Commentary

Abandoned Iraqi army vehicle and uniforms on the road from Mosul to Erbil Photo by [c] Sofia BarbaraniIraq Crisis: Dispatch from the North This week, as the international community considers how best to reverse the gains of ISIS, RUSI analyst Michael Stephens offers first-hand perspectives from Erbil, in the Kurdish heartland of what is still Iraq. Each day he will be offering his thoughts and encounters from the ground.
17 Jun 2014

US Options on the Table for Iraq – Taliban Lessons for Afghanistan The Taliban are taking note as militants seize large swathes of Iraq. As the United States considers its options, it must do so bearing in mind its decisions in Iraq – whatever they may be –may well affect the drawdown in Afghanistan.
14 Jun 2014

ISIS fightersIraq’s Future Hangs in the Balance The fall of Mosul to Islamist extremists poses the single biggest challenge to the Iraqi nation state since the fall of Saddam. Baghdad may not be able to fend off the insurgents by their own, and the United States lacks the political capital to intervene.
12 Jun 2014

A USAF F-15, Polish Mig-29 and RAF Typhoon over Lithuania NATONATO Baltic Air Policing – Revenge of the Cold War Relic NATO’s primary military response to the Russian annexation of Crimea was to reinforce its long standing Baltic Air Policing operations. Airpower is a domain in which NATO can credibly challenge Russian dominance in the region and provide ‘hard’ deterrence against military intimidation.
4 Jun 2014

European Union FlagDealing With Europe's Electoral Debacle The rise of far-right and anti-European Union parties at the European Parliament elections was the biggest vote of no confidence in the continent’s ruling elite since the launch of the EU project. But it need not be a disaster, provided governments act with composure and tact.
27 May 2014

NCA Uniform with GunAssessing the Threat of Organised Crime: The First National Strategic Assessment With the release of its first National Strategic Assessment, the National Crime Agency highlights some worrying trends. But it also reveals a series of knowledge gaps that will undermine attempts to address organised crime.
23 May 2014

Polio vaccine in Djibouti US Department of Defense photoPolio and the Syrian Crisis: The Accidental Bioterrorist The World Health Organization’s recent declaration of a public-health emergency due to the re-emergence of polio in countries including Syria and Somalia highlights the nexus between insecurity, violent Islamist groups and the spread of deadly diseases.
21 May 2014

Boko Haram LeaderNigeria’s Opaque Jihad: Insurgency in Africa’s Richest Nation The kidnapping of girls in Chibok by Boko Haram has increased the international spotlight on Nigeria. The dilemma for the international community at this point is to understand this complicated environment, but also to make sure the interest is not simply transitory.
16 May 2014

Narendra ModiNarendra Modi as Prime Minister: Engagement, Continuity and Reform Considering his past reputation, the frontrunner to be Indian Prime Minister will have his work cut-out to prove he is not a pariah. In foreign policy,Narendra Modi needs to balance the muscular approach demanded by his supporters and his newfound mercantilist pragmatism.
15 May 2014

Columbian Security ForcesColombia’s Long Road to Peace Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) could form a central pillar of a lasting peace in Colombia. But how can you make it attractive for those heavily involved in organised crime, which profit the most from the country’s internal conflict?
15 May 2014

Women in combat rolesWomen in Combat: British Band of Brothers May Soon Be History The UK’s Defence Secretary has brought forward a review into whether women can serve in combat roles. These roles are the last bastion of legalised military gender discrimination, reform may take some time.
9 May 2014

PutinRussia with Crimea: Back in the USSR? Today’s Victory Day Parade (9 May) was poignant for Russia with Vladimir Putin flying to newly-annexed Crimea to celebrate the Soviet victory in the Second World War. Past Soviet glories provide a useful cultural and political backdrop for the Russian president as he deals with the ongoing Ukrainian Crisis.
9 May 2014

Russia InsigniaCrisis in Ukraine: How Effective are Sanctions against Russia? As Russia piles on the pressure on Ukraine, the West is responding through targeted sanctions against the Russian elite. A robust sanctions framework will only be effective if it can demonstrate that the West will accept some financial pain.
6 May 2014

Jnl 159 2 Braithwaite thumbUkraine Crisis: The Strategic Importance of Slavyansk The Ukranian city of Slavyansk has become the focus in a game of deterrence and brinkmanship that Kiev and Moscow feel compelled to play and in which, despite evident Russian military planning, neither is likely to be in full control.
1 May 2014

Cyber security 2012 lead eventWhat Does the Cyberspace Landscape Look Like in the Asia-Pacific? Already contending with a tense geopolitical backdrop, there is an urgent need for countries in Asia to cooperate, if not harmonise on cyber security issues and reduce their respective vulnerabilities.
24 Apr 2014

Putin and Xi JinpingUkraine: Quiet Support for Russia Will Harm China's Long-Term Interests Though China is reticent over aspects of Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine, the general assumption in Beijing is that China could benefit from the Ukraine crisis. But a more careful look at the potential fallout from the showdown indicates that China’s strategic horizons are not as rosy as currently assumed.
11 Apr 2014

Putin and Xi JinpingTensions Over Ukraine: Where Does China Sit? On the growing crisis over Ukraine, China has remained quietly supportive of Russia. Yet, Russia overestimates and exaggerates China’s level of support that is closer to acquiescence rather than actual support for the turmoil that Russia is engendering.
11 Apr 2014

US-Russia Diplomatic Feelers Over Ukraine: Based on Wrong Assumptions The US and Russia have vowed to continue negotiations aimed at defusing the Ukraine crisis. But the current diplomatic negotiations between Washington and Moscow will achieve nothing, since they are based on wrong US assumptions and may encourage the worst Russian instincts.
7 Apr 2014

Climate Change and SecurityIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Warns of Serious Future Security Challenges The latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contains an extensive chapter on the implications of climate change for human security. The implications for defence and security planners are huge.
7 Apr 2014

Computer keyboardFive Unanswered Questions on the UK’s New Computer Emergency Response Team The UK’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) was launched this week to universal nods of approval. Questions remain, however, over how it will achieve its aims and what value it will add in an increasingly crowded UK network of cyber security teams.
2 Apr 2014

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The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of RUSI
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