Saturday, 27 July 2013

Situational Report - Kashmir - 27.07.13

A Pakistani army soldier has been killed and one other injured in "unprovoked" firing by Indian troops. The attack took place in the "Line of Control" monitored by the UN in the disputed territory of Kashmir, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) claimed, Dawn reported. The incident took place in the region of Rawlakot Nezapir.

Friday, 26 July 2013

China - Slowing growth and political challenges

Consumerism and urbanization will dominate China in the next decade
Forbes/Kenneth Rapoza 
The Chinese economy has benefited tremendously from decades of a low-wage, export-based system that has allowed it to consistently to grow. Recently, China has explored its economic and foreign strategic interests in exploring markets that are not so crowded in Africa and Central/Southern Americas. Most crucially, however, is China's territorial claims to the South China Sea which forecasted, by 2025, will consist of nearly half of the world's GDP passing through the maritime territories of Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. As a consequence of its development, it is a major power and will continue to be so.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Mexico - The drug war of attrition

A Mexican soldier guards acquired contraband
Image: David Maung/Bloomberg News
Mexico has the geography and culture to attract a many variety of tourists around the globe, particularly college students in the Texas/Arizona region during spring-break. Whilst Mexico is famed for its blistering sun and its vibrant history and culture, it carries a burden of infamy as a consequence of institutionalized transnational organized crime.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The importance of human terrain - Iraq and Afghanistan

Human terrain analysis has been the apex of American counterinsurgency
For much of the 19th and 20th century, the economy of force or the greater propensity of force was seen and attempted to accommodate the laws of mathematics. That is, if one side has X amount of force and their adversary Y amount of force, if X is greater than Y, then the side with X amount of force has the advantage. This was otherwise called Lanchester's laws. However, in asymmetrical warfare, this linear relationship between force, utility and advantage is thrown out of the window and the real economy of force is through the population. Or, as we shall otherwise call it - "the human terrain".

Friday, 12 July 2013

Geopolitical Snapshot - 12.07.13

The security and political situation in the Middle East has dominated many commentators
The international narrative has focussed on two most abundant covered states - Egypt and Syria. The former being the more documented of the two. Nevertheless, the shockwaves across the Middle Eastern region has been the centre spot for Geopolitical Compass this week. In other areas, Portugal's Anibal Cavaco Silva has tried to glue national unity in proposing a cross-party agreement to support austerity measures. In another Portuguese speaking nation, Brazil, nationwide union-strikes have led to clashes between police forces and protesters. Geopolitical Snapshot seeks to summarize the weeks events and comprehensively forecast the implications of the week.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Syria - Homs offensive and greater security

al-Qaeda Iraq (State of Iraq and the Levant) has declared its affiliation with the Jabhat al-Nusra Front
With the Syrian regime forces expelling the Rebels from the Qusair region and eradicating key sector strongholds, the Syrian regime will now focus on neutralizing rebel activity and presence in the city of Homs itself. Homs is seen as an area of key strategic value to the government forces as they attempt to separation opposition-held areas and establish links between the capital and coastal strongholds. Meanwhile, the fragmented state and intense fighting has allowed transnational, non-state jihadist actors to slip into the power vacuum with concerns as to the possibility of attaining chemical weapons and their possible usage against the international community.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Egypt - Addressing instability

The Egyptian military has traditionally been the strongest institution in Egypt
 Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

The ousting of President Morsi has led to many people questioning - what now? Geopolitical Compass has already covered the short-term effects of Morsi's removal but what are the long term consequences? What was once fuelled with optimism in Tahrir square has slowly descended into violence, instability and a negative backlash to the recent and first democratically elected President. The centralization of state power is paramount for political and social stability, given the nature of Egypt's declining economic situation - it would only make logical sense that the strongest institution in the country spearheads through the nation's crisis to prevent further polarization of Egyptian politics.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Security, Sovereignty and Strategy - Exploring Unmanned Warfare

MQ-1 Predator in action 

Unmanned aerial vehicles (or as mainstream refer to them as "drones") have received particularly controversy among scholars and thinkers into the conduct of the War on Terror. Whilst George W. Bush initially started the use of UAVs to target-specific individuals in the rocky, mountainous Pak-Afghan border, under the Obama administration the use of UAV as a component in the War against Terror has grown substantially. What, then, is the source for this controversy and how does one answer the questions of target-specific individuals, breaches of national sovereignty and the consequences of this strategy?

Friday, 5 July 2013

Korean Peninsula - Simmering tensions

Kaesong industrial complex, North/South Korea
Press handout/Reuters 

The Korean Peninsula is no stranger to heightened tensions. With the recent agreement by North Korea to re-engage talks with South Korea over its shared industrial part, Kaesong factory, boiling tensions between the two adversarial states may begin to relatively cool in the forthcoming weeks.

Analysis - Summer of discontent and polarizing politics

More than 200,000 marched in major Brazilian cities
AP Photo/Nelson Antoine

Protest. The very buzzword has dominated transnational media for the past few months, the question is why and how connected are all these instances? A multitude of different actors are in varying amounts of intensity in opposition to their government.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Egypt - What now after Morsi?

Tamarod movement in Egypt is primarily defined by its opposition to President Morsi
Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
On July 3, the Egyptian military chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that the country's president, Mohammad Morsi, had been removed because of failure to bring stability and address popular civil unrest. In turn, the Egyptian constitution had been suspended and the chief of the country's constitutional court will assume presidency until elections are ready to be deployed. In wake of this, the military has been deployed in key tactical sectors in and around Cairo to dilute tensions between Pro-Morsi and Anti-Morsi demonstrators. The unrest has been primarily spearheaded by those opposed to Morsi's presidency also known as the Tamarod movement. The Tamarod movement is an umbrella term to encompass those who are in opposition to Morsi's presidency and doesn't, at this point in time, have a unified political objective.

Edward Snowden - What does this mean for privacy and security in the information age?

Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, 2013 being interviewed by the Guardian press

A popular quotation has been thrown around in light of the recent leaked communications methodology provided by Edward Snowden - "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety". Attributed by one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, Benjamin Franklin, what do we define as essential liberty and is safety and security a non-fixed entity, anyway? The two concepts rely on whether liberty is negative or positive, freedom from external restraint and freedom from internal restraint respectfully.  We can define Benjamin Franklin as a classical liberal and with that, a definition of liberty under the countenance of negative freedom. So, then, how does one guarantee an individual is free from barriers that obscure their human security without taking away liberty temporarily in order to achieve societal security and order?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Geopolitical Compass - Intro

Why the blog?

In the information age in which we live in, individual interaction with the greater world has never been easier nor so accessible. Within a few clicks and commands at relatively little cost and effort, an individual is able to paveway ideas that can inform, resonate and connect to other individuals with no indefinite, physical limit. In a sense, individuals have been able to create their own media; top-tier, transnational media organizations which spearhead the ship of globalization are becoming blunted by the proliferation of news sources across the globe in the public domain. In this regard, I felt it would be a shame not be part of such a phenomenon and being caught in vicious cycles of political thought and argumentum, I came to the conclusion that constructing a platform of my views on the anarchic, geopolitical world. Naturally, this is also perfect time to practice my writing as I'm currently reading a degree in International Relations with a post-degree objective of attaining work in client risk management in the context of political and security risk. My blog will be me "thinking out-loud" on the events that shape our society today, ranging from the rise of xenophobia in Eastern Europe, counterinsurgency in the Middle East, intelligence studies, operations to observing the shifts and swings of the balance of power between the nations that dominate international political discourse.