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  • Author: Ehud Eiran
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Israel is still holding to its traditional security maxim. Based on a perception of a hostile region, Israel’s response includes early warning, deterrence and swift – including pre-emptive – military action, coupled with an alliance with a global power, the US. Israel is adjusting these maxims to a changing reality. Overlapping interests – and perhaps the prospect of an even more open conflict with Iran – led to limited relationships between Israel and some Gulf states. These, however, will be constrained until Israel makes progress on the Palestine issue. Israel aligned with Greece and Cyprus around energy and security, which may lead to conflict with Turkey. Russia’s deployment in Syria placed new constraints on Israeli freedom of action there. The US’s retrenchment from the Middle East is not having a direct effect on Israel, while the Trump administration’s support for Israel’s territorial designs in the West Bank may make it easier for Israel to permanently expand there, thus sowing the seeds for future instability in Israel/Palestine. The EU could try and balance against such developments, but, as seen from Israel, is too divided to have a significant impact. Paper produced in the framework of the FEPS-IAI project “Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East”, April 2020.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Gas, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: Andrey Makarychev, Alexandra Yatsyk
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and the annexation of Crimea were two major international events in which Russia engaged in early 2014. In spite of all the divergence in the logic underpinning each of them, four concepts strongly resonate in both cases. First, in hosting the Olympics and in appropriating Crimea, Russia was motivated by solidifying its sovereignty as the key concept in its foreign and domestic policies. Second, the scenarios for both Sochi and Crimea were grounded in the idea of strengthening Russia as a political community through mechanisms of domestic consolidation (Sochi) and opposition to unfriendly external forces (the crisis in Ukraine). Third, Sochi and Crimea unveiled two different facets of the logic of normalisation aimed at proving - albeit by different means - Russia's great power status. Fourth, one of the major drivers of Russian policy in both cases were security concerns in Russia's southern flanks, though domestic security was also an important part of the agenda.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Alena Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia's actions towards Ukraine in 2013-14, which inaugurated a new Cold War in its relations with the West, presented a dilemma to Russia's allies: whether to align themselves with Russia's choices or pursue a more independent course of action. The leadership of Belarus, Russia's closest ally, chose the latter option both by establishing dialogue with the interim government and President of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchinov, considered illegitimate in Russia and, later, by being present at the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko on 7 June 2014 and downplaying Russia's position on the 'federalisation' of Ukraine as the only way out of the country's instability. The perspective of the intra-alliance security dilemma helps explain the divergence of views between Russia and Belarus, while pointing to the changing position of the parties towards the Eurasian integration project.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The severe and fast-evolving Ukraine crisis has required a great concentration of Russia’s political efforts and is having a massive impact on Russian policymaking, including in the Middle East. This region provides the best opportunity for Moscow to reassert its status as a key player in the global arena, and the deep fall of oil prices makes Russia particularly attentive to regional conflict developments. One of the main motivations for Russia is the pronounced desire to demonstrate its capacity to thwart US policy, but another is to prove its value to China as a strategic partner. Russia’s reach remains limited but it will continue to look for opportunities to make a difference.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Nicolo Sartori
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The unconventional oil and gas revolution is certainly a game changer in the current international political setting, since it will bring the United States close to energy self-sufficiency. However, it seems unlikely that this new energy status will dramatically redefine US foreign policy and security priorities. In strategic regions such as the Middle East, US interests are expected to remain unchanged, while the new energy status will contribute only in part to modifying the US approach towards the EU's energy posture vis-à-vis Russia. What the new American energy condition is likely to change are the tools and policy options available to Washington to cope with the strategic challenges - China's power in primis - emerging in the multipolar international relations system.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington
  • Author: Fatih Özgür Yeni
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy security is one of the hot topics on the European energy agenda. The EU's Southern Energy Corridor initiative is an attempt to reduce dependence on Russian supplies by tapping into Caspian and Middle-Eastern natural gas resources. Turkey, who aspires to be a regional energy hub, has emerged as the key country in the Southern Corridor. Although the TAP project in its current state satisfies neither Turkey's energy hub ambitions nor the EU's resource diversification efforts, it may serve as the first building block of the Southern Corridor. There are promising developments in the region that can increase volumes and add new routes to the initiative. Private companies have already shown their interest in developing a pipeline infrastructure for possible South-East Mediterranean and Northern Iraq natural gas exports but complex geopolitical issues pose the greatest threat to the way ahead. Thanks to its unique location, Turkey is destined to be one of the key players in the Southern Corridor. The convergence of Turkey's energy hub ambitions and the EU's energy security objectives present mutual gains, but also demand sustained collaboration between the two in light of several technical, legal and political hurdles.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Nicolò Sartori
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union launched the ambitious Southern Gas Corridor initiative with the goal of enhancing the security of its energy supply. The corridor - a virtual transit route running from the gas-rich Caspian basin to the EU while bypassing Russian soil - is meant to increase diversification of the EU's supplier and transit countries. While various projects have been proposed to give life to the corridor, the European Commission has given particular support to the realisation of Nabucco, a 3,893km pipeline running from Turkey to the European gas hub of Baumgarten in Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. The Commission's choice is, however, flawed in several respects, as it fails to take account of key factors, such as the diverging, and sometimes conflicting, interests of individual EU member states, the geopolitical challenges of the Caspian basin, and the commercial constraints on Nabucco. This short-sighted approach has hindered the efficient development of the Southern Gas Corridor and weakened the EU's energy policy.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria
  • Author: Silvia Colombo, Ian Lesser
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The paper provides a summary of the key issues raised in the third meeting of the Mediterranean Strategy Group which was convened in Rome to discuss the problem of energy security and cooperation in the Mediterranean from a transatlantic perspective. The meeting looked into the impact of geopolitical and economic variables on energy security around the Mediterranean, including the role and interests of “new” actors such as China, Russia and India. It also examined the outlook for new oil, gas, nuclear and electric power transmission projects, the prospects for alternative energy schemes, and the implications for strategy and policy affecting governments and the private sectors.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, India
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Caucasian-Caspian region has become a stage for the collision of opposing foreign security and energy policies. After 16 years of a very fragile ceasefire, the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh continues to depend not only on the attitudes of the conflict parties, but also and perhaps even more on the re-organization of the region at the political, security and energy levels. Three main developments can affect the prospects for conflict resolution in Karabakh: the parties' growing frustration with the OSCE Minsk-Group mediation; the US-brokered Turkish-Armenian rapprochement and the deterioration in US-Azeri relations; and finally, Russia's resurgence in the region. These three inter-related factors could result in a new regional scenario marked by the emergence of an energy triangle between Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey, which in turn could impact on the destiny of Nagorno- Karabakh.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Soviet Union, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Following the war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 and the ensuing Russian recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Caucasus has risen again on the Euro-Atlantic security agenda. First, the war highlighted that the “frozen” nature of the South Caucasus conflicts was a chimera, even if the war may have entrenched further the frozen nature of peace processes in the region. Second, the crisis generated new sources of instability for the entire post-Soviet space, not only because it highlighted a new form of Russian revisionism but also because it brought to the fore the limits of Western policies in what Kremlin views as its sphere of influence. The war brought to the forefront the colliding foreign policy agendas of the major external actors in the region. Not only in the run-up to the war, but also in the months and years preceding it, the American and European responses to Russia have been firm in rhetoric but compromising in reality. Russia made it clear that it has it own claims over the South Caucasus, it demonstrated its readiness to embark on military confrontation in order to achieve its goals, and through the war it wished to make crystal clear to the international community that Moscow is the only game in town. Third and related, the war exposed the inability of the West to prevent Russia from moving aggressively to restore its primacy over the former Soviet Union's territory. Thus the August war posed new implications and challenges not only for Georgia, but also for the wider Caucasus and beyond. This new context has induced the West to react and redefine its strategy towards the region and its relations with Russia, it has raised the urgency to engage in conflict resolution issues, and it has highlighted further the need for energy diversification.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Moscow, Abkhazia
  • Author: David Kerr
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia did not join the West, nor did it join the East. Russia's commitment to its strategic autonomy and independent foreign and security policy requires the preservation of a 'middle continent' that bridges and transcends Europe and Asia. Russia pursues a restorationist strategy for Eurasia but faces a three-way struggle: for its own autonomy as a great power; for resistance to absorption within the US-centred system of common strategic space; and for management of the dynamics between the emergent powers through negotiation between strategic partnerships and regionalisms. This article examines these dilemmas in relation to Eastern Eurasia, and in particular the Sino-Russian relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Sofia Chiarucci, Sara Raffaelli
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Moved by the conviction that any serious reflection on the future of European security should take into consideration Russia's contribution to it, the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) of Rome organized a Transatlantic Symposium on US-Europe-Russia security relations.
  • Topic: Security, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Ian O. Lesser
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: “Coalition” may be an inappropriate term to describe the constellation of state and non state actors cooperating in the global struggle against terrorism. The term coalition implies a certain agreement on strategy and objectives, short of a formal alliance. In fact, to the extent that NATO plays an active role in counter-terrorism, the current pattern of cooperation does have elements of an alliance. But the vast bulk of international cooperation on counter-terrorism, before and after September 11th, has involved the routine, sometimes intensive, coordination of intelligence, police and judicial activity. Contributions to large-scale military operations in Afghanistan, or elsewhere – although important to current objectives – are exceptional. Most counter-terrorism cooperation has been, and will almost certainly continue to be, of a more prosaic nature. The sheer range of activity – from the most intensive cooperation among European allies, to the ad hoc and often arms length relations with states such as Libya, Syria and Iran, not to mention Russia and China, makes it difficult to speak of a single grand coalition against terrorism.. The reality is a highly diverse pattern of cooperation; some limited, some extensive; some sustained, and some on a case-by-case basis.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, International Cooperation, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, China, Europe, Iran, Libya, Syria
  • Author: Giovanni Gasparini
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Italy's major international affairs think tank organised an international conference on “Ukraine's European Choice and the Partnership with Poland and Italy”, in cooperation with the Ukrainian and the Polish Embassies in Rome. The event took place in Rome on 22nd March 2000 and was supported by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the NATO Office of Information and Press, the Office of the European Commission in Rome, and the Centre for European and International Studies and the Institute of International Relations, Kyiv.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, NATO, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Italy, Rome