Syria's Civil War Is Now 3 Civil Warsby Jonathan Spyer
March 18, 2019
Net Assessment: Masterpiece Theater by Melanie Marlowe, Bryan McGrath, and Christopher Preble
How to help Venezuelans oust Maduro
Roger F. Noriega | New York Post
The collapse of Venezuela’s electrical grid this month triggered a struggle for power — literally, electricity — by narco-dictator Nicolás Maduro and sent 30 million people scrambling for food and water.
How Trump Should Counter Putin in Ukraine and Venezuela
By Dr. Jiri Valenta, March 18, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: If Nicolás Maduro is removed from office in Venezuela, Putin might act as he did when a popular revolution overthrew Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014. At that time, he launched a surprise invasion of Crimea. This time, he may launch a surprise naval and land attack on Mariupol, set up a land bridge from Crimea to Russia, and continue intensifying his attempt to strangle Ukraine’s economy in order to subjugate that country to Russia. Trump must take immediate preemptive measures to prevent this by increasing naval aid to Kiev.
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EXAMINING IRAN'S BALLISTIC MISSILE SYSTEM: BEGIN SADAT CENTER ISRAEL; VENEZUELA WILL GET WORSE BEFORE BETTER
Iran's Ballistic Missile Program: New Developments By Farhad Rezaei, March 12, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Iran’s rapid development of missile expertise has raised concerns in Washington and among its allies about Tehran’s intentions. Despite international censure, the Revolutionary Guards have been able to develop the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the region. Tehran is determined to develop and acquire ever more advanced and accurate ballistic missiles – but its efforts to achieve that goal are hampered by American and Israeli determination to subvert it.
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Unmasking war's changing character
(Modern War Institute) There seems to be widespread agreement that the character of war is changing but little consensus as to exactly how.
Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, to protest against President Omar al-Bashir. Security forces rounded up some of the protesters.
Micheal Rubin writes: Arguably, Somalia—rather than Afghanistan—is America’s longest war. […], the failure even to coordinate with those controlling key territory most successful again Al-Shaabab, pirates, and weapons smugglers suggests that, while the Pentagon is willing to spend money, AFRICOM is not prepared to win. – American Enterprise Insitute
HOW TURKEY, GERMANY AND EGYPT PLAY SPOILER FOR NEAR EAST WITH RUSSIA INFLUENCE & IDEAS SUPPORTING ISLAMIC STATE ARE STILL IN PLAY
Turkey: Putin's Ally in NATO? by Burak Bekdil
March 19, 2019
Aaron Stein writes: The S-400 saga is a microcosm of broader, structural changes driving the United States and Turkey apart. Beyond personality politics, it is now simply a fact that Washington and Ankara have different interests in the Middle East and view one another as hindrances to realizing national goals. Given this reality, it would be imprudent for the United States (and European F-35 operators) not to study its options, and start looking at ways to mitigate the risk to the F-35. – War On The Rocks
Turkey is changing the Middle East, but the US doesn't get it
(Bloomberg) For at least 10 years, the region has been caricatured as divided into two camps: a pro-Iranian coalition and a looser but larger group that opposes Iran's ambitions. For short, it’s sometimes foolishly reduced to a Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide.
Erin Dunne writes: Turkey is an important ally occupying a key geographic position at the crossroads of Central Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. That has made the country a strategic ally hosting airbases and missiles and serving as a launch point for U.S. and NATO operations in the Middle East. Those same strategic considerations have also made Turkey a prime target for other foreign powers, Russia chief among them. Increased relations between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin is a clear blow to Washington’s interests, threatening to block U.S. access to the Middle East and cut its regional influence. – Washington Examiner
Micheal Rubin writes: The German government’s celebration of Iran’s Islamic Revolution may have been gratuitous, but it was consistent with decades, if not more than a century, of German foreign policy. For successive German governments, lucrative contracts have always trumped human rights and, absent any moral clarity in German political culture, will continue to do so. – Washington Examiner
Michael Eisenstadt and Soner Cagaptay write: Although President Trump was following through on an oft-repeated campaign pledge when he announced a full withdrawal in December, the decision was still viewed by many as a hasty move that could upset the fragile equilibrium created by the U.S. military presence in Syria. […] In the end, President Trump will have to reconcile two incompatible campaign promises—disengaging from the Middle East or defeating IS. Doing so means making hard choices that may not align with his preferences, but could go far toward safeguarding U.S. interests in the region. – Washington Institute
The Erasure of the Islamic State's Caliphate Won't Ensure Its Defeat
By Scott Stewart, Stratfor Worldview: “A number of external factors greatly aided the revival of the Islamic State in Iraq and its expansion into the larger and more expansive Islamic State."
Mired in recriminations, Turkish-Egyptian ties remain stagnant
Prospects for improved relations between Ankara and Cairo appear dimmer than ever following recent executions in Egypt.
Asli Aydintasbas writes: If you think Turkey’s relationship with the United States is currently very tumultuous, you haven’t seen anything yet. The two allies have had bouts of hysteria on and off since 2015, mostly to do with Ankara resenting U.S. support for Syrian Kurds and Washington increasingly finding its longtime ally an unreliable partner in the Middle East.[…] As much as a strongman as Erdogan appears, the S-400 controversy actually demonstrates the weak position he has put Turkey in. His effort to demonstrate that Turkey has choices and is not an American vassal has so alienated Turkey’s Western partners and weakened its economy that the country now risks becoming a Russian vassal. – Washington Post
Road From Hanoi to Pyongyang Goes Via Beijing
By James Stavridis, Nikkei Asian Review: “Trump's best hope of a lasting nuclear deal with North Korea depends on China."
A GOVERNANCE PROBLEM CALLED NIGERIA: WHY IT MATTERS; US MISTAKES IN SOMALIA & HOW THE CONGO IS BACK IN PLAY
The world can learn from how Somaliland overcame militias
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
After weeks of failed talks following an election widely believed to be fraudulent, the newly-elected President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, has been urged to enter a power-sharing agreement with his predecessor, Joseph Kabila.
If Trump truly wants to end America’s endless wars abroad, he should embrace US allies, bolster democracies, and recognize that even at the height of its greatness, America has never truly gone it alone. Finish here.
AEI’s Marc Thiessen debated Buck Sexton on the correct US military strategy in the Middle East and the future of US national security. The two discussed whether a full withdrawal is in the United States’ best interest and whether our lengthy engagement with ISIS has successfully deterred future attacks. Watch the debate here.
Out of Africa: Why has Somaliland succeeded where Iraqi Kurdistan has failed?
Michael Rubin | 1001 Iraqi Thoughts
Trump’s Taliban dealing is already destabilizing Africa
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
US Africa policy cannot afford to ignore Somaliland
Michael Rubin | The National Interest
Somaliland – Key to Winning America's Longest War
By Michael Rubin, RealClearDefense: “ Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, AFRICOM commander, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that U.S. airstrikes alone would not defeat al-Shabaab. Instead, he said, local forces need to "step up." He is right, so it is especially unfortunate that when local forces step up to rebuff al-Shabaab, AFRICOM ignores them.
The Salafi-jihadist movement is winning
Katherine Zimmerman | RealClearWorld
Local conflicts and popular grievances create openings for the Salafi-jihadist movement to grow its influence. Working to resolve these conflicts will block its efforts to infiltrate communities. Reducing the movement’s ability to interact with populations is the only way to weaken it. America’s strategy must change to reflect this reality.
AFRICOM Adds Logistics Hub in West Africa, Hinting at an Enduring US Presence
// Katie Bo Williams
From Ghana's capital, a new supply network will ferry supplies and arms to special forces troops across the region.
Understaffed AFRICOM CuttingHundreds More Troops
By Tara Copp, Military Times: “U.S. Africa Command has begun cutting up to 10 percent of its forces from the continent in response to U.S. security challenges elsewhere, the top U.S. commander for Africa told reporters at the Munich Security Conference."
CTP’s Threat Update series is a weekly update and assessment of the al Qaeda network and its affiliates in Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and the Maghreb and Sahel. CTP’s Iran team follows developments on the internal politics, military capabilities, and regional conflicts closely.
Jomana Qaddour writes: The Trump administration’s stated policy objectives in Syria were reaffirmed at the February 6 meeting of the “Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS”: namely, to push back against Iranian hegemony, destroy the Islamic State, and condition reconstruction on real political progress outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Now that the administration intends to relinquish most of its military leverage inside Syria, however, it will need to strategically coordinate with regional allies even more to achieve these objectives. Its last, best leverage in this regard is reconstruction. – Washington Institute
SOUTH AMERICA ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS; GERMANY THE RELUCTANT EURO POWER; HERE'S HOW TEAM TRUMP SHOULD RESPOND TO SOUTH AMERICAN CRISIS
Paraguay Is a Fiscal Paradise for Terrorists
Emanuele Ottolenghi — Foreign Policy
The U.S. Department of Justice last year designated Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party and militant group, as a transnational criminal organization, thanks to its long-standing and well-documented partnership with Latin American drug cartels. A focal point of Hezbollah operations in the Western Hemisphere is the Tri-Border Area ... Read more
Europe: Trying to Legitimize Iran's Regime by Giulio Meotti
Will Germany, Not Ready & Slow To Invest, Keep EU Leadership, Deter Putin
By Robbin Laird, Wednesday, February 20, 2019 3:41 PM
The Cold War has not returned, but the Russians have. The challenge for the Trump Administration is less about whether the US cares about European defense; it is much more about a strategic shift of American attention to dealing with the Chinese and North Korean threats.
German Foreign Policy is Stuck in Neutral by Julianne Smith
The Unready Hegemon
By Constanze Stelzenmüller, Berlin Policy Journal: “German foreign and security policy is not prepared for the new era of great power competition. To stand up for its convictions and values, the country needs to step up."
HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE BREXIT, WHY NO DEAL IS THE BEST DEAL FOR ENGLAND IN ITS WAR AGAINST THE E.U.; WHAT WOULD DE GAULLE DO FOR FRANCE NOW; BRITISH PARAMILITARY SPEAKS ABOUT "BLOODY SUNDAY"
Brexit's a mess, and here's what's coming next by Conrad Black
March 23, 2019
Brexit: What Would Thatcher Do? Editorial of The New York Sun | March 20, 2019
What would Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher do in respect of Brexit? That's the question with which we're wrestling as the second woman premier to lead Britain, Theresa May, flounders toward the March 29 date by which, absent a deal or an agreed-upon delay, Britain will finally regain its independence. How would the Iron Lady handle what the nervous Nellies are calling a colossal constitutional crisis?
The British Parliament has voted to reject a no-deal Brexit after a chaotic evening in the House of Commons that laid bare divisions within the governing Conservative Party.
British lawmakers will today vote on postponing the date when Britain leaves the European Union. There are 15 days to go until the scheduled exit date of March 29.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is also expected to put her proposed Brexit deal before the British Parliament for a third time in the coming week even though Parliament has already rejected it on two occasions. May told members of Parliament that if her deal was not accepted, then Brexit may be delayed considerably.
Could Brexit Manage To Unite Ireland?
By PAUL ATKINSON, Special to the Sun | March 12, 2019
The Irony of Brexit
Robert Samuelson, Washington Post
What Would De Gaulle Do? Editorial of The New York Sun | March 6, 2019
What in the world is Charles de Gaulle going to think when he gets ahold of the latest op-ed piece from Emmanuel Macron? We understand that De Gaulle, the founding father of the Fifth Republic, has been dead for nigh fifty years. A lucky thing for him, too, given the way things are going in the land to which he addressed his immortal "Call to Honor."
Brexit: A Supreme Test of the British
Editorial of The New York Sun | March 13, 2019
As the Mother of Parliaments wrestles with whether to bow to the voters of Great Britain or the mandarins in Brussels, here's what we will be thinking. We will be thinking how lucky Americans are that the Revolutionaries who founded our country struck for independence when they did. They seized independence when they had the chance, and it's made all the difference since.
Theresa May’s Lucky Defeat
Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal
Theresa May’s crushing defeat in the House of Commons yesterday over her plan for Britain to leave the European Union was actually a great victory for her, provided that you make a simple assumption: that she and her colleagues never wanted Britain to leave the EU in the first place. A majority of the British legislature is, and always was, opposed to Brexit. Those legislators who agitated most vociferously for it declined, when the time came, to carry out the policy, leaving it to a woman, already well known for her political maladroitness. Read more here....
Is Mexico a Failing State?
By Alexander Grinberg, Strategy Bridge: "In 2009, U.S. Joint Forces Command released a statement expressing concerns over Mexico, highlighting the potential even then for a total collapse."
How Socialism Destroyed Venezuela
Daniel Di Martino, E21
Many in the media have blamed Venezuela’s worsening humanitarian crisis on corruption, mismanagement, falling oil prices, or U.S sanctions—anything but the rise of socialism in what was once the wealthiest country in South America. Yet corruption and mismanagement were the direct result of increased government control of the economy—socialism—and in reality, lower oil prices and U.S. sanctions have little to do with the crisis. Read more here....
AL-QAEDA IN THE AFRICAN HORN: PUSH BACK ON AFRICOM, ASSASSINATING SOMALIA LEADERSHIP & RAND CORPORATION STUDIES MIDDLE EAST SECTARIANISM
Middle Eastern Communities Can Resist Sectarianism
Sectarian violence in the Middle East has been destructive, but it is still the exception rather than the norm. Communities are generally resilient to the worst sectarian impulses. Lessons from Lebanon, Bahrain, Syria, and Iraq show that there are a range of actions that can curb sectarianism. Read more »
US MUST COMPETE WITH RUSSIA, CHINA IN LATIN AMERICA & VENEZUELA: ITS ALL ABOUT RUSSIAN MONEY-LAUNDERING AND SANCTION EVASION
Get China and Russia Out of Venezuela - and the Western Hemisphere by Gordon G. Chang
Rent-seeking behavior in US international food aid programs
Stephanie Mercier | American Enterprise Institute
Food aid programs provide rents to interest groups through cargo preference requirements and purchasing requirements raising program costs. As a result, US food aid is not efficiently achieving its goals of increasing US soft power and alleviating global hunger.
UK Parliament wants new Brexit talks
BY ASIA TIMES STAFF
Brussels reiterates best deal has already been offered
Does Sterling Back Brexit?
Editorial of The New York Sun | January 31, 2019
Modi plays temple politics, minorities set to play key election roles
BY KANCHAN SRIVASTAVA
The BJP will lean on upper caste Hindu voters in the 2019 Indian elections, as opposition parties look to consolidate other sectors of the vote
Can India weather the Middle East Strategic Alliance?
New Delhi may never have felt more vindicated in its Middle East policy than it does now. Its close ties with all the major powers in the Middle East, including Israel, Iran and the Gulf monarchies, have shielded its interests from the region’s geopolitical fluctuations. Yet, going forward, the region’s increasing polarization, of which the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) is but the latest manifestation, poses a considerable challenge for India. Signs of this are...
AL-QAEDA WINNING IN THE AFRICAN TRANS-SAHEL: FREDRICK KAGAN'S AEI'S CRITICAL THREATS PROJECT COVERAGE & US AFRICOM HITS THE WALL ON SOMALIA DOMESTIC POLITICS
The US Needs a Real Plan to Counter China in Africa
// Adam Ereli
The current toothless strategy won't prevent Beijing from, say, squeezing supply lines to America's biggest African base.
Trump’s Africa Surprise
By Jonathan Gass, Atlantic Council: "Africa has generally ranked near the bottom of U.S. foreign policy priorities. Historically, two-term presidents have waited until their second term to establish their legacies on the continent, and many one-term presidents have neglected it altogether. U.S. President Donald J. Trump has surprised many by bucking this trend."
The Saga of Mukhtar Robow and Somalia’s Fractious Politics by Christopher Anzalone and Stig Jarle Hansen
Noninterventionist US foreign policy in two African nations
Roger Bate | AEIdeas