RUSI in the News Week closing 28 February 2016


Broadcast

Al Jazeera Inside Story – Justin Bronk discusses the Syria Crisis 24 February

BBC Radio 4 – Raffaello Pantucci discusses foreign born jihadis in Daesh (Clip from 16m) 22 February

Op-Eds by RUSI staff and fellows

Islamic State earnings call: Why the terrorist group's 2014 financial boom is a distant memory – but the 2015 decline won't be fatal

In January 2015, Isis updated analysts on its financial position, reporting an expected surplus of $250m after expenditure of $2bn, including countless spending commitments such as monthly wages for the poor and disabled, orphans, widows and families of individuals killed in airstrikes. Unsurprisingly, the surplus was to be invested in its war effort. Twelve months later it seems only right to assess its financial pledges and seek to determine whether the robust cashflow and fortress balance sheet the group claimed in early 2015 remains today, and whether its rhetoric of welfare for all has become a reality.

Tom Keatinge for City A.M 25 February

Quoted in the Media

North Korea Sanctions

US and China agree North Korea sanctions

"That scope covers a substantial swath of potential North Korean trading partners and therefore could be used to target a number of affiliated Chinese businessmen," said Andrea Berger of UK think-tank the Royal United Services Institute.

Andrea Berger for The Financial Times on 25 Feb also in China Economic Review

Can the latest US sanctions against North Korea work?

This view is shared by Andrea Berger, deputy director of the Proliferation and Nuclear Policy program at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies (RUSI). Berger argues that North Korea's development of nuclear weapons is motivated by a complex mixture of insecurity and a desire for perceived prestige.

"The country's leaders have painted the program's 'success' as part of their personal and collective legacies, as well as a symbol of national defiance of international restrictions imposed against the North Korean people," she told DW.collective legacies, as well as a symbol of national defiance of international restrictions imposed against the North Korean people," she told DW.

Andrea Berger in Deutsche Welle 22 Feb

Aim of Draft U.N. Sanctions: Decisive Squeeze on North Korea

Small arms were also added to the list of banned goods for the first time. Andrea Berger, an expert on North Korea at the Royal United Services Institute in London, says North Korea’s trade in light weapons has been an overlooked proliferation concern and source of revenue for the regime.

The proposed sanctions package would add 12 individuals and 20 new entities to a U.N. blacklist for travel and trade, roughly doubling the total. Experts have noted that sanctions imposed on Iran blacklisted far more people and entities than in the North Korean case.

Andrea Berger in The Wall Street Journal 22 Feb

Uganda Faulted on Continued Relations With North Korea

A report by the Royal United Service Institute for Defence and Security Studies, a global security think tank released last month, lists Uganda among the countries that seem not ready to cut the ties with North Korea despite UN restrictions

Andrea Berger in  The Monitor 22 Feb

The War against Daesh

Turkish troops taking on Isil in 'secret battle' in Iraq

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called the move a “serious breach of Iraqi sovereignty.” The US envoy to the coalition against Isis, Brett McGurk also highlighted America’s opposition to any Turkish military deployment inside Iraq without Baghdad’s consent, but has not taken it any further.

This, says Michael Stephens of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is a larger reflection of US priorities.  “They don’t really care if Turkey is there, as long as it doesn’t lead to war. They need to focus on the bigger prize, which is Isil,” said Stephens.

Michael Stephens for The Telegraph 25 February

British action in Syria: 33 strikes in just under three months

Shashank Joshi, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told Middle East Eye he believes the UK's strategy has shown an astute understanding of the battleground against IS.

"The RAF is focusing on Iraq, making a valuable contribution to battlefield against Isis rather than expending lots of ordnance in Syria merely for show," he said, using an alternative acronym for IS. We knew that Syria presented a challenging target environment, with Isis adapting to strikes and minimizing their signature. We also know that the coalition enjoys more ground forces in Iraq than in Syria, making its air strikes more effective in the former.

Shashank Joshi in Middle East Eye 25 February

USA Colonel tells British ISIS jihadis heading to Syria: 'We WILL kill you'

Shashank Joshi, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, stressed that IS, also called Isis, would not give in easily. He said: “Isis has thousands of personnel in Libya, Egypt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. You have a serious problem that goes well beyond Syria and Iraq.”

Shashank Joshi in The Express 23 February

'These guys are disgusting' ISIS 'planting bombs in Korans' before fleeing territory

Despite recent successes in Syria and Iraq a diminished ISIS could be very far off according to Shashank Joshi, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) security think-tank. He claimed that "the picture is more balanced than the coalition is saying” and while forces have made several important gains, such as the retaking of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, they have done this by "plucking the low-hanging fruit.” It could take “years” to defeat ISIS, he added.

Shashank Joshi in The Daily Star 22 February

Under-pressure Islamic State likely to lash out with UK attack, warns colonel

Shashank Joshi, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) security think-tank, said "the picture is more balanced than the coalition is saying".

He said that while forces made several important gains, such as the retaking of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, they have done this by "plucking the low-hanging fruit" - but it will take years to defeat IS, also known as Isis.

Shashank Joshi for Press Association also in The New Indian Express  22 February

Brexit

Security Experts Say Iain Duncan Smith Is Wrong On Risk Of Terror If UK Stays In EU

However, security experts have accused Duncan Smith of “conflating” different issues. Raffaello Pantucci, the director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute, told BuzzFeed News: “The reality is that it is not the case that we would be any more exposed to the risk if we were in the union or not.”

Raffaello Pantucci for Buzzfeed UK 25 February

Afghanistan

Talks between Afghan government and Taliban to begin March

Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at London's Royal United Services Institute, said all parties to the peace process realize that China "is the one regional power which has lots of money, meaning they all want Chinese support and investment," he said.

Raffaello Pantucci in Yahoo News via AP

Russia and NATO

On the Brink: When Russia Would Use Tactical Nukes on NATO
A more recent analysis by Royal United Service Institute’s Igor Sutyagin suggests that Russia has a maximum of 1,040 non-strategic nuclear weapons. Of those about 128-210 warheads are assigned to the Russian ground forces.

Igor Sutyagin in The National Interest on 22 Feb

Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, Emily Thornberry MP, at RUSI 22 February

The Guardian: Brexit provokes strange alliances (Live Blog)

The Guardian: Former Labour defence secretaries fire broadside at Trident review

The Mirror: Ministry of Defence should buy British steel for military hardware, says Labour's Emily Thornberry

Politics Home: Former Labour defence secretaries blast policy review as Thornberry risks spending row

The Guardian:Former Labour defence secretaries fire broadside at Trident review

Huffington Post:   The Waugh Zone

Herald Scotland:  Russian subs in North Sea not a justification for Trident, says Emily Thornberry

The Mirror: Ministry of Defence should buy British steel for military hardware, says Labour's Emily Thornberry




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