TLDRUpFront: For several months now the InfoMullet has been tracking a wave of instability hitting countries lying south of 30 Degrees North that have large youth populations, systemic economic weakness, and rising distrust and disgust not just with a dictator or political party – but the entire system of governance itself. Today we review one
TLDRUpFront: After a brutal November repression of protesters in the new "Young Street" in Iran left a 1,000 dead and over 25,000 wounded; December was a quieter month for the regime in Tehran. The 40th day mourning rites for the November deaths, falling on December 25th and 26th, were preemptively disrupted by security forces which
TLDRUpFront: A week out now’s a good time to review what’s happened in the aftermath of the strike against Soleimani. In this post I walk through how erroneous mental-models caused so many to miss Iran’s de-escalation signals, what those signals were, and leveraging what we now know to make a forecast of what may happen
TLDRUpFront: A quick backgrounder on General Soleimani, commander of Iranian’s special forces and cornerstone of Iranian foreign policy, killed by a US military strike last night outside the Baghdad Airport. Possessing once-in-a-generation capabilities crossing military strategy and diplomacy both across state and non-state actors. Removing him creates a question as hard to answer as asking
TLDRUpFront: Israeli entered the Syrian conflict today after a series of escalations that began with an Iranian drone-flight into Israel. By the end of the day one Israel aircraft had been downed by anti-aircraft fire and over a dozen Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah positions in Syria had either been struck or involved in counter-attacks.
TLDR UpFront: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud (MBS) has launched a revolution-from-above as radical as the Arab Spring’s grass roots effort seven years ago. The Prince is dismantling institutional power structures of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, attempting to reform its society, government, markets, security forces and even religious establishment. All this
TLDR Up Front: In two separate attacks, militants struck simultaneously at the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini. Downplaying the attacks by focusing on casualties or containment is a serious mistake. Iranian politics exist in a precariously balanced ‘suspended equilibrium’ between formal Constitutional titular offices and informal factions of relationships
TLDR Upfront: Contrary to doomsayer predictions of a new WWI between Russia and Turkey based on the assassination of an envoy in Ankara yesterday, pretty much the exact opposite happened. The beginnings of a Red Wedding scenario, a framework of cooperation between Russia, Turkey and Iran - excluding the US, NATO and the United Nations
TLDR Upfront: Aside from obvious short-term civil and human rights concerns arising from Erdogan's purge, a medium-term risk looms large. Turkey's permanent exit off the pathway to European Union membership may signal an end to fifty-five year effort to integrate Turkey and the European mainland. Such a shift, especially if it included ejection from NATO
A few months ago I posted the defensive side of the policy questions - how do, or can, we proportionally respond to foreign cyber attacks?