Gitterstruktur in Silber und Gold
Coordination is important for a contemporary peace and security architecture | Photo: Susan Gold | unsplash.com

Enhancing Coordination within the African Peace and Security Architecture

Over the last two decades, African states have demonstrated increasing agency in addressing conflicts by using their capacities at the national, sub-regional and continental levels. This newfound quest for inward solutions was ushered in by the formation of the African Union (AU) in 2001 which was empowered with normative and institutional mechanisms to coordinate African […]

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erence view Nairobi 2018
First Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy in Nairobi, 2018 | Photo: IMO-UN | CC BY-2.0

Investment in the Blue Economy for enhanced Maritime Security

The conventional understanding of maritime security is one that is viewed as battle-ready and state-centric. However, a more sustainable approach would be investment in the maritime sector under the Blue Economy (BE) lens. This would bring the general public into the fold of manning the marine space and frontiers, it would be essential in increasing the scope of security factors to be addressed. The incorporation of BE into African Peace and Security Architecture is vital in order to give it the required prominence within the continent’s peace and security agenda.

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Symbolic role of cybersecurity specialists
AI can play a decisive role in arms control in the future. | Photo: Khahn Tran | CC BY 4.0

AI for Arms Control: How Artificial Intelligence Can Foster Verification and Support Arms Control

Time and again, modern technology has enhanced arms control – with satellites, surveillance planes or more potent sensory equipment – to detect traces of forbidden substances. More recently, uncrewed vehicles found their way into the arsenals of arms control inspectors, enhancing verification. A very promising yet more difficult application will be to make use of artificial intelligence (AI) in arms control. However, many people have mixed emotions when it comes to AI, and exaggerated hopes as well as unjustified fears dominate the debate. The aim of this paper is to dispel reservations and, based on small projects, show how AI can be used in a reasonable way to enhance arms control and verification without getting caught up in hype.

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Two fingers and a fist
The recognition of armed non-state actors is a deeply ambivalent process. | Photo: Francis Alÿs, Children Game #14: Stone, Paper and Scissors, 2013. © F. Alÿs

The Tricky Politics of Recognizing Armed Non-State Actors

The new volume “Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition” by editors Anna Geis, Maéva Clément, and Hanna Pfeifer discusses armed non-state actors and their strategic pursuit of being recognized as political actors. It includes methodological considerations as well as case studies from China, Ireland, Lebanon, Nigeria and, Sudan among others. The contributions study the strategic choices that state leaders, citizens, international organizations, and others make in granting such recognition, denying it, or recognizing on their own terms.

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Abiy Ahmed with military commanders, 14 February 2019 | Photo: Office of the Prime Minister, Ethiopia on Flickr | Public Domain

Civil War in Ethiopia. The Instrumentalization and Politicization of Identity

For more than a year, the civil war between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has been causing severe human suffering and fatalities in the thousands. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, both conflict parties have committed serious human rights violations. This Spotlight shows how the shifting dynamics of ethnic power relations and the strategy of elite management pursued by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed contributed to the escalation of violence.

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Spinning Top
Despite displeasure, China and Myanmar keep their relations spinning. | Photo: Christophe Hautier on Unsplash | Free Use

China in Post-coup Myanmar – Closer to Recognition, Further from „Pauk-phaw“

At the close of 2021 China remains one of the few foreign partners for Myanmar. Amid ongoing public resistance to the junta and violent protest suppression, Beijing and the new regime in Naypyidaw are looking for a new mode of mutually beneficial coexistence. The junta tries to buy China’s support and recognition through new bilateral projects, while China aims to create a safety net for its long-term interests in the country.

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In Gambia voting is done by casting a glass marble in one of the containers that are painted in the respective candidate’s color. | Photo: flickr, Commonwealth Secretariat | CC BY-NC 2.0

#GambiaDecides2021: A Sign of Democratic Hope?

Wherever you go in the Gambia, you will find people in the streets chattering about the presidential election surrounded by an air of excitement. Gambians call this chatter ‘gisgis’ and it is all about politics these days. On 4 December 2021, Gambians went to the polls. The first elections without the former 22 year-long president Yahya Jammeh contesting passed peacefully. His successor Adama Barrow, elected in 2016 quite surprisingly, was confirmed in power. With that, the Gambia passed a litmus test: having decided for continuity in times of change, Gambians send a strong signal of democratic practice to the region.

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The goal: to create sustainable foundations for a stable bridge | Photo: Calvin fitra Anggara via Unsplash | Unsplash License

The Art of Engineering at the NPT Review Conference. How Germany and Other Umbrella States Can Build Bridges

At the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT-RevCon) in January 2022, states parties must find a positive way to deal with a new pillar of the global nuclear architecture: the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Bridges must be built to secure the overall stability and thus strengthen disarmament and arms control. The umbrella states in particular should demonstrate their engineering skills in this regard and mediate between nuclear weapon states and TPNW states.

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Talks between Biden and Putin on December 7, 2021. | Photo: Kremlin.ru | CC BY 4.0

The Russian Military Build-Up Near the Ukrainian Border: Offensive Intentions or Diplomatic Signaling?

The recent build-up of Russian troops on the border to Ukraine is making waves in the political debate. Predominant views in the West share the assumption that Russia has offensive intentions and aims at revising the established status quo. This blog post argues that Moscow’s motives are not as straightforward as usually assumed in the West. In fact, Russia’s military behavior and its crisis diplomacy suggests that Moscow is more interested in sending a signal than in preparing for war.

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Brick factory in Kabul 2012 | © FotoGablitz

China’s ‘constructive involvement’ in Afghanistan: an alternative to Western peacebuilding?

The Western withdrawal from Afghanistan and the following collapse of the local government to the Taliban has left many international observers to ponder who might fill the resulting vacuum. Many eyes have turned to China, which had already engaged the Taliban in political dialogue, is open to formal recognition of the new regime, and is also one of its more plausible aid donors. Beijing has also increasingly touted an alternative to the Western program of liberal peace- and statebuilding that failed in Afghanistan, focused on developmental objectives and tying into Chinese strengths and interests especially under its global “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI).

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