Archive for the ‘International Conflict, Terrorism & Security’ Category


Leaked Cables Offer Raw Look at U.S. Diplomacy

A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

Some of the cables, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, were written as recently as late February, revealing the Obama administration’s exchanges over crises and conflicts. The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. WikiLeaks posted 220 cables, some redacted to protect diplomatic sources, in the first installment of the archive on its Web site on Sunday.

The disclosure of the cables is sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and American ambassadors around the world have been contacting foreign officials in recent days to alert them to the expected disclosures. A statement from the White House on Sunday said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.” Read more…

As published in


By Professor Ibrahim Al-Marashi

The contents revealed in October 2010 from an archive of secrets US military documents from Iraq are astonishing, but civilian deaths, the use of torture, and Iranian involvement in Iraq have already been covered by journalists, many of whom lost their lives in that country to make such news public. Rather it is the process of how these documents became public that heralds a new age in the flow of information. 

 One of the aspects of globalization is the technological revolution in communications which obliterates time and space, and aggravates the ability of the state to control information within its border or globally.  Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the independent organization WikiLeaks, used Sweden as a base, in addition to a network of servers around the world to instantaneously release these documents to a global audience.  In this case, the American superpower was unable to prevent this super-empowered Australian from releasing the documents.  Nevertheless, the globalization of intelligence does not mean that the state is irrelevant.  Assange lived in Sweden due to its broad press freedoms but was denied a residence permit and has joined the ranks of global nomads.

 I have personally experienced this phenomenon of the globalization of intelligence.  When the academic Glen Rangwala of Cambridge University noticed that a British intelligence dossier he found off the Internet was similar to an article that I had written on Iraq that was also published on the Internet, he was able to send me an email from the UK which I read in California in the early morning.  A couple of seconds later, I was able to respond that I had no role in the drafting of the UK intelligence dossier.  An announcement on Rangwala’s website, and a couple of further emails led to the story breaking on London’s Channel 4 news, becoming headlines in countries ranging from South Africa to India.  All of this happened within 24 hours.  Read more…

MULTILATERALISMO Y DESORDEN GLOBAL: El orden multipolar al que se dirige el mundo podría alejarse aún más del multilateralismo. ¿Cómo evitarlo?
Por Borja Lasheras y Antonio Ortiz

El presidente francés, Nicolás Sarkozy, y el primer ministro británico, David Cameron, firmando un acuerdo bilateral de defensa, noviembre de 2010


Para los aficionados a la pintura, el mundo actual se asemejaría a un cuadro impresionista, con figuras borrosas, o incluso a una obra surrealista que rechaza criterios racionales y donde predominan sorpresa y desorden. No sería una obra clásica, de formas nítidas, como desearon Wilson o Roosevelt para remediar el caos posterior a las dos guerras mundiales. 

Pero no hay mucho arte en el sistema internacional contemporáneo. Ni mucha estrategia. Más que el Gran Juego decimonónico, la política internacional es un juego de póquer donde se utilizan cartas como la política monetaria o la energía, y se guardan otras a la espera de la siguiente mano. Pocos socios, menos aliados y muchos rivales. Los sofisticados esquemas académicos y designios estratégicos ideados en los laboratorios políticos casan mal con la enrevesada realidad de las relaciones internacionales modernas.

Lo cierto es que, más allá de que asistimos a cambios geopolíticos de envergadura, no sabemos mucho del futuro orden internacional. Sí podemos aventurar que será un mundo multipolar o no polar, donde coexistirán, aún de forma desordenada, varios poderes de influencia dispar, muy vulnerables ante factores no estatales (desde emergencias civiles, shocks financieros hasta acciones de grupos terroristas). Un mundo donde lo doméstico se entremezcla de forma confusa con lo internacional; fenómenos aparentemente locales, como nacionalismos y xenofobia, tienen serias implicaciones geopolíticas. Imprevisibilidad e incertidumbre son palabras que reflejan nuestra perplejidad ante el orden internacional que se avecina.

Seguir leyendo en: Foreign Policy (edición española), Octubre-Noviembre 2010



US, Allies Look to take NATO from Cold War Relic to Relevance Now

With the Cold War behind them, NATO members gathering here in Lisbon for a summit on Friday will seek to assert their continued relevance. The future of the Afghan war effort will be a key part of the meeting’s agenda, and the nations will also deal with missile defense of NATO territory. The alliance will also adopt a new mission statement or “strategic concept.”

The strategic concept will aim to reinvigorate the NATO alliance 20 years after the end of the Cold War. Calling Lisbon, “one of the most important summits in the history of our alliance,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen hopes the new global outlook will prove the organization is still relevant.

“No other organization can marshal, deploy and sustain NATO’s military power,” Rasmussen said last month. “There will be other missions in future for which only NATO can fit the bill. We will have to be ready.” Read more…

Want to learn more about NATO’s New Strategic Concept? Check out this video.

As published in


The future of NATO: Fewer dragons, more snakes

NEXT week’s NATO summit in Lisbon is likely to be one of the most crucial in the 61-year history of the military alliance. Officially, the 28 members are meeting mostly to approve a new “strategic concept” that frames the threats NATO faces and the ways in which it should defend against them over the next decade.

It is 11 years since the last such concept was adopted. In that period, both the world and NATO itself have changed greatly. But attention will focus on more immediate worries: above all, the prospects for the long war in Afghanistan, the response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the need to “reset” NATO’s ambiguous relations with its old enemy, Russia, after the chill caused by the invasion of Georgia in 2008. All this comes at a time of tumbling European defence spending and fears that America, preoccupied by strategic competition with China and by global terrorism, sees NATO as less vital to its security than in the past.

The new strategic concept itself should be easy to agree to. It is a sensible document, the result of a report drafted by a “group of experts” led by a former American secretary of state, Madeleine Albright. Last month NATO officials were claiming that it was “98% there”, and although members continue to differ on some issues, such as the alliance’s future nuclear posture (of which more later), those will be papered over in Lisbon.

At the heart of the document is a restatement of NATO’s core commitment to collective defence, enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. However, it recognises that there is little likelihood of an orthodox military assault across the alliance’s borders. Most of the threats NATO faces are of the unconventional kind: from terrorism, rogue states with weapons of mass destruction, disruption of global supply lines, or cyber attacks on critical infrastructure such as power grids. Read more…

As published in (November 11, 2010 – From The Economist print edition)

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