Friday, March 10, 2006

Security-Related Reading Of Recent Note

Some interesting and no doubt important reading available recently within the security field. For those of you looking for resouces, see named articles below:

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Latest Edition:
1. "The Night Fairies" by Sarah Chayes, is an excellent look at Southern Afghanistan from one with a true "on the ground" perspective. It's a very important article namely because it notes that American support for post-Taliban governance in the region, coupled with complete failure to investigate the killings of several key Afghans in the region has bred a very clear sense by natives that, as she puts the perception, "in a stunning irony, much of this city, the Taliban's former stronghold, is disgusted with the Americans not because of their Western culture, but because of their apparent complicity with Islamist extremists." Very interesting and rarely heard perspective.

2. "Cruise Control" by Dennis Gormley, takes a look at the rise of Land-Attack Cruise Missile (LACM) proliferation and the fear of an arms race thereof. If you're not particularly familiar with LACMs, you'll find this report stunning. They are cheaper, more accurate, far more difficult to detect when fired, and more capable for BW dissemination than ballistic missiles. It's the new thing and everyone is getting them (Pakistan just did only around 6 months ago). The problem? When Iraq used 5 against us in the initial stages of the latest invasion in Iraq, our Patriot missile system want crazy, two friendly aircrafts were shot down, and one Patriot battery was targeted by an American aircraft in return thinking it had been targeted itself. Huge problem, very chaotic, very effective. No surprise then, and pay attention China watchers, Taiwan, China, and Iran are getting or have gotten them. A must read article.

3. “Bomb-Grade Bazaar: How Industry, Lobbyists, and Congress Weakened Export Controls on Highly Enriched Uranium” by Alan Kuperman. Interesting article, certainly should be read by those with an interest in HEU proliferation.

4. “Last Stand In Sudan” by Roberta Cohen and William O’Neill provides a very critical perspective of how the African Union has been left to deal with Darfur without enough financial assistance from the rest of the world. Very frightening, if AU buckles, this likely means we will have to be in Africa for future outbreaks.

The International Lawyer
1. “Saving Lives: The Principle of Distinction and the Realisties of Modern War” by Gabriel Swiney is an outstanding article that deals with (as the title suggests) the Principle of Distinction in International Humanitarian Law, namely the idea that militaries distinguish between combatants and non-combatants and focus their violence against “legitimate” targets only. He says the conception in the law here is outdated and needs to be brought up to speed with modern warfare.

Foreign Affairs
1. “Ensuring Energy Security” by Daniel Yergin. Yes, the same Daniel Yergin who authored the preeminent “treatise”-esque text on the history of oil. An interesting perspective on the tie between access to resources and the application of violence.
2. “Can HAMAS Be Tamed?” by Michael Herzog. An important topic in counterterrorism and American foreign policy these days, might be worth checking out.
3. “Do Targeted Killings Work?” by Georgetown Security Studies Program director Daniel Byman is an outstanding read. Using several Israeli examples as cases in point (here also check out a similar publication from the International Counterterrorism Center in Herzliya Israel), Byman makes a persuasive argument that, well, sometimes it can, leaving the reader with the important caveat that the Israeli experience need not necessarily translate to American counterterrorism operations. Thus, it’s interesting, and helpful, but not directly relevant to synthesizing perspective American counterterrorism policy.

International Security
1. “Who ‘Won’ Libya? The Force-Diplomacy Debate and Its Implications for Theory and Policy” by Bruce Jenleson and Christopher Whytock is semi-interesting read for those interested in coercive diplomacy, using Libyan CBRN disarmament as a case study. Caveat Emptor though, it’s very academic. Granted, it’s International Security not Foreign Affairs, but be ready for ethereal academic back-and-forth on things practical policymakers think of only tangentally. But, if you’re interested in the area, things like this may be your veggies.
2. “Deterring Terrorism: It Can Be Done” by Robert Trager and Dessislava Zagorcheva is an absolute must read. Again, very academic (given the publication) but this has very real, very important implications for antiterrorism policy. By taking on the fundamental assumption that terrorists cannot be deterred, a critical assumption made particularly within the CBRN context, the authors force the reader to rethink the assumption. Beware though, their conception of what constitutes deterrence materially differs from that of tradition deterrence theory.

Terrorism Focus (Jamestown Foundation Free Publication)
1. “Al-Zawahiri Takes Hamas to Task” by Stephen Ulph is a very short, but interesting read regarding the al-Qa’eda strategy to encourage (in the parlance of states we might call this coercive diplomacy) to remain radical.

Council of Europe
1. Secretary General’s report Under Article ECHR on the question of secret detention and transport of detainees suspected of terrorist acts. It comes from the follow-up to the Marty report relative to detention and rendition by CIA in counterterrorism. Report can be found here. See also the public comments etc. here.