The critical information infrastructure (CII) represents the indispensable "nerves and blood" that allow modern societies to work and live. In fact, without it, there would be no distribution of energy, no services like banking or finance, no air traffic control and so on. The CII allows remote control and management of commodities and services, thus reducing costs, to utility companies and consumers alike, and improving efficiency. But the CII was born and developed with an intrinsic, and potentially disastrous, defect: security was never considered a top priority. Today, organized crime, rogue groups or even states may plan to disrupt or destroy portion of the CII or essential services, thus putting in serious dangers governments and economies around the world. This paper outlines the major elements of the CII and the risks to which it might be subject today and tomorrow.
Abstract Historically, Iraq stands out as one of the cultural, religious and political centres of the Middle East, a leading country which has constantly exerted a relevant impact on the regional system. However, after years of wars and sanctions and, most recently, the Iraqi Freedom military operation, Iraq crumbled into a difficult period of transition which culminated in the civil war between 2005 and 2006. In 2011, the restoration of its full sovereignty opened up a new phase in this process of transition towards a new internal balance of power. At the same time, Iraq’s government regained the capacity to determine its foreign policy. This contribution aims to give an overview of the recent developments in Iraq’s efforts to reposition itself in the international and regional system, detailing the ratio of Iraqi foreign policy with a specific focus on the relationship between Baghdad, Tehran, Riyadh and Ankara. Paolo Maggiolini, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue.
Abstract The paper aims to delineate the evolution of the Iraqi socio-political scenario after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the end of the Coalition Provisional Authority experience. In doing so the research attempts to pinpoint key actors in the Iraqi political system and the degree of popular support they were able to muster both on the local (2005, 2010 and 2013 provincial elections) and national (January -December 2005 and 2010 voting) levels. The final part of the paper examines the political dynamics that emerged during al-Maliki’s second term. Particular attention has been given to the heightening political infighting seen since the withdrawal of US troops in December 2011 and to the apparent fragmentation of the Iraqi political arena attested to by the results of the recent provincial elections.
The invasion of Iraq in 2003 inaugurated a new phase, marked by fierce sectarian division, which strongly questioned the pillars on which the Iraqi ‘national’ community was built. Examining the dynamics and factors that led to these consequences will help us to understand these events within their historical context rather than viewing them as part of an endless phenomenon. The so-called ‘sectarian conflict’ in Iraq was not ‘sectarian’ because rooted only in different religious doctrines. It was a clash largely shaped along sectarian lines because of the lack of inter-communal communication and effective means of mediation. The paper focuses on the internal dynamics that led to heightened sectarianism in Iraq, starting with the historical background of political sectarianism in the first part, followed by inter-communal relations in post-2003 Iraq in the second part and concluding in the third part with recent dynamics.
Harith Hasan Al-Qarawee, Contributor to al-Monitor and Foreign Affairs and author of Imagining the Nation: Nationalism, Sectarianism and Socio-political Conflict in Iraq
Sino-Indian relations have been marred by their territorial disputes in the past decades. Tensions and disputes in the border region are likely to continue to occur from time to time in the foreseeable future, but the two countries have demonstrated strong political will and incentives not to allow the disputes to hijack their bilateral ties.
To what extent has the French intervention weakened the African Union leadership on the Malian crisis?
Regime change in a target country is one of the more common outcomes of a military intervention. Many states have assumed that they may be able to influence the direction of the regime change to conform to preferred outcomes, particularly in the direction of democratic shifts.
The rhetoric on the sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (or Malvinas), an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom disputed by Argentina since the XIXth century, has recently grown up as the 30th anniversary of the war of 1982 approaches. In February, the Argentinean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hector Timerman, asserted that the defence of British sovereignty is «the last refuge of a declining power». Last year, the President at Casa Rosada, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, stated that Britain «continues to be a crude colonial power in decline».