Does hunger cause conflict?

One of the consequences of war is disrupted food provision. The connection between conflict and hunger is indisputable when we look at today’s locations of the major global hunger emergencies: Rakhine in Myanmar, the Kasai Region in DR Congo, north-eastern Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It is estimated that 80 percent of the World… Read more »

Climate and Security: Bridging the Policy-Academic Gap

In March, I argued that the connections between climate change and security are complex, contingent, and not fully understood.  Most of the academic literature has firmly focused on conflict onset with the broader security consequences largely understudied. For policy audiences, the nuance can be frustrating. It is difficult to know what to do with such… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 19

Monday 7 May The SPLM-IO faction led by Taban Deng Gai announced that it has officially joined the country’s ruling party SPLM, under the overall leadership of President Salva Kiir. President Salva Kiir accepted that Riek Machar could come to Juba under the protection of the Regional Protection Force. President Kiir did not accept however… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 18

Monday 30 April South African telecom operator MTN will expand its operations in South Sudan. There is a rising demand for mobile services, conceivably linked to the expulsion of Vivacell. Tuesday 1 May SPLM-IO has released the 10 aid workers abducted in Central Equatoria. A border dispute caused soldiers from the SPLA to halt a… Read more »

The Moscow–Washington Hotline Worked – This Time Around

In the war in Syria, the two globally most militarily active superpowers – Russia and the United States – have soldiers actively deployed on opposite sides on the same battlefield. This is the first time this has happened since the end of World War II, and it is a dangerous situation.

At the same time, we see that the Cold War “hotline” – a direct line of communication between Moscow and Washington – continues to function. This seems to have been vital during the Western military response, on 14 April, to the use of chemical weapons in Douma a week earlier, when Russia and the United States managed to prevent further escalation of conflict between them.

The ruins of the 2018 American-led bombing of Damascus and Homs. Photo: Tasnim News Agency / Wikimedia Commons

From a Norwegian vantage point this is important. The Syrian conflict is the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of our time. In itself, it is an extremely complex war involving a large number of parties, within Syria, from the region, and beyond. But a confrontation between Russia and the United States, given that each directly supports a different side in the conflict, could also have implications for Norway’s relationship with the superpowers and, in the final analysis, for Norway’s own security. Accordingly, it is good news for Norway that the mechanisms for preventing escalation continue to function.

There is little doubt that the missile strikes defied international law. None of the established justifications for a military attack on another country’s territory were in place. When the Norwegian government expresses its ‘understanding’ for the attack, without entering into further discussion of the international law implications to which one otherwise attaches such great importance, it is a reflection of a small state that feels increasingly vulnerable at the interface between a more aggressive Russia and a less predictable United States. Read More

Can Moon Jae-In Remove the Stumbling Blocks to Peace in Korea?

Donald Trump is the unknown factor in the South Korean president’s peace diplomacy.

President Moon and Chairman Kim share conversation during the walk on the Footbridge (Dobodari) on April 27. Official photo /

Friday 27 April 2018 was a new historic day for Korea. Even before he had completed the first year of his five-year term as president of South Korea, the 65-year-old human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in succeeded in holding a summit with the young North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. During their meeting in the “Peace House” in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, Kim promised that Moon would no longer have his sleep disturbed by nuclear weapons tests and missile tests.Read More

This Week in South Sudan – Week 17

Tuesday 24 April Nepalese UN peacekeeping troops are accused of child rape. Wednesday 25 April The Government of South Sudan appointed the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Martin Elia Lomuro, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which opens questions concerning the status of the current Minister, Deng Alor. Thursday 26 April An armed group… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 16

Monday 16 April International Crisis Group: “Keeping the Hotline Open Between Sudan and South Sudan. ” (published 13 April) SPLM-IO claims to have seized Nhialdiu, Doau and Tharkan in Unity. The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) denies this. Tuesday 17 April The GoSS has shut down the BBC relay station in Juba and Wau. Reportedly,… Read more »

“Security Threats and Public Perception: Digital Russia and the Ukraine Crisis” (2017)- Reviewed by Bohdana Kurylo

Elizaveta Gaufman, Security Threats and Public Perception: Digital Russia and the Ukraine Crisis, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 222 pp.: 9783319432007 (hbk) Book Review by Bohdana Kurylo The transformation of the Russian state under the presidency of Vladimir Putin, which has culminated in the current crisis in Ukraine, has been of great interest to security studies… Read more »

In the Sahel, militarism doesn’t give us a full picture

By Philippe M Frowd and Adam J Sandor International security interventions in Sahel are multiplying. Military actions such as France’s Operation Barkhane, a Chapter 7 United Nations stabilization mission – MINUSMA, and increasing American military involvement in the region give these actions in the Sahel a ‘hard’, militarised image. Yet the number and scale of… Read more »