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Foreign Affairs: Analysis

30 august 2016

Turkey’s Military Intervention in Syria

Sofia Denisova Fourth year student at MGIMO


In response to the terrorist attack carried out by Islamic State in the Turkish city of Gaziantep on August 20, 2016 and the shelling of the border town of Karkamış by militants, Turkey has announced the launch of Shield of the Euphrates operation, the aim of which is to destroy the militants’ bases in the Turkey–Syria border regions.

The Days of the Arabs Coloumn

Iraq at a Crossroads. Crisis within the Sunni Bloc and the Return of Nouri al-Maliki

Iraq at a Crossroads. Crisis within the Sunni Bloc and the Return of Nouri al-Maliki

On August 25, Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi congratulated the people on the liberation of the town of al-Qiyyarah from Islamic State terrorists. Fighting for this place (which includes an air base) had been going on for several weeks and is seen as part of the preparation for an offensive on Mosul, Islamic State’s capital in Iraq. But the operation to retake one of Iraq’s largest cities will now be led by another man, as a new minister of defence is expected to be appointed.

Author: Ruslan Mamedov.

RIAC Experts' Comments

NATO, Russia, and Empathy: Modern Lessons from a Cold War Military Exercise

NATO, Russia, and Empathy: Modern Lessons from a Cold War Military Exercise

In November 1983 the Soviet Union began to increase the combat readiness of its forces in Eastern Europe, including the air force forward-deployed in East Germany, in preparation to meet an expected pre-emptive strike by the United States and its allies.

The cause of this anxiety was the 1983 Able Archer NATO military exercise, an unusually large affair that focused on concentrating major formations of allied units in Western Europe in order to fight a combined arms operation, inclusive of tactical nuclear weapons, against the Warsaw Pact.

Author: Thomas Frear.

26 august 2016

What Did Russian Bombers in Iran Mean?

Alexey Khlebnikov Middle East expert and Russian foreign policy analyst, MSc Global Public Policy, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. Ph.D. candidate


On August 15, 2016 Russian aircraft arrived at the Iranian air base Hamadan and the following day flew first combat missions, bombing Islamic State and Jabhat An-Nusra (now Jabhat Fateh ash-Sham) targets in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo and Deir Ezzor. Since then Russia has intensified bombings of terrorist targets including three launches of Kalibr cruise missile from the Mediterranean on Aug. 19.

Eurasian Chronicle

Time to Reinforce the South Caucasus

Time to Reinforce the South Caucasus

Last week a whole series of significant meetings have taken place with the aim of strengthening security in the South Caucasus region, which has recently been shaken. A tripartite summit of the heads of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran took place in Baku on August 8, on August 9 Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St Petersburg for the first time since the crisis in Russian-Turkish relations started, and finally planned talks between the presidents of Russia and Armenia were held on 10 August. Essentially, talks have been held with all the key regional players. The only thing missing was the Georgian segment, although here too there was a signal from Tbilisi: Georgia’s president Giorgi Margvelashvili proposed that a dialogue be started to resolve joint issues, noting that he was ready to have a meeting of senior officials from the two countries, “if the Russian Federation can understand that Georgia is not an enemy of Russia.”

Author: Sergey Rekeda.

Via Militaris & Via Egnatia Coloumn

Here We Go Again. Serbia Has a New Government

Here We Go Again. Serbia Has a New Government

The new cabinet was elected by 163 votes out of 225 delegates present at the Skupstina (parliament) in the evening of 11 August. The vote was preceded by a three-day marathon with over 20-hour hearings where the government presented its 68-page programme. Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s presentation of the programme took six hours.

Author: Alexander PIvovarenko.

25 august 2016

Referendum in Thailand: Why Did Voters Support the Junta?

Anastasia Belyaeva Diplomat, scholar in Asian Studies (at the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University) and an expert on Thailand


On August 7, 2016, the people of Thailand voted in favour of a new constitution that democratically empowers the military junta which came to power after a coup in 2014. Despite the sceptical attitude of the observers and human rights NGOs, it appears that public opinion did indeed arrive at a consensus: over 61 per cent of voters supported the package of reforms to be implemented over the next 20 years, as well as giving the highest ranks of the ruling military the right to appoint the senate and, most likely, the prime minister as well.

Captain Smollet's

German Armoured Cavalry for Lithuania

German Armoured Cavalry for Lithuania

On August 22, 2016, Lithuania signed a contract for the purchase of 88 Boxer personnel carriers worth 385.6 million euro, making it the largest defence contract in the post-Soviet history of all the Baltic States. The much-publicized falling out between Russia and the West in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis has given a second wind to the militaries in Baltic nations. It was not too long ago that the ailing armed forces of these countries received an injection of funding to help counter the falling numbers of military personnel and embark upon an admittedly modest military equipment procurement programme. The largest and wealthiest of the three Baltic countries, Lithuania, even reintroduced conscription in 2015.

Author: Alexander Yermakov

23 august 2016

The Sykes-Picot Agreement And Russia

Vitaly Naumkin Director of the RAS Institute for Oriental Studies, RAS Corresponding Member


For almost four centuries – from the beginning of the 16th century until the end of World War I – most Arab countries were represented by Vilayets (provinces) of the Ottoman Empire while the western part of the Arab East was by that time already under the rule of colonial powers, England and France. In 1916, London and Paris secretly agreed on a future division of the Asian part of the Ottoman state, which was suffering defeat in the war. Under these agreements, after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the Arab vilayets were to come under the mandate of these powers. Their representatives, Britain’s Sir Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot of France went down in history as the authors of the first hastily put together version to colonially divide the Asian part of Ottoman Turkey.

22 august 2016

Russia and Turkey: More Than a Rapprochement?

Volkan Özdemir Director of EPPEN Institute & Instructor at Department of Eurasian Studies, Middle East Technical University, Ankara


On August 9, 2016 a high level meeting between Presidents of Russia and Turkey took place in St. Petersburg. This crucially important summit was the first foreign visit made by Erdogan after the failed coup attempt in Turkey on July, 15.

Discussion: 1

19 august 2016

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: Brazil After the Olympics

Aleksandr Losev Research fellow at Insitute of Latin Anerica of RAS


For the first time in the Olympic history, the games are held in South America. Seven years ago, winning the Olympic bid for Brazil was another way to demonstrate to the world its breakthrough development and increase its influence. However, unlike in 2009, when Brazil won the bid with relatively good economic indicators, the situation in the country today is very unstable.

18 august 2016

“The Narrow Corridor” of American-Polish Relations

Dmitry Ofitserov-Belsky Ph.D. Associate Professor, Dean of the School Social Sciences and Humanities National Research University Higher School of Economics


“That’s what makes us democracies, not just by the words written in constitutions or in the fact that we vote in elections, but the institutions we depend on every day – such as rule of law, independent judiciaries and a free press." According to Mr. Obama, these are the values the American-Polish alliance is based on. These words the American President addressed to Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland at the recent NATO summit in Warsaw; these words might have passed unnoticed in the world, but in Poland, they created an uproar. They unequivocally stated that Poland has anti-democratic tendencies, which has already long been discussed in Europe. The current state of Polish-American relations is considered to be nearly the worst in recent history. At the same time, one cannot say there are reasons for serious disagreements or a personal dislike between the leaders.

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