At War against the Islamic State – From Syria to the Region

Between 29 September and 21 October 2015, the U.S. led coalition conducted 95 airstrikes on Syrian territory against the Islamic State (U.S. Central Command, Operation Inherent Resolve, briefing 22 Oct 2015). On 27 October, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the U.S. would step up its campaign against the Islamic State with the “‘three R’s’ – Raqqa, Ramadi, and Raids”, involving notably ramping up U.S. and coalition air strikes as well as “direct action on the ground” – the “Raids”  (“Secretary of Defense Ash Carter opening statement on counter-ISIL Senate Armed Services Committee”, October 27, 2015), anticipating the announcement of  the deployment of a very small special force on the ground in Northern Syria (Reuters, 31 Oct 2015).  As a […]

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Energy Transmutation in the Middle East: Egypt and Israel

While climate change is hammering the Middle East, and as Syria and Iraq are engulfed in war (Valantin, “Climate nightmare in the Middle East”, The Red Team Analysis Society, September 14, 2015), Egypt and Israel are going through a profound energy revolution. In effect, since 2011, Israel has discovered two giant natural gas off-shore deposits (Valantin, “Israel, Natural Gas and Power in the Middle East”, The Red Team Analysis Society, April 27, 2015) while in August 2015, the oil Italian company ENI has discovered a mammoth off-shore natural deposit in the Egyptian economic exclusive zone (Anthony Dipaola, “ENI discovers massive gas fields in the Mediterranean”, Bloomberg Business, August 30, 2015). In other terms, these two countries are transforming themselves into a new, […]

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Multiplicating Crises: Strategic Surprises or Strategic Shocks?

Over the last two decades, strategic surprises have accumulated and accelerated rather than receded, and they continue to do so. Various actors, from governments and international organisations to the corporate world through citizens seem to be constantly and increasingly surprised by events they fail to anticipate, and thus for which they are unprepared. The Arab Spring (e.g. […]

Climate Nightmare in the Middle East

The summer of 2015 has been a terrible climate moment and an energy game changer in the Middle East. From the end of July to the middle of August, a terrible heat wave has swept the whole region, from Iran and the Persian Gulf to Egypt, causing hundreds of deaths and a heavy pressure on the health of people, the infrastructures and social cohesion (Kyle Jaeger, “”Heat Dome” in the Middle East is ravaging region’s residents”, ATTN, August 4th, 2015). At the end of this sequence, at the beginning of September, the Italian oil giant corporation ENI announced having found a mammoth off shore deposit of natural gas in the Egyptian economic exclusive zone (Jeff Reed, “ Elephant discovery made […]

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War in Libya and Its Futures – Tribal Dynamics and Civil War (3)

In our previous post, we discussed the Amazigh and Tuareg tribes, who were marginalized and persecuted under Qaddafi, and their current involvement in the war. Similarly, the Toubou faced persecution and marginalization in the recent past, but became more powerful after the 2011 revolution, a result of their contribution to revolutionary forces. As a result, the balance of power over smuggling routes in Southern Libya (Fezzan) shifted to one that favored the Toubou, which drove the Toubou and Tuareg to end their long-lasting Midi Midi truce and clash in Ubari. This shift in power has also brought about violent clashes between Toubou and Arab tribesmen over smuggling routes and regional power. Here, we shall discuss the Toubou political grievances, their […]

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Israel, Natural Gas and Power in the Middle East

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 […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 197 – Unstable Equilibrium in the Middle East

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Read the 2 April scan →  World – Three articles this week are particularly interesting, in themselves but also when read together. Amal Mudallali “Sorry, Obama: The Arab World No Longer Needs America” for The National Interest, focuses on the pride and “new Arab spirit” resulting from the Saudi-led […]

Update – War in Libya and its Futures – The Islamic State Advance and Impacts

In the past weeks, several major developments occurred in Libya that will affect the dynamics of the civil war, and on the longer term, most probably, its outcome. Egyptian airstrikes on Libyan soil, increased Russian support and involvement with the Council of Representatives (the internationally-recognized Libyan government), the Council’s suspended then renewed participation in the UN peace talks, its request to remove the arms embargo, and conflicting support in the UN for an intervention are all directly linked to the increased hostilities and threat from Islamic State elements in Libya. The United States and Britain stand currently opposed to any intervention and to Libya’s appeal to lift the arms embargo, citing the lack of a unified government that could not […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 187 – Freedom of Speech, the Other, and 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. World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – In the aftermath of the Jihadi attacks in Paris during the second week of 2015, a crucial debate surrounding freedom of speech is emerging. It is not only a philosophical and intellectual debate. It mobilizes populations across the world and can divide populations within countries, as show the exchanges on the social networks on the topic. It is translated in diplomatic terms, as show the decision of the Kingdom of Morocco not to participate to the march in Paris on 11 January, the 14 January reactions in the Middle East […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 171– Al-Qaeda in India

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Read the 25 September scan → The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and […]

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