I would like to introduce you to Sylvain Mbiye (Mushiba) Saluseke. He is the husband of a friend of mine, and a Congolese civil society activist. I introduce you to him because he has been detained without charges by Congolese security services in Kinshasa since March 17. His plight is both personal and historic. It is, of course, deeply painful for his family and loved ones, and it is also a small thread in the unraveling political story in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The longer he is detained, the worse is the fate of the country’s future. This is true not because of anything that Saluseke himself might have done or might yet do; rather, it is true because his continued detention serves as warning of how the government will act as the elections of 2016 approach.

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Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have long histories of mutual suspicion to overcome, from tensions over sharing the Nile to being on opposite sides of many of the region’s conflicts. But the turmoil on their borders threatens them all, and the Nile water deal is the first sign that all three recognize the need for cooperation to face those hazards.

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Although the US government has been signaling since 2010 that it intends to invest in modernizing its nuclear capabilities (beginning with the April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report) and modernization in Russia is well underway, the issue of nuclear modernization has recently captured the attention of major news outlets, with both The Economist […]

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Whether one engages with the goal of regime change for reasons of civilian protection or anti-authoritarianism, or a goal of maintaining the state in the name of respect for sovereignty and anti-terrorism, or some other form of rationalization, the effect is the same. The regime in Syria is despicable; ISIS is despicable–but there is a difference between removing the state and conceding ground to nihilist insurgents. The choice is not between friends and enemies, but the choice to de-escalate violence and shift opposition to a political (rather than military) plane, or to increase violence. And whatever the goal, it is important to ask at what point does continuing to feed the dynamic of violence become the worst option?

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The difficulty of ensuring international water security is that the reasonable, equitable and sustainable utilisation of international water courses has long been constrained by national sovereignty and security priorities. Transboundary water management is a wicked problem, with competing interests of agricultural uses, industrial development, environmental sustainability, water sanitation, hydroelectric energy production, etc.

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Beyond these individual examples of failure, there may be an inherent mismatch in seeking to instill values of professionalism, civic service, and democratic control of security sectors through private (and perhaps mercenary) contractors. In countries where SSR is struggling to confront marketplaces that commodify violence, PMCs represent exactly that—the commoditization of military skills.

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