In April 2014, the Israeli President and historic figure Shimon Peres led a three days state visit in China, in order to bolster the growing relationship between the two countries (Shannon Tiezzi, “As China Turns Toward Middle East, China and Israel Seek Closer Ties“, The Diplomat, April 09, 2014). It is interesting to note that the discussions were mainly focused on agriculture, natural resources, environmental protection, education and healthcare. Since then, other talks have been held about defense cooperation (Mercy A. Kuo and Angelica O. Tang, “The U.S.-China-Israel Defense Dynamic: Strategic Common Ground”, The Diplomat, May 11, 2015). Beijing has even proposed its mediation in the Israel-Palestine conflict (Shannon Tiezzi, “China appoints new special envoy to the Middle east”, The Diplomat, September… Read More
Benyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime minister is known to joke about the fact that Moses led his people during forty years in the desert to the only place in the Middle East without oil (Marin Katusa, The Colder War, 2014). And, indeed, for the first sixty years of its existence, the lack of energy resources has been a major difficulty for Israel. However, a profound change seems to be underway, since two giant off-shore natural gas deposits have been discovered in the Israeli exclusive economic zone in 2011. The Tamar and the Leviathan fields hold respectively 10 and between 19 and 22 trillion cubic feet of gas of estimated reserves, which could ensure decades of domestic consumption as well as… Read More
Horizon scanning for national and international security: identifies, through social networks’ crowdsourcing, signals that point to new, emerging, escalating or stabilizing problems and issues – This week, unsurprisingly Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Ukraine… but also the very bleak OECD report on our future, among others. Click on image to read the Weekly Powered by Paper.Li.
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,… Read More
Editorial – Russia, the Arctic and … Syrian uncertainties – If you were looking for a new tense area to monitor, here it is: the Arctic. We had known it was coming for a few years, but now it is definitely on the agenda, besides, mainly, the Middle East, North East Asia and a struggle for… Read More
Editorial – Si vis pacem para bellum (If you want peace prepare for war) and biases – The continuous escalation in East Asia is worrying to say the least. We have increasingly stronger signals pointing towards the possibility of war, including considering Japan’s challenging domestic situation. Windows of opportunities to de-escalate are most likely to open too in… Read More
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… Read More
Japan, an exemplary case for a complex world? The situation of Japan can be seen as a perfect case that exemplifies the complex dynamics into which we are taken. Absence of foresight and warning as well as refusal to consider the reality of environmental risk – and to act accordingly – plays a large part… Read More
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… Read More
Horizon Scanning for National Security No100 – Redrawing the global strategic and geopolitical map: From the Syrian civil war and its impact on the region and beyond, with its many uncertainties, moving alliances and dilemmas, to the China-Japan unrelenting tension over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, through the rush for the Arctic, without forgetting the European quagmire and its multi-faceted apparently slow-moving polarization, this is actually the global political and strategic map that is being redrawn. How it will look like is still shrouded in the fog of war … or rather of wars, crises, and battles, present and, unfortunately, to come.