Friday, 18 September 2020
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
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By Adam Dempsey, Research Associate, UK Defence Forum

In 1951, theUnited Kingdom renewed its treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation with the Sultanate of Oman. The new treaty replaced a version signed in 1939 and reinforced a commitment to Oman that can be traced back to 1891. The treaty in particular guaranteed 'most favoured nation' status regarding commercial matters. As a result of such close ties Oman has occasionally looked to the United Kingdom to help safeguard its territorial integrity. In 1954, for example, the Imam of Oman led a rebellion against the Sultan's efforts to extend government control into the interior. With British assistance, the rebellion was eventually defeated in 1959.

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By Scott Stewart

When we discuss threats along the U.S./Mexico border with sources and customers, or when we write an analysis on topics such as violence and improvised explosive devices along the border, a certain topic inevitably pops up: Hezbollah.

We frequently hear concerns from U.S. and Mexican government sources about the Iranian and Hezbollah network in Latin America. They fear that Iran would use Hezbollah to strike targets in the Western Hemisphere and even inside the United States if the United States or Israel were to conduct a military strike against Tehran’s nuclear program. Such concerns are expressed not only by our sources and are relayed not only to us. Nearly every time tensions increase between the United States and Iran, the media report that the Hezbollah threat to the United States is growing. Iran also has a vested interest in playing up the danger posed by Hezbollah and its other militant proxies as it tries to dissuade the United States and Israel from attacking its nuclear facilities.

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By Vahan Dilanyan

The Caucasus region has not yet recovered itself from the consequences of the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008, and another breeding ground of an armed confrontation over Nagorno-Karabakh is arising there. Today, the over 16 years' protracted conflict of Karabakh is the most significant obstacle to security in Caucasus.

The Obama administration saw the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations, and the opening of their border, as a critical step in establishing trust in the region, which would much affect to the Armenian-Azeri relationships. However, as National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair stated, "Turkey-Armenia rapprochement has affected the delicate relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and increases the risk of a renewed conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh".

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By Dr Robert Crowcroft

By far the biggest fiction in international affairs is the alleged centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian problem to achieving 'world peace' (which itself surely rates as the second biggest fraud). There is a widespread assumption in the West that resolving the disputes between the Israeli state and the Palestinian people who live on its border carries great importance. Indeed the peace process is usually seen as a key component – if not the key component – of winning the battle against Islamism by discrediting its narrative. The argument goes that the sight of Muslims being oppressed by non-Muslims (not oppressed per se, you will note) deeply antagonises the Islamic world; Muslims feel the need to take up arms, not only against Israel but the rest of us too. British government documentation appears to buy in to this. 'The pursuit of a final settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict remains a top priority for the Foreign Secretary and the Government', David Miliband stated when at the FCO. And of course we are all familiar with the vision for 'two states, living side by side in peace and security'. Thus, peace between Israel and the Palestinians will allegedly give a huge boost to stability across the Middle East; Muslims around the world will be less sympathetic to 'extremism'; and we will all be on the road to peace.

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By Dr Robert Crowcroft

If the priorities of the leaders of Palestine – at first sight the victims of the crisis – and other Arabs are gesture and power-politics rather than peace, where does that leave the priorities of everyone else? Israel's adherence to the peace process and the 'need' to solve the issue is very similar: an elaborate fiction. Why does the problem of the Palestinians need to be solved so desperately? It doesn't. And Israel knows it. Rockets fired into Israel are certainly annoying, and demand retaliation. But, as described in Part I, the rockets are largely a gesture by Hamas, all part of the image of resisting the ghastly Zionists; the reality is that the terrorist threat on Israel's border is easily containable with occasional military incursions.

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