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December 1, 2009

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Insurgency’s supply routes

MATTHEW LEVITT, director at the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, analyzes the often-overlooked economic angle of insurgents’ use of third party countries for training, fundraising, and transit using Syria as an example for Iraqi insurgents. In an article in Perspectives of Terrorism, “Foreign Fighters and Their Economic Impact: A Case Study of Syria and al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)”, he states that shutting down the facilitation networks to starve the insurgency of its supply of material, funds and manpower while expanding the legitimate economy to compensate for the contraction of the illicit economy were critical components of any counter-insurgency campaign.

The nuclear headache

BRUCE RIEDEL senior fellow at Brookings, argues that the Pakistan army’s offensive in Waziristan and the growing backlash among the public against the Taliban and al Qaeda offered Washington an opportunity to improve its image in Pakistan. In  “Pakistan, the next nuclear nightmare“, he states that if the Obama administration showed continued resolve in Afghanistan, Pakistan would follow suit against the Taliban.

Unconventional partners in nuclear sphere

AMANDEEP GILL, visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, and RORY MEDCALF, programme director for international security at the Lowy Institute, argue that an innovative partnership between Australia and India would help erode the entrenched blocs that impede progress on nuclear disarmament. In a policy brief, “Unconventional partners: Australia-India cooperation in reducing nuclear dangers“, they recommend a specialised bilateral dialogue, practical cooperation on non-proliferation export controls, promotion of Indian involvement in the Australia Group to raise comfort levels between New Delhi and other such arrangements.

Pipelines and Energy

GAL LUFT, director at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) cautions the United States to curb its enthusiasm towards the Nabucco pipeline arguing that it served as Iran’s economic lifeline and would imperil American interests although it reduced European dependence on Russian gas. In an article for the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, “How to beat Iran’s pipeline strategy”, he also calls on the US to cooperate with India on the development of a thorium nuclear fuel cycle.

China’s Indian Ocean Strategy

VIJAY SAKHUJA, director of the New Delhi-based Indian Council for World Affairs traces the history of maritime multilateralism of China’s PLA Navy in the wake of the recent Chinese naval deployment in the Gulf of Aden. In an article for Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief, “Maritime  Multilateralism:  China’s Strategy for the Indian Ocean“, he outlines the increasing albeit selective multilateral role of the Chinese navy among the littorals of the Straits of Malacca and the Indian Ocean and states that Beijing is leveraging its naval power for strategic purposes. The development of military maritime infrastructure in the Indian Ocean would provide China access and a basing facility for conducting sustained operations and emerge as a stakeholder in Indian Ocean security architecture.

Arctic Melt

CHARLES K EBINGER & EVIE ZAMBETAKIS, of the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings, state that the prospect of longer ice-free periods in the Arctic has momentous implications for the region’s commercial development, in itself a further risk to melting Arctic ice. In an article in International Affairs, “The Geopolitics of Arctic Melt“, they argue that Arctic melt does and will continue to pose economic, military and environmental challenges to the governance of the region. They explore the role of technological factors as both a barrier and an enabler of access and argue that working within existing institutions and building capacity is preferable to the proliferation of new institutions, although the full structure and scope of the legal and regulatory frameworks that may be needed are, at present, unclear.

U.S-India 3.0

ASHLEY TELLIS of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argues that it is imperative that the United States and India agree on India’s vital security concerns, terrorism, Kashmir, and Asia’s balance of power to ensure a deepening in their bilateral relations. In a policy brief “The United States and India 3.0: Cave! Hic Dragones”, he states that although there is an active US-India partnership in areas such as education, energy, science and technology, healthcare, and women’s empowerment, an agreement on India’s key strategic concerns was vital for substantive movement on US priorities of climate change, non-proliferation, and economic and defense cooperation.

G-20 and East Asia

STEPHEN GRENVILLE & MARK THIRLWELL, fellows at the Lowy Institute, advocate the creation of a caucus of the six East Asian members of the G-20; China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, India and Australia, arguing that doing so would provide an opportunity to pool resources for research and the preparation of policy papers in turn helping the region promote an agenda at the G-20 that would support regional interests and establish G-20’s relevance. In a policy brief, “A G-20 caucus for East Asia“, they conclude that the establishment of an East Asian caucus would offer economies of scale in policy research and development and also contribute positively to the development of a regional economic architecture.


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