Sunday, 23 November 2014
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As part of its drive to undo the post-Cold War settlement, Russia has launched a global media campaign to vindicate its actions in Ukraine. It is based on the Kremlin's narrative of victimhood, in which the West takes advantage of Russia's weakness following the implosion of the Soviet Union. These arguments, however, are deeply flawed. Moreover, Russian international media do not abide by Western journalistic ethics and standards. The West, therefore, has to systematically refute this storyline and hold Russian media accountable when they transgress the prevailing norms of due accuracy and due impartiality, or give undue prominence to certain standpoints. It's time to counter Russian disinformation argues Patrick Nopens, a U K Defence Forum Research Associate.

At the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the world is on the brink of a new Cold War. This is no exaggeration. The events in Ukraine should make it clear, even to the most optimistic or credulous, that relations with Russia have become highly adversarial. Furthermore, tensions show no signs of abating.

Julian Lewis reflects on Katharine C. Gorka & Patrick Sookhdeo (eds.): Fighting the Ideological War: Winning Strategies from Communism to Islamism, Westminster Institute & Isaac Publishing, McLean, Virginia, 2012, 240 pp, £9.99 (ISBN 978-0985310905)

This volume of seven essays is not the first to draw parallels between the ideology of Al-Qaeda and previous totalitarian brands – nor will it probably be the last. It is, however, unusual in benefiting from the direct experience of authors such as John Lenczowski and Robert Reilly who were at the heart of the Reagan counter-offensive against Soviet Communist doctrine at the end of the Cold War. Both are convinced that a failure to tell the truth about the nature of the current enemy threat will fatally undermine our efforts to resist it.

Promotions, postings and retirements. One stars on next page

For British, Empire and Commonwealth sacrifice in one hundred years of conflict

World War II dealt a death-blow to the European colonial system, and the break-up of the former Soviet Union in 1991 completed the decolonisation of global politics. As the world gets progressively less Euro-centric, some of these lines are now beginning to vanish entirely. 2014 has seen the crumbling of two sets of imperial-era borders between sovereign fragments of what used to be a larger imperial whole. The military successes of the still-expandingISIS/ Islamic State militant group are perpetually in the headlines. Meanwhile in Ukraine there has also been a swift return to low-level violence after a truce agreed between President Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko frays. Imperial boundaries in the former Soviet Union (FSU), Africa and Middle East have long become "lines in the sand" in many places; some are now vanishing like the bygone great powers that created them, writes Neil Thompson.

Marking the passing of those who have served this country in its time of need. Additions by old comrades and families are welcome

Since last summer the Obama administration has moved closer towards military cooperation with the Iranian regime, to prop up the Iraqi government and to fight Islamist rebels in Syria. In a bizarre paradox, U.S. foreign policy in Iraq has edged in the direction of alignment with Syria and Iran while those regimes remain Washington-designated sponsors of terror, writes Nehad Ismail

Obama has abandoned the idea of toppling Assad in Damascus and announced the deployment of several hundred U.S. troops to Baghdad, supposedly to help provide security at the American embassy, while repeatedly claiming that the administration would not put "boots on the ground" in the latest civil war.

Separately, Secretary of State Kerry suggested military cooperation with Tehran was a very real possibility. As part of the campaign against ISIS in Iraq, "We need to go step-by-step and see what in fact might be a reality, but I would not rule out anything that would be constructive in providing real stability."

Iraq's turmoil is partly due to Obama's hasty withdrawal, and his failure to confront the corrupt Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, largely responsible for many of Iraq's woes.

On September 29th, power in Afghanistan changed hands for the first time in 13 years. At the Arg, the presidential palace in Kabul, Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as president, while the outgoing Hamid Karzai watched calmly from a front-row seat. Washington, congratulating itself on this "peaceful transition," quickly collected the new president's autograph on a bilateral security agreement that assures the presence of American forces in Afghanistan for at least another decade. The big news of the day: the U.S. got what it wanted. (Precisely why Americans should rejoice that our soldiers will stay in Afghanistan for another 10 years is never explained, says Ann Jones, U K Defence Forum Research Asociate.)

The big news of the day for Afghans was quite different - not the long expected continuation of the American occupation but what the new president had to say in his inaugural speech about his wife, Rula Ghani. Gazing at her as she sat in the audience, he called her by name, praised her work with refugees, and announced that she would continue that work during his presidency.

Those brief comments sent progressive Afghan women over the moon. They had waited 13 years to hear such words - words that might have changed the course of the American occupation and the future of Afghanistan had they been spoken in 2001 by Hamid Karzai.

                                          An action at regimental level during first Battle of Ypres, before trench warfare established 

Dai Havard MP at Gheluvelt memorial to South Wales Borderers

Gheluvelt chateau today The opening months of the First World War were a time of fluid manoeuvring, as each side sought to outflank the other; or so it now seems. We recall the 'race to the sea' and the subsequent stalemate that endured until the battles of 1918. But to those regiments of the BEF committed to action in August 1914, the picture was confused as they came to terms with the enormity of the forces ranged against them, writes Nick Watts.

Among many crisis moments in those early months, the action fought at Gheluvelt on 31st October 1914 by the 2nd Worcestershire regiment illustrates the nature of conventional warfare in 1914.

 The 2nd Worcesters landed in France on 14th August 1914. They were part of 5th Brigade in the 2nd Division. Its war establishment was 30 officers and 992 other ranks. The regiment was involved in the battle of Mons and the retreat to the Marne and the battle of the Aisne. As part of Haig's l corps they were moved north to Flanders, arriving on 15th October.

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