Strategic Foresight & Warning Analysis

Strategic Foresight and Warning (SF&W) is at once process and analysis. By SF&W analysis we mean all methodologies and related issues allowing for the development of an understanding grounded in reality that will generate best anticipatory products, useful to decision-makers and policy-makers for carrying out their mission (to find your way within the myriad of labels […]

Visualising the Steps to Foresee the Future and Get Ready for It

Strategic foresight and warning or more broadly anticipation is a step by step process to anticipate the future in an actionable way. The graphic ideal type process displayed below is the result of more than a decade of work with and about systems of anticipation, from early warning systems to prevent conflicts for aid agencies to […]

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), […]

The Battle of Raqqa, the Kurds and Turkey

This article focuses on the evolution of the balance of forces on the battlefield, notably for the Kurds, mainly in Syria but also in Iraq, one of the multiple layers of interactions that must be considered around the battle of Raqqa against the Islamic State. It is part of a series aiming at deciphering the […]

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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Evaluating Likelihoods for Libya – Scenario 2 Intervention

Having organized the scenarios and detailed the general methodology for Scenario 2 in the last article, we shall now discuss the indicators for intervention and determine the likelihood of intervention occurring for the General National Congress (GNC), Council of Representatives (COR), and Government of National Accord (GNA), as well as see how the general case envisioned previously needs to be amended to reflect the reality on the ground as interventions have started. The initial narratives for the intervention scenarios can be found here (scenarios 2(1) to 2(9)). Note: we shall use the acronym COR for the Council of Representatives (nationalists), GNC for the General National Congress (Islamists), and GNA for the UN-backed Government of National Accord (unity government). Scenarios trees for […]

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Evaluating Scenarios and Indicators for the Syrian War

Every year, The Economist, in its “The World in…” series, assesses it successes and failures regarding its past yearly forecasts (e.g. for 2012). This is an exemplary behaviour that should be adopted by all practitioners: if we are to deliver good and actionable strategic foresight and warning, and to improve our process, methodology and thus our final products, then we should always evaluate our work. Having now completed our last series of updates on the state of play for the Syrian war, we can now start assessing how our own scenarios and indicators fared so far, if they need to be updated and the potential methodological improvements that we should endeavour. Evaluating the scenarios As the Geneva conference took place (see previous […]

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Evaluating Likelihoods for the Future of Libya – Scenarios of Victories (1)

In this article, we shall assess the likelihood of a total victory by the GNC, GNA, and COR. By total victory, we mean a complete victory by one side over its adversaries, which is not imposed from the top down by external powers. In the previous article, we evaluated the likelihood for various spillover scenarios occurring both in the event of partition and without partition. Now that intervention is already occurring, as we saw in our article on intervention scenarios, the “Total Victory” scenarios are considered sub-scenarios of Scenario 2: Intervention instead of independent scenarios. As such, this will be reflected in the indicators, mapping and likelihoods. Indeed, as events unfolded and intervention took place scenarios 3, which were about […]

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Evaluating Likelihoods for the Future of Libya – A Salafist Victory?

In this article, we shall assess the likelihood of a total victory in Libya in the medium term by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. By victory, we mean a complete victory by one side over its adversaries, which is not imposed from the top down by external powers. In the previous article, we evaluated the likelihood for the lasting victory of each government, finding that a COR victory was least unlikely. Now that intervention is already occurring, as we saw in our article on intervention scenarios, the “Salafist Victory” scenarios are considered sub-scenarios of Scenario 2: Intervention instead of independent scenarios. As such, this will be reflected in the indicators, mapping and likelihoods. Indeed, as events unfolded and intervention took […]

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Evaluating Likelihoods for the Future of Libya – Scenarios of Victories (2)

In this article, we shall assess the likelihood of a lasting victory by the GNC, GNA, and COR—in other words, the ability of each government to not only achieve victory, but also to maintain lasting control. By victory, we mean a complete victory by one side over its adversaries, which is not imposed from the top down by external powers. In the previous article, we evaluated the likelihood for the initial victory of each government, finding that a COR victory was least unlikely. Now that intervention is already occurring, as we saw in our article on intervention scenarios, the “Total Victory” scenarios are considered sub-scenarios of Scenario 2: Intervention instead of independent scenarios. As such, this will be reflected in […]

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