Westminster Round-Up Podcast | June 2019

The Remote Warfare Programme's Liam Walpole and Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen discuss the latest developments in UK defence and security policy. Read more

Confronting Iran: The British Dimension

The posture of the British Armed Forces in and around the Persian Gulf mean that it would be very difficult for the United Kingdom, or its key ally Oman, to remain neutral in any military escalation of the conflict between Iran and the United States. Read more

Confronting Iran: To What End?

The escalation of tensions between Iran and the United States during May has increased the potential for a new war in the Middle East. This briefing seeks to clarify what interests Washington and its key regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, see as worth risking such destruction. And what might be the alternatives? Read more

WarPod Ep #2 | Yemen, Drones and International Law

To discuss a recent German court case regarding drones, the Remote Warfare Programme team are joined by Fiona Nelson of ECCHR and Jennifer Gibson of Reprieve. Read more

Iran, the US and the Risk of Accidental War

This briefing updates these earlier analyses and discusses political developments in Europe, the United States and Iran. It examines the risk that markedly rising tensions in the coming months pose a significant risk of an unintended escalation to violent conflict. Read more

Security cooperation with Saudi Arabia: Is it worth it for the UK?

This report assesses the costs and benefits to the UK of its defence and security relationship with Saudi Arabia, as well as the extent to which the UK is able to exert leverage and influence over Saudi Arabian foreign policy. Read more

No Such Thing as a Quick Fix: The Aspiration-Capabilities Gap in British Remote Warfare

This report is a first attempt to evaluate the gaps between contemporary strategies and activities in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Read more

Defining Remote Warfare: British Training and Assistance Programmes in Yemen, 2004-2015

Between 2004-2015 Britain engaged in capacity building operations across Yemen’s police, military, and intelligence agencies. This briefing seeks to provide a critical review of these efforts, their successes, and the causes of their ultimate failure, in order to identify lessons for future training and assistance missions. Read more

Yemen: Reshaping the Peace Process

To move towards a resolution, recognising that the time may not yet be ripe for a meaningful peace agreement, ORG and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies (SCSS) are working to strengthen local capacity for more inclusive and strategic dialogue in two of Yemen’s key regions, Marib and Hadhramout. Read more

The Syria Attack: Motives and Consequences

This briefing looks at those issues and also the reaction of the main actors in the current complex civil war – the Assad regime, Russia and Iran as well as the Kurds, Turkey, Islamic State (IS), Israel and Saudi Arabia. It also makes an initial assessment of the consequences of the attack. Read more

ORG Explains #2: The UK Military in the Arabian Peninsula

This primer explains what presence, relations and obligations the UK military has in the Arabian Peninsula, including the six monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Yemen, as well as the international waters of the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea. Read more

The Invasion of Iraq Fifteen Years On

20 March 2018 will mark the 15th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Despite President Trump’s confident assertions that the Islamic State is defeated there and in Syria, if ORG’s predictions from before that invasion continue to hold true, we may be only half-way through a generational struggle. Indeed, dispersal of combatants from Iraq and Syria means that this is becoming an increasingly globalised war in which the West is ill-equipped to prevail. Read more

Yemen: Devising Sustainable Processes for Dialogue

This report summarises the discussion at a roundtable on the war in Yemen and the potential for supporting peacebuilding capacity in the region. The event took place on 1 December 2017 at the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC) at the University of Kent and was a joint event organised by CARC and Oxford Research Group (ORG). The roundtable took place under the Chatham House Rule, so comments are not attributed to specific individuals or the organisations they are affiliated to. Read more

PSG Report: Relations between Palestinians across the Green Line

On 21 December 2017 the Palestine Strategy Group (PSG) published the English translation of its most recent strategic report: Relations between Palestinians across the Green Line. Read more

2002 Revisited: After the War, the War

This briefing therefore looks back to 2002 in making a preliminary assessment of where we are now. Is the war with IS really over, are new forms of warfare effective, has the attitude to the “Axis of Evil” changed, especially in the case of Iran and North Korea, and is there still a need to consider other approaches to security? Read more

Migration and the European Political Environment

Despite winning a historic fourth term as German Chancellor, Angela Merkel is in her weakest political position yet, having lost millions of votes to the far right. This is likely to further harden Germany’s once generous position on admitting refugees and bolster European resolve to securitise migration policy within African states. Read more

Chilcot Tells Us What We Already Knew – How Do We Implement It?

Did we really need 2.6 million words and 7 years of investigations to be told we should be making better decisions when we go to war? Oxford Research Group was clear – as is now decidedly stated in the Chilcot report – that invasion would intensify the risks of internal strife and Al-Qaeda activity in Iraq. But there was no room for critics of the war as a small sofa cabal of advisors to Tony Blair were already convinced of the its efficacy. Read more

After Mosul: Islamic State’s Asian and African Future

After three years and over 22,000 air strikes, the Levantine ‘Caliphate’ manifestation of the Islamic State seems destined for destruction in 2017. Yet the revolt of radicalised Sunni Arabs is unlikely to abate in Iraq or Syria, with the battlefield shifting to localised guerrilla insurgency, increasing attacks within western states, and the opening of new fronts in the global margins, not least Asia and Africa. Read more

Hans Blix: Trump's Missile Attack Motivated By Domestic Politics

It is possible that the Trump administration's signal of readiness to tolerate Assad encouraged the Syrian government to barge ahead for more military gain and to use gas against its own citizens. Read more

Sustainable Security in the Trump Era

Is the Trump era likely to make a major difference to the global security outlook or is it more likely that realities of international relations will limit the capacity for the change Trump seeks? Read more

Understanding Your Enemy: Donald Trump and IS

One of the concerns of Oxford Research Group over more than thirty years has been to explore conflicts and tensions as viewed by the parties directly involved. If seeking to do so involves areas of fundamental disagreement this can be subject to considerable criticism, a case in point being any attempt to see the world from an al-Qaida or Islamic State (IS) perspective. Even so, ORG would argue that it is a necessary task, and there are a number of ways of going about it. Read more

Limited Accountability: A transparency audit of the anti-ISIL Coalition

This Airwars study for the Remote Control Project explores transparency and accountability issues within the US-led Coalition. It is based partly on in-depth briefings from senior officials from four sample belligerents (the US, Canada, the UK and Denmark) – and in part on two years of extensive Airwars modelling of the war against ISIL. Read more

We Need to Talk About Yemen

This briefing by Emily Knowles examines the extent of the UK’s involvement in the current crisis in Yemen. Read more

Yemen: A Battle for the Future

The paper sets Yemen’s multiple conflicts in the context of the ‘remote control’ approach to warfare – focusing on the use of special forces, mercenaries and armed drones. It highlights the moral and political risks for Western governments training and arming regional protagonists, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Read more