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Showing posts from December 4, 2013

Brazil inches closer towards naval ambitions

The MB's third Amazonas-class OPV, Araguari, was delivered from builders BAE Systems on 21 June. Source: IHS/Alex Pape

Key Points
A funding crunch has generated questions about the future of PROSUPER's frigate element and other large procurements
Some notable acquisitions for the MB are nonetheless moving forward

The Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brazil - MB), despite budget constraints, has maintained some comprehensive investments intended to considerably improve its fleet power through acquisitions of ships, helicopters, missiles, armour, and other hardware.

Along with safeguarding Brazil's natural resources and 3.5 million km 2 of maritime domain, the naval service is also working to expand its regional influence and become a more active player internationally - a position the government views as fitting for the world's sixth-largest economy.

Accordingly, the navy implemented the PAEMB (Plano de Articulação e Equipamentos da Marinha do Brasil) modernisation effort as par…

Attacks by Nigeria's Islamist Militant Group

Boko Haram attacked an air base in Maiduguri, the capital of the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, on Dec. 2. According to reports, more than 300 Boko Haram fighters attacked the base, reportedly riding trucks and an armored vehicle captured from the military, and attempted to destroy vehicles and infrastructure by using explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and fire. The attack was launched around 2:30 or 3 a.m., with firefights continuing for approximately five hours.

Although Boko Haram has launched significant attacks before, operations by such large groups of militants have grown less frequent as ongoing Nigerian military operations have attempted to disrupt the militants' movements and staging. Nigerian security forces have been conducting ground operations meant to locate and destroy pockets of Boko Haram fighters. Therefore, this attack does not demonstrate a new capability for the militant group; rather, it highlights the ineffectiveness of Nigerian military efforts to…

The Bigger Picture in Thailand's Protests

Anti-government protesters remove a barricade in Bangkok on Dec. 2. (LAM YIK FE/Getty Images)

Summary


The rapid escalation of anti-government protests in Thailand is a reminder of the many fault lines beneath the country's deeply polarized political landscape. Even if the unrest manages to unseat Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's popular government, the same political and economic problems that have repeatedly troubled the country could return under the next government. At a time when Thailand is attempting to change its regional role, its fragile political situation continues to threaten its relevance in the increasingly important region of Southeast Asia.

Analysis


The massive, weekslong protests in Thailand quickly descended from relatively peaceful to violent over the weekend. After protesters had occupied several state ministries and key business districts for four days, violence erupted in the suburbs of Bangkok on the evening of Nov. 30 between protesters and the Red S…

In Nigeria, an Attack Shows Boko Haram's Current Capabilities

Soldiers stand outside the 79 Composite Group Air Force base that was attacked in Maiduguri, Nigeria, on Dec. 2. STR/AFP/Getty Images

Summary


An attack on a Nigerian air base shows that ongoing military operations in northeastern Nigeria have not prevented Boko Haram from mounting attacks in the urban centers of the northeast, despite government claims to the contrary. However, the attack -- notable for both its size and target -- does not necessarily note new capabilities or a departure from the previous pattern of attacks. Boko Haram continues to be primarily active in northeastern Nigeria and does not yet pose an existential threat to the Nigerian government itself.

Analysis


Boko Haram attacked an air base in Maiduguri, the capital of the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, on Dec. 2. The attack was launched around 2:30 or 3 a.m., according to local reports, with firefights continuing for approximately five hours. While the air base seems to have been the main target in the attack…

U.K.: Immigration Remains a Controversial Issue for Cameron

Summary


The British government recently announced plans to make it more difficult for foreigners to access unemployment benefits in the United Kingdom. The announced move reflects anti-immigration and Euroskeptical sentiments that are growing across the European Union.

In the short term, London will probably focus on preventing so-called benefit tourism, since Britain can realistically do little to stop immigration from EU nations. Brussels will probably not object substantially to these specific measures, especially since the Netherlands and Germany have also expressed concern about the issue. In the long run, the United Kingdom will push to modify the European Union's legal framework to apply more efficient limits to the free movement of people within the union.

Analysis


British Prime Minister David Cameron is once more putting immigration at the core of his political agenda. In an opinion article published by the Financial Times on Nov. 26, Cameron said he is worried about the po…