Reports & Updates

CSi Analytic Reports and Articles | Updates| Upcoming Events| Social Media

CSi Analytic Articles and Reports

CSi’s cadre of experts synthesize global events, breaking news, and policy shifts to determine real-world impacts to international business and regional power dynamics. Click on the updates below to read more.

Middle East

Specialist CSi Analytic Reports on the Middle East.




Saudi Arabia: Implications of Aramco IPO

Dr. Dina Rezk, University of Reading

After considerable delays since Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) first announced Aramco’s IPO as integral to the diversification strategy of Vision 2030, the decision to proceed on the Saudi Tadawul incorporates key political, economic and security considerations. This IPO is not only vital to the Kingdom’s long term economic goals, but MBS also needs the political success to shore up Saudi’s domestic and international reputation in the face of the Khashoggi murder last year, the resource-draining conflict in Yemen, and recent attacks on…(read more)



Iraqi Protests Unlikely to Yield Meaningful Changes

Dr. Renad Mansour, Research Fellow at Chatham House


October 2019 represented one of the largest grassroots protest mobilizations in Iraq since 2003, protests which continue into November and will likely linger in diminishing numbers. Iraqi youth (two-thirds of Iraq is under the age of 30 and many are without job prospects) are disillusioned by rampant, systemic corruption that privileges Shia, Kurdish, and Sunni elites. In response to protests, which began in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on 01 October but have spread throughout the south, Iraqi forces and allied Iran-backed militia have used increasing force against largely unarmed protesters, resulting in the deaths of over 300…(read more)



Egypt: Protests and Political Upheaval 

Dr. Dina Rezk, University of Reading


Marking the most significant unrest Egypt has witnessed since 2013, a wave of dissident videos followed allegations of corruption from military contractor Mohamed Ali. Popular protests in Cairo, Alexandria, and other cities in September and October were ostensibly against corruption and austerity but also indicate a power struggle between the military and the Ministry of Interior…(read more)


CSi combines practitioner experience, academic insight and analytic rigor to craft bespoke reports focused on regional dynamics, business sectors, future risks, and burgeoning opportunities.  Click on the reports below for an example of the types of products CSi experts develop for international business and government clients.


JULY 2019


Report on Qatar

Cambridge Security Initiative Report focusing the on political and economic security as well as the escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


Report on Saudi Arabia

Cambridge Security Initiative Report analysing the ‘currents of discontent’ impacting Riyadh’s relationship with both Washington and London.


UAE Report

Cambridge Security Initiative Report investigating the extent to which the Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayid (MBZ) is the driving force behind the United Arab Emirates aggressive and expansionist foreign policy.


Gulf Tensions Report

Cambridge Security Initiative Report analysing the growth of tensions in the Gulf and the possibility of the United States and the United Kingdom contributing further to the conflict.


CSi Analytic Updates

Specialist CSi Analytic Reports and Articles.



No Russian Internet ‘Kill-Switch’ Anytime Soon 

Dr. Victor Madeira


The Russian Federation’s new ‘sovereign internet’ law came into effect on 01 November. Officials describe it simply as measures to centralise control of and isolate the Russian Internet (RuNet) in unspecified national emergencies, e.g. external cyber-attack, whilst allowing websites and services hosted in Russia to keep working. But the so-called ‘kill-switch law’ currently faces technical and financial obstacles to full implementation. This means the new legislation, at least in the near term, is more about (read more)


Russia ‘Embarrassed’ Twice in a Week by CN Media  

Dr. Victor Madeira

In early November, Chinese media unusually embarrassed Russia – twice in a week. First, SINA reported that in July 2018, Syria seized an unexploded, cutting-edge Israeli-U.S. missile interceptor from the ‘David’s Sling’ system and gave it to Russia. Days later, quoted a leading Chinese strategist who claimed NATO could occupy Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad (formerly Königsberg) in just two days, but Moscow would then widen the conflict by striking several European capitals. Russian media carried both reports, raising questions about their source, timing, and aims, though (read more)



Uzbekistan Flirts With China, Russia

Dr. Tracey German, King’s College London


After years of pursuing a cautious balancing act in terms of its relations with regional and international powers, Uzbekistan has intensified relations with China and Russia since 2016. Lying at the geographical heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan presents significant opportunity for those wishing to trade across the entire region. However, there is the risk of geopolitical competition between the principal regional powers of Russia and China, as both have increased their (read more)


CSi combines practitioner experience, academic insight, and analytic rigor to craft bespoke reports focused on regional dynamics, business sectors, future risks, and burgeoning opportunities.  Click on the reports below for an example of the types of products CSi experts develop for international business and government clients.




North Africa Regional Overview

Cambridge Security Initiative Report on the recent popular protests in North Africa have sparked concerns about a new round of the ‘Arab Spring.’ This report explores the importance of popular protests and the future of tensions in the region.


ISI & Alumni Updates

ASzWoj Conference 2019

ISI co-convenors Professor Michael Goodman and Dr David Gioe provided several lectures at the Polish War Studies University in Warsaw, Poland. They spoke about topics across the field of Intelligence Studies, including the best practices for teaching intelligence and information warfare. 

Search #ASzWojConference2019 for further information

Competitive Intelligence and National Intelligence Estimates


Jonathan M. Acuff is an ISI Alumni, Associate Professor of Intelligence and National Security Studies at Coastal Carolina University. He was formerly a military analyst with the National Bureau of Asian Research and an officer in the US Army Reserve.


National Intelligence Estimates are consensus-driven intelligence products. Yet there is considerable evidence supporting the use of competitive intelligence at every level of activity, including the presentation of finished products to consumers. We examine NIEs from two important periods in US foreign policy: the buildup in Vietnam and Gorbachev’s reforms. We find in both cases alternate viewpoints were not presented in the US IC’s premier intelligence product when such views could have made a difference. Consistent with contemporary findings in cognitive psychology, we argue the manner in which NIEs are structured and presented should be reformed to offer better decision support.


Esteemed ISI Alumni Hallie Coyne’s article reviews the actions of the former National Security Agency Contractor Edward Snowden.


Hallie Coyne is a recent graduate of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studiesat Boston University. While at BU, Ms. Coyne studied International Relations and History, with concentrations in International Security, and European Politics. She has been a research assistant on various projects investigating the European Union’s institutional history. Ms. Coyne’s research interests include transatlantic relations and the future of national security at the intersection of intelligence and emerging cyber capabilities. Before graduating, Ms. Coyne completed internships with the U.S. Em- bassy in Ottawa, via the Virtual Student Federal Service program (VSFS), and the International Trade Administration, within the U.S. Depart- ment of Commerce. She spent a semester at Sciences Po and later attended the Cambridge Security Initiative’s 2018 International Security and Intelligence summer program (ISI), where she initiated the research for this paper. Ms. Coyne currently lives in the Washington D.C. area and works in the private sector.


November 2019 Events

The following information has been supplied by the KCL Intelligence and Security Research Group- a CSi Partner  

For further information on KISG events please click here



‘Secret Allies’ with Tony Insall 

Hosted by King’s College London
Wednesday 20th November 2019
KCL Strand Campus, London, UK

The KCL Intelligence and Security Group and Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War invite you to book launch for Secret Alliances Special Operations and Intelligence in Norway 1940-1945 – The British Perspective. Using previously unpublished archival material from London, Oslo and Moscow, Tony Insall explores how SIS and SOE developed productive links with their Norwegian counterparts – and examines the crucial intelligence from the Security Service and Bletchley Park code breakers who supported their sabotage operations. 

Tony Insall worked for more than thirty years in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and served in Nigeria, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia, before spending five years in Norway. He was also an associate editor of FCO Historians and has published several books and articles on Norwegian history. He is a senior visiting fellow in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

More details here

‘Intelligence and Diplomacy’ with John Ferris

Hosted by King’s College London
Thursday 28th November 2019 
KCL Strand, London, UK

John Ferris will give this year’s Saki and Michael Dockrill Memorial Lecture on the nature of diplomatic intelligence and the question of how diplomatic historians have used it.

John Ferris is a Professor of History at The University of Calgary, where he also is a Fellow at the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies. He has published 4 books and 110 academic articles or chapters in books, on diplomatic, intelligence and military history, as well as contemporary strategy and intelligence. He is currently completing an official history of the British signals intelligence service, GCHQ.

More details here


Study Group on Intelligence

Hosted by RUSI
Friday 13th December 2019 
Whitehall, London, UK

25 Years of Oversight of the British Intelligence and Security Community


The next SGI event will critically reflect upon the past 25 years of oversight and accountability of the UK’s intelligence and security community to mark the 25th anniversary of the formation of the UK Parliament’s Intelligence & Security Committee (ISC).


The morning will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the ISC and subsequent additional oversight mechanisms as they developed out of the post-Cold War move to place British agencies on a legislative footing for the first time and responded to ongoing societal, political, technological and security changes and challenges that necessitated further adaptations.


The afternoon will host a more contemporary-focused post-Snowden, post-Investigatory Powers Act appraisal of the current and future state of oversight and accountability of the UK’s intelligence and security agencies in an increasingly interconnected world of transnational flows in which the public and private sectors’ powers of intrusion continue to grow.


Drawing on a mix of former practitioners, academics and civil society representatives, this event will ultimately question what publics can expect of their intelligence and security communities in liberal democracies in terms of keeping them safe and secure, on the one hand, and keeping intrusion of their privacy proportionate and necessary on the other.


Further details of the programme and registration details will be announced nearer the event.




‘My Life as a KGB Spy’ with Jack Barsky 
Hosted by the Jack Gordon Institute for Public Policy
Wednesday 13th November 2019 
Florida International University, Miami, USA

Join the Jack D. Gordon Institute as we welcome Jack Barsky who will speak about his life as a KGB spy living in America. Get ready for a breath-taking ride through the Cold War and the murky world of undercover existence. Hear the captivating story of espionage and intrigue from the frontlines of the Cold War. 

This true spy story had a very humble beginning in the most backward corner of the old East Germany. Smarts and hard work got Jack out into the world, where he started a career teaching chemistry and math at a well-known university. Then his life took a fantastic detour – Jack was recruited by the KGB and infiltrated into the US where he spent ten years spying for the Soviet Union. He “resigned” from the KGB and was eventually discovered by the FBI.

More details here



‘Espionage in the First World War’ with Peter Barton
Hosted by Herts at War
Wednesday 20th November 2019 
De Haviland Campus, University of Hertfordshire, UK

Peter Barton is a well-known historian and prolific writer on the First World War, but is perhaps best known as a film-maker and broadcaster, producing and presenting revealing historical documentaries. 

Herts at War is a community led project to commemorate the diverse experiences of Hertfordshire during the First World War. The project aims to uncover the untold stories of the county’s men and women, both on the fighting front and the home front, and commemorate these individuals a century on from the conflict.

More details here


‘A History of the Japanese Intelligence Community’ with Richard Samuels 
Hosted by the East Asian Study Group at Warwick University
Tuesday 17th December 2019 
Senate House, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

Professor Samuels will discuss the evolution of Japan’s intelligence community and its future, based on his latest book Special Duty: A history of the Japanese Intelligence Community. Professors Chris Hughes, Richard Aldrich, and Chris Moran will be hosting this event, and a private book signing will take place immediately after the talk.

Richard Samuels is Ford International Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for International Studies at MIT. He has been head of the MIT Political Science Department, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Japan of the National Research Council, and Chair of the Japan-US Friendship Commission.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP via email to


Cambridge Intelligence Seminar 

Friday 15th November 2019
Special Operations and Intelligence in Norway, 1940-45: The British Perspective
Tony Insall

Friday 22nd November 2019
Lloyd George: the first Intelligence Prime Minister?
Dan Larsen

All Cambridge meetings take place in Corpus Christi College McCrum Lecture Theatre (entry through ‘The Eagle’ archway, Benet Street) and commence promptly at 5.30 pm.


Oxford Intelligence Group 

Monday 25th November 2019
Universities and Intelligence Communities
Anthony Glees

Seminars begin at 5.30pm in the Large Lecture Room at Nuffield College, Oxford. 


Oxford Changing Character of War Centre 

Tuesday 12th November 2019
Grey Zone Conflict and Hybrid Threats: An Era of Legal Competition
Aurel Sari

Tuesday 19th November 2019
Understanding the China Threat
Bradley Thayer and LIanchao Han

Tuesday 26th November 2019
Political Participation and Marginality in Conflict
Daire McGill

Seminars begin at 1pm in Seminar Room G of the Manor Road Building, Oxford. A light sandwich lunch is served from 12.45pm.

Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies (CASIS) Symposium

8th November 2019
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Canada

Registration is now open for the CASIS 2019 Symposium. This one-day event is focused on the future of Canadian intelligence in the era of big data, artificial intelligence, OSINT, and new challenges for assessment. There are three panels:

• ‘Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and the Change in the Canadian intelligence community’ with Benoit Hamelin (Element AI), Samuel Witherspoon (IMRSV Data Labs), Jonathan Calof (University of Toronto), and Isabelle Desmartis (Defence Research and Development Canada)

• ‘The Future of OSINT’ with Veli-Pekka Kivimaki (Finnish Defence Research Agency)

• ‘New Challenges for Strategic Intelligence’ with Jessica Davis (President Insight Threat Intelligence), Thomas Juneau (University of Ottawa), Stephanie Carvin (Carleton University), Stephen Marrin (James Madison University), and Kevin O’Brien (Accenture)

More details here



Symposium on Women in Intelligence

6th November 2019
Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

ECU’s School of Science will hold its second symposium for students and professionals interested in the world of intelligence. This symposium provides a unique opportunity to hear from a wide range of women who are either current or former intelligence professionals.

Our speakers come from the National Intelligence, Law Enforcement and academic communities and all will provide unique insights into the industry and their careers. This includes issues ranging from unique characteristics that women bring to the intelligence profession to difficulties women face in the intelligence profession. The symposium will have three distinct sessions: a mix of individual presentations from across the sectors, group Q&A sessions and time for networking.

More details here

Netherlands Intelligence Studies Association (NISA) Conference

21st November 2019
The Hague Security Delta Campus, The Hague, the Netherlands

For the past few years, the world has been receiving mixed messages about the world of intelligence. On the one hand, we are told that ‘the trade’- the techniques used to gather intelligence – has changed markedly: we now live in an information age, in which big data and social media intelligence transform signals intelligence at its core. On the other hand, despite the changing face of it, at heart intelligence collection seems to revolve around the same principles. Disinformation might now be spread through Facebook and Twitter trolls, but it is still disinformation, a phenomenon that has been around forever. This raises the question whether the intelligence collection disciplines have truly adapted to an environment that has fundamentally changed – or should do so – or whether this is old wine in new bottles.

The Netherlands Intelligence Studies Association (NISA) is organising a conference on the transforming discipline of intelligence collection, and expects to explore the geopolitical, societal, and technological factors that influence the trade. NISA is delighted to announce its keynote speakers:

James Risen, Pulitzer-prize winner & national security correspondent for The Intercept
Paul Killworth, deputy director of strategic policy at GCHQ
Ron Diebert, director of Citizen Lab & professor at the University of Toronto

More details, including the draft programme, here




Please consult our Twitter Page for frequent CSi and ISI updates.

ISI Alumni are invited to join our ‘ISI Alumni Network’ on Facebook. Please note that this is a private group and you must request to become a member.