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 […]
Editorial – The Caliphate, War in Syria and Beyond – The victorious offensive of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Iraq should not come as a surprise. It has been in the making for quite a while, the “while” changing according to the perspective, starting with the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the U.S. led coalition and their destruction of the Iraqi state apparatus (see notably Paul Mutter, “Maliki’s most solemn hour“, The Arabist). Nevertheless, the impacts of the capture of Mosul are multiple and crucial. ISIS has not only expanded its territorial basis, but it has also won moral and “face”, resources, including large amount of money, becoming the wealthiest Islamist competing state actor (and not “non-state actor”, or “terrorist […]
Editorial – Towards the 19th century or a darker, more remote past? (Nota: The map above depicts a 1903 vision of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in 1190) Last week we underlined that we should be looking beyond the current Ukraine crisis and estimate what it may mean in terms of changing the world order. This week we find a string of signals that continue pointing in this direction, including weak data of growth for the US that would be the new norm, questioning the supremacy of the US Dollar, and consequences for American power, on all fronts. while tension over Ukraine and Crimea does not abate. Meanwhile, the Middle East is in the throes of transition with even more tension, and […]
Editorial – Contrasts – The year starts with interesting contrasts. On the one hand we have more than worrying trends. The Syrian conflict continues spreading as, notably, Iraq seems to be falling back into war – as could be expected from the continuously rising numbers of attacks and death over 2013 (if you have not seen […]
Horizon Scanning for National Security – No78: Political decisions in Greece and Ireland (see videos) question two fundamental norms ruling statehood in the international system: sovereignty and territoriality, while the third one, independence fares not much better under conditions of globalized financial pressure and crisis. What will be the impact of those deep changes in a world where threats abound, some of them conventional, other much newer but no less damaging (as Sandy)?