Book Review: International Mediation

International Mediation, by Paul F. Diehl and J. Michael Greig. Cambridge / Malden: Polity, 2012. 224 pp, £45 hardcover 978-0-7456-5330-3, £16.80 paperback 978-0-7456-5331-0, £11.99 e-book 978-0-7456-6144-5

The profile and use of international mediation as a tool to resolve conflicts has risen in last decades – particularly since the end of the Cold War. The range of actors involved includes states, multilateral organizations such as the UN and the African Union, non-governmental actors at diverse levels, and new bodies such as the Friends of Mediation in the UN General Assembly. As the practice evolves, a growing academic literature on international mediation addresses actors and their tools and strategies, trends, modalities of mediation, and contextual factors that influence the process.

J. Michael Greig and Paul F. Diehl are professors of Political Science with previous important contributions to research on international mediation as a conflict management tool. In this volume they draw upon an extensive review of the relevant contemporary literature, data analysis about mediation, and case studies of historical examples including Bosnia, Burundi, Northern Ireland and the Middle East. The result is a concise but systematic review of international mediation in interstate and civil conflicts. The definition used here is based in the distinguished feature of “the introduction of an outside party into the negotiation process between the disputing sides with, at least partially, the aim of producing a settlement” between them (p. 2). A critical element is its voluntary character, which makes mediation highly dependent on the nature and circumstances of the conflict and its actors.

You can continue reading in the Global Policy Journal.

An ISIS spillover into Jordan? Wikistrat Report

This week, Daesh released a video in which the Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh was burned to death. The images have triggered retaliation by Jordan, including execution of some prisoners and strikes on Daesh targets.

A few weeks ago, Wikistrat conducted a two-day crowdsourced simulation in which its more than 45 analysts (including me) were asked to identify the ways in which the Islamic State could seek to penetrate Jordan.


Conquests by ISIS have put the country of Jordan at risk. The group has proclaimed a caliphate that aspires to consolidate political and religious control over the entire region. An attempt by Sunni Islamist militants to infiltrate Jordan would pose a significant challenge to the embattled kingdom. But there are opportunities for the country as well.

Jordan already finds itself under great pressure, hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian, Iraqi and Palestinian refugees — some affiliated with the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other Salafist groups. Originating from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, the country’s diverse population makes it vulnerable to the influence of radical forces. A serious infiltration by ISIS into Jordan would not only pose a threat to the stability of the Hashemite Kingdom but could also drag Israel and the United States into the conflict.

The result of our simulation is this summary report, which highlights four paths the Islamist organization could take to infiltrate Jordan. While none of the scenarios seem promising for the Islamic State, Jordan is under significant pressure from unprecedented numbers of refugees, chaotic civil wars on two borders, turbulent politics and an overall weak economy. Any major misstep could provide the Islamic State with an opening that is not readily apparent. At the same time, recent events may present Jordan with opportunities to improve its security as well.

If you wish to continue reading, the whole report can be accessed here.

A sense of déjà vu: Illegal drugs in West Africa and the Sahel

As supply control policies for illegal drugs achieve partial successes elsewhere, international drug markets are shifting production and transit to West Africa and the Sahel. Facilitated by limited law enforcement and border control, the drug trade has been redirected along the historical trading routes of the Sahel. Though an integrated international approach would seem logical in the current context of a worldwide ban on the drugs trade, we need to be aware that conventional state-oriented, security-minded agendas tend to harm civil society more than criminals.

If you wish to read the complete article, click here to access The Broker.


Book Review: Regional Maintenance of Peace and Security under International Law

Regional Maintenance of Peace and Security under International Law: The Distorted Mirrors, by Dace Winther. London / New York: Routledge, 2014. 264 pp, $140 hardcover 978-0-415-85499-3, $135 e-book 978-0-203-79735-8

The role of regional organizations adds a new mid-level layer in the hybrid global system of the governance of peace and security. The ‘soft’ regionalism embedded in Chapter VIII of the UN Charter was reactivated mainly after the end of the Cold War, and regional organizations became a tool for UN operations of peacekeeping and peace-enforcement in a context of proliferating crises, increased demands, and overwhelmed capacities. Most regions updated their mechanisms to deal with peace and security affairs and/or created new ones. The scope of potential operations widened and new concepts were applied, raising legal issues with regard to the use of force.

What action is appropriate and legal for regional institutions in the maintenance of peace and security? What are the scope and limits and how have they evolved? This book addresses these questions through a review of the legal documents and practice of selected regional organizations. The aim is a comparative analysis of eight regions to illuminate how they deal with crisis management in institutional and legal terms, and how their documents and practice adapt to – or challenge – the universal regulations of the UN.

You can read the Book Review in the Global Policy Journal.

Nuevo libro: Narcotráfico y crimen organizado ¿Hay alternativas?

Novedad en Icaria Editorial

Narcotráfico y crimen organizado

¿Hay alternativas?


Mabel González Bustelo


Las drogas ilegales, y las políticas nacionales e internacionales para combatirlas, tienen impactos graves en términos de paz y seguridad. Este libro muestra cómo se ha construido el consenso global para prohibir ciertas drogas y cómo EE UU lleva a cabo su “guerra contra las drogas”, especialmente en América Latina, con un enfoque basado en la militarización que ha generado violencia y violaciones de los derechos humanos.

La fumigación de millones de hectáreas en Colombia y las decenas de miles de muertos en México no han logrado frenar la producción y tráfico de drogas ilegales. El análisis de ambos países muestra un mercado ilegal con una capacidad de adaptación asombrosa. La fragmentación de los antiguos cárteles y la reacción a las presiones externas ha llevado a una reconfiguración de las estructuras y operaciones.

Los grandes capos ya no existen. Quienes dominan hoy el negocio de las drogas son grupos descentralizados y organizados como la red  2.0.

La prohibición convierte a las drogas en un mercado muy lucrativo y, por tanto, permanente, del que obtienen beneficios tanto actores ilegales como legales.

El Norte tiene un papel crucial en este negocio: no solo son sus mercados los que impulsan la producción y el tráfico, sino que aquí se queda la mayor parte de los beneficios. Este libro también analiza algunas propuestas que ahora surgen sobre una nueva política global de drogas.






¿Se acabó la ‘burbuja’ de Peña Nieto?

3 de noviembre de 2014

Otros artículos:

Colombia and Mexico: The Wrong Lessons from the War on Drugs

Sustainable Security, 26 June 2014

Drogas ilegales: La guerra interminable

IECAH, 28 de junio de 2013


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