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Geopoliticus: Foreign Policy Think Tank Blog

Geopoliticus: The FPRI Blog

As ISIS Takes A Pounding While Nusra Takes Ground In Syria’s Security Vacuum

December 15, 2014 - 8:39am

The U.S. led coalition appears to be slowly rolling back ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  Fighting in Kobane to the north and the slow push of the Iraqi Army west has been mirrored by al Qaeda’s arm in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, taking ground in Syria, namely Idlib, reiterating the futility of a strategy to defeat ISIS consisting of an air campaign with no... Read more... Tags: ISIS Nusra Syria

Lines in the Water: The United States and China’s Claims in the South China Sea

December 11, 2014 - 8:01am

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of State released a 26-page technical report on China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.  It detailed the confusion that surrounds those claims.  Starting with the unexplained differences between China’s claim lines on its 1947 and 2009 maps of the region, the report went on to identify “at least three different interpretations that China might intend, including that the dashes [on its maps] are (1) lines within which China claims... Read more... Tags: United States, China, Philippines, South China Sea, Spratly Islands, Nine-Dash Line, Convention on the Law of the Sea

China Details Argument in South China Sea Dispute: China’s Position Paper and Philippine Diplomatic Gains

December 8, 2014 - 8:24am

Yesterday, China’s foreign ministry released a position paper related to its maritime dispute with the Philippines in the South China Sea.  The paper laid out the justification for China’s refusal to take part in the arbitration proceedings that the Philippines initiated at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in January 2013.  It comes a week before the court’s six-month deadline for a response from China.  While China’s refusal to participate should surprise no one, the... Read more... Tags: China, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, South China Sea, Spratly Islands, Cuateron Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Gaven Reefs, Hughes Reef, Johnson South Reef, Convention on the Law of the Sea

Chinese Submarines and Indian ASW in the Indian Ocean

November 24, 2014 - 8:46am

How to deal with Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean has become a practical question for India.  In December 2013, China let it be known that one of its nuclear attack submarines would sail through the Indian Ocean over the following two months.  It was the first time that China confirmed such a transit.  At the time, many thought it would be a relatively rare occurrence.  But over the last couple of months, two more submarines appear to have made similar transits,... Read more... Tags: China, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, navy, submarine, anti-submarine warfare, Maritime Silk Road, string of pearls, Indian Ocean, South China Sea, Colombo, Yalong Bay

You Don’t Win Hearts and Minds, You Rent Them – Reigniting Sunni Tribes Against ISIS

November 17, 2014 - 1:59pm

In 2008, Americans lauded the great success of ‘The Surge’ - implementation of broad new counterinsurgency doctrine that “Won The Hearts and Minds” of Iraqis, particularly disaffected Sunnis strewn throughout Western Iraq.  “Winning Hearts and Minds”, so we were told, hinged on the “Sunni Awakening”, where Americans would partner with disenfranchised Sunnis on shared goals - defeating jihadi insurgents and ensuring the inclusion of Sunnis in Iraq’s new Shia dominated... Read more... Tags: Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, iraq, Syria, Proxies, Hearts and Minds, Renting Hearts and Minds