Athens Institute for Education and Research - ATINER
JIHADISM IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: SPECIFIC FEATURES AND THREAT ASSESSMENT
This paper analyzes the activities of jihadists in the region commonly referred to as the “Black Continent”. The authors provide an analysis of the development of jihadist ideology across the world, followed by a closer examination of its specific manifestations in sub-Saharan Africa. This research study utilized a model originally developed by Geoffrey Predmore in 2011 to analyze the insurgency in the North Caucasus. It includes three key aspects that theorists have identified as necessary for the success of the insurgency: the level of will of the actors involved in achieving the envisioned goals; choosing the strategy of the actors involved; and the extent of external support to the actors involved. The research was based on a content analysis methodology, utilizing a diverse range of reliable data sources, including official reports from international organizations, scientific publications, and newspaper articles. The authors concluded that holy warriors in sub-Saharan Africa possess a strong determination to achieve their goals at the local level. However, this willpower tends to decrease when it comes to global ambitions. When examining their strategy, it becomes evident that they have adopted a primarily indirect approach. Finally, in the context of external support to African jihadist groups, it has been observed that such support does exist. The basic assumption that sub-Saharan jihadists pose a distinct threat to internationally recognized countries in the region, and that they could potentially establish an entity similar to the Islamic State in sub-Saharan Africa, has been partially confirmed. Although they possess a strong will, an elaborate strategy, and specific external support for achieving local goals, it is unlikely that they will be able to constitute something like a caliphate in the near future.
SWOT ANALYSIS OF RUSSIAN ARCTIC STRATEGY: MILITARY ASPECT
Climate change has induced global warming, which resulted in the rapid melting of the northern ice cap in the last decade and a half. In addition to allowing the vast resources stored in the area to eventually become available for exploitation, it also made the northern borders of the Arctic coastal states exposed to potential attack. Aware of this, Russia, the United States of America, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland have begun the process of militarization of the region.
In this paper, the authors focused on Russia’s military activities in the High North, and the SWOT matrix was used for their analysis. Accordingly, the main goal of the work was to determine the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that characterize Russian military engagement in the aforementioned area. The analysis showed that the massive presence of infrastructure and military personnel form the backbone of Russian military power in the mentioned area. Within this context, missile systems (hypersonic and other), which are technologically superior to those possessed by the competition, are of particular importance. The absence of a significant presence of NATO military forces in the given area and the strengthening of military cooperation with the Chinese in the Arctic are a chance for Russia to further strengthen its position.
On the other hand, the analysis also showed that Russian military activism in the area around the North Pole is characterized by certain weaknesses. The inconsistency of the development of the military component with the economic, social and other aspects of power projection in the region represents the most important one. Apart from leading to an uneven development of the overall potential in the Russian part of the Arctic and thereby preventing the implementation of an integral strategy, it simultaneously makes it difficult to carry out planning and operational military activities, primarily because it causes the emergence of logistical and other gaps. In addition to the above, the condition of a part of the Russian military equipment is also an obvious weakness. It is not at a satisfactory level, which, among other things, is evidenced by frequent accidents related to this issue. With this in mind, climate change is also a relevant factor. They caused the melting of the ice sheet, which throughout history served as a natural shield of the northern Russian borders. With its disappearance, those borders become more open to attack by potential aggressors, at the same time complicating the protection of the Northern Sea Route.
The main threat for Russia, according to the analytical matrix, is the announced expansion of NATO. Namely, if Sweden and Finland join that military alliance, the border between Russia and NATO will double. Given that the two Scandinavian countries were militarily neutral for many years, the Russians had no need to build massive defense capabilities along the dividing line with Finland, nor to significantly protect their strategic installations on the Kola Peninsula from a potential threat that could threaten them from that direction. However, if the circumstances change, Kremlin will face obvious problems. These problems primarily refer to the absence of military infrastructure along the mentioned border, but also to the shortcomings related to civilian capacities in the said area, which directly or indirectly hinder the logistical functioning of the army. Nevertheless, if the circumstances change, Kremlin will face obvious problems.
The authors conclude that Kremlin should undertake the uniform development of all Arctic potentials, in order for Russia to maintain its position as the leading nation in the region. Only in this way protection of borders and security of resources would be at an optimal level, both in peacetime and in conditions of armed conflict.
HIGH SKY – LOW TENSION: CAN INDIA AND CHINA FIND COMMON INTEREST IN OUTER SPACE?
Cold War rivalry spilled into space when the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957, leading to space being recognised as the fourth domain of warfare. As the monopoly of the US and former Soviet Union eroded, it created space for new actors to emerge from Asia, where China and India due to their investemnts in space technology as early as 1950’s had a significant headstart. The paper traces the evolution of the space programs of both the Asian countries and identifies how they are tailored to meet their aspirations to become global space powers. Against the backdrop of competitve cooperation which charecterises their overall bilateral relations, the paper assesses the trends in their national space programs to predict whether Sino-Indian relations will shift towards confrontation or cooperation. In view of the similar ambitions of both these countries in space, the paper conlcudes that there is scope for cooperation as well as competiton and which path will be adopted depends largely on their national strategic interests and further development of their fututre projects.
CORRUPTION AS A FORM OF THREATENING HUMAN SECURITY: POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND HEALTH-CARE DIMENSION
The concept of human security was created with the aim of eliminating the shortcomings of classic security mechanisms. The concept is based on the quantification of parameters through indicators grouped into 7 areas (dimensions) relevant to the quality of life of people. The flaw of the classic security approach is that they occurrences, are being dealt with mostly, at the level of phenomena, without a deeper insight into their causes, and consequences for citizens. By selecting corruption as the subject of the paper, the authors point to its effects on the community at the level of citizens, ie their families, but at the same time point to possible causes that contribute to the creation of an environment conducive to corrupt practices. The political system is a reflection of social circumstances in an area, but at the same time, it is responsible for creating an environment in which all aspects of the life of members of a community take place. Corruption as a global phenomenon also requires appropriate treatment, as it threatens the principles of good governance, democratic procedures, and basic human rights. Corruption impedes the functioning of market principles, as the basic postulate of the liberal economy, questions the principle of equality in the market, and thus makes it impossible to bridge the development gap between rich and poor communities. Compromising basic moral principles leads to the establishment of a kleptocratic order that threatens all aspects of human security. States with strong institutions manage to control the negative phenomena, while small underdeveloped states fall into the vicious circle of poverty, nepotism, corruption, and dictatorship. This issue is often so serious that it threatens the survival of the states and the existence of their residents. Thanks to an analysis based on the concept of human security, the causes of the problem can be identified and appropriate steps taken to help communities tackle corruption. Sometimes this is impossible without help from the outside, however, one has to be careful not to fall into the trap of replacing one parasitic structure with another. The concept of human security, due to its universality, allows for a broader view of issues that are often not only related to space in the focus of analysis but also come from the environment and/or informal centers of power that are increasingly taking on a global character.