The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 148 – A strange bipolar world?

Editorial – A strange bipolar world? – As previously suggested (see the Weekly 142, 143 & 145), the crisis in Ukraine seems to be accelerating some of the profound transformations that are globally at work, as consequences spread to Asia, and as doubts are being cast about the U.S. real commitment to, interest or capabilities in the region. Yet, and interestingly, the rhetoric against Russia from “the West” is strong and quite unanimously spread across (Western) media. As other noteworthy changes happen according to their own specific domestic and regional dynamics, such as the possibility to see Israel forging new ties with Arab states, we may wonder if the return to a Cold War type of discourse is not actually participating in the acceleration of change. In other words, […]

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Egypt, Climate Change and the Long Resource Civil Warfare

Since the “Arab spring” reached Egypt in January 2011, the political situation has evolved quite quickly (Georges Corm, Le Proche-Orient éclaté, 2012). Many observers analyse the Egyptian political landscape as a battlefield between the Army, the Muslim Brotherhood, and a growing number of people wanting to experience democracy, while the whole situation is being put under pressure by a very degraded economic situation (Seumas Milne, The Revenge of History, 2013). Moreover, those different actors are participating in the political tensions between Arab countries, especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and between these countries and the U.S. (Corm, ibid). Egypt has tremendous political importance in the Middle East, in Africa, and at the international and global level. Since the antiquity, this very singular […]

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How to Analyze Future Security Threats (3): Scenarios as an Organic Living System

This article is the third of a series looking for a methodology that would fulfill the challenging criteria demanded by our time. We shall now focus on scenarios, which are a way to simulate how the actors we defined and described during the previous step interact, not only among themselves but also with their environment, up until the end of the chosen timeframe. Using the precedent post’s game of chess analogy, with scenarios we imagine the various ways the game may “end”. Towards an Operational Methodology to Analyse Future Security Threats and Political Risk (1)Methodology to Analyse Future Security Threats (2): a Game of ChessHow to Analyse Future Security Threats (3): Scenarios as an Organic Living SystemHow to Analyse Future Security Threats (4): Scenarios […]

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The Persian Gulf, between Power and Collapse

A tale of two cities:  Warsaw, Teheran At the international United Nations conference on climate change in Warsaw, Poland, started on the 12th of November, the Philippine diplomat begged for the negotiators to find an international binding accord on climate, one day after a monster storm left a trail of mass destruction in his country. At the end of tense negotiations, it was established that each country should define national contributions for this global effort, which will be discussed during further negotiations. At the very same time, in Geneva, a historic deal was struck between Iran, the five permanent members of the UN security council and Germany, about Iran nuclear program: Teheran promised to suspend it, in exchange of a […]

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Climate of Change on the Red Sea

Since the “Arab spring” in 2011, one has seen a series of old and entrenched dictatorships topple (Georges Corm, Le Proche-Orient éclaté, 2012), from Tunisia to Yemen, or, as in Syria, being replaced by a monstrous civil war. However, the very complex political forces thus unleashed, are not only rooted in the changing social, political and religious Middle-East context. New socio-environmental dynamics have also appeared, which reveal the dire vulnerability of some of these societies, about to lose the very resources upon which they depend. So, they struggle to find new resources, or new ways and means, in a very tense strategic context. These new trends are particularly impressive around the Red Sea, where Middle-East power relations are deeply transformed by […]

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Towards an Operational Methodology to Analyze Future Security Threats and Political Risk (1)

In this day and age of speed, not to say haste, unequally shared resources and wish to relatively easily obtain answers to complex questions, we are faced in strategic foresight and warning analysis (or political risk analysis) with a very serious challenge. We must choose a methodology that: allows for a “good enough” analysis (Fein, 1994), […]

Surviving the Gulf of Aden: a New Strategic Paradigm for the Future of the Region

On 15th September 2013, saboteurs blew up the pipeline linking Yemeni oil fields in the North to the Hodeidah export terminal, on the Red Sea coast. It was the third time in two months. In the meantime, the Yemeni political life was also marked by a deluge of US drone strikes against militants of “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” (AQAP).  On 18th October, a militia of armed and well-organised Islamist militants attacked a Yemeni military base in the Southeast, preceded by a car bomb suicide attack, which killed five soldiers. The two following weeks saw endless attacks and manifestations, against the government as well as sectarian violence, leaving dozens dead. In the meantime, on the other side of the Gulf of […]

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The Syrian War – Bibliography and Sources

Contents 1 Casualties, refugees and internally displaced people 2 New type of analysis and collection 3 The Syrian Civil War, mainly domestic, battlefield 3.1 General Resources and Blogs 3.2.Causes of conflict 3.3 General Syrian War 3.4 Actors 3.4.1 NC, SJMCC or SMC, and FSA* 3.4.1.1 General 3.4.1.2 Muslim Brotherhood 3.4.1.3 Sufism 3.4.2 Pro Al-Assad Groups 3.4.3 Salafi and Sunni […]

Strategic Intelligence Assessment for Syria (6) – Scenario 2: No Syrian in Geneva

Scenario 2: No Syrian in Geneva The diplomatic talks fail and the international conference in Geneva does not take place or is a face-saving sham (see “Scenario 1: Peace in Geneva?” and its sub scenarios for what could result from a true international conference). Considering the current forces on the ground and their balance, we would face a lengthening conflict (probably over years rather than months) with rising prospects of regional and global involvement and chaos. The scope and depth of regional and global spill over would increase with the duration of the Syrian civil war, and, in turn, fuel it. The spill over and contagion would most probably take four shapes (not mutually exclusive). First, we would face any […]

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Strategic Intelligence Assessment for Syria (5) – Scenario 1: Peace in Geneva?

(Updated 22 May 2013) Now that we know and understand better the actors present on the Syrian battlefield, we may start outlining scenarios regarding first plausible futures for Syria and prospects for peace over the short to medium term, and second the regional implications of those scenarios, as the regional and even global geostrategic dimensions of the war in Syria are becoming clearer everyday. Scenario 1: Negotiating Peace for Syria in Geneva The diplomatic talks promoting a negotiated settlement of the Syrian civil war are successful and negotiations start. Sub-scenario 1.1.: All but the Jihadis The actors brought around the table are the NC and the Supreme Joint Military Command Council (SMC), the regime of Bashar al-Assad represented by a […]

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