Summary of Recent Events and Conferences
Terrorism Monitor, April 4, 2013
Eurasia Daily Monitor, April 1, 2013
China Brief, April 25, 2013
Terrorism Monitor, April 19, 2013
Eurasia Daily Monitor, March 21, 2013
China Brief, April 12, 2013
April 30 – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey: Foundations and Challenges of an Emergent Strategic Alliance
On Tuesday, April 30, The Jamestown Foundation will host an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace entitled, “Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey: Foundations and Challenges of an Emergent Strategic Alliance.” The event will discuss the emerging prospects of a strategic alliance between Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey and various regional perspectives of those countries making up the regional alliance. Several speakers from the Center for Strategic Studies in Baku will participate, including Rovshan Ibrahimov, the Head of the Foreign
Policy Analysis Department at the Center for Strategic Studies in Baku, regional experts from Turkey and Georgia and the United States. The half-day event also featured regional transportation developments for rail and road development, including a presentation by Jamestown Senior Fellow Vladimir Socor about the European Union and the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey Gas Corridor
*To attend this free event, please visit our registration site by clicking here
April 25 – Militant Movements in North Africa After the Arab Spring
On April 25, The Jamestown Foundation hosted a one-day conference entitled “Militant Movements in North Africa After the Arab Spring.” The conference included several panels of regional experts and keynote speakers, former Egyptian General Sameh Seif al-Yazel (ret.) and General Michael V. Hayden (ret.), who discussed instability and the threats posed by militant groups in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania and Tunisia. The event also featured Jamestown Senior Editor Andrew
McGregor and Jamestown Senior Fellow Michael Ryan who focused on instability in Egypt. Additional featured speakers included Justin Siberell, Deputy Coordinator for North Africa Regional Affairs and Programs at the Department of State, and David Kilcullen, President at Caerus and Associated and former Counter-Terrorism Coordinator at the State Department.
April 10 – The War for Northern Mali: Military Intervention and the Salafi-Jihadist State
On April 10, The Jamestown Foundation hosted an afternoon discussion with Jamestown Senior Editor Andrew McGregor who discussed the tribal element of the War in Mali and Colonel Patrick de Vathaire the Senior French Representative at National Defense University’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies, who focused on the perspective of French forces in Mali. Visiting Fellow Jean-François Pactet from the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies discussed the takeaways from the French intervention in Mali. The discussion also featured Jean-Luc Marret, a Senior Fellow at Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique (Paris) and senior fellow
in residence at the Center for Transatlantic relations (SAIS-Johns Hopkins University).
Video Footage of “War for Northern Mali: Military Intervention and the Salafi-Jihadist State ” Now Available
April 5 – The United Nations and the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: Back to the Basics
On April 5, The Jamestown Foundation hosted an afternoon event featuring Tofig F. Musayev, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Ariel Cohen, Senior Research Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy at the Heritage Foundation. Musayev discussed the international law basis for the UN resolution, while Cohen provided a detailed overview of regional and outside powers’ interests and actions in the South Caucasus, especially pertaining to the Karabakh conflict. Dr. S. Frederick Starr moderated the panel and the lively question and answer session.
This April marked the 20th anniversary of the first UN Security Council resolution on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict—UNSC Resolution 822. This resolution called for a cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of occupying forces from the Kelbajar district of Azerbaijan following its occupation on April 3, 1993. In memory of this and the following three UNSC resolutions pertaining to the conflict, The Jamestown Foundation organized the event to highlight the continuing importance of UN involvement and the need to resolve this dispute due to the lack of progress over many years by the OSCE and other multilateral organizations.
Peter Mattis – Looking forward in China
Since China began its leadership transition last November, Beijing has announced a number of new policy initiatives and faces a new set of unexpected challenges. Readers of China Brief are probably familiar with the changes in cross-Strait relations, Sino-Japanese tensions, and President Xi Jinping’s rapid consolidation of power. Below are four areas concerning Chinese domestic and foreign policy where we think readers should direct their attention in the coming months. How President Xi and the new crop of leaders maneuver among these challenges will affect the
government’s credibility at home and abroad.
- The Success or Failure of the Anti-Corruption Campaign: General Secretary and President Xi Jinping has marked his tenure with a push against party corruption, which “threatens the party’s very survival.” Questions remain about the efficacy of these efforts, whether it will be a limited campaign or a sustained policy that prevents real abuse of power.
- How China Protects Its Overseas Interests: China’s most recent defense white paper highlighted the challenge of protecting Chinese interests abroad and the need for the People’s Liberation Army PLA) to prepare for these missions. On April 23, a deputy chief of staff of the PLA Navy Song Xue announced China would be producing at least one aircraft carrier that is bigger and more sophisticated than the Russian-built Liaoning, demonstrating Chinese intent to produce a blue water force capable of operations outside China’s periphery.
- Chinese Diplomacy in Southeast Asia: China’s diplomacy in Southeast Asia continues to face challenges over Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea, where Beijing continues to press diplomatically and demonstrate its de facto control. More recently, Burma’s opening and reform movement has changed the country’s alignment, undermining China’s long-held position and sparking a new competition for influence that includes the United States.
- Government Transparency: Public health issues, such as the melamine scandal of 2008 and the SARS outbreak in 2003, have been an area where the party’s inclination to hide bad news has damaged its credibility with the Chinese public. Beijing has demonstrated a greater degree of openness about the latest outbreak of bird flu, reporting new cases as they develop. The question is whether this development marks a substantive change in Beijing’s crisis management or, perhaps even more broadly, as part of a greater trend toward greater transparency on issues affecting public welfare.
Michael W. S. Ryan – Issues for MENA from West to East
Jamestown analyst Michael W. S. Ryan stated that known and emerging militant groups and their leaders in North Africa must continue to be monitored to assess their priorities, capabilities and intentions. According to Ryan, we should be especially alert to the emergence of new groups without clear ties to al-Qaeda that may intend to carry out terrorist attacks on United States’ citizens, its diplomatic and business interests and allies. The relationship between various radical groups (not only AQIM) must be analyzed to see if they have formed an alliance
of convenience despite ideological differences and we need to assess the local governments’ ability to regain or maintain at least minimal control of their territory. Is the current understanding of the options for governance in the Sahel an adequate model to analyze regional events; or, do we need to expand our categories of governed and ungoverned areas?
Ryan highlighted that there are a constellation of issues concerning the outcome of the civil war in Syria. Now that Jabhat al-Nusra has openly established itself as an ally, if not affiliate, of al-Qaeda, it may have affected its post-conflict influence on other factions within the opposition. Further analysis of “loyalist” forces (Christians, Kurds, Alawites) and their leaders should receive greater emphasis.
Ryan also pointed out that as the Arab Spring morphs into a new Arab awakening with uncertain outcomes, focus must be directed to the mid- and long-term predictions about Egypt, the possibility of significant uprisings among the Gulf countries and the implications for U.S. forces in the region. Also, as Yemen continues to face multiple threats of resources, al-Qaeda, Houthis, and Southern Yemeni insurrection, we need to assess the implications inside Yemen and in the Gulf countries. Some attention should be given to Qatar’s funding of groups and countries throughout the region.
Jacob Zenn – Outlook in Nigeria
Last week’s clash between Nigerian troops and Islamist militants in Baga, a small fishing village in Nigeria, signalled that Boko Haram may increasingly be using the border region to enter Nigeria, said Jamestown analyst Jacob Zenn. Zenn observed that Boko Haram seemed to have hidden their weapons in mosques in Baga, which would mean that the insurgents had local support from the imams. Zenn also remarked that Boko Haram’s ability to train openly is disconcerting–whether Boko Haram is carrying out their trainings in Nigeria or Niger, it is problematic that
neither country’s security forces have been able to locate the insurgents. However, Niger may be resisting cracking down on Boko Haram to avoid a blowback such as the one Cameroon has begun to experience as a result of arresting insurgents. Looking forward, Zenn proposed the focus will be on whether Boko Haram, or more likely, the more geographically nimble Ansaru, show signs of targeting the south of Nigeria, which would not only threaten U.S. abd other foreign interests, but also raise the specter of more Christian-Muslim and inter-ethnic violence.
Militant Leadership Monitor – April Issue
In light of the April 25 event on Militant Movements in North Africa, this month’s issue of MLM consisted of profiles of militant leaders in North Africa. Murad Batal al-Shishani provided a portrait of Saudi Arabia’s senior al-Qaeda member Ahmed Abdullah Saleh al-Khazmari al-Zahrani who the Department of State designated a terrorist on January 24. Nicholas A. Heras provided a sketch of AQIM’s new commander Jemal Oukacha, as well as a close-up of Commander Isa Abd al-Majid Mansur of the Tubu Front for the Salvation of Libya. Andrew McGregor provided the second part of
his two-part profile of the Niger Delta’s al-Haji Mujahid Dokubo Asari, the man who perfected the art of tapping the pipelines locally.
Eurasia Daily Monitor
Within five hours of the capture of Jokhar Tsarnaev, The Jamestown Foundation published a short bio of the bombers, their ethnic background and origins.
China Brief – China’s Defense White Paper: A New Conceptual Framework for Security
China organized this year’s defense white paper around the historic missions concept as the principal framework for understanding the mission and activities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The concept of “core interests,” a key driver of the historic missions, featured prominently in the white paper as well. The high profile accorded these
concepts reflects their enhanced authoritativeness as well as China’s increased power and influence. For these reasons, Beijing can be expected to step up efforts to both consolidate control of its sovereignty claims and shape a favorable international order.
Jamestown analyst Nicholas A. Heras appeared as a guest commentator on the April 27 edition of the al-Jazeera show “Inside Syria.” On Wednesday, April 24, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Jamestown Foundation President Glen Howard entitled, “The Terrorist’s Sojourn in a Most Dangerous Place.” The article argues that Dagestan, where one of the accused Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan Tsarnaev allegedly visited for seven months in 2012, has become the most violent epicenter of the militant, jihadist insurgency in the North Caucasus.
Mairbek Vatchagaev was cited by International Business Times in an article about Chechen refugees.
On April 16, Jamestown analyst Dennis J. Blasko was quoted in the New York Times’ discussion of China’s recently-released defense white paper, stating that Beijing revealed little information of importance to knowledgeable readers.
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