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Insurgency Defectors: Dangers and Deradicalization Processes

Published January 27, 2016 | By Sarah Silverman

The continuous contemporary news cycle alerts us daily to the mass violence and destruction carried out by radical and extreme violent insurgent groups, and the far reaching flow on effects. Groups such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) in the Middle East, Boko Haram in West Africa, and al-Shabab in East Africa, and al-Qaeda in both continents, have resounding impacts, both regionally and internationally. The violence perpetrated by these groups is spilling across borders in Africa and the Middle East, causing a migration crisis not seen in scale since the end of World War Two. With the world’s attention focused on border controls and refugee quotas, what has gleaned less focus is the response to returning defectors and the deradicalization process.

Arab Spring Turns to Winter for Much of Middle East, North Africa

Published June 17, 2015 | By Felipe Umaña

Only a few years ago, much of the Fragile States Index analysis was following the aftermath of the Arab Spring. At the time, there was significant hope for the future, as the despotic regime of Muammar Gaddafi fell in Libya, similarly undemocratic regimes collapsed in Egypt and Tunisia, and other countries hastily rushed through liberal, democratic reforms in the hopes of staving off their own demise. But fast forward only a few years, and (despite generally positive signs in Tunisia) most of that hope has evaporated. Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen — among the 2015 Index’s most high risk nations — have witnessed some of the most significant declines over the past year.

Briefing: Ensuring Compliance in Syria

Published October 25, 2013 | By Jacob Grunberger

The details of the destruction of the Syrian government’s one thousand tons of chemical agents are still being finalized by the United States, Russia, and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the implementing body of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). In addition to the negotiations, however, another question looms large pertaining to the chemical disarmament in Syria. Namely, how should the international community react if Syria or any other States Party to the CWC does not comply with the agreed upon framework?

Behind the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize: What is the OPCW?

Published October 11, 2013 | Patricia Taft and Jacob Grunberger
This morning the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This decision seems to be consistent with last year’s decision-making calculus to award the prize to an institution for the purpose of boosting its notoriety and to lend legitimacy to future endeavors.

Getting Serious About Chemical Weapons

Published September 20, 2013 | By Patricia Taft, Jacob Grunberger

With dueling opinion pieces gracing the pages of the American and Russian press by presidents and senators, and months of strategizing, vacillating, and handwringing, the crisis over the use of chemical weapons in Syria is a problem that seems to be going nowhere meaningful fast. The genesis of the latest crisis was the August 21, 2013 series of missile strikes on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, a neighborhood suspected of harboring militant forces opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Soon after, videos and images began to surface depicting dead civilians, including children, who appeared to bear no signs of injuries resulting from explosives or conventional weapons fire.

Anatomy of a Storm: Regional Impacts of the Arab Spring

Published June 24, 2013 | By Nate Haken

Does state failure matter? Obviously it matters mostly for the population of that country, but even for its neighbors, the answer is a resounding yes. Chaos in a single country can often impact an entire region. In 2011, as measured in the 2012 FSI, Tunisia and the wider “Arab Spring” were the case in point. In 2012, Mali — the most worsened state in the 2013 FSI — dragged the Western Sahel into a vortex of instability.

Pressure Mounts on Syria

Published June 20, 2012 | By Natalie Manning

The Arab Spring was one of the biggest stories of 2011, and many of its effects have been registered in the 2012 Failed States Index — Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen all saw their scores seriously worsen. For some, the tension has eased, at least for now. For others, conflict and instability continues. The Arab Spring hit Syria in April 2011 with demonstrations in the southern town of Dara’a against the government’s heavy handed response to students who had spray painted anti-government slogans. The uprising quickly spread and President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces brutally cracked down on the population. By late 2011, the opposition had transformed from a peaceful movement into an armed insurrection. An estimated 13,000 people have died since the conflict began, and thousands more have been displaced as the country spirals further towards civil war.

The Arab Spring: Where Did That Come From?

Published June 18, 2011 | By Nate Haken

After having contracted by 0.5% in 2009, global GDP is now very much in recovery mode, with growth of around 5% in 2010. However, this does not mean smooth sailing either for developing or developed countries. In the last year there have been massive protests against governments’ economic stewardship in countries as disparate as Greece and Burkina Faso, illustrating the sobering truth that under certain conditions recovery can be even more destabilizing than recession.