Thursday, 30 June 2016
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.

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Marking on the next page the passing of those who have served this country. Contributions from colleagues and families welcome.

Summary: We are on the very brink of a new Cold War. Hybrid War has kept Western analysts in awe although it is highly unlikely that it would be successful against a Nato member. The disproportion of conventional war-fighting capabilities along the eastern borders of the Alliance is the real challenge. NATO has to rebuild a credible conventional deterrence-by-denial. Concurrently, the Alliance and Russia have to commit to political dialogue and revive the arms control regime, in the first place to avoid accidental escalation. Brigadier-General (Ret.) Patrick Nopens writes more on the next page.

Military honours awarded in the Queen's Birthday Honours list (continues on second page)


Knight Commanders

Lieutenant General Gordon Kenneth MESSENGER, CB DSO* OBE RM

Lieutenant General John Gordon LORIMER, DSO MBE, late The Parachute Regiment


Knight Commanders

Vice Admiral Ian Fergus CORDER

Lieutenant General Andrew Richard GREGORY, CB, late Royal Regiment of Artillery

Having spent 10 days in May in the City of Jerusalem I can say now I am better informed about what the Arabs of East Jerusalem and its suburbs want and what they don't want, writes Nehad Ismail.

Here I am not expressing my own views or opinions, I merely convey to readers what I heard from ordinary Palestinians living within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem.

This is not an in-depth political analysis nor a definitive account of what is happening in Jerusalem, but personal observations based on casual conversations.

I had spoken to dozens of people, on average 5 or 6 a day. I spoke to street vendors, shop keepers, café owners, taxi drivers, academics, teachers, university students, mothers, hotel receptionists, car salesmen, petrol station attendants, pancake makers, falafel fryers and even a medical doctor.

Book review: 2017 – War with Russia. General Sir Richard Shirreff

In the late 1970s one book was a must read for all junior officers; The Third World War by General Sir John Hackett. It was set in 1985 and showed how an enfeebled NATO could be taken by surprise, by the Warsaw Pact. A similar book, which should be a must read for all junior officers and politicians, is 2017 War with Russia.
As Deputy Supreme Commander Europe (DSACEUR) General Shirreff was Britain's most senior NATO officer. He served in this position from 2011 until 2015. During this period General Shirreff saw at first-hand how Vladimir Putin was able to wrong foot the west through a series of moves which were, in themselves, irritating – but not so much so as to cause alarm. This changed in March 2014.

Faced with an overwhelming amount of information about the possible effects of Brexit on the interests of the UK and others, Sandy Johnston, who spent many years working on these issues in an official capacity, writes:

Like many institutions the EU has its faults: Excessive bureaucracy, ponderous processes, a chronic case of the "topsy" principle, and increasingly unaccountable behaviour in the top echelons. The ill-fated Constitution was voted down by French and Dutch referendums. This is often seized on with some justification as further evidence that the EU and its trappings are seen as something of a theme park for political and business elites, and generally distrusted by the man on the Clapham omnibus. We are bombarded with opinions, forecasts, statistics, projections amongst which it is very hard for even relatively well-informed people to discern facts.

In the furore of claim and contradiction that we have witnessed in recent weeks about what Brexit would or would not mean for the UK, the area of defence and security had remained largely ignored, all the focus being on jobs, immigration, the health service, incomes and the economy in general. Then two weeks ago the Prime Minister delivered what has since become caricatured as the "third world war" speech, and when I read in it much of what I myself have been writing and saying in various places it left me wondering what I could add that might seem new. Has the EU been fundamental to keeping the peace in Europe over the last 70 years? Yes, absolutely. Is NATO the cornerstone of European defence? Yes, unquestionably. Do both organisations have a role to play in defence and security? Yes, obviously. Can they work effectively together for the benefit of their members? Not easily is the answer, and it will be a great deal more difficult if the UK is not fully engaged to prevent unhelpful developments. Let us start with some history.

What do we do on the 24th of June? What should be the first tasks of Her Majesty's Government when the Prime Minister walks in front of the Press early on that morning when the result of EU referendum is announced? asks Capt BS Forethought

Whatever the result what we can be sure of is whatever the result the political oxygen is going to be absorbed with candidates positioning themselves for the upcoming Leadership election. However, I am not going to discuss here the differences between the outcomes of the respective votes, both campaigns are covering this with gusto. What I mean to discuss on the next page is what is true however we vote.

We mark the passing of those who served this country. Contributions from comrades and families welcome

Four years ago I wrote of my quiet optimism for Yemen (says Charlie Pratt. See A quiet optimism for Yemen? published in Defence Viewpoints 13th September 2012). Its nascent, idiosyncratic democracy, powered by tribal shaykhs and patronage, had conspired to produce a relatively fair and free election. Out of it had ascended a President from the marginalised and underdeveloped South of the country; a potent symbol of the unified Yemen and a hopeful portent of practical unity to come.

The problems that Hadi faced were colossal. The writ of the government extended only a few miles outside of the capital Sana'a, at which point a patchwork of tribes and political systems took over. His civil service was full of ghost employees and the country was still struggling to recover from the endemic corruption and patronage of his predecessor as President, 'Ali 'Abdallah Salih. But at the same time a political dialogue featuring all parts of Yemeni society had begun, the elections had still occured and a strange and unique civil society still existed.

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