Saturday, 27 May 2017
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There is often a temptation to talk about tribes in the Middle East as an eternal, unchanging reality, and to understand their socio-political presence as an intractable, necessary evil. In the sprialling civil wars of Yemen and Libya, there is little to challenge this position, writes Charlie Pratt. The chaos visited on both countries has enabled tribes to strengthen themselves as key military actors, controlling access to territory and resources for large portion of the South and East of both countries. Each seem eternal. This appearance matters, not just because it is a depressing indicator of the near total regression of the state in these countries, but because tribes as small, regional-local competitive social constructs now define the future trajectory of Middle Eastern geo-political security. By extension, that means European security too.

We mark the passing of those who have served this country. Contributions from comrades and colleagues welcome.

While the world anxiously watches the Korean peninsula, or the South China Sea for signs of incipient war, the level of armed conflict around the world has continued to exact a deadly toll. Just ten conflicts accounted for more than 80% of the fatalities worldwide, according to this year's Armed Conflict Survey, produced by the London based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Nick Watts was at the launch for us.

In 2017 Britain will be the world's third biggest defence spender and second biggest aid donor. Indeed, according to IHS Janes Britain will in 2017 spend 54bn or $66bn on defence, whilst the British government's own figures show that London will spend some 13bn or $17bn on aid and development. Hoorah!

And yet Britain's defence budget is apparently again in crisis with some estimates suggesting Britain's armed forces face a 20bn/$26bn funding gap between defence commitments and defence investment. This gap matters. The entire point of Britain's defence strategy is to leverage the power of alliance and coalitions by acting as a leadership hub or 'framework' power in the worst-case event of multiple and simultaneous crises.

Marking the passing of those who served this country. Contributions from comrades and families welcome.

A letter from Peter Ruddock, CEO, Lockheed Martin UK, which puts current costs on the record is reproduced on the next page.

Over its sixty-seven-year history, officially, the People's Republic of China looked up to foreign countries as inspiration only twice. In the early 1950s the Soviet Union guided the Communist Party of China. Yet by 1969 the two countries nearly went to war over ideological and territorial disputes. Then, after a long hiatus, Deng Xiaoping's visit to Singapore in 1978 ushered in a prolonged period of keen interest in the city-state's recipe for economic success, write Niv Horesh and Jonathan Paris in "The National Interest" .
In Singapore, Deng found a dynamic and fast-growing polity run by ethnic Chinese, while Hong Kong was still a British colony. Partly for that reason, Hong Kong society could not be openly extolled by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Fred Burton of Stratfor has long written on "lone wolf" attacks. This was his first reaction an hour ago to the murder of a policeman and passers by at Westminster.

It's easy for grassroots attackers to conduct simple but effective headline-grabbing attacks using readily available weapons, especially if they are willing to die in the process. The vehicle used here wasn't nearly as large as the ones used in the much deadlier attacks in Nice and Berlin. We've noted vehicle assaults and knife attacks are a simple and effective asymmetrical grassroots tactic. This incident, which got high-profile headlines and disrupted the British capital, will likely inspire similar attacks.

THE EVENT

Four people were killed  (a fifth died later in hospital) including the attacker and one police officer and 20 others were injured in a March 22 vehicular assault/knife attack on Westminster Bridge and near the Houses of Parliament.

We mark the passing of those who served this country in the Armed Forces. Contributions from/comments by comrades and families welcome. See next page

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