Repercussions for Moldova and the South Caucasus
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Repercussions of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict on Moldova and the South Caucasus
On Monday, June 16, The Jamestown Foundation hosted a conference exploring the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the profound effect it has had on Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan, entitled, “Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Repercussions for Moldova and the South Caucasus.” The event was broken up into two panels, with the first focusing on the situation in Ukraine following the presidential election. Panelists included Jamestown President Glen Howard, who discussed the key conclusions from the fact-finding trip to Kyiv he led at the beginning of June; CATO Institute Senior Fellow Andrei Illarionov, who explained Moscow’s goals in trying to destabilize Ukraine; Senior Fellow Vladimir Socor, who spoke about the crisis’ impact on Moldova; and Amb. William Courtney, who provided recommendations for how the U.S. should respond to Russia’s regional aggression.
The second panel, which examined the impact on the South Caucasus, featured Jamestown analyst and American Foreign Policy Council Senior Fellow Stephen Blank, who delivered an overview of the range of interrelated security threats and challenges facing the countries of the region, particularly in light of Russia’s renewed expansionism. The panel also included Natig Bakhishov and George Khelashvili, respectively of the Azerbaijani and Georgian embassies, who provided their countries’ perspectives on the regional security situation. Finally, Alexander Melikishvili, a Senior Analyst for the Europe/CIS Forecasting Team at IHS Country Risk, discussed whether Moscow’s actions in Crimea would soon be repeated in Abkhazia or South Ossetia. The conference attracted a passionate audience and sparked a lively debate among the participants and panelists.
Wladimir van Wilgenburg was quoted by the Wall Street Journal on the Kurdish takeover of Kirkuk.
Al-Jazeera quoted Animesh Roul in an article on a documentary on women in India.
Wladimir van Wilgenburg gave remarks on the ISIS offensive in Iraq to the Jerusalem Post.
China’s Strategy for the ‘Network Domain’ Conference Report
While the rise of computer network exploitation has opened new opportunities for China to gather intelligence—and exposed U.S. government agencies and corporations to risks of espionage—Chinese planners are keenly aware of China’s own vulnerabilities. Viewing the country as an underdog facing threats from “the world’s only network superpower,” both military and civilian thinkers continue to debate the implications of cyber-war, intelligence gathering, and to seek an approach to protect China’s own networks.
On March 25, 2014, The Jamestown Foundation organized a panel titled “China’s Strategy for the ‘Network Domain’ as part of its annual China Defense and Security Conference. This panel report contains full-length transcripts of four presentations and a question and answer session.
Eurasian Trends in Energy and Warfare
Drones in the Russian-Ukrainian War
Ukraine has UAVs in its inventory, though it substantially lags behind Russia in drone warfare. This is remarkable as, over the past decade, the country’s companies designed, developed and built quite a large number of drone models. Ukraine is currently undertaking wide-reaching military reforms and this effort may include the development of new strategic approaches to drone warfare within the Ukrainian military. The two main areas under discussion right now are the use of UAVs for surveillance and artillery correction – but the military may also look into the eventual possibility of acquiring and fielding strike drones. Drones are also needed to patrol the lengthy Ukrainian border with Russia. Nevertheless, funding limitations, exacerbated by serious problems in the Ukrainian economy, make it rather unlikely that Ukraine will be able to develop or procure strike drones in the near future.
Russia developed a fairly comprehensive strategy for utilizing unmanned aircraft systems and, more broadly, robotics technology in warfare. The Russian military perceives this strategic approach foremost as “no-contact warfare,” which assumes that the Russian military can defeat a hostile state without the engagement of regular Russian forces, for example through surgical strikes to destroy the adversary’s strategic industrial units or political leadership. Because of integration problems, the 2009 review of available Russian drone models led to the decision to procure Israeli UAV systems. Drone technology transfer to Russia has not yet been substantial, as exemplified by the rather protracted attempt to build Israeli United 40 tactical UAVs in Russia. Nonetheless, Russian domestic development of drone technology continues, and among the most intriguing projects is the Russian attempt to build a strike drone. The development of advanced UAV systems, in fact, represents a considerable technological challenge for the Russian defense industry, and there are serious questions about whether it can be accomplished without Western cooperation and technological know-how. Moscow’s practice of using drones in covert operations presents its own dubiously legal implications, which are likely to arise ever more frequently the longer the conflict in eastern Ukraine lasts.
ISIS and Political Realignment in the Middle East
In some ways, the recent triumphs of the radical Sunni Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) inside Iraq have alarmed Riyadh as much as Tehran. While the Saudis are still willing to support less radical Islamist movements in Syria and Iraq as part of a proxy war against Shiite Iran, there are fears in Riyadh that ISIS extremists, many of whom were recruited in Saudi Arabia, may eventually turn their attention to the Kingdom itself, threatening its hereditary rulers and the stability of the Gulf region. Iraq and Iran, meanwhile, accuse the Saudis of sponsoring terrorism and religious extremism throughout the Middle East. While Saudi Arabia appears to have backed off from its covert financial support of ISIS, private donations likely continue to flow from donors in the Kingdom and other Gulf states, though the recent looting of bank vaults and consolidation of oil-producing regions in Syria and Iraq mean that ISIS will be largely self-supporting from this point.
Europe’s energy security has been at the center of concern since the beginning of the Russia–Ukraine war. The EU and United States are developing an energy security strategy to ease the old continent’s dependence on Russian gas, which includes, among other measures, deliveries of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG). In May, the Obama administration approved a $10 billion LNG facility in Texas, the second with a license to deliver LNG to countries that may not have a free trade agreement with the United States, continuing the transition of the United States into a major global natural gas supplier. LNG is not expected to reach European and Asian markets until late 2015.
As the pro-Russia forces are reportedly losing the battle in Ukraine, the Kremlin is using every means to salvage President Vladimir Putin’s political project, the South Stream natural gas pipeline. The project had been in legal trouble with the EU, which was then exacerbated by Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. The Russian government is relying on a strategy of dividing the EU and rallying Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia along with Austria and Italy to support the project. From the point of view of EU energy and competition rules, however, the project is not feasible. Nevertheless, it will depend on the new EU leadership to continue implementing its own rules as the outgoing European Commission did. Moscow may attain some small gains in Eastern Europe in the process, but generally South Stream will not pass muster with the EU, because Russia refuses to respect EU laws – and its annexation of Crimea proved that.
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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