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.
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.
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.
As the effects of the global recession begins to be felt, this year will emphasise some new political realities in the international order. They will form the backdrop to the return of some traditional security issues.
Powerful structural forces inside Iran, not individual personalities, have brought Tehran to the brink of confrontation with the international community over its nuclear programme. Hope lies with closer US-Iran contacts - but this will come at the expense of even greater tensions with Britain and Israel.
The most arresting point made by the latest report from the National Audit Office concerns the slippage of major projects. It reveals that the majority of the increase in project costs is due 'to deliberate decisions to slip projects, taken corporately by the Department as part of a wider package designed to address a gap between estimated funding and the cost of the Defence budget over the next...