The United Kingdom needs the EU, not NATO, to ensure its security

  • Author: Chris Abbott and Matthew Clarke
  • Published: 7 June 2016

In the build up to the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, some advocates for leaving the EU have argued that Britain’s security is better met by its membership of NATO rather than the European Union. In reality, the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU gives it diplomatic leverage and law enforcement mechanisms that it would not have on it own as well as military cooperation beyond that possible within NATO. While NATO remains somewhat of a ‘solution looking for a problem’, the EU takes a broad political, economic and military approach to security that is in keeping with our own approach and is well-suited to the interconnected security threats of the 21st century. Read more

Nobody, but us! Recent developments in Russia’s airborne forces (VDV)

  • Source: Intelligence unit
  • Filed: 23 March 2016
  • One response

Recent changes in personnel levels, coupled with equipment modernisation and operational experience, has made Russia’s elite airborne force (the VDV) an even more formidable force. As Russia shifts its gaze from perceived threats along its southern borders to those along its western ones, together with a fundamental shift to a military doctrine that once more sees NATO as the primary threat, the temptation to use the VDV as a military solution to political problems will likely only grow. Read more

The risk environment in Russia for Western NGOs and foundations

  • Source: Intelligence unit
  • Filed: 3 December 2015

This briefing sets out the general risk environment within which personnel from Western NGOs and foundations will be operating in Russia. The operating environment for human rights defenders and civil society activists in Russia has become even more constrained. Many activists have been subject to harassment and violence. Furthermore, the Russian president has repeatedly expressed his fear that Western countries use NGOs to manipulate Russian public opinion in order to stir up popular discontent. Read more

Transnational organised crime special briefing: People smuggling and the Syrian refugee crisis

  • Source: Intelligence unit
  • Filed: 30 October 2015
  • One response

Approximately 12 million Syrians have fled their homes as a result of the civil war in their country. Nearly eight million are internally displaced within Syria, and more than four million have sought refuge in nearby countries. Many are making the perilous journey to Europe in search of a better life, and over 500,000 Syrians have applied for asylum in EU countries. Not all who attempt the journey to Europe survive it. There were 4,800 known drownings of people attempting to cross the Mediterranean between October 2013 and April 2015 alone. These tragedies are being facilitated by the organised crime groups that peddle their lucrative trade in smuggling human beings. Read more

Intelligence brief: Russia’s electronic warfare capability in Ukraine

  • Source: Intelligence unit
  • Filed: 7 July 2015
  • 2 responses

Russian forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have significant advantages over Ukrainian forces in the area of electronic warfare. Russian forces are effectively able to nullify the Ukrainian communications and GPS signals in the regions they are deployed to. The advantages the Russians are enjoying in this area are directly contributing to the losses suffered by the Ukrainian armed forces. Western supporters of Kiev might consider supplying the Ukrainians with defensive capabilities, including electronic countermeasures. Read more

Azerbaijan cracks down on NGOs, human rights activists and media outlets

  • Source: Blog
  • Filed: 19 January 2015

Since December 2014, Azerbaijani authorities have ramped-up crackdowns on media outlets critical to the regime, as well as on the activities of NGOs and human rights lawyers. Given the increasing number of protests in response to recent government actions, draconian responses to these protests by the Azerbaijani government may result in a moderate outbreak of violence. Read more

Attacks in Paris risk further polarising French populace and increasing prejudices against Muslims

  • Source: Blog
  • Filed: 14 January 2015

On 7 January, two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, with apparent ties to Yemen’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), attacked the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. On 9 January, a third individual, Amedy Coulibaly, who had connections with the Kouachi brothers and Islamic State, entered a kosher supermarket in the Porte de Vincennes area of Paris, killing four individuals and taking a number of hostages. Read more

Strategic Order of Battle: Russian Airborne Forces

  • Author: Rob O'Gorman
  • Published: 24 October 2014

This handbook from Open Briefing provides an in-depth look at the ongoing transformation of Russia’s airborne forces, together with a strategic order of battle that details personnel and equipment levels for each of Russia’s four airborne divisions, four independent air assault brigades, Spetsnaz regiment, headquarters units and training division. As such, it represents the most detailed open source intelligence on Russia’s airborne forces available today. Read more


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