Politics and Strategy
15 September 2014.
My colleague Ben Barry has posted an excellent analysis of the military virtues and disadvantages of the strategy against ISIS that President Obama laid out in his speech last week. As I read Ben’s assessment, the strategy that has emerged since June is working reasonably well to halt the ISIS advance, and has a reasonable chance of further success. The political problems and contradictions in assembling an effective coalition are...
11 September 2014.
By Ben Barry, Senior Fellow for Land Warfare
Since President Obama’s 19 June statement that ‘we will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action, if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it’, the advance of ISIS columns in Iraq has been halted. Deployment of the best part of a thousand US personnel, including many special operations forces, and the focussing of US intelligence and...
10 September 2014.
By Emile Hokayem, Senior Fellow for Regional Security, IISS-ME, and Thomas Pierret
Bad ideas never die. In recent days, as President Obama has geared up for a primetime Wednesday speech outlining his strategy for defeating the Islamic State, pundits and foreign policy mandarins have taken to op-ed pages to tell us that he should join forces with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, supposedly a lesser evil—an acceptable if unsavory ally to defeat...
05 September 2014.
The adoption of new security policies integrating civilian and military approaches to tackle transnational criminal groups is symptomatic of the limitations of local police forces, as well as the drawbacks of relying too heavily on military interventions.
31 August 2014.
Interview with Emile Hokayem, Senior Fellow for Regional Security, IISS–Middle East
SYRIA DEEPLY: How well entrenched is ISIS in Syria right now?
EMILE HOKAYEM: The levels of entrenchment vary considerably, depending on the region. There are areas where they clearly have the upper hand because they made a lot of local [business] deals. In other areas, especially in and around Deir Ezzor, their military victories have been overwhelming, and their ability to...
Military Balance Blog
28 August 2014.
By Joseph Dempsey, Research Analyst, Defence and Military Analysis Programme
Several recent reports have identified Russia as the source of Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and other heavy equipment operated by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, a suggestion persistently denied by Moscow. The apparent sudden and steady flow of MBTs into separatist hands since June 2014 coupled with a recently observed diversity of MBTs suggests some reliance on an external source. The Soviet-era MBTs operated...
22 August 2014.
By Nigel Inkster, Director, Transnational Threats and Political Risk
The progression of Islamic State militants through the Sunni heartlands of Iraq this year has been accompanied by shocking levels of brutality. The group – which began as al-Qaeda in Iraq before rebranding itself as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) – has made a show of beheading or crucifying hundreds of opponents. Minority groups like Christians and the Yazidi have...
20 August 2014.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, will sit down on August 26 to discuss ways of containing unrest in Ukraine. In this GSR preview, Dr Samuel Charap addresses the motives and constraints of the players involved, whether an endgame or workable modus vivendi is in sight, and how the Ukrainian crisis will affect the long-term coherence of the international system and the rules by which it...
14 August 2014.
By Hanna Ucko Neill, Global Conflicts Analyst; Coordinator, Armed Conflict Database
The signing of a ceasefire on 23 July between the CAR’s Seleka rebels and anti-Balaka fighters raised some hopes of a political solution after more than a year of violence. The talks, held in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, involved dozens of members of armed groups, about 170 Central African officials and civil society members. The ceasefire was welcomed...
05 August 2014.
Is a US abdication of global leadership and military power, perceived or otherwise, exacerbating conflicts such as those in Syria and Ukraine? Dana Allin expands on his recent Survival article to argue that restraint in US foreign policy has good precedent, despite fears that Washington has ‘overlearned’ the costs of military adventurism.