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About Paul Rogers

Paul Rogers is professor in the department of peace studies at Bradford University, northern England. He is openDemocracy's international security adviser, and has been writing a weekly column on global security since 28 September 2001; he also writes a monthly briefing for the Oxford Research Group. His latest book is Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threat from the Margins (IB Tauris, 2016), which follows Why We’re Losing the War on Terror (Polity, 2007), and Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century (Pluto Press, 3rd edition, 2010). He is on Twitter at: @ProfPRogers

A lecture by Paul Rogers, delivered to the Food Systems Academy in late 2014, provides an overview of the analysis that underpins his openDemocracy column. The lecture - "The crucial century, 1945-2045: transforming food systems in a global context" - focuses on the central place of food systems in human security worldwide. Paul argues that food is the pivot of humanity's next great transition. It can be accessed here

Articles by Paul Rogers

This week’s editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Afghanistan: victory or swamp?

The encircling of Kandahar and the suppression of Taliban forces elsewhere seemingly offer the prospect of decisive US and Northern Alliance victory. But regional shifts and intra-agency rivalries behind the scenes may augur a prolongation of the Afghan conflict.

In search of enemies

The last fortnight’s rapid advances of the (renamed) United Front forces, backed by US air power, do not mean a swift end to the ‘war on terrorism’. US planners have targets in Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan in their sights. More immediately, the cascade of arms into Afghanistan, along with warlordism and revived heroin production, ensure that a political settlement there will not be easy.

Breakthrough - to a broader war?

The shift of forces within Afghanistan entails a strategic advantage for Russia, and may presage a broadening of conflict that encompasses Iraq and Israel/Palestine. Moreover, the probable dispersal of al-Qaida raises the prospect of future anti-US attacks.

The Taliban factor

As the Northern Alliance occupy Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul, and the Taliban retreat to their Pashtun heartlands, domestic US support for the war remains high. If the Taliban retain cohesion, and Pakistan’s support, armed conflict may yet be protracted.

The horizon of war lengthens

The shift to area bombing and economic targeting is a marked feature of the fourth week. But as al-Qaida disperses, winter approaches, and even Mazar-e- Sharif remains in Taliban hands, there has been no decisive breakthrough. A long war is in prospect.

Rewriting the script

US attacks have caused increasing civilian casualties and led to the dispersal of Taliban forces into small units, making them harder to target by air or ground attack. As winter approaches, the US may redefine the war’s aim as weakening the Taliban and enclosing al-Qaida within Afghan borders.

An elusive enemy

The spreading US air attacks are likely to impact increasingly on civilians. With winter looming, and refugee and humanitarian crises pending, both sides seem ready for a lengthy conflict.From early in the third week of the war, the United States was able to operate strike aircraft such as the F-15 out of Uzbekistan. This has enabled the US to mount more air raids and has partially overcome the previous limitations of using carrier-based aircraft and long-range bombers.

From Afghanistan to Iraq


The second week of air strikes on Afghanistan reveals pressures on the United States’s military strategy in this complex strategic and political environment. In the wider regional background, Iraq remains a lightning-rod of concern on all sides.

The war begins

The first night of aerial assault on the Taliban indicates an extended US campaign. But is this what bin Laden wants?

On the eve

What will be the effects of a United States-led attack on Afghanistan? The informed analysis of the aftermath of 11 September 2001 continues.

Afghanistan: the problem with military action

An armed attack by the United States on the Kabul regime would create more problems than it solved.
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