Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 7, July 2019
Al Anbar Province, Iraq, in Summer 2007. Photo: Heath Hansen.
Heath Hansen U.S. Army
Even though it was only 0500, the heat was already approaching the high 90’s and I could feel my sticky uniform only too well, sandwiched between skin and body armor. The Humvee engines were idling and the smell of JP-8 fuel stung my nostrils. “Hansen, 2nd platoon’s electronic warfare vehicle is down. We’ll need you in the lead element for the mission. You’re truck commander.”
“Roger, sir,” I replied to my platoon leader, “My truck’s ready, I’ll let the crew know.” More than four years had passed since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and we were still trying to secure independence for this country. It was the summer of 2007, in Anbar Province, and my company was headed out for another assignment in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 5, May 2019
During the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Clarke assumed command of the 82nd from Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson who is slated to take command of Allied Land Command, NATO, Izmir, Turkey. Source: U.S. Army via Flickr.
Dr. Jahara Matisek U.S. Air Force Academy
Dr. Buddhika Jayamaha U.S. Air Force Academy
Abstract: With decades of debate about Turkey leaving NATO, the Turkish purchase (and delivery) of a Russian air defense system may be crossing the Rubicon. The Syrian Civil War, combined with how the U.S. and NATO decided to back Kurdish proxies in the fight against the Islamic State, has fed into the domestic logic of survival for Turkish political elites. With President Erdoğan and his revisionist political party ruling over Turkey the last decade, they appear to have finally refashioned the Turkish state by purging secularists from the government and military since the coup hoax of 2016. This new consolidation of political power has created a Turkish state with values incompatible with the West and strategies irreconcilable with NATO. However, these efforts by Erdoğan are undermining the long-term economic viability of the Turkish state, as established norms concerning the rule of law and property rights deteriorate, risking Turkey’s status as a reliable and stable ally in the region. We make these judgements on Turkey provoking its own expulsion from NATO based on interviews and fieldwork in Kurdistan and Turkey.
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 2, February 2019
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. On January 9, 2019, he meet with Nechirvan Barzani, outgoing Prime Minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), in the province’s capital Arbil during a Middle East tour. The eight-day tour comes weeks after the US President announced that the United States would quickly pull its 2,000 soldiers out of Syria, declaring that IS — also known as ISIS — had been defeated. Source: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.
William R. Hawkins
International Economics and National Security Consultant
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 5, No. 2, February 2017
Tehran. Source: Jabiz Raisdana via Flickr.
NabiSonboli Instituted for Political and International Studies
On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorists”. The orderreflects three critical concerns regarding immigrants and those who come to the US in the new administration: Security, ideology, and contribution. These concerns are valid for any country, but the questions remain, which one of these concerns are legitimate with regards to Iran and Iranians? and what is the main target in this order?
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No.3, March 2015.
New Kabul Bank in Kabul, 2012. An Afghan tribunal convicted two top executives of the Kabul Bank, renamed the New Kabul Bank after the scandal broke, and sentenced them to five-year prison terms on Tuesday for their role in a massive corruption scandal that led to the collapse of Afghanistan’s largest bank and threatened the country’s fragile economy. The bank’s former chairman Sherkhan Farnood and former chief executive officer Khalilullah Ferozi were found guilty of theft of $278 million and $530 million, respectively. Farnood and Ferozi have also been ordered to pay back these funds. Source: Chuck Moravec via Flickr.
Thomas Buonomo Geopolitical Risk Analyst
Throughout U.S. involvement in counter-insurgency (COIN) operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, rampant government corruption has driven continuing instability and hampered U.S. nation-building efforts. Corruption was a major reason for the collapse of the Iraqi military in northern Iraq upon impact with the Islamic State. It is also the reason why Afghans are turning to the Taliban for resolution of their legal disputes.
These are profoundly tragic and frustrating outcomes that can only be precluded in the future in one of two ways: the U.S. must either obtain legal authority from the U.N. Security Council—or, in critical situations, through unilateral measures—to override a host nation’s legal system and hold corrupt actors accountable when local officials refuse. Alternatively, should this approach fail, the U.S. government should refrain from nation-building missions entirely and provide the U.S. military with a mission more closely aligned with its core competency: kinetic military operations.
Consideration must be given to contingencies in between these two ends of the spectrum that may call for foreign internal defense or limited counterinsurgency missions. In cases where the U.S. military has overthrown an existing government or is ordered to intervene in a failed state—two scenarios that the U.S. should engage in only with the utmost reluctance and with the maximum application of resources once decided—long-term extra-national legal authority beyond the transition to nominal sovereignty is critical.