ISLAM VS. CHRISTENDOM ALONG THE SOUTHERN RUSSIAN TIER, WHEN ARE EXIT STRATEGIES VIABLE & A LOOK AT MISSION COMMAND
Bolton's Purge, Trump's Obama Moments by Jiri Valenta and Leni Friedman Valenta •
When Are Exit Strategies Viable? by David Kamp
U.S., MIDDLE EAST:
U.S. Announces Full Withdrawal From Northern Syria As Turkish Forces Advance
By Amberin Zaman & Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor: "A top U.S. official announced Sunday that the United States would be pulling out all of its forces from northeastern Syria, leaving its Syrian Kurdish allies exposed to Turkey’s ongoing military offensive as it entered its fifth day — a move that will likely go down as a further betrayal of the Kurdish people by the United States."
The Trump Doctrine: Principled Realism or Endemic Confusion?
By Daniel S. Morgan, The Hill: "American foreign policy is increasingly falling into disarray and incoherence."
Will New Doctrine Fix Mission Command?
By Doug Orsi & Bobby Mundell, War Room: "But is updating the doctrine sufficient to answer its critics? Persistent execution challenges may go beyond what any doctrine can address."
An Assessment of the 2040 Security Environment Absent Great Power Competition
By Mike Sweeney, Divergent Options: "America is likely to be ill-prepared for the security threats circa 2040. The tasks the U.S. military may be asked to perform in the face of global political instability, mass migration, and environmental degradation are likely to be both unconventional and unwanted."
A Better Idea Can Win the Next Big War for the Ground Services
By Robert Scales, War on the Rocks: "Buried in the rush to embrace multi-domain operations is an all-but-forgotten future-gazing effort the Army began soon after Desert Storm."
Ilan Berman writes: Erdogan’s current, ambitious foreign policy vision (which includes the purchase of advanced fighter jets from Russia and a massive, multi-billion dollar stabilization plan for northern Syria) carries a steep price tag – one that Ankara would be hard pressed to foot alone. Domestically, meanwhile, Erdogan appears to have reconciled himself to the idea of accepting stabilization funds from Beijing in order to stay in power, no matter the strings that might be attached.The result is a Turkish government that is drifting ever deeper into China’s orbit, and away from the West. – The Diplomat
Will Todman writes: If the Trump administration allows a Turkish incursion into northeast Syria, a full U.S. withdrawal from Syria appears inevitable. Without a presence on the ground, the United States will have no ability to achieve its three articulated aims in Syria: an enduring defeat of the ISG, the removal of Iranian forces and its proxies from Syria, and an irreversible political transition. U.S. leverage in Syria would be essentially be reduced to economics—the ability to increase its sanctions and deny reconstruction funding. Russia and Iran will both benefit from the new status quo. – Center for Strategic and International Studies
Trump’s Troop Pullback in Syria Is Part of a Consistent Policy
By James Durso, RealClearDefense: "Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia, and the Kurds will have to sort as they fight, and the battlefield will be more than the usual chaos with several armies, Russian mercenaries, Iranian-sponsored militias, refugees, and displaced persons moving in every direction amid ruined infrastructure. All in all, it’s a scene Trump thinks the U.S. is wise to avoid."
Trump Is Seeking Broad Coalition in The Middle East
By CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | October 9, 2019
U.S. Pullout Is a Boon for Assad by Jonathan Spyer
October 9, 2019
Syria could be Turkey’s Vietnam
Michael Rubin | The National Interest
Trump Syria withdrawal decision immoral and short-sighted
Bradley Bowman | CMPP Senior Director
Trump’s Syria decision is a victory for America’s enemies in the Middle East
David Adesnik | Director of Research
Angry At Trump’s Syria-Withdrawal? He Learned His Foreign Policy From Obama
Mark Dubowitz | Chief ExecutiveTzvi Kahn | Senior Iran Analyst
Defining 'True Islam'by Sam Westrop
October 8, 2019
Can Israel Trust the U.S. after Syria Withdrawal? by Seth Frantzman
The Jerusalem Post
October 7, 2019
John Dunford and Brandon Wallace write: ISIS has mounted low-level efforts to replenish its ranks from members held in detention facilities and displacement camps across Syria and Iraq since late 2018. Some ISIS members have paid bribes to guards in order to buy their freedom. Others have rioted or mounted small-scale escapes attempts from at least four detention facilities in Syria and Iraq since September 2018. ISIS is likely preparing more coordinated and sophisticated operations to free its detained members in Iraq and Syria. The largest risk likely faces the network of makeshift and undermanned detention facilities spread across Northern Syria. – Institute for the Study of War
John Dunford writes: Turkey is preparing to invade Northeastern Syria despite U.S. efforts to de-escalate tensions through a joint security mechanism along the border. […]The Turkish offensive will likely target the Arab-majority city of Tel Abyad in Northern Raqqa Province. It will create an opportunity for ISIS to achieve breakout success in eastern Syria while the U.S. partner force, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), fights Turkey along the border. Pro-Assad regime forces could also attempt to exploit the chaos to seize oil fields currently under SDF control. – Institute for the Study of War
O. Peri and Y. Yehoshua write: The efforts to normalize with the Syrian regime and the calls to reinstate it in the Arab League are to a large extent also the result of pressure from Russia, which argues that such a move will advance peace in the country. On the other hand, the U.S. is working to stop rapprochement with Assad as long as he does not commit to a political process in his country. […]The surprising sight of the Arab League secretary-general greeting and embracing the Syrian officials sparked speculation in the Arab media about whether it heralded Syria’s reinstatement in the Arab League. – Middle East Media Research Institute
Michael Weiss writes: In other words ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (yes, he’s still alive) exploited the Kurdish Question before and will exploit again now that all-out war between Turkey and Syria’s Kurds is a foregone conclusion. And so long as the inevitable carnage stays in the neighborhood, we can be reasonably sure that Donald Trump won’t care or will treat this as just the latest manifestation of a regional pathology, and not an unforced error of lousy U.S. policy-planning. – The Daily Beast
Trump's Retreat In North Syria Will Beget More War
By BENNY AVNI, Special to the Sun | October 10, 2019
A guiding line runs through the unpredictability and seeming chaos of President Trump's foreign policy, summed by his favorite hashtag: #EndEndlessWars. That's what pushed the president to announce, following a phone call with Turkey's Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the withdrawal from Northern Syria the few dozen American GIs who until now prevented Turkey's invasion of its neighbor.
Anthony H. Cordesman writes: This analysis does not attempt to simplify the range of factors involved or to find a single set of main causes of extremism, terrorism, and insurgency. It does not attempt to offer simply or optimistic answers to problems that need far more in-depth analysis, and where it may be impossible to find truly workable solutions until a given state is finally driven to the point where it is ready to help itself. In the real world, the only practical choice may be to contain the threats in a given country to its own territory – a form of strategic triage that must give priority to countries that are actually willing to address their civil challenges and have the unity to act. – Center for Strategic and International Studies
Beyond Counterterrorism, which offers a new strategy for countering the Salafi-jihadi movement.
Counterterrorism has prevented another 9/11 attack on the US homeland, but it has not stopped al Qaeda and the Islamic State from growing much stronger than they were in 2001. The US has targeted al Qaeda’s and the Islamic State’s terrorist networks and US and partner military operations have denied them control over large territories and populations. Yet al Qaeda and the Islamic State, as part of the Salafi-jihadi movement, have more territory, more fighters, and more capabilities than ever before.
Winning the forever war means adopting a strategy that will weaken the Salafi-jihadi movement and not just reduce the terrorism threat. Zimmerman argues the US must reframe its approach to counter the Salafi-jihadi movement. With partners, the US must seek to sever their ties with local communities by offering communities a viable alternative to the Salafi-jihadi movement, which will weaken and ultimately isolate movement.
The report is Zimmerman’s latest on the Salafi-jihadi movement. Her related reports include Road to the Caliphate, Terrorism, Tactics, and Transformation, and America’s Real Enemy.
The war in Syria is far from over, but its nature is changing
As ISIS’s territorial “state” was simultaneously rolled back and then defeated, an international consensus increasingly emerged that claimed Syria’s war was “winding down.” There is no doubt that the geographic scope and intensity of conflict is not what it was at the height of hostilities in 2014 and 2015, but it is certainly not finished either.
Net Assessment: Syria: A Sad Tale by Tom Karako, Melanie Marlowe, Christopher Preble
Al Shabaab Weakened but Not Defeated in Somalia
In light of recent attacks on Western military bases in Somalia, it's worth revisiting a 2016 RAND report on al Shabaab. Our findings indicated that the United States did make some strides in weakening the group, but progress could slip without continued pressure and reform. The authors warned that the group could bounce back if U.S. and other Western governments did not address Somalia's political, economic, and governance challenges at the heart of the conflict. Read more »
Africa File is a biweekly analysis and assessment of the Salafi-jihadi movement in Africa and related security and political dynamics. Each edition begins "At a Glance” followed by country-specific updates. Read this week’s edition here!
Hifter's forces destroy Turkish drones stored in Libyan airports
Forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Hifter say they destroyed Turkish drones stored at the Mitiga and Misrata airports, Hifter's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) said early today. Hifter’s forces vowed in July to attack Turkish interests in Libyaafter Ankara was seen as helping the UN-backed government resist the LNA's monthslong attack on the capital. Meanwhile, the Government of National Accord in Tripoli said it suspected Hifter ally the United Arab Emirates of carrying out the airstrikes on Tuesday against Mitiga, Tripoli’s only functioning airport.
Key Border Crossing Opens along Route of Iran’s Land Bridge to the Mediterranean
David Adesnik | Director of Research Andrew Gabel | Research Analyst
Russian-Chinese Cooperation Is Not As Temporary As You Think
By Emil Avdaliani, October 8, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Many believe the Russian-Chinese partnership, which functions across a variety of economic and political spheres, is only temporary. But Moscow’s disenchantment with the West, and the redirection of its foreign policy toward Beijing and beyond, is rooted in Russian historical thinking. The disagreement between Russia and the West is a full-scale geopolitical separation.
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Who got China right?
Paul Wolfowitz | AEIdeas
How China 'Woke' America
by Victor Davis Hanson via National Review
But did she wake up just in time or too late?
China: 70 years of the People's Republic
Dan Blumenthal | AEI video
On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed that China had defeated the imperialists and that the Chinese people have stood up to become a “peace-“ and “freedom-loving” nation. Seventy years later, has his proclamation come true?
The Tragedy of Communist China
Editorial of The New York Sun | October 1, 2019
Communist China's 70th anniversary, with its spectacle of violence against demonstrators for democracy in Hong Kong, is a moment to mark a profound truth: There is no difference between political liberty and economic liberty. They cannot be separated, nor can one be put before the other. It turns out that economic liberty and political liberty are the same thing -- warp and woof of the fabric of freedom.
Xi's Historic Power Grab Has Cost China A Great Deal Of Stability
quoting Elizabeth Economy via CNBC
This isn’t the outcome President Trump anticipated, now 15 months into his trade war with China. Chinese President Xi Jinping this Tuesday will stage the mother of all military parades through central Beijing, celebrating not only the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic — but also underscoring his quest for “national rejuvenation” and global leadership.
The China Mission
By John Q. Bolton, Strategy Bridge: "In August 1945, the United States was at the pinnacle of world power, globally supreme both economically and militarily. Though the Allies and Soviets had split Europe, the hardening of Cold War lines remained in the future. The immediate foreign policy challenge facing the Truman Administration was how to resolve the China Problem."
What Xi Jinping Hasn't Learned From China's Emperors
By James A. Millward, The New York Times: "On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) on Oct. 1, the party-state has much to celebrate: an unprecedented record of economic development, world-class education and technological innovation, an increasingly prominent position on the world stage. But even as the authorities go to extreme lengths to assure a triumphant birthday parade, the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.) faces its most intense international criticism since 1989 ..."
Xi Jinping Will Usher In a Dark Age for China
By Bradley Thayer & Lianchao Han, The National Interest: "Xi Jinping's rule will likely result in unprecedented disaster for China and the world given that his actions will adversely affect the global community."
The China Dream: Never Closer, Never More Elusive
This week marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The next few decades may see the country's impact on the world reach new heights, says RAND's Timothy Heath. But Beijing also faces some serious obstacles on its path to becoming a dominant global leader. "With its economy softening and its politics gridlocked, an increasingly besieged China seems less and less likely to realize all of its goals," he says. Read more »
Why China’s Big Military Parade Is Nothing to Be Afraid Of
By Craig Hooper, Forbes: "Excessive Western pearl-clutching over new Chinese military technology is exactly what the Chinese regime wanted"
China Has Learned the Value of Amphibious Operations
By William J. Bowers & Christopher D. Yung, Proceedings: "Unable to project power across the Taiwan Strait in 1949 to pursue retreating Nationalist forces, the Chinese lost an important strategic opportunity."
After 70 years, Chinese Communism threatens the world more than ever
(The Hill) As the People’s Republic of China commemorates its 70th anniversary, as many as 80 million Chinese will not be around to observe the festivities. They perished in the first few decades of communist rule in China, victims of the murderous ideological orgies of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward.
Please, no congratulations for China’s communists
James Pethokoukis | AEIdeas
To congratulate is to express joy on the achievements or good fortune of others. But James Pethokoukis is not sure the American president should express joy in the historic victory of the Chinese Communist Party.
The People’s Republic Of China Was Born In Chains
By Frank Dikötter via Foreign PolicyOn Oct. 1, 2019, the Chinese Communist Party will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, an event referred to by the government as a liberation. It was a liberation that plunged the country into decades of Maoist cruelty and chaos.
China’s Neo-Maoist Moment
By Elizabeth Economy via Foreign AffairsFew countries commemorate historical milestones with the zeal of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and 2019 offers a bonanza of celebratory opportunities: 70 years since the founding of the PRC and 40 years since Deng Xiaoping launched the economic reforms that opened China to the rest of the world. Xi Jinping is exploiting the anniversaries to evoke Mao Zedong and reassert the power of the Communist Party.
Yemen File is a biweekly analysis and assessment of the Yemen conflict and the Salafi-jihadi movement in Yemen. Each edition begins "At a Glance” followed by country-specific updates.
Read the latest Yemen File here.
At a Glance: The conflict in Yemen significantly challenges US efforts to combat al Qaeda and Iranian influence in the Middle East. Iran has expanded its influence in the Arabian Peninsula over the Yemeni civil war. AQAP, which had been al Qaeda’s most virulent affiliate, retains its sanctuaries in southern Yemen despite ongoing counterterrorism operations. US Gulf partners, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have become entangled in the Yemeni civil war, now a regional conflict. Near-famine conditions in Yemen are driving the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, which could further destabilize the region.
Keep It Steady And Cool With Iran, America
By Victor Davis Hanson via National Review
Expect more desperate Iranian efforts to prompt a U.S. military response in the Persian Gulf. Trump’s sanctions have cut off 90 percent of Iran’s oil revenues. Soon Tehran’s shattered economy will be followed by more pent-up domestic unrest of the sort that Barack Obama ignored in 2009, when he felt that the continued viability of the murderous theocracy fed his bizarre dreams of enhancing a new Shiite, Persian hegemony to counterbalance the Sunni Arabs.
UKRAINE IS ABOUT BIDEN: THE SWAMP LIVES & HOW THE IRAQI SHIA MILITIAS MUST INTEGRATE INTO THE IRAQI STATE
Are the Kremlin’s gains in the Middle East sustainable?
The military campaign in Syria marked a turning point for Russia’s reemergence as a power in the Middle East. Taking advantage of the opportunities presented by Western failures, the Kremlin’s tactical approach has seen it make gains across the region, although these may be more limited and reversible — and Moscow more vulnerable — than is often thought.
Decentralization and its Discontents in Iraq
Iraq’s current public service regime is struggling to deliver on desperately needed services in part due to the issue of establishing a functioning federal state system across the country. Far more attention needs to be devoted to institutions and how those operating within them can deliver those services.
The Al-Hashd al-Sha'bi Militias at a Crossroads
By Dr. Doron Itzchakov, September 27, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The recent assaults on the militia bases of al-Hashd al-Sha’bi raise questions about Iraq’s future. Despite the Iraqi PM’s ultimatum demanding that the militias, which operate under the Iranian umbrella, integrate into the Iraqi military apparatus, a number of them are not complying, which could have implications for Iraqi sovereignty.
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PMU under pressure to integrate into Iraqi state
Following dramatic changes in the leadership of the Popular Mobilization Units, two rockets hit near the US Embassy in Baghdad, signaling discontent with the move.
'Well, Son of a Bitch': Ukraine Scandal Is About Biden
Editorial of The New York Sun | September 25, 2019
Release of the transcript of President Trump's call with Ukraine's new president makes one thing clear -- the Democrats are focusing on the wrong guy. They're trying to use this episode to impeach Mr. Trump. What the conversation shows, though, is that Mr. Trump was enlisting help to do exactly what he had promised to do, drain the swamp. The culprit on whom to focus is Vice President Biden.
Why making deals with despots is difficult
Fanatical ideologues tend not to be “win-win” kind of guys.
Clifford D. May | Founder & President
Diverging Gulf Responses to Kashmir and Xinjiang Reflect Deep Divisions
By Dr. James M. Dorsey, September 25, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Recent diametrically opposed responses to the repression of Muslims by China, India, and other Asian countries highlight deep differences among the Gulf states that ripple across Asia.
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Turkey should heed the International Monetary Fund’s warnings
Desmond Lachman | AEIdeas
US Adversaries: Nothing to Fear from the White House? by Con Coughlin
Israel Shouldn’t Worry About Ilhan Omar. It Should Worry About Xi Jinping.
China risks becoming a point of chronic contention between the United States and Israel.
A Century Of Ideas: New Regional Orders And New Ways Of War: Europe, The Middle East, And Asia
via The Hoover Centennial
The global order of the past seven decades is being disrupted by regional dynamics. Powers of the past are reasserting themselves—Russia in Europe and the Middle East, Turkey and Iran in the Middle East, and China in Asia and beyond. Technology is changing how nations can prosper, influence, and compel. The panel will discuss what these changes portend for each of these regions and the US role in shaping events in its national interest.
China and the US: amphibious ambitions take new shape
As the United States Marine Corps contemplates shifting the make-up of its forces in the face of a challenging operating environment and the proliferation of anti-access/area-denial capabilities, China is about to take the next step in beefing up its amphibious capability.
TURKEY GOES NUCLEAR, WHY ARE THERE TURKISH DRONES IN LIBYA? SUDAN MOVES FORWARD SLOWLY & US NEEDS TO RID ITSELF OF ORTEGA
Next for Turkey? Nuclear Weapons! by Burak Bekdil •
Is Erdoğan Solely Responsible for Turkish Foreign Policy?
By Dr. Spyridon N. Litsas, September 18, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Many believe Turkey will return to “Western normality” as soon as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan finishes his political career. But Turkey’s behavior is influenced by the systemic restructuring of the international arena after the end of the Cold War more than it is by Erdoğan’s aura, as was apparent in the 1990s prior to his advent. It is unwise to anticipate a significant change in Turkish foreign policy once Erdoğan leaves the scene.
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What is Muqtada al-Sadr doing in Iran?
In a surprising appearance, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, known for his criticism of Iran's regional policies, sat next to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran's Quds commander Qasem Soleimani at a religious assembly.
South Sudan: Rebel Leader Returns to Discuss Peace Accords. Exiled rebel leader RiekMachar has arrived in South Sudan's capital for expected talks with PresidentSalva Kirr, a meeting seen as an important step towards the implementation of a stalled peace deal. Machar's visit, the first in a year, comes before a November deadline to form a power-sharing government, a key part of the pact signed by the two rivals last year to end the country's civil war. The roll-out of the accord, however, has been delayed by disputes. "The meeting aims at discussing the outstanding issues related to the implementation of the R-ARCSS (peace deal) with President Kiir and other head of the parties to the agreement," Machar's director for information, Puok Both Baluang, said. African News Al Jazeera
It's time to escalate against Nicaragua's Ortega
Ryan C. Berg | RealClearWorld
Turkish drones in Libya are a strategic and family affair
Drones manufactured by the company of the Turkish president’s son-in-law been prominently involved in what has become a proxy war between Turkey and the UAE in Libya.
South Sudan: Rivals Agree on Transitional Government. South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former rebel leader Riek Machar have agreed to form a transitional government. The Information Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said that the new administration would be in place by mid-November. “Rest assured that things are going on well,” Kiir said on Wednesday after meeting Machar. “We are coming to a solution very soon.” Machar is expected to return to the country as Kiir’s deputy, a position he held before the nation’s civil war began in 2013. He left the country in 2016, abandoning a similar power-sharing arrangement. Remaining issues include security arrangements such as integrating rebel troops with government forces. Over the next two months, the nation will combine troops to create a force of 83,000 soldiers. Bloomberg Al Jazeera
Mohammed Soliman writes: The United States has specifically designated former Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service director Salah Gosh for his involvement in “gross violations of human rights.” The United States must expand on this by threatening to impose sanctions on prominent Sundanese military leaders implicated in human rights violations[…]. Most notably, this action will showcase the United States and the international community’s commitment to a smooth democratic transition from the TMC leadership, and helping to curb any ambitions of RSF leader General Hemediti to spoil the current agreement between the TMC and the FFC. – Washington Institute
SAUDI ARABIA IS LOSING YEMEN TO IRAN, TALIBAN INITIATIVE DEAD, A LOOK AT OUR BROKEN NUCLEAR TRIAD & HOW US ALLIANCE SYSTEM IS BROKEN
Making Headway Against the Sinai Insurgency
Since 2013, Egypt has been engaged in the Sinai Peninsula against a deadly ISIS-affiliated insurgency. To make headway, the Egyptian government could focus on providing services in the region and repairing its relationship with citizens.Read more »
Reagan's Cold War Lessons for Handling Russia
Rising public protests in Russia may be putting the Kremlin on the defensive at home. But Moscow is playing offense abroad, challenging the West more than at any time since Ronald Reagan's presidency. Reagan's strategy to counter the Kremlin back then offers insights that could help guide U.S. policy today. Read more »
Time to Return to the Basics of Statecraft
After two decades of setbacks abroad, it's time to ask whether the decline in American influence is irreversible. Ultimately, neither China nor Russia is responsible for these difficulties. Washington's failures have been self-inflicted, the result of flawed policy rather than any decisive shift in the global balance of power. Read more »
The writing was on the wall with Afghanistan
(The Atlantic ) The latest bout of bloodshed may have played some role in the actions Trump just took, but it is also a convenient out for an administration that had gone all in on a floundering initiative.
There's still a path forward with the Taliban
(Bloomberg) Trump was right to kill the Camp David meeting but negotiations should continue, with Colombia as the model.
Trump Says Taliban Talks ‘Dead,’ Military to Ramp Up Afghanistan Ops
By Steve Holland & Phil Stewart, Reuters: "U.S. President Donald Trump proclaimed talks with Afghanistan's Taliban leaders dead on Monday, while the general in charge said the U.S. military is likely to ramp up operations in Afghanistan to counter an increase in Taliban attacks."
There’s Still a Path Forward With the Taliban
By James Stavridis, Bloomberg: “Trump was right to kill the Camp David meeting but negotiations should continue, with Colombia as the model."
The Broken Leg of America’s Nuclear Triad
By Mark Thompson, Project on Government Oversight: "The Pentagon’s logic undergirding the triad, such as it is, is in danger of falling apart: The U.S. military is on the cusp of putting all of those nuclear eggs into a single basket."
Saudi Arabia Is Losing Yemen to Iran by Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Post
September 6, 2019
How an alliance system withers
Oriana Skylar Mastro and Bonnie S. Glaser | Foreign Affairs
For more than half a century, US power in Asia has rested on the alliance system that Washington built in the years after World War II. Now, a dispute between Japan and South Korea — the two most important pillars of that system — threatens to undo decades of progress.
The end of the Wilsonian century?
Colin Dueck | The National Interest
Trump May Come To Miss Bolton -- As the UN Did
By BENNY AVNI, Special to the Sun | September 11, 2019
Trump's Bolton Removal Leaves Pompeo as the Last Man Standing
by Seth Frantzman
The Jerusalem Post
September 10, 2019
Can Trump Hew the Hard Line After Bolton?
Editorial of The New York Sun | September 10, 2019
Two names stand out as particularly newsworthy among those being mentioned, at least to us, as possible National Security Adviser following the departure of John Bolton. One is our envoy to Free Germany, Ambassador Rick Grenell, who, we hear, is due to speak with the President late this week. The other is -- wait for it -- General Michael Flynn, who had the NSC job for a month at the start of Mr. Trump's presidency.
Global Terrorism: Threats to the Homeland
Thomas Joscelyn testifies before the House Committee on Homeland Security on the subject of global terrorism and the threats to the United State homeland.
Russia Will Likely Collapse from the Inside
By Emil Avdaliani, September 11, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Russia is historically prone to internal collapse, as is shown by numerous examples from both the imperial and Soviet periods. The collapse usually takes place as Russia rests on the laurels of recent military victories while internal economic and social troubles grow. History teaches that the best way to deal with Russia is to keep intervention to a minimum and wait for its internal troubles to bring about its collapse.
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How Putin’s Russia Works
In his most recent book, Russia's Crony Capitalism, Anders Aslund details the current state of affairs in Putin’s Russia and provides an overview of the system that he defines as “crony capitalism.” The book serves as a good primer of the subject, offering a useful meta-analysis and integrating points. >>>
Did the Time of Troubles End?
The turbulent period in the Russian history, the Time of Troubles (1584-1613), continues to provide rich material for politicians. Looking into the two studies of this period, historian Dmitry Shlapentokh highlights the key ideas borrowed by the Putin regime to justify its policies. >>>
DOES ENGLAND HAVE A GOVERNMENT NOW? & WHAT TO MAKE OF THE TURKISH-IRANIAN-RUSSIAN AXIS, FINALLY A LOOK AT GERMAN ELECTIONS AFTER MERKEL
Intel: How Russia and Iran are drawing closer on Gulf, Syria
The Russian and Iranian foreign ministers met in Moscow to discuss regional issues and opportunities for cooperation.
Roundtable: The Iranian Way of War
By Arron Stein, Ariane M. Tabatabai & Afshon Ostovar, FPRI: "The Islamic Republic of Iran has been at war for almost its entire existence, beginning with the Iraqi invasion of the country in 1980 and, then, in an asymmetric way in support of regional clients, often working against American allies and partners in the Middle East."
Iran to Develop Nuclear Centrifuges in Defiance of JCPOA
By Darryl Coote, UPI: "Iran announced it would begin developing centrifuges to hasten its uranium enrichment, the latest move by the Middle Eastern country to distance itself from a landmark 2015 nuclear accord aimed at preventing it from developing a nuclear weapon."
How Sincere Is the Turkey-Iran Friendship?
By Dr. Alon J. Doenyas, September 5, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: If the world press is anything to go by, the Turkey-Iran courtship is getting serious, and Russia is playing best man. The two countries’ strengthening ties are based on shared regional goals, the most prominent of which is Syria. But how sincere is the burgeoning relationship?
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Narrow Escapes In State Votes Earn Big German Parties A Few Months' Relief
quoting Josef Joffe via Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and their Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners turned their sights with some relief on new hurdles months down the road after withstanding a far-right battering in two eastern regional elections on Sunday.
GREGORY COPLEY ON THE STRATEGIC SIGNIFICANCE OF HONG KONG, A REPRESSIVE SURVEILLANCE EMPIRE CALLED CHINA; HOW BEIJING'S LEADERSHIP CANNOT SOLVE HONG KONG
Gregory Copley, Defense and Foreign Affairs, in re: India. Jammu and Kashmir have lost their autonomous status, having been reclaimed by India. The Line of Control in the Kashmir region: India is strengthening its position there as Beijing is absorbed by Hong Kong. Has broken the Muslim stranglehold on Jammu and Kashmir – with no media attention, which Beijing can only dream about. Just when Beijing thought it had Pakistan all to itself, the Pakistani PM went to Washington and made a big hit, and the US promised more F16 supplies. The Pakistan land bridge is not as all-Chinese as China thought. Uzbekistan is developing warmer. Beijing is ham-handed in hits dealings with the pro-democracy demonstrators. Carrie Lam seems to show weakness; reflects badly on Beijing.
Claudia Rosett, Independent Women’s Forum, in re: Hong Kong. The Mainland government is informed about some aspects of democracy; certainly enough to refuse categorically to allow free elections. China has changed in that it’s richer; it’s not Communist, it’s a techno-repressive surveillance state. This is a warning to the entire world. The essential feature to Xi and his associates is power.
Hong Kong citizens know of Xinjiang and the Uyghurs. The youth are facing guns, tanks, and the armaments of the state; they say they’re willing to die to succeed – the don't want a government that tells them how to think and how to live, and to stay silent. The propaganda-soaked fiction state; the protestors don’t want the propaganda and lies, they want truth and openness. Carrie Lam is a stooge of the devil; Hong Kong people hate her. At best, she’s a hood ornament; as a political fixture, they find her detestable.
Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of International Relations in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania, on the Hong Kong protests. The Beijing leadership is broadly ignorant of how the rest of the world works – that the protestors will always win – and further are divided among themselves. No one in China believes what Xi Jinping says, although people have a strong sense of Chinese-ness. The leaders see that this is an ideological challenge; when the populace sees that it's being forced to live in a [constricted] way, it will be displeased. Deng Xiaoping thought that it’d be peaceable if the income rose – but the more income people have, the more they're likely to be interested in liberation.
Israel's New Existential Challenge
By Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, September 4, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The creation of an Iranian military/terrorist axis along Israel’s northern and southern borders, comprising Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, lays the groundwork for the long-term multi-frontal attrition of the Jewish state.
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Stop Indulging Javad Zarif
There’s nothing ‘moderate’ about the Iranian foreign minister, who is now threatening our think tank.
Countering and courting Iran: Israeli-Palestinian objectives in Iraq
Israel has reportedly expanded its operations against Iran in the Middle East. In July, Israeli and foreign media attributed airstrikes on Iranian targets near Baghdad to Israel. Last week, U.S. officials confirmed that Israel was responsible for the attacks, which mark the first such air raids on Iraq since 1981, when Tel Aviv destroyed Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor.
Tipping Point? Israel Strikes To Intensify Against Iranian Targets Across Mid East
Israeli intelligence has been following the shipments from Iran, watching Iranian operatives from the time they crossed to border and, at the right moment, attacked them. Cargo unloaded from Iranian cargo planes in Syria that landed in Damascus was destroyed only minutes after leaving the airport.
Israel zeroes in on Iran’s Soleimani
Recent Israeli attacks in Syria and Lebanon sent a clear message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: Syria won’t be reconstructed as long as it harbors Iranian proxies.
The Iran-Israel War Is Here by Jonathan Spyer
The Wall Street Journal
August 28, 2019
Action must be taken to address new information on Iran’s breaches of nuclear accords
Olli Heinonen | Senior Advisor on Science and Nonproliferation
Iran sees growing dividends from support for Yemen’s Houthis
Behnam Ben Taleblu — Axios
Iran’s partnership with the Houthi rebels in Yemen — heralded this week by a hardline Iranian newspaper as “the battle of destiny in the south” — has become one of its most successful campaigns across the Middle East. Why it matters. At surprisingly little cost to Tehran, the Houthis have waged a drawn-out war straining the coffers and reputation of Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main regional rival. The conflict has also afforded Tehran a foothold on the Arabian... Read More
Brexit: The Court vs. the QueenEditorial of The New York Sun | September 24, 2019
Britain's Supreme Court began its judgment recalling Parliament by claiming it wasn't about Brexit. The question, said the court president, Baroness Hale, was just about whether Prime Minister Johnson's request to Elizabeth II that Parliament should be prorogued was lawful. Not, the judge averred, "about when and on what terms the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union."
Boris Johnson Throws Away the Scabbard By CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | August 31, 2019
Our So-Called Foreign Policy: America’s Asian Alliances Have Become More Dangerous Than Ever by Alan Tonelson
Brexit: Boris Turns to the Queen Editorial of The New York Sun | August 28, 2019
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to suspend Parliament to protect Britain's decision to leave Europe is being set down by furious opponents as, in the words of one former chancellor, "profoundly undemocratic." Yet it's hard to think of a jibe more hypocritical. For Mr. Johnson seeks to redeem a Brexit referendum that is one of the great acts of direct democracy in the history of modern politics.
Bumpy Ride Lies Ahead for Brexit By STEPHEN MacLEAN, Special to the Sun | August 31, 2019
Donald Trump’s presidency represents a real-time experiment in the durability of the US-led international order and the national security decision-making process. In a Bloomberg op-ed, Hal Brands points out that Trump’s two longest-serving national security advisers have pursued different approaches to decision-making, showing that American presidents ultimately get the decision-making system they want — but not necessarily the one they, and the country, need. Learn more here.
SYRIAN KURDS IN TURKISH CROSSHAIRS, PUTIN IS A DICTATOR FOR 20 YEARS THE ANNIVERSARY & HOW MOSCOW PLAYS ISTANBUL
The emptiness of Turkey’s complaints against Syrian Kurds
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
Putin's 20th Anniversary as the Leader of Russia
By Emil Avdaliani, August 30, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Vladimir Putin’s government might be proud of many internal as well as foreign achievements, but strategically, Russia has fallen well behind the West. Putin is partly to blame, though titanic shifts in world politics and Russian history have dwarfed his ability to influence events. Russia’s geography and poverty also limit his ability to pull off grand reforms inside the country.
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The U.S. Presence in Syria Blocks Iranian, Russian, and Turkish Gains by Seth Frantzman
The Daily Beast
August 23, 2019
THE NEXT GENERATION OF JIHADI GROUPS, AL-QAEDA ROUNDS UP ANTI-ASSAD GROUPS & THE FRENCH REVEAL ALL ABOUT ABU NIDAL
What Will Drive the Next Generation of Salafi-Jihadis?
Continued economic stagnation and a high youth unemployment rate, exacerbated by the Muslim youth bulge, could lead to failed expectations and spur radicalization among disenchanted Gen Z Muslims. And this cohort's familiarity with the internet could foreshadow an adaptive, tech-savvy terrorist threat. Read more »
Al Qaeda’s senior leadership reinvigorated its effort to unite anti-Assad groups into a single military force in northwest Syria after Russia enabled the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad to break a months-long stalemate in northwest Syria in August 2019. Greater cooperation between two separate al Qaeda–linked operations rooms in Idlib may indicate these forces will attempt to implement this directive despite a long history of failed attempts to unify.
Read more on the al Qaeda Global Tracker here.
The Mysterious Explosion of a Russian Nuclear Missile Engine
By Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Raphael Ofek, September 6, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The fatal explosion that occurred recently during testing of the Russian Burevestnik nuclear cruise missile raises many questions. Could it have been avoided? Was it a fundamental failure of the ambitious armaments plan declared by President Putin in 2018? Whatever the answers to these questions, the renewed trend toward an unconventional armaments race could deteriorate into a second Cold War.
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August 28, 2019 | The Washington Times
Hong Kong has a right to self-determination
Why endless wars can’t be ended
There’s no chance America’s enemies will leave us in peace.Clifford D. May | Founder & President
TEHRAN AND TEL AVIV’S EVOLVING MULTIFRONT WAR
Forecast: The Iranian regime may attack or threaten Israeli interests in coming weeks to deter perceived Israeli aggression. Tel Aviv launched an air campaign against Iran in Iraq and will also participate in the US-led maritime security mission in the Persian Gulf, Operation Sentinel. Tehran considers both efforts significant security threats and will adjust its approach to rising tensions with the US and Israel accordingly. Recent meetings between the regime and Iranian-backed groups may indicate that Iran is planning a military response or contingencies to respond to future Israeli attacks.
Read more here.