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.
C-band_Radar-dish_Antenna 2014

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 176 – Europe Unexpected Power Waiting to be Used

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

World (all matters related to war, international and national security) –  This week, we can point out, besides many other signals and articles, a must read article on “Putin’s Great Gamble” by Pr Nikolas K. Gvosdev, which not only enlightens understanding of current relations but also is crucial to foresee next moves.

The way the war against the Islamic State impacts Turkey and its relationships to other players, including the U.S., is also of utmost importance for the way the war will be waged in the future by the different actors.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace policy recommendations for a EU Foreign Policy strongly committed to

Continue reading

C-band_Radar-dish_Antenna 2014

A Revisited Red (Team) Analysis Weekly No175 – 23 October 2014

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… This week, we have revisited sections available in the Weekly to better reflect relevant issues and problems and ease reading. You can now find a section on Ebola – read notably a sobering article on underreporting and the real number of Ebola cases, besides news on vaccines and treatments, and governments’ policies. A section devoted to technology and weapons or armaments, aims at presenting potentially transformational technologies as well as latest procurements. This week, what stands out is an awakening regarding big data imagined promises.

Energy and Environment security are now coupled in a specific section, to mirror the new 21st century reality, as pointed out by Dr Valantin’s research for the Red (Team) Analysis Society  and as will be Continue reading

14 oct 2014 March Kiev 2014

Ultra-Nationalism and the Far Right in Ukraine (1): Victims and Heroes

Parliamentary election in Ukraine will be held on 26 October 2014. Meanwhile, the road towards full peace in Eastern Ukraine is still uncertain, despite the 5 September Minsk protocol and its 19 September memorandum (OSCE), witness, among others, the battles for Donetsk airport and latest fighting in Luhansk or near Mariupol (OSCE SMM reports). donetsk airport, Ukraine, ultra-nationalism, far right, Svoboda, UPA, denial, HolomodorFurthermore, on 2 November, the special status territories of the Donbass, the “self-proclaimed” Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) will vote to elect their respective heads and representatives at the People’s Assemblies (Ria Novosti, 11 October 2014).

It is thus all the more important to continue our evaluation of the state of play for the various Ukrainian actors. Ukraine is indeed more than ever poised at a crossroad, with various forces struggling to see their objectives prevail, in a very difficult economic and international setting.

The parliamentary election should have taken place in 2017 (five years after the last one, which occurred in 2012). However, at the end of July, UDAR, which had backed President Poroshenko for the presidential election, Svoboda (see below), as well as fifteen independent deputies, withdrew from the “European Choice coalition”, which supported the Yatsenyuk interim government (Interfax Ukr, 24 July 2014). As no new coalition could be formed within 30 days, on 25 August 2014, President Poroshenko called for early elections, emphasizing that it was anyway the will of the people, as showed a poll, who could not trust the previous parliament (“President’s address“, Press office of President, 25.08.2014).

The composition of the new parliament should take stock of the crucial events that took place in Ukraine since November 2013, with political parties and potential deputies paying for or benefiting from them. Ukraine, ultra-nationalism, far right, Svoboda, UPA, denial, HolomodorIt should usher a new period for the country, which will see it, at one hand of the spectrum, fall further into chaos or, on the contrary, at the other end, solve or rather progress towards solving its deep internal and international challenges and recover from ashes. Considering the international quagmire and powder-keg that Ukraine has become over the last year, in an overall very difficult world situation, the results of coming legislative election are most likely to have a strong international impact, through the government that will thus emerge and the way it will rule Ukraine.

Ukraine, ultra-nationalism, far right, Svoboda, UPA, denial, Holomodor
Logo of Ukrainian Party Svoboda – from their website

Ukraine, ultra-nationalism, far right, Svoboda, UPA, denial, Holomodor

The previous parliamentary election showed notably the remarkable progression of the nationalist anti-liberal party Svoboda, led by Oleh Tyahnybok and created in 1991 then as Social-National Party of Ukraine (Olszański, “The electoral success of the Svoboda Party…“, OSW Commentary, 28 Nov 2012). After already good results in 2010 for the elections to regional councils (e.g. Shekhovtsov, “17: From Para-Militarism to Radical Right-Wing Populism“, 2013), in 2012 it received then 10.44% of suffrage and won 37 deputies, thus becoming the fourth force of the Ukrainian parliament, when it had none previously (Olszański, ibid. Shekhovtsov and Umland, “Ukraine’s Radical Right“, 2014).

Since November 2013, other ultra-nationalist groups, such as Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) have frequently been under the spotlight (among others, BBC News, “Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist Right Sector“, 28 April 2014). Furthermore, a very recent research paper by Ivan Katchanovski (2014), “The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine” evidences involvement of extreme far-right elements of the Maidan in the killing of protesters on 20 February 2014, while “the government investigation was falsified for this reason.” However, in the May 2014 presidential election, all candidates of the far-right (Svoboda and Pravy Sektor) gathered less than 2% of the vote (Shekhovtsov and Umland, ibid: 62).

Meanwhile, the war in Eastern Ukraine was waged for and around nationalist and identity stakes, while both sides traded accusations of being involved with far-right and neo-nazi groups, which would commit related atrocities, supplemented by similar accusations made in the international world, notably by Russia or against it (e.g. Shekhovtsov and Umland, 2014).

Thus, what are the main features of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism, which can help us understand better the dynamics of the situation? What are their potential impact on the way far-right groups are accepted or rejected? What is, finally, the state of play for those far-right groups in Ukraine (next post) and the resulting potential for further polarization?

We shall focus in this post first on Ukrainian official nationalism, then look at the instruments of its implementation, before turning to the content of ultra-nationalism. We shall see it as a specific, extreme form of nation-ness, the latter being a collective consciousness that determines how a group perceives itself and others, which in turn influences actions.

Strengthening nationalism in Ukraine

In 2005, then President Yushchenko embarked on a policy of promotion of nationalism, which aimed at “unify[ing] the country Yushchenko, Ukraine, ultra-nationalism, far right, Svoboda, UPA, denial, Holomodoraround a new set of historical myths.” “He tasked a set of historically minded historians to produce and disseminate an edifying national history, as well as a new set of national heroes” (Rudling, “The Return of the Ukrainian Far Right…“, 2013a: 228). This is nothing new in terms of construction of a nation and the literature on state-sponsored or official nationalism abounds (e.g Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities 1991; Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780, 1992).

What is, however, new here is the timing, as this construction is done approximately between fifty years and a century after previous waves of state-sponsored nationalism, in a setting that is very different, and notably includes the rise of far-right groups in a world that thought to have overcome the worst dangers attached with their specific version and enactment of nationalism.

Indeed, scholars agree that Yushchenko’s official nationalism facilitated the rise of Svoboda (Rudling 2013a, Ishchenko, “Fighting Fences vs Fighting Monuments,” 2011) besides other factors (Shekhovtsov, 2013). As shown by Ishchenko (ibid.), the twin mechanisms of certification (legitimization: “‘the validation of actors, their performances and their claims by external authorities’, McAdam”) and attribution of threat and opportunity (Ibid) were at work. Using the same reasoning, it is more than likely that Yushchenko’s policy also legitimated all far-right or ultra-nationalist movements and actions, besides further legitimization and support they could receive from Svoboda, now fully part of the political life in Ukraine, and having even contributed to the early interim government after Maidan (Lavoix, Conflict in Ukraine – Setting the Stage, May 2014).

Instruments of nationalist promotion

Ukrainian institute of national memory, Ukraine, ultra-nationalism, far right, Svoboda, UPA, denial, Holomodor
Teaching materials by the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory to celebrate the Day of Defenders of Ukraine, 14 October – click to reach website.

As underlined by Rudling (2013a: 230-232), Yushchenko’s effort were deep and wide-ranging, involving notably the creation of various institutions of memory, such as the Institute of National Memory (see here for its active Facebook page), tasked with spreading the new historical myths, while the SBU (Ukrainian Secret Services) received “formal propagandistic duties”. The policy of official nationalism even reached the academia, where “the line between ‘legitimate’ scholarship and ultra-nationalist propaganda often is blurred (Rudling, ibid.).

On 25 March 2014, the appointment of Volodymyr Viatrovych, ex-Director of the Security Service of Ukraine Archives (2008-2010), as the Director of the Institute of National Memory of Ukraine by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (Center for Research on the Liberation Movement, 28 March 2014) would tend to indicate that the new power in Ukraine has decided to continue the policy of official nationalism, put on hold under ousted Yanukovich (e.g disagreement between then Communist Director of INM and Viatrovych on the 1932-1933 famine, The Ukrainian Weekly, 8 August 2010, pp. 1 & 19). Note that Rudling (ibid.: 231) underlines that the “Center for Research on the Liberation Movement” is a “front organization for the OUN (b)” (see below) Viatrovych also directed.

The dangers, which are underlined below and are linked to the way the nationalist narratives are created and spread, also depend upon the content of those constructed myths: the further away from reality, the more vital the facts changed, and the closer in time, the higher the potential for disaster. There is notably a very large difference between a policy that includes the promotion of the idea of, say, the kilt as Scottish traditional costume when it is a relatively recent creation (Trevor-Roper, “The Invention of tradition…“, 1983), and denial of pogroms (see below).

The involvement of the SBU, an institution responsible for the security of the state, in the construction and promotion of Ukrainian official nationalism, i.e.  in  an area where it should not be implicated is reminiscent of totalitarian regimes (Rudling 2013a), although avoiding “repeating totalitarian crimes” is meant to be the very aim of the current official nationalism as underlined for the Institute of National Memory, for example (, 28 March 2014). To uncover past Soviet crimes notably by making archives public is indeed a necessary historical task, however it does not justify hiding other actors’ history. Involving  a security institution in science and knowledge may only be seen as dangerous in and by itself, from the point of view of opposing totalitarian regimes. Furthermore, it may contribute to the polarization of society, because voiced alternative memories, with fear, become increasingly improbable.

It also potentially indicates how nationalism is deeply entwined with the security of Ukraine, from a Ukrainian point of view. Indeed, and unsurprisingly, the latest project of the Institute of National Memory is called “Our Crimea“.

The implication of some scholars and researchers to produce nationalist myths was particularly shrewd, but also dangerous, because scientific knowledge is meant to seek objective understanding. Ukrainians and foreigners alike looking for understanding may only become an easy prey to the official nationalist narratives being developed if those who hold authority on knowledge deliberately lie to them – or to the least distort facts (on this theme, see also Rudling, “‘The Honor they so Clearly Deserve:’...”, 2013b: 131-133). This is a dangerous evolution because once trust is breached, it is very difficult to reconstruct it, and those who will understand they have been manipulated will then doubt everything. Meanwhile, as no one can be trusted anymore, the door is opened to the spread of any story, one becoming as valuable as another.

Furthermore, if the nationalist narrative spread does not correspond to personal and family historical memories, inhabitants will feel alienated and potentially afraid. Those promoting altered memories have the potential to be twice perceived as enemies, as liars first and according to the content of the message spread, second.

Practically, the use of both the SBU and some scholars (but by all means not all) for nationalist propaganda efforts may question their ability to, later, produce objective analysis, which crucially complicates the current and future situation by casting a potential doubt on their intelligence and knowledge production.

The content of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism

For this part, official nationalism will be considered as a proxy to represent Ukrainian ultra-nationalism, or Ukrainian nationalism in its most extreme form – although probably ignoring some of its finer grained features. Indeed, on the one hand, it is most unlikely that official nationalism could exist at all if it did not use pre-existing beliefs, and on the other, five years of officially imposed ideology, especially if it corresponds to already existing feelings are not innocuous, as we shall see below. Many Ukrainians are most probably not abiding by those perceptions. However with the rise of fear and of the feeling of threat, as those generated by the loss of Crimea and the war in the Donbass, ultra-nationalism may become further certified, increasingly pronounced and spread (Lavoix, 2005).

The period chosen as basis to promote Yushchenko’s Ukrainian official nationalism was the interwar period, when, as noted by Rudling (ibid.), the country was divided, part of the West being under Poland’s rule, while the rest was a Soviet Republic.  Hence,  the task of finding unifying historical myths could only be complicated and had, ultimately the potential for division and polarization rather than for unification (Ibid.).

Ukraine, ultra-nationalism, far right, Svoboda, UPA, denial, Holomodor

In a nutshell, Yushchenko’s policy,

“Particularly emphasized the Holodomor (the Great Famine of 1932–1933 in the USSR), as the genocide of the Ukrainian nation by the Communist party and the Soviet state, and glorified the anti-Soviet struggle of Ukrainian nationalists during and after WWII (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (Ukrainska Povstanska Armiya, UPA)). Two interrelated strategies were predominant: victimization and glorification…” (Ishchenko: 369)

However, both Ishchenko and Rudling (2013a) evidence in a very detailed way that denial and justification of horrors committed, besides overemphasis on victimization, were built in the memories and the revised nationalism thus constructed. On this theme, against which Ukrainian official nationalism and its proponents actively struggle, see also J. P. Himka. Interventions: Challenging the Myths of Twentieth-Century Ukrainian history. University of Alberta. 28 March 2011; or Ivan Katchanovski, “Terrorists or National Heroes? Politics of the OUN and UPA in Ukraine“. Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University: 7, for a good summary of the tensions and struggles.

Ukraine, ultra-nationalism, far right, Svoboda, UPA, denial, Holomodor
Source: “The Foreign Office and the famine: British documents on Ukraine and the Great Famine of 1932-1933 / edited by Marco Carynnyk, Lubomyr Y. Luciuk and Bohdan S. Kordan; with a foreword by Michael R. Marrus. Kingston, Ont .; Vestal, NY: Limestone Press, 1988. – Public Domain

To only summarize their work, for example, the number of victims of the Holodomor are swollen to 10 million, when “latest research estimate it to between 2.6 and 3.9 million excess deaths” (Rudling 2013a, 2013b). The already enormous figure grounded in real facts made distortion unnecessary. Furthermore, the ethnic, essentialist interpretation for the Holodomor, which would have specifically targeted Ukrainians as such, is considered as the sole truth (Rudling, Ibid.; Ishchenko), when other more complex explanations and understandings may be more correct, including considering, for example, that many parts of the Soviet Union also suffered of famine (Rudling, 2013a) such as Kazakhstan, even if Stalin’s treatment of Ukraine was indeed specific. However, Ukraine was targeted because of the potential resistance of Ukraine to Staline’s – inept – policies, not because its inhabitants were Ukrainians (Werth, 2009).

Accepting to consider alternative, complex explanations, again, would not have in any way implied a disregard for Ukrainian sufferings, but certainly would have failed to serve the narrow political aim of “competitive victimization”, when one wishes to show that one is more of a victim than others.

As far as the OUN and UPA are concerned, a similar phenomenon of denial and revision of history is at work. Only Soviet crimes are remembered. Gone is OUN commitment to ethnic purity. Gone is OUN(b), one of the two branches of the original party as it split in 1938 at the death of its founder, “attempt to establish a Ukrainian state as a loyal satellite of Nazi Germany (Rudling 2013a using Rossolin ́ski-Liebe, 2011). To quote Rudling (2013a: 229) at length:

“During the first days of the war, there were up to 140 pogroms in western Ukraine, claiming the lives of 13,000–35,000 people (Struve, 2012: 268). In 1943–1944, OUN(b) and its armed wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), carried out large-scale ethnic cleansing, resulting in the deaths of more than 90,000 Poles and thousands of Jews. After the war, the UPA continued a hopeless struggle against the Soviet authorities until 1953, in which they killed 20,000 Ukrainians. The Soviet authorities killed 153,000 people, arrested 134,000 and deported 203,000 UPA members, sympathizers and their families (Siemaszko, 2010: 93; Motyka, 2006: 649).”

Ishchenko (Ibid: 2) writes:

“Emphasizing the ethnic dimension of the Holodomor and victimizing the Ukrainian nation as the object of genocide, often compared to the Holocaust, went hand-in-hand with either denial or justification of Ukrainian nationalists’ collaboration with Nazis in the beginning of WWII, their participation in the Holocaust, and the ethnic cleansing of up to 60,000 Poles in Volhynia in 1943.”

Ukraine, ultra-nationalism, far right, Svoboda, UPA, denial, Holomodor
Poster by the Center for Research on the Liberation Movement celebrating the heroes of the UPA, posted by the new Director of the Institute of National Memory of Ukraine Volodymyr Viatrovych on his Facebook page on 13 October 2014 – click to access FB post.

Yet, the OUN and UPA are the very organisations that were chosen as incarnating the Ukrainian heroic nation, their crimes being forgotten or justified by their future struggle against the Soviet Union (Rudling, ibid). “The “memory managers” juxtaposed the genocidal Soviet rule with the self-sacrificial heroism of the OUN-UPA, producing a teleological narrative of suffering (the famine) and resistance (the OUN-UPA) leading to redemption (independence, 1991)” (Rudling, ibid: 231), as also noted by Ishchenko (Ibid: 2) “Instead, the OUN and UPA were glorified as fighters for an independent Ukrainian state against both Soviet and Nazi occupations.”

The dark side of the OUN-UPA narrative has been so well denied and justified, that, as noted by the OSCE SMM,

Rallies and marches were organized in a number of cities throughout the country on 14 October to mark the 72nd anniversary of the creation of the “Ukrainian Insurgent Army” (“UPA”).”  (OSCE SMM, 15 October 2014).

Other celebrations were organised throughout the country, including by the very official Institute of National Memory of Ukraine, and as abundantly documented on its director, Volodymyr Viatrovych, Facebook page.

Even more officially, President Poroshenko decided by decree that the Day of the Defender of Ukraine would now officially be held on 14 October, i.e. merged with the day consecrating the UPA (Presidential decree 806/2014, 14 October 2014), instead of the previously chosen 23 February, that honoured the Soviet Army and had been chosen by President Kuchma and thus cannot anymore fit Nationalist Ukraine (see Paul Bobołowicz, 15 October, Facebook).

Svoboda would perceive itself as the ideological successor of the OUN (Rudling 2013a: 235), meanwhile also promoting a very revisited vision of the Waffen-SS division Galizia (Olszański, 2011: 4; Rudling 2012, 2013b). The latter have become, thanks also to the revisionist efforts of its veterans emigrated in Canada, the forgotten heroes of Ukrainian nationalism through the same type of strategy as practiced by Yushchenko in Ukraine (Rudling, Ibid.).

As a result and as identified by Rudling, and implied by Ishchenko, a crucial feature of Ukrainian nationalism is that all wrong doing becomes externalized, while Ukrainians may only be right and victims. We see here a pattern that is or has been at work in other societies, for example Cambodia, and that only increases with turmoil and difficulties.

Meanwhile, the scholars specialised in the Ukrainian far-right underline that the latter’s ethno-nationalism is first and foremost characterized by a Russophobia (Olszański, 2011: Shekhovtsov, 2013), sometimes but not always, and in a way evolving with time, accompanied by anti-semitism or “white racism”(Shekhovtsov, 2013). We may hypothesize that the promoted anti-Soviet genocidal myth, added to Ukrainian essential righteousness and externalization of the source of problems could easily be translated and transformed into an extreme anti-Russia and anti-Russian nationalistic stance.

Assuming this is correct and there is a potential predisposition in Ukrainian nationalism to perceive Russia as the enemy, or, worse, the enemy that wants one’s destruction (genocidal myth), then the loss of Crimea must have been a tremendous shock, with all the emotional component a shock implies (Lavoix, “Looking Out for Future Shocks“, 2011). Then, from this moment onward, all nationalist myths would become activated, in their most extreme forms, the very survival of the nation being at stake, filtering understanding and promoting actions (Lavoix, 2005). This explains the disproportionate actions against “pro-Russians” who, in April 2014 (for a summarized timeline, see setting the stage), had only demonstrated and seized without bloodshed buildings, their naming as terrorists, the sending of tanks against unarmed civilians, as well as the incapacity to understand domestic dynamics while whatever happens always ends up being a Russian ploy, or the fault of Russian invading troops.

A very recent example of such extremely biased perceptions can be seen in the map depicting “the situation in the Eastern regions of Ukraine -13.10.14“, Ukraine, ultra-nationalism, far right, anti-Russia, Eastern Ukraine, NSDCpublished by the very official National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine. According to the map legend, military units of the Russian Federation are widely spread throughout the Donbass, when the active presence of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the OSCE throughout the territory makes this NSDC claim unbelievable: had Russian troops been as present as alleged on the map, the SMM would certainly have denounced it (see OSCE SMM daily updates).

A similar but inverted phenomenon has been most probably at work first in Crimea then in the Donbass, when, this time, Russian-speaking Ukrainians as well as the Russian minority in Ukraine witnessed the events in Maidan, the change of the law on language and the destruction of the statues linked to their Soviet and Russian heritage (see Setting the stage). The strength and speed of the reaction let us believe that polarization had been had work for some time in Ukraine, as the choice of the period for myth-making, when Ukraine was divided, let us expect. Indeed, Shekhovtsov with remarkable foresight when studying the rise of Svoboda wrote:

“Svoboda contributes significantly to the political polarization of Ukrainian society. The perceived rise of the party … will spark negative feelings on the part of the Russian minority and contribute to the activation of pro-Russian nationalist movements that can garner support from Russia and advance separatist activities in the largely Russian-speaking regions, such as Crimea.” (Shekhovtsov, 2013: 260)

It is against this backdrop of highly emotionally charged constructed memories, including a certification of the far-right as nationalist saviour in times of turmoil, when saving the Ukrainian body of the nation may justify anything, that the evolution of the far-right groups must be studied. Assessing the potential futures of the situation in Ukraine will similarly need to consider the specific Ukrainian ultra-nationalism and how it is highly likely to constrain and influence the actions of and interactions between various groups.


Full bibliographic references

Featured image: Still from the video “Procession of Azov and the right sector in Kiev“, 14 October 2014 by Pavel Sheremet on Youtube.

Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities, (London: Verso, 1991).

Himka., J. P.  Interventions: Challenging the Myths of Twentieth-Century Ukrainian history. University of Alberta. 28 March 2011.

Hobsbawm, Eric J., Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth and Reality, 2d ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

Hobsbawm, Eric, & Ranger, Terence, The Invention of Tradition, 2d ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996 [1983]).

Ishchenko, Volodymyr, “Fighting Fences vs Fighting Monuments: Politics of Memory and Protest Mobilization in Ukraine”, Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, 19 (1-2), 2011.

Katchanovski, Ivan, “The “Sniper’s Massacre on the Maidan in Ukraine“, Paper presented at the Chair of Ukrainian Studies Seminar at the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, 1 October 2014.

Katchanovski, Ivan, “Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide or Ukrainian-Polish Conflict? The Mass Murder of Poles by the OUN and the UPA in Volhynia“, Paper presented at the 19th Annual World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities, Columbia University, New York, US, April 24-26, 2014.

Katchanovski, Ivan, “Interview with Reuters re Svoboda, the OUN-B, and other Far Right Organizations in Ukraine “(March 4, 2014)  – full text.

Katchanovski, Ivan, “Terrorists or National Heroes? Politics of the OUN and UPA in Ukraine“. Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, 1 January 2010.

Lavoix Helene, “Looking Out for Future Shocks”, in Resilience and National Security in an Uncertain World, Ed. Centre of Excellence for National Security, (Singapore: CENS-RSIS, 2011)

Lavoix, Helene, ‘Nationalism’ and ‘genocide’ : the construction of nation-ness, authority, and opposition – the case of Cambodia (1861-1979) – PhD Thesis – School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), 2005.

Olszański, Tadeusz, “Svoboda party – the new phenomenon on the Ukrainian right-wing scene”. OSW Commentary (Centre for Eastern Studies) (56), 2011.

Rudling, Per Anders, “The Return of the Ukrainian Far Right: the case of VO Svoboda,” in Ruth Wodak and John E. Richardson (eds.) Analyzing Fascist Discourse: European Fascism in Talk and Text, (London and New York: Routledge, 2013a), 228-255.

Rudling, Per Anders, “‘The Honor they so Clearly Deserve:’ Legitimizing the Waffen-SS Galizien”, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 26:1, 2013b,114-137.

Rudling, Per Anders, “‘They Defended Ukraine': the 14 the Waffen-Grenadier Division der (Galizische Nr.1) Revisited”, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 25:3, 2012, 329-368.

Shekhovtsov, Anton and Andreas Umland, “Ukraine’s Radical Right”, Journal of Democracy, vol. 25 No. 3, July 2014, pp. 58-63.

Shekhovtsov, Anton, “17: From Para-Militarism to Radical Right-Wing Populism: The Rise of the Ukrainian Far-Right Party Svoboda”, In Ruth Wodak, ed, Right-Wing Populism in Europe, (Bloomsbury Academic.  2013), pp. 249–263.

Trevor-Roper, Hugh, “The Invention of tradition: The highland tradition of Scotland,” in Hobsbawm, Eric, & Ranger, Terence, The Invention of Tradition, 2d ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996 [1983]).

Werth, Nicolas, “Dekulakisation as mass violence“, Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, published on 23 September 2011, accessed 7 October 2014.

Nicolas Werth, “Les crimes de masse sous Staline (1930-1953)“, Encyclopédie en ligne des violences de masse, publié le 28 décembre 2009.


C-band_Radar-dish_Antenna 2014

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 174 – 16 October 2014

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… This week a very important “exclusive” by Reuters regarding a new Saudi strategy of lower energy prices, with all the potential impacts this may have on, for example fracking in the U.S. or Russian energy strategy. An interesting article on how Internet-based flight tracking tools and potential impact for air force, some elements on Iran intelligence, and a new very complete scholarly research on the use of snipers in Maidan, which could more than question current beliefs. Of course much on the Islamic State, Syria, Ebola (world section – an article on big data and Ebola in the tech section), Russia, weapons (tech section),  etc.

Read the 16 October scan →

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

C-band_Radar-dish_Antenna 2014

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 173 – 9 October 2014

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… This week a very interesting article on Ukraine copycat war with Russia by a Kiev Post journalist (including the creation of a UT copied on Russian RT), a very complete health section devoted to Ebola, an article on “The Navy’s Future Fleet of Swarming Boat-Drones” by The Atlantic and of course much on the Islamic State, China, Russia, India, latest IARPA efforts, weapons (business section),  etc.

Read the 9 October scan →

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

600px-Ebola_virus_particles 2014

Epidemic, Pandemic and Uncertainty – The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 172

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

Editorial – Epidemic, pandemic and uncertainty – Besides the increasingly likely and logical spread of the Islamist threat to Libya – after India as seen over the last weeks, the still very unstable situation in Ukraine and its international corollaries, from tension within the EU to tension with Russia, or to energy security risks, to name only a few threats we face, the spread of the Ebola epidemic to the American continent confronts us not only with a major danger but also with the difficulty of “decision-taking” in conditions of high uncertainty.

Indeed various logics and interests conflict, each taking advantage of the uncertainty to try to prevail.

Ebola, epidemic, uncertaintyIn the case of Ebola, we have the deadly epidemic that is spreading in Western Africa, and now is reaching America, as it could have reached – or is actually already doing so – other continents. The security of citizens and of the various countries concerned would demand that borders be better monitored, with adequate measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Yet, such surveillance is obviously complicated but also expensive to set up.  Thus the later it is set up – if ever – the better, all the more so that we do not actually know if or when the epidemic may spread. Uncertainty at work.

Furthermore, as reported by Andrew England and Javier Blas for the Financial Times “Ebola stigma hits wider African economies“. Thus the economic risk to some countries, as also recalled in one of the articles of The Weekly, is considered as a major factor in dealing with an epidemic and related risk of pandemic. Indeed, imagine some borders are closed, the cost to trade and business in general for those countries and for interests dealing with them would be very high. If ever the epidemic stops (as we saw in previous years with the SARSH5N1 and A(H1N1) – WHO), then governments will be criticized and the quarantined countries will suffer to overcome the economic impact. Yet, if the epidemic is not stopped and is transformed in a pandemic, then the cost will be much higher, to say the least and to say nothing of the global and total disruption that would be most likely. We all have in mind the impact of the fourteenth century Great Plague in Europe, called the Black Death. All countries would be hit. Uncertainty, again, is at work, as well as the way we currently prioritize short-term economy and wealth above everything else.

The way out of this highly dangerous dilemma, is a better and more systematically used approach to tackling uncertainty, i.e. strategic foresight and warning or risk management (see Lavoix, When risk management meets SF&W), considering all elements and impacts as well as likelihood and timelines,  in a realistic and courageous way.

Note also that an interesting – and easy – way to better understand what pandemics are is to use gaming, thus transforming it in serious gaming. Try Pandemics 2 where you play the role of a virus and “its your job to infect everyone in the world with your disease.” Note also that this game is a first step to use Red Teaming (taking the point of view of the enemy, see more on the excellent Red Team Journal website) in the case of epidemics and pandemics, and thus to improve our strategies.

Read the 2 October scan →

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: Color-enhanced electron micrograph of Ebola virus particles by Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine [CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

hires_140923-N-PS473-031a 2014

Monitoring the War against the Islamic State or against a Terrorist Group?

The war in Syria has now become fully internationalized, after its expected regionalization, notably favoured by the failure to stabilize Iraq after its state was destroyed by the 2003 US-led Iraq war. The two, initially unrelated wars have morphed into a war against one of the fighting actors on the Syrian battlefield, the Islamic State, originally born from the Iraqi tragedy (then named al-Qaeda in Iraq, Bruce Riedel, Al Monitor, 14 July 2014).

In mid-June 2014, the Iraqi government asked for help from the U.S., which endeavoured to mobilize the international community, to fight its foe after having been unable to stop its advance (Mushreq Abbas, Al Monitor, 13 June 2014). On 3 January 2014, the fighters of the then called Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had declared an Islamic State in Fallujah (VOA, 4 January 2014). One recalls that “Al-Sham stands for Bilad al-Sham, i.e. The Levant (today’s Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and potentially the Hatay Province of Turkey)”, which already indicated expansionist intention (see Lavoix, Syria, State of Play part 3). By mid-June they had taken many major Iraqi cities, including Mosul (9 June), Tikrit (11 June), Tal Afar (15 June) and border crossings with Syria (Wikipedia Timeline).

On 29 June, ISIS declared it established a new Caliphate, with its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as Caliph Ibrahim, and changed its name for the Islamic State (BBC News, 30 June 2014; Riedel, Ibid.;for details on the Caliphate, see Lavoix, scenario 3.1 War in Syria, May 2013).

Yet, as the international society of states progressively coordinated its effort Obama, Islamic State, U.S. Central Commandto fight this threat, despite differences notably over actions in Syria, the Islamic State was transformed into a terrorist group, that would be neither Islamic nor a state (e.g. U.S. President Obama, France President Holland etc., see below).

Are we thus faced with a relatively habitual situation when an international coalition or a country fights a terrorist group or with a war against a new state? In the latter case, is this “state” normal, i.e. does it more or less correspond to the ideal-type of the modern state to be included – or not – within the still existing current international society of states? Or is it a new type of polity that furthermore questions the international system?

It is absolutely crucial to try answering those questions because proper policy, strategies, and tactical actions can only emerge from the right analysis. Furthermore, the dynamics of actions and reactions taking place during the war will alter the course of events and thus change the answers we may give to our original questions. The evolution of the situation will thus need to be constantly monitored. To ease this task, we created the new Caliphate War Sigils, part of the series of daily scans and monitoring tools the Red (Team) Analysis Society provides. You can subscribe (free) to it directly here.

Fighting a terrorist group

The various declarations of the international players, from the U.S., starting with President Obama statement on 10 September, Islamic State, U.S. National Security Councilto Russia, France, the UN and the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, show a shared willingness to label the Islamic State as a terrorist group and to fight it as such. U.S. President Obama statement best exemplifies this trend (see the bottom of the post for other examples):

“Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents.  And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.” (Statement by the [U.S.] President on ISIL, 10 September 2014)

France even went further in the will to deny any status other than that of terrorist to the new Number One enemy, by asking media to adopt the Arabic acronym of “Daesh” – potentially derogatory  – instead of any other name (Wassim Nasr, France 24, 18 September 2014; read also Pieter vanOstaeyen, On the Origin of the ‘Name’ DAESH – The Islamic State in Iraq and as-Shām“,  18 February 2014, pietervanostaeyen).

Russia, answering to the 23 September 2014 U.S.-Arab states (Bahrain, Jordan,Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) strikes on the Islamic State in Syria, also favoured as label “the terrorist group Islamic State” stressing that “the struggle with terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa requires concerted action by the whole world community under the auspices of the United Nations. Attempts to attain one’s own geopolitical aims by violating the sovereignty of countries in the region merely fuel tensions and destabilize the situation further” (Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov,  Itar Tass, 23 September 2014).

This willingness to see and designate the Islamic State as a terrorist group may translate a decision, by the international actors, not to grant the enemy any recognition and thus international legitimacy, even in a negative way. The danger, however, is that by labelling the Islamic State as a terrorist group, then one may also start believing one’s statement. As a result, the actions taken may not consider all possible options or, worse, become inadequate. It will thus be very important to monitor not only the evolution of discourse of international actors but also the related strategies and actions.

Furthermore, following Connolly (The Terms of Political Discourse, 1983) and his version of Gallie’s “essentially contested concepts” (1956) adapted to politics, could it be that the very contest surrounding the name to give to the Islamic State indicates that something even more important is at stake here? In that case, the label given of terrorist could also very well indicate an inability to “think the unthinkable” (Valantin, War, Zombies and Strategy, September 2014). To find out, we need to understand further what is the Islamic State, notably to “evaluate” its statehood.

The Islamic State

Let us start first with specifying what is a modern state. We shall then compare this ideal-type to the Islamic State.

The ideal-type of the modern state

Domestically, there is no universally accepted simple definition for the modern state (see bibliography). However we may start from the fact that it is a specific form of polity (a polity being a politically organised unit, Merriam Webster), where political authorities, to ensure at best their mission – which is to provide security to those who are ruled – use on the one hand a legitimate monopoly of violence, and on the other a relatively centralised and efficient administration, an extraction of revenues or resources, “and other means of management” (Weber 1919, Moore 1978, Brewer, 1989). In exchange, for the security they receive, the ruled recognize the political authorities as legitimate and contribute to their survival (including as authorities).

Internationally, things are much simpler and a (modern) state is a political entity, indeed a crucial political actor, which has a legal personality defined according to the Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States (1933): “a state must possess a permanent population, a defined territory and a government capable of maintaining effective control over its territory and of conducting international relations with other states” (art 1). As a result, internationally, a state is characterized by its territoriality, sovereignty and independence.  It is also most often recognized as such by other states; this recognition corresponds to the international part of legitimacy. However, according to The Montevideo Convention, Article 3, “the political existence of the state is independent of the recognition by other states”.

The “domestic statehood” of the Islamic State

Domestically, the Islamic State, through the Caliph, rules over the population inhabiting the territory it has conquered and seeks to extend this rule to “the entire Umma, or Muslim community” (O’Bagy, September 2012:17). According to Reza Pankhurst, political scientist and historian specializing in the Middle East and Islamic movements, and using the treatise al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya (the rules of governance) – one of the major classical references for Islamic political theory, “The Caliph’s responsibilities include implementing the hudood (punishments explicitly proscribed in Islam for acts such as theft, rebellion, public acts of extra-marital intercourse), collecting and distributing the taxes according to the Sharia prescriptions, and to protect and expand the borders of the Islamic State.” (“Understanding Calls to a Caliphate,” 22 August 2011, Foreign Policy Journal).

Thus if the Islamic State follows its own rules, as seems to be happening on the ground, as shown by Y. Carmon, Y. Yehoshua, and A. Leone, who underline that, doctrine-wise, “unlike Al-Qaeda, IS prioritizes state-building”, then it does very much resemble a state as previously defined (“Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State, MEMRI, 14 September 2014).

On the ground, for example, the Islamic State gathers and collects resources as detailed by Mona Alami (“The Islamic State and the Cost of Governing“, Sada, 4 September 2014), rules and governs creating a specific type of administration as is progressively documented through accounts from the ground (“How Did Raqqa Fall To The Islamic State of Iraq & ash-Sham?“, Syria Untold, January 2014)”; Zaman al-Wasl, “How Islamic State Administers Territory in Eastern Syria“, The Syrian Observer, 24 Sep 2014), and from documents seized (Ruth Sherlock, “Inside the leadership of Islamic State: how the new ‘caliphate’ is run“, 9 July 2014, The Telegraph). The violence, brutality and horror of its rule characterizes its governance but does not question there is a rule or governance. The Islamic State has a more or less strong monopoly over the means of violence, according to places, as explained by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi in his “Brief Note on Fighting in Fallujah and the Periphery” (18 September 2014), through its CIA-estimated 20.000 to 31.500 fighters in both Iraq and Syria (Ken Dilanian, Associated Press, 11 September 2014).

We shall need to continuously monitor the success or failure of the Islamic State in its endeavour at state-building, and then “state-keeping”, as no state is ever a given, but, on the contrary, can always fragilize or collapse (e.g. Yugoslavia, Somalia) or strengthen (e.g. Russia today compared with the 1990s).

The “international statehood” of the Islamic State

Internationally, the Islamic State has a territory. Considering the topography of Iraq and Syria and the ongoing war, maps showing controlled cities and roads are more realistic than those showing stretches of territories, often empty.

Islamic State, map, Caliphate
Iraqi and Syrian Towns and Cities seized by the Islamic State and its allies by The Long War Journal – updated 24 Sept 2014 – Red = Islamic State (formerly ISIS) and allied groups, control or heavily contested Yellow = Recent clashes Blue = Status uncertain Green = Kurdish Forces – (note: the map does not show the various actors fighting IS in Syria) – Click on map to see the latest update on Google Maps

The Islamic State rules over this territory, as seen, as well as over a (relatively) permanent population: those inhabitants who did not run away and were not killed, added to its own troops and to those who join from various countries. According to latest estimates, 15.000 foreigners including 2000 Westerners would fight in Syria, an unknown number of them having joined the Islamic State (AFP, 12 September 2014). Its rule is achieved through a form of government, as seen, which maintains a rather effective control over the territory, whatever the means of this control, from coercion to co-optation (Al-Tamimi, Ibid.).  Should this control not be effective, then the Islamic State would not be able to continue expanding, considering the number of groups opposing it in both Syria and Iraq (e.g. War in Syria).

It would thus seem that the Islamic state has many characteristics of a state, both domestically and internationally, notably if we limit ourselves to article 1 of the Montevideo convention. It does not have international recognition, as indeed no other state recognizes it as such, but, on the contrary it is labelled as a terrorist group. This does not deny its statehood, as seen, but may make its survival fundamentally problematic.

Yet, there are also indications that the Islamic State’s statehood may be different, that it may not be modern on the one hand and that it may change the international system on the other, as we shall now see.

Not a terrorist group, not a modern-state, but a Caliphate

Domestically, the Islamic State displays a major obvious difference compared with the modern state: the introduction of a preponderant religious component, which may question the modernity (Conversations with Anthony Giddens: Making Sense of Modernity 1998; Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity, 1990). As a result, and deserving further in-depth study and research, the security of the ruled, if a specific Salafi spiritual security is seen as foremost, might be understood in terms that would be utterly alien to the current prevalent secular perspective. This would reinforce the possibility that the reality of the Islamic State is “unthinkable” for international actors.

For example, President Obama seems to be unable to think that a religion can “condone the killing of innocents”. First, this shows that the President team knows little about religions from Moloch, to the Celtic druids (Bruce Lincoln, Death, War, and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology & Practice, 1991) through Kali, to name only a few famous examples. Then, it shows an inability to think in terms of sacrifice of self  and of the other for the collective good and for the good of one immortal soul, as for example Babak Rahimi argues exist in contemporary Islamist thought (“Dying a Martyr’s Death: The Political Culture of Self-Sacrifice in Contemporary Islamists“, 2004). The current hyper-narcissistic feature of Western society, exemplified by the Facebook of selfies may contribute to make other societies unthinkable.

Yet, it is all the more necessary to start thinking what security in a Caliphate may entail, as it is also concerned with the legitimacy of the state, and thus, ultimately, with its duration. These perceptions of security will need to be actively monitored.

Internationally, if the Islamic State satisfies the criteria laid in Article 1 of the Montevideo convention, it follows neither Article 3 “the exercise of these [the state’s] rights has no other limitation than the exercise of the rights of other states according to international law”, nor Article 10 “the primary interest of states is the conservation of peace…”.

The Islamic State territory has been conquered so far from Syria and Iraq, and has constantly evolving borders considering the ongoing war. The aim of the Caliph is to rule over all Muslims and to “expand the borders of the Islamic State.” (Pankhurst, Ibid.), as was expressed by al-Baghdadi when he stated:

“Those who can immigrate to the Islamic State should immigrate, as immigration to the house of Islam is a duty … Rush O Muslims to your state. It is your state. Syria is not for Syrians and Iraq is not for Iraqis. The land is for the Muslims, all Muslims….”This is my advice to you. If you hold to it you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills.” (transcript from al-Baghdadi audio recording in Damien McElory, “Rome will be conquered next, says leader of ‘Islamic State'”. The Telegraph, 1 July 2014) .

Thus, the new “state” created is intrinsically expansionist, which, in terms of international law and of the international society of states, creates a fundamental problem, as the rights of other states to be is denied.

Even more fundamentally upsetting, it does not seem that the Caliphate either recognizes the international society of states, or is interested in its norms, rules, and aims.

Furthermore, actions in return to fight the Caliphate also start threatening the current international society and its norms, as shown by U.S. State Secretary Kerry when he states:

“We have been very clear from the beginning we will not allow geography or borders to prevent us from being able to take action against ISIL, and we will not allow them to have a safe haven where they think they can have sanctuary against accountability. We will hold them responsible for their grotesque atrocities, and we will not allow these terrorists to find a safe haven anywhere. That is President Obama’s resolve.” (John Kerry, Remarks at a stakeout with Iraqi President Fuad Masum… U.S. Department of State, 23 Septembe 2014)

International actors are thus challenged by a complex conundrum.

The current situation that must be monitored can be summarized as follows: a polity, the Caliphate, which looks like a new form of state, seems to be fought by the international actors as a terrorist group, conceptualized as such at best to deny it an international recognition and a status it does not seek, sometimes in a way that also imperils the current international system.

The risk, if the real measure of the challenge, in all its dimension and in its reality is not appraised, is not only to see a long war, but also to lose many battles before the right strategy and actions are found, while the current international system may start collapsing therefore contributing to multiply dangers and threats. Hedging strategies allowing to cope with those risks will need to be developed accordingly by all other actors, from the corporate world to civil society and citizens.


“… All of these measures are necessary in order to successfully combat Daech (ISIL) and terrorist groups, which represent a threat to all Iraqis.
3. The conference participants asserted that Daech (ISIL) is a threat not only to Iraq but also to the entire international community…
4. All participants underscored the urgent need to remove Daech (ISIL) from the regions in which it has established itself in Iraq….
5. The conference participants also reaffirmed their commitment to the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council on the fight against terrorism and its sources of recruitment and financing, in particular Resolution 2170. They will make sure that this resolution is correctly implemented and will take the necessary measures to ensure it has all the intended effects. They firmly believe that resolute action is necessary to eradicate Daech (ISIL), particularly measures to prevent radicalization, coordination between all security services and stricter border control. They welcomed the prospect of working on an action plan to combat terrorist financing…” (International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, Paris, September 15, 2014)

“That terrorist group has not only beheaded journalists and humanitarian workers but also perpetrated massacres and atrocities against civilians. That terrorist movement has attacked the weakest: women and children. That terrorist movement has also attacked religious minorities, which it has hunted down in order to eliminate a number of communities. That terrorist movement has been deployed over a whole territory, in Iraq and Syria. That terrorist movement holds borders in contempt and even intends to found a state. Such is the threat: it’s global, so it requires a global response.” (Iraq – International Conference on Peace and Security – Opening speech by François Hollande, President of the Republic).

Featured image: The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea launches a Tomahawk cruise missile as seen from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf, Sept. 23, 2014. The George H.W. Bush and the Philippine Sea are part of Carrier Strike Group 2, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Garst. Public Domain.

C-band_Radar-dish_Antenna 2014

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 171– Al-Qaeda in India

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

Read the 25 September scan →

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.

This week feature signal: Jihadism seems to be spreading to India, how likely is it to succeed? Will the war against Jihadis extend likewise? What feedbacks can be expected with the war against the Islamic State?

Intelligence Bureau alert on communal tension likelihood by anti-social groups


– New Delhi: The Intelligence Bureau has warned that “groups and elements supportive of extremist ideology similar to Al-Qaeda” are trying to “increase communal tension” in states like J&K,  Maharash…

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

The War Room 2014

Seminars in Brussels – Autumn-Winter 2014/1015

Designed and developed by leading faculty and experts from government, research, and industry, the seminars will provide you with the research, analytic and methodological skills you need to avoid surprise, foresee crises and thus manage risks.

Jointly organized in Brussels by Vesalius College, the Institute for European Studies (IES) and the Global Governance Institute (GGI), with the participation of The Red (Team) Analysis Society for curriculum design and training of the first part “Risk Analysis and Early Warning”,  modules can be taken individually or as a whole, then leading to the award of an Advanced Certificate in Global Risk Analysis & Crisis Management (10 modules).

Register now for individual Strategic Foresight and Warning, Anticipatory Intelligence and Risk Management modules:

  • Module 1: Understanding Risks, Grasping Uncertainty: 26 – 27 September 2014
  • Module 2: Analysing Risks, Preparing for Uncertainty: 24 – 25 October 2014
  • Module 5: Global Crisis Monitoring, Conflict Analysis & Early Warning: 30 January – 31 January 2015

Specifically, we will show you how to:

  • Find your way in the maze of anticipatory methodologies (Module 1);
  • Select and use best processes, methodologies and practice in risk management and strategic foresight and warning (Module 1, 2, 5);
  • Identify, mitigate and even utilize biases (Module 1);
  • Improve critical thinking and analytical skills (Module 1, 2, 5);
  • Gain in-depth knowledge for identifying and analyzing national, international and global security risks that matter to you and your organization (Module 1, 2, 5);
  • Develop mastery of practical IT tools (Module 2);
  • Identify crucial indicators to monitor risk (Module 2);
  • Develop scenarios for strategic decision-making (Module 2, 5);

The complete list of modules can be consulted on the Vesalius College website.

To register, and for further information please use the contact details here.

Weekend modules start Fridays between 17.30 – 18.30 with a Welcome Aperitif, followed by the senior policy-maker roundtable and discussion from 18.30 – 20.00.

The Saturday Training Sessions run from 10.00 until 19.00.

Featured image: Dr Strangelove, the War Room, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

C-band_Radar-dish_Antenna 2014

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 170 – China Sees Possibility for World War 3

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

Read the 18 September scan →

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.

This week feature article: a strong indication of the generalized high level of tension…

As possibility of third world war exists, China needs to be prepared – People’s Daily Online


– As the Ukrainian crisis deepens, international observers have become more and more concerned about a direct military clash between the US and Russia. Once an armed rivalry erupts, it is likely to e…

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