Articles and analysis

What do we do on the 24th of June? What should be the first tasks of Her Majesty's Government when the Prime Minister walks in front of the Press early on that morning when the result of EU referendum is announced? asks Capt BS Forethought

Whatever the result what we can be sure of is whatever the result the political oxygen is going to be absorbed with candidates positioning themselves for the upcoming Leadership election. However, I am not going to discuss here the differences between the outcomes of the respective votes, both campaigns are covering this with gusto. What I mean to discuss on the next page is what is true however we vote.

Four years ago I wrote of my quiet optimism for Yemen (says Charlie Pratt. See A quiet optimism for Yemen? published in Defence Viewpoints 13th September 2012). Its nascent, idiosyncratic democracy, powered by tribal shaykhs and patronage, had conspired to produce a relatively fair and free election. Out of it had ascended a President from the marginalised and underdeveloped South of the country; a potent symbol of the unified Yemen and a hopeful portent of practical unity to come.

The problems that Hadi faced were colossal. The writ of the government extended only a few miles outside of the capital Sana'a, at which point a patchwork of tribes and political systems took over. His civil service was full of ghost employees and the country was still struggling to recover from the endemic corruption and patronage of his predecessor as President, 'Ali 'Abdallah Salih. But at the same time a political dialogue featuring all parts of Yemeni society had begun, the elections had still occured and a strange and unique civil society still existed.

A review of the previous 12 months shows that 167,000 people died in armed conflict around the world. This is one of the key findings of the 2016 Armed Conflict Survey published by the London based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). The Survey also notes that 2015 was the year when ‘the state struck back in many of the world’s largest armed conflicts, making territorial gains in the face of considerable resistance’ Nick Watts reports.
The Survey reflects upon the interconnectedness of events in the Middle East. The situation in Syria no longer seems to be only about replacing the Assad regime. While the authors of the Survey do not foresee the Middle East situation spiralling into a major inter-state war, the calculations of the various actors in the region (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US) are clearly complicated by the multi-dimensional nature of the situation.

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