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Showing posts from September 3, 2017

The Ugly Rhymes of History? #Reviewing Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies Thomas McDermott     August 28, 2017 Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies ; National Styles and Strategic Cultures . Beatrice Heuser & Eitan Shamir, editors. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Insurgency is an old concept. If you were to travel back to Iraq between 2334 and 2279 BC, you would find a man called Sargan. Sargan ruled a vast empire spanning from Southern Iraq to Southern Turkey, enforced by overwhelming military power. His Akkadian hordes, armed with high-tech composite bows and sophisticated logistics, laid waste to all before them. Their strategy was a simple one; ‘mass slaughter, enslavement, the deportation of defeated enemies, and the total destruction of their cities.’ For years their technological edge and brutal strategy allowed the Akkadians to dominate. When they inevitably fell, however, they did not fall to a superi

The Case for AF-PAK Federally Administered Tribal Areas Victor Morris     August 25, 2017 RECONSIDERING AFGHANISTAN'S CENTER OF GRAVITY: THE TALIBAN , PASHTUNWALI , AND TRIBAL SOCIAL SYSTEMS The Taliban is presently the center of gravity in Afghanistan. This is not due to the fact the group is the perceived adversary, but it is because the Taliban wields power. The insurgency in Afghanistan, predominantly composed of ethnic Pashtuns, is a physical agent performing actions that accumulate in strategic outcomes that do not favor the central government. Equally important, the insurgency is emboldened by intangible socio-cultural variables like Sunni Islamic fundamentalism, Salafi jihadism, and  Pashtunwali .  These intangible variables influence relevant actors and give the Taliban insurgency the capability to obtain their political objectives. After almost two decades of misidentifying and attacking centers of gravity (COGs), another  insurgency strategy n

THE CHINESE PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY’S TRAJECTORY FROM ASYMMETRY TO INNOVATION 杀手锏 and 跨越发展: Trump Cards and Leapfrogging Elsa B. Kania     September 6, 2017 THE CHINESE PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY’S TRAJECTORY FROM ASYMMETRY TO INNOVATION Since the 1990s, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has focused on the development of asymmetric capabilities that target U.S. vulnerabilities. At present, the PLA’s approach is starting to evolve toward a strategy centered upon technological and defense innovation. The PLA is pursuing innovations in “strategic frontier” (战略前沿) technologies with disruptive military applications, including directed energy, hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, and quantum technologies. The PLA intends to achieve “leapfrog development” (跨越发展), seeking to surpass the U.S. military within critical technological domains in which the U.S. does not possess, and may not be able to achieve, a decisive advantage. A command and control technician assigne

Where the world goes to talk it over ‘NO OBSTACLES TO A RIGHT TO SPEAK IN UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY’ The UN General Assembly, unelected, limited in its powers but with 193 theoretically equal members, is the world’s only representative body. by Anne-Cécile Robert & Romuald Sciora   The Nigerian delegation attend the UN General Assembly in October 1960 Al Fenn · LIFE Picture Collection · Getty ‘There are no small countries at the General Assembly,’ Dessima Williams told us in her office in the Glass House, the glass curtain-walled Secretariat building at United Nations headquarters in New York. Williams was formerly Grenada’s ambassador to the UN and is now a special adviser to the president of the 71st General Assembly (GA). She spoke carefully, as if to make sure that we would understand, and seeing our scepticism, added: ‘Simply because the UN charter says that all member states are sovereign and equal.’ The harsh reality of international relations suggests this statement should

Work of a diplomat

▶Work in an international and politically sensitive context; ▶Represent their respective countries and manage its interests; ▶Have the capacity to quickly learn and apply new information; ▶Function as a bridge-builder, a connector and a hub in the context of modern networking theory; ▶ Responsibility to act as a service provider for others active in the field of international cooperation.

Exploiting the fault lines of Islamic terrorism

Exploiting the fault lines of Islamic terrorism by  LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHD  September 8, 2017 The U.S. has largely viewed Islamic terrorism as a monolithic threat with varying degrees of extremism distributed among various geographic locations. We have often not adequately appreciated the historical, ideological and geopolitical subtleties underlying Islamic terrorism and, consequently, missed opportunities to enhance our national security by effectively pitting one faction against another, if not by defeat, then by disruption. For example, an extraordinary and mostly unnoticed diplomatic démarche  occurred  in Kabul on August 7, 2017, when the senior Saudi diplomat in Afghanistan, Charge d'affairs Mishari al-Harbi, accused Qatar of supporting Taliban "armed terrorists" even though Saudi Arabia itself had long been a financial backer of the Taliban and, together with Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), officially recognized the group when it assumed control of