(Updated 22 May 2013) Now that we know and understand better the actors present on the Syrian battlefield, we may start outlining scenarios regarding first plausible futures for Syria and prospects for peace over the short to medium term, and second the regional implications of those scenarios, as the regional and even global geostrategic dimensions of the war in Syria are becoming clearer everyday. Scenario 1: Negotiating Peace for Syria in Geneva The diplomatic talks promoting a negotiated settlement of the Syrian civil war are successful and negotiations start. Sub-scenario 1.1.: All but the Jihadis The actors brought around the table are the NC and the Supreme Joint Military Command Council (SMC), the regime of Bashar al-Assad represented by a… Read More
Our own worst enemies – One major lesson that can be learned for the Boston tragedy is that efforts at improving systems and alertness can never stop in times of heightened tension and threats multiplication, at least not as long as problems have not been properly analyzed, causes courageously tackled, and real solutions imagined and… Read More
Frailties and Contagion: A bug is creating strange phenomena with the editing process this week, but there is still a lot to read, even if it is not always on the front page. The focus for the week is, besides the East Asian rising tensions, on the Middle East and the Syrian conflict increasingly impacting… Read More
Horizon Scanning for National Security No93 – Are political authorities back? Many high-tech and cyber related signals emerged this week, from the massive DDoS attack to digital arm trade, right to kill hackers, DNA computing, quantum technology or space entrepreneurs, besides the possibility of renewed attacks by “climato-skeptics,” when scientists wonder if the frozen spring could be linked to a slower gulf stream, and when political impacts of natural catastrophes start being studies more consistently. Meanwhile, the Syrian quagmire deepens, progressively dragging the region in, and tensions in Northeast Asia heighten. And at the core…
Horizon Scanning for National Security No91: The Actors and the System: Powerlessness? If we were to estimate the power of the actors by their ability to stabilize the system, they would not fare very well, and this, in itself, is a signal that tensions will most probably continue to rise and escalate in intensity as well as widen in scope. One of the interesting question would thus be: How long can this system withstand the pressure until it breaks?
Horizon Scanning for National Security No90: Some Light within Darkness – For a change, let us focus on the positive (within the multiple remaining and rising challenges): climate change and environmental factors emerge this week as being increasingly integrated within our understanding of the complex dynamics at work in conflicts and more broadly threats or dangers to national security. Is the painting depicted scarier? Certainly, but understanding is also a crucial step towards solving properly problems… hopefully.
Horizon Scanning for National security No89 – Look East: Indicators are turning red! The possibility of war – between China and Japan… and the US (security treaties can also have an escalating effect) and ? – is now very much on the agenda, despite all wishful thinking and previous disbelief. The dire financial situation of Japan, which everyone tries so hard to ignore, while US potential sequestration shockwaves nears and Europe polarizes, are not the most stabilizing context and factors. We had a window of opportunity, at the beginning of February, it closed. Shall we see another opening up of “the funnel of choices” (Nye, 1993: 68-69)?
Horizon Scanning for National Security No85 – Window of opportunity, rising tensions and creeping new order(s)? The political situation in Greece escalates, as in the MENA regions. Turkey’s interest in the SCO is particularly indicative. Positively, on China/Japan, a window of opportunity seems to be opening, yet on a backdrop of high tension, including considering the Japanese upcoming revision of wartime history… meanwhile a potential terrible new way to understand resilience regarding climate change would be emerging.
Horizon Scanning for National Security No84 – Wars in a revised socio-economic order – The gathered signals seem to point (unsurprisingly) towards the following questions: Will there be a war between China and Japan? Will Israel attack Iran? Will a new – or rather old (similar to what existed before the birth of the Soviet Union)- economy with entrenched inequalities and the disappearance of a large middle class settles in? Shall Greece be the first to violently rebel against it?