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  • Affiliation : Director of OSCE Academy
  • Affiliation : President, President, The Middle East Institute (MEI)
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International Security Index iSi increased to 2791 points. Dunay, Satanovsky comment events of the week.

23.07.2013

MOSCOW, JULY 23, 2013. PIR PRESS Overall the lesson to draw is that the Arab spring has not brought reconciliation and settlement in some Arab states and some have contributed to continuing regional instability, like Libya. This underlines the general conclusion: there is no easy transition from corrupt dictatorial or authoritarian regimes in the short run. Also there is one thing that connects the Arab spring case: it is the insistence on holding to power and not being ready to relinquish it”, - Head of the International Security Program of the Geneva Center for Security Policy, Pál Dunay.

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

During the week of July 15 - 22, 2013, the International Security Index iSi increased to 2791 points. In Syria fighting between the army and the rebels continued; on the Syrian-Turkish border there were clashes between Kurds and Syrian rebels. In Egypt, the transitional government of Hazem al-Beblawi started its work; clash of supporters and opponents of the Islamists continued. Terrorist attacks occurred in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. In the Congo fighting between the army and the rebels of March 23 Movement renewed. In Guinea, as a result of inter-ethnic violence more than 50 people were killed. In Brazil and Spain took place protests of dissatisfied with the economic policy of the authorities. North Korea and South Korea continued to negotiate the reopening of the industrial complex in Kaesong.

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

Pál Dunay, (Hungary), Head of the International Security Program of the Geneva Center for Security Policy - by e-mail from Budapest: The security situation during the period of April – June 2013 has steadily deteriorated globally due first and foremost to the coexistence of three factors. Namely a relatively old problem, the civil war in Syria has been accompanied by temporary or lasting internal destabilization in a number of other states aggravated by limited instability in some other ones.

The Syria conflict is a lasting headache to the leading countries of the world as the fate of the Arab spring in other states of the Middle East and North Africa demonstrated that there was no easy solution to such problems. Although the division between many leading western states and Russia (and to less visibly China) remains and will continue to prevail, the West has also become uncertain as far as the preferred outcome. An apparently disunited Syrian opposition does not give the impression that the situation would be consolidated if it came to power. It is not clear at all, which party to the conflict uses terrorist methods. It seems the rebels do not possess chemical weapons and hence that is easier to attribute to the government. In the mean time the conflict has become regional through its effect on several neighbouring countries. Instability in the most influential Arab state, Egypt relegates Cairo to be less influential in regional matters.

Overall the lesson to draw is that the Arab spring has not brought reconciliation and settlement in some Arab states and some have contributed to continuing regional instability, like Libya. This underlines the general conclusion: there is no easy transition from corrupt dictatorial or authoritarian regimes in the short run. Also there is one thing that connects the Arab spring case: it is the insistence on holding to power and not being ready to relinquish it. 

Evgeny Satanovsky (Russia), President of the Institute of Middle East Studies – by phone from Moscow: Despite various estimates of the presidential elections in Iran, they were quite fair and included real competition among the candidates. The result was a clear advantage of the liberal-pragmatic wing, which managed to consolidate in contrast to the conservatives. In this case we are talking about protecting the ideals of Khomeini revolutionary ideology in its soft variant from aggressive secular warlords who tried to push the religious establishment to which Rouhani belongs aside. It is clear that smiling connoisseur of foreign languages, professional negotiator and experienced leader is much more acceptable to the West than brutal Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Domestically Rouhani will introduce reforms, soften the regime's attitude towards opposition; on the international arena will try to improve relations with the West, nevertheless the nuclear program will be completed successfully and Iran will become a country with the military nuclear capabilities. This will push the country to be more active on the fronts of confrontation with the Sunni neighbors and Israel. As a result, the struggle for the safety of the Shia against the radical Sunni (mainly Salafis) in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Gulf countries will increase, while the military threat to the region will not decrease, contrary to the rhetoric of Rouhani. We should not forget that the Caribbean crisis in relations between the USSR and the USA was not under Stalin, but in Khrushchev Thaw - and this analogy for today's Iran is more than relevant.

The situation in Egypt after the overthrow of Mohammed Mursi and the ongoing collision of opponents and supporters of the Islamists is in some way a threat to its neighbors. Justice and Equality Party in Turkey, Ennahda movement in Tunisia, as well as Qatar, which supports the the Muslim Brotherhood-like movements around the world are clearly not happy with the Egyptian events. However, the situation in Turkey, where anti-government demonstrations continue, is by all accounts better than in Egypt. With the Ergenekon case and other lawsuits against the generals, army has been vaccinated against the coups. At worst Tayyip Erdogan could be replaced as leader of Justice and Equality Party by someone from the top echelon of the party: Gul, Arryncha, etc. Accordingly, the events in Egypt will not affect Turkey directly though they can serve as an example for Turkish protesters. But the Gezi park is not Tahrir Square, Egypt is not Turkey and Erdogan is least of all Mursi. Cairo is no indicator for Ankara. Neither is Ankara for Cairo.

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

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