A focus on Libya

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This is a podcast episode titled, A focus on Libya. The summary for this episode is: <p>In this podcast Janes senior analyst James Trigg, joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss Libya. Historic civil and political unrest have made it a country of interest globally for decades. Whilst other conflicts and world events have forced countries to switch their focus, Libya remains a country which requires attention particularly for countries in Southern Europe and the Middle East.</p><p><br></p><p>They discuss how open-source analysis can help plug the gap in understanding when attention is focused elsewhere and how using Janes tradecraft with a long-term view, provides a more balanced understanding of the stability, impact and influence Libya has in the region and beyond. &nbsp;</p>

Speaker 1: Welcome to The World of Intelligence, a podcast for you to discover the latest analysis of global military and security trends within the open source defense intelligence community. Now onto the episode, with your host, Harry Kemsley.

Harry Kemsley: Hello and welcome to this edition of Janes' World of Intelligence. Harry Kemsley, your host, and as always, Sean Corbett. Hello, Sean.

Sean Corbett: Hi, Harry.

Harry Kemsley: That's my co- host. So Sean, you and I both finished our military careers a while ago. One of the last things that I did was to be somewhat involved with the conflict that occurred in Libya. And it seems to me that Libya has been in and out the news over the period of time since I left the service, and yet at the moment seems to be a bit of a forgotten conflict. And yet I'm sure those of us that have visited or spoken to colleagues in places like Italy, for example, would consider Libya to be a genuine threat to national interest by just the immigration of immigrants, for example. And I want to make sure that we've looked at that from the open source perspective, as usual. So I have the pleasure of inviting back James Trigg. Hello, James.

James Trigg: Hi, Harry. Yes, I'm James Trigg. I'm a senior research analyst with the Middle East and North Africa team here at Janes.

Harry Kemsley: And he's been very, very gracious to come back and talk to us for a second time, the last time about your other major area of interest, which of course was Yemen. On this occasion, we're going to be looking at Libya. So for the benefit of the audience that perhaps haven't had the insight that you've had on Libya, what is Libya, why we should be interested in it, can you just give us a quick resume in a few minutes of what is Libya and why should we worry about it?

James Trigg: Absolutely. So Libya, as many people will remember, formerly led by Colonel Gaddafi until he was overthrown in 2011. Many people probably thought that was rather the end of the matter. However, Libya has subsequently peaked and troughed through a series of civil conflicts, the last round of which ended in 2020. In 2021, a government was installed in Tripoli that was meant to lead the country to elections in December of that year. Those elections did not happen, and the country has politically fractured once again between the government in Tripoli, the parliament, the House of Representatives in the East, which has subsequently appointed its own government. And connected to the House of Representatives, or affiliated perhaps is a better word, is the Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. And since the suspension, postponement of those 2021 elections, the country has found itself in an uneasy power struggle between two rival governments, numerous rival militias, and effectively a warlord in the east of the country whom would simultaneously like to be president, but also general- in- chief.

Harry Kemsley: Very good. So Sean, we have often talked about the utility of open source. So what I want to try and focus on today is, is this not an example of where an open source analyst, like James, working for Janes, there's a confusion for you, can look at those flanks, can look at those things that the agencies perhaps haven't got as much time or capacity, capability to do. Is this where the gap filling role for open source steps forward?

Sean Corbett: Yeah. I think this is a great example of that, actually. And if I may say, James, that A, you've got a really difficult portfolio with this and Yemen, but well- articulates an incredible complex to distill it into something so logical there. But yeah, you're absolutely right. So if I go all the way back, and I've got baggage within Libya as well, if I go back to the start of the operation that eventually got rid of Gaddafi. Although it was an intelligence community priority 2 concern, nobody was looking at it. At that stage, Gaddafi seemed to be behaving himself. There was discussion about arms to the IRA and all the rest of it. But it was low- level stuff and he seemed to be actually, as I said, behaving himself. However, clearly there was internal almost genocide going on, all the rest of it, and then NATO reacted. At that stage, we had very few eyes and ears on it because everything was all about, as you will know, being there component commander, was about the Middle East, but it was predominantly about Afghanistan. So a lot of the tactical assets, and even the strategic assets, were just not collecting against it. So when, I remember because I was within PJHQ at the time, so our operational headquarters in the UK, it was like, right, prepare because they knew there was going to be an operation, that we had so little on the books in terms of the foundation intelligence, so even orders a battle. We didn't really know what was operational and what wasn't. We didn't know where it was. The air defense environment, as you will probably remember, was sketchy at best. So we didn't even know where the surface- to-air missiles were and whether they were operational. We had, certainly for the first couple of weeks anyway, we had to rely really heavily on open- source intelligence, whether that was commercial satellite imagery, whether it was other stuff that was coming out, whether it was people on the ground. But that's what we relied on. Now, eventually the very expensive assets were recalibrated to that theater, and don't underestimate the size of Libya. So even the collection capabilities there were limited in some respects. But by the end of it, it was all cooking on gas. Now, that's historical context, but it's really important because you go back today and it wasn't a priority for many of our nations, and isn't really today in some respects, certainly from a military perspective, but it is in others. And James probably knows better than I. But it mattered. Why does it matter with us? The oil is still a key thing there, but also is the arm smuggling, which is as much going south as it is coming north, so it destabilizes the Shaddadah base and everything. But you've got the migration roots and those ungoverned spaces which are clearly really important for NATO's Southern Flank with all the legal migrants. And of course you've got as ever the Islamic fundamentalist organizations in there. And there is a perspective that that may be a route for some people getting into Europe. So it still matters. But the intelligence community, I suspect, with everything else that's happening, does not have the capacity to focus on it as a high priority.

Harry Kemsley: So in short, yes, there is an open source role for looking at that flank that currently the capabilities of agencies can't. But how can we do that, James, looking at the size of the country, just the sheer scale of the country, and the lack of the appropriate means that we would normally expect to find, like lots and lots of mobile devices roaming around with social media platforms on them for us to soak up sentiment. Lots and lots of news broadcasts coming out, lots of government broadcasts coming out. All these things brought together starting to form some element of an open source picture. How do we do it for a country like Libya, where some of those things are some true, certainly not outside the cities anyway?

James Trigg: So with that point, there is a significant media output from Libya. However, any analyst that begins to dive into the Libyan situation has to be very, very conscious of the bias and politicization of Libya's media landscape. Even so back as in 2022, the rival prime minister to the Tripoli government had an article published in The Times, which he subsequently denied any social media having ever written, but it was published nonetheless. And I think that's the biggest challenge that any analyst faces in countries like Yemen or Libya is, you have to understand that the media you're looking at is written with a purpose beyond an objective delivery of news. So therefore it's vital to look at both sides, all three sides, however many sides of the jigsaw puzzle there might be, in order to then be able to distill and extract some semblance of the truth, if it were, an objective baseline, from all these different voices that they're just shouting out with their own agendas.

Harry Kemsley: So while you've mentioned that there were media and that there are media that are almost certainly aligned politically to one side or the other of the argument, how do you begin to verify? How do you begin to normalize those multiple channels of information to come up with, in quotes, an objective assessment?

James Trigg: A lot of that comes down to fluency, and as I mentioned previously, immersion. In order to understand which media source reflects which perspective and to what degree they obscure or might misrepresent certain facts, you have to get comfortable with them. You have to read them repeatedly and compare their reporting of an example situation with reporting in others. And that way you are able to then create a spectrum. You'll never be able to necessarily say, " I can rely on this a hundred percent to give me all of the information I need." But you'll know, okay, in this situation, source X is likely to be slightly left of center, source Y will be slightly right of center, the facts as I can objectively assess them to will be somewhere in that middle ground.

Harry Kemsley: More likely to be somewhere in the middle. So Sean, that sounds like tradecraft to me.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, it does. And just to double down on that actually, it's not even just the internal players that have a influence versus informed piece. Because in fact, I did a little bit of mind mapping just before this to remind myself about all the key external players. And just to name a few, okay, you've got Egypt, obviously a neighbor, interested party for obvious reasons, UAE, Qatar. But also Italy, Turkey, France. And then you've got Russia and the PMCs, et cetera, et cetera, there. So a lot of people have got their own interests and their own agenda. And so even when you're looking wider at... And there's a lot of press replete and releases come out of here from, for instance the French just had a high level delegation visiting, you've got to look beneath what they're saying. So why are they saying that and what's in it for them? And that's as all the partners. Which means, again, you've got to use your tradecraft to have that objectivity and to get your confidence levels, but also the alternative hypotheses that we always talk about.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah. So knowledge gaps. One of those areas we've talked about in the past with open- source intelligence is the ability to fill a gap in the current understanding or the current picture that we're seeing from other sources. When I look at an information source though, I am always worried about its veracity. And you've talked about there being multiple sources for the same story, and then coming up with a sort of median view that is the most likely one. Is there any other way you can verify? Any other way you can give yourself the level of assurance or confidence that you want from another open source or another technique? Is there anything else you can do?

James Trigg: So one of the ways that I've been trying to review Libya, rather than responding in a knee- jerk reaction to every small event, is producing a monthly report. In this way, I'm able to better distill the trends from the narratives. So just because in, let's say for example September last year, there was a clash between two militias, that doesn't automatically mean that Libya is going to descend back into a full- blown conflict. I can see that because I can look back at the previous months, I started this project in January 2023. These militias have clashed before. We have not returned to full- blown conflict. Looking forward, the likelihood of full- blown conflict returning is not improved drastically by these two groups having another scrap. So I think it's a case of changing the perspective slightly, and I think this is where OSINT differs from media reporting, in that the media has to respond to every single event immediately. With OSINT, the analysts can take the time to step back and assess the trend of events, and not just the details of particular events.

Harry Kemsley: So once again, it's that long- term look. Piecing together the fragments of information. I like the idea of having a monthly report that would actually give me the snapshot at that time, but in the context of every other snapshot prior, so you can assess the snapshot in the light of the context those prior views has created. Sean, I'm thinking that in that you've not only got a level of confidence in your understanding of the situation as it is today, that's between the two extreme positions for example, but also because the context of the previous experience that shows an event to be likely to be more or less significant, to the idea of the clashing militia, for example. The newspaper, as James said, Sean, is they're under three or four hours notice. " Get that out. What are you going to say about it?" Whereas the OSINT analysts, with time and expertise, can actually sit back and see it in the right context.

Sean Corbett: Indeed. And that leads you to what I'm always talking about as the Nirvana, which is predictive intelligence. So understanding, because you've been looking at it, what's normal, and therefore being able to identify, that's different. Is it different extent that it's going to change the dynamic within the theater, the country, or not? And you can only do that if you're monitoring the right things over a period of time.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah. The ability to see the outlier, which is what you were talking about, the thing that just doesn't look right, to discredit it and move it away because it's probably mis- or disinformation for example, or indeed to recognize its intelligence value, which is what you were talking about, Sean, is one of those things that, again, comes from that foundation. Can we pick on that point you made there, Sean, there in terms of predictive intelligence? I'll turn this to you, James. Yes, we stare at the crystal ball marked intelligence, so we hope that it's going to tell us what's coming around the corner, most likely. And we talk about most dangerous, most likely, for example. How do you look at indicators? What kind of things would you routinely look at in a country like Libya to understand what might be coming?

James Trigg: So as part of the methodology behind this monthly report, I've divided it into three factors, political, military, and economic. They're all given distinct percentages at which they then contribute to the overall score. But I'm looking at things like, on the political side, which foreign governments are dealing with which administration in Libya? Because that reflects on their legitimacy, that reflects on international perspectives on who's got the right to lead Libya. From the military, it's things like troop movements, mobilizations recruitment, shipments of arms, whether they're being intercepted by the European Union Naval Mission off the coast, or arriving in country. Because again, that reflects on legitimacy and preparedness for a future conflict. And with the economics, particularly in Libya, it's access to state funds and oil export revenues. Whichever administration can control those or demonstrate a greater control of those is likely to remain in power, rather than their rival who is cut off from those supplies. And those are the factors that I take on a monthly basis to consider, right, which of the two governments is currently winning the balance of power as it were, and have there been any significant shifts on any of those three metrics?

Harry Kemsley: So using those as proxy measures for what might be happening next. But that also requires you, does it not James, to understand how that thing you've just identified might affect other things?

James Trigg: Nothing's seen in isolation. You can't tell me that by looking at the price of bread, you can immediately understand the national security relationship to that. But you have to understand how the dynamics might be working between those factors. Absolutely, that's of critical importance, especially in a country like Libya where bread is heavily subsidized, but then the conflict between Russia and Ukraine caused a massive spike in the price of oil that was imported. That then leads into social unrest because the Libyan population are hungry, or they're being told, " Your subsidies are going to be lifted as in January of this year." The prime minister in Tripoli announced the suspension of fuel subsidies. That leads to social unrest. Social unrest is met by a security response, but security in Tripoli is currently divided between multiple militias who are locally extending or consolidating their control of neighborhoods. So they are also inclined to clash as much as they are to cooperate in support of the premier. So nothing can be taken in isolation.

Harry Kemsley: In isolation, yeah. Sean, wasn't the Arab Spring, wasn't that associated with a loaf of bread?

Sean Corbett: So Harry, I have a wry smile on my face. Because one of the triggers, not one of necessarily an underlying cause because the inequality is the underlying cause, but one of the triggers was absolutely there was a drought in three parts of the world, wheat prices went through the roof, and your member of public just couldn't afford to eat anymore because wheat is a staple diet of many of these. And that's what triggered it. And maybe for a future podcast we could have a look at are the conditions setting themselves for a future Arab Spring? Now, there are different dynamics in place, not least of which that a lot of the subject countries of the Arab spring have got their act together in terms of understanding the power of social media now. Which in this case, social media, again, getting back to the point, is a really key source because you can do sentiment analysis with that that says are we seeing not just the standard bubble of complaints going on, or is this something bigger than that? So that's a really key source as well. I mean, this is a huge subject. But I do like, and well done, James, in terms of, you don't just look at the standard indicators that you might look like, increased buoyancy or whatever. You've got to look at other things, social indicators, economic indicators, as well as the political.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah. So I'm curious then, James, just to push a little bit deeper into that, if I may, in terms of those indicators then, and the creation of, I think you said percentages, as sort of a guide to the state of those, how do you begin to quantify something that's ultimately fairly qualitative? How do you do that?

James Trigg: It takes a great deal of thought and kind of bouncing ideas certainly off a team. But I think ultimately, it comes down to acknowledging certain fundamentals, which is that if Libya returns to full- blown conflict, the determinant of the next president or the next administration will be military force. In which case, that takes slightly more precedence in the weighting of the scoring than the political or the economic aspects, as seen over the last 12 months now. The political discussion goes back and forth. People want a new government to oversee the elections, the government's in power want to remain in power to oversee those elections, there are international initiatives being presented. That hasn't really shifted the balance of power too dramatically. But the military components has the potential to shift that to a far more significant degree.

Harry Kemsley: Do you think that those indicators that we talked about, these heavily weighted towards the military and the scenario you just talked about that indicate, do you think they become warnings? The indicator of unrest, the indicators of rising pressure is one thing. But do they actually get to the stage where they're actually saying to the viewer, " You need to do something about this. If you want to avoid this outcome the indicator is pointing towards, you need to do something now." Is there a time, is it already available, but those indicators are now saying, " Now's the time for action," intervention of some sort?

James Trigg: I think that's the very difficult question to answer, especially for an OSINT analyst, and I think the Arab Spring is a perfect example of that. I'm sure at the time, warning markers were going up all around the world. But until the spark, the inciting incident occurred, the Arab Spring could have been delayed by six months, a year, another two. But it's critical that people are actually looking at the warning markers from a secondary state of readiness of, I don't know if it's going to be this week, this month, this year, but something is going to happen, because these situations cannot continue ad nauseam.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah. I guess, Sean, that's the point, isn't it? You want the crystal ball to tell you not only what's going to happen, when it's going to happen, so you can be ready for it, if it's enough time. But to actually get to the point where you can say, " It's going to be in that month." To kind of phrase that I've heard you used before, the world's going to end before Christmas. That actually is something that's virtually impossible.

Sean Corbett: It is. And even more so with the Libyan case where, and I don't know if you agree with this, James, but it seems that on the military level... Because you are absolutely right, in this case, if one side in the military gets absolutely dominant, then that is when the political environment will shift significantly. What I've seen, I think, is that there seems to be almost a balance of military power, where the sides calibrate themselves and there's always going to be tactical gains here, there, and everywhere, but no side has been able to get so dominant that it shifts that dial politically. And what I'm not sure, is that almost deliberate in terms of, " Right. Well, we'll take a little bit of that then because it used to be ours." And then, " We haven't got the forces," or, " We're not really too ambitious to do something else." Or is it just that there is not that way of force in the country to be able to do anything decisive? And of course, this is where the external actors come in, with, again, I don't want to use the word in this case, proxies, because it's not quite like that, but supported by whichever country that we've spoken about previously, whichever faction it is. Do they think consciously that, " Okay, the entity that suits my national interests is either becoming too strong or not strong enough, more likely, therefore I will nudge here and apply force there or support there?" Is it that nuanced? I mean, I've just described there is incredibly complex. I use that complex word a lot. But how on earth do we get into that sort of detail?

James Trigg: I think I agree with Sean in terms of, certainly for me, the most critical factor of the moment that's missing is the will of those international sponsors to watch Libya descend back into full- blown conflict. Their national interests at present are not served by that. And for that reason, I feel like you have seen a balancing act between the international supporters, and that's been reflected in the capabilities and the actions of the forces on the ground. For example, Khalifa Haftar and the Libyan National Army is now simultaneously accused of being responsible for supporting the RSF in Sudan with assistance from the United Arab Emirates, but is also caught in the power struggle between the Russian state and the remnants of the Wagner group. We don't know what form they're necessarily going to take in Libya in the next 6 to 12 months. And without that certainty, I think certainly for the Libyan National Army, they're not prepared to risk another round of conflict where they can't rely on what were core capabilities in their assault on Tripoli between 2019 and 2020, because it's not worth the losses when they can't rely on whatever form the Russian support might take or whatever form the Egyptian support might take. So therefore, they've settled into this uneasy Cold War almost where they're consolidating their control of the east of the country, and the government in Tripoli is doing its best to consolidate its control in the West. But without impetus from either an international actor or a significant breach of the piece, as it were, this uneasy situation's going to remain.

Harry Kemsley: By the way you describe, it does sound very difficult to predict what will actually change that balance of power. What's the tipping point? And if it's not going to be an external influencer, then what would it be? What could it be inside a country like Libya, with all its complexities?

James Trigg: I think for me, the most likely outcomes are there's simply going to be some shift in the political situation on a local level. It might not be a deliberate act by the opposing faction. But let's say the leader of the current government in Tripoli were killed in some manner, that leaves a power vacuum. Local forces are going to act to fill that vacuum, likely regardless of the preferences of their sponsors. Simultaneously, and again, the Arab Spring is a great example, is something beyond the military, the political or the economic or a social factor, is going to erupt, and suddenly there will be that tipping point, that moment for a momentum shift.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah, the accelerator.

Sean Corbett: Just an aside, I agree with that, but what I do think is that because society within Libya is very much clan based, tribal based, I think that the calibration will still be there, that no one side will be able to become so dominant that they then control everything because it's not in everybody's interest. So the enemy of my friend is my friend, or whichever way around it is. But anyway, you know what I'm talking about.

Harry Kemsley: inaudible.

Sean Corbett: That's the one.

Harry Kemsley: inaudible.

Sean Corbett: Yeah. So what I'm saying really is that I think that internal calibration is there to actually stop any side becoming too dominant because it's not in anybody's interest, and it's as much local as it is regional. But again, back down to the substance of the discussion, how on earth do you actually follow that and work it through? So again, going back, anecdotally, and there was some, I can't remember what the software was at the time, but there was some open- source software that I was actually looking at in a pub in Cheltenham, but that's a different story, where we were looking at images on this, it was a geospatial app, which showed black flanks coming up in different parts of Libya. And that was the first indication, good indication, we had that ISIL, as was then, was actually expanding its presence in a post- Gaddafi Libya. That was open- source intelligence. And that was literally on social media, people going, " I've seen a black flag, an ISIL flag, being raised on this particular village or town," whatever it is. And somebody somewhere was plotting that. And you could see, not quite in real time, but over days, how it was expanding. So this is where local things have strategic impacts.

Harry Kemsley: So I think what I've heard in the last 25, 30 minutes then is open- source intelligence is going to help you understand things that you might otherwise not understand at a foundational level. It's going to give you the insights you need to the multiple factions, the political, military, economic history. It's going to give you insights that you might otherwise not be able to glean, in other words, as well, on top of that, on an ongoing basis. And to the point Sean just made as well, it might be the first indicator of something that you should or could be interested in. So those three facets of the open source value, the bits that I think have come out from this conversation. But from your experience, James, is there anything else that open source does, beyond the foundational insight for the current and the potential indicators, is there anything else that open source might provide when you're trying to understand something as complicated as Yemen and Libya?

James Trigg: I think those three things cover such a wide gamut of outlook and analysis that I don't know what else you could ask of open source, short of analysts going to every country that they're responsible for and taking firsthand accounts. I think open source has its very, very great merits, but it has its limitations, and it's worth being cognizant of those.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah, not overstretching. Yeah, good. Sean, your thoughts?

Sean Corbett: Yeah. Well, that's why it's called intelligence and not information. As I always say, intelligence is never going to be complete. That's where I go back to the partnership between the classified stuff and the open source is so important. But it's important from the extent of economy of effort, of complementing as opposed to competition, and making sure that one understands what the other can provide and what it brings to the party.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah, I agree. So in terms of takeaways then, to finish on a takeaway for the audience, my takeaway, to take the first bite out of the sandwich, is that very point about the fact that there should be a partnership. A country like Libya may well not be the core focus of some agencies around the world and our customers here at Jane's, because they're rightly focusing on other parts of the world. But an open- source provider that can look at the flanks, understand what's happening inaudible well, and tell said customer, " You might want to bring your eye back to this now," is one of those things that I think I've heard from this conversation that I'll take away. James, what's the one thing you'd want the audience to take away from this from your look at Libya?

James Trigg: I think for me, the biggest takeaways when considering the value of open- source intelligence is remembering that it is a long term investment. You can go and you can ask a question of an analyst today, and they might be able to get back to you in 24 hours. But if you go and speak to that analyst, that same analyst in six months, and if you're prepared to give them a couple of weeks, the depth of knowledge that a notion analyst can glean and the depth of insight that they can glean from observing and monitoring their areas of responsibility over a consistent basis using definable metrics, that's where the value of open- source intelligence is, over a knee- jerk response to-

Harry Kemsley: An event.

James Trigg: ...what's the largest oil reserve in Libya?

Harry Kemsley: Right. Yeah, totally get it. Thank you. Sean?

Sean Corbett: I think for me, it's being able to widen the aperture to understand the influence, impact, and limitations on external actors on a particular event. So you can't just look at a nation, and this applies to probably most scenarios we've spoken about in the last few months, is that you can't take any scenario in isolation. You have to consider, right, what are the external factors? How are they impacting it? And what is their motivation?

Harry Kemsley: Yeah. Very good. Well look, James, well done for a second and difficult case to be monitoring. Fascinating insights there in terms of what's happening in Libya, but also how you have started to break out, over monthly reports, trend lines and indicators, which I think is probably where most people, meaning people like James, yourself, to get to, is that indicator piece to understand what might be happening in the future. Thanks very much indeed for taking the time to speak to us for a second time.

James Trigg: No, thank you for inviting me back. Always a pleasure.

Harry Kemsley: Thank you. Thanks, Sean.

Sean Corbett: Cheers, Harry.

Speaker 1: Thanks for joining us this week on The World of Intelligence. Make sure to visit our website, janes. com/ podcast, where you can subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts, so you'll never miss an episode.


In this podcast Janes senior analyst James Trigg, joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss Libya. Historic civil and political unrest have made it a country of interest globally for decades. Whilst other conflicts and world events have forced countries to switch their focus, Libya remains a country which requires attention particularly for countries in Southern Europe and the Middle East.

They discuss how open-source analysis can help plug the gap in understanding when attention is focused elsewhere and how using Janes tradecraft with a long-term view, provides a more balanced understanding of the stability, impact and influence Libya has in the region and beyond.  

Today's Host

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Harry Kemsley

|President of Government & National Security, Janes

Today's Guests

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James Trigg

|Senior Research Analyst for the Middle East and North Africa Country Intelligence team at Janes
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Sean Corbett

|AVM (ret’d) Sean Corbett CB MBE MA, RAF