When Japan experienced a historic power transition in August 2009, as the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party was removed from power by voters for the first time in the LDP’s fifty four years of history, and replaced by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), many observers hailed the arrival of serious inter-party competition and even a two-party political system. Nonetheless, the DPJ was itself then voted out of power in December 2012 in a crushing defeat almost as big as the LDP’s 2009 defeat.
Sono intervenuti: Alessandro COLOMBO, ISPI e Università degli Studi di Milano; Viviana MAZZA, Corriere della Sera; Gianluca PASTORI, Università Cattolica e ISPI; David UNGER, Giornalista e Johns Hopkins University Bologna. (...)
Recent analyses reveal that the vast majority of jihadists come from or have some connections with specific areas or districts within different states. One can describe them as local/regional “hotbeds” of extremism. Molenbeek in Belgium, Gornje Maoče and Ošve in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Minneapolis in the US, Kasserine and Ben Guerdane in Tunisia, Sirte and Derna in Libya, Sinai in Egypt, Pankisi Valley and Dagestan in the Caucasus: each area has unique characteristics that lead to “exporting” fighters or creating new IS-controlled zones.
Starting from the debate on the origin and nature of jihadist militancy that is dividing the most important scholars of Islam, this report outlines a broad spectrum of radicalization factors leading to the emergence of jihadists hotbeds, such as poverty, unemployment, lack of job prospects, juvenile delinquency, trafficking and smuggling, socio-political, economic and physical marginalization, the role of Salafist ideology as well as the influence of brotherhood networks. All these elements have been frequently highlighted as factors or triggers that could contribute to explaining dynamics of radicalization leading to active violent militancy under the ideals of jihadism.
To get a better sense of both the differences and similarities amongst the various hotbeds, the report provides an overview of some of the largest contributors to Islamic extremists and foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.
Di Matthew Wilson
As President Obama enters his last full year in office, his supporters and critics alike have begun to debate his legacy, seeking to shape the first-draft assessment of “the Obama years.” President Obama has been one of the most polarizing figures in recent American political history, so it is no surprise that judgements of his domestic policy accomplishments diverge sharply along partisan and ideological lines. Even many of his supporters, however, would acknowledge that his domestic policy accomplishments will in many areas fall frustratingly short of the aspirations that they had on his historic election in 2008. (...)
Di Walter Russell Mead
President Obama’s final State of the Union address comes at a time when, for the first time in his administration, the public believes that the nation’s most serious problems involve foreign policy rather than domestic issues, the majority disapproves of the President’s handling of foreign affairs, and 73 percent say they want the next President to take a “different approach” to foreign policy. President Obama, for his part, remains deeply committed to his approach to foreign affairs, is determined to continue on his current course through the end of his mandate, and wants a new kind of foreign policy to be part of the political legacy of his administration. (...)
The agreement reached in Vienna on 14 July, 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 (United States, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom, Germany) has been greeted as an historical achievement. While offering a long-lasting negotiated solution to one of the biggest crises of the last decade, the deal represents an opportunity for a deep recalibration of the balance of power in the Middle East. It also paves the way to some sort of rapprochement between Iran and the United States. But the deal is also likely to have an impact on Iranian domestic politics, not least on its economy, which, after repeated rounds of sanctions, languishes in deep crisis.
This report aims to assess the potential effects of the deal by trying to answer the following question: what’s next for Iran, the Middle East and the countries involved in the negotiations? In particular, the report provides an assessment of the JCPOA agreed upon in Vienna. It also analyzes the impact of the deal on Iranian domestic politics as well as the consequences for its economy. In addition, it examines its effects on the balance of power in the Middle East, as well as on relations between Iran and the United States, and Iran and Russia. Finally a number of policy recommendations for the EU are provided.
Ad oltre 50 anni dall’interruzione delle relazioni politiche, Stati Uniti e Cuba stanno portando avanti un moderato ma costante processo di riavvicinamento diplomatico che ha già trovato una sua prima compiutezza nella simbolica riapertura delle rispettive ambasciate a Washington e L’Avana. A definire il reset nei rapporti bilaterali è stata una telefonata tra i presidenti Barack Obama e Raùl Castro avvenuta il 17 dicembre scorso, nella quale i due leader annunciavano l’inizio di una nuova fase storica. Sebbene la riapertura delle ambasciate rappresenti un ulteriore importante tassello nel rinato dialogo politico, permangono ancora innumerevoli questioni di scontro. Così tra interessi contrapposti sul piano interno ai due paesi, alla regione e al continente, il re-engagement di Cuba nel sistema internazionale potrebbe segnare una nuova vittoria nella strategia di politica estera dell’amministrazione Obama, nonché la più grande opportunità per Castro di incamminare il paese verso una transizione democratica
When Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping meet in Beijing this week, they will try to reverse the downward spiral in relations between their two countries. There is a growing sense that a promising partnership, one that was captured by the agreement to forge a “new type of major country relations,” has lost its momentum and threatens to run off the rails.
President Obama has recently announced his long-awaited decision about the American military presence in Afghanistan after the end of ISAF. 9.800 American soldiers will remain in the country in 2015 and a few thousands troops from other NATO members will be part of the new NATO mission (Resolute Support). In 2016 the American troops will be reduced by a half and the following year the U.S. will withdraw the remaining soldiers. European countries will apparently do nearly the same. In the meantime the new afghan president, elected in June, is expected to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the U.S. and then the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) with NATO. Both will allow an international military presence in Afghanistan after ISAF’s departure. It is hard to predict if this light military commitment will be suitable to preserve the current situation in Afghanistan and hold back the Taliban insurgency. The process of Transition began in 2010, aimed at training and preparing the Afghan National
Security Forces (ANSF) to lead military operations in all the provinces by the end of 2014, although in part successful, cannot ensure a good security environment. Thus, the future of Afghanistan in the coming years is still uncertain. This ISPI study tries to shed some light on this uncertainty. The overall aim of the project is to offer an assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan and to consider the possible scenarios after the end of ISAF mission, focusing on some relevant aspects. First of all, starting from the essential challenge to the stability in Afghanistan, it offers an assessment of the
Taliban insurgency. Second, it deals with the major consequences for NATO of the end of ISAF and a failing Afghanistan. Third, it looks at the Security Sector Reform carried out in Afghanistan and the concerns about the ANSF’s ability to cope with security in the light of the international military disengagement. Fourth, it explores the effects of withdrawal on humanitarian and development assistance in Afghanistan. And finally, it looks at the regional context assessing the impact of NATO’s departure on Central Asia security architecture in general and on Uzbekistan in particular.