The ‘Spruance’ Precedent
In October, the United States announced a proposed $11.25 billion arms deal involving the sale of four Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships to Saudi Arabia. If Congress approves the sale, the four Saudi LCSs will be configured differently than the U.S. Navy versions. For one, the Saudi versions will definitely have an area air-defense... Read more
Islamic State Is Not Even Close to Defeat
Islamic State is a formidable power in its own right. Even more striking — the past two years have constituted a perfect storm, one that allowed the jihadist army to endure and even expand, in parts. The Syrian government lost Raqqa, its first provincial capital to fall to rebels,... Read more
The Sad Symbolism of Captured U.S. Military Hardware
Like the Iraqi army before the collapse of Mosul in June 2014, the South Vietnamese army before the fall of Saigon looked good … really good. On paper. The quantity of manpower — hundreds of thousands of men under arms in each case — and the quality of equipment... Read more
The Kremlin’s Warplanes Benefit Syrian Kurdish Fighters
Russia’s aerial campaign in Syria is well underway, as the heaviest strikes focus on anti-regime rebel groups near Aleppo. But further north, Syria’s Kurds have expanded their territory and essentially cut off most of the Turkish border from Islamic State. The expansion of Kurdish territory under the Democratic Union Party,... Read more
Russia Is Getting Payback for NATO’s War in Libya
Russian air and sea power is now actively giving cover to an ongoing Syrian military offensive. Four Russian naval vessels in the Caspian Sea fired cruise missiles at targets in Syria while Russian warplanes continue to strike anti-government rebel groups. The strategy bears a striking — but flipped —... Read more
Israel Worries About Russia’s Intervention in Syria
The recent build-up of Russian aircraft, anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment in western Syria has given one regional country cause for concern — Israel. The nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 powers over the summer led to Moscow announcing that it will finally deliver sophisticated S-300... Read more
Why in the World Does Egypt Want French Mini-Carriers?
Egypt’s military junta is going on a shopping spree for weapons. Remember those French amphibious assault ships originally intended for Russia that are now sitting out to dry? Cairo’s generals have their eyes on them, too. The French-built Mistral-class amphibious assault ship, or helicopter carrier, is a formidable vessel. Capable of carrying... Read more
Turkey Claims It Will Wipe Out the PKK — Here’s a Million Reasons Why It Can’t
The Turkish government talks tough. “You cannot discourage us from our war on terror,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said earlier this month. “Those mountains will be cleared of these terrorists. Whatever it takes, they will be cleared.” Davutoglu was referring to the bombing campaign against the Kurdistan Workers Party,... Read more
Islamic State Threat Brings Israel and Jordan Closer Together
Israel and Jordan have an odd relationship. The two countries fought a war in 1967, made peace in 1994 and now share mutual worry about Islamic State rampaging across the region. For Israel, the stability of Jordan concerns the security of both countries. In Jordan, there’s growing fear that... Read more
Turkey’s Bombing Campaign Echoes the 1990s
For years, Turkey has fought an off-and-on war with the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. The guerrilla group–based along the Iraqi-Turkish border–carries out raids, and in response, Turkey launches air strikes, artillery bombardments and even the occasional ground invasion. The Kurdish guerrillas use the mountainous border region as a... Read more

Paul Iddon

Contributing writer