Tempobs – Mindfully Mapping a Middle Eastern Morass – Saudi Arabia and Iran

To summarize Helene’s introductory post, this project aims to develop a time-sensitive approach to strategic anticipation and warning, using the evolving relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia as its substantive framework. But how does one undertake strategic anticipation within the context of the complex, chaotic, fast changing politics of the contemporary Middle East? Just over the past few months, we have witnessed an extraordinary series of surprises in or strongly affecting the region, such as the plummeting price of oil, the Saudi intervention in Yemen, the deployment of Russian forces in Syria, and, most recently, the emergence of fears of widespread sectarian warfare. Referring to the last development, but offering a judgment of more general applicability, the Middle East politics …

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The Power of Maps

Maps are both necessary tools for analysis and crucial delivery visuals for foresight and warning products. They constitute a very powerful type of delivery form, as they change both the world and the mind. The pivotal importance of maps and of the process of mapping has notably been shown, in the case of the birth of nations and of nationalism, by two remarkable books: Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson and Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation by Winichakul Thongchai. Building upon the findings of those master-works, as well as on my own (PhD) research, this post explains the power of maps and then outlines contemporary evolutions, examples and possibilities. Why are maps special instruments of power? …

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Water Security Maps

You will find below a selection of maps related to global water security, which are useful for both analysis and delivery of products. Maps are both necessary tools for analysis and crucial delivery visuals for our foresight and warning products. They constitute a category of delivery form, which can, furthermore, be combined with other categories to suit at best our needs. The maps under copyrights that do not allow fair free use (C.C.) are filed at the bottom of the post. National Intelligence Council (US), ODNI – 2012: Global Water Security Map Map attached to the 2012 Global Water Security, an Intelligence Community Assessment Aquastat (FAO) maps AQUASTAT is FAO’s global information system on water and agriculture, developed by the Land …

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Navigating the Chronicles of Everstate

The featured image for this post is a snapshot of a map done with Pearltrees. This page is about presenting ways to follow and access the series of posts constituting The Chronicles of Everstate, beyond the usual linear menus or the detailed outline in the website footer. This idea, mapping the very posts of The Chronicles of Everstate, is a direct result of the interactive quality of this foresight experiment. One faithful reader, indeed, underlined that, as the number of posts increased, reading and understanding was becoming more complex, notably for newcomers. He suggested that a map would be very helpful to allow users and readers to navigate among posts. We then discussed various ways to implement this idea. Here are …

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Revisiting influence analysis

Once variables (also called factors and drivers according to authors) have been identified – and in our case mapped, most foresight methodologies aim at reducing their number, i.e. keeping only a few of those variables.

Indeed, considering cognitive limitations, as well as finite resources, one tries obtaining a number of variables that can be easily and relatively quickly combined by the human brain.

The problem we here face methodologically is how to reduce this number of variables at best, making sure we do not reintroduce biases or/and simplify our model so much it becomes useless or suboptimal.

Furthermore, considering also the potential adverse reactions of practitioners to complex models, being able to present a properly simplified or reduced model (however remaining faithful to the initial one) is most often necessary.

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Modeling for Dynamic Risks and Uncertainties (2) : Mapping a Dynamic Network

Go back to Part 1

Actually, any SF&W model as it primarily deals with time should be a dynamic network. How can we expect obtaining any potential outline for the future if our model for understanding is static?

Our map thus aims at representing the potential dynamics of polities. We shall notably use Ertman’s work on past state-building, but making it adaptable to present and future conditions.

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