The UN Intervention Brigade: A Force for Change in DR Congo?
With troops assigned to the UN's new offensive unit in the DR Congo arriving in Goma, hopes for a tougher response to the region's non-state armed groups have been raised. Yet while novel, the deployment of the unit poses its own challenges.
17 May 2013
The Crime Terror nexus in West Africa
The attack on the Al-Amenas facility in Algeria earlier in the year reveals the nexus between organised crime and terrorism in West Africa. This has major implications for the international community and requires greater support to national governments in the region.
15 May 2013
We Hate the EDL More Than We Love Life?
Last week, Islamist extremists were found guilty of plotting a terrorist attack on a rally of the English Defence League. The case shows how extremists from both sides are turning to violent means. It also shows how Jihadists in the United Kingdom are focusing on domestic targets.
9 May 2013
Al-Qa'ida and Iran: How Do We Deal With the Allegations?
Recent allegations by the Canadian authorities about Al-Qa'ida in Iran has ignited a flurry of commentary. Experience suggests however that the release of limited intelligence of this nature is fraught with dangers for the public trust and risks being counter-productive.
2 May 2013
Red Lines and Syrian Chemical Weapons
Evidence of chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime remains incomplete. But the Obama Administration’s confused signaling and ambiguous standards of evidence risk emboldening the Assad regime.
26 Apr 2013
Boston Bombers Highlight Difficulties of Countering Isolated Terror Cells
As motives and operational set-up of the Boston bombers become known, urgent questions will be asked about how US intelligence agencies are prioritising threats in the United States. The case reveals the huge dilemma faced in collecting, evaluating and acting on credible intelligence leads.
24 Apr 2013
Kuwait's Self-Flagellation Continues
Kuwaiti politics is at standstill, even though an opposition election boycott in December 2012 led to a pro-government Kuwaiti Parliament. The deadlock is set to continue outside parliament as support for Musallam Al Barrack, the leading opposition personality grows.
24 Apr 2013
Musharraf’s Arrest: No Meddling From Pakistan’s Military, For Now
Former President Pervez Musharraf is now in custody as a result of a fateful decision to sack judges in 2007. His arrest is unprecedented as the Pakistani military refrains from intervening in a case which will see a military ruler indicted for the first time.
23 Apr 2013
Exhibitionists Against Autocrats
Last week, Russia's Vladimir Putin was confronted with topless Ukraine protestors in Hannover. Autocrats have often been made to look uncomfortable, even foolish, by exhibitionist protest. Nudity was one way of showing contempt for authority in East Germany. There may be echoes of that for Putin's increasingly autocratic Russia.
19 Apr 2013
Boston Marathon: 'Keep Calm and Carry on Running'
The authorities in the United States are rightly cautious in ascribing blame to yesterday's incident in Boston. The explosions - killing three and injuring over 140 - highlight the importance of securing public events without being governed by fear.
16 Apr 2013
The Rise of al-Nusra
The supposed 'merger' between the Syrian opposition group 'Jabhet al-Nusra' and Al-Qa'ida in Iraq is nothing new. But it underscores the Jihadist takeover of the Syrian opposition while moderates remain weak and divided and the humanitarian crisis worsens.
12 Apr 2013
The UK Counter-Terrorism Strategy: A Return on Investment
The 2012 annual report for the UK's Counter-Terrorism (CONTEST) Strategy highlights the return on investment made in providing security for the Olympic Games. But success accrued at home must now be re-configured to meet the threat abroad.
10 Apr 2013
A Familiar Crisis: Assessing North Korea's Threats
In the Korean peninsula, the risk of war remains much lower than is suggested by the atmosphere of crisis, but a great deal will depend on what level of escalation Pyongyang deems necessary for political and deterrent purposes.
8 Apr 2013
Cyprus: the Mouse That Roared
The eastern Mediterranean has been spring loaded for an international political crisis for many months now. Is the Cypriot Euro crisis the mouse that finally sets off the trap?
27 Mar 2013
Missile Defence Pivots Away from Europe?
The Obama Administration has announced a shift in emphasis for missile defence capabilities away from Europe to the US mainland. While this could help allay Russian concerns about the NATO system, Moscow's leaders may require more confidence-building measures.
25 Mar 2013
The Squeeze Continues - UK Defence Spending and the 2013 Budget
UK defence spending was further squeezed in the 2013 Budget announcement. It is likely to face additional cuts for 2015/16 in the 2015 Spending Review. The defence budget for subsequent years may depend on how the 2015 Spending Review shares the burden of future austerity between expenditure cuts and tax rises.
25 Mar 2013