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Monday, January 25, 2016, 16:03 (GMT+7)
The world’s 10 most notable defence and security events in 2015

1. The war against Self-Proclaimed Islamic State (IS) becoming increasingly intense and complex

Over the past 1 year, despite constant air raids conducted by US-led alliance, IS has still survived and continued its crime, even exporting terrorism to many other places in the world, from Africa, Europe, America to the Southeast Asia, threatening the world security. To deal with that situation, the U.S. has made adjustments in its strategy. France, Russia, UK, Canada, and Germany also joined the fight against IS, making the war on terror increasingly more complex, intense, and costly.

                           Militants of the Self-Proclaimed Islamic State (IS)                        (Source:

2. Historic nuclear deal between the P5 + 1 and Iran

After more than 11 years of negotiations and 18-day intense meeting in Vienna (Austria), on July 14th 2015, Iran and the P5+1 - the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany reached a historic agreement ending the Tehran nuclear profile. According to the deal, Iran is required to restrict its nuclear program whose aim is thought to produce weapons of mass destruction. It is also required to allow international inspection of its nuclear facilities. In return, the US and Western sanctions against this Islamic country would be lifted. This is seen as a turning point, giving new chances to other relevant international issues.  

3. The worst ever migrant crisis in Europe

According to statistics of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, since the beginning of 2015, there have been 520,000 migrants to the Europe. It was estimated to increase up to 1 million, not to mention thousands of people who died or lost when crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The crisis happened quickly in short time, which made European countries confused, powerless and led to a deep disagreement among them. Due to concerns about threatened security, economic downturn and cultural mishmash, many of European countries turned their back on migrants, which made the situation more chaotic. Many experts warn that if the European Union (EU) can not resolve the issue of migration, rules of a boundless continent will be on the brink of collapse.

4. Russia’s air raids on IS in Syria

In response to the Syrian Government’s request, on September 30th 2015, Russian President V. Putin ordered the launch of air raids on IS in Syria. It aimed to prevent and annihilate IS - one of the world’s biggest threats. Using the tactics of “surgical strike” with high intensity and modern weapons, Russia made certain changes of the situation of the war against IS in Syria. However, it also led to new complications concerning the U.S. and the West. It is globally believed that by directly engaging in the battlefield of Syria, Russia is claiming its role in resolving international issues.

5. Arab military coalition launching military operation in Yemen

On March 26th 2015, 10-Persian Gulf country military coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen. This operation was conducted in response to the appeal of the Government of Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels who occupied the capital city of Sana’a and hunted down President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. However, after nearly 9 months, Yemen is still in a complex scramble, possibly leading to a dangerous “sub regional war”. It is thought that military intervention is not the best solution to the Yemen crisis. More than ever, adopting a peaceful approach and political measures through dialogue among parties will be the best for the crisis.

6. Complex developments in the East Sea

In 2015, China has accelerated land reclamation and construction of several reefs of Spratly Archipelago. Also, the U.S. deployed the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen to the 12-nautical-mile territorial water limit around man-made islands that were being constructed by China, making the situation in the East Sea more intense and complex, and concerning the international community, particularly countries in the region.

7. Global “red warning” on terrorism

The world continued to witness an increase in terrorist attacks in many regions. It is worth noting that terrorist attacks are not only in large number, diversified in method, extensive but also professional, spontaneous, carried out by various extremist Islamic organizations. Al-Shabaab (Kenya), Boko Haram (Nigeria), Taliban (Afghanistan, Pakistan), Al-Qaeda, and typically IS (Iraq, Syria) continuously caused thousands of dead and wounded, threatening security of many countries. According to the UN statistics, in Afghanistan, within the first  6 months of 2015, there were 1,590 dead and 3,340 wounded due to terrorist attacks. Notably, on November 13th, a series of terrorist attacks happened in the capital city of Paris (France), killed 132 people and wounded nearly 250; French President Hollande had to issue the state of emergency.  

8. Major powers releasing new security policies

In the beginning of 2015, US President Barack Obama released the US new security policy which reaffirmed the US “pivot” to Asia-Pacific, leading role in the international coalition against IS and isolation of Russia. On May 26th, China released defence white paper with adjustments in its military strategy aiming at increasing the strength of its navy and protecting its sovereignty over territorial waters. In Russia, President Putin ratified the amended “Maritime Doctrine” which would help improve Moscow’s strategic status in the world. Other powers, such as Japan, India, Australia, have also made adjustments in their security policies. Analysts think that owing to the adjustment of security policies of major powers, other countries, particularly small ones, had to make their adjustments to respond to the situation, which made the environment of security in each region and the world more complex and unpredictable.

9. The establishment of ASEAN Community

On December 31st 2015, the Association of Southeast Asia Nations formally announced the formation of ASEAN Community. This was a significant milestone in the progress of close connection among ASEAN states, basing on the three pillars, namely ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and ASEAN Cultural-Social Community (ASCC). According to ASEAN officials, ASEAN Community will be an everlasting political institution, built up and nurtured with solidarity and determination to maintain peace, security and self-reliance in an open region with dynamic, competitive, deeply and extensively connected economies and an inclusive Community basing on strong consciousness of integration and shared identity.

10.  Cyber security threat and concern of many countries

In 2015, cyber attacks have unceasingly increased on large scale and caused heavy loss for many of countries worldwide. On May 15th, computer system of the Lower House of German Parliament was paralysed by a largest cyber attack of ever. On June 8th 2015, the US Army had to shut down its website for many days after hacking attack. That was the first time an organ given top priority of cyber security had to shut down its website, in order to protect confidential data. Up to now, experts on cyber security have not yet found out the source of aforementioned attacks, which has caused concern for many countries in the world.

National Defence Journal

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