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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Tempobs – Mapping an Interactive Network for Iran and Saudi Arabia Relations

This post is the fourth of our temporal observatory project (Tempobs) and related series focused on the future of the relationships between Saudi Arabia and Iran and aiming at improving the handling of time-related issues in strategic foresight and warning, risk, or more broadly anticipatory analysis. It answers and builds upon Dr Warren Fishbein’s (hereinafter Warren) previous article (Mindfully Mapping a Middle Eastern Morass – Saudi Arabia and Iran), as we designed the series as a dialogue where we progressively build the understanding related to the foresight issue by mapping the corresponding conceptual network, continuously scan the relevant literature and news, which will allow us, finally, to assess the future, to use Warren’s apt presentation of the work involved. Here we shall present the new tool (best on desktops […]

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (5) – A Libyan-Mediated Peace?

After evaluating scenarios involving failed peace negotiations, we shall conclude scenario 1, exploring paths towards a mediated peace, by evaluating sub-scenario 1.3 in this article – a scenario where peace negotiations, without an external mediator, lead to a signed peace treaty and transitional government. Our focus here will be on the scenario where the actors reach such levels of exhaustion that they are willing to negotiate a peace, as noted by Luttwak (Foreign Affairs, 1999); and in this case, through negotiations involving exclusively Libyan actors, i.e. without external mediators. We shall discuss the scenario where the actors form a unity government and whether or not it makes progress towards stabilization, as well as the scenario where the actors fail to […]

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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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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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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 220 – 17 September 2015

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 – this week again includes much on the migrant crisis and its impact on the EU, while the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State continues to be under attack. To note also, some […]

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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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (2) – a Victorious United Government?

After having focused on understanding the actors in Libya’s civil war, with this article we shall continue detailing the scenarios assessing the potential for a peaceful solution for Libya’s future within the next three to five years, suggest indicators to monitor their happenstance and progressively evaluating their likelihood. The first phases for this scenario were presented here (scenario 1.1 “Peace treaty signed” and 1.1.1. “Unity Government formed”) and the organisation of the whole series of scenarios for the future of Libya can be found here. The analysis and indicators below suggest that sub-scenario 1.1.1.1 is unlikely to succeed without international assistance, which we shall discuss in sub-scenario 1.1.1.2. Scenarios 1: Towards Peace – continued Summary of the previous phase-scenarios The […]

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya within the Next Three to Five Years

Now that we have identified and understood the actors in Libya’s civil war (see State of Play), we may outline the various scenarios regarding Libya’s future within the next three to five years. A civil war with two rival governments, armed coalitions, jihadists, and various tribes creates a complex climate, and we have constructed initially […]

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 200 – The Future is Now: Robots Warfare In Iraq

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Read the 23 April scan →  World + Tech & Weapons – This week’s featured article is Nichols “Militia’s War Robots Raise Questions About Future Of Warfare” for Forbes. Nichols points out there that a 23 March 2015 video posted by Muqtada al-Sadr Shi’a Peace Brigades (Saraya Al Salam) (see brief on the group by Jihad Intel) advertises some (still small) futurist warfare capabilities, demonstrating the use of two armed robots or “weaponized unmanned ground vehicles (UVGs)”. Nichols then interestingly uses this example to underline that the common American focus on technology and future warfare needs to be considered also in the light of their use by non-state actors. He then imagines how the future of […]

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