Articles and analysis

nickwattsIMG 20170907 0924504Gavin Williamson, Britain's new Defence Secretary has won his first battle with the old enemy – the Treasury. He has managed to block plans for a 'fiscally neutral' review of Britain's defence and security capability. The so called National Security and Capability Review had all the hallmarks of a Whitehall led defence review. By separating Defence, he has bought his department time to put its house in order. The Modernising Defence Plan will report by July. He is the latest incumbent to face the challenge of balancing expenditure and capability to produce a credible military in a changing world, writes Nick Watts, pictured.

Williamson appeared before the House of Commons Defence Select Committee on 21st February. Julian Lewis MP the committee chairman supports an uplift to 3% of GDP to be spent on defence. Any further reductions in the UK's military capability will adversely impact its credibility as a defence partner and ally. The UK is struggling to achieve the NATO minimum level of expenditure.

According to media reports, the UK and Saudi Arabia agreed on a goal of 65 billion pounds ($90 billion of mutual trade and investment in the coming years, with the Prime Minister Theresa May's office calling it a "vote of confidence" in the economy before Britain leaves the European Union, Nehad Ismail write recently inn Newshour.

Queen Elizabeth II welcomed Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to London with a luncheon at Buckingham Palace, a rare honor usually reserved for heads of state, during a viist to London and other capitals. The 32-year-old Crown Prince, who is first in line to inherit the throne from his 82-year-old father, King Salman, was given the red carpet treatment during his official visit to Britain's capital.

sohail20075925 5686UPDATE: In June 2018 Taliban & Afghan Army commanders met briefly. Taliban reps met US State Dept's Alice Wells in Qatar in late July 2018.

Over the last few months, the tectonic plates of the Afghanistan conflict have shown signs of movement, with the latest being an offer from President Ghani to recognize the Taliban as a political party if they join negotiations "to save the country," writes Dr Sohail Mahmood (pictured).

An October 2017 offer from US Secretary of State Tillerson was followed by a lengthy open letter in February 2018 offering talks. An international conference of 25 nations plus the EU, UN and NATO is currently under way in Kabul. The diplomatic overtures in both directions have not quite been drowned out by the noise of air and vehicle launched bombs.

More Articles...