How to Analyse Future Security Threats (4): Scenarios and War

This article focuses on scenarios for war. It explains first why scenarios need to be mutually exclusive. Then it provides logical templates for building scenarios dealing with war. Finally it offers an updated bibliography of scenarios for Syria over time. Towards an Operational Methodology to Analyse Future Security Threats and Political Risk (1) Methodology to […]

Saudi Arabia and the Chinese Belt and Road: the Great Convergence

In February 2019, during the Saudi Arabia-China economic forum, the two countries signed for more than 28 billion dollars deals (“Saudi-Chinese Investment Forum Signs 35 Deals During Crown Prince’s Beijing Visit”, Ashark Al Awsat, 22 February, 2019). These gigantic deals are part of the growing Saudi-China relationship. They are the economic and political continuation of […]

Signal: State visit of Saudi King in Russia

Impact on Issues ➚ U.S. Decline – ➚ Russian Influence – ➘ ➃ Middle East Regional Tension – ➚➚ ➂  Global tension Among many other impacts, we shall notably stress here that this visit shows the skill of Russian diplomacy and the pertinence of Russian strategy as Russia seems to be highly likely to succeed in  maintaining and developing […]

Signals: Talks between Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga; President Barzani Steps Down; Iran…

Impact on Issues ➚ ? ➃  Short term – Willingness of Iraq to capitalize further on their military victory against the Kurds, notably capturing Kurdish oilfields (uncertainty) ? Medium to longer term – capacity of Iraq to govern legitimately over its multi-sectarian multi-ethnic population (critical uncertainty) ➚ ➃  /➄ Iraq strength and international support ➘➘➘ ➂ Legitimacy of Iraqi Kurdish […]

Signal: High Turnout for the Iraqi Kurds Referendum

Impact on Issues ➙➚ ➁/➄ Iraq Kurds Referendum The Iraqi Kurds would need allies if they want to survive. However correct and right their right to self-determination, being landlocked, surrounded by countries opposing this right is hardly conducive to state-building. The question surrounding the Kurdish referendum is all the more crucial considering that the Islamic State remains a threat and thus that Iraq is still at war. Turnout high as Iraqi Kurds defy threats to hold independence vote ERBIL/SULAIMANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) – Kurds voted in large numbers in an independence referendum in northern Iraq on Monday, ignoring pressure from Baghdad, threats from Turkey and Iran, and international warnings that the vote may ignite yet more regional conflict. The vote organized […]

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The Kurds and Rojava, State-Building in the Syrian War

During the Autumn 2013 and Winter 2014, we witnessed a major reconfiguration of forces in Syria, as seen previously, including with the rise of Salafi-Nationalists. This article looks at the evolution that took place in Western Kurdistan, notably the birth of novel political institutions, Rojava, and how and why the Kurds relate to the Geneva conference that took place in early 2014. Creating Rojava We recall that on 10 July 2013, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) declared starting making plans to move towards some degree of autonomy for Rojava or the Syrian part of Kurdistan (see for detail 4 Nov 2013 update, 2.1.). News about Rojava and its “project” can be followed on its own website, created in August 2013. The PYD moved forward on 11 November 2013 […]

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Saudi Arabia and the Chinese New Silk Road

During March 2017, King Salman of Saudi Arabia ended a six weeks tour in Asia with a state visit in China and a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. This visit included the opportunity to start the negotiations about the integration of Saudi Arabia to the Chinese New Silk Road Grand strategy (Michael Tanchum, “Saudi Arabia […]

Artificial Intelligence, Computing Power and Geopolitics (2)

This article focuses on the political and geopolitical consequences of the feedback relationship linking Artificial Intelligence (AI) in its Deep Learning component and computing power – hardware – or rather high performance computing power (HPC). It builds on a first part where we explained and detailed this connection. Related Artificial Intelligence, Computing Power and Geopolitics […]

Scenarios for the Future of Libya within the Next Three to Five Years

Now that we have identified and understood the actors in Libya’s civil war (see State of Play), we may outline the various scenarios regarding Libya’s future within the next three to five years. A civil war with two rival governments, armed coalitions, jihadists, and various tribes creates a complex climate, and we have constructed initially […]

The Kurds in Syria – State-Building, New Model and War

This article focuses on state-building in Syria’s Kurdish area, i.e. the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria, also locally called Rojava, and potential impacts. Indeed, we saw previously that the Kurds’ capacity to build a viable polity in Northern Syria was one crucial element for evaluating not only the outcome of the battle of Raqqa against the Islamic State, but also the way Turkey could become further and more intensely embroiled in the conflict (see Helene Lavoix, “The Battle of Raqqa, the Kurds and Turkey“,  The Red (Team) Analysis Society, 2 May 2017). Extreme cases scenarios ☔  Scenario War with Turkey escalates ⛵ Directly Impacted Actors: All Eurasian + Middle East states, U.S. (military, diplo); NGOs (for Syria/Iraq/Turkey); Businesses in Turkey, Trade & exchanges with Turkey; Airlines; Maritime activities; Religious institutions… ⛅ Scenario Kurdish […]

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