Dans un format court (entre 5 et 15 pages), les notes de recherche présentent les travaux de l'IRSEM et proposent des éléments d'analyse et de compréhension de grands enjeux stratégiques.
The Covid-19 health and related economic crises did not leave any sector of the economy unharmed. Although it may not be the first in line, the defence industry has also been impacted. This paper explores the various impacts of the Covid-19 on the defence industry in Europe, both on the short and long-term dimensions. After exploring the immediate and longer-term impacts of the crisis for the defence industry, the paper concludes by discussing whether the crisis could be an opportunity for further European armament cooperation. This IRSEM publication is based on Dr Béraud-Sudreau’s personal research and does not relate to the SIPRI databases or annual data launches.
During Donald Trump’s presidency, US-Russia relations significantly worsened. On top of the tensions over the Ukrainian and Syrian crises, new ones have emerged in other areas, from arms control to geopolitical power politics in the “Greater Middle East”. Through an analysis of the main drivers of the relations between the US and Russia over the past four years, this paper explores how the US domestic polarization over how to deal with Russia resulted in ineffective sanctions, weakened cooperation on arms control, and ultimately allowed Russia to gain geopolitical room in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and to continue strengthening its ties with China. The first part of this paper retraces the evolution and polarization of the debate on Russia in the United States, while the second discusses how such trends have resulted in sanctions being the main US foreign policy tool towards Russia. After providing an overview of the impact of the standoff with Russia on arms control, this study shows how the US intervention fatigue has given Russia greater room for actions in the MENA region, but also how deteriorating relations between Moscow and Washington ultimately facilitated more solid relations between Moscow and Beijing. Lastly, this paper discusses the main challenges ahead in the bilateral relation in light of Joseph Biden’s recent election as president of the United States.
The mobilization of armed forces in the management of the health crisis linked to Covid-19 is part of the fight against the pandemic. In Europe, the States requested them mainly for logistical and medical support, but in some countries, they also participated in public security tasks, such as maintenance of order or border control. This note presents an initial overview of the missions they have undertaken among civilian populations by comparing the nature of the interventions carried out, the number of personnel deployed, and the scale of operations in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the United States. In recent times, the scope of missions carried out by the armed forces has undeniably widened and they must regularly provide their support and skills in situations of natural, humanitarian and health disasters, in support of civilian resources. The Covid-19 pandemic is a new illustration of this evolution.
The dramatic increase in Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe has heightened EU security concerns. Regulation (EU) 2019/452 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2019 is a response to those concerns. The Regulation is a framework for the coordination of and communication between Member States on the issue of FDI screening. While the Regulation does not require that Member States adopt FDI screening mechanisms or amend existing mechanisms, it enjoins Member States to keep the Union apprised of incoming FDI and provides other Member States and the Commission with the opportunity to raise their concerns regarding specific FDI transactions that may threaten security or public order in the Union. The premise underlying the Regulation is that greater awareness of the security risks in certain incoming FDI will prompt Member States to react—by blocking the incoming FDI and,in the longer term, bolstering their own domestic screening legislation.
This paper provides an overview of the Regulation and its proposed cooperation mechanisms. It further provides a comparison between the Regulation and the CFIUS framework in the United States. Finally, this paper considers the effectiveness of the Regulation in light of the changed security and economic context brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the fall of 2019, major demonstrations broke out in the largest Iraqi cities, challenging both the Iraqi government and Iran. Meanwhile, several militias strove to counter the popular movement by heightening tensions against American interests. They conducted a wide range of operations: show of force, repression campaign, harassment of US military camps, etc. They proved extensive irregular warfare capabilities. Gradually, their actions scaled up and ended up prompting a massive reaction from Washington (elimination of General Soleimani). Against any odds, the assassination had favorable consequences for Iran: demonstrations lost their popular support and weakened, while Western military forces started pulling out. This huge strategic benefit may be a hint that these militias have been activated to carry out a sophisticated operation plan. Eventually, they engineered considerable outcomes from a rather weak initial investment. As such, they appear as a powerful tool of strategic leverage that can be activated remotely.
The noticeable growth in the use of assassination as a political tool poses important questions about the role and limits of covert actions in international relations. These operations, located at the high end of the spectrum of capacities of intelligence services, constitute one of the most significant violations both of the national sovereignty of the country where an assassination takes place and of the most fundamental rights of individuals. This note examines six assassinations, sponsored by democratic or authoritarian regimes since 2010, with the goal of improving our understanding of the reasons for their use. Our analysis shows that even though intelligence services cannot always ensure the secrecy of these operations, their covert nature nevertheless provide their sponsors with a form of deniability. The majority of political and diplomatic costs born of the assassinations examined here seem to fade in time and therefore are negligible from the point of view of a political decision-maker. Given these conditions, we conclude that the use of assassination as a political tool is likely to become more widespread in the coming years.
Russia uses a variety of methods to influence its former Soviet republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Since its conquest of the region in the 19th Century, Russia considers Transcaucasia particularly important for its geopolitical standing. No longer able to persuade or attract South Caucasus populations, Russia’s strategy of influence is largely based on military power (hard power). It struggles to develop its soft power in this region, resorting finally to more coercive methods like exploiting: conflicts in the secessionist regions of Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia; Kremlin-affiliated oligarchs; and energy prices. This traps Russia in a vicious cycle: to retain its influence in the South Caucasus, it becomes increasingly coercive and aggressive, appearing malevolent to local populations. The Kremlin relies on well-known and established strategies in the South Caucasus, making it an important case study in the analysis of Russian foreign policy in general.
The emergence of a bipolar world dominated by US-China competition will be one of the most crucial factors shaping global security in the years to come. This evolution will be particularly challenging for Europe and transatlantic relations. In the event of a US-China confrontation, Europeans would face increasing responsibility because the US would need to focus on the East Asian theatre; in the case of a bipolar détente, the US might want to cooperate increasingly with China, possibly at the expense of the transatlantic partnership. With a view to being better prepared for those risks, Europeans should develop their strategic autonomy, reinforce their economic sovereignty and restore their naval power.
On July 24th , 2019, China published its tenth Defense White Paper. Far from announcing an evolution of the Chinese military strategy, “China’s National Defense in the New Era” (新时代的中国国防) has two core functions: taking steps toward increased transparency by explaining how China perceives its regional and global environment; and halting the spread of the Chinese threat theory that fuels an increasingly virulent opposition towards China. However, China is struggling to convince on these two points: questionable interpretation of international tensions and partial analysis of the implications, lack of recognition of substantive problems, half-hearted transparency incapable of responding to the concerns of Beijing’s interlocutors. A critical reading of this document makes it possible to identify the main perceptions of the ruling elite.
"SHIITE MILITIAS AND THE STATE IN IRAQ. Between integration an empowerment"
Authors: Flavien BOURRAT, Alexandre d’ESPINOSE DE LACAILLERIE
A new type of militia is currently spreading in the Arab world, and in particular in Iraq. While this phenomenon has deep roots, it is the result of the weakening of the central state and the withering of the military and security apparatus. The growth in power of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (Hashd Sha’abi), initially intended to be the tip of the spear in the fight against the Islamic State, calls into question their institutional status and remit, even though their mission has been successfully completed. Now the question of their integration or their demobilisation arises. The increasing fear in Iraq, as well as the region as a whole, of the prospect of a permanent parallel Shiite army, serving Iranian interests, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, should be qualified. In reality, the specific attributes of the Iraqi Shiite community and its political and security representation, greatly limit the possibility of these militias being instrumentalised by Tehran.
"INTELLIGENCE STUDIES IN FRANCE. History, Structure and Proposals"
Authers : Jean-Vincent HOLEINDRE, Benjamin OUDET
Since the September 11 attacks, there has been a threefold legitimization of the intelligence field in France: due to the international context, through contemporary security challenges such as terrorism, organized crime, information manipulation; and the subsequent shift in public policies (leading in particular to the Intelligence Act of July 24th, 2015); and by the changing perception of a public affected by the terrorist threat. This context can encourage the development of intelligence studies, which has so far struggled to establish itself in France. The subject is indeed being considered in an increasing number of works in the humanities and social sciences, especially in history, law and political science. This paper reviews intelligence studies in France, without claiming to establish an exhaustive map of the field. It is organized into three sections: first, a brief history of intelligence studies through the comparison of the Anglo-American world and France. Data on the structure of the field (publications, theses, research networks, internationalization) will then be presented. Finally, ten proposals are made for the development of intelligence studies, particularly in terms of teaching, clearances granted to researchers, and the creation of a specialized journal. We also advocate a rapprochement between academics and professionals, carried out with strict respect for the independence of the spheres and with concern for mutual understanding. In this regard, the role of the State and public authorities is fundamental in overseeing and giving momentum to this rapprochement.
"THE DEBATE ON UNIVERSAL NATIONAL SERVICE: BETWEEN POLITICAL WILL AND PUBLIC CONFUSION"
Author: Bénédicte CHÉRON
For the first time since compulsory national service was suspended in 2001, decided in 1997, the French people have elected a president who proposes re-establishing a form of universal and compulsory service. The announcement by Emmanuel Macron caused a major stir during the election campaign. However, it was only the latest contribution to a long debate on how to mobilise young people for the good of society. It also corresponded to an increasingly apparent political concern for national cohesion and unity. It became explicit during the 2007 election campaign, marked by the memory of the recent 2005 urban riots, and now made omnipresent by the 2015 terrorist attacks. The debate was intended to implement this new national service. However, since the presidential campaign, it has instead revealed public confusion about the pre-2001 national service, as well as the difficulty of identifying the role that the armed forces – now fully professionalised – could play. This paper aims to explore this debate and resituate it in the context of the recurring discussions in French politics since 1997, as well as in the long-term perspective of France’s collective mindset. It will also examine how this idea is taking form at the European level.
"A EUROPEAN DRONE SPACE"
Authors: Chantal LAVALLÉE, Océane ZUBELDIA
The massive military potential offered by drones has placed them at the heart of modern militaries. Their incontrovertible strategic benefits have prompted several European states to pursue the joint development of a Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) drone. It is an ambitious challenge, thus cooperative development is necessary to share the substantial investment costs and compete with the United States and Israel. Although military drone cooperation has progressed slowly in Europe, recent civilian drone initiatives may spark new momentum and stimulate civilian-military synergy. In order to manage the risks and take advantage of potential opportunities, there is a new political impulse in Europe to regulate the use and development of civilian drones. The goal is to integrate them into European airspace, with adapted regulations, research funding and a common market that will place Europe in strong position in this highly competitive sector. This research paper seeks to evaluate the nature and scope of current discussions and initiatives concerning the use of civilian and military drones in the European Union.