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 abroadRead more

Trump, North Korea and the Risk of War

April has seen the inexperienced Trump Administration further escalate US military activities from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan and Yemen.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

The UK and the Terror Threat

The recent statement from the UK’s new Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation that the terrorist threat to the country is at its highest level since the 1970s raises at least three crucial questions that this briefing seeks to answer.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

The Border Security Paradox

With Donald Trump preparing to be inaugurated next month, his election raises the issue of border security to a new height. Much discussion of the issue focuses on Trump’s proposal to erect a strong protective fence right across the border with Mexico.Read more

Jungle Justice: European Migration Policy Seen from the South

The causal link between food insecurity, climate change, conflict and migration is a contested one, not least because the driving forces of economic inequality and marginalisation are so strong both within and between states.Read more

So Much Hot Air: Climate Change After the US Election

Whether or not he believes his own campaign rhetoric, the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency is bad news for efforts to enforce climate governance and restrain carbon emissions. Yet the global mood is one of determination in the face of US obstinacy, buoyed by technological advances in green energy generation and storage and by the increasingly apparent commercial opportunities presented by a transition away from fossil fuels.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

Syria after the Ceasefire

This briefing brings in the other major issue in the current conflict, the state of the bitter and hugely violent civil war in Syria, brought to the fore during the latter part of September by a partial ceasefire which subsequently collapsed.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

Endless War? Fallujah Revisited

This briefing develops the earlier report but does it in a broader context, looking back on the work undertaken by Oxford Research Group since the 9/11 attacks as the war on terror has evolved over fifteen years.Read more

Climate Change: Prospects for Effective Future Action

This briefing updates an earlier ORG report on climate change and points to the significance of the recent acceleration in global warming in relation to the need for a radical transition to ultra-low carbon economies world-wide. It examines this in terms of the chances of such a change, not least in the context of the current US presidential election campaign.Read more