The independent resource on global security

Expert Comments

The 2015 UN Register on Conventional Arms: still time to improve

Pieter D. Wezeman and Siemon T. Wezeman

Following the trend in 2012–14, 2015 is likely to be another disappointing year for transparency in arms transfers.

‘Rules of the Road’ for the Arms Trade Treaty agreed in Cancun but stiffer tests lie ahead

Dr Sibylle Bauer and Mark Bromley

The first Conference of States Parties (CSP1) to the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), held in Cancun Mexico, ended yesterday.

Water supply to the Syrian bombed site

Robert E. Kelley

There have been a number of revelations lately about many aspects of the bombing of a Syrian military facility in 2007, which the US Intelligence Community concluded, with low confidence, was a plutonium producing nuclear reactor under construction.

Nuclear verification in Iran: managed access

Tariq Rauf

The 7 July deadline for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Iran's nuclear programme expired without a breakthrough but the parties agreed to an extension until the end of 10 July.

8 July 2015: No alternative to a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear file

Tariq Rauf

Iran’s diplomatic tango with the United States—with accompaniment from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and representatives from the European Union (EU)—continues at the historic Palais Coburg in Vienna. The aim of the negotiations is to finalize an agreement on limiting the proliferation potential of Iran’s nuclear programme and the rescinding of Western sanctions under the terms of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

17 June 2015: Migrant smuggling: moving beyond an EU military response

Dr Lars-Erik Lundin

In April as many as 1,200 boat refugees drowned in the Mediterranean. They were thought to be fleeing war or persecution in Eritrea, Somalia and Syria. Their deaths are partly attributed to the EU’s failing asylum policy. Their suffering has mobilized significant political will in Europe. This has happened for mainly laudable and compassionate reasons. However, some political leaders seem to look to managing the problem by focusing on symptoms rather than causes, and primarily through a military lens.

22 Apr. 2015: US leadership in the Arctic Council: What choices does the USA have?

Ekaterina Klimenko

On 24–25 April 2015, the United States will assume the next two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council at the Council’s next ministerial meeting in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. These are difficult times for the Arctic region—and the Arctic Council in particular. After five years of dynamic development, cooperation in the Arctic region is at risk of stumbling on the geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West.

Death of the CFE Treaty: The need to move arms control back to the centre of security policy

Dr Ian Anthony

Russia's termination of its participation in the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) is a blow to the integrated system of arms control and confidence- and security-building measures that was put in place to reduce the risk of major armed conflict, even if its practica

The European Union’s response to the terrorist attacks in Paris: combining targeted and comprehensive approaches

Dr Lars-Erik Lundin

In the wake of the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015, the European Union and its member states face growing public calls to address internal and external threats, and particularly terrorism. The EU, through its High Representative, should promote political dialogue on comprehensive approaches to conflict and crisis prevention, which can deal with both the symptoms and the causes of these threats.

Afghanistan: The Istanbul Process in urgent need of more attention

Richard Ghiasy

On 30–31 October China hosted the postponed fourth ‘Heart of Asia’ ministerial conference in the framework of the Istanbul Process. Inaugurated in 2011, the Process is the only multilateral vehicle led by Afghanistan, thus permitting the country a greater say in its own affairs. Its objective is to facilitate Afghanistan’s reconstruction through interregional collaboration. To this end, and in a short period of time, the Process has successfully managed to commit 14 participating members, some of which previously had difficulty coming together, to cooperate. However, the Process is beset by a number of internal and external challenges that necessitate attention. Newly elected Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and his administration will have to designate ample human resources and diplomacy efforts to guarantee the process’ effectiveness and sustainability.