While NATO and the EU will remain joint protectors of Europe for the foreseeable future, the EU is largely united in a desire to build new military infrastructure across the continent. There is not yet consensus on the scope of that military ambition, but the direction of travel towards an EU defence force seems clearer now than at any point in the EU’s history.
This report examines the effectiveness of the use of remote warfare by the Nigerian government, its regional allies and Western states to counter the threat of Boko Haram. Our analysis shows that the operations have encouraged the factional forces of the insurgency to metastasise, build resilience and craft new tactics.
Continuing our series of articles on Iranian politics, Kevjn LIm analyses the six contenders in the forthcoming presidential election and assesses the chances of re-election for the moderate incumbent, Hassan Rouhani.
China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a vision to parlay large-scale economic dynamism into a foreign policy projecting Chinese influence overseas in the name of development. If the its promise of mutual prosperity and development is to be more than the sum of its parts, its stabilising effect on the Middle East would be a major litmus test. The momentum may come from Beijing, but smaller countries like Israel can and must shape it.
Many intelligence agencies were caught off-guard by the Arab Spring in 2011. Similarly, many agencies failed to anticipate the Islamic State taking over Mosul in 2014. Yet, the reasons behind these instances of strategic surprise were not new at all. They were already apparent over 25 years before, prior to the Iranian Revolution, and still pervade contemporary intelligence work.
This monograph examines post-revolutionary Iran’s grand strategy by way of its adjustments at three key inflection points. The first (1988-91) spans the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the collapse of the bipolar order and the First Gulf War, along with internal structural changes following Ayatollah Khomeini’s death. The second (2001-03) encompasses 9/11 and the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The third (2011-15) corresponds to the more recent Arab uprisings and the increasing internal and external pressures Iran faced over its nuclear programme.
Tehran has enjoyed observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) since 2005, but has repeatedly pressed its case for full membership. The organisation's two centres of power disagree over Iran's position: Moscow supports Iranian accession but Beijing seemingly opposes such a move. Iran shares with the SCO the ambition to challenge US dominance and the Western-led order. For Iran, the SCO is also the closest it has to an international defence bulwark, since it is not a member of any other regional security organisation.
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.