RUSI in the news - December 2008

RUSI in the NewsCitations of RUSI expert analysis and events in the global media during December 2008

  • RUSI Experts in the News
  • Reports of RUSI events

RUSI Experts in the News

Withdrawal from Iraq

Gordon Brown's announcement that the UK would withdraw from Iraq by July 2009 provoked discussion on the strategic consequences of the action. Paul Smyth cautions against the assumption that the UK will 'just lift troops from Iraq and move them to Task Force Helmand like that', stressing that it is 'very hard to say' how much the UK will contribute to a troop increase in Afghanistan this year.

Media coverage: ReutersJavno, The Post Chronicle, The Guardian, Reuters, Daily Express

More RUSI analysis on operations in Iraq 


Following RUSI's prediction of a winter famine in Afghanistan in September 2008, aid agencies warn of serious food shortages that could affect up to eight million Afghans. The briefing note's warning that civil unrest could result from these food shortages, according to Abu Dhabi's The National, 'already seems to be coming true.'

An attack on a supply convoy in the Pakistani town of Peshawar is described by Amyas Godfrey as a 'hugely successful attack on a soft target' and a propaganda success building pressure on the US-Pakistani relationship. Addressing long-term objectives in the region, RUSI Director Michael Clarke argues that 'in a country as undeveloped as Afghanistan, the developmental work will never be finished.'

Media coverage: The National, National Post, Russia Today, The Guardian

More information and analysis from RUSI on Afghanistan here.


In the wake of the terrorist attacks, RUSI offered expert opinions on the organisation and quality of the security forces in Mumbai. Tobias Feakin identifies a lack of co-ordination and command structure in Mumbai, suggesting that the UK should learn lessons from abroad to prevent future attacks. Michael Clarke notes that India's counter-terrorism forces were used to getting so many warnings that they 'didn't know which ones to take seriously', while Avnish Patel points to a tradition of information-sharing between the UK and India that will allow the UK to offer insights into dealing with the aftermath of the terrorist attack.

Full media coverage: The Independent, CBS News, Bloomberg

RUSI analysis and comment on the Mumbai attacks

Aircraft Carriers

As work begins on the Royal Navy's two new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, Lee Willett observes that the building of the new warships is in line with many nations' strategic maritime policy. 'The world is an unstable place and, post-Iraq and the global war on terror, access to other nation’s territory or airspace is more difficult,’ he says.

Media coverage: Daily Mail, IGN

RUSI analysis on maritime security


As Angola and Rwanda are rumoured to have dispatched military advisers once more, Knox Chitiyo warns that any attempt by these parties to involve themselves in the area could spark a 'regional conflagration and possibly genocide'. The United Nations has requested back-up troops from the EU to prop up the existing peace-keeping mission there. The EU's battle-groups, according to Alastair Cameron, 'look great on paper', but have not as yet been deployed for political reasons.

Media coverage: Newsweek, European Voice

Read essays by the 2008 winners of the Nelson Mandela Essay on African Security and Development Prize focusing on the Democratic Republic of the Congo here.

US Foreign Policy

The appointment of Senator Clinton as the new U.S. Secretary of State stimulated debate over President-elect Obama's likely foreign policy plans. Christopher Pang sees the appointment as demonstrating Obama's 'strong commitment to put forward high-calibre and well-recognized individuals who can champion and advance his unique strategic objectives on foreign policy matters'.

Media Coverage: Trend News Agency (Azerbaijan)

RUSI Analysis on international security under Obama

UK Counterterrorism

Following an overhaul of Scottish policing and the creation of the Major Crime and Terrorism Investigation Unit, police have been criticised for their treatment of British Asians, particularly at airports. Garry Hindle warns against a police 'overreaction to terror,' emphasising the danger 'that the police alienate the very people who could have vital information.'

Media coverage: Scotland on Sunday

Read more RUSI analysis on UK terrorism here.

Private Security Companies

As private security companies increasingly look to humanitarianism as a market opportunity in 2009, a 2006 study by RUSI noting that 'some humanitarian and development assistance work can easily be undertaken by PSCs' has once again gained public attention.

Media coverage: UPI, Middle East Times

Click here for details of the Whitehall Paper and more analysis from RUSI on on Private Security companies.

European Security

A drive for autonomous EU capabilities has led to the introduction of joint civil-military operational planning exercises for the first time. Alastair Cameron argues that these exercises should be extended, particularly in view of the fact that the EU and NATO are now constantly working alongside one another.

Media coverage: Defense News

Read more analysis on NATO here and click here for information on RUSI's Future NATO Project.

Events at RUSI

Jock Stirrup

Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup, speaking at RUSI in his annual address as the Chief of the Defence Staff, emphasised that it was crucial that the operational tempo for the UK's armed forces was reduced but that British troops could not simply be transferred 'one for one' from Iraq to Afghanistan.

Media coverage: Reuters, The IndependentDaily Telegraph, The Guardian, Sunday Herald, Pakistan Link, The Guardian, Gulf Times, Associated Press of Pakistan

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