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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 front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Iraq and Palestine: two theatres of war

The survivalist logic of the Iraqi regime may bring war closer even than the Americans are planning for. Meanwhile, the covert aim of the Israeli assault – pulverising the nascent Palestinian state – has only steeled its people’s resistance.

An expanding horizon of conflict

Israel’s assault has brought its conflict with the Palestinians to new heights, while U.S and allied combat with a regrouping al-Qaida continues in Afghanistan.

Israel's strategy: the impotence of arms

The real purpose of Israel’s military assault on the Palestinian Authority is to systematically destroy its ability to function as a state. By pursuing the logic of force, Ariel Sharon’s government is putting Israel’s security at serious risk.

The widening possibility of war

In anticipation of Tony Blair’s meeting with George Bush, openDemocracy’s international security correspondent asks how Washington’s pro-Israeli mood might change were Sharon to extend the limits of conflict. And if he did, could Bush still countenance action against Iraq?

No end in sight

The intense fighting near Gardez portends a deeper, lengthier war in Afghanistan than early claims of US ‘victory’ implied. If three putative ‘last stands’ have not eclipsed even Taliban resistance, where is the ‘war on terror’ going?

Smaller, deeper, hotter - the new nukes

The hegemony of the Republican right in Washington has combined with advancing military strategy to make the use of smaller, tactical nuclear weapons by the U.S. conceivable. Is this a new way of thinking, or the culmination of a long-term dream?

The spiral of war

The desperate violence between Israel and Palestine is intensifying. Resurgent Taliban fighters have taken a heavy toll of US forces in Afghanistan. Strains in US bipartisanship offer a sliver of light, but where is politics amidst the expanding military drive?

The aftermath of war

As US forces pound the Afghan government’s opponents, military supply and logistical problems augur a lengthier preparation for its planned assault on Iraq. But meanwhile, the tentacles of war are spreading across the globe – from the Philippines and Nepal to Colombia – amidst US research into new types of nuclear weaponry.

The coming war with Iraq

Washington's rhetoric against the Iraqi regime seems likely to be followed by sustained military assault. What are its justifications, will it succeed, and what will be the consequences? The experience of the last decade suggests that a different policy - combining targeted sanctions, food aid, and a concerted effort for peace in Israel-Palestine - might avert impending destruction and dangers. Is it too late even now?

War after war

Five months have passed since the attacks on New York and Washington; just over four since the war began in Afghanistan. Key recent developments indicate the likely path of the Afghan conflict, the spread of war into Iraq, and the longer-term prospects for the United States’ “war on terror”.

America and the world: an abyss of perception

President Bush’s supremely confident state of the union speech won acclaim in the US heartland. But the rest of the world hears a different tune. There may be trouble ahead.

The logistics of complexity

Inside Afghanistan a destructive but unreported war continues amidst large population movements and a breakdown of law. With a significant international (and non-Muslim) presence in Afghanistan, tension in Saudi-US relations, and an active French military policy in the region, the geopolitics are becoming more problematic – especially for an overstretched US.

United States unilateralism - alive and kicking?

Any expectation that the US would adopt a more cooperative foreign policy after 11 September has been dashed. An examination of the Bush administration’s record shows that the impulse towards creating an American ‘benign imperium’ long predated the attacks.

US entrenchment across central Asia

This is the second of three ‘wider’ pieces on the US war against terrorism in Afghanistan. Last week looked at why the US is in the Gulf. This week looks at the rapid extension of America’s military presence across Central Asia and the wider region. The next piece will look at whether US ‘unilateralism’ is stronger or weaker than before 11 September.

Oil and the "war on terror": why is the United States in the Gulf?

The "war on terror" is best seen in the context of the geopolitics of oil, especially since the 1970s. In particular, the US’s oil dependency and its determination to ensure security of supply has shaped its military policy in the Gulf region.

A third phase of war

Al-Qaida’s move out of Afghanistan into Pakistan adds to the pressures on a Pakistani leadership now focused on the perceived threat from India. A military offensive against al-Qaida on Pakistani soil conducted or inspired by the US would spell political destabilisation for General Musharraf. In a wider frame, the loose al-Qaida coalition may be planning its own ‘third phase’ of war.

America's theatre is the world

The human cost of the Afghan war is very great – and despite the inauguration of a new government, the conflict is still unresolved. Many Taliban have melted away, but may regroup to fight a spring offensive from north-west Pakistan or the Pashtun heartlands of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, US preparations to extend its military hegemony in the wider region intensify.

The next frontier

Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff warns that the military’s role in the war against terrorism is limited, while US-backed Israeli moves against Palestinians confirm widespread Arab views that this is really an anti-Arab campaign. Meanwhile, developments on the arms front point to the weaponisation of space being the US endgame.

The wages of war

The end of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has left competing power centres encircling each other. The US will continue to hunt dispersed al-Qaida and Taliban groups, at the cost of adding more civilian casualties to an already large total. Arms producers and US hawks are counting their winnings, but the wages of war are read very differently in the non-western world.The last major centre of Taliban power, Kandahar, finally fell to a heterogeneous grouping of local anti-Taliban Pashtun militia at the end of last week.

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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