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  • Affiliation : Senior Associate, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center, Johns Hopkins University
  • Affiliation : Vice President, Observer Research Foundation
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International Security Index decreased to 2736 points. Unnikrishnan, Karaveli comment events of the week

04.09.2012

12-09-04_iSi_Table.jpgMOSCOW, SEPTEMBER 4, 2012. PIR PRESS – In the summer of 2012 India tested several ballistic missiles of various ranges. This issue caused much speculation in the media on the theme of deteriorating situation in East and South-East Asia. But conducted tests were a part of the well-known program on rockets development for military use. China and Pakistan for a long time have in service such short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles which India tested. Moreover, conducted tests did not cause any negative reaction of China and Pakistan themselves, so there is no need to dramatize the situation”, - Vice-president of the Observer Research Foundation, Nandan Unnikrishnan.

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

During the week of August 27 – September 3, 2012, the International Security Index iSi decreased to 2736 points.  In Syria, the army conducts counterterrorism operations in Damascus, Aleppo, Hama and Idlib, the situation on the Syrian-Iraqi border in Abu Kamal, where militants attacked a base aggravated dramatically. At the summit of The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held in Tehran a work group on resolving the Syrian crisis have been created; in the final resolution of the summit member states have suppurted the peaceful nuclear program of Iran. The IAEA has published a new report on Iran, which indicates that the country has doubled the number of centrifuges for uranium enrichment at Fordo underground Center and at the military base of Parchin a number of activities were held, including excavation work; in general within 2010 the country produced 189 kg of highly enriched uranium. Terrorist acts were committed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria. Armenia has suspended diplomatic relations with Hungary because of the decision of the official Budapest to extradite Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov convicted of murder of Armenian officer in 2004. In Russia, in the city of Vladivostok the APEC summit started it work. In Germany, in Frankfurt-am-Main about 100 flights were canceled due to the strike of cabin crew who demand wage increases and better working conditions. Isaac hurricane in the U.S.A., Bolaven typhoon in China, forest fires in Spain, floods in Niger are among the negative events of the week.

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

Unnikrishnan.jpgNandan Unnikrishnan (India), Vice-president of the Observer Research Foundation - by phone from Delhi: In the summer of 2012 India tested several ballistic missiles of various ranges. This issue caused much speculation in the media on the theme of deteriorating situation in East and South-East Asia. But conducted tests are a part of the well-known program on rockets development for military use. China and Pakistan for a long time have in service such short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles which India tested. Moreover, conducted tests did not cause any negative reaction of China and Pakistan themselves, so there is no need to dramatize the situation.

The growing confrontation between the government forces and the rebels in Syria, ineffectiveness of negotiations which were held in Vienna between the IAEA and Iran on the country's nuclear program – all these events increased tension not only in the Middle East, but also in South Asia. The situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan is in the center of high attention in India. U.S.A. and NATO military are still in Afghanistan, but that does not stop the Taliban and they continue to strengthen its position in the country. Today the Taliban possess control over the large parts of the territory of the country. This raises serious concerns of South Asia countries, as the main threat of terrorism in our region comes from Afghanistan. I wish that all these crises situations were solved not through weapons but through peaceful negotiations.

hmkaraveli_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 changing geopolitical configuration in the Middle East will acquire comprehensible shape only after the outcome of the Syrian crisis. One thing is clear now – the crisis in Syria reached the point of no return and many ethnic and interconfessional conflicts in the region were exacerbated. The Kurdish question is still one of the most acute. The absence of a single decision making center in Damascus, chaos and disunity in the ranks of the government and the opposition led to the fact that the formation of a Kurdish national autonomy in Syria becomes a matter of a few months. For Turkey, where the problem of the Kurds is among the major threats to national security, the appearance of Syrian Kurdistan in the neighborhood is not the rosy outlook. To prevent the development of such a scenario, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has started dialogue with the President of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani. There will be major implications of such a dialog. What I find interesting and striking in particular is the fact that this deal between the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish National Council (KNC), the Syrian Kurdish parties, is that this deal was supervised by the Iraqi Kurdish Government led by Massoud Barzani. And it is a very interesting fact because Barzani is trying to have good relations with Turkey, and actually Turkey has relied to a significant extent on Barzani in a hope of solving its own Kurdish problems. Barzani has for instance urged the Kurds in Turkey, the PKK to lay down arms and to reach an agreement with the Turkish Government.

Now Barzani has supervised a deal between the Kurdish parties in Syria that actually signaled birth of the Kurdish autonomous region in Syria. So, it is a very significant major development that actually, as I see it, overs a geopolitical earthquake in the Middle East. But I don’t think that this agreement was something that Erdogan knew about. With this deal Ankara will have to face the emergence of a de facto autonomous Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. So, before Turkey faced an autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq with which it had a border that stretched 400 kilometers and now it also faces the prospect of extension of that border with the Kurds to its south in Syria. So, Edogan actually reacted very sharply last week against this development blasting that Turkey was not going to tolerate a terrorist organization establishing itself on its borders. By the terrorist organization he was talking about the PYD – the Kurdish Democratic Union Party which is affiliated with the PKK, at least indirectly. But de facto autonomous Kurdish region in Syria is now controlled by the supreme Kurdish body which is formed by the PYD and the KNC. And in that sense it represents of course a serious threat to Turkey, not in the sense that they will be launching attacks against Turkey, but the mere fact that the Kurds in Syria are establishing an autonomous status will inevitably have ramifications among the Kurds in Turkey.

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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