Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 50

This week a Top 5 directly from Germany (where ViA is working on military transformation…).

So, the first suggestion comes from a German source: Der Spiegel (International). Here you’ll find an interesting interview with the Iraqi Prime Minister. According to Al-Abadi: ‘the liberation of Tikrit is very encouraging’.

A lot of debate last week on the Iran Deal. The Monkey Cage focuses on the differences between “hard-liners and moderates” in Teheran.

Other cuts for the UK defense? A new RUSI paper highlights the possibility of further reductions in defense spending and personnel numbers in the forthcoming Strategic Defense and Security Review. We should wait after the next General Election for having concrete answers.

A compelling analysis by the excellent Political Violence @ a Glance on the “the rise (and decline) of piracy“. The post (which summarizes a forthcoming article) illustrates argues that: “pirates are rational, criminal actors who generally weigh the potential gains from successful attacks against the risk of capture”

Finally, some documents declassified. This week, thanks to Unredacted,  we have the “The Dark Alliance”,the connection between the genesis of the crack cocaine epidemic in California and across the U.S., to the contras, the CIA-run and Reagan-backed guerrilla army operating out of Nicaragua. A different sort of “Iran deal” at that time…

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 33

It is hard to be a saint in the city (so sings Bruce Springsteen), but it is also very hard to be a good  SecDef. Or at least to last very long in that position. Ashton Carter will have to deal with the several challenges associated with the office, as most of his predecessors, so Fred Kaplan predicts.

While DoD’s leadership changes, American intelligence goes through a painful process of assessment of its actions after 9/11. Foreign Policy’s Micah Zenko reports on the Senate’s newly released documents on torture, the most controversial of the CIA’s policies. A lot of work done, but still many loopholes.

With powers rising on the horizon (China), or becoming more assertive (Russia), nuclear deterrence experts restart debating “how much is enough” and how to design the US nuclear arsenal. Jerry Meyerle restates a classic argument about the need for flexibility.

Tensions in the Middle East have been touching (again) Jerusalem in the past few weeks with car attacks and with increasing political instability in the Israeli cabinet (new elections in March). The ICG’s Nathan Strall discusses the mounting “rage in Jerusalem”.

Tired of reading? Watch the Afghanistan’s correspondent Anand Gopal discussing the prospects for the country and why insurgent groups gain strength in the arc of instability,

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 9

First of all, Darth Vader. He lost. Not because of the return of the Jedi but in recent Ukrainian election. In a very dramatic scenario, take a look at this strange story. Anyway, from Alderan to Crimea, it is always a matter of power, empires and rebels. For a more serious analysis of the crisis in Ukraine see the ICG report “Running out of time”….

Harsh civil-military relations in France. The problems for the French cabinet are not limited to the shocking electoral success of the extreme right.  France’s top military chiefs threatened to resign, fearing new budget cuts. Their concern is related to the country’s ability to conduct operations in places like Mali and Central African Republic. This is not the best moment ever for President Hollande.

We suggest a quite interesting analysis on the forgotten never-ending crisis of Somalia. Despite the adoption of the inadequate label of “failed state” (which is a Weberian, Westphalian useless framework of analysis), the article provides an insightful outlook of the country, between greater expectations and Al Shabab.

Intelligence and incredible malfunctions. Here you’ll find the report of how the White House has mistakenly identified CIA chief in Afghanistan. As illustrated by “The Washington Post”: “The CIA’s top officer in Kabul was exposed Saturday by the White House when his name was inadvertently included on a list provided to news organizations of senior U.S. officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit with U.S. troops”. What a surprise…(in the meanwhile Obama announced the plan to keep almost 10.000 troops after 2014).

Finally, we suggest this new blog on global politics and other stuff. “Relations International” has excellent contributors, so we have great expectations. There are already a lot of brilliant posts, from deterrence to Inigo Montoya (a luminous career for him, as we can see in “Homeland”…)

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