Energy Geopolitics and Climate Politics: a Complicated Relationship

The geopolitical landscape at the end of the year 2015 is especially strange. In effect, it is both dominated by the enormous gathering of heads of states and governments in Paris for the “COP 21”, which aims to make possible an international treaty on climate change, and by the war against the Islamic State, as the French president works to make possible a new cooperation between the U.S.-led coalition and Russia against the common foe (Yves Bourdillon, “Hollande, Poutine et Obama se liguent contre Daech”, Les Echos, 17/11/2015) after the terrible attacks on Paris on 13 November, following the downing of the Russian Plane on 31 October, the attack in Lebanon on 12 November and the bombing in Tunis on 24 November. […]

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Oil Flood (2) – Oil and Politics in a (Real) Multipolar World

The world oil flood is quickly rising. As we have seen in “Oil Flood (1): The Kingdom is Back”, the decisions taken by OPEC members and Russia not to curb oil production, while Saudi Arabia is forcing prices down, are much more about power politics and strategies than about economics and the “invisible hand” of the logic of “supply and demand”. We shall now focus on what the evolution of the current oil market reveals about current and future geopolitics. Since the end of November, especially since the 27 November OPEC meeting, prices have kept falling down, while the main producers, chiefly among them Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, and the private U.S. companies, have all decided, for reasons of their own, to maintain […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 144, Geopolitics also matters for businesses

Editorial – Geopolitics also matters for businesses – Among the big changes that the “Ukraine and Crimea crisis” are bringing or catalyzing, we may be seeing the end of the hegemonic belief that economics, and “business” only matter. Now that the E.U., its European members and the U.S. could be moving towards sanctions against Russia […]

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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Methodology to Analyze Future Security Threats (2): a Game of Chess

This article is the second of a series looking for a methodology that would fulfill the challenging criteria demanded by our time. Previously, we saw that a single “story” initially told at a general level, the political dynamics that are at the core of a polity, could be used to build the very specific model needed to answer a strategic foresight and warning (national security) question or a political risk interrogation. Very practically, how shall we do that? How are generic dynamics going to help us with our task? How can we proceed? This is what we shall see now. Related Towards an Operational Methodology to Analyze Future Security Threats and Political Risk (1) Methodology to Analyze Future Security Threats (2): a […]

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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), […]

Evaluating Forces on the Syrian Battlefield

Having an idea of the forces present on the battlefield in Syria is crucial to understand the state of play, to follow the course of the war, to evaluate the impact of the decisions taken by external players, and to estimate the likelihood to see one scenario (or one of its variations) happening. Here is a synthesis of the various estimates found for each warring group…

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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 for Syria – Scenario 3.4. Back to an Al-Assad Syria?

Despite the recent victory in Qusayr by the pro Al-Assad groups, and despite the strategic character of the city, this scenario  seems to be unlikely, but not impossible, in a very near future. To obtain complete victory, we may assume that the regime of Bashar Al-Assad would continue and even strengthen his current strategy of population displacement and use of foreign forces. However, this strategy has profound impacts that would make the construction of peace much more difficult: it favours sectarianism, the spiral of fear, hatred, and retribution, while destroying wealth and thus making it more difficult to deal with displaced people and providing for their return to normal life. As underlined almost a year ago by Joshua Landis: “The […]

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Strategic Intelligence for Syria – Scenario 3.3.2. A Truly Secular Syria?

This post will outline the last but one scenario for Syria for the short to medium term, i.e. “a Secular Syria” resulting from a real victory by one of the warring groups. Considering the current state of play, this scenario is unlikely, even utopic. Yet, imagining it will also suggest possible policy and strategy that could change the odds.
The various scenarios constructed over the last weeks are summarized in a graph, which starts exploring ways to look at sets of scenarios as a systemic and dynamic whole.

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