Brief News Update from Week 51

The IGAD-led High Level Revitalization Forum concluded its first phase on 21 December with an Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access. The agreement was signed by the various conflict parties, including GoSS and SPLM (IO), and came into force on 24 December. However, clashes between government and SPLA (IO) forces in… Read more »

Robot Wars

By Ian G. R. Shaw There isn’t a day goes by without predictions—wild, wacky, and horrifying—about the future of warfare. Robots stand at the centre of so many of these prophecies. Although robots have existed for decades, and even longer in the human imagination, recent leaps in artificial intelligence (AI) promise to break with old… Read more »

Inter-group Conflict: The Role of Weak State Structures and Exclusion

Why do non-state groups engage in violent conflict with each other? Non-state conflict has been widespread in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including D.R. Congo, Sudan, Somalia and Burundi. This type of fighting includes both formally and informally organised groups who fight each other without engaging the state, such as Al-Shabaab and the Ogaden National… Read more »

Water Stress and Conflicts in Africa

Water scarcity is widely believed to be a common source of violent conflict. However, in a recent policy brief I wrote with Clionadh Raleigh, we show that a direct water-conflict link is largely refuted by empirical research. In the conventional narrative, it is believed that population growth coupled with scarce water resources will lead to… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 50

Dear Readers, please note that there will be no news update next week. We will be back on Tuesday 2 January with a two-week TWISS update for week 51 and 52. Tuesday 12 December Reuters on the situation in Ganyiel, Unity State: “In war-torn South Sudan, one town nurtures a small-scale peace” Wednesday 13 December… Read more »

War-Making, International Law and Environmental Infrastructure

By: Jeannie L Sowers, Erika Weinthal, and Neda Zawahri The extensive targeting of civilian water and energy infrastructures by a range of state and non-state actors, including regional powers and armed groups, has marked the post-2011 wars in the Middle East and North Africa. The effects on human welfare and ecosystems are long-term and poorly… Read more »

What Do the Experts Think?

Connections between climate and security continue to be debated inside and outside of academia. Last week, I attended a workshop at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, together with Nina von Uexkull and nine other invited participants representing a variety of academic disciplines and viewpoints, to discuss impacts of climate variability and… Read more »

The Political Economic Logic of Liberal Exceptionalism

By Jacqueline Best These are interesting times for scholars interested in the concept of “exceptionalism” and emergency. As I have pointed to in my recent article in Security Dialogue, “Security, economy, population: The political economic logic of liberal exceptionalism,” prior to the recent wave of right-leaning election wins it seemed that we were entering into… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 49

Tuesday 5 December South Sudan still owes Sudan USD $1.3 billion to settle an oil agreement from 2012 according to former deputy finance minister Mou Ambrose Riiny Thiik. Thiik was removed from his position after he stated that GoSS is unable to pay its civil servants due to empty state coffers. GoSS later promised to… Read more »

Making Our Planet Great Again: Climate Diplomacy and Cooperation at COP23

A measured dose of optimism and small steps towards implementing the Paris Agreement were overall good outcomes for this year’s climate conference held from November 6-17, known officially as the 23rd Convention of the Parties (COP23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Despite global security concerns, there was little of the rhetoric from earlier COPs where the security implications… Read more »