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Russia’s Recent Airstrikes in Syria

Russian Airstrikes in Syria from 23 October – 1 November, 2015 (click to enlarge). Image: Genevieve Casagrande/Institute for the Study of War

This map was originally published by the Institute for the Study of War on 2 November, 2015.

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) discontinued the release of daily airstrike reports from October 28 – November 1 amidst multilateral talks on the Syrian Civil War held in Vienna on October 30 and continued reports of civilian casualties. Nevertheless, credible local sources continued to report airstrikes in Dera’a, Damascus, Homs, Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo from October 31 – November 1. Russian airstrikes predominantly targeted rebel-held areas in Aleppo Province in conjunction with regime ground offensives against ISIS in the southeastern countryside of Aleppo and rebel forces southwest of Aleppo City. Local activist reporting claimed that Russian airstrikes and regime forces killed 64, including 28 children in Aleppo on October 31 alone. » More

Can India Make it Without Manufacturing?

Electric fan factory in India. Image: Jorge Royan/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the East Asia Forum on 26 October, 2015.

There’s one school of thought in Indian academic and policy circles that India represents a completely new model of development on the way to prosperity. India, it’s claimed, will be a services-led growth model, built on the spectacular international success of its IT hub in Bangalore, and its supply of English-literate back office services to the world.

This way of thinking eschews the experiences of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and indeed China in East Asia that saw prosperity built on investment in competitive manufacturing and skills, and eventually a world-class manufacturing base. No need to try to emulate the Japanese or South Korean industrial powerhouses or Global Factory China in this model: skip all that and go straight to the top of the ladder. » More

The Political Pope Comes to Africa

Pope Francis I. during his inauguration mass. Image: Catholic Church of England and Wales Photostream/Flickr

This article was originally published by The Institute for Security Studies on 22 October, 2015.

Can the ‘political Pope,’ as he is increasingly being called, advance peace and promote reconciliation in Africa where so many others have failed?

In his brief 30 months in the Vatican, Pope Francis has shown himself unafraid to venture forth from the cloisters into the messy world of politics in pursuit of his spiritual agenda. Nowhere was this more evident than in the key role he played in restoring diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba earlier this year, ending 54 years of bitter isolation. » More

Could an Independent Iraqi Kurdistan Defend Itself?

Kurdish Peshmerga and PKK fighters. Image: Kurdishstruggle/Flickr

This article was originally published by Offiziere.ch on October 22, 2015. Republished with permission.

Most Iraqi Kurds want independence and do not trust the Iraqi army to protect them. But the question is — how would an independent Iraqi-Kurdistan defend itself?

It won’t be easy. The Kurdish region is sandwiched between the Iraqi state, Turkey and Iran. All three states oppose Kurdish independence. The Kurdish military is a factionalized slew of paramilitary groups with mostly light weapons.

For the Kurds, Baghdad may very well be the capital of a foreign country. This is why the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is annoyed that arms shipments to the Peshmerga go through Baghdad. No surprise, the Iraqi government keeps the heaviest weapons for itself. » More

Ten Quick Steps to Reset Canadian Foreign Policy

Justin Trudeau at Canada 2020 on June 22, 2015, speaking on rebuilding the Canada-US relationship. Image: Canada 2020/Flickr

This article was originally published by the Centre for International Policy Studies on 20 October, 2015.

Foreign policy rarely becomes a matter of electoral debate in Canada. But this time was different. The refugee crisis in Europe, trade negotiation deadlines, and Canada’s involvement in the Syria conflict — all pushed foreign policy under the electoral microscope for significant parts of the campaign. The decision of the three main party leaders to participate in a two-hour debate dedicated to foreign policy brought added attention. » More

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