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

Tipping to Rebellion: Action and Reaction on Climate Science

Global climate change is happening faster than most models have predicted and the consequences are likely to be ruinous on a global scale. Yet, as the Extinction Rebellion protests demonstrated, there remains a gulf between an increasingly informed and activist public and established political, security and economic interests. Read more

After Baghouz: A Jihadi Archipelago

This briefing assesses the evolution of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and its re-emergence in Africa and Asia. Read more

Caliphate Interrupted: Towards a Stateless IS

This briefing examines the earlier declarations of victory, reviews the reasons for the false expectations of success and explores whether they throw light on the future of Islamic State. Read more

Blueprints for a Green Challenge

Climate disruption is one of the greatest challenges facing the global community and given the lack of an appropriate response it is going to be essential for some states to take a much more forceful role. Read more

2018: Passing the Buck

2018 has been a quieter year than many expected from the high tensions at the end of 2017. Yet the underlying drivers of global conflict have continued to increase. Read more

Climate Change, Populism and National Security

Climate disruption is the human security challenge of our age. With carbon emissions again rising and the world well off course delivering on the commitments it made in Paris three years ago, this briefing looks at this challenge as well as the rising influence of populist nationalism in key countries, including the US and BRIC states. 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

North Korea and The United States – Who is in Charge?

This briefing explores how further peaceful progress in North East Asia may depend on furthering Trump’s delusion that he is leading and winning with Pyongyang. Read more

The Other Weapons of Mass Destruction

With the rapid erosion of the prohibition on use by states of chemical weapons, and the rise of radical non-state groups seemingly willing to utilise whatever weapons of mass destruction they can obtain, what can the international community do to restrain their use? Read more

Sustainable Security: Global Ideas for a Greater Britain

With the divisive process of leaving the European Union destabilising the UK’s minority government and driving an obsession with redefining a global role for a “Great” Britain, the time is right for political parties of all persuasions to rethink the country’s contribution to global security. Read more

The Kim/Trump Summit and Implications for Iran

Trump’s esoteric approach to diplomacy produced surprising outcomes at his June summit with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore. In response, Iranian hardliners have made a surprising move on ballistic missiles, potentially signalling that they fancy their chances in bilateral negotiations with the great American deal-maker. Read more

The Risk and Consequences of an Israel-Iran War

This briefing revisits ORG’s 2010 analysis of the risks and consequences of such a war, concluding that the risk is greater now than in 2010, with changes in Trump’s security team creating a window of opportunity for Israeli action in 2018. 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

Trump and Bolton: Making a Greater American Century?

The last month has seen dramatic upheavals among the key personnel within the Trump administration tasked with advising the president on foreign affairs and national security policy. Trump has sought a wider range of policy options on Iran and North Korea and he is now likely to get them from a more hawkish team, increasing the possibility of new US regime change operations. This briefing compares current events to the rise of the Neo-Conservative agenda in 1997-2002. Read more

Nuclear Posture Review: Sliding Towards Nuclear War?

North Korea and Russia may be the focus of contemporary Western fears of imminent nuclear-armed conflict but development and deployment of “useable” nuclear weapons has been a constant throughout the atomic age and by all nuclear-armed states. Read more

2017: More than a troubling year?

2017 has been a deeply troubling year for international security. Geopolitical tensions between established and aspiring nuclear powers returned with a vengeance, US, Russian, European and Middle Eastern powers doubled down on their roles in foreign wars, and the Trump administration attempted to restore climate change denial to the international mainstream. 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

Limited Nuclear Wars – Myth and Reality

The dramatic recent escalation of rhetoric and military posturing on the Korean peninsula has reawakened suggestions that the United States could use relatively low-yield nuclear weapons in a limited or tactical operation to neutralise North Korea. Indeed, both the idea of nuclear ‘first strike’ and their ‘flexible’ usage on and off the ‘battlefield’ are deeply rooted in historic and current NATO and UK doctrine on nuclear weapons. Read more

Climate Change, Migration and Security

Notwithstanding the populist and securitised backlash of recent years, mass migration from Africa and the Middle East to Europe is near certain to continue for the foreseeable future. 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

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 abroad Read more