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International Security Index iSi decreased to 2783 points. Dunay, Arguello comment events of the week.

13.03.2013

MOSCOW, MARCH 13, 2013. PIR PRESS - “The second Obama administration has realized that most European countries face enormous difficulties in trying to follow the USA to the Asia-Pacific region. In part because of the effectively weakening military-strategic partnership, the USA has launched a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union. This may well be a recognition of the fact that the future relationship between the USA and Western Europe will focus more on economic aspects rather than on military matters. This will be particularly noticeable after the significant reduction of the foreign military presence in Afghanistan”, - Pál Dunay, Head of the International Security Program of the Geneva Center for Security Policy.

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

During the week of March 4-11, 2013, the International Security Index iSi decreased to 2783 points. The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution toughening sanctions against the DPRK for conducting a nuclear test in February. In return,Pyongyang withdrew from almost all agreements withSouth Korea on nonaggression and denuclearization of theKoreanPeninsula. In the Golan Heights, Syrian militants seized a group of UN peacekeepers who were there to monitor the ceasefire betweenSyria andIsrael. On theTempleMount inJerusalem, clashes erupted between Israeli police and Palestinians. InPort Said andCairo,Egypt, mass demonstrations broke out of people dissatisfied with the verdict in the February 2012 case of football riot. Meanwhile, the court reversed Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi’s decision to hold parliamentary elections on April22. In the Badami Bagh district of Pakistan, a crowd of angry Muslims burned hundreds of Christian houses over accusations of blasphemy by one of the district’s inhabitants. InIraq, nine people were killed as a result of militant attacks on government forces and the ensuing firefight. Terrorist attacks occurred inAfghanistan,Pakistan andYemen. InVenezuela, President Hugo Chavez died; special presidential elections will be held in the country on April 14.

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

13-03-12_iSi_Table.jpgPál Dunay, (Hungary), Head of the International Security Program of the Geneva Center for Security Policy - by e-mail from Budapest: The start of President Obama’s second presidential term and the formation of his new government means that pragmaticU.S. international politics will continue. This has certainly presented a relief for those partners who prefer business-like relations without major tremors. However, it is not clear whether the verbal reassurances (e.g. reset of the reset) will be backed by action. The continuation of theU.S. refocus to the Asia-Pacific region and away fromEurope causes certain challenges for the Europeans. But The second Obama administration has realized that most European countries face enormous difficulties in trying to follow theU.S. to the Asia-Pacific region. In part because of the effectively weakening military-strategic partnership, theU.S. has launched a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union. This may well be a recognition of the fact that the future relationship between theU.S. andWestern Europe will focus more on economic aspects rather than on military matters. This will be particularly noticeable after the significant reduction of the foreign military presence inAfghanistan. The much broader question is what this will mean for NATO in light of three factors: refocus ofU.S. attention to the Asia-Pacific region accompanied by disinterest on behalf of the smaller members of theAlliance, withdrawal fromAfghanistan, and austerity in military spending on both sides of theAtlantic. Furthermore, it is a question whether a reluctant North Atlantic Alliance which will soon be incapable of carrying out interventions is in the global interest or not.

Irma.jpgIrma Arguello (Argentina), Founder and Chair of the Nonproliferation for Global Security Foundation – by e-mail from Buenos Aires: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died. It seems that the uncertain situation prevailing in the country due to the president’s prolonged treatment inCuba is resolved. However, Chavez’s sudden illness, treatment, and then death left many unanswered questions. I would add that there is much evidence that the whole situation involves a big fraud that will go down in history. All this posed an institutional crisis related to the Presidential succession, including ambiguity, cover-ups – both internal and of third parties, and an unclear end.Cuba has an interested in keeping the plot alive. In fact, since Hugo Chavez took over the government ofVenezuela in 1999, theBolivarianRepublic has been a fundamental economic supporter and political ally forCuba. Cuba receives significant financial support annually from Venezuela, primarily in three forms – long-term financing of oil supplies from Venezuela, investment in large industrial projects, and payments for professional medical services rendered by Cuban doctors in Venezuela. Venezuela is also suspected of  electoral fraud during last presidential elections in October 2012.

ArgentinaandIranare to adopt a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to investigate the 1994 terrorist attack on the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association, in which 85 people died and 330 were wounded, and in which eight Iranian high government officials are accused of participating. This case has been under investigation for 19 years, andIranas a state has been accused as a political and economic sponsor of the attack which was carried out by Hezbollah. The MOU creates a Commission of Truth with members from third states, chosen by each government. This Commission would investigate the attack on the Argentine judicial structure. The MOU is very inaccurate and could give room to hide Iran´s responsibilities. The Argentine Congress is discussing it right now to potentially turn it into law and, therefore, to make it legally binding. The MOU has been highly criticized by experts and stakeholders, as it is seen as a way of endorsing the impunity of terrorist attacks worldwide. The approval of the MOU will have international consequences such as erosion of global security and encouragement of further big scale terrorist attacks.

For all questions concerning the International Security Index, please contact Galiya Ibragimova by e-mail ibragimova at pircenter.org

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