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  • Author: Sahar Khan
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The international community is focused on the ongoing intra-Afghan peace process, which has steadied despite several challenges. There are two developments, however, that will have a lasting impact on the process: The International Criminal Court’s investigation into war crimes committed by the Taliban, Afghan forces, and US forces, and the strategic evolution of the Taliban as a legitimate political actor.
  • Topic: Security, International Law, Terrorism, Taliban, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, South Asia, Eurasia
  • Author: Ye. Zinkov
  • 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 PROBLEM of the acquisition and sale of Alaska, and to whom it belongs, excites the minds of researchers to this day. There are supposi- tions that once the first Russians had traversed Siberia, they settled in Alaska during the second half of the 16th century.1 The next period, in which Alaska gets mentioned by Russian people, dates to 1648, in connection with the names of the Cossack Semyon Dezhnev and his associate Fedot Popov, who circumvented the Asian continent, then passed from the Arctic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean basin.2 Later on, an official expedition was organized; its commander, Vitus Bering, announced in 1728 his discovery that Asia and America did not have a land bridge between them.3 The first legal documentation of Alaska’s coastline took place on August 21, 1732, when the crew of the St. Gabriel, under the leadership of surveyor Mikhail Gvozdev and navigator Ivan Fyodorov (or K. Moshkov, according to other sources), recorded its contours without going ashore. From this date began the jurisdictional affiliation of Alaska with the Russian Empire. however, the territory for a long time contin- ued to be developed on the basis of civil law. The bureaucrats of the Russian Empire did not duly administer the land in Alaska. This situation contributed to the consolidation of legal relations within civil society on the territory along the lines of the Novgorod Republic.
  • Topic: International Law, Law, Land, Jurisdiction
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, Alaska, United States of America
  • Author: Jahaan Pittalwala
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Since April 2019 Syrian government and Russian forces have carried out a brutal offensive in northwest Syria, resulting in the deaths of over 1,500 civilians. As the bombings intensified in mid 2019, international outrage grew as airstrikes regularly hit health facilities, schools, displacement centers and other civilian objects, including those on a “deconfliction” list established by the UN to help facilitate their protection. Any joint action by the UN Security Council (UNSC) in response to these attacks was actively blocked by China and Russia, the latter of which was directly involved in the military offensive. Amidst frustration that perpetrators were being systematically shielded from accountability, and faced with few other diplomatic options, ten members of the UNSC issued a démarche to the UN Secretary-General requesting an investigation into attacks on civilian objects.
  • Topic: International Law, United Nations, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council, Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria, Global Focus
  • Author: Anna Borshchevskaya
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: It is no secret that Moscow is increasingly utilizing so-called “private military contractors” (PMCs) to pursue foreign policy objectives across the globe, especially in the Middle East and Africa. What has received less attention is that Moscow’s deployment of PMCs follows a pattern: The Kremlin is exploiting a loophole in international law by securing agreements that allow contractors to provide local assistance. The problem is, however, Russian PMCs are not simply contractors. This pattern of Russian behavior presents a new challenge that Western policymakers should address, as it speaks to broader Russian influence in Africa in the context of great power competition. This challenge is about Moscow’s erosion of broader behavioral norms.
  • Topic: International Law, Military Affairs, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Oğuzhan Çakır, Ayça Eminoğlu
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Novus Orbis: Journal of Politics & International Relations
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Karadeniz Technical University
  • Abstract: The main purpose of this study is to understand what motives the Russian Federation, a regional power, uses military force against its neighbor, Ukraine, and annexes Crimea. As a result of the literature review conducted for this purpose, this approach of Russia was generally interpreted from two different theoretical perspectives. Some of the critics evaluated Russia's attitude during the crisis process under the name of defensive realism, while the other group, on the contrary, evaluated Russia's attitude under the name of offensive realism. The work is addressed in the context of these two theories, with a deductive approach. The great powers do not refrain from using hard power when it comes to their security. The answer has been searched to the arguments that the Revisionist movement that Russia displayed in this crisis was caused by international developments rather than domestic political developments and that there is no sanctioning power against the great powers that have become a chronic problem of international law. When the relevant study concluded, and the previous crisis experiences of Russia taking in the consideration, it is observed that Russia has similar characteristic features in this crisis as well. It has been concluded that Russia has not been able to get rid of the sense of the siege it experienced during the Cold War and has pursued aggressive policies when it feels such a threat in its nearby geography. On the other hand, what happened in Crimea has clearly shown that the great powers do not refrain from using force and ignoring international law when it comes to their benefits and security. | Bu çalışmanın temel amacı, bölgesel bir güç olan Rusya Federasyonu’nun, komşusu olan Ukrayna’ya karşı hangi saiklerle askeri güç kullandığı ve Kırım’ı ilhak ettiğidir. Bu amaç doğrultusunda yapılan literatür çalışması sonucunda, Rusya’nın bu yaklaşımı genel olarak iki farklı teorik perspektiften yorumlanmıştır. Düşünürlerin bir kısmı Rusya’nın kriz sürecindeki tutumunu defansif realizm bağlamında değerlendirmekteyken diğer grup ise tam aksine Rusya’nın tutumunu ofansif realizm bağlamında ele almışladır. Çalışma, bu iki teori bağlamında, tümdengelimci bir yaklaşımla ele alınmıştır. Büyük güçler, güvenlikleri söz konusu olduğunda sert güç kullanmaktan kaçınmamaktadırlar. Rusya’nın bu krizde sergilemiş olduğu revizyonist hareketin, iç politik gelişmelerden ziyade uluslararası gelişmelerden kaynaklandığı ve uluslararası hukukun kronik sorunu haline gelen büyük güçlere karşı bir yaptırım gücünün olmadığı argümanlarına cevap aranmıştır. İlgili çalışma sonuçlandığında, Rusya’nın geçmişte yaşadığı krizler de ele alındığında, bu krizle benzer karakteristik özelliklere sahip olduğu gözlemlenmiştir. Rusya’nın, Soğuk Savaş dönemi yaşadığı kuşatılma algısından kurtulamadığı ve yakın coğrafyasında bu şekilde bir tehdit hissettiği zaman saldırgan politikalar izlediği sonucu varılmıştır. Öte yandan Kırım’da yaşananlar, büyük güçlerin kendi menfaatleri ve güvenlikleri söz konusu olduğunda güç kullanmaktan ve uluslararası hukuku hiçe saymaktan kaçınmadıklarının açıkça göstermiştir.
  • Topic: International Law, Territorial Disputes, Realism, Annexation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Crimea
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The post-World War II international order, which was formed under the leadership of the United States, was based on the premise that all nations, large and small, should abide by international law and spread liberal values such as individual freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and free trade. In recent years, however, countries discontented with the existing international order, such as China and Russia, have been trying to create an environment favorable to authoritarian regimes by unilaterally changing or denying internationally established norms and systems. The Trump administration, under the banner of "America First," has chosen to strategically compete with China and Russia, viewing them as "revisionist states" that challenge the existing international order. At the same time, the Trump administration has placed greater priority on protecting its own interests rather than on maintaining the existing order, and has called for correcting trade imbalances and increasing burdens on its allies. In particular, the Trump administration's policy of valuing the contributions of its allies from a financial perspective is a serious issue that could undermine the credibility of the Japan-US alliance.
  • Topic: Security, International Law, Authoritarianism, Free Trade, Norms
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Ziad Al Achkar
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
  • Abstract: The Arctic region has not traditionally been the focus of international politics and world economics; however, recently environmental scientists have flooded the news with the effects of global warming in the region concerning the significant melting ice caps, dramatic ecological degradation, and potential irreversible loss of many species. Climate change is manifesting around the world through floods, ecological degradation, and potentially driving violence and conflict; in the Arctic, all these risks are compounded. The nature of the Arctic pole means that what will happen in the region is guaranteed to have an impact elsewhere. While environmentalists have sounded the alarm about the risks to the environment in the region, there is an ever-growing security danger that faces the Arctic. With ice caps melting and retreating to unprecedented levels, the arctic seabed is now open for nations to explore its reported vast amount of natural resources. This article will identify issues that will shape the twenty-first century of the Arctic. The scope of the article is not meant to be exhaustive of the problems and challenges but offer a thematic overview of the problems. There are three broad categories covered in this article. First, an overview of the changing climate, its ecological and environmental impact, and the challenges of operating in the Arctic. Second, an overview of the economics and international law implications that are a result of climate change and of increased activity in the region. Third, the geopolitics of the Arctic region.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Law, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, Arctic, 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: Maggie Tennis
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arms Control Association
  • Abstract: In March 2017, Gen. Paul Selva, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) that Russia had deployed a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) violating the “spirit and intent” of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Selva warned the committee that Russia is “modernizing its strategic nuclear triad and developing new nonstrategic nuclear weapons.” His testimony illustrates the new normal of U.S.-Russian relations, wherein historic nuclear cooperation is profoundly at risk. Russia’s alleged INF Treaty violation has soured already strained relations between the world’s largest nuclear powers. Yet, the United States and Russia continue to share a common interest in ensuring nuclear stability worldwide. Together, the countries possess over 90 percent of the planet’s roughly 15,000 nuclear weapons. This power carries a responsibility to rejuvenate cooperative initiatives that reduce nuclear risks dating back to the depths of the Cold War. To effectively evaluate the opportunities and challenges involved in that objective, U.S. policymakers must understand Russia’s current nuclear force policy and strategy. This policy paper examines Moscow’s nuclear doctrine, capabilities and modernization efforts, the status of U.S.-Russian arms control treaties, and the primary obstacles to cooperation. It concludes by offering a set of recommendations for both mitigating threats to strategic stability and resuming a productive U.S.-Russian arms control dialogue.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Cold War, International Law, Nuclear Weapons, Military Affairs, Nuclear Power, INF Treaty
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States