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  • Affiliation : Director of OSCE Academy
  • Affiliation : Senior Associate, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center, Johns Hopkins University
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International Security Index iSi decreased to 2743 points. Karaveli, Dunay comment events of the week.

17.12.2012

p7286_1.jpgMOSCOW, DECEMBER 17, 2012. PIR PRESS - “As the recent round of conflict between Israel and Hamas illustrated, it is in fact possible to keep this conflict from getting out of hand. The change of regime in Egypt has had a positive impact in this respect; the close ties between the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Cairo and its sister organization Hamas has replaced the alliance between Hamas and Iran; with Egypt's return as the most important regional player in the Middle East, Iran's influence - and its potential to disrupt security - has been reduced”, - Senior Fellow with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center, Halil Karaveli.

During the week of December 10-16, 2012, the International Security Index iSi decreased to 2743 points. North Korea in violation of UN Security Council resolutions has launched ballistic missiles carrying a satellite. In Syria, on the southern outskirts of Damascus, fierce clashes between the army and the rebels continued; army troops conducted storm of Darayya suburbs - the bridgehead of rebels. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama acknowledged the The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces legal representatives of the Syrian people. In Lebanon, the army took control of the Alawite and Sunni neighborhoods, stopping the internecine clashes in the country. In Egypt, the ten provinces of the country took part in the first stage of the referendum on the new constitution of the country; the majority of voters supported the adoption of the Basic Law. In the east of Yemen the army launched a massive operation against militants of al-Qaeda. At the summit of the European Union the decision to establish the European Banking Association was approved. In the U.S.A. as a result of shooting at an elementary school 27 people were killed, including children. In the Philippines, flooding and devastation caused by Bofa typhoon led to the deaths of more than 1,000 people.

Comments on the week's events by members of the International Expert Group of the PIR Center 

p7278_2.jpgHalil Karaveli (Turkey-Sweden) – Senior Fellow with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center – by e-mail from Stockholm: The Syrian civil war is a highly destabilizing factor in the Middle East. This conflict, and the wider, regional power struggle between Iran and the Sunni bloc of Saudi Arabia/Turkey/Qatar of which it is part, constitutes a serious threat to the security in the Middle East. Compared to the Sunni-Shiite power struggle, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has in fact less of an impact on the regional security. As the recent round of conflict between Israel and Hamas illustrated, it is in fact possible to keep this conflict from getting out of hand. The change of regime in Egypt has had a hug, positive impact in this respect; the close ties between the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Cairo and its sister organization Hamas has replaced the alliance between Hamas and Iran; with Egypt's return as the most important regional player in the Middle East, Iran's influence - and its potential to disrupt security - has been reduced. However, at the same time, the determination of Israel to expand the settlements on the West Bank ensures that radical elements among the Palestinians will nonetheless remain in a strong position.

The U.S. policy towards the Middle East in the period of the new presidency of Barack Obama is indeed a big question that the Obama administration itself is currently trying to figure out the answer to. Above all, the Americans need to figure out what their major strategic interests in the region are, which I am not sure they have yet done. The fact that the U.S.A. no longer depends on the Middle East for its oil supplies should reasonably have a major impact on Washington's strategic calculations. However, the U.S.A. is caught in a strategic dilemma: it is trying to rein in Iran, mainly because of its concern for Israel, but in so doing -- as the case of Syria above all demonstrates -- it is helping to bring Sunni conservatives (the Muslim Brotherhood) to power, which will not help democratize the region and which ultimately may end up representing a greater threat to Israeli security.

Pal_Dunay.pngPál Dunay, (Hungary), Head of the International Security Program of the Geneva Center for Security Policy - by e-mail from Budapest: in the region of Central and Eastern Europe There have occured no major change as far as the security situation. The one area where changes did take place and was the former Yugoslavia. The acquittal by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the case against Lt. General Gotovina and his colleague from Croatia and Mr. Ramush Haradinaj of Kosovo has reassured Serbia that the tribunal provides victor's justice. This has contributed to the temporary increase of tension between Serbia and some of his partners. The International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia again acquitted former Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj and General Gotovina for war crimes. In Pristina, the sentence is satisfied. In Belgrade, the verdict was found so outrageous that the Serbian government issued a special statement. There is however, another fact that shows in the direction of limited improvement of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. The pragmatic accords of shared border control/shared border management between Serbia and Kosovo is a small sign of amelioration that although inconclusive may show in the right direction historically.

The iSi index is calculated weekly and monthly. A weekly iSi value is published on Tuesdays in Kommersant Daily (www.kommersant.ru) accompanied by brief comments explaining Index fluctuations. Results of the monthly iSi calculations are published on the first working day of each month at the PIR Center website at www.pircenter.org 

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