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In this episode of War & Peace, Olga talks with Samuel Charap, Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation, about whether the current moment makes negotiations to end the war in Ukraine more or less advantageous for all concerned. They discuss Russian narratives about negotiations, various parties' goals and whether or not Moscow has the upper hand in the wake of Ukraine’s counteroffensive. They also unpack the prerequisites for and attainability of sustainable security for Ukraine and Europe. For more of Crisis Group’s analysis on the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Ukraine country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Throughout history, women have been involved in conflict: as soldiers, as insurgents and as civilians. Yet, the ways in which men and women are treated on and off the battlefield and the contributions they make can vary widely, shaped in large part by deeply ingrained societal views about gender. In this episode of War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson are joined by Jessica Trisko Darden, Associate Professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University, to discuss how gender dynamics shape insurgencies and wars. They explore the reasons why women decide to go to war, what motivates insurgent groups and armed forces to recruit women and the perceived benefits and costs of greater gender parity. They discuss the roles women and men take on in war and why these often differ. They take a closer look at how these gender dynamics have played out in Ukraine and elsewhere, the institutional barriers women face within the military and Kyiv’s efforts to recruit more women into its armed forces. They also discuss how the conscription of women differs in armed forces around the world. For more of Crisis Group’s analysis on the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Gender and Conflict page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
In the first episode of a new season of War & Peace, Olga Oliker is joined by Crisis Group’s South Caucasus experts, Olesya Vartanyan and Zaur Shiriyev, to talk about the implications of Azerbaijan regaining control of Nagorno-Karabakh in a one-day military operation on 19 September. The immediate consequences were the end of the enclave’s three decades of de facto self-rule and a mass exodus of ethnic Armenians. Olya, Zaur, and Olesya discuss the new refugee crisis, Armenia’s response and prospects for the enclave under Azerbaijani rule, including for any ethnic Armenians who stay or those who seek to return in the future. They also address the potential for both peace deals and renewed escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan and what leverage outside actors, including the U.S., Russia (whose role has been fundamentally transformed), the European Union and Türkiye, can exert to make a sustainable peace more likely. For more of Crisis Group’s analysis on the events in Nagorno-Karabakh, check out our recent statement Responding to the Humanitarian Catastrophe in Nagorno-Karabakh and our Nagorno-Karabakh page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
On 12 July, NATO concluded its two-day summit in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. At the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the decision to hold the meeting in one of NATO’s newer members and a country claimed by the Soviet Union for decades was seen as a sign of commitment to the alliance's eastern flank. The war in Ukraine was unsurprisingly the focal point of the summit, with NATO members committing to continued support for Kyiv and revamped deterrence in Europe as a whole and the Baltics in particular. But those who hoped Ukraine would be invited to join left disappointed. This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson are joined by Lithuanian parliamentarian Dovilė Šakalienė to take stock of the summit, the shifting security situation in the Baltics and the future of NATO. They talk about the main takeaways from the summit and different perspectives on Ukraine’s prospective membership. They also talk about how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed security perceptions and defence priorities in the Baltics. Finally, they discuss what other challenges loom for NATO, including what role the alliance might play should conflict between Taiwan and China occur. For more of Crisis Group’s analysis on the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Europe and Central Asia program page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
War, by definition, takes terrible tolls on civilian populations. Just what risks a given person faces depends on many factors, including gender, class and geography. While international law has evolved to protect both civilians and combatants at war, it is not always followed, to say the least, and governments often fail to adequately protect even their own civilian population. In Ukraine, the government's decision to ban most men aged eighteen to 60 from leaving the country has had unexpected effects on Ukrainians, both men and women. This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson speak with Charli Carpenter, director of the Human Security Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, about the protection of civilians in wartime, the gendered effects of conflict and how all of this is playing out in Ukraine. They discuss misconceptions about conflict and gender and the role of international law in protecting civilians. They delve into the Human Security Lab’s latest research on the perception and effects of Ukraine’s male travel ban and what both the Ukrainian government and its international partners can do to mitigate its unintended humanitarian and strategic consequences. Finally, they address how international law might evolve and how to bring governments to better adhere to them. Make sure to check out Human Security Lab’s latest report, “Protecting Civilian Men's Right to Flee the Ukraine War: Strategic and Humanitarian Impacts”. For more of Crisis Group’s analysis on the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Ukraine country page and our Gender and Conflict page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Western support for Ukraine’s war against Russia has faced continued scrutiny. Critics have compared the conflict to past American wars of choice, such as the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, which were informed by neoconservative foreign policy, aiming to promote peace and democracy through military means. Ukraine and its backers present a contrasting narrative, emphasising both defence against Russia's unprovoked invasion, and forwarding a narrative of this war as the frontline for democracy and freedom. So, is the war in Ukraine a conflict the left can get behind or is it driven by neoconservative ideology? This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson talk with Hans Kundnani, Associate Fellow at the Chatham House Europe Programme, about the ideology behind Western support for the war in Ukraine and why it matters. They discuss whether the war in Ukraine should be seen as a left-wing progressive war or a neoconservative war, or neither. They explore the values and motivations behind Western support for Ukraine, comparing it to past conflicts and examining the role of democracy and human rights in shaping foreign policy. They also discuss the role of the Global South and the importance of considering its interests in addressing the conflict. For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Ukraine country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Today we're bringing you a bonus episode on the attempted insurrection by Wagner forces in Russia from Crisis Group's global podcast Hold Your Fire! Over the weekend, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian private security company known as the Wagner Group, spearheaded an insurrection in Russia. In response to Kremlin moves to bring Wagner under the Russian army’s command and, according to him, attacks on a Wagner base by the Russian military, the group seized the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, the main staging ground for Russia’s Ukraine war. Wagner forces then advanced to within 200km of Moscow before Prigozhin backed down and agreed to leave for Belarus and demobilise his forces involved in the uprising. Wagner’s future, particularly in areas of Africa and the Middle East in which it operates, is uncertain. This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard speaks first with Crisis Group’s Europe & Central Asia Director Olga Oliker about what drove Prigozhin’s rebellion and what it means for the Kremlin and its war in Ukraine. Richard then talks to Sahel Director Jean-Hervé Jezequel and UN Director Richard Gowan about how the uprising might affect Wagner’s operations in Africa, particularly in Mali. They look at how the Malian transitional authorities’ ties to Moscow and Wagner have influenced Bamako’s foreign relations and their recent demand that the Security Council pull out UN peacekeepers from Mali. They also examine what the withdrawal of the mission might mean for the fight against jihadists in Mali and a peace process in the country’s north that is already under strain. For more in-depth analysis on the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Russia and Africa pages. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
On 29 May, a group of ethnic Serb protesters clashed with troops of the NATO peacekeeping force KFOR in the town of Zvečan in northern Kosovo. Demonstrators were angry at the Kosovo government’s decision to instal ethnic Albanian mayors, elected in a poll boycotted by the region’s majority ethnic Serb population, in the country’s northern municipalities. The mayors’ installation and ensuing clashes followed months of escalating tensions and efforts by the EU to return the parties to pragmatic negotiations. Now, Brussels and Washington are frustrated with Kosovo’s actions, which they see as unnecessary provocations, and seeking ways to avoid further escalation and incentivise the parties to implement past promises. This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker talks with Marko Prelec, Crisis Group’s senior analyst for the Western Balkans, to unpack what’s behind the most recent flare-up in tensions between Kosovo and Serbia. They discuss the history of Kosovo-Serbia relations and the events leading up to the latest outbreak of violence. They talk about what it means for the normalisation process between Pristina and Belgrade and what international actors like the U.S. and EU can do to reduce the tensions. Finally, they discuss the risks of escalation and prospects for resolving the crisis. For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our latest Q&A Behind the Renewed Troubles in Northern Kosovo, our EU Watch List entry Kosovo-Serbia: Finding a Way Forward and our Kosovo country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker speaks with Crisis Group’s Türkiye Director Nigar Göksel about the Turkish elections and how President Erdoğan’s new term might shape the country’s domestic and foreign policy. Last Sunday, Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan secured another five years in office after winning the presidential runoff election against the opposition candidate, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. While the election was one of the most closely fought in Turkish history, the runoff was a decisive loss for the opposition, which garnered 48 per cent of the vote to Erdoğan’s 52 per cent. Erdoğan is now poised to preside over a pivotal five years for Türkiye. The country faces numerous domestic challenges, including a looming economic crisis and the continued fallout from devastating earthquakes in February. It also has sought to carve out a decisive role for itself in an increasingly unstable world order. This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker is joined by Crisis Group’s Türkiye Project Director Nigar Göksel to talk about how the election unfolded and what to expect from President Erdoğan’s next term. They discuss key factors behind Erdoğan’s win and why the opposition ultimately failed to garner the votes to win. They also talk about the popularity of nationalist parties and the overall mood among voters in the country. Finally, they ask how Türkiye’s domestic and foreign policy might evolve in the months and years to come, and how the country’s assertiveness on the global stage will shape its relations with its Western and non-Western partners. For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Türkiye regional page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The EU’s relations with China have long been complex. With China’s influence expanding globally and the U.S. increasingly viewing Beijing as its primary competitor, the EU and its member states have choices to make, choices further complicated by China’s close ties to Russia and the role it might yet play in the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine. Beijing, for its part, also faces choices as it continues to build up ties with Moscow and maintain trade with the EU and its members. Finally, Beijing’s relationship to Moscow could make it one of the more viable prospective peacemakers in Ukraine – if China really thinks that is in its interest . This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson are joined by Janka Oertel, director of the Asia Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations, to shed light on the intricate web of goals and realities of EU-China relations. They talk about the EU's changing view of China over time, how united member states are in their policy toward China and how Beijing views its relations with Europe. They also explore how the EU is positioning itself with regard to Washington’s increasingly hawkish China policy. Also on the agenda: China's perspective on Russia's war against Ukraine, Beijing’s potential leverage over Russia and the war’s impact on the future of China-EU relations. For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our regional pages on China as well as Europe and Central Asia. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Israel’s new governing far-right coalition under Benjamin Netanyah has proposed judicial reform that would weaken the country’s judiciary. In response, Israelis have taken to the streets in protests, activism that has now gone on for months. The protests reflect not just the reforms, but frustration with this government, which took office in December 2022 and is often described as the most right-wing in the nation's history. To Europe, the shift to the far-right is concerning but not unfamiliar, with similar movements in many European countries. This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker speaks with historian, writer and strategic specialist Dr. Ilana Bet-El about how protests and far-right politics in Israel are and are not mirrored in Europe and beyond. They discuss what these protests might achieve, the lessons they offer for Europe and the U.S., and how societal divisions and far-right efforts to erode democratic values might be mitigated and reversed. For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our regional pages on Israel/Palestine and Europe and Central Asia. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
In early March, Georgians took to the street in Tbilisi to protest a bill that would have classified organisations and media groups receiving more than 20 per cent of their funding from abroad as foreign agents. Although the ruling Georgian Dream party eventually dropped the bill, many Georgians remain frustrated at the government for what they see as a deliberate effort to turn the country’s back to the EU in favour of Russia. This particularly rankles those who see echoes of the five-day war Russia fought against Georgia in 2008 in Russia’s continuing full-scale war in Ukraine. This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson are joined by Tbilisi-based journalist Joshua Kucera and Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for the South Caucasus Olesya Vartanyan to talk about what's behind the protests and what might lie ahead for the political future of the country. They delve into the root causes for the protests, how they unfolded and Georgian Dream’s politics and policies. They also examine how the war in Ukraine has and has not affected Georgia’s relations with its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Finally, they discuss Georgia’s prospects for EU candidacy and why Brussels might be well advised not to turn its back on the country. For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Georgia country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has marked a watershed for Europe. The European Union (EU) and its member states acted quickly to implement sanctions against Russia, bolster Ukrainian defences and improve their own energy security. Now, over a year later, with no end in sight to the fighting, EU members and their allies and partners are faced with new challenges as they strive to ensure their policies are sustainable and start thinking about how best to define and ensure their security into the future. This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson talk with Bert Koenders, former Dutch minister of foreign affairs and current Crisis Group trustee, about how the war in Ukraine has changed Europe, how the EU has faced the challenges created by the war and the future of Europe’s security architecture. They take stock of the EU’s response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and discuss European solidarity in support of Ukraine among its member states. They also evaluate how the EU might need to adapt its policies and internal structure to better address not just continuing war in Ukraine, but also future crises. Finally, they touch on how Europe’s security architecture might change, prospects for European strategic autonomy and, relatedly, whether the U.S. will remain a reliable partner. For more on the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Ukraine page and our EU Watch List. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
This episode of War & Peace draws on a live Twitter Spaces discussion between Olga Oliker, Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s UN Director Richard Gowan and its Senior Adviser for the U.S. Brian Finucane regarding the prospects for a crime of aggression tribunal to hold Russian leadership accountable for the invasion of Ukraine. Their conversation explains what crimes of aggression mean from the standpoint of international law and delves into the roles the UN, the U.S. and the international community might play in establishing a tribunal to prosecute them. The four also cover the historical precedents for and the challenges inherent in implementing such a tribunal, as well as the different shapes it could take in the case of Ukraine. They talk about how a tribunal could affect peacemaking efforts in Ukraine and whether it might disincentivise the Russian leadership from reaching a negotiated settlement. Lastly, they assess the value of a tribunal in upholding international law as well as holding responsible parties accountable. This discussion was hosted live on Twitter Spaces. For more on the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Ukraine page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Accusations of anti-semitism and nazism have been a leitmotif of the Russian-Ukrainian war from its start. Russian propaganda has consistently accused Ukraine’s government of ultra-nationalist and fascist tendencies since the conflict began in 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin drew on years of this narrative in February 2022 when he paired Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine with promises to "denazify" the country. As fighting continued throughout 2022 and since, both Moscow and Kyiv have appealed to the historical memory of their country’s struggle against Nazis in the Second World War. Meanwhile, Israel has seen a large influx of Ukrainian and Russian Jews since the outbreak of the war and has tried to maintain its relationships with both countries. In this episode of War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson are joined by Sam Sokol, reporter at Haaretz, to discuss how the war in Ukraine has affected the country's Jewish communities and Ukraine-Israel relations. They talk about the significance of far-right elements and anti-semitism in Ukrainian society and politics, and about how new narratives of patriotism, combined with Russia’s invasion, have changed how Ukrainian Jews think about their history. They also delve into the experiences of both Jewish and non-Jewish Ukrainians who have been displaced. Finally, they examine Israel's stance on the conflict, the country's acceptance of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants, and the experience of these communities in Israel. For more on the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Ukraine and Israel/Palestine pages. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2022 was a turbulent year for Kazakhstan. In early January, anti-government protests erupted across the country. The resulting clashes between police and demonstrators led to thousands of arrests and left more than 200 people dead. In response, President Kassym-Jomart Tokaev promised political reforms. Tokaev also quickly began distancing himself (in public, at least) from his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan has faced further challenges in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since September, thousands of Russians fleeing military mobilisation have arrived in Kazakhstan and a wave of inflation is spelling uncertainty for the economic future of the country. In this episode of War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson are joined by Nurseit Niyazbekov, professor of international relations at Almaty's KIMEP University, to discuss the aftermath of the deadly protests last January, Kazakhstan’s political landscape and the impact of the war in Ukraine on the country’s domestic and foreign affairs. They address how Tokaev fared politically in 2022 and the prospects for democratic reforms in the country. They also examine the impact of Putin's invasion of Ukraine on Kazakhstan’s economy and how Kazakhstan has balanced its foreign relations since "Bloody January". For more on the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Kazakhstan country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
From 2009 to 2014, Catherine Ashton served as the European Union’s (EU) first high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. In that role, she was the EU’s senior negotiator for some of the most important international agreements of the early 21st century, including the 2013 Serbia-Kosovo settlement and the lead-up to the Iran nuclear deal. In her forthcoming book And Then What?, Ashton shares her personal insights into modern diplomacy and her experiences in dealing with some of the thorniest security challenges throughout her tenure. In the first episode of War & Peace in 2023, Catherine Ashton joins Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson for a conversation on the role of diplomacy in a world where it seems to increasingly take a back seat to conflict. They assess the EU's diplomatic response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year and the efficacy of sanctions as a tool in international relations. They also discuss how the war might affect the European security landscape in the long term. In closing, they ask how to bring more women to the key debates and decision-making roles in foreign affairs and international diplomacy. For more on the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Ukraine country page and our global issues page on Multilateral Diplomacy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
On 13 November, a bomb detonated in Istanbul’s busy Istiklal Avenue, killing six and wounding 81 people. Ankara blamed the attack on the PKK, a Kurdish militant insurgency, which has been in a decades-long battle with the Turkish military. The PKK denied involvement in the attack. Subsequently, Türkiye launched a series of airstrikes in northern Syria and Iraq on the PKK and affiliated groups and threatened a new ground offensive in northern Syria. These events mark the latest chapter in a conflict that has seen a deadly resurgence after the breakdown of a two-and-a-half-year-long ceasefire between Türkiye and the PKK in 2015. Since then, the fighting has increasingly proliferated into northern Syria and Iraq, drawing in a growing set of actors and becoming increasingly difficult to resolve. In this episode of War & Peace, Elissa Jobson talks with Berkay Mandıracı, Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Türkiye, about how Türkiye’s PKK conflict has developed since the breakdown of the ceasefire in 2015 and where it might be headed. They discuss the role of external actors in the conflict, how U.S. support for the SDF in northern Syria affects its relations with Türkiye and what role Russia might play in a potential Turkish offensive in northern Syria. They also address the domestic political situation in Türkiye in light of the conflict, as well as the significance of Kurdish constituencies’ vote in the 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections and how that might affect the future trajectory of the country as well as dynamics of the PKK conflict. For more on the Türkyie-PKK conflict, check out our Türkiye country page, our Türkiye-PKK Visual Explainer and our commentary Turkey’s PKK Conflict: A Regional Battleground in Flux. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
For more than a decade, Russia has made a concerted effort to strengthen its influence on the African continent. It has had some success. In countries like the Central African Republic and Mali, Russia has become the preferred partner for the provision of security services through private military companies like Wagner. Meanwhile, France and other Western countries have struggled to maintain their foothold in Mali and elsewhere amid strong anti-colonial sentiment and growing authoritarianism in the region. While the extent of Russia’s influence in Africa remains hard to gauge, the prospect of emerging power struggles between Moscow and Western capitals in Africa may bode poorly for peacemaking efforts on the continent. In this episode of War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson are joined by Pauline Bax, Crisis Group’s Africa program deputy director, to talk about what to make of Russia’s involvement in Africa. They talk about how Russian influence in Africa has evolved in places like Mali and the Central African Republic. They also discuss what role traditional and social media have played in shaping popular perceptions about Russia and the West on the continent. Finally, they talk about whether growing competition between Russia and the West could hamper efforts to foster peace and stability in conflict-afflicted regions in Africa. For more in-depth analysis on Russia’s involvement in Africa, check out our Africa program page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
If war reached most of Ukraine in February of 2022, when Russia launched its full-scale invasion, the country’s eastern Donbas region has been torn apart by war since Russia, having occupied Crimea, undertook operations there in 2014. Since February, Russian forces have occupied even more territory in the region, some of which Ukrainian troops have now liberated. But having done so, Kyiv must grapple with the question of how to govern in the face of deep societal divisions and suspicions that at least some of the local residents collaborated with occupiers. In this episode of War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson talk with Brian Milakovsky, an expert on economic development in eastern Ukraine, to unpack what’s been happening in Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine’s east throughout the war and what’s next for people living in those territories that have now returned to Ukrainian control. They talk about the simmering conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas before Russia’s February full-scale invasion, and how it shaped perceptions of national identity in the region. They discuss how Russia’s expansion of its occupation in these regions played out this year, and why Moscow misjudged the popular support for its invasion, expecting a friendly welcome it decidedly did not get. They also address how Ukraine is dealing with alleged Russian collaborators, how they are identified and what kind of treatment suspects can expect. Finally, they discuss whether there are lessons to be learned from the past to overcome societal divisions in Ukraine in the years to come. For more in-depth analysis on Ukraine and the Donbas, make sure to check out Crisis Group’s Ukraine regional page and our Donbas Visual Explainer. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.