"[T]he number of medium-to-large civil wars under way—there are six in which more than 1,000 people died last year—is low by the standards of the period. This is because they are coming to an end a little sooner. The average length of civil wars dropped from 4.6 to 3.7 years after 1991, according to Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, a professor at the University of Essex.
Mr. Gleditsch is one of a growing number of political scientists studying civil wars. The field, long overshadowed by studies of superpower conflict, is coming into its own. Its participants do not claim that all civil wars are the same—the range of causes and types of conflict is obvious. But the sheer number of civil wars allows scholars to attempt, at least, a quantitative approach to the factors that affect the wars' outcomes."
"The diplomatic deals the United States is pursuing to constrain Iran's nuclear program and destroy Syria's chemical weapons are not at odds with Gulf security. On the contrary, they are essential to prevent regimes hostile to Gulf interests from possessing the world's most dangerous weapons."
"Critics of General Tohamy say he was the quintessential Mubarak man, the handpicked guardian of the system of corruption and impunity that was a central grievance of the revolution of January 2011. And his swift and silent return, the critics say, signals a restoration of the old order after the military takeover."
"The Brotherhood denounces violence and says it is committed to peaceful protest. But as members go into hiding, its key building blocks - local groups of seven members known as usras - are under pressure."
The U.S. position has fluctuated over time. In the Reagan years, the United States said the settlements were "not illegal." The Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations avoided the legal arguments but criticized the settlements frequently. President George W. Bush called the larger settlement blocs "new realities on the ground" that would have to be reflected in peace negotiations.
"Should the United States continue targeted killings in Yemen without addressing the consequences of killing civilians and taking responsibility for unlawful deaths, it risks further angering many Yemenis and handing another recruiting card to AQAP."
"[N]ot all the refugees who have arrived in Zaatari want to live in the camp, with its common toilets and kitchens, disease and crowding. As a result, the sleepy village that is home to 12,000 Jordanians has been transformed by the arrival of several thousand refugees."
"A strengthened security relationship between these unlikely partners would be mutually beneficial and allow the sides to combine their assets to counter shared threats while minimizing the risks of international blowback."
Ed Husain hosts Maajid Nawaz, author and co-founder of Quilliam Foundation and Khudi, in a discussion of what makes Islamist extremism attractive to youth internationally and how this phenomenon can be countered.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
2011 Corporate Conference: Recaps and Highlights
To encourage the free flow of conversation, the 2011 Corporate Conference was entirely not-for-attribution; however, several conference speakers joined us for sideline interviews further exploring their areas of expertise.
Former Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin and Nobel Laureate economist Michael Spence on the global economic outlook.
Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose and Edward Morse on energy geopolitics.