August/September 2014 Newsletter

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August/September 2014 Newsletter
The Jamestown Foundation Leadership: Glen E. Howard, President
At a Glance


New China Brief Editor

New Report on Foreign Fighters in Syria Available

Jamestown in the Media

Top Articles of the Month

Featured Publications 

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Call Putin’s Bluff – He Will not Cut Off Europe’s Gas
By Matthew Bryza, Jamestown Board Member
As Moscow prepares to instigate a crisis over this winter’s natural gas supplies, Europe can secure its interests by remembering that Russia is dependent on Europe as its primary gas export market – and by preparing to weather the winter without buying Russian gas.
This spring, while Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine were gearing up for action, President Vladimir Putin tried to intimidate European leaders by suggesting that the Kremlin might redirect natural gas from Europe to China in retaliation for any EU sanctions. On May 21, Mr Putin suddenly reversed a decade of resistance and caved in to Chinese demands for a lower gas price, accepting $350 per thousand cubic metres. That is 42 percent less than the price Lithuania pays – so low that it risks depressing natural gas prices throughout the Far East, including for future Russian sales to Japan. Moreover, Moscow will have to borrow $50bn to pay for new pipelines and other infrastructure, costs that must be repaid out of the paltry revenues.
Mr Putin was willing to accept such poor economics because his main goal was political: to intimidate Europe. But behind the grandstanding, the Russian president knows that Europe is the only viable market for Russian natural gas, and that it will continue to be so for decades.
Russia sends four times as much gas to the EU as it will eventually pipe into China under the new deal. By the time those exports reach their peak, an expanded Nordstream pipeline under the Baltic sea and a new South Stream pipeline under the Black Sea will increase exports to Europe by more than 50 percent. Finally, the gasfields that will supply China are located in eastern Siberia – too far from Europe to serve EU customers.
Russia will nevertheless threaten to stop supplying Ukraine and the EU over the winter.
Chinese Designs on the Arctic? Chill Out
By Matthew Willis
It is not fashionable, these days, to downplay China’s interest in the Arctic. Recent news that Beijing plans to publish a guidebook on Arctic shipping, that China will receive preferential treatment along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) or that Chinese investors plan to finance Russian gas extraction in the Yamal all creates the impression the country is moving into the Arctic in a big way. A steady stream of analysis, mainly from Western commentators leaning heavily on the notion that the Chinese are both revisionist and far-sighted, suggests that something more sinister is afoot.
There is no denying that China’s international persona can be abrasive and its interpretation of international law unconventional. However, when it comes to the Arctic, it has hardly been the menace some claim. Many Chinese commentators hold uncontroversial views on China’s future role in the region, and diplomats from several Arctic states have made a point of emphasizing how sanguine their governments are about China’s presence. A comparison of China’s interests to those of other non-Arctic states reveals that there is little to set it apart from the likes of India or Singapore. Indeed, what unites all three is the domestic origins of their northern interests. As for China’s recent admission to the ranks of the Arctic Council observers, a foreign policy success but certainly no coup, Beijing arguably made more concessions than gains en route to the prize.
Western perceptions of China’s attitude toward the Arctic have been shaped by highly selective reporting, particularly regarding governance and access to resources. As an example, remarks by Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo more than four years ago—to the effect that no nation has sovereignty over the Arctic and that China’s sheer size gives it an “indispensable role”—are still being cited. These statements, typically framed within a “China threat” narrative and treated as timeless, continue to be quoted by Western analysts, perhaps because they validate entrenched prejudices concerning China and suspicions of its strategic aims.
Fear-mongering over China is strikingly similar to commentary on Russia not long ago. Following Russia’s 2007 “Arktika” expedition (a more international effort than usually reported), predicting a new “New Cold War” was de rigueur. Little regard was given to the region’s governance structures, the distribution of hydrocarbons or the nature of the boundary disputes involved, and still less to the affinities and fault lines between the various players. Only belatedly did commentators realize that pre-existing templates were inadequate to explain the Arctic’s geopolitical dynamics. Now that the “New Cold War” has begun to lose currency, different grounds for conflict are being sought.
The Arctic is its own region, where states’ relations with each other are not always governed by what is happening elsewhere. China’s interests could, in time, prove incompatible with those of one or more of the Arctic states, but reading future threats into Beijing’s current posture is premature. China does have policies for the Arctic, particularly in the scientific realm, but not a coherent strategy. Neither its analytical community nor its official line is hawkish, and Chinese commentary encompasses a broad spectrum of views. China’s regional interests are not unique, and are more reflective of domestic priorities than geopolitical ambitions. Moreover, the Arctic states are generally keen to attract China’s business, meaning Chinese “prospecting” for resources and other business opportunities is part of a two-way exchange. Finally, China’s new status on the Arctic Council, which the Council’s own members encouraged, is not a ram with which to “break into” the region. On the contrary, it may have long-term benefits: the better China’s understanding of the politics, climate, environment and peoples of the Arctic, the more likely it is to see the region through the eyes of its Arctic counterparts.
Jamestown’s New China Brief Editor
Nathan Beauchamp-MustafagaNathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga is the new editor of China Brief. He is a graduate of the dual-degree master’s in international affairs program at the London School of Economics and Peking University, where he focused on Chinese foreign policy and wrote both of his master’s theses on China-North Korea relations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and Chinese language and literature from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Nathan has lived in China for over three years and completed a year each of his high school, university and master’s education at seven universities in five cities throughout China. He has spent time at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the Center for International and Strategic Studies at Peking University (CISS), and most recently the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC). 
Foreign Fighters in Syria: A Militant Leadership Monitor Special Report
In this Quarterly Special Report (QSR), we focus on the foreign fighters who have flocked to the Syrian conflict from around the world. From the Caucasus to the Black Sea to Indonesia, the Syrian conflict has attracted militants from various corners of the globe to fight against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The QSR begins with a brief survey of foreign fighters in Syria by Nicholas Heras. The profiles of foreign fighters start with a portrait of the Georgia-born Chechen Omar al-Shishani, of the Islamic State, written by Sirwan Kajjo. Jacob Zenn then explores the little known connectionbetween militants in Indonesia and Syria. The QSR continues with an updated profile of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, and its Jordanian ideologue Sami al-Aridi is profiled by Murad Batal al-Shishani. Mairbek Vatchagaev provides a unique look at the Crimean fighter Abdul-Karim Krymsky. Murad Batal al-Shishani then offers an overview of Syrian rebels originally from the Russian North Caucasus. Nicholas Heras covers a Lebanese al-Qaeda commander, Osama Amin al-Shihabi. Leyla Aslanova then provides an independent assessment about the emergence of Azerbaijani fighters in Syria as reflected in a new documentary film. Finally, a timeline of milestones in the Syrian civil war is provided for context.
Recent Media Appearances
Los Angeles Times quotes Jacob Zenn on the Chinese crackdown of Islamic behavior by Uyghurs.
Senior Fellow Michael Ryan was interviewed by Australian National Radio over the Islamic State’s magazine Dabiq.
Wladimir van Wilgenburg was quoted on the ongoing Islamic State siege of Kobani by National Geographic.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Jacob Zenn on Boko Haram’s efforts to recruit more militants and establish a caliphate in northeastern Nigeria.
Most-Read Articles of the Month
Featured Publications
Conflict Zones: North Caucasus and Western Balkans Compared by Janusz Bugajski

The Jamestown Foundation is proud to announce the release of Janusz Bugajski’s landmark study of the increasingly unstable North Caucasus. Comparing the region to the war-ravaged Western Balkans of the 1990s, Mr. Bugajski argues that the North Caucasus are poised to inherit the status as the “powder keg” of Europe. In addition to reviewing the region’s recent history and making forecasts for the future, Mr. Bugajski offers suggestions and proposals for a more active approach by Western governments to defuse conflicts in the region.

**Conflict Zones is available for free on our website! To download your copy, please click here**
Janusz Bugajski is a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DCand host of “Bugajski Hour” and “Bugajski Time” television shows broadcast in the Balkans. Bugajski has authored 19 books on Europe, Russia, and trans-Atlantic relations and is a columnist for several media outlets. His recent books include Conflict Zones: North Caucasus and Western Balkans Compared (2014), Return of the Balkans: Challenges to European Integration and U.S. Disengagement (2013), Georgian Lessons: Conflicting Russian and Western Interests in the Wider Europe (2010), Dismantling the West: Russia’s Atlantic Agenda (2009), America’s New European Allies (2009); and Expanding Eurasia: Russia’s European Ambitions (2008).

The Crimea: Europe’s Next Flashpoint?

In light of the recent events in Crimea, The Jamestown Foundation has decided to re-release its November 2010 Occasional Report: The Crimea; Europe’s Next Flashpoint.  Authored by the noted Ukrainian security expert Taras Kuzio, the report was four years ahead of its time and predicted that Russia and Ukraine would one day be locked again in a struggle over the strategic peninsula.  As the report noted back in 2010, Russia has always had a difficult time reconciling itself to accepting Ukraine as an independent state and a country. It had an even more impossible time recognizing Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea and the port of Sevastopol. The report remains a unique in-depth analysis of Russian-Ukraine relations and retraces the steps of Russian leaders and politicians from the 1990s to November 2010 and Moscow’s quest to regain control of Crimea.

*Click here to purchase this report*

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