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Air & Space Power Journal
Marco Cepik, PhD and Gustavo Möller
Anne Speckhard, PhD, Ahmet S. Yayla, PhD, and Ardian Shajkovci, PhD

Latest Edition

Volume 09 Issue 4, Winter 2018

  • EDITORIAL
  • ARTICLES
  • Artist's

    National Intelligence Systems as Networks

    Power Distribution and Organizational Risk in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa 
    Marco Cepik, PhD
    Gustavo Möller
    This article compares the intelligence systems of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Three questions drive the research: How are the national intelligence systems organized? How is power distributed among organizations in each country? What are the organizational risks? By employing Network Analysis to publicly-available data on intelligence agencies, collegiate bodies, and supervising organizations, authority relations and information flows were mapped. Regarding organizational configuration, similarities were found between India and Russia, as well as between China and South Africa. Brazil differs from the four countries. As for the power distribution, in Russia, Brazil, and India intelligence is subordinated to the government, and shows more centrality in the cases of China and South Africa. Finally, Russia runs the highest risk of having an intelligence system less able to adapt to strategic circumstances, at the same time being the most resilient among the five countries. Likewise, China has the highest risk of a single actor being able to retain information, acting as a gatekeeper. Network Analysis has proved to be a useful approach to promote a comparative research program in the Intelligence Studies field.
  • Artist's digital painting of ISIS defecting foreign fighters returing home with the possible influence of ISIS still remaining.

    Defected from ISIS or Simply Returned, and for How Long?

    Challenges for the West in Dealing with Returning Foreign Fighters 
    Anne Speckhard, PhD
    Ahmet S. Yayla, PhD
    Ardian Shajkovci, PhD
    Many of the 38,000 foreign fighters ISIS has managed to attract to Syria and Iraq will return home. As increasing numbers of ISIS cadres flee the battlefield, some as defectors and others as returnees still aligned with ISIS’ goals and ideology, the challenges for the West will be how to identify and sort out true defectors from returnees, and determine if they are at risk to support again or rejoin a terrorist group. In this context, the authors of the article stress that it will be incumbent on Western states to find adequate ways of determining who among returnees is a security risk at present, who may become one in the future, specifically by returning their allegiance to this violent group, and who can be safely reintegrated into society for the long term. The authors also highlight important policy alternatives for dealing with returning foreign fighters who will continue to pose both an immediate security threat and a long-term challenge.
  • Artist's digital painting of population migration by boat with the reflection of the letters ISIS in the water.

    Contentious Borders in the Middle East and North Africa

    Context and Concepts 
    Raffaella A. Del Sarto, PhD
    The recent upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have exerted pressure on the regional state system and its borders. Exploring the altered nature and function of borders in a comprehensive and theory-informed manner, together with their domestic, regional and international implications, is long overdue. As a starting point to this endeavour, this article provides the historical context to the problem of contested borders in the MENA region since the formation of the modern state system in the region until today. While problematizing a number of key concepts, the article proposes to analyse the currently contentious nature of many MENA borders by considering the often deeply conflicting configuration of state authority, legitimacy and territoriality over time; the Arab uprisings mark the most recent of a series of critical junctures. Developments at the international, regional and domestic levels are considered while attention is paid to their intersection. The article concludes by raising the question of whether prevailing conceptualisations of the state and its borders are adequate for a real understanding of past and present developments in the region, suggesting that alternative or additional approaches may be helpful.
  • Artist's digital design using photo portaying the group's mission in Somalia from AMISOM's facebook page.

    Strategic Communications for Peace Operations

    The African Union’s Information War Against al-Shabaab 
    Paul D. Williams, PhD
    Despite widespread agreement that effective strategic communications are a necessary part of complex peace operations, many missions struggle to generate relevant capabilities and implement effective campaigns. This article analyzes the experiences of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as a case study of this problem. Specifically, it examines how the United Nations (UN) tried to fill the gap by hiring a consortium of private firms known as the AU-UN Information Support Team (IST) to wage a strategic communications campaign against al-Shabaab. The IST’s goal was to drive, as well as communicate, AMISOM’s success, improve the mission’s media presence, and develop a communications strategy. The IST played an innovative and important function for AMISOM but suffered from several significant challenges that reduced its effectiveness. The conclusion therefore identifies four main lessons from AMISOM’s experiences that could improve strategic communications for peace operations.

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