February, 2016 Military

Goya's painting, Duelo a garrotazos, Courtesey Prado Museum/wikimedia

By Scott Gates and Håvard Mokleiv Nygård and Håvard Strand and Henrik Urdal for Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

Today, Scott Gates et al. provide us with an updated statistical portrait of armed conflict since World War II. As to be expected, it’s a good news-bad news story. The number of conflicts in the world rose in 2013-2014, but they were lower than in the early 1990s. In turn, casualties reached a 25-year high, but they remained far below Cold War levels.

By Finian Cunningham

"Information Clearing House" - "SCF" - Less than five months after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military intervention in Syria, the five-year war has been completely transformed. Peace is far from certain as a tentative truce this week will attest. The conflict may even escalate. But what Russia’s intervention has certainly achieved is to squeeze out into the open the poisonous forces of regime change that have brought Syria to its dire condition.

By Tyler Durden

 "Information Clearing House" - "Zero Hedge" - As you might have heard, the opposition in Syria is in serious trouble.Last summer, Bashar al-Assad’s army was on the ropes, as the SAA fought a multi-front war against a dizzying array of rebel forces including ISIS. Then Quds commander Qassem Soleimani went to Russia. After that, everything changed.


Rather than view with alarm Turkey’s announcement that it is building at least three military bases abroad, the United States and NATO have welcomed Ankara’s move as a contribution to stability. Nothing could be further from the truth. Turkey’s duplicitous fingerprints are all over support for terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Jabhat al-Nusra, and Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Tunisia.

Editorial, theguardian
John Kerry does not give up easily. On Thursday in Munich the US secretary of state will promote a fresh diplomatic effort on Syrian peace talks. Yet for all his determination, events on the ground are not only working against a breakthrough, but raising increasingly profound doubts about the coherence of US and western strategy. For more than a week, the rebel-held city of Aleppo, once Syria’s largest, has been pounded by Russia’s air force, acting in support of Iranian-backed militias and Syrian government troops. If this annihilation strategy continues, the balance of forces in Syria’s civil war will change fundamentally. Mr Kerry’s proposed negotiated solution will be null and void, for there will be no Syrian opposition force left to be represented at any negotiating table.

Dov S. Zakheim
When Jimmy Carter came into office, he was determined to reverse the growth in defense spending that had been bequeathed to his administration by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In particular, he tried to make good on his campaign promise by rescinding funds for a new aircraft carrier. Congress overturned his recission, but Carter persisted with his efforts to limit defense spending, in line with his view that the United States had other international security priorities, such as intensifying its pursuit of détente, achieving a further reduction of its nuclear arsenal as part of a SALT II agreement and limiting its foreign military sales to allies and friends.