December 16, 2017

How to Get the Whole World Mad

“GENTLEMEN do not read other gentlemen’s mail” sniffed US Secretary of State Henry Stimson in 1929 when told that American cryptographers had broken Japan’s naval and diplomatic codes. Stimson, who later headed the War Department, ordered code-breaking shut down. Alas, there are not any old-school gentlemen left in Washington these days. Revelations of US electronic spying by whistleblower Edward Snowden have ... Read More »

Central Asia’s New Silk Road, Paved by China

Over the past decade, Central Asia has grown from a marginal position in Beijing’s strategic calculus to the top of its diplomatic priorities: China is fast emerging as a vital economic and political player in this strategically located and resource-rich region. In early September Chinese President Xi Jinping visited several Central Asian countries bringing billions in investment — a trip that ... Read More »

Myanmar’s Lawless Land

There’s no doubt that Myanmar is a country in transition. Even its harshest critics admit that the government is initiating reforms. Laws have been passed that allow participation in politics and increased media freedom. Many political prisoners have been freed, travel restrictions have been eased and ceasefire agreements have been brokered with ethnic armed groups. The development surge and the laws ... Read More »

Why Saudi Arabia Rejected Seat on UN Security Council?

Saudi Arabia has grabbed the limelight by refusing its non-permanent membership at the Security Council to protest the U.N.’s inability to do anything against Bashar al-Assad. It has also let its displeasure with the U.S. over Syria and Iran be known and is reportedly on the verge of making a “major shift,” to use the words of the Saudi intelligence chief Prince ... Read More »

Bosnia’s Ten Years Without Alija

This October 19 marked the 10th anniversary of the death of independent Bosnia’s first democratically elected president, Alija Izetbegović. Elected to the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in late 1990, Izetbegović remained a member of the Presidency until 2000. During the aggression on Bosnia from 1992 until 1995, Izetbegović was the president of the Presidency and the undisputed leader of ... Read More »

Backlash Fears After ‘Islamist’ Attacks in Eastern DRC

“Eight months ago no one had heard of Al-Shabab,” said Henri Ladyi, a Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) expert and director of the Conflict Resolution Centre (CRC) in Beni, a town and territory in North Kivu Province in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Ladyi is concerned that rumours about the influence of Somalia-based Islamists in Beni, whether true or ... Read More »

Why Central Asia Abnormally Silent on Syria

The US and Russia have enacted a political compromise to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control and destroy them. However, the political crisis in Syria is not limited by this Washington-Moscow deal. The solution of the “chemical weapons” issue is useless for the resolving of ethno-political and sectarian conflicts that split this Middle Eastern country. It is also not ... Read More »

Is China-Iran Clash Inevitable?

Even as the U.S. considers Iran’s nuclear program as its most immediate threat, a consensus has emerged in the U.S. foreign policy establishment that China’s rise poses the biggest long-term strategic challenge to the country. There is little indication that a similar consensus has taken hold among Iranian elites. It will. Indeed, as Iran has been preoccupied with the U.S. ... Read More »

The Creeping Militarization of the Arctic

Russia’s announcement last month that it was considering reopening a major northern naval base and resuming regular naval patrols has revived a debate over the militarization of the Arctic. In early September, a convoy of 10 Russian warships – led by missile cruiser Peter the Great and accompanied by four nuclear-powered icebreakers – completed a voyage across the Arctic Ocean. Starting from Severomorsk near ... Read More »

The New Threat to Turkey’s Security

Turkey lives in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the world. As such it has always has special security needs. Ankara’s regional foreign policy was traditionally based on treading cautiously and engaging in balancing acts in order to accommodate this delicate geopolitical situation. The overriding aim was always to ensure that one did not import the seemingly interminable troubles of ... Read More »