All posts by Dr Helene Lavoix

Dr Helene Lavoix (MFin Paris, MSc PhD Lond), Director and Senior Analyst, is the founder of The Red (team) Analysis Society and a political scientist (International Relations) specialised in Strategic Foresight and Warning (SF&W) for conventional and unconventional security issues. She is the author of “What makes foresight actionable: the cases of Singapore and Finland” (confidential commissioned report, US government, November 2010), “Enabling Security for the 21st Century: Intelligence & Strategic Foresight and Warning” RSIS Working Paper August 2010, “Constructing an Early Warning System,” in From Early Warning to Early Action, European Commission, ed. DG Relex, 2008, “Detailed chronology of mass violence – Cambodia (1945 – 1979),” Online Encyclopaedia of mass violence, 2008 and the editor of Strategic Foresight and Warning: Navigating the Unknown, ed. RSIS-CENS, February 2011; etc. More on Listed on the public list curated by LSEImpactBlog: @LSEImpactBlog/soc-sci-academic-tweeters.

The Islamic State Psyops – Foreign Fighters’ Complexes (2)

After having seen the threats linked to the existence of foreign fighters within the Islamic State (The Foreign Fighters’ Threat), we focused on identifying the reasons why those foreign fighters would join the Islamic State, using the latter psyops products and locating them within the framework of existing findings (Attracting Foreign Fighters (1)). With that post, we presented the psyops “recruiting” products used for this study, then, taking stock of the research done on foreign fighters  by the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation  and Political Violence (ICSR) and by the Sufan Group, we focused on two core elements that are meant to be present for all recruited foreign fighters: a quest for meaning and purpose and a need for belonging. Using the Islamic State psyops products we mainly confirmed, but also detailed those findings, including for non-Western fighters.

We shall now further refine, always using the Islamic State recruitment psyops products, the various elements identified by previous research, which we understand as organised in two complexes*, the first constellated around the core “quest for meaning and related need for belonging”, and the second around authority, rules and exercise of freedom.

Continue reading The Islamic State Psyops – Foreign Fighters’ Complexes (2)

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 196 – Yemen, towards the End of the U.N.?

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…

Read the 26 March scan  

World – As the world wonders about the motivation that could prompt the copilot of Germanwings to crash a plane, and while the hypothesis of a terrorist intention is most probably on everyone’s mind, a very large number of crowdsourced articles this week were about the 26 March 2015 Saudi-led coalition’s attack in Yemen on the advancing Houthi Shi’a militias. These strikes are an answer to a call by Yemeni President Hadi. According to AFP/Reuters (see featured article), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates announced the attack, while the U.S. said it would bring logistical and intelligence support. Egypt also participated, and, according to Saudi Arabia, “Jordan, Morocco and Sudan”, as well as Pakistan, wish to participate. Meanwhile, the U.S., which, until now had not participated in the Iraqi army and Shi’a militias offensive against the Islamic State in Tikrit, Iraq, announced that it will now provide air support to the Iraqi operation.

Taken together, these two developments most obviously underline how much of a powder-keg and quagmire the overall situation in the Middle East has become. If one add to them the recent debate over a potential intervention in Libya or not, then the decision to attack in Yemen also points out that the United Nations (U.N.) and the world order are currently facing a potentially critical situation. Focusing on Yemen, Jay Ulfelder explains in a detailed and clear way in his 22 March “Watching the States Get Made“, the intricacies of the current normative world order, as embodied by the U.N., as well as, sometimes the double language that needs to be used to see it continue. Indeed, to be internationally legitimate, any attack on another country should be authorised by the U.N. If the situation in Yemen was discussed at the U.N. security council on 22 March, however, no attack nor strike was authorised, as shown by the official Statement by the President of the Security Council (UN document). Yet, the attack now has taken place, thus locating it knowingly outside the current international legitimacy framework, despite a letter informing the U.N. in advance of the attacks.

On the contrary, in Libya, the refusal to intervene was respected.

The risk entailed not only by the illegitimate attack but also by the different behaviours is to see the U.N. and the even imperfect order it embodies start – or continue – to disaggregate and crumble.  This danger, on top of the very complex situation in Yemen and in the larger MENA region, most probably is what underscores the worried statement issued by China, stating its “deep concern”, and recalling it “urges all parties to act in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions on Yemen, and to resolve the dispute through dialogue.”

If the decisions of a system and the norms that uphold it are respected only from time to time, when it suits actors according to their national interest, then it enhances the probability to see this system becoming increasingly an empty shell. As pointed out by Ulfelder mixed motives and double language are not new. However, what is enhanced now is the utter disregard into which a U.N. decision has been held (for Yemen), as well as the proximity in time of two opposite responses to U.N. decisions (regarding Libya and Yemen), which thus highlights the preeminence of national interests.

It may well be that the situation in the MENA region is too dangerous, too fluid and too complex to accommodate a system that thrived during the stable bipolar world of the Cold War. Should the U.N. know a fate similar to the League of Nations, we might then see emerge a different world, ruled first by the balance of power and complex “games of thrones”, where war is not outlawed anymore, beyond declarations that will increasingly be seen as empty or hypocritical.

Economy – The large increase in junk bonds and debts related to the shale oil industry, considering low oil prices is notably highlighted this week.

Tech and weapons – The featured article for this section focuses again on China and a potential “space weapon threat”.

Environment and Energy  – First of all, two worrying signals, one regarding the impact of manganese pollution on bees, which are crucial as pollinators, and another one regarding the possible slowing down of the Ocean’s conveyor belt.  Then, Dr Daum focuses on water, as March 22, 2015 was the UN sponsored World Water Day. Among others, this reminds us how fashionable events may be integrated within a strategy of delivery of strategic foresight and warning to enhance the odds to see them heard. Dr Daum thus underlines that, according to the UNICEF statistics, “despite important worldwide gains in improving access to reliable drinking water, 748 million people still do not have access to clean water. One major area of water use that was discussed this week is with activities related to the coal industry: mining, washing, and cooling of power plants. Greenpeace has called for using less water on coal production and use and more for basic human needs. Meanwhile, another important article on RealClimate discussed the recent meeting in Schloss Ringberg, Germany on the sensitivity of climate to increasing level of CO2. There was some important discussion among scientists with new and developing information about sensitivity factors.”

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. 

The information collected is crowdsourced. It does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

probability assess sc

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Islamic State Psyops – Attracting Foreign Fighters (1)

After having pointed out the main risks entailed by the existence of foreign fighters within the ranks of the Islamic State and by their rising numbers (see The Islamic State Psyops – The Foreign Fighters’ Threat), we shall now turn to the reasons that push individuals to join the Islamic State.

Within the framework of existing findings resulting from current research, notably by the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation  and Political Violence (ICSR) and by the Sufan Group, we shall analyse the Islamic State psyops products and underline the specific points utilised in the recruitment effort. Indeed, the increase in foreign fighters mobilization as underlined previously would tend to imply that the Islamic State is relatively successful in recruiting, thus that it knows well enough what to trigger in foreigners to prompt them to join.image rece towards good

Its psyops products should, as a result, be a good proxy for understanding what motivates people in joining the Islamic State. This approach should allow us pointing out if the Islamic State psyops themes correspond, infirm, confirm or complement what had been so far understood of foreign fighters joining Jihadis groups through other means, notably interviews and observation of social media interactions, sometimes prior to the establishment of the Khilafah. We should also be able to identify if new themes appear, while continuing to understand better the Islamic State’s worldview.

Notably, by focusing on the various psyops products we should be able to move beyond a focus on fighters originating mainly from “Western countries” and instead take as basis a geographical segmentation, if any, as envisioned by the Islamic State. This should help us further understanding the world as viewed by the Islamic State.

Focusing on psyops should also be particularly useful from a counter-psyops perspective, if one wants to fully try to counter the existing mobilization effort by the Islamic State.

Here we shall first present the set of Islamic State psyops “recruitment” products used, before to turn to the framework for understanding established by existing research. We shall then focus upon two necessary elements that were identified as present in most or all fighters that were recruited, a quest for purpose and meaning, as well as a search for belonging. Those elements are at the core of a first complex around which messages and features favouring mobilization are organised and that we shall detail with the next post, which will also focus on the second complex, organised around the theme of authority, rules and exercise of liberty.

Continue reading The Islamic State Psyops – Attracting Foreign Fighters (1)

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 195 – Tunisia Museum Attack, Global Jihadi Threat and Public Indifference?

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…

Read the 19 March scan  

World – The deadly attack on the Bardo museum in Tunisia, on 18 March, reminded the world that the Salafi-Jihadi threat is far from being overcome, despite some lassitude displayed by crowds and media over such attacks. One of the interesting signals to notice here, is the small number of crowdsourced articles referring to the attack. Only three articles found their way in The Weekly, when the casualties are far more important than those of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris or of the shooting in Denmark, to say nothing of the impacts to Tunisia’s economy and more broadly polity, and in terms of spread of Jihadi attacks, threat to the stability of the region, etc.

Continue reading The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 195 – Tunisia Museum Attack, Global Jihadi Threat and Public Indifference?

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 193 – “A Dangerous Folly”

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…

Read the 5 March scan  

World – This week featured article is Seumas Milne’s The demonisation of Russia risks paving the way for war” for The Guardian. Milne, by emphasising  how “Politicians and the media are using Vladimir Putin and Ukraine to justify military expansionism” and stressing how it is “a dangerous folly” – which we borrowed as title, perfectly summarises the tragic escalation towards war we are currently living.

The anti-Russian sentiment has reached such a paroxysm, supported by analysts, who never use evidence, nor anymore footnotes to substantiate their claims or judgement, and mix good analysis with convenient ones, where inconvenient facts are forgotten, that any attempt to try coming back to better researched analysis, seems futile and doomed. Armies of researchers would be necessary to critically appraise each article, sorting out what is evidenced (and referring to the evidences), from what is assumption, and what is just belief. A few good analyses are still made, such as the excellent article posted by Ambassador Matlock on the murder of Nemtsov (see The Weekly for the links). There, the absence of any evidence – as is so often the case when working on contemporary issues – is acknowledged rather than hidden, and followed by a detailed analysis with estimations of likelihood for each potential scenario.

Yet, such honest approaches to complicated problems are increasingly few and far between. Against any logic and good sense, a murder happens and within two minutes everyone knows the responsible must certainly be Putin; a plane crashes and within two hours everyone knows that it must certainly be Putin, or the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. And when a few months later the Dutch Safety Board in charge of the enquiry asserts that it is so difficult to know what exactly happened that a supplementary year is necessary (see report here), no one points out any inconsistency between the two attitudes.

Meanwhile, Russia increases its own, and this time real (assuming the information given in the Irish Examiner, see The Weekly for link, is correct, of course), dangerous moves, e.g. incursions in British and Irish airspace. Indeed, no country nor leader can afford for long to fail to respond when full-blown escalation is occurring as is the case now.

In the meantime, there is an acceleration in the BRICS’ attempt to end the supremacy of the US Dollar (see the article on Kazakhstan), as we have been monitoring here over months, which is quite a strong indication that not all countries are against Russia.

And thus escalation goes on.

If there had been an opportunity for peace a few weeks ago with the Minsk agreement as we argued (see Minsk and the probability of war), the window of opportunity is obviously now closed. There may not be another one. In this case the outcome may only be grim, unless current hawks realise what they are doing, which seems quite unlikely but miracles may happen, unless good sense prevails, including within the population at large, so important to politicians when elections loom, unless other players – and we should to the least add China to the European list given by Milne –  step in and have enough clout and power to put a stop to this “folly”. Could other events coming from the so unstable Middle East also put the escalation on hold? They would most probably need to be perceived as a clear and immediate direct threat, and not a remote one, to act as a brake. In this case, though, this would mean that more tragic events have taken place.

Energy and Environment – Among others, Dr Daum underlines that “in the last few weeks there have been challenges to the integrity of climate data, the accuracy of data analysis, and funding issues that might call into question the trustworthiness of climate scientists. It is important that processes be transparent so that anybody is able to pull the thread on all of these issues. It is also important to determine if these issues are about the natural uncertainty expected in any scientific process, or if some scientists have been dishonest.” Interestingly, and in a related way, he also points out the difficulty of understanding complex processes including feedbacks across “problems': “it is almost instinctive to assume that increased carbon dioxide levels will lead to increased growth in forests. However, recent information tells us that insect populations may change in response to elevated carbon dioxide levels and thereby limit the capacity of forests to serve as carbon sinks .”

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. 

The information collected is crowdsourced. It does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The Islamic State Psyops – The Foreign Fighters’ Threat

One of the many issues that need to be addressed regarding the Islamic State is that it attracts foreign fighters, as abundantly reported in the media. This issue is also one of the focuses of the latest issue of the Islamic State psyops product, Dabiq 7 (12 Feb 2015), as it features in five articles: “Major operations in Libya and Sinai” (foreign fighters from Tunisia and Sudan), pp. 40-41; “Among the believers are men: Abu Qudamah al-Misri” (foreign fighters from the UK), pp. 46-49; “A brief interview with Umm Basir al-Muhajirah” (foreign fighter from France), pp. 50-51; “The good example of Abu Basir al-Afriqi” (foreign fighter from France), pp. 68-71; “Interview with Abu Umar al-Baljiki” (foreign fighters from Belgium), pp. 72-75. This emphasis points out the importance of those people for the Islamic State.

According to the latest estimates, 20 000 people, originating from 50 countries, would now fight in Iraq and Syria, having joined “Sunni militant organizations” (using figures from the second half of 2014; Peter R. Neumann, ICSR, 26/01/2015). They would thus not all fight for the Islamic State. Indeed, considering the complex interactions in these countries between groups and factions, they could even join to fight against the Islamic State. Yet, part of them do fight for the Islamic State.

Al-Baljiki, Dabiq, ISIS, IS, Daesh, ISIL, foreign fighters, psyops, Islamic State, mobilization
From Belgium… “Al-Baljiki” Dabiq #7 p.74

It is all the more important to pay attention to the phenomenon that it is on the rise, notably as far as Western Europe is concerned: the number of foreign fighters originating from Europe has nearly doubled since December 2013 (Ibid). The map created out of the ICSR figures by Swati Sharma for the Washington Post is particularly telling (27 January 2014). This increase would tend to indicate that these “Sunni miliant” groups, including the Islamic State, are increasingly attractive and successful in their mobilization.

Focusing on the Islamic State, we shall first, with this post, explain the risks entailed by the existence of and increase in mobilization abroad, or, more specifically, outside the territory the Islamic State rules or has recently conquered. As we shall see, this inflow of foreign fighters can be seen as a security issue for three major reasons. First, it enhances the Islamic State’s fighting power. Second, it leads to a threat to see attacks carried out at home by those foreign fighters, not only once they come back, but also if they are stopped leaving. Finally, the symbolic impact of a successful foreign mobilization interacts with the connectedness of each mobilised foreign individual to enhance the power of the Islamic State psyops and potentially intensify the first two elements of the threat.

Continue reading The Islamic State Psyops – The Foreign Fighters’ Threat

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 192

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…

Read the 26 February scan  

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. 

The information collected is crowdsourced. It does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilizing problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 192 – Denying the Islamism of the Islamic State

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section.

Read the 19 February scan  

World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – The focus this week stems from the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism currently held in Washington D.C. (see White House Fact sheet).

First, in a very “Washingtonian” way, the summit leads to the publication of a host of reports and articles, as think tanks, newspapers, researchers, experts and pundits try to have their voices heard by policy-makers, some of them having been crowd-sourced here and worth checking and reading.

Second, the summit forces the various actors to face an issue that had been pregnant, but in a rather unsaid way, since at least the start of the US-led coalition strikes on the Islamic State. President Obama categorically refuses to state that the war and the focus of the summit is on “radical Islam”, or on “Islamism” (if we take both notions as equivalent), and the extremism it could breed, or more exactly on the Salafism practiced by the Islamic State. As a result, all reference to any kind of Islam, indeed any religion, are removed (see again, for example, the White House fact sheet). As pointed out in the Weekly featured article: “

The summit “will not focus on any particular religion, ideology or political movement and will, instead, seek to draw lessons that are applicable to the full spectrum of violent extremists,” White House national security spokesman Ned Price told Yahoo News. (Olivier Knox, “Obama’s ‘Crusades’ controversy highlights war on terrorism’s rhetorical minefield”, Yahoo News).

As a result, the summit will try to fight ideas and beliefs-based dynamics and goals with materialism and materialistic solutions… thus being completely prey to a specific ideology (stemming from modernity and modernisation, e.g. Max Weber and its “disenchantment of the world”, see Stanford Encycopediae of Philosophy), ironically! We are nowhere close to find even the beginning of answers if this programme is respected.

Followed from Obama declarations a very strong debate in the U.S. fought across actors, who position themselves for or against this approach, through their articles and reports.

Interestingly, it would seem that this refusal to consider specific religions echoes a similar phenomenon taking place at least in France. Following the atrocious beheading of twenty-one Egyptian Christian Copts in Libya, both France (click on links to access official statement) and the U.S. failed to mention that the victims were Christian Copts. The U.S. statement even emphasizes it is a “wanton killing of innocents”, and that “ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds.  It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity.” On the contrary, the European Union, did mention the victims were Christians, but killed “by terrorists.” The U.K., for its part, underlined both the real quality of the victims and of the perpetrators, “recognising that violent Islamist extremists pose a threat to both countries [Britain and Egypt].”

Whoever has read a transcript – if not watched the video considering the high degree of horror carried by the images – of the Islamic State psyops video on the mass assassination, which is titled “a message signed with blood to the nation of the cross” is in no doubt that those killed were not selected randomly but killed because they were Christians. The full transcript by Michael S. Smith II- but with images – can be found on Downrange. For those who wish to avoid the images here are some extracts:

The people of the cross, the followers of the hostile Egyptian Church. (showing the victims) “All praise is due to Allah, the strong and mighty. And may blessings and peace be upon the ones sent by the sword as a mercy for the worlds.”… “O Crusaders, safety for you will be only wishes, especially when you’re fighting us all together. Therefore, we will fight you all together, until the war lays down its burdens, and Jesus, peace be upon him, will descend, breaking the cross, killing the swine and abolishing jiziyah. And the sea you’ve hidden Sheikh Usama bin Laden’s body in, we swore to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”…”And we will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him.” (Michael S. Smith II, “IS in Libya threatens Rome” Downrange).

Whoever has read any of the psyops product by the Islamic State or watched any of its video, or followed the war in Iraq and Syria or Libya is in no doubt about their religious aims.

Why, thus, are we faced with such a denial from at least France and the U.S.? This attitude is all the more absurd and incomprehensible that, Egypt not only recognises the risks created by an extremist Islam, for example when its President al-Sisi courageously addresses the Al-Azhar Islamic University in Cairo with his “We Must Revolutionize Our Religion” (Memri transcript, 28 December 2014). Meanwhile Egypt also recognises Christian Copts as part of the national community by declaring a week of national mourning (e.g. Hana Levi Julian, 16 February 2015, The Jewish Press). Neither Jordan nor Egypt hesitate to ask the U.N. to lift the arms embargo on Libya to fight an extremist Islam. So far, it seems that only Qatar strongly protested against Egyptian retaliatory strikes in Libya (Tunisia however opposes intervention). Most states where Muslims live are part of the US-led coalition to fight the Islamic State. We should not either forget that the first victims in terms of numbers of the Islamic State are Muslims and that they are those on the front line fighting it. Thus, this denial of reality does not make any sense.

Removing an absolutely crucial component of an enemy’s worldview, strategy, and as a result tactics and operations is at best absurd, at worst dangerous. It will hinder analysis as many will not dare to go “against” governments, and potentially stop proper answers, notably those that are not military, but must be endeavoured, as pointed out, for example, in the latest National Security Network report (see the Weekly). It also puts populations even more at risk as, without doubt, the Islamic State will want to have its message heard and will send it again and again, in its horrific way.

Finally, it is also a loss opportunity, to show that all faiths and “non faiths” can join and work and fight together against a common enemy, whatever its beliefs.

Could it also be a weak signal, if nothing changes, that the American leadership of the US-led coalition might become, with time, imperilled?

Economy – To the uncertainty regarding Greece, the Euro and Europe we already underlined last week, we can add new, or rather continuing, bad news regarding Japan.

Energy and environment security – Dr Daum identifies a renewal of interest for nuclear energy, despite controversies, as “some prominent environmental veterans are leading a discussion about nuclear power as a climate change solution.  This includes a renewed discussion about Nuclear Power in Australia.” Meanwhile, “Wind energy is on the increase. Yet, this energy is not without problem either as an article this week discusses how the design of some wind turbines might be selectively killing migratory bats”.

He also points out that “in addition to green house gasses, very short-lived substances (VSLS), which are not controlled by UN treaty, and whose increasing concentrations might impact the ozone layer (Science Daily).

On the politics of climate change, “The International Institute for Environment and Development noted that progress at the climate talks in Geneva has been a good start for the upcoming climate talks in Paris and may result in a fair deal for developing countries.”

Tech & Weapons – Notably, an interesting article (with a glitch in the link which should actually be this one explains what is Plan X, or the Darpa (Pentagone) 4 years programme to give “cyberwarriors “instantaneous knowledge of the fact [their] network is being attacked.”

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and its usefulness led to its continuation.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilizing problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Update – Islamic State Psyops – Dar al-Islam 2 and Dabiq 7

(update of “The Islamic Pysops – A Framework“, which sets the stage for our series on the Islamic State psyops, their targets, aims, as well as the mindset behind them.)

The Al-Hayat Media Center started producing a new magazine with France as target audience, Dar al Islam, at the end of December 2014. The second issue has been released yesterday, most probably at the same time as Dabiq 7 (dates of release identified from Islamist fora and twitter threads).

dar al islam, ISIS, psyops, Islamic State, ISIL, DaeshDar al-Islam #2: Qu’Allah maudisse la France, 12 February 2015 (pdf from – Issue focused on the January attacks in France.

Dar al-Islam #1: L’Etat Islamique étend son territoire, 22 December 2014 (pdf from

Dabiq #7: From Hypocrisy to Apostasy: The Extinction of the Grey Zone (21 Feb 2015: Pdf availble now here – removed from for content related issues: pdf from – heavy file 89.4MB), 12 February 2015. – note that Dabiq is also available in epub and kindle format (!)

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 191 – Minsk and the Probability of War

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section.

Read the 12 February scan  

World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – In terms of major issues, increasingly, one week looks very much like the next, as matters get entrenched. However, within each issue, problems emerge, evolve and sometimes coalesce.

Joseph Nye, in his small but excellent book Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History, wrote in a part aptly named The Funnel of Choices:

“Events close in over time, degrees of freedom are lost and the probability of war increases. But the funnel of choices available to leaders might open up again, and degrees of freedom could be regained…. ” (p. 68)

This is exactly what we witnessed today in Minsk, a few degrees of freedom were regained by the leaders as the agreement was signed (see the scan for a choice of various media’s reporting on the agreement, as well as the text – in Russian, use Chrome for translation or read unofficial English translation by

Continue reading The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 191 – Minsk and the Probability of War