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

Manchester, the General Election and Britain’s Security Narrative

The appalling attack on concert-goers in Manchester will be the defining news event of the 2017 general election campaign. Yet polls suggest that the attack has not shifted popular opinion in the predictable direction of a “strong” incumbent government characterised by muscular counter-terrorism interventions at home and abroadRead 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

All quiet on the ISIS front? British secret warfare in an information age

Remote Control’s latest report tracks the UK’s secretive but growing military commitments abroad by analysing the rise in the use of drones for targeted killing, the use of Special Forces, and the provision of capabilities such as intelligence and embedded troops to allied forces.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

A World after IS – Part II

This briefing continues the analysis by looking at the wider issues that were mentioned in the June briefing and that appear to be aiding support for IS in the Middle East, North Africa and the wider world.Read more

A World After IS – Part I

There have been many developments in the past month which relate to the current position of IS and while they complicate the view that IS is in serious and possibly terminal decline, they do throw light on the wider dimension of a possible post-IS world.Read more

Islamic State: In Retreat or Transition?

This briefing revisits the question of the status and viability of IS, concluding that it is under the heaviest pressure it has experienced since at least the 2011 drawdown of US forces from Iraq, yet has a capability that should not be underestimated and is also developing a more sustained ability to take the conflict to its opponentsRead more

Islamic State’s Plan, and the West’s Trap

This briefing examines how the Sunni resistance to the 2003-2011 occupation of Iraq eclipsed al-Qaida and changed the nature and strategy of extreme Islamist violence.Read more

Islamic State and Revolts from the Margins

This briefing returns to that theme and develops it in the context of Islamic State, which was initially a more narrowly focused evolution of the al-Qaida idea centred on the early creation of a geographical Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, but one which is now broadening out and has even overtaken al-Qaida in world-wide impact and significance.Read more

The Evolution of the Islamic State Conflict

Events in Iraq and Syria during October – not least the desperate battle for Kobane and a spate of executions in Iraq’s Anbar province – have demonstrated the limitations of aerial attack by the coalition of Western and Arab states in containing the activities of Islamic State (IS).Read more

Gaza: Context and Consequences

The current war is already longer than the 2008-9 war, with no end in sight. Indeed, by the end of July, positions were hardening and prospects for anything longer than brief further humanitarian pause seemed remote. This briefing provides some context for the conflict together with a preliminary analysis of possible consequences.Read more

The Internationalisation of Nigeria’s Boko Haram Campaign

One year since it escalated its counter-insurgency campaign under a localised state of emergency, Nigeria has lost control of its war against Boko Haram.Read more

Al-Qaida - A Multiform Idea

The Yemen-related security alert that has led to a western diplomatic shutdown in the Middle East and North Africa highlights an enduring feature of the United States' jihadist adversary. Even after twelve years of a military response to 9/11, there has been hardly any progress in understanding the motivations of the numerous groups across the world that owe allegiance to the spirit of the al-Qaida movement.Read more

Al-Qaida and the Wider Jihadist Phenomenon

Given the trend towards socio-economic marginalisation, it would be wise to assume that radical and violent social movements still have significant traction.Read more

Al-Qaida – The Potency of an Idea

With recent developments in West and East Africa, there are reasons to suspect that the al-Qaida vision, so widely believed to be in retreat, may actually be undergoing a transition to a different entity as part of a larger-scale renaissance. If this is the case, the implications could be considerable.Read more

The Current Status of al-Qaida

There are widely differing views as to the potency of the al-Qaida movement. This briefing seeks to present a helpful interpretation.Read more

A Hint of Victory?

The al-Qaida leadership is concentrating primarily on its own survival.Read more