May/June 2015 Newsletter

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May/June 2015 Newsletter
The Jamestown Foundation Leadership: Glen E. Howard, President
At a Glance

Yemen After the Airstrikes Re-Cap

New Book on Azerbaijan and Energy Coming Soon

Most Read Articles

Meet Peter Wood, China Brief’s New Researcher

New Report on al-Shabaab in Kenya Available

Media Appearances

Developments in North Africa, South Asia & the Middle East
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After the Airstrikes: What Next for Yemen?
On June 9, The Jamestown Foundation hosted After the Airstrikes: What Next for Yemen?, featuring Michael Horton and James Brandon. The two experts broke down the interplay between the numerous Yemeni factions as well as jihadist groups, such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State, and how all have been affected by the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes. This was followed by a lively discussion among participants over other factors affecting Yemen, including the refugee situation, internal political compromises and what objectives have been met by the Saudi-led campaign.
Brandon and Horton
Soon to be Released From Jamestown: Azerbaijan and the New Energy Geopolitics of Southeastern Europe
The Jamestown Foundation is proud to announce the forthcoming release of Azerbaijan and the New Energy Geopolitics of Southeastern Europe, an edited volume of ten essays, written by U.S. and regional experts, on energy security issues in the Balkans, the Black Sea region and the South Caucasus. The editors are Jamestown Director of Programs for the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, Margarita Assenova, as well as Zaur Shiriyev, a Senior Research Fellow at ADA University, in Baku, Azerbaijan. This book, which will be available soon, comes at a critical time when concerns about Russian gas supplies are growing in Europe in the midst of the Russian-Ukrainian war in eastern Ukraine. As the construction of the Southern Gas Corridor from Azerbaijan to Europe is advancing, natural gas from the Caspian region will challenge for the first time Russia’s gas monopoly in Southeast Europe, thus changing the geopolitical landscape in the region.
Azerbaijan and the New Energy Geopolitics of Southeastern Europe enhances our understanding of Southeastern Europe’s energy security, Russia’s ambitions for energy domination in the region and the potential impact of the Southern Gas Corridor. Since channeling Caspian gas to Europe is an essential part of Azerbaijan’s national strategy, the book also analyzes Baku’s foreign policy and investment pursuits in Southeast Europe. Finally, the book focuses attention on Azerbaijan’s aspiring role as an energy supplier and contributor to energy security in Southeastern Europe, its evolving relations with countries in the region—from Greece to Croatia—and consequently Baku’s expanding relations with the European Union and the United States.
This fascinating and important book will be available from our website,, as well as via Brookings University Press.
Most-Read Articles
Peter Wood Joins Jamestown as a Research Associate
Peter Wood is a Research Associate at The Jamestown Foundation focusing on Chinese security issues in Eurasia. Before joining Jamestown, Peter worked as a contract researcher focusing on Chinese security issues. He previously served as an intern at The Jamestown Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Wood received a master’s degree from the Johns-Hopkins Nanjing University Center in Nanjing, China, and spent two years learning Mandarin at Peking University. He received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Chinese and Asian Studies from Texas Tech University. He is fluent in Mandarin.
The Kenyan Face of al-Shabaab: A Militant Leadership Monitor Special Report
coverThree months before the recent storming of Garissa University College in Kenya by al-Shabaab militants, Jamestown analyst Muhyadin Ahmed Roble wrote that the Somali terrorist group was still capable of mounting devastating attacks and remained a viable threat in regional security. In light of recent events, Jamestown announces the release of its first Quarterly Strategic Review (QSR) for 2015 on the Kenyan face of al-Shabaab. Despite the loss of territory and setbacks with the loss of its key leader Ahmad Abdi Godane, al-Shabaab remains resilient and has maintained a steady eye on Kenya since the Westgate Mall attack in September 2013.
The QSR begins with a strategic overview of al-Shabaab and developments within the organization over the past year, including the loss of its territory and leadership. The QSR also contains a key profile of the new leader of al-Shabaab, Ahmad Umar, by Sungata West and how the death of Godane has affected the direction of the organization. Purges within al-Shabaab are addressed by Kenya-based Jamestown analyst Muhyadin Ahmed Roble in his profile of al-Shabaab spokesperson Mukhtar Robow, who was caught in the middle of Godane’s purges when he was removed from his position. This is followed with a post-mortem analysis of Ahmed Abdiqadir Abdullahi, Godane’s second-in-command. The next profile is of Fu’ad Muhammad Khalaf, who was openly challenging Godane’s decisions, by Dario Cristiani. Another leading expert, Andrew McGregor, provides a profile of Ikrima al-Muhajir, a high-level Kenyan leader within al-Shabaab. Sunguta West then discusses al-Shabaab’s inroads in Kenya, giving details on al-Shabaab’s continued focus on this important country. Finally, Kathryn Basinsky provides a unique timeline of key events related to al-Shabaab that offer a retrospective on key developments within this organization since 2006.

Recent Media Appearances
Senior Fellow Roger McDermott cited in Vedomosti about the term “hybrid war” in Russian military doctrine and culture.
The New York Times quoted Jacob Zenn in an article about how Boko Haram and the Islamic State courted each other before the former declared allegiance to the latter.
The Islamic State’s recent counter-attacks against Syrian Kurdish cities in light of the gains made by Kurdish forces was discussed by Wladimir van Wilgenburg with The Wall Street Journal.
Polish Radio WNET interviews Matthew Czekaj about hybrid warfare in Poland.
Willy Lam was interviewed by The New York Times about his latest book Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping: Renaissance, Reform, or Retrogression?.
Foreign Affairs published an article co-authored by Senior Fellow Alex Vatanka on the role of Oman in Middle Eastern affairs.
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