Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 88

This week we start from the armed militia in eastern Oregon. Robert Finicum, an Arizona rancher and one of the leaders of the militia, was killed in a police shootout. Are we talking about terrorism?

Do you appreciate Italian museum? Also Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, enjoyed them….

War on the Rocks stresses how America is constantly seduced by “the easy war“. In other words, from the Gulf War (1991) onwards,”the political desire and expectation for bloodless, risk-free (yet victorious) military operations has created an impossible standard in the use of military force”.

Who are the Trump supporters. Some interesting info here (spoiler: they dislike minorities..).

Finally, something different. A brand new study on schizofrenia offers new insights on its causes.


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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – Week 85

Happy New Year from Venus in Arms! What resolutions did you set? It also depends on how you see the world around you evolving. This is how James Lindsay see the world around the US in 2016, and which questions should drive US national security planning.


2016 begins with an enduring rivalry getting hotter. The relationships between Saudi Arabia and Iran are critical. Generally this was noticed by most people (consumers), because of oil prices increasing, but not this time, as Keith Johnson reports.


2016 is Presidential elections time! We’ll examine national security platforms of the contenders in the coming months. In the meanwhile, while primaries still rage, let’s explore the most unlikely (early opinions) and still most successful candidate on the Republican side, Donald Trump.


2016 is likely to be characterized by the continuation of the “migrant crisis”. So the Italian Defence Minister Pinotti argues, as the underlying causes of the crisis (e.g. instability in Libya) have not been solved.


Finally, on our own resolutions. One is to read more books. As the dissolution of states in the Middle East has been making the headlines in the past months, we might as well start from a better understanding the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, and read Eugene Rogan’s The Fall of The Ottomans (Allen Lane).


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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 32

First of all, the end of South Stream. Putin announced that he would scrap the strategic gas pipeline. So Russia will abandon the project. As reported by The New York Times, South Stream was “a grandiose project that was once intended to establish the country’s dominance in southeastern Europe but instead fell victim to Russia’s increasingly toxic relationship with the West“. Here you’ll find the report of The Moscow Times.

Moving from Russia to Iraq, it is worth noticing that Iran is deeply involved in military operations against the ISIL. The Pentagon revealed that Iranian fighter jets (F-4E?) have bombed Islamic State militants in eastern Iraq in recent days.

Remaning in Arlington, Ashton Carter emerges as  the top choice to replace outgoing Secretary Chuck Hagel. Here you’ll find the scoop (CNN). Carter served as Deputy Defense Secretary under both Leon Panetta and Hagel. His main focus has been the management of the defense budget (should we expect some changes also for the F35 programme?).

“Vice” provided several funny articles on “how to invade or conquer” different countries, such as Scotland, France, Russia or the UK. A sort of paradoxical sic-fi perspective on current security affairs. Also ViA contributed regarding the case of Italy.

Finally, one of the most important news of the week: Star Wars. Here the “The Force Awakens” Official Teaser. A lot of discussion on the new lightsaber. A suggestion: Dont’ underestimate the power of the Dark Side…

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