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On 15 November, Russia conducted a direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) test, destroying one of its own space objects, a defunct satellite, in low-earth orbit. The test captured international attention and was quickly and widely condemned as threatening and irresponsible—not least for the cloud of lethal, uncontrollable debris it created, which will endanger both space assets and human spaceflight for years to come.

Dr Malin Mobjörk and Eva Lövbrand

In this essay, the volume editors present the key themes of their new book Anthropocene (In)securities: Reflections on Collective Survival 50 Years After the Stockholm Conference, published this week by SIPRI and Oxford University Press.

On 13 April, Iran announced its intention to enrich uranium to 60 per cent U-235. This was characterized by Iran as a response to a sabotage of its vast underground enrichment cascades at Natanz two days before.

Iran’s atomic energy agency announced last week that it had produced 55 kilograms of 20 per cent-enriched uranium in barely four months.

A deadly pandemic to control. An urgent nationwide vaccination programme to roll out. An economic crisis to navigate. Political divisions and distrust deep enough to spark mob violence and terrorism. The 46th President of the United States faces a barrage of critical domestic challenges from day one.

WritePeace blog

What does 2022 have in store for Africa?

A backwards glance at emblematic governance and security events in Africa in 2021 may offer a glimmer of what lies ahead for the continent in 2022. This blog shines a spotlight on some of the key situations currently unfolding there.

The transfer of weapons to fragile states through the European Peace Facility: Export control challenges

Giovanna Maletta and Eric G. Berman

The ancient Romans used to say: ‘Si vis pacem, para bellum’ (‘If you want peace, prepare for war’). Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union’s (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, paraphrased this aphorism at last year’s 10th EU–African Union meeting when he suggested that arming African partners is necessary to help to silence terrorists’ guns, which reflected a significant shift in the EU’s foreign and security policy.

Abyei offers lessons for the region on climate-related security risks

Weather, weapons and wealth have all played roles in the long-running conflict between South Sudan and Sudan over the Abyei area. The conflict in Abyei—a disputed border region of farmland, desert and oil fields—has its origins in a long-running disagreement between two pastoralist groups, the local Ngok Dinka and Misseriyya Arab seasonal migrants (see figure 1).

Surveillance as slow violence: Experiences from young environmental activists

As environmental activism increasingly takes place online, tactics of slow violence against activists have adapted, making use of social media and other digital tools to target often young activists. One of those methods, digital surveillance, deserves greater attention.

Arms transfers, military spending and insurgencies: What we do (and do not) know about Mozambique

Earlier this year, the United States-led ‘war on terror’ gained another African front line. In March, the USA added a Mozambican group known as Ansar al-Sunnah to its list of designated foreign terrorist organizations, giving it the name ‘ISIS-Mozambique’.

Expert Comments

Dr Florian Krampe and Cedric de Coning

On Monday, 13 December, Russia used its veto in the United Nations Security Council to block a thematic resolution on climate change and security. While the draft resolution contained specific actions, its main purpose was symbolic: to put the security implications of climate change firmly on the Security Council’s agenda.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on Friday its conclusion that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) had resumed plutonium production at its nuclear reactor in Yongbyon in early July this year.

International condemnation of the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Ethiopia’s northern region is intensifying as the scale of the emergency becomes clearer. However, the conflict in Tigray is one part of a broader political crisis in Ethiopia, where elections take place on Monday (21 June).

With two new documents, the European Union (EU) has officially recognized the relevance of climate change to peace mediation.

Yesterday Honduras became the 50th state to ratify or accede to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), meaning that the treaty will enter into force on 22 January 2021.

Backgrounders

This Topical Backgrounder presents recommendations for both future research and steps that could be taken by states, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations to improve the coordination and effectiveness of SALW-related assistance efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Missile Technology Control Regime is a cornerstone of states’ efforts to control the development, proliferation and use of missiles and other unmanned delivery systems. However, it faces serious structural, operational, membership and technology-related challenges that call for new initiatives and a strengthening of the regime’s resilience.

Hopes run high that the possessors of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals—Russia and the United States—might finally resume negotiations on nuclear weapon reductions after over a decade of diplomatic deadlock.

This SIPRI Topical Backgrounder presents data on the military aid given by the USA to Afghanistan between 2001 and 2020.

This SIPRI Topical Backgrounder gives an overview of the four multilateral peace operations that were active in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2021. It presents SIPRI data on the number and categories of international personnel deployed in each operation, drawn from the SIPRI Multilateral Peace Operations Database.