Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Security Challenges

Russia reloaded. What should the West expect from Russia? A look ahead to the next five years.

By Dmitri Trenin

The renewed conflict between Russia and the US – one that harkens back to the Cold War yet remains essentially distinct from the former – began in 2014 and has intensified ever since. Russia fundamentally opposes global American hegemony and remains profoundly skeptical of the prospects for a liberal world order. This confrontation is unlikely to dissipate and its effects, above all on Europe and especially on Germany, are best …

The political geometry of the Middle East has been redrawn in the last year

By Volker Perthes

Three issues are likely to determine the Middle East agenda in 2018: ongoing efforts to unwind the war in Syria, the Saudi-Iranian rivalry and, of course, the positioning and policies of Russia and the US. Other unresolved conflicts will continue to be enormously consequential to the people affected by it – the war in Yemen and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular – but are likely to have a lesser impact …

Erdoğan wanted Turkey to embrace its Western and Arab allies. Now he’s tied to Putin

By Can Dündar

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power in 2002 with a commitment to full membership of the EU. His then Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu initially endeavored to deliver on his promise of “zero problems with neighbors,” making advances to Armenia and the Kurds of Northern Iraq while promoting commerce with Russia. On the back of amicable breezes blowing between Greece and Turkey, attempts to engineer a solution to Cyprus accelerated. Radical …

Turkey seeks to destroy Kurdish self-government in Syria – but it just might achieve the opposite effect

By Michael Martens

The Turkish invasion of the Kurdish canton of Afrin has added yet another facet to the proxy war in Syria. The Turkish army and its Arab auxiliaries are now fighting against Syrian Kurds in northwestern Syria. However, events in the area involve the interests of at least four other actors, namely Washington, Moscow, Tehran and the regime of Bashar al- Assad. Ankara had announced an attack on Afrin Canton years …

Squaring the triangle of security, migration and state-building in Libya

By Silvia Colombo and Nathalie Tocci

Making sense of Libya through the lens of the nation state was never easy. This has been all the more true since 2011 when the country plunged into chaos and violence, triggering seven years of multi-layered intra-state conflicts, the proliferation of non-state actors, external interference and regional rivalries. The outcome has been the disintegration of the Libyan state in all but name.

But rather than targeting efforts on (re)constituting state …

Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are planning a massive boost to domestic weapons production by 2030

By Markus Bickel

The goal is ambitious. Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) will create 40,000 new jobs by 2030. And that’s not all: The new state-owned defense contractor would produce half of the Saudi forces’ weapons requirements by the end of the next decade. The Saudi Kingdom, which of late has made headlines primarily through vast imports of state-of-the-art weaponry, plans to start exporting to all parts of the world. Most recently, on …

Western allies continue their search for the right way to handle the Islamic Republic

By Cornelius Adebahr

The violent unrest in many Iranian cities took officials and foreign observers by surprise. It stemmed from the pent-up frustration of regular people in the provinces over unemployment, price hikes and corruption, while the world focused more on Iran’s increasing regional might and the uncertain state of the nuclear deal.

The relative calm inside the country has given way to a domestic quarrel over how to respond to the hitherto …

Two decades after the Yugoslav Wars, security in the Western Balkans is again in peril, this time by organized crime and political and religious extremism

By Rüdiger Rossig

On the morning of January 16, 2018, Oliver Ivanović, 64, was on his way to the office of his citizens’ initiative “Serbia, Democracy, Justice” in Kosovska Mitrovica when several shots were fired at him from a passing car. The Kosovo-Serb politician was soon pronounced dead on arrival at the local hospital.

Ivanović’s murder raised eyebrows far beyond the borders of Kosovo, a state of 1.8 million inhabitants on the southeastern …

Russia’s perennial leader is bent on completing his country’s return to superpower status and recasting the global order in its favor

By Katja Gloger

In February 1990, a young KGB officer departed from his first – and last – foreign posting and returned to a country that was still called the Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin had spent five years in East Germany and bought a used car (a “Volga”) with his savings. His return luggage also included a used washing machine – a gift from his neighbors.

In Dresden, Vladimir Putin had experienced the …

The situation in Ukraine may seem calm. Underneath, it is anything but

By Reinhard Veser

The daily reports issued by the OSCE Observer Mission in Ukraine testify to a constant stream of ups and downs. Sometimes the number of ceasefire violations increases over the previous day; other times it decreases. There is no definite direction either way – like a barely fluctuating wave that flares up on rare occasions. Today, as the war prepares to enter its fifth year, the political situation surrounding the conflict …