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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 199 – Of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Petrodollars

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Read the 16 April scan →  World – Two major developments should more particularly be underlined this week, the first related to world order and further threat to the U.S. Dollar supremacy and the second to the potential forthcoming anti-Bashar al-Assad Saudi-Turkish attacks in Syria. First, there is the impact of the lower oil prices on petrodollars, with potential second order effects on the supremacy of the U.S. dollars as international currency, and then again potential consequences on American power and world order. As underlined in Bloomberg’s article (see “Oil-Rich Nations Are Selling Off Their Petrodollar Assets at Record Pace” in the Weekly), currently analysts are divided in two schools of […]

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At War against the Islamic State – From Syria to the Region

Between 29 September and 21 October 2015, the U.S. led coalition conducted 95 airstrikes on Syrian territory against the Islamic State (U.S. Central Command, Operation Inherent Resolve, briefing 22 Oct 2015). On 27 October, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the U.S. would step up its campaign against the Islamic State with the “‘three R’s’ – Raqqa, Ramadi, and Raids”, involving notably ramping up U.S. and coalition air strikes as well as “direct action on the ground” – the “Raids”  (“Secretary of Defense Ash Carter opening statement on counter-ISIL Senate Armed Services Committee”, October 27, 2015), anticipating the announcement of  the deployment of a very small special force on the ground in Northern Syria (Reuters, 31 Oct 2015).  As a […]

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Tempobs – Saudi Arabia and Iran, towards War or Cooperation?

Considering the beginning of Russian airstrikes in Syria, and, notably, the increased risk to see it perceived as fanning an already difficult situation in terms of sectarian, Shi’a versus Sunni, tension (Helene Lavoix, “Russia at War with the Islamic State in Syria – Perceptions of Strikes“, RTAS,  12 Oct 2015), understanding and foreseeing the relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia has become crucially important. Indeed, it could very well be that, fundamentally, without appeasing completely this sectarian tension it will be impossible to end the war spreading in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. It is within this framework that is now located our new project to enhance strategic foresight and warning, risk, or more broadly anticipatory analysis’ handling of time-related issues. As explained previously, we […]

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China, Israel, and the New Silk Road

In April 2014, the Israeli President and historic figure Shimon Peres led a three days state visit in China, in order to bolster the growing relationship between the two countries (Shannon Tiezzi, “As China Turns Toward Middle East, China and Israel Seek Closer Ties“, The Diplomat, April 09, 2014). It is interesting to note that the discussions were mainly focused on agriculture, natural resources, environmental protection, education and healthcare. Since then, other talks have been held about defense cooperation (Mercy A. Kuo and Angelica O. Tang, “The U.S.-China-Israel Defense Dynamic: Strategic Common Ground”, The Diplomat, May 11, 2015). Beijing has even proposed its mediation in the Israel-Palestine conflict (Shannon Tiezzi, “China appoints new special envoy to the Middle east”, The Diplomat, September […]

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Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Means of Violence

As we seek to assess the Islamic State’s ability to create a real and sustainable polity, meanwhile understanding it better, we first focused on the overall structure of the Islamic State and its Khilafah, which can usefully be seen as a wilayat system. Then, we started analysing the top leadership constituted by the Calif (Khalif, Khalifa), the Shura Council and the Sharia Council, what these institutions mean and entail in terms of legitimacy. Here, after having rapidly explained our methodology, using Max Weber’s (1919) classical distinction, we shall focus on the monopoly of the legitimate means of violence, i.e. military, security and police. With the next post, we shall deal with the extraction of resources as well as with all the other administrative agencies. Of course, legitimacy […]

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Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Money, Wealth and Taxes

As we evaluate the Islamic State’s ability to create a real and sustainable polity, we examined previously the overall structure of the Khilafah with its wilayat system (“Structure and Wilayat“), the top ruling authorities and related legitimacy (“The Calif and Legitimacy“), and the monopoly of the legitimate means of violence, i.e. military, security and police (“Means of Violence“). Continuing using Weber’s classical principles of what a state is (1919), we shall now turn to the capacity of the Khilafah to extract resources. Indeed, as the recurrent problem of public budget deficits and currently of the Greek crisis, permanently reminds us, no state may survive long without an ability to get resources or income that are necessary to carry out its mission, notably in terms of security. In other […]

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At War against a Global Islamic State – The Fall into Extreme Sunni-Shi’ite Tensions

In this series, which emphasises some of the major strategic dangers related to the war against the Islamic State, we focused first on geographical risks resulting potentially from a narrow understanding of the Islamic State’s implantation and outreach. We thus moved from a Mesopotamian theatre of war  to a regional one (“From Syria to the Region“), then to the necessity to also incorporate all global operations of the Islamic State in the strategy, explaining how operations in one area could impact operations elsewhere as well as the overall war (“A Global Theatre of War“). We notably took as examples, beyond the obvious case of Libya, Somalia (“Facing a Strategic Trap in Somalia?“), Bangladesh, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia (“From the Philippines and Indonesia to Bangladesh“). The strategic challenges presented […]

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An Updated Guide to the Islamic State Psyops

 last update: selected 10 videos… updated dates for all the latest issue of magazines, Amaq in Bengali, al-Bayan in Bengali. The defeated attack by the Islamic State on Ben Guerdane in Tunisia on 7 March 2016 probably indicated a worrying shift in tactics and strategy, which must be considered (e.g. Vanessa Szakal, “Mainstream Media on Ben Guerdane: victory and foreboding in Tunisia“, Nawaa, 11 March 2016). This attack may be seen as having been heralded by a significant call made by the Islamic State to the Islamic Maghreb through five psyops videos published over two days (19-20 January 2016). In parallel, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb started  to copycat the Islamic State’s type of videos (Andrea Spada, “Al-Qaeda tries to imitate Daesh in new threatening […]

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Fighting the Islamic State’s Terrorism at Home – The Third Way

On 12 and 13 June 2016, two terrorist attacks claimed by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) reminded the Western population, with immediate impact on the U.K. “Brexit” polls (see below), that the war waged against them and all non-Salafis had not ended. The first attack took place against a gay nightclub in Orlando, U.S., killing 50 and wounding 48 people (e.g. BBC News, 13 June 2016). The second occurred in Magnanville, France (e.g. BBC News, 14 June 2016). There, a jihadi stabbed to death a police commanding officer, who was coming back from work, then killed the police officer’s partner under the eyes of their three and half boy in their home. The attacks generated political reactions showing that the debate has polarised but without truly evolving since the first recent […]

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Fighting the Islamic State’s Terrorism at Home – Truly Defend and Strike Back

This is the second part of the series looking for a third way to – truly – fight against the Islamic State’s – and other salafi-jihadi’s – terrorist attacks at home, away from polarisation. Unfortunately, in the light of the spat of terrorist attacks in Bangladesh, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, in France again and again, in Germany and on 22 March 2017 in London, especially considering the way these attacks were carried out, this series of two articles becomes even more salient (e.g. “1–2 July 2016 Dhaka attack“, Wikipedia; “Istanbul airport attack: Isis behind deaths of at least 41, PM says“, The Guardian, 29 June 2016; “Nineteen people arrested over Saudi Arabia attacks“, Al Jazeera, 8 July 2016, “Nice attack: At least […]

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