openSecurity looks ahead to 2013

The articles gathered in this special feature reflect both issues that are urgent now, and trends that we believe will be important in the year ahead.

1 January 2013

As a New Year is celebrated across much of the world, in Central African Republic (CAR) the capital is threatened by armed rebels who claim President Bozize has not honoured a 2007 peace deal. At the time of publishing the rebels had rejected an offer from the President to form a coalition government of national unity. A spokesman for the rebels said 'We don't believe in Bozize's promises'.

Some speak of the peace-war-peace bell curve. When faced with the entrenchment of conflict out of patchy peace, inverting the terms would seem more accurate. War seems ever present, perhaps only ever badly disguised as peace.

Nowhere does this seem more the case than the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where armed and organised violence is used as both the political and economic tool of choice by those in positions of uncertain power. The DRC is called a failed state, but perhaps the violent force that guarantees the security of interests is only a more keenly obvious threat point. What else is security than the ability to safeguard your interests? There are those whom war makes secure.

Yet over the course of one generation it became unthinkable that France and Germany could be at war. Economic cooperation was followed by political fora. If that is possible in Europe, what else may be? Around the world activists, peacebuilders, politicians, businesswomen and men, religious and civil society leaders find mechanisms to resist and reduce violence, be it physical or structural.

But just as pressingly, if peace agreements fail and enmity can arise where there was none, should Europeans look to the fabric of their own peace? Are they already?

As openSecurity looked back at 2012, concerns that were slight ten months ago now look like prescience. We selected some of the best writing from across the array of contexts and specialisms that you have contributed over the last year.

The views expressed are varied, exchanges have taken place between people who may never agree to talk in the flesh: the political always eventually feels personal. Here, in what we have come to think of as a global commons, writers engage with the hardest of issues, those perhaps closest to the bone.

Looking ahead to 2013, the articles we have selected for this special feature may speak of the past, but we believe they'll be important in the year to come.

The US military understood well ahead of the curve the seriousness of two degrees and above of global warming. Ben Hayes and Nick Buxton examine what thinking in terms of security means for our response to the threat we pose ourselves.

Mladen Ostojic on the collapse of transitional justice in cases relating to the former Yugoslavia and Lukas Mikelionis on economic fracture in Lithuania in this time of austerity place emphasis on the indicators of stress in Europe. Robert Latona on the future of ETA in post-ceasefire Spain offers a concrete case study when read alongside Jonathan Cohen's wide ranging piece on reconciliation in the OSCE, who should undertake it, and how.

By calling out the internationalisation of Syria's conflict to date, Issa Khalaf asks us to look seriously at intervention, the barriers to negotiation, and the long term impact on a Syria that is now unrecognisable to those who lived there a year ago.

In February openSecurity will host a conference aiming to address these issues with the same pluralism we aim for in publishing, and the same patience and respect for others that entails. Whether online or in person we hope you will join us.

Thank you for your comments, your intellectual honesty, your research and your writing in 2012. Now look with us to the full year ahead.

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