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Zapad 2017 and the Initial Period of War

Western media and analytical commentary on Zapad 2017 has focused on the numbers of Russian military personnel participating in the joint Belarus-Russia strategic exercise, speculating about whether Moscow was using the event as cover to launch a real attack against neighboring states, or promoting the... MORE

What is Xi Jinping Thought?

Ahead of the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), scheduled to begin on October 18, media attention has focused on top-level personnel changes. While the selection of China’s new group of leaders is certainly important, recent announcement that current CCP General Secretary Xi... MORE

After Raqqa: The Next Jihadist Stronghold in Syria

As the operations against Islamic State (IS) in al-Raqqa and Deir al-Zour remain the focus of attention in Syria, a group known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has quietly and quickly consolidated near-total dominance over Idlib — the last remaining opposition-held province in the country.... MORE

Romania on Course to Revamp Its Air Defenses

Faced with Russia’s military buildup in the Black Sea, Romania is set to acquire US-made Patriot anti-aircraft and missile-defense systems as well as 36 F-16 fighters in order to bolster its air-defense capabilities (, July 26). Former defense minister Adrian Țuțuianu has stated that Romania... MORE

Strategic War Game Zapad 2017 Has Begun

Last November, in Minsk, at a session of the joint Russian-Belarusian “defense collegium,” Russia’s minister of defense, Army-General Sergei Shoigu, declared the upcoming strategic war game, Zapad 2017, to be “the most important joint military exercise of the Armed Forces in 2017.” According to Shoigu,... MORE

Assessing the Sino-Russian Baltic Sea Drill

From July 21 to July 28, 2017, the Chinese and Russian navies conducted a week of joint drills in the Baltic Sea, the first of their planned two-phase bilateral maritime exercises for 2017. This was the latest iteration of what the Chinese call “Joint Sea”... MORE

Stage Set for Zapad 2017

After several months jointly preparing for the Zapad 2017 strategic military exercise, both Minsk and Moscow have used the last few days prior to its commencement (on September 14) to promote a veneer of openness concerning the exercise’s aims and scope. Much of the regional... MORE