• IISS Voices

    Emile Hokayem: Syrian conflict 'worse than Iraq'

    26 July 2013.  The conflict in Syria has worse security implications for the Middle East than Iraq's civil war did, says IISS Senior Fellow Emile Hokayem. The Syrian war has destabilised neighbouring Lebanon, unleashed terrorist attacks in Turkey and created a refugee crisis in Jordan, while Israel is particularly concerned about Sunni groups within Syria. The United Nations estimates that more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began...

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    Sanjaya Baru: A world to win over

    24 July 2013.  By Dr Sanjaya Baru, Director for Geo-economics and Strategy Exactly a decade ago, Bimal Jalan famously declared in his farewell interview as governor of the Reserve Bank of India (Financial Express, 18 August 2003): ‘There is no longer an external constraint to (India's) growth’. A decade later, talk of an ‘external constraint’ to growth has resurfaced. To an extent, it is the consequence of the transatlantic financial crisis and the global economic...

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    Samuel Charap: How the US can move Russia on Syria

    23 July 2013.  By Samuel Charap, Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia For those who miss the comforting certainties of the Cold War, US–Russian animosity over the Syrian tragedy seems a welcome throwback to the era of proxy battles for strategic regions. In this view, there is little point in working with Russia to try to find a political settlement to Syria’s brutal civil war. The so-called ‘Geneva II’ conference is nothing more than...

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    Hanna Ucko Neill: The UN goes on the offensive

    23 July 2013.  By Hanna Ucko Neill, Global Conflicts Analyst; Coordinator, Armed Conflict Database An experiment in peacekeeping is taking shape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where troops from three African nations are being deployed in the first United Nations brigade with a mandate to carry out ‘offensive’ operations. In the past 65 years of peacekeeping operations, blue helmets’ tasks have been restricted to preventing conflict, protecting civilians in war zones and...

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    H.R. McMaster: The pipe dream of easy war

    22 July 2013.  ‘Today, budget pressures and the desire to avoid new conflicts have resurrected arguments that emerging technologies – or geopolitical shifts – have ushered in a new era of warfare,’ writes H.R. McMaster in the New York Times. In an op-ed published on 20 July, McMaster – IISS Consulting Senior Fellow and Survival contributing editor – argues that the lessons from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are of ‘supreme importance’ for...

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    Antonio Sampaio: Los Zetas' combat strategy

    19 July 2013.  Mexico has had a significant victory in the battle against drug trafficking and organised crime, but still has a long way to go. On 15 July, the leader of a violent Mexican drug organisation, Los Zetas, was arrested. Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, known as Z-40, had a reputation for putting his enemies in oil barrels and setting them alight – and his group’s methods are characterised by calculated assaults against state...

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    Mark Fitzpatrick: What's in a spelling?

    19 July 2013.  By Mark Fitzpatrick, Director, Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme Who says establishment-oriented institutions cannot change with the times? Today the director of editorial for my esteemed institute made an executive decision that henceforth the IISS shall spell the name of Iran’s president-elect the way he himself apparently prefers; Hassan Rouhani, with a ‘u’ rather than a ‘w’. Ever since I have been at the IISS, and undoubtedly for years before that, our style...

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    William Choong: Fixing Japan–China relations

    17 July 2013.  By William Choong, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security At a time when Japan's relations with China cannot get any worse, its Ministry of Defense has released a Defence White Paper which has made Chinese officials and analysts go white with rage. The lengthy tome, the first White Paper released by the Shinzo Abe government, commented that China's lack of clarity about the vision behind its military build-up could lead to...

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    Ben Barry: Afghanistan: The beginning of the endgame

    15 July 2013.  ‘For peace to have a chance in Afghanistan’, according to Ben Barry, IISS Senior Fellow for Land Warfare, ‘both the Afghan government and Taliban must feel confident that they can negotiate privately, and that the gap between their positions has narrowed sufficiently that they have some common ground on which to do deals.’ At a discussion meeting at the IISS on Thursday titled ‘The Endgame in Afghanistan’, Barry was hopeful that the prospects...

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    Alexander Neill: Australia and the Asian way

    12 July 2013.  By Alexander Neill, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr’s message was clear at his IISS Fullerton Lecture on Tuesday: Australia is not just within Asia, it is of Asia. Stopping in Singapore as part of a busy tour through Southeast Asia (his next stop would be Naypyidaw in Myanmar), he noted that Australia was ‘drawing ever closer to Asia’. In his...

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IISS Voices

The IISS Voices blog features timely comment and analysis on international affairs and security from IISS experts and guest writers.