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Prime Minister Cameron was right to rule out any co-operation with Assad in the fight against ISIS. He was also right not to seek Parliament's support for possible action in Syria, writes Nehad Ismail.

In the House of Lords, former Chief of the General Staff Lord Dannatt warned that "attacking ISIL in Iraq but not in Syria is dealing with half the problem".
"How the hell can you win the war when most of your enemy can end up in a country you can't get involved in?" Another former CGS, Lord Richards, was quoted in The Sunday Times. "Islamic State cannot be defeated by airstrikes alone and boots on the ground are needed to take them on."

But the UK position's is problematic. Having secured a majority in favour of air-strikes in Iraq, David Cameron has indicated that there is "a strong case" for extending air-strikes against what he calls "psychopathic" ISIS from Iraq into Syria. The UK is prepared to intervene to avert a humanitarian catastrophe without prior Parliamentary approval. Ed Miliband, who thwarted action against Assad last year, is again demanding a UN Security Council Resolution to validate any military action. His disingenuousness is transparent. The Russian veto would inevitably scupper any proposed Resolution, and he knows it.

 

After annexing Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, Russia is now rebuilding its Black Sea Fleet (BSF) to ensure its regional dominance, to exclude all rivals, and to lay the foundation for further external power projection, threatening other littorals like Romania and Bulgaria, writes Stephen Blank.

In April 2014, Putin directed the government and defense ministry to formulate a development program for the BSF (RIA Novosti, April 9). Simultaneously, defense analysts suggested deploying bombers in Crimea and to intensify active monitoring of the United States' and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) regional naval operations. In particular, they alleged that US destroyers were a direct threat to the functioning of Russian's strategic nuclear forces (RT, July 7; RIA Novsoti, May 28). Russian military flights occur regularly as NATO conducts local exercises and monitors the Black Sea situation. Indeed, the August 2014 appearance of the USS Vella Gulf missile cruiser in the Black Sea compelled Moscow to ask Ankara to close the Turkish Straits to non–Black Sea states (RT, novinite.com, RIA Novosti, August 7).

"Bahrain Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took part (in air strikes against ISIS in Syria overnight), American officials said, although the Arab governments were not expected to announce their participation until later Tuesday. The new coalition's makeup is significant because the United States was able to recruit Sunni governments to take action against the Sunni militants of the Islamic State". New York Times Tuesday 23rd September 2014

ISIS military victories in Iraq and Syria in June emboldened the group and its followers throughout the Middle East. ISIS leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi recently discussed with his lieutenants the possibility of extending the group's control beyond Syria and Iraq, taking jihad to the Gaza Strip, Sinai and Lebanon; and to Jordan, where Islamist movements already have a significant presence. Jordan also shares borders with Iraq and Syria, making it easier for the terrorists to infiltrate the kingdom.

Jordanian leaders at the highest levels are alarmed. Jordanian political analysts are taking the ISIS threat very seriously. According to Middle Eastern security officials, defences have been reinforced at the borders of Iraq. The Jordanian air force has been on high alert for several days, says Nehad Ismail, U K Defence Forum Research Asociate.

David Omand's title is taken from Charles Darwin: 'it is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change'. He was describing what happens when rapid changes take place to the specialized niche in which a species has become comfortable, challenging its very survival.

He argues that the British intelligence community – like its French counterpart - is having to adapt to three profound changes taking place in their environment.

The passing of those who have served this country with distinction. Contributions from relatives and friends always welcom

Russian policy experts are concerned about the Islamic State's aggression expanding into Iraq and Syria's neighbors to the east, writes Vitaly Naumkin (as translated byFranco Galdini) 
Rumours circulating about the possibility of the US airstrikes on ISIS positions inside Syria have generated lively debate in the Russian expert community and in the media.


Obviously, if such attacks were carried out without the consent of the Syrian authorities, Damascus would regard this as a violation of the country's sovereignty, and Moscow would support this position. In diplomatic circles, rumors are also spreading that the Syrian government would not mind if Russia used airstrikes in areas where the forces of IS militants are concentrated in Syria. No official request, however, appears to have come from Damascus. Thus for now, we can only say that the Syrian government would prefer that such course of action be taken — in case it becomes necessary to stop the onslaught of the terrorists — by Russia, rather than the United States and other forces hostile to Damascus. Yet, it is safe
to assume that Moscow is unlikely to intervene militarily in the conflict, even if such an official appeal were to be issued.

Trooping the Colour: Victoria Cross Part Two: Second World War to Iraq. By Elayne Jude

The Victoria Cross (VC) is awarded for valour in the face of the enemy. Members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories are eligible. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service, and to civilians under military command, and is presented by the British monarch. It is jointly, with the George Cross, the highest award for bravery bestowed by the United Kingdom.

This is the second part of a list of those soldiers of colour whose extraordinary character, courage and loyalty won them this highest honour. From the first recipients of WWI to Johnson Beharry in Iraq, these are beyond question role models for all of us, British Muslims and ferengi alike.

Trooping the Colour: Victoria Cross - Part 1 : Early recipients, by Elayne Jude

In the context of rising concern about young British Muslims deciding to become jihadists, the majority of British Muslims remain loyal subjects with a long and glorious history
of distinguished service in HM's Armed Forces.

The Victoria Cross (VC) is awarded for valour in the face of the enemy. Members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories are eligible. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service, and to civilians under military command, and is presented by the British monarch. It is jointly, with the George Cross, the highest award for bravery bestowed by the United Kingdom.

Indian troops (including those from what is now Pakistan and Bangaldesh) became eligible for the award in 1911. The first awards, to Darwan Sing Negi and Khudadad Khan, was announced in the London Gazette on 7 December 1914. Today a monument stands at the Memorial Gates at Hyde Park Corner in London to commemorate the VCs of Indian Heritage.

From Nepal, the valour, daring and hardiness of the Gurkhas delivered an unparalled contribution to UK military life.

The progress of the conflict in eastern Ukraine is utterly predictable. Since the rebellion began with Russian backing five months ago, it’s been obvious  that the Kremlin would not allow the rebels to be crushed by force. So deeply is President Vladimir Putin’s prestige invested in his Ukrainian strategy, and in the image of Russian strength, that to allow a Ukrainian military victory would threaten the  stability and even the existence of his own regime, Anatol Lieven wrote in The New York Times on 4th September.
 
 As many observers have been writing from the start of this conflict, there was never a chance of the Ukrainian government being able to win militarily. Russia has demonstrated an ability to send in whatever lightly disguised forces are necessary to fight the Ukrainian Army to a standstill. For the West to encourage Kiev to seek a military victory  —  as its governments seem to have been doing  —  could only lead to  inevitable defeat. Kiev’s reported acceptance of Russian proposals for a cease-fire with the rebels is therefore both a logical and an inevitable step on the part of the Ukrainian government.

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