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   2015 REPORTS



Bosnia: 'Naught for your comfort'!

Looked at objectively, the Srebrenica massacre now twenty years on, (details readily available on Google), can be seen to have been a disaster almost beyond credibility, of the behaviour of the UN and mostly European - diplomatic, political and military players involved. It was a UN force leading the Allied intervention there - and making an almighty cock-up in doing so. The UN 'protection' forces, their leader's pledges to the population etc; were seen to be a sham -just words conveniently forgotten, although by far the greater blame falls not on the hapless middle-ranking officers on the spot, but on the distant generals and politicians who seemed to have reinforced each other's total misreading of the Serb politicians and commandeering generals, choosing 'hope' over better judgement. It is hard to read the details of ineptitude now available, without wanting to physically throw-up, since there were clear warnings ignored, including from their own military commanders on the ground. But over and above all that, by that time in the frightful civil war it was no secret - no surprise, that the heavily armed Serbs were engaged on a ruthless program of extermination on their inconvenient fellow residents of the country.

The Dayton Agreements of November 1995 ended the Balkan War nearly 20 years past, and established the state of Bosnia Herzegovina, as we now know it. [continues...]

Iran: The Deal

After years of ups and downs in negotiations, a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme has finally been reached. Predictably, there is opposition to the deal in the US, where the Republicans see an opportunity to embarrass President Obama, and in Israel, where many would have preferred an isolated Iran. Elsewhere, however, there has been surprisingly little resistance: even the Saudi monarchy, until recently fiercely opposed to the deal, has at least in public accepted the deal, after a round of secret diplomacy by the White House. There are some players in the oil industry who are not happy about Iran re-entering the market big time, including Iran’s friends in Moscow, as oil prices will be pushed further downwards. In fact as the deal neared and was finally signed, oil prices fell by 15% on the mere expectation of increased supply in 2016. But Russian oil companies are already positioning themselves for investing heavily in Iran, alongside the Europeans. We focus below on the outcomes and geopolitical effects that can be expected. [continues...]

Tunisia: Remains Vulnerable

The abduction of four Italian technicians in Mellitah, Libya, has demonstrated the links that exist between Islamist fighters in Tunisia and various rebels and Islamists in Libya. Mellitah, is very close to the border between Libya and Tunisia. The investigations led by Tunisian police in the wake of the attacks that killed various tourists and locals at the Bardo Museum in the capital last March and the resort of Sousse, where 39 Britons died, have identified southern Tunisia as the region with the largest number of ‘jihadists,’ thanks to ties and proximity with Libyan counterparts. Raids and arrests by the military have led to the discovery in Tataouine of an arms depot containing some 20,000 bullets alone, all seemingly intended for use by terrorist groups with Libyan links.

The porosity of the desert border with Libya has allowed jihadists and gangs of common criminals to operate in their mutual border area with impunity. The president of Tunisia’s International Centre for Strategic, Security and Military Studies, Badrea Gaaloul, has suggested that Islamic State, (IS), may well decide to declare the formation of an Islamic state stretching from Sirte to southern Tunisia, because this is the latter’s weakest region.

Clive Lindley



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