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The Syrian paramilitary Group (Al Shabbiha): Who are they?

The Syrian paramilitary Group (Al Shabbiha) : Who are they ? by Aref Alobeid, Ph.D. Expert in Middle Eastern Affairs   In the new era of Arab Spring (Arabic Revolutions ) new terms have been coined in each local community in revolt, like Shabbiha, Baltatzia and Zoeran, words which are used by the demonstrators to express or characterize the arrogant behavior of authoritarian regimes against their people . The name  Shabbiha comes from the word "Shabah" which means the ghost that acts without being visible to others (not be seen by others). Even the second meaning symbolizes a model car brand Mercedes, which is a different type from all other cars, like a bat. In…

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Wildfires in Colorado: Is this a terrorist attack?

Wildfires in Colorado: Is this a terrorist attack? by Kristopher Kaim Director of Middle East and Counter-Terrorism Affairs (GSFC)   On June 23rd, 2012, a wildfire was started in Colorado Springs, Colorado which has spread to cover almost 18,000 acres, forced the evacuation of over 35,000 people, and left two dead. With over 150 National Guard troops and 1,500 fire fighters combating the blaze, there are reports of progress as currently over 50% of the fire has been contained. Yet while this is happening there are over 50 untamed wildfires in the western part of the United States. While wildfires are not unusual this time of year as low precipitation make for drought conditions,…

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Iranians Plotted Attack against U.S. and Israeli Targets in Kenya

Iranians Plotted Attack against U.S. and Israeli Targets in Kenya by Kristopher Kaim Director of Middle East and Counter-Terrorism Affairs (GSFC)   On June 19th, 2012 two Iranian agents were detained in Kenya after confessing to plotting attacks against Israeli and American targets in the country. The two agents, Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi confessed to Kenyan authorities and lead them to a location where 33 pounds of RDX explosives were found. Currently, the two agents, who are suspected of being part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Al Quds Force, are under arrest and are appearing in Kenyan court. It has been said by Mohammad that Israeli agents have…

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The Syrian Revolt: Dimensions and Perspectives

The Syrian Revolt: Dimensions and Perspectives  by Aref Alobeid, Ph.D. Expert in Middle Eastern Affairs   The Syrian uprising is not only a rebellion for morality, freedom, equality, dignity and justice, but also it is the revolt that will determine the future of the Arab Spring in the periphery of the Middle East. A year has passed since this rebellion has started and the pace of demonstrations is becoming increasingly, more intense. At least 11,500 people have been killed, over 40,000 are arrested and at least 5,000 are missing[i]. Moreover, the wounded cannot be counted because they don’t dare to go to hospitals. The Syrian regime has chosen the military solution in…

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Al-Shabaab Merger with al-Qaeda: Strategic Implications

Al-Shabaab Merger with al-Qaeda: Strategic Implications by Moshe Terdman Middle East Analyst   On February 9, 2012, al-Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, announced in a video message circulated throughout the Jihadi forums that Somalia's radical Islamic organization, al-Shabaab, has joined ranks with al-Qaeda. Thus, al-Shabaab has been the second African radical Islamic organization to merge with al-Qaeda after al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb joined the umbrella organization in September 2006. The relationship and collaboration between the two organizations goes back to before September 2001, when the first future leader of al-Shabaab, Aden Hashi Farah…

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IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM Best and Worst Case Scenarios

IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM Best and Worst Case Scenarios by Vasileios Giannakopoulos, Brigadier General (retired) of Hellenic Air Force Geostrategic Analyst, Athens, Greece   Current Situation Since 1950’s Iran has developed a civilian nuclear program. In the 1990's it began pursuing an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capability by developing a uranium mining infrastructure and experimenting with uranium conversion and enrichment. It suspended its enrichment and conversion activities in 2003, but resumed uranium conversion in 2005, and started enrichment in 2006, increasing the enrichment level to almost 20% in 2010. Today, there are strong doubts that its enrichment…

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The Greek Deficiency: A Very Short Geopolitical Perspective

The Greek Deficiency: A Very Short Geopolitical Perspective by Lt. Col.(Greek Army) Yannis Papanikolaou The default of the American home market back in 2008 resulted in a debt crisis in the heart of the European Union. It  started in Iceland, Ireland and moved to the European South. What the Germans seem to miss, for the 3rd time, regarding the debt crisis, is that they still have contrary interests with the Anglo-Saxons. For another time Berlin is trying to impose political and economic control over Europe with London making everything possible to stop this effort. Remember the strong opposition of London regarding the contribution of EU member states to the bailout fund. Berlin…

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The Undeclared War Between Iran and Saudi Arabia

The Undeclared War Between Iran and Saudi Arabia by Aref Alobeid, Ph.D. Expert in Middle Eastern Affairs Historically, Iran has blamed the Arabs for the demise of the Persian Empire in 636 A.D. The predominance of the ideas of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the current Tehran's nuclear program and the Iranian interventions against the internal affairs of the Arabic neighboring Gulf countries, constitute grounds of concern for the regime of the family Saud in Saudi Arabia, which is the old rival of Iran. The factors that give to Saudi Arabia the power to compete with the other member of the Middle East at the regional level are firstly, the leader of the Sunni Islamic…

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Syria, Turkey, Iran and the Kurdish Problem

Syria, Turkey, Iran and the Kurdish Problem by Christos Minagias, Brigadier General (retired) of Hellenic Armed Forces Geostrategic Analyst, Athens, Greece A year ago, Syrian-Turkish relations were composing the symbol of the Turkish diplomacy success and the strategic depth of the minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoğlu. The two countries, in a short period of time, promoted their strategic collaboration, organized common government meetings, opened the borders, abolished visa restrictions, extended their commercial relations and developed their military collaboration. Nevertheless, after the Syrian people revolt against the Baath fascist regime, Turkey changed its policy,…

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Presidential Election in Egypt

Presidential election in Egypt Fluid political situation and major challenges by Vasileios Giannakopoulos, Brigadier General (retired) of Hellenic Air Force Geostrategic Analyst, Athens, Greece   Presidential Election   On May 23 and 24, 2012 (with a run-off on 16 and 17 June 2012, if necessary), Egypt will hold its first presidential election in post-Mubarak era. The political situation in Egypt is characterized as complicated and is getting tougher day by day.    During the post-Mubarak era, the two powerful Egyptian forces, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the politico-religious movement of Muslim Brotherhood (MB), pursue to govern the…

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European Union and United States a Perplexing Partnership

  European Union and United States a Perplexing Partnership by Vassilios Damiras, Ph.D. (ABD) GEOSTRATEGIC FORECASTING COOPERATION - CSFC CEO   Europe’s major powers such as, Britain, France, Italy, and Germany were severely devastated by the end of World War II, the vision of a united, democratic, and peaceful Europe obtained greater momentum in the aftermath of the war. European leaders started thinking to create an economic cooperation that can bring the various European nation-states together. This idea was nothing new. Previous attempts to European unification can be traced back to the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, Charlemagne, Napoleon Bonaparte, and…

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On a new level of war

On a new level of war: The business level of war and the military reform by Lt. Colonel (Hellenic Army) Yannis Papanikolaou, MBA, Msc in IT According to what is taught in modern military academies, which reflect the views of the great generals and strategists of 18th and 19th century, military activities take place at two levels, strategic and tactical.[1] The higher level, strategic, deals with the preparation of forces for war and with the design and conduct of the war, while the lower level, the tactical, focuses on the distribution of military units and conduct of combat activities on the battlefield. The increased size of the armed forces has led some people to seek for the use of…

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The Muslim Brotherhood Power Grab in Egypt and Foreign Policy Ramifications

Muslim Brotherhood Power Grab in Egypt and Foreign Policy Ramifications by Kristopher Kaim Former U.S. Army Intelligence   A chain reaction of events is currently taking place in the Middle-East. The situation in the region is unlike what we have seen in decades and as a result it will take careful diplomatic skill to properly handle the situation. Any faltering will result in not only the complete destabilization of the region but also the loss of American influence as well. What happened? On December 18th, 2010, Tunisia was engulfed in mass protesting over unfair wages, civil rights violations, and government oppression. Tunisia is a pro-Western ally and the wealthiest in…

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Ideological Identity and Geostrategic Deadlocks of the “New” Turkey

The ideological identity and the Geostrategic Deadlocks of the “New” Turkey by Christos Minagias, Brigadier General of Hellenic Armed Forces Geostrategic Analyst, Athens, Greece The regional policy of Turkey, aiming at filling the power vacancies in the Middle East, especially highlighted its military power causing great concern to all of the neighbor states. This fact, in combination with the cultural and economic infiltration attempted by the Turkish side, grew even bigger concerns and as a result, oppositions to the Turkish expansionist policy, along with the, obvious or backstage, highly important participation of the Great Powers.     The ideological…

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Iranian Nuclear Program

IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM Best and worst case scenarios  by Vasileios Giannakopoulos, Brigadier General of Hellenic Air Force Geostrategic Analyst, Athens, Greece   Current Situation Since 1950’s Iran has developed a civilian nuclear program. In the 1990's it began pursuing an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capability by developing a uranium mining infrastructure and experimenting with uranium conversion and enrichment. It suspended its enrichment and conversion activities in 2003, but resumed uranium conversion in 2005, and started enrichment in 2006, increasing the enrichment level to almost 20% in 2010. Today, there are strong doubts that its enrichment…

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Greece and Democracy

The Democratic Peace Hypothesis and Greek Foreign Policy: The 1974 Cyprus Dispute   by  Vassilios Damiras GEOSTRATEGIC FORECASTING COOPERATION - CSFC CEO Genesis The “democratic peace” hypothesis encourages hope for a new age of international peace among nation-states that adopt democratic values and beliefs. It argues that democracies are more likely than non-democracies to resolve disputes among themselves in a peaceful manner. Its core assumption--that democracies do not fight wars with each other--constitutes the closet one can get to an “iron-clad law” in international relations. The policymaking world strongly adheres to this viewpoint, as…

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Greece and Israel in an Era of Friendship and Cooperation

Greece and Israel in an Era of Geostrategic Friendship and Cooperation by Vassilios Damiras, Ph.D. (ABD) GEOSTRATEGIC FORECASTING COOPERATION - CSFC CEO   Greece and Israel's rich and complicated histories and cultures have seen them associated with all the crucial historical developments in the eastern Mediterranean, Balkan and Middle East regions. The Jewish Zionist movement that was created in the late 19th century by Theodore Herzl had very similar characteristics to the Greek irredentist movement of the “Great Idea.” Both nations have triumphed as Diaspora. Both ethnic groups have been occupied by the Ottomans yet still managed to influence the economy of…

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USA and Terrorism

The U.S.A. and the Middle East in the Twenty-First Century and its Challenges by Vassilios Damiras, Ph.D (ABD) GEOSTRATEGIC FORECASTING COOPERATION - CSFC CEO   Events since the terrorists’ attacks of September 11, 2001, have dramatically and drastically changed the political environment in the Arab and Muslims worlds, a vast diverse region incorporating the band of nation-states with significant religious Muslim population that extends from western Africa to the southern Philippines, as well as Arab and Muslim communities and diasporas stretching throughout the globe.     The United States are concerned with three types of serious threats to U.S. national…

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Greece and the Financial Crisis

Greece and the Financial Crisis of the 21st Century and its Global Implications by Vassilios Damiras, Ph.D. (ABD) GEOSTRATEGIC FORECASTING COOPERATION - CSFC CEO   Greece faces the most severe financial crisis since her independence in 1832 from the then powerful Ottoman Empire. The main cause for this complicated and serious problem is a corrupt socio-economic and political system. Greece has a huge public sector with an uncontrollable spending. Between the years 1981 to 1991, public-sector debt in Greece rose at about 5 percent per year, going from 39.3 of the GDP to 116.3 percent and climbed more in 2000s without ending in side. Of this total, 98.6 percent is been attributed…

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