Lunchtime Seminar Series

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The Changing Character of Conflict and the Work of the United Nations on Terrorism by Elizabeth Joyce
Oct
23
1:00 PM13:00

The Changing Character of Conflict and the Work of the United Nations on Terrorism by Elizabeth Joyce

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Michaelmas Term 2018: Week 3

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.


The Changing Character of Conflict and the Work of the United Nations on Terrorism

 Elizabeth Joyce, United Nations Security Council

Since 2014, the changing nature of threats to international peace and security, in particular, the threat posed by terrorism, has demanded a more rapid pace of change in policy-making at the United Nations and has, in part, led to wider institutional reform within the organization aimed at developing a One UN approach to counter-terrorism. In addition, increasingly complex terrorist threats have led to a broadening of the informational and analytical resources available to inform the work of the Security Council, following demands from its Member States for a more granular and dynamic analysis of threats; and a greater willingness on the part of the Security Council to entertain engagement with civil society and academia, aimed at increasing the impact of multilateral efforts on counter-terrorism.

Elizabeth Joyce is Chief for Asia-Pacific and the Americas at the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), a subsidiary organ of the United Nations Security Council. She has an M.Phil. in Latin American Studies and a D.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University, where she was a member of St. Peter’s College.

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Responding to Sexual Violence in Conflict: Fighting Impunity in DRC by Chloe Lewis
Oct
30
1:00 PM13:00

Responding to Sexual Violence in Conflict: Fighting Impunity in DRC by Chloe Lewis

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Michaelmas Term 2018: Week 4

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.


Responding to Sexual Violence in Conflict: Fighting Impunity in DRC

Chloe Lewis, University of Oxford

Sexual violence in conflict once again captured the international spotlight earlier this month when gynaecologist, Dr Denis Mukwege, and human rights activist, Nadia Murad, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Responding to sexual violence grew exponentially in importance on international policy agendas over the past decade, with clear implications for operational and programmatic practice across conflict-affected contexts. The adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1820 (2008) – establishing sexual violence as a threat to international peace and security – marked a clear turning point in this regard. While pervasive across many armed conflicts, testimonies of sexual violence documented in eastern DRC were an important focus of such institutional developments. In effect, these experiences became somewhat defining of the nature of the harm, its victims and its perpetrators. Focusing on the ‘male perpetrator,’ this paper first examines how, why, and with what effect gendered and raced imaginaries became encoded in international peace and security policy. Doing so, it emphasises the role of institutional imperatives and political dynamics in shaping international policy definitions of sexual violence in the Council. Subsequently, exploring efforts to fight impunity for sexual violence in DRC, presentation foregrounds how, and with what effect, this clearly delineated policy definition obscures more complex realities in DRC.

Chloé is completing her PhD in International Development at the University of Oxford where she is researching responses to sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Drawing on extensive research conducted at the United Headquarters in New York and in DRC between 2013-2017, her dissertation examines the development of internationally-driven responses to sexual violence, including at the level of the UN Security Council, and their operationalisation in DRC. In particular, Chloé critically explores how different facets of the response architecture ‘see’ and ‘engage’ with conflict-affected women and men, why, and to what effect. Committed to working across scholarship, policy, and practice, she particularly enjoys collaborating with policy- and operationally-orientated entities, including the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, the World Bank Gender Innovation Lab, Search for Common Ground, and the UN Peacekeeping and Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO). Most of all, Chloé is looking forward to life after the PhD.

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Responding to changing conflict dynamics in the Middle East - Challenges for the UN
Nov
6
1:00 PM13:00

Responding to changing conflict dynamics in the Middle East - Challenges for the UN

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Michaelmas Term 2018: Week 5

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.


Responding to changing conflict dynamics in the Middle East - Challenges for the UN

Matthew Dee, World Food Programme

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Rebel Diplomacy: Territoriality, Identity and the ‘Foreign’ Affairs of Non-State Armed Groups by Dr David Brenner
Nov
13
1:00 PM13:00

Rebel Diplomacy: Territoriality, Identity and the ‘Foreign’ Affairs of Non-State Armed Groups by Dr David Brenner

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Michaelmas Term 2018: Week 6

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.


Rebel Diplomacy: Territoriality, Identity and the ‘Foreign’ Affairs of Non-State Armed Groups

Dr David Brenner

Recent scholarship highlights the multifaceted nature of non-state armed movements, raising important questions about their internal politics and their governance of territory and civilians, i.e. their ‘domestic’ politics. What has received little attention, however, are the ‘foreign’ affairs of non-state armed groups. In times where civil wars are increasingly internationalised and non-state armed groups conduct sophisticated diplomacy with states, international governmental and non-governmental organisations and other non-state armed groups, this paper attempts to address this shortcoming by asking fundamental questions about the nature of rebel diplomacy: How do rebel diplomats conceive of their international environment and meaningful action that can be pursued in relation to it? How does the internal dimension of rebel groups, including armed group fragmentation, and their domestic sphere, including their relations to civilians, shape their foreign relations? In addressing these questions, we propose a conversation between the literatures on non-state armed groups in Comparative Politics with Foreign Policy Analysis in International Relations. While the latter is traditionally concerned with state-to-state interactions, we argue that it makes for a useful starting point for understanding the foreign relations of non-state armed groups that command territory and conduct themselves as de-facto states. The paper draws on long-term field work on ethno-national rebel movements in Myanmar, particularly the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and the Karen National Union (KNU), to explore and elucidate its main arguments.

Dr David Brenner is Lecturer in International Relations at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he researches and teaches on political violence and violent political orders. His first book Rebel Politics: A Political Sociology of Armed Struggle in Myanmar's Borderlands is forthcoming with Cornell University Press in 2019. The research monograph is based on ten months of fieldwork inside the Kachin and Karen rebellions. Forwarding a relational understanding of rebellion, it analyses how revolutionary elites capture and lose authority within their own movements and the ways in which these internal contestations drive dynamics of war and peace against the background of wider political transition and geopolitical transformations in Southeast Asia.

Please note that this is a collaborative paper with Dr Jurgen Haacke and Prof Chris Alden, both at the London School of Economics.

 

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The law and practice of cross-border humanitarian relief operations: Syria as a case study
Nov
20
1:00 PM13:00

The law and practice of cross-border humanitarian relief operations: Syria as a case study

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Michaelmas Term 2018: Week 7

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.


The law and practice of cross-border humanitarian relief operations: Syria as a case study

Dapo Akande, University of Oxford
Emanuela-Chiara Gilliard, University of Oxford

 

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The Constitution of Illicit Orders: Contested Sovereignty in Territorial Domains by Dr Christopher Lilyblad
Nov
27
1:00 PM13:00

The Constitution of Illicit Orders: Contested Sovereignty in Territorial Domains by Dr Christopher Lilyblad

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Michaelmas Term 2018: Week 8

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.


The Constitution of Illicit Orders: Contested Sovereignty in Territorial Domains

Dr Christopher Lilyblad

 

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From “All Art is Propaganda” to All Propaganda is Marketing by Alexander L Fattal
Oct
16
1:00 PM13:00

From “All Art is Propaganda” to All Propaganda is Marketing by Alexander L Fattal

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Michaelmas Term 2018: Week 2

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.


From “All Art is Propaganda” to All Propaganda is Marketing

Alexander L Fattal

As scholars from a range of disciplines have compellingly argued, the boundary between war and peace has grown more faint through the Global War on Terror. The concatenating series of global episodes that could happen most anywhere at nearly any time remediates the global scope of the Cold War, but in such a way that has enabled a more mutable cast of smaller non-state actors to proliferate. This scaling down toward the level of the individual has meant a shift in the methods of targeted persuasion to mobilize fighters, affect morale, and prompt defection. Increasingly the skills and knowledge from the world of consumer marketing is being brought to bear in these propaganda battles. This talk explores how branding’s ability to manage the visible and invisible dimension of the production of commodities is being applied to armed conflicts. I take up this issue through the prism of an ethnographic analysis of the Colombian government’s efforts to demobilize individual guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Army of National Liberation (ELN) between 2003 and 2016.

 Alexander L. Fattal is assistant professor in the Departments of Film-Video and Media Studies and Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University. He is author of Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia (University of Chicago Press, 2018).

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Introducing the Changing Character of Conflict Platform Project: New approach to quantitative analysis of protracted conflicts by Dr Katerina Tkacova
Oct
9
1:00 PM13:00

Introducing the Changing Character of Conflict Platform Project: New approach to quantitative analysis of protracted conflicts by Dr Katerina Tkacova

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Michaelmas Term 2018: Week 1

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.


Introducing the Changing Character of Conflict Platform project: New approach to quantitative analysis of protracted conflicts

Dr Katerina Tkacova, CCW, University of Oxford

The interdisciplinary project aims to create a knowledge-based platform for academics, practitioners, policy-makers and the wider public to understand the changing character of conflicts across different epistemologies and methodologies. While we might not be able to stop some conflicts, we may well be able to prevent a drastic increase in casualties or erosion of social fabric if we understand the main patterns of organized violence. In our work, we focus on the following dimensions of conflict and the changes within them: actors involved in conflicts, methods used in conflicts, resources that drive conflicts, environments in which conflict takes place, the impact of conflict on individuals and societies.

In the presentation, we introduce a new approach to quantitative analysis of protracted conflicts, which is one of the components of the project. Those conflicts often change their location, spread across borders and create new spin-off conflicts or escalate the old ones. To capture the dynamic and complexity of protracted conflicts, we draw new geographical units based on the activity of carefully identified relevant conflict actors. Using data from various sources including the Georeferenced Events Dataset (UCDP) and the PRIO-GRID (PRIO), we select important indicators to convene a comprehensive yet concise analysis which is designed to inform policy-makers involved in violence reduction and conflict reconciliation. The new approach to quantitative conflict analysis allows us to identify patterns of changes in time and space in the five dimensions of conflicts – actors, methods, resources, environments and impact.

Katerina Tkacova is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Changing Character of Conflict Platform at the University of Oxford since May 2018. Before joining the University of Oxford, Katerina taught at the University College London, King’s College and the University of Essex. Her teaching experience ranges from Quantitative Methods, Comparative Politics and Conflict Analysis. Katerina's research interests include political violence, ethnic groups and quantitative research methods.

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'North Korea's Hidden Revolution' by Jieun Baek
May
15
1:00 PM13:00

'North Korea's Hidden Revolution' by Jieun Baek

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Trinity Term 2018: Week 4

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome. 


'North Korea's Hidden Revolution' by Jieun Baek

One of the least understood countries in the world, North Korea has long been known for its repressive regime. Yet it is far from being an impenetrable black box. Media flows covertly into the country, and fault lines are appearing in the government’s sealed informational borders. Baek will describe how information has been illicitly flowing into North Korea, and what kinds of impact this unprecedented access to foreign information is having on North Korean citizens’ social and political attitudes towards the regime and each other. For the first time, Baek will briefly discuss her organization’s work, and invite feedback for some strategic questions from the attendees at the Changing Character of War event.

Jieun Baek is a doctoral candidate in public policy at Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government where she is studying the factors that motivate first movers of dissent in Burma, and potential causal pathways that lead to dissent escalation. She is the author of North Korea's Hidden Revolution: How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society (Yale University Press), and is the founder/director of Lumen.org. She did her bachelors and masters in public policy at Harvard University. 

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'Offensive Cyber, Ecology & the Competition for Security in Cyberspace: The UK’s Approach' by Graham Fairclough
May
8
1:00 PM13:00

'Offensive Cyber, Ecology & the Competition for Security in Cyberspace: The UK’s Approach' by Graham Fairclough

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Trinity Term 2018: Week 3

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.


'Offensive Cyber, Ecology & the Competition for Security in Cyberspace: The UK’s Approach' by Graham Fairclough

The 2013 public announcement by the then Secretary of State for Defence, Phillip Hammond stating that the United Kingdom was creating an offensive cyber capability as part of its national cyber security strategy moved the debate on the use of offensive cyber into the public policy sphere. While this debate has continued, little detail has emerged as to how offensive cyber will be integrated as a tool into the United Kingdom’s cyber security strategy and more broadly its national security structure. The Strategic Cyber Security (SCS) model seeks to answer these questions by illustrating how offensive cyber capability has been operationalised as a critical component in the delivery of the United Kingdom’s cyber security strategy. Drawing upon elements of ecological theory the model demonstrates how different cyber security effects are generated to deliver an holistic response to achieving security in the increasingly competitive environment of cyberspace. Development of the model is based upon a series of elite interviews with senior military and civilian policy makers and key stakeholders within the United Kingdom’s cyber security and national security communities.

Graham Fairclough is a former soldier now attempting to become an academic in the field of cybersecurity. His research is focused on the operationalisation of national cyber security strategy, in particular the integration of offensive cyber capability and how cyber security incidents are understood by decision makers with limited cyber security knowledge. He advises NATO and the UK’s MOD on operational cyber security matters.  

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'Cyber Strategy: The Evolution of Cyber Power and Coercion' by Brandon Valeriano 
May
1
1:00 PM13:00

'Cyber Strategy: The Evolution of Cyber Power and Coercion' by Brandon Valeriano 

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Trinity Term 2018: Week 2

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.


'Cyber Strategy: The Evolution of Cyber Power and Coercion' by Brandon Valeriano

This project examines the changing character of cyber strategies in the digital domain. We develop a theory that cyber operations are a form of covert coercion typically seeking to send ambiguous signals or demonstrate resolve. Cyber Coercion from this perspective is neither as revolutionary nor as novel as it seems when evaluated with evidence. We examine cyber strategies in their varying forms through quantitative analysis, finding that cyber disruptions, short-term and long-term espionage, and degradation operations all usually fail to produce political concessions. When states do compel a rival, which is measured as a change in behavior in the target that is strategically advantageous to the initiator, the cyber operation tends to occur alongside more traditional coercive instruments such as diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, and military threats and displays. Our findings suggest that before we develop recommendations for sound foreign policy responses to state-backed cyber intrusions or craft international frameworks that constrain the proliferation of politically-motivated malware, we should theoretically and empirically investigate cyber strategies and their efficacy.

Brandon Valeriano is the Donald Bren Chair of Armed Conflict at the Marine Corps University. He has published five books and dozens of articles. His two most recent books are Cyber War versus Cyber Reality (2015) and Cyber Strategy (2018), both with Oxford University Press. Ongoing research explores cyber coercion, biological examinations of cyber threat, repression in cyberspace, and the influence of video games on foreign policy outlooks.

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'Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Conflict' by Al Brown
Apr
24
1:00 PM13:00

'Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Conflict' by Al Brown

Tuesday Lunchtime Seminar Series
Trinity Term 2018: Week 4

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome. 


'Artificial intelligence, robotics and conflict' by Al Brown 

Secretary of Defence James Mattis recently said of artificial intelligence:  “I’m certainly questioning my original premise that the fundamental nature of war will not change. You’ve got to question that now. I just don’t have the answers yet.”  Vladimir Putin stated: “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind.” .. “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Robotics and artificial intelligence are already being employed in conflict.  However, artificial intelligence manages to sit at the peak of ‘inflated expectations’ on Gartner’s technology hype curve whilst simultaneously being underestimated in other assessments.  So what are the likely effects on conflict of the trends in artificial intelligence, robotics, economics, data and society? And what do people commonly get wrong - often with total certainty?

Al Brown works at the Ministry of Defence’s independent think tank where he leads on examining trends in robotics and artificial intelligence, and the potential impacts that follow for the future of conflict.  He has provided testimony on technology trends, including AI and robotics, and their defence and security implications to a number of organisations, including the United Nations.  His military career has included multiple operational tours of Afghanistan and Kosovo.  He is by military trade an explosive ordinance disposal officer, a field where robotics, data and algorithms have already been saving lives in conflict for a number of years.

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'Dealing with the Russians' by Dr Andrew Monaghan (Oxford) 
Feb
27
1:00 PM13:00

'Dealing with the Russians' by Dr Andrew Monaghan (Oxford) 

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome. 

This lecture explores the nature of the relationship between the Euro-Atlantic community and Russia and how to "deal with the Russians". It will reflect on the nature of the Russian policy - and suggest that this is often misdiagnosed by Euro-Atlantic observers, and then explore the extent to which dialogue may be possible and what deterrence might look like. 

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'21st Century Deterrence – an Ethical Strategy?' by Dr Andy Corbett (King's College, London) 
Feb
20
1:00 PM13:00

'21st Century Deterrence – an Ethical Strategy?' by Dr Andy Corbett (King's College, London) 

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome. The nature of deterrence policy in the 21st century is the subject of considerable analysis but its relevance in today's defence...

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Adapting to Sanctions: How Russia Responded to Western Economic Statecraft by Dr Richard Connolly
Feb
13
1:00 PM13:00

Adapting to Sanctions: How Russia Responded to Western Economic Statecraft by Dr Richard Connolly

After Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014, Western powers and their allies responded by imposing sanctions on key sectors of the Russian economy. Richard Connolly, author of a forthcoming book on the subject, will discuss the impact of sanctions on targeted sectors, and how the response by policy-makers has shaped the development of political economy in Russia since 2014.

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome. 

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'The Decision Point: Military Command in the 21st Century' by Professor Anthony King (Warwick) 
Feb
6
1:00 PM13:00

'The Decision Point: Military Command in the 21st Century' by Professor Anthony King (Warwick) 

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome. Command has long been a major concern for military historians and security studies scholars. Focusing on the divisional headquarters and specifically on staff procedure, the ‘decision point’, this paper analyses the transformation of command in the 21st century. It claims that in contrast to the...

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'The Military's Role in the Fall of Robert Mugabe in 2017 ' by Dr Miles Tendi (Oxford)
Jan
30
1:00 PM13:00

'The Military's Role in the Fall of Robert Mugabe in 2017 ' by Dr Miles Tendi (Oxford)

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome. 

Zimbabwe's long-time president Robert Mugabe was forced to resign the presidency in November 2017, following a political intervention by the country's military. Miles Tendi has just returned from Zimbabwe after a mo...

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'How to Think About Limited War (Without Limiting Your Thinking)' by Professor Don Stoker (Vienna Diplomatic Academy) 
Jan
23
1:00 PM13:00

'How to Think About Limited War (Without Limiting Your Thinking)' by Professor Don Stoker (Vienna Diplomatic Academy) 

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.  "Limited War" is one of the terms making a frequent appearance in the strategic studies, international relations, and military history realms...

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'The Role of Deterrence in Managing Great Power Competition' by Michael Kofman (CNA Corporation/Woodrow Wilson Center) 
Jan
16
1:00 PM13:00

'The Role of Deterrence in Managing Great Power Competition' by Michael Kofman (CNA Corporation/Woodrow Wilson Center) 

Seminars at 1.00pm, Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Oxford A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome. In the United States national security and policy discourse has notably shifted away from low intensity conflict and back to the threat from peer and near-peer competitors. With great power competition and confrontation back...

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'Regional opportunities & Challenges facing the West in the Middle East' by Jonathan Paris
Nov
28
1:00 PM13:00

'Regional opportunities & Challenges facing the West in the Middle East' by Jonathan Paris

Regional opportunities & Challenges facing the West in the Middle East: Post- Isis Syria and Iraq, Iranian ascendancy in the region, and the reaction of the US, UK and their allies in the region. Prospects for Saudi Arabian reform and leadership of the Arab world...

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"Arab Wars: A Tale of State Survival & Resurgence" by Dr Florence Gaub
Oct
31
1:00 PM13:00

"Arab Wars: A Tale of State Survival & Resurgence" by Dr Florence Gaub

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

War and conflict are a common feature of the Arab world: more than seven interstate wars, eight intra-state conflicts, at least ten counterinsurgency operations and uncountable terrorist incidents have shaken the region since World War II. All welcome to hear Dr Florence Gaub speak more on the subject...

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'Giving up the Gun: Disengaging from Politically Motivated Violence in Northern Ireland' by Professor Neil Ferguson
Oct
17
1:00 PM13:00

'Giving up the Gun: Disengaging from Politically Motivated Violence in Northern Ireland' by Professor Neil Ferguson

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building 5 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

This presentation explores the processes involved in leaving social movements or disengaging from terrorist activities by providing an analysis of transformation away from politically motivated violence towards a civilian non-military role as part of the wider Northern Irish peace process amongst Loyalist and Republican paramilitary groups.

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May
16
1:00 PM13:00

'Russia's Views on and Adaptation to the Changing Character of War' by Dr Katarzyna Zysk

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50. 

The Russian military leadership has argued that contemporary warfare has altered significantly in recent years; wars are not even declared, but once they occur, they do not unfold in the way we are accustomed to. Moreover, they aim at the state’s entire capacity and can no longer be deterred or defended against by nuclear and conventional weapons only. Hence, a use of a full spectrum of state resources, merging military (nuclear, strategic non-nuclear and conventional) and non-military resources (e.g. cyber and anti-space weapons, innovative technologies and economic levers, irregular and paramilitary forces – to name just a few) feature prominently in what is often called in the Russian strategic community the‘New Generation War’. After a brief historic overview, this presentation examines the current intellectual debates in Russia on what is seen as shifting ways and means to achieve objectives of war. It addresses a number of important questions that the evolving Russian understanding and approach raises: How does it influence the conceptual evolution of Russia’s security policy? What is the impact on the physical transformation of the armed forces? And how does it affect the distribution of power within the overall structure of Russian security and defence policy making?

 Dr Katarzyna Zysk is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian Defence University College – the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies in Oslo, a position she has held since 2007. In the academic year 2016–17, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University, and currently she is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford. She is also a member of the Hoover Institution’s Arctic Security Initiative at Stanford University and was a Research Fellow (resident and non-resident) at the US Naval War College – Center for Naval Warfare Studies, where she also cooperated closely with the War Gaming Department. In 2016, she served as an Acting Dean of the Norwegian Defence University College. Dr Zysk has an academic background in international relations and international history. Following her PhD thesis on NATO enlargement (2006), her research and publications have focused on various aspects of security and strategic studies, in particular Russia’s security and defence policies, including military change and modernization of the Russian armed forces, strategic culture, political philosophy, geopolitics in the Arctic, as well as Russia's sea power and maritime security. Currently, she is writing a book about Russia’s military strategy. 

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May
9
1:00 PM13:00

'Humanitarian Action and Non-State Armed Groups: Legal Restrictions' by Kate Jones

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50. 

Humanitarian Action and Non-State Armed Groups: Legal Restrictions

Humanitarian actors aim to relieve human suffering with impartiality and independence.  However, humanitarians increasingly find that international or domestic sanctions regimes or counterterrorism measures impede their ability to deliver assistance to civilians in areas controlled by non-state armed groups (NSAGs).  In addition, banks in the UK and internationally are becoming reluctant to hold funds or engage in transactions for humanitarian actors who deal with NSAGs, with significant impact on humanitarian actors’ ability to operate effectively.  Kate Jones will discuss these restrictions and potential measures to alleviate them, with the twin aims of minimising impediments to the legitimate delivery of aid while maintaining the effectiveness of sanctions and counterterrorism legislation against true offenders.

Kate Jones is Director of Oxford University’s Foreign Service Programme and a member of the Law Faculty. For 13 years she was a lawyer with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including postings as Legal Adviser to the UK Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and as Deputy Head of the UK Delegation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.  She has written on the impact of the UK regulatory environment on humanitarian action in areas controlled by non-state armed groups as part of Chatham House’s programme on Humanitarian Engagement with Non-State Armed Groups

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Apr
25
1:00 PM13:00

“Imagining War and Keeping Peace?” by Dr Chiara Ruffa

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50. 

“Imagining War and Keeping Peace?” investigates military organizations in peace and stability operations. The departure point for this book is the observation that different national contingents deployed in peace and stability operations under similar conditions display significant and systematic differences in the way they operate on the ground, specifically, in the way they conduct patrols and carry out force protection, and the way that they interact with the local population and local military forces. Dr. Ruffa empirically documents these tactical level variations, which she has termed ‘force employment’, and she categorizes how different armies behave by using a concept derived from the literature on military effectiveness, which she calls ‘Unit Peace Operation Effectiveness’. The core objective of the book is to answer the question: what influences variations in soldiers’ tactical behavior? Based on empirical evidence, she proposes that a key, often overlooked, factor influencing behavior is military culture: a set of deeply ingrained attitudes, values, and beliefs, which are internalized among members of a given military organization. Military culture helps to explain why soldiers behave differently within the margins of maneuver left at their discretion in peace and stability operations. It frames the set of conceivable options for soldiers and provides them with reference points that guide behavior, such as how to perceive and understand the enemy, and interpret the surrounding context. Military culture helps to fill the margins of maneuver that exist on the ground. To further analyze the military culture concept, the book also considers how military cultures arise, finding that they are nested into the specific domestic political configurations of the armies’ respective countries. This means that a military culture, with well-defined traits, emerges under specific domestic conditions, usually following a critical juncture. She hypothesizes that military culture may acquire new salient traits or renegotiate old ones providing them with new meanings to respond to new domestic conditions. The book’s empirical evidence is drawn from four in-depth comparative case studies, French and Italian units deployed under similar circumstances in two very different kinds of peace and stability operations: the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL II) and the NATO mission in Afghanistan (ISAF). The evidence was collected during fieldwork undertaken in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Rome, and Paris between 2007 and 2014. The sources of evidence used are in-depth interviews, surveys, field observation, and secondary sources.

Chiara Ruffa (Ph.D. 2010) is a senior lecturer at the Swedish Defense University and a research associate at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University. Her main research interests are peace operations, civil-military relations and the sociology of the military. Ruffa has a book in press with Pennsylvania University Press and has published in, among others, Security Studies, Armed Forces and Society, Security and Defence Analysis, Small Wars and Insurgencies.

 

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Feb
28
1:00 PM13:00

Conflict and Migration: From Consensual Movement to Exploitation by Organised Crime by Dr Sasha Jesperson

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ (map)
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A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50. 

Conflict and political violence is a major driver for migration flows. People smuggling has become a lucrative trade for organised crime groups moving people to safety. The involvement of organised crime groups however, has blurred the division between consensual, often paid for, migration, and coercive or exploitative migration linked to human trafficking and slavery. While conflict is pushing people into migration, migration is also creating tensions at migratory hubs. In this seminar, the blurred distinctions between different migrants will be discussed, considering their linkage with conflict – whether as a push factor, a result of migration flows, or a hub of exploitative practices. The exploitative and coercive end of this spectrum will be probed in more depth, looking at the implications for victims of trafficking or exploitation and how the current response to migration responds to their needs.

Sasha Jesperson is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery at St Mary’s University Twickenham. Before coming to St Mary’s, Sasha was leading research on organised crime at the Royal United Services Institute, working closely with government departments to ensure that research is useful for strengthening policymaking on organised crime. Her research background is on organised crime and particularly the role of development is preventing and responding to criminal activity.
Sasha completed her PhD at the London School of Economics. Her research examined international initiatives to address organised crime through peace building missions under the framework of the security-development nexus, comparing examples from Sierra Leone and Bosnia. Sasha also completed an MSc in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and worked for Amnesty International for three years, primarily focusing on human rights in conflict and post-conflict contexts.

 

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Feb
14
1:00 PM13:00

In danger for merely existing – LGBTI in conflict, displacement and peacebuilding by Dr Henri Myrttinen

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ (map)
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A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Peacebuilding, in its essence, is about building more inclusive and less violent societies, with gender often being one of the most salient factors impacting on social exclusion. Questions of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) that do not fall into the binary categories of women and men or do not adhere to heterosexual norms have been largely absent from gender and peacebuilding research, policy and programming. 

Based on research conducted in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Lebanon and Nepal, the presentation explores how identifying – or being identified by others – as belonging to a sexual and gender minority (SGM), often adds additional layers of vulnerability, precariousness and danger to lives already under threat. While SGM often live in precarious conditions in peacetime, these are exacerbated in situations of violent conflict and displacement. As with other gendered vulnerabilities and power imbalances, pre-existing conditions of discrimination and exclusion are heightened and made more acute in these situations. Due to dominant social norms of exclusion, which can be mobilised in times of conflict and used strategically by conflict actors, SGM are often placed in particular positions of vulnerability. Furthermore, SGM are likely to face exclusion, discrimination and violence not only from armed conflict actors but also from civilians, including close family members. Neither the end of the violent conflict nor an escape from a conflict zone automatically guarantee an end to these dynamics or the multiple dangers that they face. 

Dr Henri Myrttinen, Head of Gender and Peacebuilding at International Alert, has over 15 years of experience working on gender, conflict and peacebuilding, with a particular focus on masculinities. He has worked extensively in different conflict-affected contexts and has also published numerous papers and chapters on various aspects of gender and conflict. He holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, with a thesis on masculinities and violence in Timor-Leste.  

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Feb
7
1:00 PM13:00

The Global Appeal of ISIS by Dr Lydia Wilson

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ (map)
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A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Over 100 countries worldwide have seen citizens go to join ISIS, mostly fighters, but also wives, single women and families. Two and a half years after the Caliphate was declared by self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (June 2014), the Islamic State is on the defensive militarily, but the fundamental appeal of an Islamic utopia on earth, free of Western decadence, run according to God’s own law, has not diminished. This talk uses extensive interviewing with former ISIS fighters from Iraq to Kosovo to illustrate just what these drivers are, in the process illustrating what is resonating from the propaganda of the Islamic State, and shows that this threat is not going away: we are simply not dealing with the root causes, which are inextricably linked with issues of identity and belonging far more than the Islamist theology which dominates Western analysis.

Lydia Wilson is a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford, a Senior Fellow and Field Director at Artis International, and holds affiliated research positions at the University of Cambridge and City University New York. Current research involves extensive fieldwork in the Middle East exploring motivations and pathways to violence, interviewing a range of those involved in conflicts. Before coming to Oxford, Lydia was a Mellon Fellow at City University New York’s Graduate Center, collaborating on a project for the study of religion. Lydia holds a PhD in medieval Arabic philosophy, an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science and a BA in Natural Sciences, all from the University of Cambridge. She edits the Cambridge Literary Review and writes journalism as well as academic articles. A book on ISIS, based on experiences in the field in Iraq, is in preparation. 

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Jan
31
1:00 PM13:00

Beyond the Iraq Inquiry: fresh perspectives on Britain’s difficult war by Brigadier (rtd) Ben Barry

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ (map)
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Britain's war in Iraq remains controversial, particularly in regards to the difficult post-conflict stabilisation of Basra and southern Iraq. In 2010 the British Army produced its own internal analysis of these operations and their lessons. The document was the result of a year's unconstrained investigation, and its findings included some challenging and uncomfortable assessments. 

The report was not made publicly available at the time. Following publication of the independent Iraq Inquiry, however, the report was declassified. 
The author of the report, Ben Barry, will explain how the analysis was conducted and identify the report’s main conclusions. He will assess the extent to which the hard lessons of Basra were applied by British forces in Afghanistan, and their influence on the subsequent evolution of the British Army. From this perspective he will critically analyse the report by Sir John Chilcot's Iraq Inquiry, look at its strengths and weaknesses, and outline the implications of both reports for UK defence.

Ben Barry left the British Army in October 2010. A graduate of Sandhurst, the Army Staff College, the joint Higher Command and Staff Course and the Royal College of Defence Studies. An infantry officer, he has commanded troops at every rank from Lieutenant to Brigadier and in every British infantry role apart from parachute. Regimental experience includes three Northern Ireland tours, two in intelligence appointments, Cold War soldiering in Germany and Berlin, and duties in France, Portugal, Canada and Hong Kong. He wrote 'A Cold War; Frontline Operations in Bosnia' describing his battalion's operational tour under both UN and NATO flags. He subsequently commanded a NATO brigade in Bosnia. He has instructed at the Rifle Depot, the School of Infantry and Shrivenham and has led Defence Diplomacy work in NATO countries, Central Asia and the Middle East. Staff appointments have mainly been in the MOD, including the commitments staff, Director General Staff, Director Force Development; responsible for assessing future capabilities across the UK forces, and finally as Head of MOD Streamlining; designing and then implementing reduction and rationalisation of the MOD. His final appointment was leading the British Army's analysis of the lessons of the Iraq campaign.

 

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Jan
24
1:00 PM13:00

Boko Haram brides and child conscripts: an exploratory study of the plight of teenage and young adult victims of the insurgency in the north-east of Nigeria by Dr Aliyu Musa

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ (map)
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This paper seeks to explore and provoke discussions on the plight of teenage and young adult victims of the Boko Haram conflict in the north-east of Nigeria who are hardly talked about. A recent report suggests that the notorious Boko Haram insurgents abducted more than more 2000 people in the six-year insurgency during raids in towns and villages (and schools and homes) in the flashpoint states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Following recent studies and analysis of data, this paper, therefore, argues that: many of the raids happened before the April 2014 attack on a Chibok school in Borno State, where more than 270 schoolgirls were abducted; in violent raids in the towns of Buni Yadi, Mamudo, Baga and Doron Baga the insurgents wounded, killed or kidnapped dozens of young men and woman; most of the victims were eventually forced to become insurgent brides or slaves (female victims) or foot soldiers (male conscripts); some of the victims who escaped or were eventually rescued or captured suffered double victimisation in the hands of security or civilians officials in custody or IDP (internally displaced people’s) camps; and the Nigerian government is either disinterested in or does not understand the plights of these victims. This paper, thus, concludes that unless efforts are made to understand and address the circumstances of these victims many of them will continue to suffer double victimisation while the perpetrators of the atrocities escape justice.

Dr Aliyu Musa is an Independent Researcher and sessional tutor in Media and Journalism at Coventry University, UK. He is also commentator and regular contributor to discus­sions on politics and governance as well as conflict and conflict resolution, and contributes to panel discussions and live programmes on radio and TV outlets such as Al-Jazeera. He holds a Ph.D. in War and Peace Studies from the University of Liverpool, UK. He is the author of a forthcoming book, Boko Haram Insurgency and Sub-state Conflict Contagion in the Chad Basin: A Framework for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

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