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  • Author: Alexander Salt
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Since 2006, well over 70 000 lives have been claimed by Cartel and narcotics related violence in Mexico. The sheer scale of this conflict has attracted considerable scholarly attention, particularly that which seeks to classify what type of violence this is, be it terrorism, insurgency or something else altogether. This paper addresses this issue by asking: Can Mexican Cartels be considered terrorist organizations? The paper explores the evolution of the Cartels in Mexico from 2006-present, analyzing their motivations, tactics and operations, organizational structures, and targets of violence. The paper concludes that Cartels should not be defined as terrorists as they lack political motives for their use of violence. However, Cartels can be said to have a dual nature; sometimes they act like terrorists in terms of their operational and tactical level behavior, and the rest of the time they act as illicit businessmen.
  • Topic: War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking, Violence, Drugs
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Gabriel Boulianne Gobeil
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Leadership targeting, or decapitation, which involves the removal of an organization’s leader, has been utilized in various military conflicts. The use of drones has been particularly consequential in such schemes, earning themselves the reputation of being “Washington’s weapon of choice.” The existing literature on leadership targeting gravitates around the question of the practice’s strategic effectiveness, focusing on the targeted groups’ internal characteristics to explain their (in)ability to withstand decapitation. However, this literature overlooks a key feature of terrorist groups, namely their identity’s organizational dynamics. Highlighting the importance of group identities in determining the outcome of decapitations, this article fills this void. Looking at the cases of al Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen, it argues that groups which have a global identity are likely to retain cohesion when their leaders are the victim of decapitation while groups whose identity stems from an ethnic or tribal lineage tend to fragment, therefore creating “veto players.”
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Drones, Leadership, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Ben Wan, Beng Ho
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The fleet aircraft carrier possesses a number of unique advantages such as territorial independence and mobility that make it the United States National Command Authorities’ platform of choice to deal with a crisis or war. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the successful and unencumbered application of American carrier airpower in the post-war period has been significantly aided by the benign environments where the flat-tops have operated. In the modern combat environment, critics contend that anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities would render the vessel obsolete. Uncertainty clouds this issue as American carriers have yet to be subjected to A2/AD threats. Nevertheless, it is possible to draw two conclusions based on related empirical evidence. They are namely, 1) the submarine poses a credible challenge to American flat-tops, provided the sub is able to find and track them; 2) the anti-ship missile constitutes less of a “mission-kill” threat compared to the torpedo.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Maritime, Missile Defense, Air Force
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Lee Lacy
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The history of strategic bombing in World War II is well-documented, but is also found in the unlikeliest of places, in a theatrical production performed in the New York theater—on Broadway— in 1947. The play, Command Decision, by William Wister Haines, is an examination of the decision making process involved with the strategic bombing campaign in the European Theater of Operations. This paper uses Command Decision to examine real events in 1943—notably the raids on industrial targets of Regensburg, Schweinfurt and Stuttgart, where the 8th USAAF sustained punishing losses. Out this terrible episode of the war, when thousands of airmen lost their lives, the lessons of the bombing campaign’s Combined Bomber Offensive are significant. The leaders, events and decisions that influenced this intense and deadly episode of World War II remain relevant. The powerful lessons of leadership and command— mixed with human failing and the suffering of mankind, make a compelling story.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, World War II, Air Force
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Terry Terriff, James Keeley, John Ferris
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The US and a coalition of allies are once again intervening in the Middle East. This time it is in response to the rapid military advancement of Daesh, the acronym Arabic speakers use for the Arabic name of ISIS, Al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. Some ten weeks into the start of military operations a common view is that the coalition's aerial campaign has only had limited success at best. On the plus side, coalition air power coupled with local forces on the ground were able to save a great many Iraqi Yazidis who were being threatened by Daesh, but equally a great many of this sectarian minority were massacred and, in the case of women and girls, raped or sold into sexual slavery. The Kurds subsequent to the initial retreat of their much vaunted Peshmerga forces have been able to stabilize their fighting lines against Daesh and regain control of the important Mosul dam. This particular success is in part due to the Kurds themselves and in part due to the support of coalition air strikes and delivery of supplies, but it also appears to be due in part to Daesh turning its focus to Anbar and northern Syria. On the negative side, Daesh not only continues to hold Mosul, among many other Iraqi cities and towns, but it has also expanded its control of territory in Anbar province from where it now poses a potential threat to Baghdad and areas in and around the Iraqi capital city. Daesh also made significant advances in northern Syria where it threatened to overrun the Kurdish city of Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border, creating the looming prospect of the massacre of the fighters and civilians still there. Over the past few days the intensification of coalition air strikes in and around this city appears to have halted and at least partially pushed back the Daesh assault, but the city and its inhabitants are far from being safe as it could still fall in the days and weeks to come.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Martin Samuels
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A former writer of British military doctrine, Jim Storr, recently lamented that, although many books explore what happens in war (history) or why wars happen (international relations), very few focus on how wars should be fought (warfare). He concluded this reflects warfare's status as 'a poorly developed discipline'. Consequently, 'It is incoherent, contains a range of poorly described phenomena and is pervaded by paradox.' The underdeveloped discourse concerning warfare, and within it the limited consideration of different approaches to command, may be considered an important contributor to the longstanding gulf between the doctrine of Mission Command espoused by the United States and British armies and actual operational practice, such that the doctrine is 'realized only in some places some of the time'.
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In America and the Rogue States, Thomas Henriksen lays out the relationships that exist, and have existed, between America and the states that made up George W. Bush's 'Axis of Evil.' Henriksen outlines the history of the interactions between the United States and North Korea, pre-invasion Iraq, and Iran, and through this draws out a number of themes. He also shows that the ways the relationships have played out are highly situational and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In the last chapter, Henriksen explores American relationships with a number of states that were either once considered rogue or could become rogue, like Libya, Syria, and Cuba, referring to them as either “lesser rogues” or “troublesome states.” These states have remained “a puzzle for US foreign policy” (1) and are characterized by three things: autocratic governance, sponsorship of terrorism, and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). There is no clear definition provided by Henriksen for what can be considered a rogue state, making it difficult to judge what other states, if any, could be considered rogue. Henriksen seems to arbitrarily decide who is rogue and who is not: Cuba is a rogue state, while Myanmar is merely troublesome. Instead of synthesizing a clear definition of the term, something that could then be applied to other states in order to judge their 'rogueness,' Henriksen uses the Bush administration's criteria (the term itself was coined by President Bill Clinton in a 1994 speech in Brussels), which was outlined in the National Security Strategy of 2002 (NSS-2002). These were “brutality toward their own people; contempt for international law; determination to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD); advanced military technology; sponsorship of terrorism; rejection of human rights values; and hatred for the United States and 'everything it stands for'”. The use of the NSS-2002 definition allows for the 'Axis of Evil' to fit neatly into the term, which constitutes a problem of tautology, at least for the Bush administration. Further compounding this was that, according to Henriksen at least, the administration was set on going to war in Iraq prior to assuming office. This creates a situation in which it is hard to determine whether the idea of rogue states was created to justify this desire, or it informed the desire prior to the administration taking office.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, North Korea, Libya
  • Author: Peter Jackson
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: France’s policy at the Paris Peace Conference has long been characterised as a bid to destroy German power and to secure a dominant position in the post-1918 European political order. The strategy and tactics of French premier Georges Clemenceau are nearly always contrasted with those of American president Woodrow Wilson. Clemenceau is represented as an arch cynic and committed practitioner of Realpolitik while Wilson is depicted as an idealist proponent of a new approach to international politics. The earliest, and one of the most extreme, articulation of this view was advanced by John Maynard Keynes in his Economic Consequences of the Peace. In what remains the most influential book ever written about the peace conference, Keynes characterised Clemenceau as a French Bismarck and the chief advocate of a ‘Carthaginian peace’.1 This judgement has reverberated through the historiography of the European international politics ever since.2 This general picture misses important dimensions to French planning and thus to the possibilities for peace in 1919. The evidence reveals that the peace programme of the Clemenceau government was much more open-ended and innovative than is generally recognised. French negotiators did propose a highly traditional project to overthrow the European balance of power by detaching the Left Bank of the Rhine from Germany and placing this region under permanent occupation. But there were other currents in French planning and policy that have been neglected. The French peace programme, as it emerged in February-March 1919, was a complex combination of power political calculation and an ideological commitment to a democratic peace based on new principles of international politics. Alongside the aim of territorial adjustment and a weakening of German power was a thoroughly trans-Atlantic conception of a democratic post-war order that allowed for the possibility of political and economic co- operation with a reformed and democratic Germany. The flexible and fundamentally multilateral character of this ‘larger strategic design’ overlapped with prevailing internationalist visions of peace and security in ways that have been missed by most scholars. French policy was much more ambiguous than Clemenceau was later willing to admit. Along with his chief lieutenant André Tardieu, he would spend much of the 1920s denouncing the failure of successive governments to impose the letter of the Versailles Treaty.4 But this post-war posturing has done much to obscure the complex character of his government’s peace programme.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, World War I, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany