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  • Author: Erik J. Dahl
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In this valuable new book, Austin Carson examines the phenomenon of covert military intervention, which he defines as occurring when an external major power secretly provides military assistance during war. Carson argues that such interventions are more common than might be expected and that they often lead to a puzzling dynamic, whereby an adversary detects the intervention but does not publicize it. Carson’s use of the term “covert” follows the conventional definition of government activities designed to conceal the actor’s role in that activity, but by focusing on covert military intervention, he is studying a phenomenon different from “covert action,” which in the American context usually refers to activities undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency, rather than by military forces. This book is therefore a complement to other works on covert action, including Lindsey A. O’Rourke’s recent Covert Regime Change: America’s Secret Cold War.
  • Topic: Military Intervention, Book Review, Conflict, Political Science
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, United States of America
  • Author: Sakari Ishetiar
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Russia’s abstention from UNSCR 1973, which allowed a no-fly zone in Libya and ultimately led to the collapse of the Qadhafi regime, has resounded across both Russian foreign policy and the security environment of the Near East. Competing theories claim the abstention was either a carefully-planned strategy or a tactical miscalculation, but the result—Russian rejection of regime decapitation and Western distaste for further intervention—is easily observed. In addition to tangible military and political benefits, the chaotic and unsustainable Libyan status quo bolsters Russia’s political capital by discrediting that of the West. Although Russia is unlikely to intervene kinetically in Libya, it can passively destabilize the country at almost no cost, stymying Western efforts to end the crisis. Only by recognizing and accommodating Russia’s interests in Libya can the West negotiate a lasting settlement for Libya and secure vital U.S. interests in the region.
  • Topic: Civil War, Sovereignty, Military Affairs, Military Intervention, Conflict, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Michael McFaul
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: President-elect Joseph R. Biden has an opportunity to forge a bipartisan, sustained grand U.S. strategy for Russia. With decades of experience in foreign affairs, especially transatlantic relations, he knows Russia, he knows Vladimir Putin and, equally important, he knows the region. When I worked at the National Security Council during the Barack Obama administration, I traveled with then-Vice President Biden to Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Russia. Unlike his immediate predecessor, President Biden rightfully will not try to befriend Putin. He and his expert team of foreign policy advisors understand that the central objective in U.S. policy towards Russia today is to contain Putin’s belligerent behavior abroad. At the same time, the incoming Biden administration offers the U.S. a chance to develop a more predictable pattern of bilateral relations with the Russian government and Russian people, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. After relations with China, competing with Russia is the second-greatest foreign policy challenge of our time, complicated by the fact that China and Russia today are closer to each other now than they were during the Cold War. To successfully achieve American objectives will require the implementation of a comprehensive, sophisticated and nuanced strategy for containing Putin’s belligerent actions abroad and simultaneously cooperating with Moscow on a small set of issues of mutual benefit.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Conflict, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: O. Lebedeva
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: ThE DISINTEGRATION of the Soviet Union has led to a new geopolit- ical zone appearing on the world map – the so-called post-Soviet space where Russia plays a dominant role even though post-Soviet countries have different development paths, political regimes and economies. Amid the escalating relations between Russia and the West, the pressing prob- lem for Russia right now is to build relations with its immediate neigh- bors. Therefore, maintaining diplomatic relations with post-Soviet coun- tries is an important geopolitical goal for Russia, since this is a zone of strategic economic and political interests. however, not only Russia is interested in establishing strong diplomatic ties but also former Soviet countries. This is largely because Russia is at the center of the post-Soviet space, with many countries, including EaEU member states, pursuing trade and economic relations via Russia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Conflict, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Post-Soviet Europe
  • Author: Aram Terzyan
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: Despite the growing body of research on authoritarian regimes, few studies address the issues of their legitimization through exaggerating external threats and constructing enemy images. Targeting the gap in the literature, this article explores the discursive strategies of ‘evilization’ and demonization of the ‘other’, with a focus on their implications for legitimating and sustaining the authoritarian regimes in post-Soviet space. Examining the cases of Russia and Azerbaijan, the qualitative, comparative analysis presented in this article uncovers a series of essential similarities between the regimes’ legitimization strategies. Findings suggest that there has been a strong tendency in both Russian and Azerbaijani discourses to ‘externalize’ major problems facing the countries and scapegoat ‘evil forces’ as their main causes. Frequent appeals to the external threats have been accompanied by a heightened emphasis on the necessity of strong presidential power, with ‘strongmen’ that are capable of withstanding the enemies’ conspiracies. Remarkably, one of the core similarities between the two regimes is their unstoppable drive towards monarchical presidencies.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Bilateral Relations, Authoritarianism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Grigory Karasin
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: This interview discusses Russia's relationships with its neighbours.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Moldavia
  • Author: A. Vyleghanin, K. Kritsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: FIVE YEARS AGO, a coup d’état took place in Kiev. Following demon- strations and arson attacks, a mob seized several government institutions, including the administration building and residence of the constitutional- ly elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich. Some members of the Ukrainian president’s security detail who were protecting his residence from illegal seizure were wounded and killed.1 Alexander Turchinov, one of the coup leaders, began serving as the president of Ukraine even though no Ukrainian presidential election had been held. The coup in Kiev led primarily to the U.S. assuming a leading role in Ukraine’s governance – something it had neither during the period of the Russian Empire nor the Soviet era. The February 2014 overthrow of the president in Kiev that took place without elections and in violation of the Ukrainian Constitution de facto divided the country into regions that recognized the new authorities in Kiev and those that opposed the coup (primarily the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine). This occurred not only because the Ukrainian presi- dent was unconstitutionally removed from power but primarily because the “installation” of the putschist government was accompanied by vio- lence, and ethnic and linguistic persecution. In March 2014, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea left the new, “post-coup” Ukraine in accordance with the provision of the UN Charter on the right of peoples to self-determination. Subsequently, following a referendum in Crimea, a treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia was signed. A confrontation between the new regime in Kiev* and residents of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions turned into a protracted armed conflict. The forcible replacement in Kiev of a constitutionally elected head of state (Yanukovich) with an unconstitutional leader (Turchinov) directly impacted Russia’s national interests. Russians and Ukrainians lived together within a single state, the Russian Empire, from the 17th century until 1917. During the Soviet period, the border between the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic did not have international legal significance. It was an administrative bor- der. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the independent UN member states (Russia and Ukraine) that replaced them continued to maintain close economic and other ties. Their continued integration, including through joint participation in the Customs Union, objectively met the strategic interests of Ukraine and Russia. A friendly Ukraine is also important to Russia from a national securi- ty standpoint, considering NATO’s expansion toward Russia’s borders that began in the early 1990s – i.e., NATO’s absorption of all former member states of the Warsaw Pact, including Poland and even the former Soviet republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Russia’s leadership has repeatedly stressed the inadmissibility of dragging Ukraine into NATO. Words about “fraternal” relations between the peoples of Russia and Ukraine are no exaggeration: Millions of family members (both Russians and Ukrainians) live on opposite sides of the Russian-Ukrainian border,2 and at least one-third of Ukraine’s population speaks Russian as a native language. In this context, it is not surprising that Moscow considered the U.S.- orchestrated seizure of power from the head of state in Kiev an event affecting its vital interests. Something else is remarkable: The U.S. administration said that the events in Ukraine, far away from the American mainland, “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”4 Westerners promulgated a very different assessment of the forced ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in 2014. The U.S. called it a “people’s rev- olution” and said that the mob action organized in part by the U.S. ambas- sador in Kiev (including the killing of Berkut fighters, the state guard of the Ukrainian president) was a legitimate way of expressing the will of the “Ukrainian people.”
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Law, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, South America, Syria, Venezuela, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kazimierz Pierzchala
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Polish Political Science Yearbook
  • Institution: Polish Political Science Association (PPSA)
  • Abstract: Experts on information competition between Russia and Western countries are convinced that president Vladimir Putin plans a war against the West as a long-term opera- tion. It is directed on two fronts: internal and the more effective external one. Both can be developed in every country of the World; the opponent may be a compatriot but the ally may be a foreigner. Fortunately, in the West the effectiveness of these operations is lower. Confrontation with the West the Kremlin has many advantages: parental and controlled informational space, technical implements, huge experience based on expert knowledge, likewise a longstanding practice in conducting informational operations. Those actions are strongly concentrated and there are widely used digital platforms and also, they popularise the contents in harmony with Russian Federation politics. Their aim is not only forming in- ternal and external public opinion properly and in line with the Kremlin’s interests, because as the annexation of Crimea has demonstrated that their aim is construction of a new reality of the world. Paradoxically, in the Russian Federation’s policy, media freedom and political pluralism are considered as a weakness of the West. Many communities which have different benefits are sensitive to the Kremlin’ s propaganda.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Information Age, Conflict, Disinformation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Nicholas Norberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the backdrop of negotiations over drafting Syria’s new constitution and a transition in UN representation on Syria, the conflict in Idlib continues to simmer. Unrest in Idlib and dissatisfaction there with the internationally-recognized opposition, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), leaves residents of Syria’s northwest excluded from constitutional committee. This is significant because the constitutional convention is increasingly viewed as a precondition for advancing the larger peace process. The constitutional committee is no place to hammer out granular differences between warring factions in Idlib, but the course of events there hold significant implications for the future of the broader peace process.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Conflict, Syrian War, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, United Nations, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Julie Wilhelmsen, Maia Brown-Jackson
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Julie Wilhelmsen is a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. She conducts research in the fields of critical security studies, Russian foreign and security policies and the radicalization of Islam in Eurasia. Wilhelmsen has also written about convergence in Russian and Chinese interests in Central Asia and about Russian approaches to the fight against terrorism. She holds a master’s degree in post-Soviet and Russian studies from the London School of Economics and holds a PhD in Political Science at the University of Oslo.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, History, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Soviet Union, Chechnya
  • Author: Montana Hunter
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This article explores the use of crowdsourced volunteer battalions by the Ukrainian government in response to Russian aggression in the Donbas region. It examines the weakness of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, contributions of civil-society, and the creation, development, and combat operations of volunteer battalions. The use of crowdsourcing provided the emergency military force that the Ukrainian Government needed to stabilise the Donbas region in the face of the 2014 Russian-backed separatist offensive. The article concludes by raising concerns that the negative consequences of crowdsourcing war, while mitigated by actions taken by the Ukrainian Government, have the potential to return if the situation in Ukraine deteriorates.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Dennis T. Meaney, Julia Buxton, Michael M. Gunter, Roger E Kanet, Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Charles E Ziegler, George Vassiliou
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
  • Abstract: In this, our 19th volume, we attempt to shed light on these flashpoints. Rodger Kanet and Charles Zielger explore Russian revanchism in Eastern Europe. Julia Buxton covers the preeminent flashpoint in Latin America, Venezuela. Dr. Buxton discusses and provides a framework on how the confrontation between Venezuela, its neighbors, and the West can be managed. Michael Gunter shifts our focus to transnational issues by discussing the paradoxical struggle for an independent Kurdistan with the continued disunity of different Kurdish factions. Finally, Ramon Pacheco Pardo tackles perhaps the most pressing flashpoint for conflict in the world today, the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Dr. Pardo discusses a series of policy proposals he believes would be conducive to deescalating tensions. The Journal of Diplomacy is also proud to publish an interview with Former Cypriot President George Vasiliou. Mr. Vasiliou, who guided Cyprus towards integration with the European Union, discusses with the Journal the origins and future of the “Cyprus Problem” bringing into focus for our readers the frozen conflicts that exist around the world.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, History, Conflict, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, South America, Venezuela, Cyprus, European Union
  • Author: Marijus Antonovic
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: his article will analyse the academic literature on Poland’s Foreign Policy by focusing on its used theoretical approaches. It will be done through the analysis of the example of Poland’s relations with Russia, which it is believed depicts the broader tendencies in the aca- demic literature on Poland’s Foreign Policy. Three approaches will be identified – lack of a clear theoretical or methodological perspective, historical perspectives and constructivism. The pa- per concludes that overall Poland’s relations with Russia are understudied, and this opens up opportunities to conduct new research on Poland’s foreign policy and to bring new findings on the factors driving it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Poland
  • Author: Yevhen Kutsenko
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: The term ‘hybrid warfare’, which is widely understood as mix of conventional/ unconventional, regular/irregular, as well as information and cyber warfare, appeared at least as early as 2005 and was subsequently used to describe the strategy used by the Hezbollah in the 2006 Lebanon War. Since then, the term “hybrid” has dominated much of the discussion about modern and future warfare, to the point where it has been adopted by senior military leaders and promoted as a basis for modern military strategies. But after Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014 the term has gone beyond the discussion in small circles of experts and became a starting point for the formation of the new hybrid world order. And its main political agenda is Russian’s attempt to bring under control as much independent countries as possible. Since Ukraine became the first (and we sincerely hope the last) hybrid victim in Europe, it is useful to analyze some hybrid war’s tactics, that have been used against Ukraine by Russia to predict their usage in other countries, especially in the countries of the Central and Eastern Europe region, where the Russian Intelligence services are especially active.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Military Strategy, Conflict, Hybrid Warfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Uliana Movchan
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: The institutional arrangement in Ukraine is a game with zero-sum: a strong president (winner) takes all. In the case of the ongoing conflict in the East of Ukraine and the consequences of such a conflict, it forces us to look for a solution to overcome the existing problem, especially, where each part of Ukraine can feel its impact on the political process (or decision-making). When comparing the power-sharing situation in Ukraine (like a president from one political party, and a prime minister from the opposite, or from another patron-client network, or a coalition consisting of opposite parties) it has been found that democracy is much more likely to occur in these situations, and Ukraine which is in the process of democratic trans- formation can come closer to other European countries. Therefore these findings open the door to thinking about not just how to reform the existing majoritarian model of democracy, which produces a winner-takes-all outcome, but to look for a model which would share something between each substantial segment of society, and would give a better chance for Ukraine to be a democratic country and a real part of the European community. Such a model could become the power-sharing model suggested by Arend Lijphart, which presupposes systems with inter- est accommodation and power sharing among significant segments of society.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Political Power Sharing, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Konrad Zasztowt
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: urkey is focused on Russia in its policy vis-à-vis the Black Sea region, Cauca- sus, Ukraine, Balkan countries as well as, at least to some extent, Central European countries, including Poland. This priority has its impact on Ankara’s relationship with Eastern and Central European countries, which remain in the shadow of Turkish policy towards Russia. However that negative impact is not powerful enough to spoil Turkey’s cooperation with Eastern and Central European countries. It certainly limits the scope of such partnerships or alliances. Turkey contin- ues to cooperate with the region’s countries, but often rejects their Euro-Atlanticism. In Turkish perception the EU’s enlargement in Central Europe was unjust (as Turkey has been applying much longer for the EU’s membership without any significant progress, whereas post-commu- nist countries were accepted relatively quickly). NATO enlargement in the East in Turkey’s view was always a ‘risky adventure’. At the same time, from Ankara’s point of view the Middle East is strategically more important than Turkish northern neighbourhood. Moreover, Turkey wants to be an equal interlocutor in dialogue with Russia, the U.S. and the EU, whereas it often conceives post-communist and post-Soviet countries merely as a zone of influence for the Kremlin and Washington or their battleground in Cold War 2.0.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Poland, North America, United States of America
  • Author: José Ángel López Jiménez
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on International Security Studies (RESI)
  • Institution: International Security Studies Group (GESI) at the University of Granada
  • Abstract: The abrupt Soviet Union´s dissolution came accompanied by a whole of different typology of conflicts causing high complexity in the convulsed independent statehood construction process. Secessionism in cascade of territorial and administrative entities have been a useful tool in Kremlin´s hand in order to enhance their interests in the post-soviet space. Russian Foreign Policy in shared neighborhood with Eastern European Union borders has an absolute priority in their interests-defined in strategic documents- infringing the main Contemporary International Law principles. Russian interventionism in the independent republics acquires different modalities since the 2008 summer- with Russian armed forces penetrating in Georgia and supporting Abjasia and South Ossetia secessionist movements- are even increasing these actions. In 2014, with Crimea´s annexation and the conflict in Ukraine -Eastern districts-, Russian expansionism seems to be reached a road without return. Specially due to international community inaction and Russia´s return to a protagonist role in a multipolar order in construction.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Law, Territorial Disputes, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Steven Pifer
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Following the Soviet Union’s collapse, Ukraine and Russia maintained relations that at times were testy, but their differences largely appeared manageable. That changed in 2014, when the Kremlin used military force to seize Crimea and then supported armed separatism in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. As a result, attitudes within Ukraine toward Russia have hardened to a consider­able degree, and the appeal of Western institutions such as the European Union and NATO has grown.
  • Topic: NATO, Imperialism, European Union, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Dmitry Streltsov
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: ruSSiA’S poSition on territorial and border conflicts in east Asia arouses great interest. Most of these conflicts have deep roots in and are consequences of the cold War, primarily stemming from legal gaps in the system of interstate borders that is based on the San Francisco peace treaty. these conflicts include disputes over the South Kuril islands (“northern territories”), the Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands, and the tokto (takeshima) islands. in addition, there are numerous conflicts in the South china Sea (disputes over territories including the paracel and Spratly islands) that have more complicated histories and go further back into the past, including the colonial era. russia is involved in only one of east Asia’s territorial disputes, one with Japan, and is just an observer in the rest of them. russia’s line on those conflicts is very important from the point of view of its political and economic interests, which are determined by its trade and investment relations with the countries that are parties to those disputes. Many of the most acute conflicts are sovereignty disputes over islands and sea borders. essentially, they are disputes over economic con- trol of vast water areas in the east china Sea and South china Sea, which are rich in mineral and biological resources and are part of key interna- tional maritime communication lines. For russia, however, those com- munications are not as important as they are, for example, for Japan or South Korea, or even for china. russia is more reliant on the transit facilities of its eastern ports. the latter are used in shipping along the northern Sea route and in trans- portation to and from china more than they are in handling cargo transportation between east Asia and europe along the southern route passing through the Strait of Malacca. it was no accident that russia focused on that southern route in setting the agenda for the Asia- pacific economic cooperation (Apec) summit in vladivostok in 2012. As an outside observer in east Asian territorial conflicts with none of its geographical or economic interests affected by them, russia takes a more neutral position on them than countries to which such conflicts pose a direct threat of armed confrontation. the russian position is also determined by the economic develop- ment priorities of Siberia and the russian Far east as set by its “eastward turn” doctrine. Strategically speaking, russia needs good and stable eco- nomic, and hence political, relations with all key countries involved in east Asian processes of integration, processes that encompass all east Asian countries except north Korea. however, practically all east Asian countries with which russia is determined to maintain trade and investment partnership, including china, Japan, South Korea, and key Southeast Asian states such as vietnam, are embroiled in territorial or border conflicts. obviously, by siding with one of the parties to any of these conflicts, russia would jeop- ardize its relations with the other. russia cannot afford to make friends with one country by estranging another. it needs, showing the utmost discretion and delicacy, to achieve a subtle balance in its relations with various actors and to seek at least a fragile regional status quo. neither can russia ignore the fact that, by joining ad hoc blocs or coalitions formed to deal with territorial conflicts, it would risk being drawn into a conflict that might grow into war any moment.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Military Affairs, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Rohan Gunaratna, Remy Mahzam, Iftekharul Bashar, Mohammed Sinan Siyech, Abdul Basit, Sara Mahmood, Nodirbek Soliev, Syed Huzaifah Bin Othman Alkaff, Vikram Rajakumar, Shahzeb Ali Rathore
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: 2016 saw the so-called Islamic State (IS) in retreat following sustained bombardment and military attacks and airstrikes by the US-led coalition as well as Russian and Syrian forces. It has conceded large swathes of territory, towns and cities, and lost some of its top commanders and strategists and more than 25,000 fighters. The group‘s revenue has declined and so has the flow of new fighters. It has to contend with desertions, in-fighting and scarce resources. Its fall-back wilayats (provinces) in Libya have been lost and many in the liberated areas of Iraq and Syria are jubilant at its ouster after holding sway for more than 20 months. Its declaration of the caliphate is rejected by the Muslim world, which has denounced its acts of violence and misreading of religious texts. Since its formation, IS remains the object of condemnation and denunciation by the whole world. Even so, the terrorist threat posed by IS and its decentralised networks in 2016 shows no sign of abatement. Throughout the year, IS‘ active worldwide networks demonstrated the ability to plan, direct, train, recruit and radicalise from abroad, operating with impunity and surpassing the threat from Al Qaeda‘s old guard. The year saw a number of IS-directed or IS-inspired attacks by terror cells or ‘lone wolves‘ in major cities like Brussels, Nice, Orlando, Istanbul, Dhaka, Jakarta and Berlin resulting in thousands of casualties. Its propaganda machinery and online presence remain formidable, exploiting technology for communications, recruitment, finance, training and terrorist operations. IS has caused the displacement of millions and triggered a humanitarian crisis among refugees and in the battle zones. The group‘s extremism and violence have contributed to inter-religious tensions and discord, and strengthened anti-Islamist movements in the West. The stage is therefore set for 2017 to be a portentous and decisive year for IS and countries afflicted by the threat of terrorism. As IS loses control of Mosul and Raqqa in coming months, it will change strategy, focus and priorities. How it will change and what the impact will be are issues addressed by Rohan Gunaratna in his article on Global Threat Forecast, as well as in accompanying articles on the terrorism situation in selected countries and regions. As IS continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, it will transform itself from a caliphate-building entity to a terrorist organisation. It will seek refuge in its many wilayats and enclaves, and consolidate, expand and use them as launching pads to mount terrorist attacks. The group will continue with its strategy of expanding the ‘battlefield‘ to the West and elsewhere, and hit ‘soft‘ and easy targets. Overall, the terrorist threat will endure in the New Year and will continue to require effective counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism and counter-violent extremism measures.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Political stability, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Iraq, South Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, South America, Syria, Asia-Pacific, North America