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  • Author: Brent L. Sterling
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: While The Above Biblical Quote reflects a prodefense sentiment oft en evident since man established boundaries, by the second half of the twentieth century a general disdain emerged for the continuing utility of walls, fortresses, and other barriers. The improved precision and destructiveness of weapons as well as the enhanced mobility of militaries appeared to render physical works obsolete. In the late 1950s, Yigal Allon, one of Israel's early military heroes and strategic thinkers, captured the prevailing view by observing that “no modern country can surround itself with a wall.” Fifty years later, however, a range of nations including Afghanistan, Botswana, India, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and the United States have increasingly been attracted to such barriers, none more than Allon's Israel. Walls stand guard along its frontiers with Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, increasingly the West Bank, and possibly soon Egypt. The relative effectiveness of these ground- based works at controlling cross- border traffic has encouraged adversary attack from the sky. Whether it be the frequent homemade Qassam rockets shot from the Gaza Strip (about three thousand through January 2008), the mixture of rockets and missiles launched by Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon War (more than four thousand total), or the longer- range, potentially nuclear- armed ballistic missiles potentially possessed by hostile Middle East states, a high threat perception has arisen. In response, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has pursued multiple missile defense systems, some with colorful names such as Iron Dome and David's Sling, to be part of a multilayer network. Although the West Bank “separation barrier” has controversially deviated from the Green Line (the 1967 Israel–West Bank border) in some areas, defense efforts overall have been met with approval across the political spectrum.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joel H. Rosenthal (ed), Christian Barry (ed)
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, International Law, War, International Affairs, Political Theory
  • Author: Steven R. Ward
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: In 1978 Iran And Its Armed Forces seemed to stand at the peak of their power and prestige in the modern era. Bountiful oil revenues and a strategic position overlooking the vital Persian Gulf oil export routes boosted Iran's standing in the world. Cold War competition made Iran a recipient of Western and Soviet arms and attention. Iran had just passed Egypt, a far more populous country, in having the largest armed forces in the Middle East. In fact, the Iranian military was outpacing some large European countries in the quantity and sophistication of its equipment. Iran was the only country other than the United States to possess the state- of- the- art F- 14 Tomcat fighter. Iran's military also was funding the development of the advanced British Challenger tank with its then revolutionary Chobham composite armor. These programs rep- resented only the middle stages of an extravagant rearmament process, with numerous sophisticated ground, air, and naval systems on order. In addition, the Iranian armed forces, the Artesh, had polished their reputation by gaining combat experience battling rebels in neighboring Oman and by participating in a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The war in Iraq has expanded from a struggle between Coalition forces and the remnants of former regime loyalists to a multifaceted conflict involving numerous Sunni groups, Shi'ite militias, Kurdish nationals, and foreign jihadists. Iraq's Insurgency and the Road to Civil Conflict is Anthony Cordesman's latest assessment of the Iraqi conflict and documents its entire evolution, from the history of ethnic tensions through the U.S. "surge." He identifies each actor in the arena, analyzes their motivations, and presents a detailed record of their actions, tactics, and capabilities. Cordesman's exhaustive study, based on meticulous research, is the most thorough account of the war to date.Beginning with the consequences of imperial colonialism and touching on the ethnic tensions throughout Saddam's regime, Cordesman examines and details the confluence of forces and events that have paved the way toward Iraq's current civil conflict. He analyzes major turning points, including elections, economic developments, and key incidents of violence that continue to shape the war. Finally, he outlines the lessons learned from this history and what can and cannot be done to stabilize the nation.
  • Topic: Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Wolfgang Danspeckgruber
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Afghanistan represents one of the most unique combinations a country and its society may offer. It is a country with a challenging and unforgiving but majestic geography which favors independence both to the central authorities in the capital but also to potential intruders from the outside. It holds a unique geopolitical location south and east of the Hindukush connecting Central Asia to South Asia, and the Middle East to each of them. It is home to a proud, independent people with a history of ages-old religions and diverse cultures, but also of conflict and war. The Afghans and their country stand out in terms of drama, disadvantages and sometimes even simple suffering, witnessing nearly three decades – an entire generation – of warfare and civil strife. Afghanistan too is home to one of the most archaic societies north of the Indian Ocean. It has very little transportation or energy infrastructure, one of the world's highest rates of poverty, and some of the lowest levels of literacy, health care and GDP per capita. However, Afghanistan is today the world's most important opium producer and is centrally located in a region marked by high population and poverty with tendencies toward fundamentalist religious expression. Afghanistan itself became a base of Islamic militancy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Civil Society, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Middle East