Impacts of the Conflict in Ukraine – Geopolitics, Uncertainties and Business (3)

With this article and the next one, we shall use the instability and conflict in Ukraine and the related impacts on businesses to continue enhancing our understanding of the way businesses and the corporate world could usefully anticipate or foresee geopolitical and political risks and uncertainties. Here we shall review two major impacts of the war in Ukraine. First we shall look at the surprising cost of sanctions related to Ukraine on businesses of sanctioning countries. Second, we shall move to the multiple impacts of the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. With the forthcoming second part, wondering how a firm could have avoided or to the least mitigated  these impacts, we shall use what we learned to identify main lessons to improve strategic foresight and […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 31 March 2016

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Each section focuses on signals related to a specific theme: world (international politics and geopolitics); economy; science; analysis, strategy and futures; technology and weapons; energy and environment. However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact […]

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 […]

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Iran, China and the New Silk Road

Given the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the twenty-first century, reaching new heights in early 2016 with the beheading of a Shi’a Cleric by Saudi political authorities, which generated violences on Saudi diplomatic representations notably in Iran, in turn leading to the Saudi decision to break diplomatic relations with Iran (e.g. BBC News, 4 Jan 2016), understanding the new dynamics existing between Iran and China is even more important, as they may carry new weight, usually not considered as far as the Middle East is concerned. On 4 March 2013, an Iranian military fleet, which had left the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, docked at the Chinese port of Zhangjiagang, after a forty days journey (“Thread: Iran 24th fleet heading […]

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At War against the Islamic State – A Global Theatre of War

Even though the capabilities of the Islamic State have now, in November 2017, changed and been seriously reduced , the understanding and fundamental underlying dynamics at work are still valid and must be considered. Lately, the world has been shaken by large attacks carried out by the Islamic State. On 31 October 2015, Islamic State’s fighters destroyed a Russian plane over the Sinai: “According to our experts, on board an aircraft in flight, an improvised bomb exploded capacity of up to 1 kg of TNT, resulting in an explosion of the aircraft in the air, which explains the spread parts of the fuselage of the aircraft at a distance. We can definitely say that this is a terrorist act” stated officially Alexander Bortnikov, director of Russia’s […]

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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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Russia at War with the Islamic State in Syria – Perceptions of Strikes

On 30 September 2015, the Russian Federation overtly entered militarily the Syrian war by starting an air campaign. It supports the government of Bashar al-Assad, from the Russian point of view the legitimate ruler of Syria, while attacking extremist jihadis threats and notably the Islamic State (see below for references). The entry of this new powerful actor is a game changer, not only in Syria, but, more broadly, regionally and globally, as noted by most observers. Although it is very early to assess fully the consequences of Russia’s involvement, we shall identify and outline hypotheses regarding the impact it may have, notably as far as the Islamic State is concerned. To be able to evaluate this impact, we would need first to have a clear vision of what […]

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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 […]

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 196 – Yemen, towards the End of the U.N.?

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Read the 26 March scan →  World – As the world wonders about the motivation that could prompt the copilot of Germanwings to crash a plane, and while the hypothesis of a terrorist intention is most probably on everyone’s mind, a very large number of crowdsourced articles this week […]

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 193 – “A Dangerous Folly”

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Read the 5 March scan →  World – This week featured article is Seumas Milne’s “The demonisation of Russia risks paving the way for war” for The Guardian. Milne, by emphasising  how “Politicians and the media are using Vladimir Putin and Ukraine to justify military expansionism” and stressing how it is “a dangerous folly” – which we borrowed as title, perfectly summarises the tragic escalation towards war we are currently living. The anti-Russian sentiment has reached such a paroxysm, supported by analysts, who never use evidence, nor anymore footnotes to substantiate their claims or judgement, and mix good analysis with convenient ones, where inconvenient facts are forgotten, that any attempt to try coming back to better researched […]

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