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Essays

In August 2020, Greek and Turkish frigates collided in the eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish ship had been escorting a Turkish seismic survey vessel, RV MTA Oruç Reis.

Earlier this year, I took on the task of writing the introductions to two surveys of the contemporary global landscape. One was SIPRI Yearbook 2020, our annual review of armaments, disarmament and international security. The other was a far broader, if less analytical, project: the 10th edition of The State of the World Atlas.

As coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused the most severe economic crisis since the 1930s, could we witness a new phase of consolidation within the Western and Central European arms industry? This SIPRI Essay gives an early glimpse at where these three factors stand after the ‘great lockdown’. It proposes that the European arms industry may be at the outset of a larger consolidation movement.

The coronavirus disease 2019 crisis can function as a prism through which more fundamental political and societal structures can be better understood.

To many, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic came as a surprise. It has placed enormous strain on governments to contain the spread of the disease and address the fallout from the measures that have been implemented.

WritePeace blog

Russia’s nuclear doctrine moves the focus from non-Western threats

In June 2020 Russia made its nuclear doctrine more transparent in terms of why, when and how it would use nuclear weapons. Without naming potential adversaries, Russia is now more explicit about the regional scenarios that could lead to nuclear warfare. It seems to have confirmed that its updated nuclear doctrine is less focused on East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. At the same time, Russia continues to reserve the right to use nuclear weapons to end conventional military conflicts. This WritePeace blog explores what has changed in the new doctrine and what the changes signal.

China’s detachment from the South Asian nuclear triangle

In contrast with coverage of the recent China–India border conflict, Chinese analysis of nuclear issues in South Asia has been decreasing. As pointed out by Indian, Chinese and US experts, neither China nor India has sought to insert nuclear dynamics into border tensions.

Mali’s transition: High expectations and little time

On 17–18 August 2020, a military coup—the fourth since the independence of the country—led to the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK), two years after his re-election. Led by high-ranking military officers, the coup concluded the persistent contestation of the regime that culminated in the country’s June 2020 protests

This WritePeace blog explains the diverse set of factors that led to the military coup and discusses the current challenges of the upcoming transition. It highlights the urgent needs to put Malian people’s needs and priorities at the top of the transition’s agenda. 

The Anthropocene and global politics: Rewriting the Earth as political space

Rickard Söder, Dr Malin Mobjörk and Dr Eva Lövbrand

Last year, the Anthropocene Working Group—a group of researchers responsible for investigating a potential formalization of the Anthropocene—agreed to recognize a new geologic epoch to mark humans’ profound impact on the planet. If the Working Group’s forthcoming proposal planned to 2021 is accepted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, the Anthropocene will replace the Holocene—the 12 000 year of relatively stable climate since the last ice age—as the current geologic time interval.

New trends and developments in border tensions between China and India

While de-escalating the over one month-long stand-off in disputed areas in the Himalayan region, Chinese and Indian troops clashed again on 15 June.

Expert Comments

Yesterday Honduras became the 50th state to ratify or accede to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), meaning that the treaty will enter into force on 22 January 2021.

While details remain scarce, the fighting that has erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan appears to be more intense than the skirmishes that killed at least a dozen people in the summer of 2020. At the time of writing, roughly 100 people, both civilians and military personnel, have been killed since Sunday, and fighting continues. 

This SIPRI Expert Comment argues for a restart to dialogue on improving regional security and cooperation to the benefit of the Belarusian people and European security more broadly.

In 2019, when the European Union (EU) and six countries to the east of the EU (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) marked the 10th anniversary of their Eastern Partnership (EaP), foreign ministers underlined common work on trade, visa liberalization, economic development and human rights that had been encouraged by (or through) the partnership.

On 8 May last year, US President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States would pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which sets limits on Iran’s nuclear programme to ensure that it cannot produce nuclear weapons. Despite the US withdrawal, the JCPOA remains in force; it is a multilateral agreement to which seven of the original eight parties still adhere.

Backgrounders

A freeze on the production of tritium is a different way to manage disarmament that will gradually bring an end to nuclear weapons.

A full account of the human consequences of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, beyond the immediate health effects, remains to be seen. However, it is clear that the global economic recession and physical, economic and social disruption are being borne by the most vulnerable.

This Topical Backgrounder is based on the results and activities of the first year of project implementation. It presents the main research findings for each of the indices, namely security, governance and socio-economic development, and the conclusions highlight four key evidence-based recommendations that could help strengthen current stabilization efforts and pave the way to sustainable peace in the two regions.

Announced in December 2019, the European Green Deal (EGD) sets out Europe’s new growth strategy with the aim of transforming the now 27-country bloc from a high- to a low-carbon economy in order to reach zero net emissions by the year 2050.

On Friday 5 June 2020, the opposition to the regime proved its capacity for mass mobilization raising the fundamental question of the capacity of the regime to deal with the multiple challenges and, more generally, the ability of the Malian state to regain its sovereignty, which is fragmented, under international control and constantly disputed by domestic actors.