Relaciones Internacionales – Comunicación Internacional

The most dangerous countries / El estado del mundo 2013

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Como introducción al curso sobre información y conflicto en el Master de Política International de la Universidad Complutense 2013-2013, he pedido a los alumnos que preparen para el 17 de octubre un debate sobre el estado del planeta a partir de la lectura del Panorama Estratégico 2013, el último Heidelberg Conflict Barometer, el Military Balance 2013, la última edición del SIPRI Yearbook y el sexto Global Trends, que intenta asomarse a los cambios de los próximos 18 años, hasta 2030.

Para ordenar un poco la discusión, he sintetizado en 72 preguntas los contenidos de los cinco informes.

72 preguntas para una reflexión global (PDF)

Panorama 2013

1-El cambio principal en el último medio siglo, según T de Montbrial:

2-Innovación con más impacto en las sociedades civiles en último decenio:

3-La amenaza nº 1 hace un año para Europa era:

4-La fuente de inestabilidad más importante hoy en Asia:

5-Causa principal de la retirada de Afganistán:

6-Factor más decisivo en la política europea en 2013:

7-Temor principal de Occidente a intervenir en Siria:

8-Consenso en que la única solución posible en Siria es………………………………………………………

9-El hecho más importante en el mundo árabe en 2013, aparte de Siria, ha sido:

10-Dato más novedoso e importante en el sector energético en 2012:

11-¿Qué pensaba el equipo de seguridad de Obama sobre Oriente Medio cuando llegó al poder en 2008? ¿Y sobre Asia?

12-¿Qué relación tiene la respuesta anterior con las guerras de Irak y Afganistán?… seguir leyendo

Very often I upload a post, a twitt or a story for reasons that have little or nothing to do with my own beliefs about the content, but I consider interesting enough to keep an eye on or just use it fo debate, discussion or reflection.

This is the case with the following selection of «the ten most dangerous countries» published in March 2012  by Prathmesh Deshmukh in You Tube.

In order to have a much more balanced view of danger and conflict in the world I recommend three European publications: the yearly Heidelberg Conflict Barometer, the Stockholm SIPRI Yearbook or the London IISS.


Conflict Barometer

The Conflict Barometer has been published since 1992 and is our annual analysis of the global conflict events and the main publication of the HIIK. Non-violent and violent crises, wars, coup d’etats as well as peace negotiations are observed in it. In the summary of the course of global conflicts the HIIK is presenting last year’s developments in text and graphics. Therefore, the Global Conflict Panorama explains the general development, while the regional chapters give an insight into the conflict events in the Americas, Asia and Oceania, Europe, the Middle East and Maghreb as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Conflict Barometer has gained an increased audience and academic renown with every year. Furthermore, the institute has been growing consistently since its foundation in the early 1990s: Starting with not more than 20 staff members, the Conflict Barometer today is the result of the work of more than 120 researchers. They are all working in a honorary capacity and most of them are committed to the HIIK alongside their studies. The academic expertise is guaranteed by the close institutional and personnel linkage to the Department of Political Science at the University of Heidelberg.

Our work as well as our publications are based on volunteer work only and therefore are financed by donations and membersship fees.If you are pleased with our work, we would be very happy, if you would support our work. You can get to know more about the possibilities here.


and extensive annexes on

Download the full contents list.

SUMMARY: English (SIPRI) French (GRIP)


3 June 2013: Nuclear force reductions and modernizations continue; drop in peacekeeping troops; no progress in cluster munitions control—new SIPRI Yearbook out now

(Stockholm, 3 June 2013) Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) today launches the findings of SIPRI Yearbook 2013, which assesses the current state of international security, armaments and disarmament. Key findings include: (a) Alone among the five legally recognized nuclear weapon states, China expanded its nuclear arsenal in 2012; (b) The number of personnel deployed with peace operations worldwide is falling rapidly, due to the withdrawal from Afghanistan; (c) Progress towards a global ban on cluster munitions stalled in 2012. its nuclear arsenal in 2012; The number of personnel deployed with peace operations worldwide is falling rapidly, due to the withdrawal from Afghanistan; Progress towards a global ban on cluster munitions stalled in 2012.

World nuclear forces—reductions and modernization continue

At the start of 2013 eight states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel—possessed approximately 4400 operational nuclear weapons. Nearly 2000 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possess a total of approximately 17 265 nuclear weapons (see table), as compared with 19 000 at the beginning of 2012.

The decrease is due mainly to Russia and the USA further reducing their inventories of strategic nuclear weapons under the terms of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) as well as retiring ageing and obsolescent weapons.

At the same time, all five legally recognized nuclear weapon states—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States—are either deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have announced programmes to do so, and appear determined to retain their nuclear arsenals indefinitely. Of the five, only China seems to be expanding its nuclear arsenal. India and Pakistan are both expanding their nuclear weapon stockpiles and missile delivery capabilities.

‘Once again there was little to inspire hope that the nuclear weapon-possessing states are genuinely willing to give up their nuclear arsenals. The long-term modernization programmes under way in these states suggest that nuclear weapons are still a marker of international status and power,’ says SIPRI Senior Researcher Shannon Kile.

World nuclear forces, 2013

Country Deployed warheads* Other warheads Total 2013 Total 2012
USA 2150 5550 7700 8000
Russia 1800 6700 8500 10000
UK 160 65 225 225
France 290 10 300 300
China   250 250 240
India   90-110 90-110 80-100
Pakistan   100-120 100-120 90-110
Israel   80 80 80
Total 4400 12865 17265 19000

* ‘Deployed’ means warheads placed on missiles or located on bases with operational forces

Peacekeeper numbers drop sharply—Syrian crisis exposes gap between principles and action

The number of peacekeepers deployed worldwide fell by more than 10 per cent in 2012, as the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan got under way.  At 233 642 personnel, the total was still more than double the number deployed in 2003.  These personnel were deployed in 53 operations worldwide, one more than in 2012.

‘We are certainly going to see total peacekeeper numbers keep falling this year, and probably next year too, as a result of the NATO drawdown in Afghanistan,’ said Dr Jaïr van der Lijn, a SIPRI Senior Researcher, who leads SIPRI’s work on peace operations, peacebuilding and conflict management. ‘How far they fall, and what the future peacekeeping landscape looks like, is going to depend on how many troops are eventually deployed in Mali, the broader Sahel region and, potentially, Syria, as well as on states’ willingness to take action to improve the protection of civilians through peace operations and implement the responsibility to protect instead of just bemoaning the failures. Austerity measures will also play a role, but paradoxically, austerity might well encourage states to send more troops to other peace missions in order to avoid domestic pressure to cut their armed forces.’

The United Nations appeared paralysed on the Syria crisis. The new principle of an international responsibility to protect populations if the national government fails to do so—the basis of the 2011 intervention in Libya—was not invoked, as China and Russia threatened to veto any action through the UN and other Security Council members opposed outside ‘interference’ in Syria’s domestic affairs.

‘The lack of action over Syria in 2012 highlighted the weakness of international commitment to the responsibility to protect.  In the end, national interests and deep-rooted fears that the responsibility to protect undermines the principle of state sovereignty, seem to weigh heavier than the plight of populations caught up in conflict,’ said van der Lijn.

Cluster munitions control efforts stall in 2012

Attempts to enhance international controls on the use, production, trading and stockpiling of cluster munitions had a disappointing year in 2012, as supporters of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions proved unable to persuade any new states to sign the convention. Major cluster munitions producers that have not signed or ratified the convention include Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Israel, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

Several of these states have in the past used cluster munitions. Cluster munitions disperse multiple smaller munitions, some of which can explode months or years later causing civilian casualties. ‘As long as the major producers stay outside the Cluster Munitions Convention, they can argue that cluster munitions remain a “legitimate” means of waging war and military-industrial product—even if most seem to have acknowledged their potentially grave humanitarian impacts,’ said SIPRI Researcher Lina Grip, co-author of a new section of the Yearbook looking at humanitarian arms control.

For editors

The SIPRI Yearbook is a compendium of cutting-edge information and analysis on developments in armaments, disarmament and international security. SIPRI Yearbook 2013 includes sections on patterns of organized violence and the interactions between peace operations and conflict management alongside authoritative data and analysis on military spending, arms transfers, arms production, nuclear forces, nuclear non-proliferation and arms control, and chemical and biological weapon arms control. Three major Yearbook data sets were pre-launched earlier this year on the SIPRI Top 100 arms producing companies (18 February), international arms transfers (18 March) and world military expenditure (15 April). The SIPRI Yearbook is published in July 2013 by Oxford University Press. Learn more at
For information and interview requests contact Stephanie Blenckner (
, +46 8 655 97 47).



The Military Balance 2013


Indexes of Tables, Figures and Maps 4
Editor’s Foreword 5
Part One Capabilities, Trends and Economics
Chapter 1 Conflict Analysis and Conflict Trends 7
Trends in defence capability 16
Anti-access/Area denial: Washington’s response 29
Global trends in defence economics 32
Europe’s defence industrial base 37
Chapter 2 Comparative defence statistics 41
Defence Budgets and Expenditure 41
Selected C-130H Hercules operators 43
Key defence statistics 44
IEDs and the rise of the MRAP 46
Sea-denial capabilities for selected countries in East Asia 47
Revamping China’s tactical air power 48
Chapter 3 North America 49
Chapter 4 Europe 89
Chapter 5 Russia and Eurasia 199
Chapter 6 Asia 245
Chapter 7 Middle East and North Africa 353
Chapter 8 Latin America and the Caribbean 415
Chapter 9 Sub-Saharan Africa 477
Chapter 10 Country comparisons – force levels and economics 543
Part Two Reference
Explanatory Notes 557
List of Abbreviations for Data Sections 567
Index of Country/Territory Abbreviations 571
Index of Countries and Territories 572

The Military Balance 2013

Editor’s Foreword

The Military Balance 2013 is a comprehensive and independent assessment of global military capabilities and defence economics. It is also a reference work on developments in global military and security affairs.

The strategic consequences of the Arab Spring and the brutal conflict in Syria again dominated headlines throughout 2012.Syria increasingly preoccupied policy planners in the Middle East and Europe, given the impact of the war on Syrian civilians and its destabilising effect on the immediate region.

At time of writing, the prospects for direct military intervention from abroad seemed remote.For defence analysts, however, Syria added to the increasingly complex global military and security environment in 2012.

China’s rise manifested itself in new ways, particularly in growing maritimecapabilities. Western defence budgets continued to contract, with increased pressure on defence planners to balance financial priorities with the requirement to hedge against longer-term strategic risks.

In the Middle East, the insurgency in Syria showed increasing characteristics of a civil war. The UN estimated that over 30,000 people had died by September 2012, and resolution of the conflict appeared distant. By late 2012, ethnic and sectarian faultlines had deepened.

It was likely that, over time, the balance of forces would shift to the rebels, given that their capability and external support would rise. But government forces could still tactically defeat the rebels if the latter abandoned their guerrilla approach and tried to hold urban areas: if President Bashar al-Assad could not win, the rebels could still lose.

Iran sent supplies and personnel to aid the regime, but most states backed the rebels politically, while some sent material supplies. Though a notionally unified Syrian opposition emerged after November talks in Qatar, concern persisted about the number of rebel groups, their aims, and the presence of jihadists.

In Libya, over one year after the fall of Muammar Gadhafi, many rebel groups had still to disarm;there will be similar concerns over Syria, and fears that regime collapse could lead to a wider bureaucratic disintegration. Elsewhere in the region, a Muslim Brotherhood member, Muhammad Morsi, was elected president of the most populous Arab country, Egypt, and recalibrated relations with the country’s military leadership.

Renewed conflict between Israel and Hamas briefly drove Syria from the headlines in November. Israellaunched attacks on Hamas military and civil infrastructure in Gaza, while Hamas continued rocket attacks on Israel, for the first time using the Iranian-origin Fajr-5 rocket and bringing Tel Aviv and Jerusalem within range of the Gaza Strip. As part of its response, Israel deployed its Iron Dome point-defence missile batteries, and the results will have been carefully studied by both the Israeli military and Hamas, as well as Hizbullah in Lebanon.

Missile defence dominated procurements in the Gulf, where states see Iran as the main threat to regional stability, notably through its ballistic-missile and nuclear programmes. The US continued to maintain substantial deployments in the region and to play a coordinating role in regional defence cooperation.

US dispositions in the Middle East also remain vital to Washington’s presence in Afghanistan. There, NATO and the Afghan government are engaged in a race against the clock to improve security, grow the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), develop state capacity, reduce corruption and persuade reconcilable insurgents to disarm, all in time for Afghan forces to assume the security lead and for NATO to withdraw from combat operations by the end of 2014.

On the current trend,it is likely that the ANSF will reach full strength and improve its capability. But, the most likely situation in 2015 is rather like today’s – a security patchwork with the ANSF suppressing insurgent activity in many areas but with others, particularly in eastern Afghanistan, probably subject to insurgent influence.

With the withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan approaching, US forces were, according to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, at a ‘strategic turning point’. The pending end of a decade of complex wars centred on the land environment gave the US a chance to reassess force structures, roles and inventories.

That US forces were going to become smaller was not in doubt. January 2012’s new strategic guidance stated that forces would no longer be sized ‘to conduct large scale, prolonged stability operations’. This force reduction was in part made necessary by sustained pressure on defence expenditure. But how the US interprets the experience of the last 11 years of war will have implications for force development and modernisation. It remains to be seen whether the US will try to institutionalise adaptations made in the conduct of recent wars or turn away from recent experience, as it did after Vietnam.

Most attention focused on Panetta’s statement that US forces would ‘of necessity rebalance towards the Asia- Pacific’. Force reductions announced for Europe were significant. But as far as Asia was concerned, there was less to this rebalance than first appeared. Capabilities in Guam had been built up in the 2000s, and the new military deployments announced were limited.

Indeed, the rebalance could also be seen as a way for Washington to rebuild capabilities, denuded since 9/11, with the operational demands of Iraq and Afghanistan. Asian states were, meanwhile, trying to discern what was new in the US rebalance.

Indeed, it is as much a signal to allies (and potential rivals) that the US will be increasingly engaged in regional security. This reflects not just US economic ties to the region but also the emergence of China as a regional competitor in terms of both commerce and military capability.

There was a continued shift in the relative balance of military power to Asia, notably in terms of budgets and expenditures – and new capability acquisitions. China’s rise, and its growing strategic reach, was illustrated by the commissioning of its first aircraft carrier in September 2012, and the first at-sea carrier landing of its J-15 combat aircraft two months later.

However, this does not yet constitute a fully developed combat capability. China is still learning how to operate carriers, the J-15 remains largely developmental, and the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s ability to carry out integrated carrier task group operations is embryonic.

But the capacity of China’s defence industry to produce advanced capabilities is gradually transforming the PLA. In 1992, China’s air force, for example, had around 5,000 combat aircraft; by 2012, this had reduced to 1,900, but this smaller force was more capable and increasingly equipped with fourthgeneration multi-role fighters with associated air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons.

But as well as giving Beijing military forces that would allow it to project power over distance, these figures are a reminder that China’s force modernisation is, in a way, just that. China’s defence developments are fuelled by continuing spending increases, with an 8.3% increase in real defence spending between 2011 and 2012. In Asia as a whole, real defence spending rose by 2.44% in 2011, and the pace accelerated to 4.94% in 2012.

Indeed, 2012 saw Asian defence spending (at current prices and exchange rates, and excluding Australia and New Zealand) overtake that of NATO European states for the first time. The biggest decline in defence spending was in North America, although much of this reflects lower levels of funding for US operations in Afghanistan.

This reduction also has to be balanced against the continuing sheer size of the overall US budget: in 2012, the US accounted
for just under half of global defence spending (45.3%) and still outstrips that of the next 14 countries combined.

The 2012 reduction in real spending in Europe was 1.63% (on top of a 2.52% decline in 2011). In the context of existing regional European budgets, this is a more severe contraction than North America’s. In 2012, real defence spending fell in 60% of European states.

European governments’ defence planning was again dominated by the dilemmas prompted by budget woes. Discussion focused on what defence capabilities and ambitions states should retain, and whether it was possible to generate economies of scale across NATO or the EU, in terms of capability development and equipment holdings. Declining defence budgets continued to lead to force reductions in many countries.

Those states in Europe seeing the toughest cuts were having to consider the effect these would have on their ability to sustain even reduced levels of capability. Some countries, meanwhile, saw demonstrations by service personnel against the impact of cuts on their pay and conditions.

While NATO and the EU might try to develop ‘smart defence’, or pooling and sharing, and this might lead to some rationalisation, this would probably be more in support and training, rather than combat capability.

In the main, states continued to act according to national imperatives, and capability reductions were largely uncoordinated.
In NATO states, some defence ministries and armed forces have seriously examined the challenges that austerity will pose for their capabilites after Afghanistan. Some, such as the US and UK, have used the Afghanistan drawdown as an opportunity to start rebuilding expeditionary capability, though on a lower level than before and with adjusted strategic focus. Others have reduced their capabilities for contingent operations after 2015.

Many new capabilities, such as UAVs and counter-IED, have applications beyond the campaigns for which they were bought. Defence ministries face hard choices about which capabilities procured for recent operations they should maintain or discard, and which should enter core defence budgets.

Many Western militaries, including those which actively participated in the wars of the last decade, will field smaller, though potentially more capable, forces. But while they might envision these taking part in fewer enduring land-focused operations, it must be remembered that Western forces did not initially foresee staying in Iraq for eight years.

Conflicts evolve in response to military engagements and local dynamics that can themselves change in response to intervening states’ political and military activity. Flexibility, agility and scaleability of forces will be central to addressing future contingencies. While doing more with less is a challenge, sometimes numbers count.

Military Balance 2013

A press statement for the launch of The Military Balance 2013 is available to read.

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