Hariri Center Director Michele Dunne and Senior Fellow Amy Hawthorne reflect on US policy toward the Middle East and North Africa in the two years since President Barack Obama promised to make it a top priority to support democracy and human rights in the region.
J. Peter Pham, director the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, was one of four experts invited to address a high-level international conference on the crisis in the Sahel region convened today in The Hague.
Rudolph Atallah, senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, testified at a House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on “The Growing Crisis in Africa’s Sahel Region.”
On the heels of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to the United States, Energy & Environment Program Associate Director Mihaela Carstei joins CTV to discuss the Keystone Pipeline project that would transport tar sands oil from Canada and the northern United States to refineries in the Gulf coast of Texas.
Jason Healey, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, published a new issue brief: When ‘Not My Problem’ Isn’t Enough: Political Neutrality and National Responsibility in Cyber Conflict.
Since the Internet makes us all neighbors, more nations are likely to be affected by conflicts in cyberspace than in the air, land, or sea. Nations are increasingly looking to limit potential
cyber conflicts using the same devices that have limited more traditional wars: treaties, conventions, and norms. One of the most important global norms has been a state’s rights to remain neutral in response to international conflict, as guaranteed by the Hague Convention. But because of the nature of engagement and conflict in cyberspace, it is still unknown how well the old agreements will hold up, and what must be reinvented.
As Internet protocols themselves route cyber attacks through any number of neutral countries, cyber conflicts are usually not so destructive as to obviously trigger international law.
This may also render the identity or nationality of belligerents uncertain. Legal norms based on the Hague Convention will likely be less useful than were a modified norm of political neutrality where nations should come under political pressure to take reasonable steps to stop cyber attacks, regardless of whether the responsibility is codified in a formal treaty. The
problem of defining political neutrality in cyber conflict may well give rise to new norms of international engagement. If so, the “not my problem” excuse will no longer be acceptable.
This Issue Brief discusses neutrality in cyber space, giving an extended example of how different nations become more responsible for attacks on another nation, which illustrates how four criteria (Severity, Obviousness, Stoppability, and Duration) seem to be critical. Last, the brief explores how “commercial neutrality” on the rights and obligations of companies which have built and own most of cyberspace, may be more important than the neutrality of nations.
The Cyber Statecraft Initiative
The Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative helps foster international cooperation and understanding of new forms of competition and conflict in cyberspace through global engagement and thought leadership.
This is an edited version of a paper that first appeared in the Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Cyber Conflict, held by the NATO CCDCOE in Tallinn, Estonia in 2012.
This paper was made possible by generous support by The Morganti Group Inc.
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On May 23, the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Peace and Security Initiative at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security is hosting a panel discussion on new developments in security cooperation among the United States, its European allies, and the Gulf states, and how they are likely to evolve in the coming years.
On May 30, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center will release a new issue brief, The Kaleidoscope Turns Again in a Crisis-Challenged Iran, a discussion of Iran’s upcoming presidential elections.
From June 13-14, the 2013 Wrocław Global Forum will bring together over 350 top policy-makers and business leaders to explore the region’s impact as an actor in Europe, as well as its crucial role in the transatlantic partnership and on the global stage.