Citations of RUSI expert analysis and initiatives in the global media, October 2008.
RUSI Experts in the News
Reports of RUSI Events
A RUSI briefing note warns that famine in Afghanistan this winter due to rising food prices and a summer drought is currently a greater threat than the Taliban insurgency. The note says that the famine, which will affect an estimated 8.4 million Afghans, makes the mounting of an ‘intensive operation to deliver life-saving aid’ essential.
The former UN commander in Bosnia, General Sir Michael Rose, identifies severe operational problems with the coalition forces’ efforts in Afghanistan, pointing out in the RUSI Journal that there are now insufficient combat troops to maintain momentum against the Taliban. Following the resignation of an SAS reservist commander in protest at the quality of Army Land Rovers, RUSI Associate Fellow Amyas Godfrey describes the vehicles as ‘just not designed for where we are now.’
Estimates that the Taliban possesses stockpiles of opium worth up to $3.2bn have raised questions about the group’s plans for the drug. Paul Smyth suggests that while some missing opium will have gone to China and Russia, much of it ‘may be lost during smuggling or processing, or be stashed everywhere from Kandahar to Turkey – even Western Europe.’
Iran’s plans to extend its military operations in the Persian Gulf have been met with suspicion, giving support to its threats to cut off oil supplies if the nation comes under attack. RUSI’s Lee Willett suggests that the Iranians could be taking the steps in order to raise the price of oil and increase their revenues.
The American decision to permit cross-border attacks on terrorist targets in Pakistan runs the risk of alienating Pakistani opinion, according to Noshad Khan. ‘A majority of Pakistanis believe that most US policies are not against Muslims in general, but also against Islam,’ he comments. ‘Some circles claim that the US wants to destabilise and disarm Pakistan.’
The success of ‘soft’ measures to combat terrorism in Saudi Arabia has encouraged others to examine applying the procedures elsewhere in the world. RUSI Associate Fellow Christopher Boucek applauds the growing international recognition that terrorism cannot be tackled by hard security measures alone.
UK Armed Forces
The appointment of former NATO Afghanistan commander General Sir David Richards as Chief of General Staff is viewed by RUSI Director Michael Clarke as a wise choice. ‘His previous commands have been clear successes as far as the military and public are concerned,’ he observes.
NATO Supreme Allied Commander at RUSI
General John Craddock, the supreme NATO commander in Europe, argued in a speech at RUSI that members of the alliance were demonstrating a lack of political will in failing to send the promised numbers of troops to Afghanistan.
Space for Defence and Security
Asia’s rising ambitions in space have led to concerns that it will threaten existing space powers and contribute to space’s militarisation. Brigadier General John Hyten, director of requirements for the US Air Force's Space Command, told an audience at RUSI: ‘space is a contested environment - though many people still don't believe this’.