary visitors for business or pleasure from non-VWP countries must obtain a visa from Department of State (DOS) officers at a consular post abroad before coming to the United States. Concerns have been raised about the ability of terrorists to enter the United States under the VWP, because the VWP bypasses the first step by which foreign visitors are screened for admissibility to enter the United States. Nonetheless, there is interest in the VWP as a mechanism to promote tourism and commerce. In addition to increasing tourism, the inclusion of countries in the VWP may help foster positive relations between the United States and those countries, facilitate information sharing, and ease consular office workloads abroad. As of January 2014, 37 countries participate in the VWP.

BORDER SECURITY: IMMIGRATION INSPECTIONS AT PORT OF ENTRY. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Lisa Seghetti. January 9, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 39 pages, 488.20 KB]
About 362 million travelers (citizens and non-citizens) entered the United States in FY2013, including about 102 million air passengers and crew, 18 million sea passengers and crew, and 242 million incoming land travelers. At the same time about 205,000 aliens were denied admission at ports of entry (POEs); and about 24,000 persons were arrested at POEs on criminal warrants. (Not all persons arrested are denied admission, including because some are U.S. citizens.) Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) is responsible for conducting immigration inspections at America's 329 POEs. CBP's primary immigration enforcement mission at ports of entry is to confirm that travelers are eligible to enter the United States and to exclude inadmissible aliens. Yet strict enforcement is in tension with a second core mission: to facilitate the flow of lawful travelers, who are the vast majority of persons seeking admission. A fundamental question for Congress and DHS is how to balance these competing concerns.

SECURING BORDERS: THE INTENDED, UNINTENDED, AND PERVERSE CONSEQUENCES. Migration Policy Institute. Randall Hansen and Demetrios G. Papademetriou. January 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 21 pages, 1.26 MB]
Notwithstanding massive government investments in immigration controls in the United States and Europe, illegal immigration and the unlawful employment of migrants continue, fueled in large measure by highly adaptive "bad actors" who facilitate and profit from illegality: smugglers, traffickers, and unscrupulous employers among them. The report focuses on innovative, practical policy solutions that curb the influence of bad actors by shrinking the "gray area" in which they operate, outlines the security-related challenges that borders are intended to address and, in turn, the perverse consequences, both predictable and not, that tighter border enforcement generates. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]


LEFT IN THE COLD? THE ELN AND COLOMBIA'S PEACE TALKS. International Crisis Group. February 26, 2014.
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Full Text [PDF format, 39 pages, 653.77 KB]
Whether the National Liberation Army (ELN) joins the current peace process is one of the biggest uncertainties around Colombia's historic opportunity to end decades of deadly conflict. Exploratory contacts continue, and pressure to advance decisively is growing, as the Havana negotiations with the larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) approach a decisive point. However, hopes fresh negotiations with the second insurgency were imminent were repeatedly dashed in 2013. Agreeing on an agenda and procedures that satisfy the ELN and are consistent with the Havana framework will not be easy. The ELN thinks the government needs to make an overture or risk ongoing conflict; the government believes the ELN must show flexibility or risk being left out. But delay is in neither’s long-term interest. A process from which the ELN is missing or to which it comes late would lack an essential element for the construction of sustainable peace. Both sides, therefore, should shift gears to open negotiations soonest, without waiting for a perfect alignment of stars in the long 2014 electoral season, according to the report. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

THE TALIBAN IN AFGHANISTAN. Council on Foreign Relations. Zachary Laub. February 25, 2014.
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The Taliban is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist group that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when a U.S.-led invasion toppled the regime for providing refuge to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The Taliban regrouped across the border in Pakistan, where its central leadership, headed by Mullah Mohammed Omar, operates an insurgency and shadow government aimed at undermining the government in Kabul. Since 2010, both the United States and Afghanistan have pursued a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, but with the planned withdrawal of international forces at the end of 2014, many analysts say the prospects for such an agreement are dim. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

THE INDIAN OCEAN REGION: A STRATEGIC NET ASSESSMENT. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Anthony H. Codesman and Abdullah Toukan. February 20, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 429 pages, 9.69 MB]
The IOR is one of the most complex regions in the world in human terms. It includes a wide variety of different races, cultures and religions. The level of political stability, the quality of governance, demographic pressures, ethnic and sectarian tensions, and the pace of economic growth create a different mix of opportunity and risk in each state. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

Full Text [PDF format, 1 page, 800.54 KB]
Some 1.5 billion people in an estimated 40 countries live in an environment marked by persistent conflict and fragility. Often referred to as "fragile and conflict-affected countries", they are confronted by a myriad of simultaneous and often overwhelming challenges, including armed conflict or political violence, serious and persistent human rights violations, and threats from organized crime and terrorist networks. Viewed through a different lens, however, today's fragile states are potentially tomorrow's emerging markets. More than three-quarters of states classified as "fragile" possess extensive mineral and energy resources and post impressive growth rates. The riches and promise of conflict-affected states must be properly managed if they are to significantly contribute to peace and development. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

FIELDS OF BITTERNESS (I): LAND REFORM IN BURUNDI. International Crisis Group. February 12, 2014.
Summary [HTML format, various paging]
According to the report, unless the government revives land governance reform in Burundi, long-term peacebuilding efforts will remain compromised. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

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According to the report, to avoid a revival of past ethnic tensions between Hutu and Tutsi, Burundi needs to find the right balance between land restitution and national reconciliation. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

WAR DRUMS IN ASIA: BACK TO THE EUROPEAN FUTURE? YaleGlobal. Alistair Burnett. February 11, 2014.
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This year marks the centenary of the First World War in Europe and has prompted comparisons with rising tensions between China and Japan, and the United States and China. A shifting balance of power adds to tensions. A small or accidental clash combined with alliance commitments could cause a wider war, suggests Alistair Burnett. China's fast-growing economy, increased military spending, growing influence and demands for resources have unnerved established powers and their close allies. China and Japan have strong trade tie, but the Japanese prime minister has pointed out that strong economic links between Germany and Britain did not prevent war in 1914. The Chinese contend that Japan has not atoned sufficiently for atrocities committed during occupations throughout the 20th century. The two nations also quarrel over small islands. Patrols and small clashes between the Japanese and Chinese could lead to larger conflict that could force Asian nations to take sides. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

MAPPING CONFLICT TRENDS IN PAKISTAN. U.S. Institute of Peace. Saira Yamin and Salma Malik. February 7, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 36 pages, 5.41 MB]
Over the past decade, violence has become endemic in many parts of Pakistan. The report examines the trajectory of violence and the range of conflicts in six troubled regions. The authors conclude that if existing socioeconomic conditions persist and the state continues to fail to deliver public services, justice, and security, Pakistan could face further escalation of violence and lawlessness. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]


Danner, Mark. RUMSFELD’S WAR AND ITS CONSEQUENCES NOW. (The New York Review of Books, December 19, 2013, pp. 91.
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In the first of a series of articles, Professor Danner (U. Calif. at Berkeley) discusses former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s 2011 memoir,  Errol Morris’s 2013 documentary, and Bradley Graham’s 2009 biography.  He notes that we “still live in the world that [President George W.] Bush’s ‘war on terror’ made”.

MARITIME SECURITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA: A STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Robert M. Shelala II. February 6, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 80 pages, 874.00 KB]
Political instability in Egypt, Somalia, and Yemen has raised security risks for the global shipping industry in the waters of the Middle East and North Africa. As regional governments struggle to provide physical and economic security to impoverished populations, pirates and terrorist groups have taken advantage of these power vacuums, placing commercial vessels and trade infrastructure at risk. At the same time, Iran continues to maintain naval forces that have loomed as a threat to commerce since the Tanker Wars of the 1980s. As Western progress toward rapprochement with Iran remains uncertain, and the Syrian Civil War strains Iranian-Gulf Arab relations, maritime trade could very well become a target of Iran's forces in the event of conflict. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

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