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  • Affiliation : Chairman of the Executive Board, PIR Center; Co-Chair of the Trialogue Club International.
  • Affiliation : President, President, The Middle East Institute (MEI)
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International Security Index iSi increased to 2780 points. Buzhinsky, Satanovsky comment events of the week.

29.01.2013

13-01-28_iSi_Table.jpgMOSCOW, JANUARY 29, 2012. PIR PRESS – “French military intervention in the Malian conflict demonstrated algorithm of possible external interference in Syrian conflict: the most desperate of NATO members (France or Turkey) begins the invasion, other members of the alliance provide political, moral, or, in extreme cases, logistical support. No collective NATO action should be expected”, - PIR Center Senior Vice President, Lieutenant General (Retired), Evgeny Buzhinsky (Russia)

The new weekly International Security Index iSi was published in Kommersant (in Russian).

During the week of January 21-28, 2013, the International Security Index iSi increased to 2780 points. In Egypt, on the second anniversary of the revolution against former President Hosni Mubarak mass opposition protests erupted against the current Islamist government; the most violent clashes broke out in the city of Port Said after the announcement of verdict to football fans who provoke riots at the stadium in February last year. In Syria, the army strengthened attacks on the rebels in Homs as well as in the mountains near the Lebanese border. In Bahrain, the opposition held a demonstration with demand of overthrowing the ruling regime. In Iraq, Sunnis protest against the government escalated into clashes with the military, there are victims. In Israel parliamentary elections were held; a block of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Likud-Beiteinu got the biggest share за votes. In Mali, the Malian and French troops took control over the city of Gao, previously had been seized by Islamists. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution expanding the list of sanctions against North Korea for the December rocket launch; in response Pyongyang's government announced cease of the process of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In Brazil, as a result of a fire in a night club more than 200 people died.

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

Buzhinskiy_new.jpgEvgeny Buzhinsky (Russia), PIR Center Senior Vice President, Lieutenant General (Retired)  by phone from Moscow: Middle East is the main source of instability in the world. The civil war in Syria is continuing. A new feature in this conflict is that the West, particularly the USA have been starting to realize that Bashar al-Assad is supported by many people and to suspend him from power without external intervention would be impossible. But neither Washington nor its European allies are ready to begin direct intervention. The wave of protests in Egypt haven’t calm down. It seems that the most violent opponents of the Islamist government are not outside the country, but inside it. Egyptian opposition is not going to accept the intention of the government of Mohammed Mursi to establish Shariah in the country. The civil war in Mali that resulted from the forcible removal from power of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya adds tension to the region security. French military intervention in the Malian conflict demonstrated algorithm of possible external interference in Syrian conflict: the most desperate of NATO members (France or Turkey) begins the invasion, other members of the alliance provide political, moral, or, in extreme cases, logistical support. No collective NATO action should be expected.

On the week Barack Obama was inaugurated for a second term. I think there won’t be any changes in Russian-American relations during the new presidency of Obama and Putin. For Obama it is a matter of honor to bring the reset to the logical conclusion, or at least to prevent it from failing. The choice of Senator John Kerry, known for its balanced approach to Russia, to the post of Secretary of State is one of the evidences for this. Another clear indicator of intentions of the American president would be his planned visit to Russia in May. The effectiveness of the arms control agenda, including nuclear nonproliferation, which is a priority for Barack Obama, will depend on the possibility of reaching a compromise on missile defense with Russia.

p7286_3.jpgEvgeny Satanovsky (Russia), President of the Institute of Middle East Studies – by phone from Moscow: The escalation of the civil war in Syria, strengthening of the Islamists and the outbreak of war with them in Mali, the attack on the gas complex in Algeria are the major cause of the continued destabilization of the situation in the Middle East. Uncompromising position of Russia on Syria prevents external intervention and the overthrow of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The beginning of Islamist capture of Sahel threatens to shake security throughout the former French colonies. Beginning of military operation of the West and the countries of the ECOWAS in Mali is just a belated attempt to stop the Islamists in Bamako. In future, it will result in a long and expensive guerrilla war in the desert with an uncertain outcome. Seizing of hostages at the gas field in Algeria is a consequence of the crisis in Mali. Special operation to free the hostages was held at the level at which government security forces were capable and the results were exactly those that could have been achieved under these conditions. Fortunately, that were no negotiations with Islamists, but, alas, it was impossible to avoid the loss the hostages. To sum up: the Algerian security forces have shown unwillingness to protect the energy infrastructure in the Sahara.

In Israel, early parliamentary elections were held. The result of the elections confirmed the stability of the position of the center-right coalition. For the first time in twenty years, the theme of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been excluded from the major domestic issues.

In the spring of 2013 there will be a continuation of the conflict escalation in the Maghreb and the Sahel. Internal conflict in Egypt and the civil war in Syria will intensify. Destabilization in Jordan, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan will continue. the potential for conflict in areas Turkey - Kurds, Iran - Israel, Iran - Saudi Arabia. Inevitably to conflicts in Sudan and Somalia will increase.

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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