In the past decade, technological advancements have accelerated exponentially, changing the nature of communication, political strategy, and defense. Despite a wide range of improvements in conventional security and weapons systems, arguably providing a significant an unprecedented level of physical security against traditional attacks in most developed countries, these advancements have catalysed a new era of hybrid warfare and unconventional attacks.
These terms generally connote the use of irregular tactics, such as cyber, economic, psychological, and disinformation attacks to exploit an enemies' weakness, and potentially preempt or support a conventional attack. This changing nature of warfare and security has contributed to a rapidly shifting geopolitical landscape, disrupting traditional power balances, long-standing alliances, multilateral institutions, and international organisations.
The BIC prides itself in provocatively challenging conventional strategies, especially those which have outgrown their usefulness. This project takes critical aim at yesterday's approaches to security and defence, with a view towards developing proactive solutions to the evolving nature of insecurity and hybrid warfare.
In line with its research methodology, BIC will source first-hand research through its extensive coding process, and use both qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate the impacts of new trends - such as disinformation campaigns, cyber warfare, climate challenges, and geopolitical factors - on the various social, political and economic drivers of conflict and instability. In order to bring added value, and build on the substantial body of discourse on the topic, BIC researchers will apply this analytical lens across three specific themes.
The first theme New Geopolitical Landscape in the MENA Region will assess major power dynamics at play in the MENA region by exploring how the return of great power competition has dramatically transformed the geopolitics of the region. This theme will discuss the future of U.S. foreign policy in the region; the strategic interests and goals of major regional actors, including China and Russia; the interactions between these regional actors, including in proxy wars; and the EU’s role in line with its new geopolitical commission.
The second theme will concentrate on new trends in Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention, analysing the increasing impact of disinformation campaigns, new approaches to humanitarian aid, cyber and economic warfare on mediating post-conflict situations and pursuing transitional justice. This theme will also analyse the factors underpinning good governance in the MENA region, and it will explore how the quality of governance is influenced by and can affect the management of well-functioning societies and democratic developments.
The third theme will focus on identifying and exploring Transnational Challenges to Water and Energy, as well as the growing intersectionality between climate and conflict, and developing locally tailored solutions to reduce risks.