Archive for the ‘Event Notice’ Category

Islamism in Algeria and the Al-Qaeda Threat in North Africa

4 May, 2008

Presentation at RUSI
9 June 2008

The following upcoming presentation at RUSI looks interesting:

About the Event:
How real is the present Al-Qaeda threat in North Africa?  How much is this a new front which threatens Europe?  How should we respond?  In posing these questions this RUSI Middle East Forum will trace the history and roots of Islamism in Algeria over the last twenty years.  It will ask ‘who’ these people are and ‘what’ inspires their struggle. It will also link Algeria to broader international developments in the Muslim world.

About the Speaker:
Martin Evans is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Portsmouth.  He is the author of the Memory of Resistance: French Opposition to the Algerian War 1954-62 (Berg, 1997) and the co-author (with John Phillips) of Algeria: Anger of the Dispossessed (Yale, 2007) which is also his latest book.  Prof. Evans is a member of the History Today editorial board.  He is presently a Senior Research Fellow at the British Academy where he is completing a project on political and military decision making during the Algerian War 1954-62.  This research is to be published by Oxford University Press.

For booking information, check the RUSI site here.


Politics & Terrorism at RUSI

23 April, 2008

Two Day Conference at RUSI
27-28 May 2008

The following conference is likely to be of interest:

This year RUSI’s Politics and Terrorism Conference will offer a wide-spectrum analysis of the developments in UK counter-terrorism policy since 2000.

Examining the various components of counter-terrorism activity, the conference aims to chart the development of policy and response to events. The objective is to provide delegates with a rich and broad perspective on the multifarious aspects of counter-terrorism policy and the various ways in which these components interact.

Conference topics:

* Central Government strategy and organisation
* Developments in policing and intelligence
* Anti-terrorism legislation
* Community-level challenges
* Military contributions to UK counter-terrorism
* Foreign policy impacts on the threat from terrorism

Confirmed Contributors:

* Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation
* Susan Hemming, Head of Counter Terrorism Division, Crown Prosecution Service
* Professor Paul Rogers, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford
* Peter Clarke, Former DAC and Head of SO15 Anti-Terrorist Branch, Metropolitan Police
* Richard Norton-Taylor, Security Editor, The Guardian
* Margaret Gilmore, Writer, Broadcaster, Analyst. Associate Fellow, RUSI
* Professor Jim Waddington, University of Wolverhampton
* Detective Sergeant Ken Kirwin, Lancashire Constabulary Special Branch

For booking information, check the RUSI site here.

Call for Papers BISA (and ISA)

17 April, 2008

IRG member Dr Sergio Catignani is organizing a panel for the upcoming BISA conference. See message below. Contact him if you are interested in giving a paper on the topic of SSR.

IRG should have a large showing at BISA and also at ISA which will be held in New York in February. Members who have COIN papers they would consider presenting that wouldn’t fit with Sergio’s SSR panel should contact me: no later than 29 April.

The rough plan is to have a panel at ISA focused on Propaganda of the Deed and Virtual Insurgents. For BISA I’m not sure of the panel yet. What we want to avoid is submitting papers that end up on inappropriate panels. Better to go as a group.


Stability, Support and Reconstruction Interventions:
Getting Nation-Building Right and Getting Out.

Call for Papers
British International Studies Association Annual Conference
University of Exeter
Monday 15 – Wednesday 17 December 2008

Over approximately the last 15 years both practitioners and researchers concerned with stability, support and reconstruction (SSR) operations and comparable interventions have gradually come to agree that progress in such missions requires the attainment of the following four major strategic objectives: security, effective governance, socio-economic development and the establishment of the rule of law.

Strategic and operational planning as well as the creation of benchmarks for measuring success on the basis of the four strategic objectives mentioned above have been regularly drawn up both by practitioners and researchers. Yet, it has been rather difficult to allocate effectively an accurate mixture of scarce resources and to prioritise them in order to obtain mission success. On the one hand the attainment of security is crucial for success, but on the other hand, security alone cannot obtain a favourable political end state. The establishment of effective governance, socio-economic and legal institutions within a (failing/failed) state are also indispensable.

Past and more recent interventions have clearly highlighted the tensions that have existed between such strategic objectives in planning and in executing SSR operations. Such interventions have also highlighted the difficulty with which strategic and operational planners have struggled to determine clear metrics for measuring mission success necessary for implementing a clear ?exit strategy?.

Papers that address these tensions as well as the dilemmas associated with the creation of metrics for measuring mission success in SSR operations from a theoretical, empirical and/or historical perspective are most welcome.

Please submit abstract proposals (around 200 words) and the following details as a PDF or Word attachment:

Status (i.e. graduate student; lecturer; professor):
Email Address:
BISA member?:
BISA membership number (if applicable):
Posting Address:

Please submit paper proposals by email to by Tuesday 29 April 2008.

Images from the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War

11 April, 2008

The Rivington Place gallery in Shoreditch in East London has an exhibition of photographs from the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. The exhibition runs until 31 May. The Guardian has a review here.

A child leads a street procession during the mass revolt of 1969 (Rashid Talukder/Autograph ABP)

Child leads street procession during
mass revolt of 1969 (Rashid Talukder/Autograph ABP)

Students preparing for war in 1970 (Rashid Talukder/Autograph ABP)

Students prepare for war, 1970
(Rashid Talukder/Autograph ABP)

Training Camp, 1971 (Begart Institute)

Training Camp, 1971 (Begart Institute)

Conference on Air Power and Strategy, 12-13 June 2008

8 April, 2008

Air Power and Strategy: Challenges for the 21st Century
12-13 June 2008

Conference at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham

The aim of this conference is to bring together in one forum the leading international Air power practitioners and academics, and wider Service and governmental parties interested in the utility of Air Power, across the full spectrum of human endeavour, from war fighting to humanitarian relief operations.

Speakers include:

  • Colonel John Warden USAF (Ret’d) – Keynote speaker
  • AVM Professor Tony Mason – School of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham
  • Dr Phil Meilinger – former Dean of the USAF School of Advanced Air Power Studies
  • Professor Mark Clodfelter – US National War College
  • Dr Jim Corum – US Army Command and General Staff College

Download conference-flyer-final.

This looks like an excellent line-up. I have a great deal of time to listen to Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason whose views on recent developments in air power are avidly sought in defence colleges. I also very much liked Corum’s sensible book on Air Power in Small Wars.

The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East

15 March, 2008

Presentation at Chatham House
9 April 2008, 17:30 to 18:30

As another event from Chatham House (see below), I was going to post this as an update to the last post – but seeing as the speaker is Olivier Roy, author of the excellent Globalised Islam: The Search for a New Ummah, I figured it deserved its own post:

The speaker will argue that the unintended and unforeseen consequences of the ‘War on Terror’ have artificially conflated conflicts in the Middle East such that they appear to be the expression of a widespread ‘Muslim anger’ against the West. He will discuss his new book in which he seeks to restore the individual logic and dynamics of each of these conflicts to better understand the widespread political discontent that sustains them. Instead of two opposed sides, an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, he warns that the West faces an array of ‘reverse alliances’. He concludes that the West has no alternative but to engage in a dialogue with the Islamo-nationalists of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

For more information on this members-only event, and to register, click here. His new book is available here.


Roy currently has a piece in the International Herald Tribune, entitled Iraq will not be a Qaedistan, in which he takes exception to those in the West who “persist in seeing Al Qaeda as a territorialized Middle East organization bent on expelling the Christians and Jews from the region in order to create a ‘Dar al-Islam’ (land of Islam) under the umbrella of a caliphate”.

Instead he argues:

It is pointless thinking of Al Qaeda as a political organization seeking to conquer and rule a territory. Al Qaeda recruits among disenfranchised youth, most of them without direct connections with the embattled countries of the Middle East. Second-generation Western Muslims, converts, Saudis, Egyptians and Moroccans make up the bulk of the Al Qaeda traveling jihadists – not Afghans, Palestinians or Iraqis. Al Qaeda does not have the necessary local rooting for taking power.

While acknowledging that the Al-Qaeda phenomenon has operated within a truly global area of operations, Roy stresses that the movement has failed to achieve significant penetration within any single theatre:

…in Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan and now Iraq, the Islamist internationalist groups have been unsuccessful in diverting local and national conflicts, playing only the role of auxiliaries. The key actors of the local conflicts are the local actors: the Taliban in Afghanistan, the different Sunni and Shiite groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon. These groups are not under the leadership of Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda has managed only to implant foreign volunteers into these struggles, volunteers who usually do not understand local politics and find support among the local population only as long as they fight a common enemy, such as American troops in Iraq.

But their respective agenda is totally different: Local actors, Islamist or not, want a political solution on their own terms. They do not want chaos or global jihad. As soon as there is a discrepancy between “the policy of the worst” waged by Al Qaeda and a possible local political settlement, the local actors choose the local settlement.

Read the full article here.

From 9/11 to 7/7: Global Terrorism Today and the Challenges of Tomorrow

15 March, 2008

Presentation at Chatham House
7 April 2008, 13:30 to 14:30

The Director of the FBI, Robert S. Mueller III, is talking at Chatham House on 7 April on the subject of the evolving nature of the terrorist threat in the West:

Since 11 September 2001 when Al-Qaeda launched a massive attack on US targets from its base in Afghanistan, terrorists have executed attacks around the world, including the bombing of the London Underground and bus system in July 2005. Terrorist tactics continue to evolve and expand in Al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups, as well as homegrown terrorist cells, through foreign training camps and internet recruitment. With the United States and United Kingdom remaining prime targets, the speaker will discuss the future implications of the terrorist threat, and how the global community must work together to combat it.

For more information on this members-only event, and to register, click here.


Chatham House are now putting videos of some events online at, so if you can’t attend their events in person it is worth keeping an eye on this page.

Countering Asymmetric Taliban Strategies

6 March, 2008

One Day Workshop at RUSI
26 March 2008

This one day conference at RUSI, which is open to all, should be of interest:

This conference explores the various asymmetric strategies deployed by the Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan. It will bring together military officers, Afghan experts, and international civilian analysts to review the information we possess about Taliban strategies and explore possible improvements which the Alliance could implement in Afghanistan.

The conference will discuss the use of asymmetrical media strategies, and evaluate the progress already achieved in developing indigenous Afghan media networks, thereby building and maintaining Afghan support for the ISAF mission.


Further details are available here.

Responding to Insurgencies in the 3rd Millennium: British Research into Countering Insurgencies

1 March, 2008

Two Day Workshop at RUSI

3-4 March 2008

This event, organised by the IRG and hosted by RUSI, will take the form of a small multi-disciplinary workshop.

The aim of the workshop is to define what the British mean by post-Maoist or post-modernist insurgency. Its secondary aim is to get the leading experts and researchers in this field into the same room with a view to forming the nucleus of a research group.

Any IRG members who wish to go should contact Jaz. Space is limited.