January 2013 Newsletter

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January 2013
The Jamestown Foundation Leadership: Glen E. Howard, President
At a Glance

Azerbaijan Event 

Forthcoming Event: 3rd Annual China Defense & Security Conference

Jamestown Visits Belarus

2013 Projections by JTF Analysts

Media Appearances

Support Jamestown

Jamestown Staff & Fellows
Editor, China Brief
Program Associate
Program Associate/Events Coordinator
Managing Editor of Global Terrorism Analysis
Director of Programs for the Balkans, Caucasus & Central Asia
Senior Fellow – China Program
Senior Fellow – Eurasia Program
Senior Fellow
Senior Fellow – Eurasia Program
Senior Fellow
Jamestown Conference – Azerbaijan and Its Partners: Regional, European, Transatlantic

On December 17, 2012, the Jamestown Foundation presented an event entitled “Azerbaijan and Its Partners: Regional, European, Transatlantic.” The event featured two panels of experts on the South Caucasus and Caspian basin energy issues as well as keynote remarks by Matthew Bryza, former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan.  

The first panel discussed the linchpin role Azerbaijan plays in bolstering energy security for Central and Eastern Europe through the opening of the Southern Corridor. Speakers included Jamestown Senior Fellow Vladimir Socor, U.S. State Department Senior Advisor for energy matters Daniel Stein, BP Senior Director Greg Saunders, as well as Nargiz Gurbanova, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Azerbaijan to Washington. 

The second panel explored a wider range of regional relations and international security obstacles to peace and development in the South Caucasus. The comments focused on the Karabakh conflict as well as Turkey’s role in the Southern Corridor and its relations with Azerbaijan. The speakers were David Merkel, the Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Alexandros Petersen of the Woodrow Wilson Center for scholars. The discussion was moderated by Dr. S. Frederick Starr, chairman of the Johns Hopkins–SAIS Central Asia-Caucasus Institute. 

The conclusion of the conference featured a keynote address by Matthew Bryza, the former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan. Ambassador Bryza discussed a range of topics, including the resolution of the Karabakh conflict, the need for U.S. engagement on the Southern Corridor as well as political and economic development in the South Caucasus and the political situation in Georgia following the October 2012 parliamentary elections. 

To watch the full video of the conference please click here

Save the Date: Jamestown’s 3rd Annual China Defense and Security Conference
The Jamestown Foundation will hold the 3rd Annual China Defense and Security Conference from 8:30 AM to 4:15 PM on Thursday, February 28 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. The conference will feature a number of military and regional experts such as Admiral Timothy Keating, Willy Lam, Daniel Hartnett, Kevin McCauley and Dennis Blasko. The conference will feature four panels of leading experts on Chinese security issues.
Tickets are $85, with all proceeds going to support the Jamestown Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to informing and educating policy makers and the broader community about events and trends in those societies which are strategically or tactically important to the United States and which frequently restrict access to such information.

Jamestown Exchanges Views with Belarusian Government Leaders

Last week The Jamestown Foundation led a small group of analysts on a three-day visit Minsk, Belarus. Headed by Jamestown President Glen E. Howard, the group included Jamestown analysts Vladimir Socor and Grigory Ioffe, as well as Janusz Bugajski, a long-standing Washington expert on Eastern Europe. The Jamestown Foundation initiated this fact-finding trip to learn more about the current state of U.S.-Belarus, EU-Belarus, and Belarus-Russia relations.
As one of the Western world’s leading research and analysis organizations on Eastern Europe and Eurasia, The Jamestown Foundation frequently conducts fact-finding visits to the countries we cover. Our analysts regularly write about Belwiarus in Jamestown’s flagship publication, Eurasia Daily Monitor, which is circulated to policymakers and analysts around the world. During our Minsk visit, Jamestown met with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey, and other senior officials. The

group presented a compendium of analyses on Belarus by Jamestown analysts, which can be seen by clicking here. During the visit, Jamestown also met with diplomats of the European Union- and NATO-member countries stationed in Minsk, as well as members of the Polish community in Lida.

The Jamestown delegation received a comprehensive briefing from the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry, and Railway authorities, concerning the role of Belarus in the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), which supplies American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The route runs from the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda, via Belarus, and onward to Afghanistan. In the past year the volume of goods and supplies that transit via the Belarus route of NDN has doubled. Belarus is set to play a growing role in the reverse transit when the U.S. and NATO forces exit from Afghanistan in 2014. It should be noted that Belarus has undertaken such cooperation with the United States and

NATO at a time when it is under Western sanctions.

2013 Projections by JTF Analysts
As we head into 2013, The Jamestown Foundation asked three of our leading analysts and regular contributors to project current trends across the new year. Andrew McGregor, Wladimir van Wilgenburg and Jacob Zenn examine the future of terrorism, state stability and regional competition across the Greater Middle East and North Africa in these predictions for 2013. 
Andrew McGregor
  • In general, there is likely to be a major shift in jihadist activity to urban centers from more traditional rural settings as insurgents adapt to the threat posed by the U.S. drone campaign.
  • Salafi-Jihadists will continue to expand their influence in West Africa, creating new sectarian conflicts in religiously mixed regions.
  • Libya is far from secured and will remain an important source of arms for insurgents in neighboring countries.
  • The situation in Egypt remains precarious and it will be necessary to closely monitor the growing Salafist movement there as it may try to exploit political confusion to advance its own agenda. A return to political violence by Salafi-Jihadists using newly-available Libyan arms is not out of the question and attacks on the Coptic community may increase in intensity.
  • In the Middle East the confrontation between Sunni Arab nations (particularly those in the Gulf) and the Iranian Shiite bloc will continue to produce tensions that some foreign intelligence services will be eager to exploit. In this context we might expect to see a new round of terrorist activity within Iran, followed by retaliatory attacks in a growing covert battle.
  • Syria will continue to implode with the possibility of a spread of this violence to Lebanon, but otherwise, the presence of powerful neighbors to the north and south (Turkey and Israel, respectively) will play a large role in preventing a regional spillover of violence.
  • The U.S./NATO drawdown in Afghanistan may not mean an immediate increase in violence there as the Taliban attempts to consolidate its position in the south before turning its attention to the rest of the country.
  • Pakistan is likely to be far more volatile, with political violence exacerbated by sectarian rivalry.
  • Burma will be worth keeping an eye on in 2013 as confrontations between authorities and local Muslim communities continue to attract the attention of international jihadists.

Wladimir van Wilgenburg

  • In 2013, we will see an ongoing conflict and stalemate in Syria between Assad and the opposition with no clear end in sight. This situation will lead to more instability in neighboring Lebanon and Iraq, where many Iraqi Sunnis feel pressured by the Maliki-government and inspired by the events in Syria. This will lead to massive protests in the Sunni districts of Iraq against the government and tensions between the periphery and the center. 
  • The continuing stalemate in Syria also affects the Kurdish areas of Northern Syria where there are ongoing tensions between rival Kurdish parties and a lack of food, electricity, gas and services as well as an influx of internally-displaced Syrians from other parts of the country. This will lead to a local crisis. 
  • There is a possibility of new clashes between the Free Syrian Army and militias affiliated with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) over the control of Hasakah province and its resources. Moreover, Kurdish rivals of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and PKK are creating their own militias, which could lead to violence between Syrian Kurds without the intervention of the Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani. 
  • In Iran, the ongoing sanctions will lead to an increasing deterioration of the economic situation and this could lead to further political unrest and fractures within the government.  
  • The Kurdish nationalist parties in Iran are trying to form united blocs, but they cannot achieve much without a strong internal Iranian opposition that challenges the government in Tehran (or outside intervention). It is unlikely they will launch an insurgency again without clear prospects for wider change.
  • In Turkey, there are new talks between the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and the state with the aim of disarming the PKK. However, it seems the government is not willing to find a political solution. A breakdown of the talks could lead to new violence, because the PKK has gained strength as Syrian-Iranian-Turkish cooperation against the PKK has ceased. This is the result of the Syrian conflict and a ceasefire between the PKK and the Iranian state.  
  • The Iraqi Kurds could seek more independence from Baghdad by signing an oil and/or gas pipeline deal with Ankara. They already are trading with Turkey independent of Baghdad. This would lead to more tensions between the Iraqi Kurds and Baghdad over the budget, resources and control of the disputed areas.

Jacob Zenn

  • The Nigerian security forces’ crackdown on Boko Haram will continue. One after another, Boko Haram commanders have been captured or killed in recent months. As a result, Boko Haram attacks have moved to the border regions and rural towns, where they have attacked softer targets. Boko Haram is likely to continue moving into areas where it has not operated much before, such as Adamawa, Benue and Taraba. 
  • Boko Haram operatives in the cities will likely continue carrying out attacks in small cells, targeting police officers and government personnel in drive-by shootings at checkpoints and similar attacks that allow for quick escape. 
  • Mass casualty attacks like those in Kano in January 2012 are less likely now because of the security forces’ crackdown and because that attack bred much dissent in Boko Haram and hurt the movement internally. The saving grace for Boko Haram has been its ability to regroup in the border regions and then launch attacks in Nigeria, so Boko Haram’s continued rise will largely depend on how well Nigeria coordinates with its neighbors in a regional counter-terrorism strategy. 
  • Mali’s instability also has been a huge plus for Boko Haram as leader Abu Shekau and other key commanders have received safe haven and other forms of support from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Movement for Jihad and Unity in West Africa (MUJWA). As long as Boko Haram has these havens, Nigeria will not be able to stamp out the insurgency. 
  • Boko Haram will continue to show they are influenced by al-Qaeda in that their rhetoric and goals will have much more in line with AQ/AQIM than it did in 2009 when the insurgency was largely motivated by revenge against the Nigerian government for the July 2009 clashes in which Boko Haram leader Muhammad Yusuf and hundreds of other followers were killed. Thus, I would expect BH and factions like Ansaru to appeal to al-Qaeda themes and international jihad rather than Nigeria-exclusive causes.
  • Other gamebreakers could be Boko Haram attacks on airliners using Libyan MANPADS, an attack on a neighboring country, or the use of long-range RPGs on hard targets like foreign embassies. 
  • If the intervention is successful in Mali it will hurt Boko Haram, but if it fails it will strengthen BH and its allies in the region.
  • The post-2014 NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan will not lead to an immediate upsurge in violence in Central Asia. But it is likely that in five years, when the Central Asian militants in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region are funneled back home, they will begin fomenting unrest as a result of Presidents Nazarbayev and Karimov not having done a good job of laying the groundwork for political stability for those who succeed them.
  • The Ferghana Valley will be at fairly high risk for state failure if there is more inter-ethnic violence there or in parts of Tajikistan where there has been unrest. In both cases, Central Asian militants could take advantage of other religious extremists.
Media Appearances
A profile of Mokhtar Belmokhtar by Jamestown’s Andrew Black was cited by the Washington PostThe New York TimesInternational Business TimesUSA TodayInternational Herald TribuneChicago TribuneBBC News AfricaStars and Stripes,   
Jamestown Senior Fellow Andrew McGregor was interviewed by International Business Times about Islamists in MaliSenior Fellow Andrew McGregor was also interviewed by Radio France International in an article entitled “Mali: EU aid to states, Washington expressed doubts about the level of ECOWAS.”
Jacob Zenn was cited in an article by the International Business Times regarding France’s intervention in Mali and was intervieedw by al-Jazeera on Mullah NazirJacob Zenn was also cited in a Reuters article about Boko Haram leader Abu Shekau’s identification with the broader international Jihadist movement.
Margarita Assenova, Jamestown’s Director of Programs for the Balkans, Caucasus & Central Asia was cited in an article by News.Az entitled “Azerbaijan’s Energy Potential Discussed in Washington.”
Jamestown’s Nick Heras’ article on Lebanon’s offshore energy fields was extensively quoted in a January 25 UPI article titled “Lebanon’s feuds ‘could spark gas conflict.‘”

Jamestown’s Chris Zambelis was interviewed by Latitude News on the role of social media in the Syrian uprising.
Jamestown’s Aaron Zelin was featured on a CNN broadcast focused on Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
China Brief Editor Peter Mattis was cited in an article published by Marketplace entitled: “Is China’s Huawei a threat to our national security?
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