Monday, 26 October 2020
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Olivier GuittaDuring his French presidential campaign in 2017, then candidate Emmanuel Macron had promised that if elected he would tackle the fight against Islamism in his first 100 days in office. It took him actually three and a half years to deliver a landmark speech and a plan to deal with that thorny issue. While Macron said all the right things, including calling a spade a spade, the measures are not going far enough and some are likely not to be implemented, wrote Olivier Guitta in the Levant News.

President Macron wants to defend secularism against Islamist separatism and his government will present a law by the end of the year. That law will supposedly allow the dissolution of religious groups that 'attack the dignity of people, using psychological or physical pressure, and break the values of France'. Macron insisted 'no concessions' would be made in a new drive to push religion out of education and the public sector. An important measure is to stop foreign imams from coming to France: about 300 imams come each year from Turkey, Algeria, Morocco to preach in French mosques. Macron emphasized that it was necessary to 'liberate Islam in France from foreign influences,' naming countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. He announced that all French imams will be trained in France and would have to be certified from now on and could be kicked out at any time. In the past, the school that was training imams was controlled by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.


DominiqueIMG-20201015-WA0021Recently, an article appeared in the New York Times discussing the American 'policy of maximum pressure' on Iran, reports Dominique Ankone. This policy entails financial sanctions re-imposed on Iran by the U.S. government after their formal withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal. The author bases his article on the remarks of an officer of the Israeli army. The US strategy has resulted in discontent among the Iranians, according to the officer cited in the article. About the economic sanctions he is quoted to have said: "It has made it clear [within Iran] that there's a thin dictatorial layer, covering [big] resentment from a society who want to live and educate themselves. Given time, the economic pressure can topple the regime." According to the author, the policy is 'fueling a sense of grievance among a restive people'. Is a new Iranian Revolution possible, and why might it be thinkable?.


memorial2 nWe mark the passing on the next page of those who served this country particularly in conflicts. Contributions from comrades and families welcome - write to the editor This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


DominiqueIMG-20201015-WA0021Dominique G. Ankoné reports
September 3 2019
• President Rouhani addresses parliament in a session for a confidence vote to new ministers. He declares that the resistance of Iran against the sanctions "has worked". An implicit threat to Europeans countries was added: "If Europe fulfils an important part of its commitments, we may reconsider our commitments' reduction, or else, we will definitely take the third step". He added that Iran has "no decision for bilateral negotiations with the United State", but that if all sanctions were lifted, it can join the 5+1 negotiations like before.


Much is made of the heroism of the Mediterranean resistance campaigns of World War II. The fierce defence of Malta, the defiance of the Greeks in the face of a triple occupation - and the curious case of Gibraltar, which avoided invasion altogether, writes Laurent Rathborn. But was this becasue of one man, or were greater historical forces at play?
Germany could not pass up taking control of the Strait of Gibraltar, cutting off the British from Suez and their eastern empire, and smoothing resupply of raw materials from North African Vichy client regimes. Yet Gibraltar was not invaded, and the vast preparations for its defence (including mass evacuations and frantic tunnel-digging) ensured that Axis bombing raids were shrugged off with relatively little damage.
Gibraltar has occupied a particular spot in the lore surrounding World War II Nazi resistance figures, mostly due to the fact that one of the most senior was the man tasked with planning the invasion of the Rock and that on the surface at least, it was saved by that same German internal resistance and interference, rather than any opposing action by the Allies.


BuchanandownloadThis is an edited summary of Dr Elizabeth Buchanan's evidence to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Congressional Energy and National Security Caucus in which she argued that three widely held assumptions about Russia, China and the Arctic were wrong. She's a Russian polar strategy specialist who believes the United States should reconsider key assumptions about the impact of the China–Russia relationship on strategic issues in the Arctic

Strengthened commercial engagement between Russia and China on Arctic energy ventures is driving a notion that there's a Sino-Russian alliance in the region. The reality is that mutual mistrust, centuries-old territorial tensions over the Russian Far East and hangovers from the Sino-Soviet split in the Cold War are all permanent features of the China–Russia relationship. They'll continue to shape the strategic outlook, to an extent curtailing the two states' 'axis' potential.

Moscow and Beijing have both learned that nations don't have allies, or partners. Secure, successful states seek merely mutually beneficial relationships. That sentiment frames Sino-Russian engagement in the Russian Arctic.


Euan GrantEuan Grant argues that the question mark is superfluous and a financial NATO (or NATO+) is sorely needed to tackle all aspects of illicit financial flows into, and more importantly through, the UK and particularly the City of London, which is arguably the world's premier financial centre

Dirty Money - a phrase requiring definition and modernisation

The term, and its now grandmother "money laundering" need updating to take account of changes to international financial flows, legitimate or otherwise, since the birth of the Internet, which coincided with the rise of China into a major worldwide trading economy, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent looting of the rents from its huge natural resources. Perhaps this parallels national defence and security establishments, still required to maintain expensive and demanding legacy platforms while preparing for cyber competition and unmanned platforms, all driven by massive increases in computing power and the approach of Artificial Intelligence (AI).


Beijing's ambitions shouldn't be treated as an existential threat to the United States, argues Professor Anatol Lieven

Lieven passport photoA central distinction in Realist international relations thought is that between vital and secondary national interests. Vital interests are threats to a state's survival, and can take the form either of conquest and subjugation from outside, or the promotion of internal subversion aimed at destroying the existing political and ideological order – the strategy followed by the USSR across much of the world during the Cold War, and by the USA against the USSR and allied regimes.
Rivalry between the USA and China is not a battle to the death of this kind, and it is very important that the USA not see it as such. The phrase "a new cold war" is a cheap journalistic formula, but it contains real dangers. The geopolitical competition with China is quite different from that with the USSR, and if the US establishment frames it in the terms of the cold war, it may do great damage to the USA and the world in general. For while the Cold War with the Soviet Union stemmed originally from the Soviet revolutionary threat and the evil nature of Stalin's regime, many of the ways in which this rivalry was imagined and therefore conducted by the USA did terrible damage to America's own politics, culture and public ethics.
When states permanently threaten each other with destruction from without or within, even periods of peace have the character of temporary armed truces requiring permanent military and ideological mobilization. This breeds in turn continual international tension and domestic repression, and a cultural atmosphere of fanaticism, hysteria and conspiratorial thinking in all the countries concerned.
We have learned this again over the past generation. The contemporary Middle East is a tragic example of how an entire region can be crippled by the threat of internal revolutions backed by rival ideological states; but our European ancestors learned it more than 350 years ago, and tried to do something about it. The great achievement of the Peace of Westphalia was to end in Europe – for the space of 144 years – ideologically-driven mass rebellions against existing states supported by other states.
Crucial to the Westphalia settlement was the principle of Cuius Regio, Eius Religio – "Whose Realm, His Religion"; in other words, that the ruler of a country dictated the religion of his or her subjects without interference from other states belonging to the other religion. Rivalries and conflicts would continue, but states and regimes would no longer pose existential threats to each other.
All this changed again with the French Revolution. Once again, states threatened the basic identity of other states, and did so in part by stimulating internal rebellion. Once again, endangered states responded with ferocious mass repression. Assassination and the execution of defeated enemies returned to the European scene. The French Revolution spawned socialist revolution and conservative counter-revolution, which later characterized the Cold War.( More follows on next page)


The National Resilience Index 2020 is a study measuring how capable each of the D-10 club of democracies is in facing crises like pandemics or terrorist attacks.

Introducing it, the co-authors said :

"The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that the UK must do more to build up its national resilience. In the post-Brexit world, the UK needs to work on boosting public trust in central government, creating high-quality domestic supply chains for critical medical supplies, and improving social systems which help to protect the most vulnerable. " - Dr Rakib Ehsan Research Fellow, Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism

"Public health events have the capacity to cause disruption similar in scale to that of terror or hostile state activity. It is important that government systems recognise this in their outlook." - Nikita Malik Director, Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism

Read more on next page


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