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Welcome to openSecurity Analysis, our new monthly column: a rotating space dedicated to providing in-depth understanding of key contemporary security issues. In counterpoint to our ongoing coverage of contemporary events, these essays aim to shed light on fundamental trends and the latest developments. The column which poses and analyses our question of the month is shared by members of our Advisory Board, Mariano Aguirre, Ivan Briscoe, Derek Gregory and Mark Taylor.

Mariano Aguirre is the director of the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (Noref) in Oslo.

Ivan Briscoe is the Senior Researcher in Governance at the Conflict Research Unit, Clingendael Institute of International Affairs in The Hague.

Derek Gregory is the Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Mark Taylor is Senior Researcher at the Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies in Oslo and founding member of the Center for American Progress’ Just Jobs Network.

“Terrorism” and the US-led global order

“Terrorism” has become a formulaic term in political discourse, often deployed as a device sustaining a US informal empire. Time to unpack it—and develop a more secure multilateral order.

Burundi, une démocratisation génératrice de violence

La communauté internationale a indirectement contribué à faire du Burundi une démocratie de façade, aujourd’hui en proie à une crise politique, voire sécuritaire. English

Burundi: a democratisation from which violence may stem

The international community has indirectly contributed to making Burundi a facade democracy, now prey to a political and even a security crisis. Français

Trapped by borders, a global flotsam and jetsam

They arrive nameless and unnumbered by land or sea but ever-more unregulated migrants across the globe are falling victim to proliferating border-security regimes.

The conflict horizon

The last two decades have seen a growing global appetite for peace but unless concerted, informed action is taken the next two could bring darker times

Boko Haram: time for an alternative approach

Military responses to Boko Haram have proved ineffective, as the latest atrocities in Nigeria highlight. An alternative focused on good governance, policing and socio-economic development, supported by the international community, would be much more likely to succeed.

How human rights went global

Attempts to assuage conflicts around the world using the language of human rights are sometimes met with rebuttals of their “Western” provenance. In fact the foundational Universal Declaration of Human Rights emerged from the wisdom of the post-war international crowd.

The new Russian power bloc

A quarter century after Mikhail Gorbachev supervised the collapse of Europe’s cold-war division, a world of new dividing lines is emerging—with Vladimir Putin playing an active part in inscribing them.

Negotiating with the Taliban

No one should expect progress in Afghanistan anytime soon, enmeshed as it is in a complex web of interaction among state and non-state actors. 

Obama, Saudi Arabia and “anti-terrorism”

Last week the US president, Barack Obama, visited Saudi Arabia. Fighting extremism, the crisis in Syria, and Iran's nuclear programme would all have been live concerns. Human rights, however, was not.

Venezuela: taking the counter- out of revolution

Venezuela is politically polarised and so is much of the coverage of it. But just as the violence is now kaleidoscopic the international response must become more complex.

Striking behaviour: Chinese workers discover a weapon against labour-market turmoil

In theory, workers in China are promised security through official trade union representation and the rule of the Communist Party. In practice, confronted with the endless churning of a globalised labour market, they are increasingly voting with their feet.

Are conflict minerals making war less profitable?

What's up with conflict minerals? Is the global economy ready for regulation that targets the economies of warlords and insurgents?

Deals with the devil

Talk of a pact with criminals is beyond the pale in Mexico’s presidential election campaign. But the tentative success of a deal with gang leaders in one of Central America’s most violent countries suggests the time may have come to explore a new style of negotiations aimed at reducing appalling levels of violence.

Military intervention and Syria

From the Cold War onwards there is a long trail of misery stemming from military solutions to intricate situations that were clear, simple and wrong. 

Also in this oS Analysis debate:
Mariano Aguirre, on why force would intensify the conflict. Steven Heydemann and Reinoud Leenders disagree, urging the need for a credible threat. Mariano Aguirre responds to their criticisms.

The dream of "managing militarization" in Syria

What should be the international approach to resolving the Syrian crisis, and does diplomacy or military aid to the rebels offer a better chance of progress? Mariano Aguirre responds to the criticisms of Steven Heydemann and Reinoud Leenders.

Also in this oS Analysis debate:
Read Robert Matthews on the decades-long consequences of militarization.

Syria's crisis: a credible threat is what is needed

The escalation of regime violence is not a response to the rise of an armed opposition, but the reaction of the Assad regime to a popular uprising that has demonstrated remarkable resilience. Without a credible threat, ‘Weapons vs. Negotiations’ is a false choice.

Also in this oS Analysis debate:
Mariano Aguirre, on why force would intensify the conflict. Read Mariano Aguirre’s response to this critique, and Robert Matthews on the decades-long consequences of militarization.

Syria's crisis: weapons vs negotiations

A strong momentum is building for armed intervention in Syria, either by channelling arms to Syria's rebels or undertaking direct military assaults on the regime. But these proposals are based on flawed analysis and if implemented would have damaging results, says Mariano Aguirre.

Also in this oS Analysis debate:
Steven Heydemann and Reinoud Leenders disagree, urging the need for a credible threat. Mariano Aguirre responds, and Robert Matthews warns of the decades long consequences of militarisation.

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