Tempobs – Things Come Together: Saudi Arabia and Iran

Early 2016 has witnessed a succession of dramatic developments that have inflamed the already contentious Iran-Saudi relationship, bringing it to the forefront of global governmental and media attention. These have included: Riyadh’s decision to break diplomatic relations with Tehran at the beginning of the year, the accelerated decline of the price of oil deeply affecting both countries’ economies, the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal leading to Iran’s reinsertion into the global economic system, and a reversal of fortune in the Syrian civil war with Iranian and Russian-supported regime forces scoring major advances against the Saudi-backed opposition. We shall survey these developments (deferring, however, discussion of the fast changing situation in Syria to a later post) with the aim of… Read More

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 191 – Minsk and the Probability of War

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section. Read the 12 February scan →  World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – In terms of major issues, increasingly, one week looks very much like the next, as matters get entrenched. However, within each issue, problems emerge, evolve and sometimes coalesce. Joseph Nye, in his small but excellent book Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History, wrote in a part aptly named The Funnel of Choices: “Events close in over time, degrees of freedom are lost and the probability of war increases. But the funnel of choices available to leaders might open up again, and degrees of freedom could… Read More

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Monitoring the War against the Islamic State or against a Terrorist Group?

The war in Syria has now become fully internationalized, after its expected regionalization, notably favoured by the failure to stabilize Iraq after its state was destroyed by the 2003 US-led Iraq war. The two, initially unrelated wars have morphed into a war against one of the fighting actors on the Syrian battlefield, the Islamic State, originally born from the Iraqi… Read More

An Isolated Russia? Think Again!

Since March 2014, the Russian “dispatch of troops to Crimea”, and the contested referendum in Crimea followed by its incorporation into the Russian Federation, “The West”* rhetoric is that Russia is isolated, and that the U.S. and its allies will work to further isolate it (e.g. Zeke J Miller, “Obama: U.S. Working To ‘Isolate Russia’“, Time, 3 March 2014). As the war in Eastern Ukraine seems to be perceived mainly through “Crimean lenses”, this Western policy, added to rounds of sanctions, aim at seeing an increasingly isolated Russian Federation bend to a “Western” vision of what the international order should be. The soon ex-General Secretary of Nato Rasmussen’s statement on Estonian TV according to which “Russia is globally isolated due to its actions in Ukraine” is only one example of similar comments made… Read More

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 146 – A case study in escalation: NATO, the U.S. and Russia

Editorial – A case study in escalation: NATO, the U.S. and Russia. If we very coldly look at how the situation is evolving between NATO, the U.S. and Russia, then it seems undeniable that we are in the case of a serious escalation, which is also getting larger and deeper. The hope for de-escalation the Kerry-Lavrov meeting had created, followed by the start of a removal of the Russian troops from the Russian territory close to the Ukraine border, as observed by Reuters and noted by the BBC (see Jonathan Marcus, first question, Doorstep statement by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, 1 April – video) stopped with NATO’s series of declarations, starting with “Unfortunately, I cannot confirm that Russia is withdrawing… Read More

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 142 – Beyond Ukraine, towards Change in the World Order?

Editorial – Beyond Ukraine, towards change in the world order? What if behind the tension in Ukraine and Crimea there was something more and larger at stake? What if it were not just one more serious international crisis, but also a moment when some underlying dynamics that were so far only hardly perceptible, or still in the making were crystallized and becoming quite obvious? It is most likely that it is indeed what is happening as underlined, for example, by Ivan Krastev in his article in Foreign Affairs, when he writes: “Russia’s aggression in Ukraine should not be understood as an opportunistic power grab. Rather, it is an attempt to politically, culturally, and militarily resist the West. Russia resorted to military… Read More

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly No124, 31 October 2013

A new world order in the making: America, Britain and Russia – The world is changing and the decisions taken by the various actors are not only reactions to those changes and their anticipated direction and impact, but also contributions towards the very evolution of the system. We thus see the U.S. revising – rather… Read More

Democracy: the Key to Avoiding Future Wars? (3)

In this post we shall finish investigating the second level of analysis of the Kantian framework, i.e. how states in their relationships with one another and also with their citizens should behave in their pursuit of democracy and if this leads to war or not, as could happen in the case of Syria, and finally look at the third level, humankind.

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The Red (team) Analysis Weekly No117, 12 September 2013

While a violent battle to win the minds through information, misinformation, manipulation, and deception is at work around Syria, the international order is changing out of the interactions between players. Will the post-1945 order prove resilient enough or are we heading towards a system that will look more like a 19th century Europe, or shall… Read More

2018 – 2023 EVT – A Polity in Shambles (Mamominarch)

Post updated 10 May 2012. Last weeks’ summary: In 2012 EVT, Everstate (the ideal-type corresponding to our very real countries created to foresee the future of governance and of the modern nation-state) knows a rising dissatisfaction of its population. To face the various difficulties and widespread discontent, in a first scenario, Everstate’s governing bodies implement the Mamominarch programme of drastic reduction of state’s spending over five years through devolution, privatisation and outsourcing. By 2018 EVT, besides a generalised rising insecurity for most Everstatans, the now fragile state cannot efficiently manage the complex catastrophes that start hitting Everstate in May. Further pressures and perceptions of the way they are answered lead to radicalisation and polarisation along three lines: local independence with direct membership to the Regional Union – with now a battle over Trueland… Read More

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