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Expert Comments

15 Nov. 2012: China’s new leaders - looming domestic crises, not ideologies, will steer the agenda

Bernt Berger

This morning (15 November) the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party officially endorsed the members of the new Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top leadership body. Despite the secrecy, speculation and rumors in the run-up to the announcement, the make up of China’s fifth generation of leaders was predictable. Although it reflects the outcome of protracted behind the scenes power struggles, generally speaking the result might have little impact on the government’s political directions.

11 Oct. 2012: Turkey’s interception of a Syrian passenger aircraft

Edin Omanovic

The interception on 10 October 2012 of a Syrian passenger aircraft travelling from Moscow to Damascus was the latest in a long line of actions taken by Turkey to stem the flow of arms across its territory. Given the current international impasse over the conflict in Syria, practical measures such as the interception of aircraft will become increasingly important for states seeking to restrict Syrian Government forces' access to military-related goods from external sources.

21 Sep. 2012: Where to next for China and the European Union?

Oliver Bräuner

On 20 September 2012 Chinese and European leaders met for the 15th European Union–China High Level Summit in Brussels. It was Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s tenth and final appearance at the yearly gathering. Despite the current economic and political turbulence in both Asia and Europe both sides focused instead on consolidating the progress that has been made in the past 10 years. Nevertheless, the question remains: where is the EU–China relationship heading?

22 Sep. 2012: Rise in insider attacks against foreign soldiers in Afghanistan

Dr Bruce Koepke

An escalation in insider attacks, also known as ‘green-on-blue’ incidents, signifies a new trend of violence that is having a serious impact on the military strategy of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). These attacks have been perpetrated against foreign soldiers (US, ISAF and NATO) and civilian contractors by Afghans either affiliated with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) or wearing ANSF uniforms.

13 Sep. 2012: Proposed merger would create the world’s largest arms and military services company

Dr Susan T. Jackson

The statement to the London Stock Exchange made on 12 September 2012 by BAE Systems and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) on the subject of a proposed merger of the two companies raises a number of interesting questions within the context of the world arms and military services industry. 

Syria’s chemical weapons and protection against their use: a brief overview

Dr John Hart

The escalation of the current conflict in Syria gives greater impetus to efforts to determine the fate of Syria's weapon programmes and, in particular, its reported stocks of chemical weapons.

5 Mar. 2012: China increases defence budget for 2012 by 11.2% to 670.3 billion Yuan

Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman

This increase continues the long-term rise in China's military spending, in line with its rapid economic growth. However, given China's relatively high inflation, which was 4.5% in February, it is likely that the real increase will be below China's GDP growth rate for the third year running. It would seem that the USA's increased military focus on the Asia–Pacific and recent tensions over the South China Sea have not led to any new or unexpected acceleration of China's military spending trend.