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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.



Iraq’s New Prime Minister Will Not Be A Fix 

Dr. Renad Mansour, Research Fellow at Chatham House 


On 29 November 2019, after months of protests and related violence in which over 400 Iraqis have been killed, Iraqi prime minister Adil ‘Abd al-Mahdi resigned, one year after taking office. Yet, protesters are not satisfied with Mahdi’s resignation. Rather than calling for the end of one man, or one party, they have been calling for...(read more) 




Saudi Arabia: Aramco’s Politicized Valuation 

Dr. Dina Rezk, University of Reading


Despite international investor scepticism, Saudi Arabia has managed to rally sufficient local and regional support to achieve Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s (MBS) long touted $2 trillion valuation for Aramco, after trading on the Tadawul stock exchange. The Kingdom undertook several public steps in recent months to secure a solid valuation for the nation’s crown jewel. Until September 2019, the head of Aramco was also Energy Minister. The decision to separate the two portfolios was an attempt to…(read more)




Dr. Dina Rezk, University of Reading

The appointment of the Kingdom’s first royal, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman as Energy Ministersignals a break with the tradition of protecting this key post from palace intrigue. Half-brother to Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS), and with a personal reputation as a technocrat and consensus builder, Prince Abdul Aziz has critical experience in negotiating deals within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). As part of the quest to acquire as high a valuation for Aramco as possible, Prince Abdul Aziz has worked to secure deeper supply cuts within OPEC, particularly from...(read more)




Specialist CSi Analytic Reports on the Middle East from November 2019.



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.

Commonwealth of Independent States

Specialist CSi Analytic Reports and Articles.


Dr. Victor Madeira

Kyiv and Moscow have conditionally agreed to a five-year natural gas transit deal. Ukraine (and the mediating European Union (EU)) had wanted 7–10 years but Russia offered 1–3. Subject to political approval of yet-unknown terms, both sides will sign a contract before the current one ends on 31 December. Commercial interests guided Moscow’s apparent concessions, certainly. But their intended audience was…(read more)



Dr. Tracey German, King’s College London 


As 2019 draws to a close, anti-government protests in Georgia continue apace. In mid- December a protest group, Shame, released a foul-smelling chemical in parliament as legislators were deliberating a series of lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court. Claiming responsibility for the attack in a Facebook post, the group used the hashtag #Systemstinks. A number of Georgia’s international partners have expressed concern about the political turmoil, warning that the country is at risk of…(read more)


‘Apple Law’ Bans Won’t Help Russian Consumers, Businesses
Dr. Victor Madeira


Vladimir Putin has signed a bill banning the sale of electronic devices unless they have pre- installed (so far unspecified) Russian software. Expected to become law on 01 July 2020, this would benefit consumers and help local companies compete with foreign ones, say officials. But Apple—which does not pre-install third-party software—has joined Russian voices in criticising the step. It is the latest toward a Kremlin aim of ‘sovereign internet’, increasingly free of western technology…(read more)




Specialist CSi Analytic Reports on the Commonwealth of Independent States from November 2019.


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 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


January 2020 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


Catching a Spy’ with Bryan Denson

Hosted by the International Spy Museum
Saturday 25th January 2020
L’Enfant Plaza, Washington DC, USA


The FBI and CIA suspected Russia had a dangerous spy working in the US in the early 1990s. But who was it? The newest book in author Bryan Denson’s “FBI Files” series for younger readers Catching a Russian Spy: Agent Leslie G. Wiser Jr. and the Case of Aldrich Ames explores the race to uncover the traitor.

Denson will be joined by Leslie Wiser, Jr., the agent who ran the Ames operation out of the Washington Metropolitan Field Office, and Sandy Grimes, a CIA officer who was determined to find the evidence that Ames was spying. Together they will explain how Ames betrayed his country, caused US assets to be killed, and ultimately was brought to justice.

More details here 

‘Spycraft 2.0: How Technology is Changing Espionage’ with Patricia Schouker

Hosted by the Institute for World Politics
Thursday 30th January 2020
16th Street Northwest, Washington DC, USA

Spy technology has captured the imaginations of people around the world, first through books, then through films. Spying and intelligence technology today has evolved significantly from ‘Enigma’ designed with 26 contact pins to the sleek laptops and fast computing software we have around us. 

How can the average intelligence officer cope with the ceaseless volumes of information that the modern world produces? How can open societies’ intelligence agencies continue to operate undercover? The speaker will look at the changing landscape of international spycraft and explore the challenges faced by the West against adversaries.

Patricia Schouker is an Energy and Security Analyst. She focuses on strategic and persistent threats as well as the intersection of technology and geopolitics. She has extensive experience in global energy market studies, energy security and political risk.

More details here


‘Betrayal in Berlin’ with Steve Vogel

Hosted by Books & Books
Friday 31st January 2020
Coral Gables, Florida, USA

Its code name was “Operation Gold,” a wildly audacious CIA plan to construct a clandestine tunnel into East Berlin to tap into critical KGB and Soviet military telecommunication lines. Success would provide the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service access to a vast treasure of intelligence. Exposure might spark a dangerous confrontation with the Soviets. Yet as the Allies were burrowing into the German soil, a traitor, code-named Agent Diamond by his Soviet handlers, was burrowing into the operation itself…

Betrayal in Berlin is Steve Vogel’s heart pounding account of the operation. He vividly recreates post-war Berlin, a scarred, shadowy snake pit with thousands of spies and innumerable cover stories. It is also the most vivid account of George Blake, perhaps the most damaging mole of the Cold War. 

Steve Vogel is the author of Through the Perlious Fight and The Pentagon: A History. He is a reporter for the national staff of the Washington Post who covers the federal government and frequently writes about the military and veterans.

More details here


Cambridge Intelligence Seminar

Friday 17th January 2020
Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism: A Long-Term Perspective
Christopher Andrew

Friday 24th January 2020
Robert Maxwell and Cold War Intelligence
John Preston

Friday 31th January 2020
The Release of MI5 Files to the National Archives
Andrew Harrison

Friday 7th February 2020
Why CIA invited German intelligence to visit the USA in the 1950s
Bodo Hechelhammer

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 Seminar

Monday 27th January 2020
Countering Human Trafficking: Intelligence in a Humanitarian Context
A speaker from NGO ‘Stop the Traffik’

(Stop the Traffik are working to prevent human trafficking globally through an innovative intelligence-led approach, which uses information sharing and collaboration to build a global picture of human trafficking hot-spots and trends)

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


‘Legally Immoral Activity: Testing the Limits of Intelligence Collection’

11-12th February 2020
Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Are there limits to intelligence collection in support of national security? Where, if at all, does a free and open society provide the limits of surveillance with civil liberties? Civil liberties are a founding tenet of democracy, but at what cost? How does a country balance collective security with individual rights? Recently, a Federal Court ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock the cellphone of a terrorist, but company officials would oppose that order, citing concerns over the privacy rights of all Americans.

This 2-day inter-disciplinary conference will examine the legal, ethical, social, economic, historical and political aspects of the United States government’s ability to protect its citizens in an era that warfare has no societal or personal boundaries.

More details here



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