July 24, 2014

CYPRUS, A RUSSIAN FOOTHOLD IN THE CHANGING EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

Cypriot Offshore Gas Fields

Russian interests in the Eastern Mediterranean have been highlighted both by the country’s diplomatic and naval activity related to the Syrian crisis as well as by its stance on economic and energy issues in Cyprus. During the 2000s, Moscow’s influence on the island has steadily increased, making Cyprus a new Russian foothold in the Eastern Mediterranean. While Moscow’s ties with Nicosia have served Russia’s Mediterranean energy interests, they have also revived tensions with Turkey. In … [Read more...]

THE RISE OF NATIONALISM AMONG IRANIAN AZERBAIJANIS: A STEP TOWARD IRAN’S DISINTEGRATION?

Crowds in Tiraxtur al-Jari hold banner, "South Azerbaijan is not Iran," February 2013.

  This article deals with the Azerbaijani minority in Iran and its potential and real security threat for the country’s internal affairs and for the entire Caspian region. The article opens with an introduction on the ethnic and religious identities of Iranian Azerbaijanis and the community’s historical development in Iran--with a particular emphasis on the 1990s and onward. Next, it reviews the current situation in the region and the group’s primary motives and goals. The study … [Read more...]

CHINA’S STRATEGIC SHIFT TOWARD THE REGION OF THE FOUR SEAS: THE MIDDLE KINGDOM ARRIVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Fig 5 (2)

Since the Arab Spring, China has been quietly asserting its influence and fortifying its foothold in the Middle East, while the United States pivots to the Asia Pacific after a decade of war.  It is aligning with states that have problematic relations with the West and are also geo-strategically placed on the littoral of the “Four Seas”--the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Arabian Sea/Persian Gulf. Paradoxically, the U.S. eastward pivot is matched by the resurgent Middle … [Read more...]

WESTERN INFLUENCE ON ARAB MILITARIES: POUNDING SQUARE PEGS INTO ROUND HOLES

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff greets the various commanding generals of U.S. Forces, Iraq in Baghdad on July 27, 2010. Mullen's final stop in Iraq wraps up the ten-day, around the world trip to meet with counterparts and troops engaged in the war on terrorism. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

This article is a personal account of U.S. Army Colonel Norvell DeAtkine’s experience in dealing with Arab militaries for over 40 years. Based on observation and study of Arab military establishments, he concludes little of significance has happened to change the deeply embedded character of the Arab military mindset. While there is some evidence that Arab soldiers historically performed better under European officers, there is no evidence that the Western tradition of command ethos outlived … [Read more...]

THE ARAB SPRING, ITS EFFECTS ON THE KURDS, AND THE APPROACHES OF TURKEY, IRAN, SYRIA, AND IRAQ ON THE KURDISH ISSUE

  This article addresses the approaches of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq in dealing with the Kurdish issue, with a special focus on historical background. In addition, the article discusses how this issue affects relations among the aforementioned countries and whether cooperation on this issue is possible. The article also examines how the Arab Spring has impacted the Kurds and the attitudes of these countries toward the Kurdish issue.    Click here to download the PDF version of … [Read more...]

AN ISRAELI “PLAN B” FOR A NUCLEAR IRAN

Assuming that Iran does indeed obtain nuclear weapons and Israel doesn’t launch an attack on its facilities, what is Israel’s “plan B” to deal with the new situation? This article analyzes the issue. Click here to download the PDF version of this article. INTRODUCTION Despite substantial sanctions designed to curb its nuclear program, Iran has refused to bend to international pressure. It has consistently violated U.N. resolutions calling for it to abandon its uranium enrichment … [Read more...]

HIZBALLAH AND THE ARAB REVOLUTIONS: THE CONTRADICTION MADE APPARENT?

jonathan-spyer

Since the 1990s, Hizballah has defined itself along a number of parallel lines, each of which prior to 2011 appeared to support the other. The movement was simultaneously a sectarian representative of the Lebanese Shi’a, a regional ally of Iran and Syria, a defender of the Lebanese against the supposed aggressive intentions of Israel, and a leader of a more generically defined Arab and Muslim “resistance” against Israel and the West.  As a result of the events of 2011, most important the … [Read more...]

TURKISH-ISRAELI RELATIONS IN THE SHADOW OF THE ARAB SPRING

barry-rubin

This article is a short analysis of how Turkey changed under AKP rule so that the regime no longer wished to have an alignment with Israel but, on the contrary, needed to treat Israel as an enemy. In order to understand the initial reasons behind the creation of the Turkish-Israeli alliance, one must also recognize why that alignment came to an end. The cause was not within the partnership itself nor was it due to the 2008/2009 Gaza War or the 2010 flotilla events; rather this resulted from … [Read more...]

RUSSO-TURKISH DIVERGENCE (PART I): THE SECURITY DIMENSION

Since the early 1990s, Turkey and Russia's strategic outlooks have gradually been converging. The two countries have incrementally shed their mutual apprehensions and started a comprehensive and multifaceted cooperation. Turkish–Russian interaction in the Middle East, Caucasus, and Mediterranean reveals that there might be limits to the future expansion of their partnership.   Russo-Turkish relations encompass a multi-regional agenda from the Balkans to Central Asia, including the … [Read more...]

PAKISTAN AND ITS DISCONTENTS

Pakistan is facing a serious crisis today and despite the proclivity of the nation’s elites to blame external forces, the wounds are largely self-inflicted. India is not the biggest danger Pakistan faces today. It is the extremist groups that the security establishment has nurtured over the years that have turned against the Pakistani state. The Pakistani army has yet to reconcile itself to the idea that Afghanistan should be something other than its strategic backyard, under the control of … [Read more...]