Defense & Security
Military strategy, alliances, weapons, troops and firepower. Defense and security issues shape geopolitical events now more than ever. GIS experts provide scenarios for future military developments.
Kazakhstan: Russia’s staunchest ally wavers
Could the linchpin in Russia’s plan to reassert its control over former Soviet states be in danger of slipping away? Moscow fears it might. Kazakhstan has been making overtures to the U.S. and China, and chipping away at key cultural ties. For now, Astana cannot afford to break away from Russia’s orbit, especially in security matters, but an overreaction by the Kremlin could tip the balance.
Iran and Israel’s proxy war in Syria escalates
The accidental downing of a Russian military plane by Syrian anti-missile defense, which coincided with Israeli air force jets’ presence in the area, highlights the danger of the increasingly open proxy warfare between Israel and Iran. The number of parties involved – Israel, Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah – points to the risk of the drawn-out Syrian conflict exploding into full-fledged regional war.
GIS Dossier: Brexit – how we got here
Brexit negotiations are reaching a messy, contentious head. But it didn’t have to be this way. Going back years, European leaders have missed opportunities to take a more pragmatic stance that could have benefited both the UK and the EU. GIS experts have been pointing this out along the way, and have offered some stark, sometimes counterintuitive predictions about the way forward.
Mali’s two wars
Mali, aided by France and several other countries in the region, is waging a war against jihadist terrorists based in the north of its territory. But Bamako is also conducting a political, social and economic war against ethnic populations in the north who want more autonomy. Though France’s involvement has kept the Malian government stable, more and more officials are asking why it should continue, given Bamako’s and Paris’s seemingly divergent goals.
GIS Dossier: Europe as a global player – the Middle East and North Africa
Europe’s influence as a great power is nowhere more apparent than in the attraction it exerts on the poorer countries to its south – in the Middle East and Northern Africa. This is the region where European Union member states, often without U.S. support, have deployed their full foreign-policy arsenal, from diplomacy and military intervention to financial aid and investment, with mixed success. Yet as migration and terror show, problems the EU fails to address “out there” tend to wind up on its doorstep.
The burgeoning India-Japan partnership
Japan and India are fast becoming close partners. Small wonder: the two countries both want to counteract China's rise, especially in the Indian Ocean. The countries have strengthened economic and military ties, and together could challenge China at sea. As Beijing attempts to project its power ever further, the Indo-Japanese partnership will only grow.
Russian airpower on trial
Russia’s air force has come a long way from its inept performance during the 2008 war with Georgia. In terms of command and control, logistics and sortie rates during its expeditionary campaign in Syria, it has far surpassed expectations. But that still tells us very little about how it would stack up against a more sophisticated enemy, and especially against the U.S. Air Force.
Looking for a way out in Libya
The recent outbreak of fighting in Libya’s capital shows who are the real masters of the country – the militias. The international community’s focus on the reconciling the feuding governments in Tobruk and Tripoli ignores how they have already been captured by local warlords. Until the grip of these armed groups is broken, holding national elections is an enormous gamble.
Next steps in the North Korea talks
As nuclear disarmament talks proceed between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the two sides are pursuing incompatible negotiating strategies. The U.S. wants tangible, verifiable progress fast, while North Korea is convinced that President Donald Trump is winging it. These opposed courses could soon lead to an impasse. Even so, the prospects for an escalation of conflict remain low.
Algeria after Bouteflika
After nearly two decades under the leadership of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria will face several challenges when he ultimately leaves office. The new era will come at a time when Algeria’s economic, energy, and security situations are also in transition. As the country is an important regional actor on terrorism and migration, the aftermath will be closely watched in the region and Europe.