• Research Briefing

    The Islamic Republic of Iran: An introduction

    This paper provides an introduction to the Islamic Republic of Iran; its politics, economy, foreign and defence policies, and nuclear programme. It examines the governmental structure of the theocratic state, analyses the key personalities and forums of decision-making and assesses Iran’s policies at home and abroad.

  • Research Briefing

    Iran: Conventional Military Capabilities

    This note examines the conventional military capabilities that Iran possesses, on the basis of publicly available information. It focuses specifically on Iran's ballistic missile programme which has received increasing attention in light of Iran's perceived nuclear ambitions and the recent changes to the US' missile defence proposals in Europe. It is not intended as a comprehensive assessment but a brief introduction to Iran's military capabilities. It also does not examine Iran's nuclear programme which is outlined in Library Standard Note SN/IA/4262, Iran's Nuclear Programme: An Overview.

  • Research Briefing

    War and peace in Sri Lanka

    This paper provides a brief historical and social survey of Sri Lanka, including the origins of the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE. It then gives an account of developments since 2002, when a ceasefire was agreed and hopes were raised – rapidly to be dashed – that there might be a peaceful negotiated resolution of the conflict. The paper also surveys the stance taken by the international community on the conflict, the military capabilities of the Sri Lankan military, and aid and development issues. It concludes by considering Sri Lanka’s future prospects, including assessing how real the Government’s military victory is and whether genuine political and constitutional reforms are likely to be introduced.

  • Research Briefing

    Heroes Return 2 Scheme

    The Heroes Return 2 Scheme was launched by the Big Lottery Fund on 1 April 2009. Under this scheme funding will be provided for veterans, spouses, widows and carers wishing to return to those places where they fought during the Second World War and mark any relevant anniversaries in 2009 and 2010. This note sets out the principles of the scheme, eligibility and how to apply for funding.

  • Research Briefing

    Russia’s Military Posture

    This paper examines Russia’s current military posture. It does not attempt to be a comprehensive examination of every aspect of Russian military policy but is intended as an introduction to some of the more pertinent aspects, including Russia’s military capabilities, its ability to defend its increasingly diverse strategic interests and the credibility of Russia’s modernisation and rearmament programme which was announced toward the end of 2008.

  • Research Briefing

    Serbia: political and economic profile

    This note provides a political and economic overview of the current situation in Serbia. It looks at the halting progress which Serbia is making toward integration into the EU, held up to a large extent by Serbia's failure to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and at the dynamic political landscape of 2008 with both presidential and parliamentary elections. Serbia continues to have difficult relationships with some of its neighbours, particularly Kosovo, and is awaiting the outcome of the International Court of Justice ruling on the legality of Kosovo's February 2007 declaration of independence. The note also looks at the current economic situation in Serbia. While Serbia had seen strong growth since 2000, accompanied by the implementation of reforms, following the conflicts and crises of the 1990s, Serbia has suffered under the global financial crisis, primarily because of its large current account deficit. Serbia also suffers from high levels of unemployment and poverty.

  • Research Briefing

    The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan

    This note is intended to be a brief guide to the mandate upon which those forces are deployed; the command and control of forces in the country and the integration of ISAF with the US-led Operation Enduring freedom; current troop contributions and future force rotation plans and commitments. It does not examine either wider political and economic developments in Afghanistan or the ccounter narcotics strategy.

  • Research Briefing

    Arms Exports to Israel

    This note briefly examines the UK's arms export policy with respect to Israel, the value of the military goods that the UK has exported over the last ten years and provides a comparison to the United States which accounts for 94% of all arms exports to Israel, and the other EU Member States.