After Counterinsurgency Victory, Syria Looks to Rearm

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov in November 2017. Source: Russian Presidency website

More than seven years after domestic protests broke out against the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian military, with Iranian and Russian backing, has achieved victory over insurgent forces. Pockets of anti-government forces certainly remain, including in the southwest and southeast of Syria, as well as the province of Idlib in the northwest, and a large question mark hangs over the future of the Syrian government’s relations with the U.S.-protected People’s Protection Units (known by the Kurdish acronym YPG) and of portions of rebel territory where Turkey has deployed troops. Nevertheless, the war for the ouster of President Assad is at its conclusion. Continue reading

Egypt Leverages Diversified Arms Suppliers to Escape U.S. Pressure

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (R) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) in Cairo, December 2017.   Source: Russian presidency website.

Earlier this month, La Tribune reported that France and Egypt are moving forward on negotiations for another sale of Dassault Rafale fighter jets to the Egyptian Air Force.[i] Cairo and Paris are said to be negotiating on a new agreement for the sale of up to two dozen Rafales to Egypt, on top of the initial group of 24 ordered in 2015. Furthermore, Egypt may procure another two Gowind 2500 corvettes and is interested in French drones and helicopters. Continue reading

India Shelves FGFA Project – Where to Now?

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA)

After years of stalled negotiations with Russia, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is pulling the plug on an 11-year collaborative effort to develop and produce a fifth-generation fighter that would be used by both countries. The IAF opted to walk away from the project due to lingering differences over developmental costs, technology capabilities, and other points of contention – particularly what it feels is a lack of sufficient stealth for a fifth-generation aircraft. Continue reading

Turkmenistan’s President Snubs Central Asian Summit

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the 2014 Caspian Summit. Photo from Russian Presidency website.

On March 15, 2018, four Central Asian leaders met at an important summit in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to discuss regional issues ranging from economic to environmental to security concerns. The summit featured the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, and marked a significant moment for the region, as Uzbekistan, after years of strained relations, has worked under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to improve his country’s ties with the other Central Asian states. Continue reading

Russian President Signs New State Armaments Program

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) in 2015.  Source: Russian Ministry of Defense

The document detailing the new Russian State Armaments Program (SAP), covering the years 2018 to 2027, has been signed, according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, who spoke to Kommersant in an interview in late February. In this timeframe, Russia will spend over $300 billion on the procurement of new military hardware as part of an effort to equip its forces with modern systems. Continue reading

Uzbekistan Aims to Boost Its Military Capabilities

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Photo by Yolkin Shamsiddinov/uza.uz

Since the death last year of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan has made headlines as its new president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, seeks to reform much of the country by liberalizing the economy, improving the country’s human rights image, and smoothing relations with neighbors in Central Asia. While many observers of the country have been cautious about raising expectations of real reform, given structural constraints, Uzbekistan has released numerous prisoners, removed individuals from a “black list,” and signaled a willingness to end the practice of using forced labor in cotton production. President Mirziyoyev has made a point of engaging with neighboring countries, especially Kyrgyzstan, over disputed topics, such as border delineation and water usage. Continue reading

COMAC Leading the Way for China’s Aerospace Ambitions

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

CR929 model. Source: COMACCOMAC, and its former parent, AVIC, have worked hand in glove on two of China’s premier aircraft programs, the C919 narrowbody airliner and the ARJ21 regional jet. More recently, COMAC partnered with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) on a new airliner, the CR929. Continue reading

Moscow and Bishkek Discuss Second Russian Base in Kyrgyzstan

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in Sochi in September 2017 to discuss bilateral cooperation. Source: Russian presidency website

Russia and Kyrgyzstan are discussing the possible establishment of another Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan, amid a renewed Russian emphasis on the security environment in Central Asia. The Russian military currently operates a military air base at Kant, near the capital, Bishkek, and the two sides are considering a second that would be located in southern Kyrgyzstan. Continue reading

With Latest Funding Agreement, Sweden Awakens from Its Defense Slumber

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Sweden’s Stridsfordon 90 CV9040. Source: Wikipedia

Sweden’s minority government and political opposition Alliance bloc have agreed to a new defense deal that will provide SEK8.1 billion ($1 billion) in additional funding for the country’s broad security needs over the upcoming three-year period through 2020. The agreement bolsters spending on the Swedish military (which will receive SEK6.8 billion – or $841 million – worth of the additional funding) and civil defense (SEK1.3 billion, or $160 million). Continue reading

Line Now Blurred Between Peace And War, Says NATO Secretary General On Visit To U.S.

Pamela Hurt, Forecast International.

A day after meeting with President Trump at the White House, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg discussed the unique challenges of a time when the line between peace and war is increasingly unclear.

“Before, it was easy to distinguish whether it was war or peace,” the Secretary General stated, during a talk on Thursday, at George Washington University. Now “there is a much more blurred line between peace and war,” he said, observing that in past conflicts, war occurred in identifiable geographical areas, and within defined periods of time.

That clarity is now often absent.

Continue reading