Actors Mapping and State of Play

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The question of a U.S. decline is increasingly on the agenda as signals seem to pile up to indicate a relative loss of power status. The last instance of such dynamics at play is the 4 to 8 October 2017 state visit to Russia of King Salman Saudi Arabia King Salman, a long-standing close ally of the U.S. … Continue reading Sources of American Decline… and Power – The View from the U.S. National Intelligence Council

The second decade of the 21st century appears to be rough for the U.S.. Could it mean that American power is waning? The question of a putative decline of the U.S. regularly emerges in international relations and in the media since at least the 1970s (Kenneth Waltz; Theory of International Politics, 1979: 177-178). … Continue reading Which U.S. Decline? The View from the U.S. National Intelligence Council

The coming Battle for Sirte to defeat the Islamic State in Libya is principally seen from the perspective of the struggle between the U.N.-backed new government supported by some militias including Misrata, and those who refuse that government’s legitimacy, such as nationalist Haftar (e.g. “The scramble for Sirte”, The Economist, … Continue reading The Islamic State in Libya – When Libyan Tribes Pledge Allegiance to the Khalifah

What is the current state of play for the Islamic State in Libya, and, most importantly, how can it evolve? The question is increasingly relevant considering the rising possibility of an international intervention in Libya against the Islamic State, a complex matter considering notably the questioned domestic legitimacy of the new U.N.-prompted Government of National Authority (GNA) (e.g. … Continue reading The Islamic State in Libya – Force, Fighters and Tribes

When we started our series to better understand the Islamic State system, we identified the wilayat (“what is taken charge of”, “what is ruled”) as unit of analysis and as a system, which can then be monitored to foresee and warn about the overall developments of the Islamic State (see Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Structure and Wilayat, … Continue reading Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Wilayat and Wali in Yemen

Updated: 22 February 2016
Conflicting information regarding the Islamic State and the evolution of the war emerge everyday from the media, while analysts, commentators and official statements are no less swaying. For example, on 13 April 2015, “Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman” stressed that the Islamic State had “ceded 5,000 to 6,000 square miles of territory”, … Continue reading Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Structure and Wilayat

Tribalism in Libya’s civil war is a powerful dynamic that must be analyzed and understood before endeavoring foresight. Libya comprises 140 tribes, of which an estimated 30 to 40 have political influence, making it “one of the most tribal nations in the Arab world” (Kurczy and Hinshaw, The Christian Science Monitor, … Continue reading War in Libya and Its Futures – Tribal Dynamics and Civil War (1)

With this post of our series on the war in Libya, and the next, we shall examine the pro-Islamist Libyan actors, including Islamist groups, militias from Misrata, the General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli, and their regional supporters – Qatar and Turkey, after having focused previously on the Nationalist forces and the internationally recognized Council of Representatives in Tobruk (see Nationalist Forces I & … Continue reading War in Libya and its Futures: State of Play – Islamist & Misrata forces (1)

The Islamic State is one of the contemporary most serious and novel threats to the transitioning (or not) current world order. The fact that war is part and parcel of the Islamic State and its Caliphate or Khilafah (خلافة) very existence is only one of the many challenges and novelties that most of the rest of the world must face. … Continue reading Portal to the Islamic State War

After we focused, in our series on the far-right in Ukraine, first on ultra-nationalism then on the new People’s Front ultra-nationalist outlook and related potential impacts, notably regarding war in Eastern Ukraine, this last post will deal with the remaining far-right groups.
We shall first look at the way the war in Eastern Ukraine further legitimized not only far-right and nationalist groups but also their paramilitary branches. … Continue reading Conflict in Ukraine – The Far-Right (3): Parties and Battalions