Blogs Spring 2018

Poland’s Acquisition of Patriot Missiles: The First Step in Revamping Soviet Era Defensive Systems
By Sarah Zettinger and Michael Chiasson

To replace dated weaponry from the Cold War and take a step into the future, Poland signed a $4.75 billion deal with United States defense company Raytheon to purchase a state of the art Patriot missile defense system that will be the largest Polish weapons deal in history. President Andrzej Duda called it a “historic” movement towards Polish evolution in defense as it joined “an elite group of states which have an efficient weapon that guarantees security.” The Patriot is a surface to air missile defense system that contains different technologies and sensors that collaborate Read More


The Spread of Operation Olive Branch and the Next Phase of War in the Fertile Crescent
By Wyatt Hartwig

In January 2018, Turkish president Erdogan announced the beginning of Operation Olive Branch, an ironically named military operation to remove the Syrian Democratic Forces, a mainly Kurdish military group in the Syrian Civil War, from the Afrin area of northwestern Syria. At this point, Afrin has been taken by the Turkish military and Turkish supported rebels; however, the fight against the Kurds continues. Additionally, this fight is not limited to the Afrin region, as Turkey has begun advancing on the town of Manbij, nor is it limited to Syria as Turkish forces began incursions into Northern Iraq in the first week of April. According to on the ground sources, by April 3, 2018, Turkey had advanced up to 17 kilometers into Northern Iraq.[1] This poses a significant challenge Read More


Saudi Development to Cover Up Political Crackdown
By Gabriel Wacks and Paisley Meyer

Saudi Arabia, a country whose economy is almost entirely dependent on oil, is undertaking one of the boldest economic development plans in history. The Saudi Vision 2030, a massive economic stimulus and construction program, is an attempt to diversify the Saudi economy[1]. By 2030, Saudi leaders hope to transition Saudi Arabia from a single-resource state into a sophisticated financial and trade hub. This will be accompanied by the creation of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, a massive expansion of the tourism industry, and the construction of Read More


Cyber Warfare in The Islamic Republic
By Robin Wilson

The United States charged nine Iranians with the theft of intellectual property from American universities, companies, and government agencies through a yearlong cyber attack campaign.[1] These suspects work for an Iranian government contractor, the Mabna Institute, supposedly on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is Iran’s elite military force that defends the clerical regime both internally and externally Read More


Resurgence of Political Crisis in Lebanon
By: Sarah Zettinger

A country constantly dealing with problems old and new, Lebanon is the site of one of the longest running and overlapping political crises in history. In a conflict that dates back officially to 1948, and unofficially earlier, Israel and Lebanon has yet to sign a peace accord, so war is formally ongoing. Following the acceptance of Lebanon into the group of Arab nations against the Israeli state, tensions grew and facilitated numerous conflicts ranging from small guerilla fights to US-sponsored negotiations that fell through due to resurgence of civil war Read More