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  • Author: James M Dorsey, Raffaello Pantucci, Bilveer Singh, Noor Huda Ismail
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The high-profile assassination of General Qassim Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force (QF), on January 3 in Baghdad marked the lowest point in US-Iran relations in recent times. It triggered a new spell of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East with far-reaching consequences for South and Southeast Asia. Soleimani’s killing has also coincided with the potential rejuvenation of the Islamic State (IS), and ongoing anti-government protests in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. Soleimani’s killing was bound to have reverberations beyond the Middle East. Muslim-majority states in South and Southeast Asia, where both Saudi Arabia and Iran have engaged in sectarian proxy wars by funding and influencing the Sunni and Shia segments of the population. While states in both regions have condemned Soleimani’s killing, they have stayed largely neutral to avoid getting sucked into rising geopolitical tensions. Against this backdrop, the March issue of the Counter Terrorists Trends and Analyses (CTTA) features three articles that explore different dimensions of Soleimani’s death and their geopolitical implications. In the first article, James M. Dorsey argues that as US-Iran tensions have eased in recent months, Iranian hardliners, emboldened by a sweeping mandate earned in recent domestic elections, remain committed to a well-honed strategy of escalating asymmetric warfare. According to the author, this raises the prospects for a full-scale war, with the United States also still pursuing a maximum pressure campaign on Iran that has to date, yet to produce tangible results. In the second article, Raffaello Pantucci reasons that despite a general consensus that the US-Iran rupture will ease pressure on transnational jihadist groups in the Middle East theatre, it remains unclear how Soleimani’s killing will shape their future behaviour. On the one hand, Iran-backed Shia militias are likely to step up their operations, which will exacerbate sectarian fault-lines in the region and feed into IS’ self-portrayal as the saviours of Sunnis. Conversely, pragmatism continues to define interactions between Tehran and Sunni jihadist groups such as the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, who appear happy to cooperate to ensure broader strategic goals. Next, Bilveer Singh examines the implications of Soleimani’s assassination for South and Southeast Asia. regions where both Iran and Saudi Arabia enjoy ideological influence among the Muslim-majority states. Sunni Malaysia and Indonesia have reservations about Tehran, but domestic political pressures are likely to endear Iran to them more than the US. The impact in South Asia could be more varied, mostly affecting Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran through its Shia militant proxies can undermine US interests in Afghanistan. The QF has also recruited significant Shia militias in Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively for operations in Syria. Moreover, Pakistan has to walk a tight rope given Iran has an inside track to its significant Shia population. Besides cross and intra-regional assessments of Soleimani’s assassination within the broader US-Iran fissures, the threat landscapes in Indonesia and West Africa, both long-time hotbeds for terrorist activity in their respective regions, are also examined in this issue. Firstly, Noor Huda Ismail takes a closer look at pro-IS terrorist networks in Indonesia, a country that is home to the world’s largest Muslim population. By examining the background, tactics and modus operandi of local terrorist groups, both online and offline, and comparing their legacy with those of previous militant Islamist movements, the author believes important learning lessons can be drawn to help mitigate future security threats. Finally, Atta Barkindo analyses the jihadist threat in the Sahel region, where a landscape conducive to terrorist activities provides the fertile ground for IS and Al-Qaeda to grow by linking up with local militant networks. The tactical sophistication exhibited in terrorist attacks by Sahelian jihadist groups, particularly in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, testifies to a growing footprint of global jihadism. Sahel provides an arterial life-line through the region, by facilitating the movement of goods and people between the Mediterranean and West Africa, which has been enormously beneficial to terrorist groups involved in organised criminal enterprises. Moreover, desertification and environmental degradation have also created a conducive environment for criminal activities and terrorism.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Bilateral Relations, Counter-terrorism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Protests
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Lebanon, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Evren Balta
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This article examines different analytical perspectives on Turkish-Russian relations and provides a conceptual history of developing connections between Turkey and Russia since the end of the Cold War. It first reviews evolving political relations, including military cooperation, and then focuses on economic relations, including energy cooperation. Finally, it discusses the socio-cultural aspects of bilateral relations, focusing on the movement of people. It shows how conflicting geopolitical interests have overshadowed the increasing economic cooperation and cultural exchange that had marked the previous two decades of bilateral relations. Although Turkey and Russia have competing regional interests, their dissatisfaction with and resentment of Western policies is one of the major reasons for their reluctant geopolitical cooperation. This article emphasizes the need for a multi-causal and analytically eclectic approach to analyzing Turkish-Russian relations that selectively recombines analytic components of causal mechanisms in competing research traditions.
  • Topic: Cold War, Bilateral Relations, Military Affairs, Partnerships, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Mediterranean
  • Author: Birol Baskan
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This paper discusses how Turkey’s bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar have changed after the Arab Spring erupted and assesses how the Syrian conflict affected them. The paper argues that Turkey had developed excellent relations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the 2000s, but eventually fell out with Saudi Arabia and strengthened its relations with Qatar as the Arab Spring unfolded. The Syrian conflict, in which the three countries colluded to overthrow the Assad regime, has alleviated the deleterious impact of the differences between Saudi Arabia and Turkey on the bilateral relations or, to put it in another way, slowed down the deterioration of Turkey-Saudi Arabia relations. The paper also argues that the geopolitical landscape that pushed Turkey and Saudi Arabia apart also pushed Turkey and Qatar closer.
  • Topic: International Relations, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar
  • Author: Inan Rüma, Mitat Çelikpala
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: Russia and Turkey have been involved in remarkable redefinitions of their foreign policies while navigating through turbulent times in the Post-Cold War era. This has manifested in a search of being recognized as a great power. The tragic civil war in Syria has been the theatre of these ambitions of these two states in highly controversial ways. They have been on the opposite sides until recently on the essential question of the regime change in that country. The risk of a direct fight has even been observed when Turkish air force got a Russian jet down. However, a rapid rapprochement started due to Turkish priority shift from the regime change to the prevention of Kurdish autonomy and the alienation from US; and Russian enthusiasm to get the cooperation of an ardent anti-regime NATO member like Turkey. It can be said that Russia and Turkey have been more process-oriented than result-oriented because they have been compelled to see the limits of their power and influence. As a result, they seem to prefer to focus on the process since they seem to reach their primary objective of showing their salience. All in all, one can only hope for a peaceful and democratic life for Syrians whom tremendously suffered also as a result of an imbroglio of all these global and regional powers’ policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Political Activism, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Çiğdem Nas
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: The article aims to analyze the European Union (EU)’s approach to the Syrian crisis and to evaluate the role it attributes to Turkey. The EU’s approach staggered between supporting transition in Syria to a post-Assad regime and the need to protect itself against spill-over effects of the conflict. Two issues emerged as urgent priorities that determined the EU’s approach to the conflict. One of them was to control the outpouring of refugees fleeing war and oppression in Syria and the other was to deal with the growing threat of terrorism, mainly the ISIL threat. The influx of Syrian refugees through the Aegean and Balkan route to the EU surged in the summer of 2015 leading to practical and political problems for EU countries. In the meantime, ISIL related terror attacks in the EU created a major security problem and led several Member States to bring back border controls in the Schengen area. The EU turned to Turkey and sought Turkey’s cooperation in controlling the refugee flow and also keeping away the ISIL threat. The article looks at cooperation between Turkey and the EU and also points of contention that created hurdles in this cooperation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Refugee Crisis, Syrian War, Borders
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: A. Aslı Bilgin, Pierluigi Simone
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: Within the scope of the Readmission Agreement signed in 2013 between the European Union (EU) and Turkey, the EU will grant visa–free travel for Turkish citizens in exchange for Turkey readmitting the illegally resident of third- country nationals transited through the territory of Turkey to Europe. However, in accordance with the EU–Turkey Association Law and the case–law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), visa-free travel could be valid for Turkish citizens who would conduct or plan to conduct economic activity in the EU since the entry into force of the Additional Protocol (AP) of 1970 and Association Council Decision (ACD) No.1/80. This paper examines whether visa–free travel for Turkish citizens is an already-acquired right stemming from the EU–Turkey Association Law or would be a favor given by the EU in exchange for signing the Readmission Agreement, via the interpretation of Article 41 (1) of the AP and Article 13 of ACD 1/80, in light of the case–law of the CJEU.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Law, European Union, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Mediterranean
  • Author: Andi Zhou, Sam Kanson-Benanav, Collin Smith, Yi Xu, Amn Nasir, Sameer Anwar, Saim Rashid, Muqueet Shahzad, Lauren Eades, William O'Connell, Caper Gooden, Paige KW Gasser, Laurie Georges, Seleeke Flingai, Erika Parks
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Woodrow Wilson School Journal of Public and International Affairs
  • Institution: Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: These are critical times for those who work to further the public interest. Across the globe, divisions and distrust erode the clarity required to tackle the great challenges of our day. Those who advocate for truth find themselves under attack from those who fear what they might lose if the status quo is changed. There is exceptional need today for powerful voices speaking on behalf of sound policy. The 10 articles in this 29th edition of the Journal of Public and International Affairs all reflect a dogged determination among young policy professionals around the world to press ahead in spite of the headwinds. These pages contain fresh ideas on electrifying rural Myanmar, reforming the U.S. banking system, strengthening the Jordanian labor market, and preventing recidivism among convicted sex offenders in Texas, to name just a few. The JPIA was born from the conviction that graduate students have a unique and invaluable voice in key policy debates. The authors of these articles, together with the 45 editors from 13 graduate programs around the world who selected and reviewed them, will shape the future of economic, international, domestic, and development policy in the decades to come. We strive continually, especially at this moment, to amplify their voices.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, International Affairs, Bilateral Relations, Labor Issues, Business , Mental Health, Accountability, Public Sector, Hezbollah, Services, Electricity, Pollution, Waste
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Africa, South Asia, Middle East, Canada, Brazil, South America, Central America, Lebanon, Mozambique, North America, Mexico, Jordan, Southeast Asia, Myanmar, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy International Relations
  • Institution: Postgraduate Program in International Strategic Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • Abstract: The article compares Lula’s foreign policy to the Middle East with Ahmadinejad’s to Latin America. Methodologically, the historical concepts of each diplomacy is combined with empirical data on trade flows and diplomatic actions. It is argued that the implementation of foreign policies involved similar (presidential diplomacy) and distinct means (universalism and multilateralism by Brazil, and personalism, bilateralism and low institutionalization by Iran). The results of diplomacies also resembled: although the economic implications were modest, Brasilia politically increased its global projection capacity, while Tehran relatively reduced its international isolation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: W. Robert Pearson
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Russia and Turkey are dancing a complicated pas de deux—for separate and common reasons. The happy couple has captivated global attention. There are reasons today to anticipate greater collaboration between Turkey and Russia in Syria and against Europe and the United States. However, there are also significant contradictions that could weaken the prospects of cooperation between the two countries. For gains against Syrian Kurds and to fan nationalist flames domestically, Turkey may be ignoring longer term needs. Russia is the major partner in the arrangement and sees little reason to sacrifice its interests to please Turkey. One day this unequal relationship may cause Turkey to question its value.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, History, Bilateral Relations, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Muhammad Naveed Qaisar, Amjad Abbas Khan
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Since inception, Pakistan and Iran have been experiencing good relations but sometimes due to new requirements and changes in the global politics both the neighbours also witnessed some challenges as well. This paper will explore whether Pakistan and Iran will be able to develop close strategic relationship with each other in the near future. However, Pakistan has already established its strategic relationship with Iran‟s regional rival Saudi Arabia. On the other side after 9/11, Iran has been trying to build closer relationship with Pakistan‟s enduring rival India. For how long, that trajectory would affect Pakistan and Iran relations. The paper will also highlight Iran‟s developing strategic relationship with Russia and China and it is expected that such development would prevent Iran from moving closer towards India.
  • Topic: Cold War, History, Bilateral Relations, Grand Strategy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Iran, South Asia, Middle East, Punjab