May, 2016 Military

Summary

The battle for Raqqa, the Islamic State's self-declared capital in Syria, has begun. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are advancing toward the city, engaging the jihadist group in the villages of al-Hisha, Tal Samen and Mutamshirij along the way. Because of Raqqa's strategic importance, the Islamic State will do everything in its power to keep the city within its grasp. Driving the militants from their stronghold will not be easy or cheap, but if the SDF is successful, it will greatly accelerate the Islamic State's defeat in Syria.



 

Michaela Whitton
(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — New research has shown the U.K. is providing military training and support to over half the countries named on its own watchlist of human rights abusers. An investigation by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and The Independent has revealed U.K. armed forces have trained security and armed forces personnel from 16 of 30 regimes who are on a Foreign Office (FCO) watch list for use of torture and violence.


DEBKAfile Special Report
The battle on May 6 in the village of Khan Touman, located southwest of Aleppo near Route 5, the main highway leading to Damascus, will go down in the annals of the Syrian war as the biggest defeat suffered by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hizballah, as well as the battle that changed the face of the war.

A cheap way to avoid costly strategic mistakes.
Michael Peck

It’s a great time to be a Pentagon game nerd.
Long dismissed as the geekier side of the military, war gaming is suddenly in demand, after the Department of Defense realized that if it wants to devise a strategy to beat China and Russia, it needs to play games.


Mark Abadi
It's no surprise the United States pours more money into its military than any other country in the world.In 2015, the US had a defense budget of about $597 billion, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies' most recent World Military Balance report, released earlier this year.

arm-troops

Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, Tomáš Baranec and Beskid Juraj
A new wave of escalation hit Nagorno-Karabakh in early April. In the course of what was probably Azerbaijani reconnaissance by force, claiming dozens of dead on both sides, Baku managed to secure several heights controlled by Armenian forces. Immediate hostilities have receded for now, but the question remains how the military strength of both sides has changed in recent years, what this means for the future of the peace process, and the role of Russian arms in the resurrection of this conflict.


Overcoming the Divide
By Thomas G. Mahnken

Christopher Sims’ “Academics in Foxholes: The Life and Death of the Human Terrain System” contributes to the ongoing debate about the U.S. military’s performance in Iraq and Afghanistan and, more specifically, the relationship between the U.S. government and the academy.