Of Jets and Carriers... Again
As the UK government grapples with whether or not to carry out a U-turn over which variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), chiefly because of issues surrounding carrier conversion costs, there are broader issues beyond technical and financial ones, and some echoes from the past.
27 Apr 2012
RUSI Analysis Podcast: Cyber-Weapons
Elizabeth Pearson speaks to Thomas Rid, a Reader in War Studies at King's College, London, and he and colleague Peter McBurney who recently wrote about cyberweapons for the RUSI Journal, setting out some pioneering new ideas about their use.
23 Apr 2012
New Delhi's New Missile: A Watershed for India's Nuclear Arsenal
No Indian missile has been assigned as much political significance as the newly tested Agni-V. The ripening of India's second-strike capability will provide reassurance to India about the strategic balance, and indicate the direction of its nuclear forces.
20 Apr 2012
UKTA No.2: Global Jihad Sustained Through Africa
The latest UK Terrorism Analysis suggests that Africa represents a potential new front for counter-terrorism in Britain and the linkages already evident across the continent suggest the development of some disturbing new trends.
4 Apr 2012
What Would an Air Attack on Iran Look Like?
A ground invasion is impossible. But Israel lacks the long-range assets unilaterally to neutralise a dispersed Iranian nuclear capability, whereas a large US co-ordinated air campaign against Iranian nuclear weapon facilities is eminently feasible. Nevertheless the effectiveness and fallout from such a campaign remains in doubt.
30 Mar 2012
How Israelis Differ on Dealing with Iran
With prospects of igniting a regional war, some leading lights in the Israeli security establishment suggest a more careful approach. Yet, Israel perceives Iran as a rational actor that is likely to change its course only if faced by clear threat of use of force and effective international pressure. Recent US leaks about possible Israeli operational planning only heighten Israeli concerns.
30 Mar 2012
Are We Able to Deter Iran?
In pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, Iran is acting rationally and in accordance with its past actions and strategic interests. Nevertheless, this does not mean at a nuclear-armed, or nuclear-capable Iran can be deterred or contained, at least not with traditional deterrence policies. A nuclear Iran means a multi-polar Middle East. And that, in turn, means a multi-polar, or multi-tiered deterrence strategy, of a kind which the world has never experienced before, and one which may well fail to contain the Iranian challenge.
29 Mar 2012
The Audience War: US Rhetoric and the Iranian Nuclear Programme
Obama's declaratory policy on Iran involves a fine balancing act that is designed for multiple audiences: a recalcitrant Iranian regime, a domestic population about to go to the polls, and a jittery Middle Eastern region led by Israel. Though this strategy has thus far been successful, it carries notable risks for the Administration in the midst of a continuing standoff with Iran.
29 Mar 2012
The Audience War: The Challenges of Iran's Nuclear Rhetoric
Ever since its inception in 1979, the Iranian regime has deployed opaque yet highly charged rhetoric against enemies and to garner support at home and abroad. That policy is becoming unstuck in the case of the nuclear programme, where fewer people are convinced of the civilian nature of Iran's nuclear ambitions altogether.
29 Mar 2012
The Remilitarisation of Latin American Streets
The military was once a central pillar of authoritarian dictatorships in Latin America. Now, democratic governments are relying on them to restore law and order, bypassing failing police forces. This is a high-risk strategy, policymakers need to ensure that civilian control of militaries remain paramount.
29 Mar 2012
Mohammed Merah - Lone Wolf or Al-Qa'ida Operative?
He bore the hallmarks of a trained and motivated operative, but it is unclear whether the Toulouse self-confessed terrorist, Mohammed Merah. was an Al-Qa'ida foot soldier. What is apparent is that that he was motivated by both the street-cool allure of extremism, and the grievances that are common to many young radicalised Muslims in the West.
23 Mar 2012
The Challenges of Keeping Libya Together
The province of Cyrenaica is the latest region to have announced its intention to have greater autonomy in Libya. Being the birthplace of the Libyan revolution, this has drawn the ire of the fragile National Transitional Council in Tripoli. Asserting its control will involve firmer security control and a rapid transition to democracy.
23 Mar 2012
The Falklands: The Security Equation in 2012
Megaphone diplomacy precedes the forthcoming thirtieth anniversary of the Falklands War. But the stakes are too high for Argentina to turn the rhetoric into another armed conflict.
16 Mar 2012
What Ends a War? The Limits of Bosnia-Syria Parallels
The military option is still on the table as the atrocities in Syria continue. But what is the best template for intervention? For all its successes, the example of Bosnia in the mid-1990s is not one of them.
14 Mar 2012
Not Over Yet – The Bloody Battle for Helmand Continues
The death of six British servicemen, pushing British deaths in Afghanistan over 400, is a sober reminder that the Helmand campaign is still far from over. Leaders, both military and civilian, still have to overcome serious challenges if there is to be a peaceful transition in 2014.
9 Mar 2012
Putin's Return: Much of the Same, Only Older
The less-than-convincing victory of Vladimir Putin in the Russian presidential election suggests a presidency that may be a little more liberal and a little less authoritarian. But Putin is unlikely to change his tune as he delivers on his election promise: that Russia must be feared.
5 Mar 2012
Is a Nuclear Iran as Dangerous As We Think?
Pessimists warn that a nuclear Iran cannot be safely contained. But these risks - irrational behaviour, nuclear safety, and further proliferation - need to be dispassionately assessed and put into context.
27 Feb 2012