The independent resource on global security

Backgrounders

The crucial role of the military in the Venezuelan crisis

Dr Nan Tian and Dr Diego Lopes da Silva

In January 2019 Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly swore in congressman Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president.

Pursuing elusive stability in the Sahel

Zoë Gorman

Despite an expanding cast of security actors responding to conflicts in Mali, insecurity is escalating and spreading across porous borders throughout the Sahel region. The attack on 23 March 2019, the deadliest in the region since 2013, by a Dozo hunting militia killing at least 160 Fulani villagers in central Mali near the border with Burkina Faso, indicates an increasingly volatile security environment with entrenched, intercommunal grievances.

Saudi Arabia, armaments and conflict in the Middle East

Pieter D. Wezeman

This topical backgrounder puts a spotlight on armament developments in Saudi Arabia, the country with the highest levels of military spending and arms imports in the Middle East. It aims to contribute to the efforts by SIPRI to gain a better understanding of the impact of militarization on security, conflict, peace and development in the region.

Dissecting international concerns about Iran’s missiles

Dr Tytti Erästö

While trying to save the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, some European leaders have stepped up pressure on Iran’s ballistic missile programme, simultaneously demanding talks and threatening sanctions.

How much does Russia spend on nuclear weapons?

Professor Julian Cooper

This topical backgrounder begins with an overview of Russia’s large-scale nuclear modernization programme, which started after the adoption of its state armament programme for 2011–20. It then outlines Russia’s nuclear institutions and how the expenditure is managed within Russia’s federal budget and provides an estimate of Russian spending on nuclear weapons between the years 2010 and 2016.

Establishing a regional security architecture in the Sahel

Zoë Gorman and Dr Grégory Chauzal

Deployed in late 2017, G5 Sahel (G5S) is a new joint security force among five Sahel states. This backgrounder outlines the structure of the G5S including its mandate and funding as well as parallel initiatives organized by member states.

Global and regional trends in multilateral peace operations, 2008–17

Timo Smit

SIPRI recently released new data on deployments and fatalities in multilateral peace operations when it launched the 2018 edition of the SIPRI Yearbook. This topical backgrounder expands on the events of 2017 and puts this data in a 10-year perspective. For the first time, SIPRI data on and analyses of personnel deployments in the previous year and decade is based on monthly instead of annual snapshot figures.

SDG16.4 and the collection of data on illicit arms flows: Progress made but challenges ahead

Mark Bromley and Dr Marina Caparini

This backgrounder provides an overview of ongoing and potential work on measuring states’ achievement of goal 16.4. It begins by outlining the SDG process and how it has sought to overcome the challenges associated with measuring illicit arms flows. It then summarizes the data collection efforts to date and outlines some possible options for filling the gaps that exist. 

Russian and US policies on the INF Treaty endanger arms control

Dr Tytti Erästö and Dr Petr Topychkanov

The 1987 Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty) is on the verge of collapse. The controversy surrounding the treaty has built up over several years and worsened in early 2017 following accusations by the United States that Russia had begun to deploy the missiles during 2016.

Time for Europe to put Iran’s missile programme in context

Dr Tytti Erästö

Given the transatlantic disagreement over the JCPOA, European countries might feel increasing pressure to focus on Iran’s ballistic missile activities in order to find common ground with the USA. But is the Western perspective on Iran’s missile programme based on an objective threat assessment, and is a punitive approach helpful in addressing it?