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  • 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: Emmanuel O. Ojo
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This paper is an attempt to consider the role of the military in Nigeria's democratic transitions. The paper has one major thrust – an in-depth analysis of military role in democratic transitions in Nigeria - the fundamental question, however, is: can the military ever be expected or assumed to play any major role in building democracy? The reality on the ground in Africa is that the military as an institution has never been completely immune from politics and the role of nation-building. However, whether they have been doing that perfectly or not is another question entirely which this paper shall address.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • 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
  • Author: William Mayborn
  • 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 November 2011, senior U.S. leadership signaled a strategic rebalance of diplomatic, military, and economic resources from Iraq and Afghanistan to focus on the Asia Pacific. Yet, the 2011 “pivot” to Asia is not a departure from previous policy laid down since the end of World War II. The logic is simple and consistent: do not allow a single state or coalition of states to dominate Eurasia. This article contains four sections. The first section will examine how the 2011 pivot to Asia has represented a restoration and continuance of the post-Cold War initiatives that reinforces the basic logic. The second section will explore the reasoning behind the geopolitical logics and the long-standing policy of U.S. involvement in the Asia-Pacific. The third section will explore the current logics of geopolitics given the importance of Eurasia and the advent of nuclear weapons. The fourth section will analyze how the present peaceful rise of China has reinforced the long-held geopolitical logics.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ralph D. Sawyer
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: As military forces grew in strength, tactics evolved, and warfare became more lethal in ancient China, the need for communication between the political authorities and leaders in the field, as well as among commanders and their subordinates, was increasingly recognized. Vestiges in Shang dynasty (1650-1045) oracle scripts and Western Zhou dynasty (1045-771) bronze inscriptions show written commands were already being issued to field commanders. Furthermore, according to the earliest historical writings, the Chun Qiu, Zuo Zhuan, and Guo Yu, written and verbally transmitted reports were being routinely furnished to the ruler and directives frequently received by the seventh and sixth centuries BCE.
  • Topic: Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: David Curtis Wright
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Sometime around 7:00 pm on the evening of Tuesday 18 March 2014, a group of several hundred Taiwanese students, civic group members, activists, and other protestors stormed through the outer gates and walls of the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan's legislature) in Taipei, forced their way through police cordons into the buildings of the legislature's compound, and finally broke into the Legislative Chamber itself. They quickly barricaded themselves in the chamber where Taiwan's laws are made by piling up the legislators' swiveled chairs in front of all entrances to the chamber and binding them together with ropes into large clumpy bulwarks. Police forces unsuccessfully attempted on several occasions to push their way through these barriers. Several hundred protestors (mostly young students) occupied the chamber overnight, and the police tried several other tactics to oust them, including shutting off the building's water, switching off its electricity, turning off its air conditioning, and locking its washrooms (restrooms). Aware of public opinion strongly against harshly treating the students, the police soon backed off and restored the utilities. Within 24 hours the occupation grew into massive street rallies in support of the students, and these in turn grew into the Sunflower Movement, so named after a supportive florist who handed out a thousand or more sunflowers to protesters outside the Legislative Yuan. The sunflower quickly came to symbolize the hopes of the protestors for openness, as to sunlight, in contrast to the perceived dark backroom legerdemain of the ruling KMT (Kuomintang; Chinese Nationalist) government, which had a majority in the legislature and struck many people in Taiwan as preferring to operate out of public view and beyond opposition party scrutiny.
  • Political Geography: Taiwan
  • Author: Matthew Wiseman
  • 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 Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 remains one of the most highly contested episodes of the Cold War. Both academic and general historians alike continuously attempt to reconstruct the events that occurred during those harrowing two weeks as well as the subsequent aftermath. Historical examinations have unravelled some of the mystery which emerged from questions asked of the crisis and the subsequent period following its closure, but an abundance of scholarship on the topic has produced historical fallacies as well. It is for this reason that Sheldon Stern, official historian at the John F. Kennedy Library from 1977 to 1999, wrote The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Kai Chen
  • 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 history of mercenaries can be tracked back to the Greek mercenaries that fought for the Persian Empire during the early classic era. The decades after World War II have witnessed the re-emergence of mercenaries around the world. It's worth noting that academia pays little attention to mercenaries involved in asymmetric conflicts, and leaves several critical questions unanswered. So how do we measure the outcome of the asymmetric conflicts involving mercenaries? Why do some mercenaries prevail in front of materially superior opponents, while other mercenaries fail? Are there any testable theoretical explanations for predicting mercenaries' military performance in future asymmetric conflicts? In Mercenaries in Asymmetric Conflicts, Scott Fitzsimmons provides well-supported answers to the questions above, explores the causal relations between military culture and effectiveness, and highlights that culturally-determined military effectiveness has more influence on mercenaries' military performance in asymmetric conflicts than the materially-determined military effectiveness.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Persia
  • Author: Danny Garrett-Rempel
  • 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 his book, It Takes More than a Network: The Iraqi Insurgency and Organizational Adaptation, Chad C. Serena attempts to analyze the organizational inputs and outputs of the Iraqi insurgency in an effort to arrive at a better understanding of what part these features played in both its initial success and eventual failure. The thesis of Serena's book is that the Iraqi insurgency failed to achieve longer-term organizational goals due to the fact that many of the insurgency's early organizational strengths later became weaknesses that degraded the insurgency's ability to adapt (4). Serena employs a blend of technical analysis, in his assessment of the inner workings of complex covert networks, and empirical examples, which he draws from the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. This approach is successful in providing insight into the nature of the organizational adaptation of the Iraqi insurgency as well as in laying a framework for the future study of similarly organized martial groups.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Author: Rebecca Jensen
  • 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 historians of the Annales School developed an approach that emphasized long-term regional histories based upon social structures and worldviews, in part because they believed the narrowness of political and diplomatic history to be reductive. The first half of Mike Martin's An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict, adapted from his doctoral research at King's College and drawing on his experience as an army officer in Afghanistan, evokes this approach, while the second half explores how the absence of such a grounding in the local dynamics of Helmand province resulted in a profound misunderstanding of parties to the conflict and their goals, and thus a flawed and sometimes counterproductive approach to military and political efforts there. An Intimate War makes a solid argument that the narratives driving the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) were largely mistaken, and that misperception accounted for poor policy and misguided operations; it also raises questions for future research, including why organizations and individuals adopted and hewed to inadequate models, and implicitly how this might be avoided in future military engagements.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: London