Khoon diy Baarav (Blood Leaves Its Trail)

A screening with film-maker Iffat Fatima. Q&A to follow.

Date: Oct. 4, 2017

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Global Collaboratory (Eggers 060)

David F. Everett Postconflict Reconstruction Speaker Series

Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs
Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (David F. Everett Postconflict Reconstruction Speaker Series)

The conflict in Kashmir is among the long-standing political conflicts in the world. It has taken a heavy toll on lives, on sanity and on the idea of normalcy. The film Khoon Diy Baarav made over nine years, enters the vexed political scenario in Kashmir through the lives of families of the victims of enforced disappearances. It explores memory as a mode of resistance, constantly confronting reality and morphing from the personal to the political, the individual to the collective.

Rethinking Command & Control Systems in Emerging Nuclear Nations

By David Arceneaux, Ph.D. Student, SU Maxwell School

(Working paper research funded by the Andrew Berlin Family National Security Research Fund)

Introduction: Rethinking Peter Feaver’s Framework

What factors explain command and control systems in emerging nuclear nations? Command and control systems are the operational means by which a state plans the management, deployment, and potential release of nuclear weapons.[1] When evaluating emerging nuclear powers, researchers often devote attention to the quantity and quality of a state’s physical nuclear arsenal while overlooking command and control structures.[2] These measures of nuclear capacity, however, are more useful for generating estimates of a state’s nuclear intentions than accounting for how a nuclear state’s organizations might operate in practice.[3] Any explanation of how these states operate in practice must account for the role of command and control. By explaining the factors that affect command and control systems within emerging regional nuclear states, researchers can better understand the practical employment of nuclear capabilities, which offers insight into how destabilizing future proliferators may be for regional and global security.

Nuclear proliferation is a timely topic of study. At the time of this paper’s writing, the United States and Iran have reached a tentative deal that the US hopes will prevent the development of an Iranian nuclear arsenal.[4] Furthermore, concerns over North Korea’s ability to weaponize its nuclear capability have once again arisen. Adm. Bill Gortney—commander of NORAD and US Northern Command—recently suggested that North Korea’s KN-08 delivery platform might be able to deliver a nuclear missile to the US west coast, despite the fact that the system remains untested.[5] This pair of observations demonstrates two different policy issues, however: nuclear proliferation and post-proliferation behavior. Although research on nuclear proliferation is extremely important, the prioritization of this topic has obfuscated the importance of understanding what states will do with nuclear weapons once they are acquired. A diverse arrangement of potential nuclear postures is available to regional nuclear powers, and it is the posture—not proliferation itself—that causes insecurity. Iran and North Korea have clearly demonstrated that some states desire nuclear weapons and are willing to incur great costs to acquire such capabilities. This study aims to shift focus to the study of post-proliferation behavior in regional nuclear states. By doing so, we may obtain a better understanding of the conditions under which nuclear proliferation is more or less threatening to regional and global security.

When Peter Feaver first explored the origins of regional power command and control systems in 1992, he faced a paucity of data on these systems.[6] The most recent nuclear event at this time was India’s “peaceful” nuclear explosion in 1974, which was not followed by another atomic test until India weaponized its latent nuclear capabilities in 1998.[7] Feaver explicitly noted this obstacle to inquiry, stating that “[r]eliable data on existing or developing systems of command and control in emerging nuclear nations are scarce.”[8] Conscious of these limitations, he established a deductively derived framework for evaluating an emerging nuclear state’s command and control systems as data became available. Feaver’s model has long served as a central framework for debating nuclear stability in proliferating regions, but it has recently been called into question for lacking systematic empirical evaluation. For instance, Vipin Narang plainly asks of the model: “Does the pattern of command and control arrangements match the theoretical predictions?”[9] Although this question remains relevant to explaining the conduct of new nuclear states, it nevertheless remains unanswered. Even with the newfound availability of evidence, no effort has been made to evaluate Feaver’s propositions.[10] This essay takes this lack of empirical evaluation as a point of departure.

In this project, I aim to further the literature on command and control structures in emerging nuclear nations by disaggregating the two key explanations from Feaver’s framework into their constitutive elements and subjecting the proposed hypotheses to evidence from the cases of India and Pakistan. Using observations from South Asia, I argue that a key factor in explaining an emerging nuclear state’s command and control system is the state’s preexisting pattern of civil-military relations. More specifically, this essay demonstrates that an increased level of military intervention in politics allows military organizations to institutionalize more responsive command and control procedures,[11] which may in turn increase the likelihood of preemptive or accidental nuclear use …[12]

To read the complete working paper, click here.


[1] This definition borrows from Vipin Narang, Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014), p. 4. Alternative definitions are referenced at a later point in this project.

[2] See, for example, Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, “The Nukes We Need: Preserving the American Deterrent,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 88, No. 6 (November/December 2009), pp. 39-51; Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, “The End of Mad?: The Nuclear Dimension of U.S. Primacy,” International Security, Vol. 30, No. 4 (Spring 2006), pp. 7-44; Kenneth N. Waltz, “Nuclear Myths and Political Realities,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 84, No. 3 (September 1990), pp. 731-745.

[3] Peter D. Feaver, “Command and Control in Emerging Nuclear Nations,” International Security, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Winter 1992/93), p. 160. Emphasis in original.

[4] For a simple and useful overview of the points of contention and tentative results of the negotiations between the US and Iran, see William J. Broad and Sergio Pecanha, “A Simple Guide to the Nuclear Negotiations with Iran,” New York Times (2 April 2015), available at: <>.

[5] Jon Harper, “NORAD Commander: North Korean KN-08 Missile Operational,” Stars and Stripes (7 April 2015), available at: <*Situation%20Report&utm_campaign=SitRep04%2F08>.

[6] Feaver, “Command and Control in Emerging Nuclear Nations,” pp. 160-187.

[7] India’s permanent representative to the United Nations at the time of the test strongly asserts that India’s test was “conducted exclusively for peaceful purposes” and “had no military or political implications.” For the full statement, see Rikhi Jaipal, “The Indian Nuclear Explosion,” International Security, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Spring 1977), pp. 44-51. For an authoritative explanation of the development of India’s nuclear program, see Ashley J. Tellis, India’s Emerging Nuclear Posture (Santa Monica: RAND, 2001).

[8] Feaver, “Command and Control in Emerging Nuclear Nations,” p. 160.

[9] Narang, Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era, p. 26.

[10] Although no effort has been made to use recent evidence to test Feaver’s framework, Feaver calls for such a study to be conducted. He observes, “As more information about emerging nuclear arsenals becomes available, the framework should be tested by comparing the expectations derived from the two propositions against data from specific countries.” Feaver, “Command and Control in Emerging Nuclear Nations,” p. 180n41.

[11] For arguments on the offensive nature of military organizations, see Barry R. Posen, The Sources of Military Doctrine: France, Britain and Germany Between the World Wars (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984); Jack Snyder, “Civil-Military Relations and the Cult of the Offensive, 1914 and 1984,” International Security, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Summer 1984), pp. 108-146; Stephen Van Evera, “The Cult of the Offensive and the Origins of the First World War,” International Security, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Summer 1984), pp. 58-107.

[12] Scott D. Sagan, “The Perils of Proliferation: Organization Theory, Deterrence Theory, and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons,” International Security, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Spring 1994), pp. 66-107.

“India’s Nuclear Weapons” Video Now Online

India’s Nuclear Weapons: Connecting Civil-Military Relations & Nuclear Posture, with David Arceneaux

David Arceneaux’s research seeks to explain the factors affecting command and control patterns in emerging nuclear nations. This project addresses a gap in the political science literature by focusing on a state’s nuclear posture, a topic that has received far less attention than nuclear proliferation.

Arceneaux’s argument is that the status of pre-nuclear civil-military relations strongly predicts the command and control systems of a new nuclear state. To support this claim, Arceneaux conducts a within-case analysis of India and empirically evaluates a set of competing hypotheses. The findings from this project aim to help US foreign policy practitioners understand how emerging nuclear states might behave in the future and what the proactive or reactive measures that the US might take.

Arceneaux is a Syracuse University Ph.D. student in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations.


Presented through the Andrew Berlin Family National Security Research Fund

India’s Nuclear Weapons: Connecting Civil-Military Relations and Nuclear Posture, with David Arceneaux

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WHAT: “India’s Nuclear Weapons: Connecting Civil-Military Relations and Nuclear Posture”

WHO: David Arceneaux, Ph.D. student, Political Science/International Relations

WHEN: Nov. 18, 2014 | 11:50 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.

WHERE: Hagelin Lecture Hall (442 Dineen Hall)


David Arceneaux’s research seeks to explain the factors affecting command and control patterns in emerging nuclear nations. This project addresses a gap in the political science literature by focusing on a state’s nuclear posture, a topic that has received far less attention than nuclear proliferation.

Arceneaux’s argument is that the status of pre-nuclear civil-military relations strongly predicts the command and control systems of a new nuclear state. To support this claim, Arceneaux conducts a within-case analysis of India and empirically evaluates a set of competing hypotheses. The findings from this project aim to help US foreign policy practitioners understand how emerging nuclear states might behave in the future and what the proactive or reactive measures that the US might take.


David Arceneaux is a Syracuse University Ph.D. student in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations.

[button link=”” size=”medium” color=”grey” rounded=”yes”]Download the presentation[/button]

Turning Protesters into Terrorists

Supporters of Ahl-i-Sunnat Wal Jamaat, a political and religious group, shout slogans during a protest rally against the targeted killings of their members, in KarachiBy Emily Schneider

(Re-Published from Weekly Wonk, Aug. 28, 2014) Are political protestors terrorists? Under a new law in Pakistan, police there might start treating them that way.  That has major implications for the future of democracy in Pakistan – and broader regional stability.

So far, the protests of Imran Khan and Tahir al Qadri—the leaders of two Pakistani political parties—have been relatively peaceful. But if tensions boil over and police are forced to crack down as justified by the newly enacted Protection of Pakistan Act, there’s little legal recourse for the protestors who may be hurt or killed.

By now, you’re asking, how could a law call for that? Here’s how. Start in July when Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain signed the Protection of Pakistan Act into law, granting Pakistan’s security forces and judicial officials acting under the law immunity “for the acts done in good faith during the performance of their duties.” That’s nearly carte blanche for bad police behavior.  Add in the fact that the law is meant to “provide for protection against waging of war against Pakistan [and] the prevention of acts threatening the security of Pakistan.”

Since the parties of Khan and al Qadri are calling for the prime minister to resign, the law’s vagueness might allow many actions that would qualify as freedom of speech to be prosecutable and reverses the burden of proof.  The list of possible examples throws an absurdly wide net, including “crimes against computers including cyber crimes, internet offenses and other offenses related to information technology.” This means that police officers can arrest a person suspected of committing these offenses without having to first obtain a warrant, essentially reversing the burden of proof. The law also allows security forces to shoot suspects on sight, as long as they have the permission of a top official.

It smells even by Pakistani standards. The law, which has a two-year mandate, violates fundamental human rights as enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that Pakistan ratified in 2010, according to Phelim Kline, deputy director of the Asia division at Human Rights Watch.

The law hasn’t had a chilling effect just yet, as the thousands of protestors who are still gathering in Islamabad show, but how the political crisis is resolved — peacefully and diplomatically or violently and under the shroud of the new law — will affect the future of freedom of expression in the country …

To read the entire blog, click here.

Emily Schneider (LAW ’13) is a Research Associate for the International Security at New America and a Research Assistant for INSCT.

Nawaz Sharif & Narendra Modi: Are We Witnessing a New Dawn in South Asia?

Sharif_ModiBy Isaac Kfir

On May 25, 2014, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepted Narendra Modi’s invitation to attend his swearing-in as prime minister of India, to be followed by a meeting between the two men on May 27. Modi’s invitation and Sharif’s acceptance has been touted as a masterstroke for both men, as they recognize that their respective countries and the region face enormous challenges that demand cooperation between Delhi and Islamabad.

At first glance one would not expect the two to cooperate. After all, although both are on the centre-right of the political spectrum, Sharif is regarded as a conservative when it comes to Islam and Modi is regarded as a staunch Hindu nationalist, associated with the infamous 2002 Gujarat riots during which 1,000 people, mostly Indian Muslims, died. Yet if history is any indicator, Sharif’s and Modi’s orientation should not prevent the two from developing a successful relationship, as Sharif had a good relationship with Atai Bihari Vajpayee, India’s last prime minister with the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). What could help the two men in developing relations is that they both enjoy a strong political mandate and need not worry so much about coalition governments, which often tend to torpedo relations between the two countries.

The first issue of interest to the two men is how to address their countries’ economic woes. India, which a few years ago was touted as the next China, has experienced an economic slowdown and an evolving crisis with its public spending. Modi has inherited a stagflating economy, with growth oscillating between 4% and 5% and with inflation at 9% and rising. Investment and growth is undermined by a large informal economy made worse by rampant corruption (between US$4 and US$12 billion has gone to corrupt politicians over the past five years).[1] For Modi, India’s economic revival depends on shrinking the size of the government, reducing public sector spending, and improving governance. To achieve these goals, Modi needs to address international and regional concerns that he is an Indian (Hindu) nationalist, whose critics accuse of authoritarian tendencies and sectarian bias, which may discourage foreign investment should they suspect that India is on the precipice of further sectarian riots. This perception is one reason why the BJP’s election campaign centered on Modi’s management of Gujarat State, where as chief minister he implemented several pro-business policies that helped the state buck the Indian economic trend and experience consistent growth.

Sharif’s decision to attend the inauguration is a little clearer as he has been a long-time advocate for improved relations, leading his brother Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, Pakistan’s key state, to accuse the military of blocking attempts to improve relations between the two countries.[2] Undoubtedly, the past two years have been tough for Sharif, as he tries to fulfill his various campaign promises. However, when it comes to the economy, his government has won some accolades—although maybe not from ordinary Pakistanis who continue to toil under an iniquitous system—for reducing inflation and improving the country’s foreign currency reserves, leading the International Monetary Fund to continue with its US$6.7 billion bailout.[3] Nonetheless, Sharif’s recognizes that Pakistan’s economic development would benefit enormously by having more access to India’s vast economy, which is why he supports granting India “most favored nation” status in the hope of encouraging more trade between two countries that have so much in common.

A second issue of prime importance to both India and Pakistan is Afghanistan, especially once the US completes its withdrawal. A nightmare scenario that all would like to avoid is seeing Afghanistan turn into a key battlefield between the Indian and Pakistani security services, which would greatly threaten international peace and security. Clearly, Indian presence and involvement in Afghan affairs has steadily increased, culminating with an announcement that India would buy Russian arms for the Afghan National Army. This type of activity, which concerns Pakistan, is all part of India’s strategy of maintaining influence in Afghanistan to prevent the return of the Taliban, while India recognizes that it cannot send ground forces into the country. For Islamabad, Indian presence and influence is an obvious concern, especially due to the acerbic relations between Kabul and Islamabad, which has led to not only a sharp exchange of words but also casualties. Nonetheless, Modi and Sharif recognize that they must come to some sort of an understanding in respect to Afghanistan, as once the US completes its withdrawal, an unstable Afghanistan poses a threat to both countries—neither wants to see a return of a Taliban-led regime or a resurgent Al-Qaeda. The challenge is how to control the security services of both countries, whose agendas may not necessarily be in accordance with what the civilian polity seeks or wants.

A third issue likely to be central to Modi and Sharif is the US, with whom both have a turbulent relationship, Modi because in 2005 the US Department of State not only refused him a diplomatic visa but revoked his existing tourist/business visa because of the 2002 Gujarat riots, a ban that has remained in force. On the other hand, Sharif, like other Pakistani leaders, has endured chastisements coupled with incessant demands to do more to “fix” Pakistan’s problem. These demands have made him weary of the US and its condescending manner, which explains how unpopular the US is in Pakistan. This is not to say that these men do not see the value of having good relations with America. They do, whether for defense purposes or simple economic reasons, and neither can afford to alienate the world’s largest economy. Nevertheless, it is possible that both men have recognized that improved relations between India and Pakistan will permit them to be more assertive in their interaction with the US, while remaining somewhat mistrustful of it.

In terms of Indian politics, Modi’s rise and the BJP’s success in the 2014 election has been described a game changer. The BJP is the first party in three decades to have a clear majority in India’s lower house. Modi’s victory, however, also may change South Asia, because with Sharif at Pakistan’s helm, India may find a willing partner to help enhance relations between two old foes, heralding a new dawn for South Asia.

[1] “Modi’s Mission,” The Economist, May 24, 2014.

[2] Jon Boone and Jason Burke, “Military blocking Pakistan-India trade deal, says Shahbaz Sharif,” The Guardian, Feb. 14, 2014.

[3] “Pakistan economy improving reform on track: IMF,”, Feb 9, 2014.

Sectarian Violence & Social Group Identity in Pakistan

Pakistan_Sectarian_ViolenceBy Isaac Kfir

(Re-Published from Conflict & Terrorism, 37:5 (2014) The modern nation-state is composed of two elements: it is a juridical, physical territory, which is the state aspect, whereas the nation part refers to a community of people sharing common values, norms, and characteristics. There are two additional elements in understanding the modern nation-state, which are psychological and ideational, often understood through the rubric of nationalism.

In accepting the nation-state and many of the limitations and demands it places on individuals, citizens in return expect and demand certain services, such as personal security, welfare, and representation. One explanation as to why the Pakistani state fails to fulfill its basic duties is that three main groups—the Army, the Islamists, and Feudal Lords—control the Pakistani State, extracting what they can from the state. These groups, which are “social groups,” a term defined below, depend on Pakistan being a weak state, such as by not being able to offer basic services. Individuals must ensure that they have ties or links to at least one of the three aforementioned groups.

In other words, in Pakistan individuals must create social bonds that lead to membership of a group, which means that in return for the allegiance to the group they receive basic services. The Army is a classic example of this, as those that become members of the Army must first embrace its traditions and values: they becoming socialized. In return, they—and their families—receive tangible benefits such as attending Army schools, Army hospitals, and even working for Army-controlled business when they retire.

In understanding this system, it is important to recognize first that Pakistan suffers institutional weakness and a historical failure to build common narratives. Thus, individuals who are unable or unwilling to join the aforementioned groups need to form their own social group so as to acquire concessions from the State. The second pillar in the system is the willingness of established groups to build alliances with potential competitors or those that threaten the status quo too much. In return, for entertaining some of the demands (concessions), the status quo is sustained in that the elites maintain their authority. The obvious disadvantage with this system is that it encourages potential groups to make enough “noise”—threaten the existing state of affairs; and, second, that a social group can extract concessions.

Notably, over the last few years, some traditional sectarian groups have aligned themselves with or follow tactics used by traditional terrorist groups, specifically jihadi groups, whose tactics attract tremendous attention. The shift has led to an increase in sectarian-based violence, which is also penetrating areas where such things had not previously existed. Drawing on Murphy’s observations that in Pakistan terrorism is a political tool used by elites as a way to maintain a hold on Pakistan, it becomes clear that terrorism—understood as the use of violence to promote a political agenda or as a tool to extract concessions from the established elites—prevails in Pakistan because political leaders accept support from or make concessions to fringe or new groups as a way to protect their positions.

Thus, over the last few years, terrorist groups such as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have shifted their focus to religious minorities or secular actors. The article offers three reasons for the shift: First, attacking Shi’a or Christians allows the Pakistan Taliban, its affiliates and associates to remind the ruling elites that the Taliban is an important actor that must be taken seriously because of the violence it causes. Second, sectarian violence serves to further polarize and fragment Pakistani society, encouraging the demise of central authority and the creation of unregulated zones where the Islamists can establish their fiefdom from which they can harass the State actors, demand concessions and impose their value systems. Third, attacking minorities in Pakistan is less likely to bring about heavy retribution from the State.

Accordingly, sectarian violence, which is incredibly difficult to defeat, poses a real threat to Pakistan State, which is why the rise in sectarian violence demands immediate action by State actors, even though the country seeks to deal with such issues as economic dislocation, energy shortages, poor infrastructure, widespread poverty, socioeconomic tensions and globalization. Thus, using open sources, the article seeks to serve as a gateway to further empirical studies as to why sectarian violence has increased in Pakistan in addition to highlighting that sectarianism in Pakistan is not driven by simply theological reason but rather political and economic reasons. Moreover, a subsidiary aim is to encourage the Pakistani government to adopt policies that would undermine the reason why people turn to these sectarian groups for identity, especially as it appears that no serious efforts are being developed in response to the sectarian violence …

For the complete article, click here.

How Islamic Is Pakistan’s Constitution?

How_Islamic_FPBy Corri Zoli & Emily Schneider

(Re-Published from Foreign Policy, May 15, 2014) On February 7, 2014, one day after the preliminary rounds of negotiations between the Pakistani government and representatives for the Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Abdul Aziz, the chief cleric at Islamabad’s Red Mosque and one of the Taliban’s negotiators, jeopardized the peace process by refusing the Pakistani government’s first condition: that all talks be held within the framework of the Pakistani constitution. “I won’t participate in talks until they include a clause about the imposition of Islamic law,” he said, indicating that the Taliban would only agree to negotiations if the Quran, not the Pakistani constitution, remained the guiding force behind the talks.

But, are these norms — set forth in the Pakistani constitution and Shari’a — so mutually exclusive? Do Islamists really have to worry about Shari’a missing from Pakistan’s constitution?

A lot has happened since that first, subsequently failed, formal meeting between the government and the Taliban negotiation team in the “journey for peace” held over three months ago in Islamabad — but this seeming impasse between “Shari’a or constitution” remains. One major incident in March, for example, an attack on a courthouse in Islamabad that killed 12 people, was claimed by the Ahrar-ul Hind, a loosely-associated Taliban faction. “Our fight will continue,” Asad Mansoor, a spokesman for the group, said in an interview: “We will carry on attacks on urban areas, police and markets until there is the complete imposition of Shari’a law.”

In many ways, the courthouse attack and the recent spate of violence throughout the country underscores by deed that which Aziz originally demanded — that the group’s interpretation of Shari’a replace the Pakistani constitution in setting the terms for negotiation. That is, both the ongoing Taliban attacks and these consistent demands highlight a core obstacle in Pakistani stability efforts that stretch far beyond the factional nature of the Taliban: the manipulation of Shari’a in the use of political violence. Aziz’s point of contention is in line with the well-known mantra of the Taliban and other Islamist organizations, including al Qaeda members across Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere: impose Shari’a, by the sword, if necessary.

When the ceasefire that started on March 1 ended last month, the issue of the constitution again took center-stage in discussions about whether to continue negotiations. Sharif told BBC Urdu that progress was being made and that it was “the number one condition that has to be met.” Meanwhile, some members of the Taliban’s negotiating team have said that the militant organization is ready to accept the constitution, in spite of the group’s past statements to the contrary.

Our own research on Muslim constitutions and modern conflict behavior by all Muslim-majority states (defined by their membership in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the largest intergovernmental organization behind the United Nations) suggests that Shari’a is not missing from Pakistan’s constitution. Indeed, our examination of Shari’a content in all modern Muslim state constitutions — what we call “sharia density” — including post-Arab Spring states’ new constitutions, indicates that Pakistan is, in fact, one of the most Shari’a-dense constitutions in the modern world. The amount of Shari’a content in Pakistan’s constitution — those articles that include Shari’a language, norms, principles, prohibitions, and guarantees — are surpassed only by the constitutions of Saudi Arabia (known as the basic law) and Iran …

To read the full article, click here.

Corri Zoli is a Research Assistant Professor at INSCT.

Emily Schneider (LAW ’13) is a research assistant in New America Foundation’s National Security Program. She is a graduate of INSCT’s Curricular Program in National Security and Counterterrorism Law and as an INSCT Research Assistant, she has helped build a database on Muslim state compliance with International Humanitarian Law.