• “Pakistan A Hard Country” SCRAP interviews Anatol Lieven

     Anatol Lieven

    In April, SCRAP interviewed Anatol Lieven, Chair of International Relations and Terrorism Studies, King’s College London, and author of ‘Pakistan A Hard Country’. The purpose of the interview was to introduce the SCRAP project to Professor Lieven, as well as to get his views on Indo-Pak relations, US role in Pakistan and South Asian nuclear security. Below is a transcript of the interview in brief.

     US Role in Pakistan

     Niraja: In ‘Pakistan A Hard Country’, you advise restraint in pressure by the US on Pakistan, especially considering the danger to it from Pakistan’s potential collapse. What should US policy be towards it?

     Professor Lieven: To some extent the best thing the US could do to help Pakistan would be to do less. My hope is that after the US withdraws from Afghanistan it will be possible to reduce various kinds of pressure on Pakistan, in other words reduce drone attacks and reduce pressure on Pakistan vis-à-vis the Afghan Taleban.

     Indo-Pak Relations

     Niraja: You also mention that it is in India’s strategic interest to help Pakistan. In what way do you think India should help Pakistan?

     Professor Lieven: It is very much in the interest of both India and Pakistan to increase economic relations.  I also favour the creation of a pipeline from Iran to India, and if Afghanistan can be stabilised, then there are many interesting possibilities for energy and trade routes via Afghanistan.  In an ideal world that would include a peace settlement over Kashmir. A Northern Irish-type settlement would be the best solution. Turn the line of control into a recognised international border. India, of course has to insist that there be no resumption of state-backed terrorism against India. However, it would be naive of India to expect that Pakistan would hand over terrorists.  Nevertheless, for its part, the Pakistani state needs to keep reigning in groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and ensure that it doesn’t allow them to carry out attacks. Similarly, India would be well advised to not support the Baloch rebels within Pakistan in retaliation for what happened in Kashmir, as this kind of tit-for-tat behaviour does not support regional stability.

           Also, India and Pakistan need to engage in intensive behind-the-scenes talks over the future of Afghanistan. Especially, as Pakistan’s position and the Pakistan army’s position has changed considerably in recent years due to the recent Taleban insurgency within Pakistan. Pakistanis no longer back the Taleban unconditionally to control the whole of Afghanistan. India needs to recognise that, while at the same time, calm down Pakistani paranoia about India’s role in Afghanistan. There is no doubt that Pakistan and the US have played a very unhelpful role in Afghanistan in the past. However, Pakistan is a neighbour of Afghanistan and deeply entwined with the Pashtun issue. Two-thirds of Pashtun’s, who are linked to the Afghan Taleban, live in Pakistan. That gives Pakistan a deep interest in what happens in Afghanistan. It is no good thinking you can have a solution in Afghanistan without Pakistani involvement and influence.  Furthermore, India needs to be very wary of being sucked into the quagmires in Afghanistan that other countries have been sucked into in the past.

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  • Side event report: Creating the conditions for general and complete disarmament

    Anina Dalbert | Reaching Critical Will of WILPF

    Dan Plesch, Director of Strategic Concept for Removal of Arms and Proliferation (SCRAP), argued that we must not forget that article VI of the NPT obligates state parties to the treaty to pursue negotiations of a treaty on “general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. He explained that this is directly related to what SCRAP offers: a draft text of basic elements for negotiating such a treaty”

    Please click below to see the full report:

    View the report
  • SCRAP Representatives Attend Model United Nations in New York

    united nations building in nyc

     

    From 24-28 March, SCRAP representatives attended a Model United Nations Conference in New York, as part of the delegation from the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) of the School of Oriental and African Studies. SOAS represented the Central African Republic, which was interesting from an arms control perspective since the very day the simulation started, rebels from the Sékéla took over the Presidential palace and ousted President Bozizé.

    SCRAP representatives sat in the First Committee of the General Assembly, which was composed of more than 200 participants. A vote was organized to determine which item was to be top of the agenda. After negotiations, it was agreed that “Combating the Illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons” (SALW) was the most important topic for the Conference.

    During the SCRAP Conference in the UN headquarters in Geneva, the concept of ‘humanitarian disarmament’ was recalled by Peter Herby (see report on the Conference below). SCRAP representatives thought that it was a good idea to bring up this concept during the negotiation to see what young students from around the world thought about the idea.

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  • SCRAP Interview with Chinese Arms Control Expert Professor Li Bin of Qinghua University

    In November 2012, SCRAP intern Kyle Acierno interviewed Chinese arms control expert, Professor Li Bin, Director of the Arms Control Program at the Institute of International Studies, School of Social Sciences, Qinghua University, Beijing. The purpose of this interview was to explain and introduce the SCRAP project to Professor Li Bin as well as ask his opinion on a number of arms-related issues.

    Kyle: How do you feel about the globalization of the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) accord?

    Li Bin: INF was targeted towards China. It is about Russia and the US working together to contain China. Anyway, you could use ballistic missiles, nobody has banned ballistic missiles, but close range missiles are ok. Now the US and Russia don’t have these weapons and China does, so it’s aimed at China.

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  • The Arms Trade Treaty-A Canadian Perspective

     

    Image taken from Amnesty USA

     

                As an international studies student specializing in security and conflict, I recently became involved in a student initiative called SCRAP (The Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation). Last month, as a lobbying exercise, we went to Geneva to attend the United Nations (UN) Conference on Disarmament and were given an opportunity to spend time talking to non-governmental organizations, diplomats from around the world, as well as other leaders in the field of disarmament and arms control. On the trip, I learned something very disturbing: Canada, once known around the world as a peaceful nation that advocated strongly to protect the world’s citizens from harm, is unfortunately no more. The new face of Canada, masked by the Harper Government, is one that acts for the benefit of the few, at a great risk to us all. The Harper Government’s recent approach to the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations is testimony to this fact.

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  • The ATT, Disarmament, and Development

     
     
     
    As members of the United Nations continue their meetings this week in New York for the ‘second’ final round of negotiations of the Arms Trade Treaty, to be concluded on March 28, it is worth reflecting what such a historic treaty would mean for the developing world.
     

    The Arms Trade Treaty seeks to regulate the hitherto unregulated cross-border transfer of conventional weapons, both light and heavy, with the noble aim of preventing human rights abuses and war crimes. Under the treaty, governments can refuse to export arms to regimes suspected of violating international humanitarian law such as Syria. In 2012, owing to its high level of arms exports to dodgy governments, the UK ranked low in the ‘security and technology’ parameter of non-profit think tank, The Centre for Global Development’s latest report.

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  • UN Director General praises SOAS disarmament project

    The Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has described SOAS’ disarmament project a Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation (SCRAP) as interesting and innovative, saying “it is his hope that the SCRAP project can provide inspiration to reverse these trends [towards war] – urgently.”

    Director General Tokayev, also Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Disarmament and Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Conference, made the comment as he delivered the opening remarks at a discussion on ‘New approaches to General and Complete Disarmament’ at the United Nations, Geneva  on 13 February 2013.

    In his speech he added: “It is initiatives such as this one that contribute to keeping the issue of disarmament and non-proliferation alive and on the agenda of governments.”

    Diplomats from a score of nations joined the discussion and the meeting established SCRAP as a credible part of diplomatic dialogue on disarmament.

    The rare speech by the Director General at a student-led event organised by a single NGO, the eminence of the chair and the expertise of the respondents, all testify to the significance of what was called a ‘new paradigm’ in disarmament proposals.

    The SCRAP proposal is a holistic approach to global disarmament that involves the adoption of an international legally binding agreement for complete and general disarmament. The concept is designed to expand the idea of what is possible by drawing on the best practice of past agreements in disarmament.

    SCRAP comes from the initiative of students, alumni and staff of SOAS, University of London, and is based at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD).

    While the project is supported by a committee of academics and NGO officials, the enthusiasm and intellectual capacity of students, both current and former, have been pivotal to SCRAP’s recent progress. SCRAP has also partnered with a student network at the Simon Fraser University, Canada.

    Director General Tokayev echoed the importance of engaging youth, adding in his remarks: “Disarmament and non-proliferation education – especially among youth – is key in fighting indifference and complacency. It is essential to empower the young to become active and engaged citizens who can make their views on peace and security known to decision-makers.”

    CISD’s MA International Studies and Diplomacy student Anna Feuer commented: “We are extremely excited that Director General Tokayev expressed an interest in the SCRAP concept. He made a rare appearance at an event organised by a single NGO and which was led by students. This establishes SCRAP as a useful and credible contribution to the UN dialogue on disarmament. We were very honoured by the participation of Director General Tokayev and Ambassador Hoffman, and we hope to build on this momentum to move the SCRAP project forward.”

    The SCRAP team’s next step is to participate in the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) where they will present on ‘Creating the conditions for General and Complete Disarmament’ on 1 May 2013. Further details will be made available on their website.

    For further information:

    Read the full SCRAP report.

    Download a podcast of the discussion.

  • “The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade” SCRAP interviews Andrew Feinstein

                 

    andrew-feinstein-photo

               This month, SCRAP interviewed Andrew Feinstein; writer, campaigner and former ANC MP in South Africa from 1994-2001. Mr. Feinstein has recently released his second book, The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, a riveting though shocking foray into the immoral practices of the global arms industry, uncovering the deeply entrenched corrupt business practices not only within the “black and grey trades” of arms dealers, but in the workings of governments the world over. 

    This exceptional expose follows his previous work After the Party: A Personal and Political Journey Inside the ANC, a candid account of his exit from the ANC after top party figures blocked his investigation of the corrupt 1997 Arms Deal between the South African government and international arms companies, BAE and SAAB. This ZAR 71 billion deal (as estimated to have cost South Africa by 2011) benefited a select group of politicians and left an arsenal of still unused weapons, at the same time as Thabo Mbeki’s government was declaring they did not have the precious funds needed for Anti- Retroviral drugs. This decision ultimately led to the devastating and unnecessary deaths of 355,000 people.
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  • Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament commends the efforts of SCRAP

    IMG_8994Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Conference; Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva) commended the efforts of SCRAP – a Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation – in his opening remarks at SCRAP’s presentation at the United Nations, Geneva (13 February, 2013).

    Mr Tokayev commented that SCRAP ‘represents an interesting and innovative holistic approach to general and complete disarmament’ and that ‘it is initiatives such as this one that contribute to keeping the issue of disarmament and non-proliferation alive and on the agenda of Governments.’

    Mr Tokayev valued the student-led efforts of SCRAP in particular, believing that ‘disarmament and non-proliferation education – especially among youth – is key in fighting indifference and complacency.’ and that ‘it is essential to empower the young to become active and engaged citizens who can make their views on peace and security known to decision-makers.’

    Read a complete version of Mr Tokayev’s speech.

    To read the SCRAP report on the discussion, please click SCRAP UN discussion report 2013

    About SCRAP

                    The SCRAP proposal is a holistic approach to global disarmament proposing the adoption of an international legally binding agreement for complete and general disarmament. It’s concept is designed to expand the idea of what is possible in disarmament by drawing on the best practice of past agreements.

    SCRAP comes from the initiative of students, alumni and staff of SOAS, University of London, and is actively supported by a committee of academics and NGO officials with governmental experience.

  • New Approaches to General and Complete Disarmament – United Nations February 2013