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Nikolas Stylianou
(RIEAS Research Associate, Security Analyst)

Copyright: www.rieas.gr
The incident on the Mavi Marmara on the 31st of May introduced a new era in Turkish – Israeli bilateral relations and many analysts and diplomats argue that this crisis between the former strategic allies has come to indicate that their political and geostrategic agenda, especially regarding the Middle East radically differs, especially after AKP, came to power in 2003. The current article seeks to address the role of Cyprus in regards to the rapid developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and what strategies it should pursue in order to enhance its position in the region.

Steve Stylianoudis
(Senior Analyst – Intelligence Research)

Copyright: Steve Stylianoudis on line

A change entailing unpredictable geopolitical ramifications is taking place in Turkey!  For years, an objective of the Turkish government was the acceptance of Turkey as a full member in the European Union (EU).  It has made substantial progress, but only because Turkey secured and continues to receive the unqualified support of the US State Department.  It was able to convince the State Department leadership that Turkish inclusion in the EU and adoption of Turkey’s positions on issues in the Balkans and the Middle East would be in the best interests of the United States.  Turkey did so by retaining scores of “revolving door” consultants - the majority of whom are prominent former administration officials from both parties.

Nickolaos Mavromates

Copyright: Nikolaos Mavromates on line

The Jewish minority in the Ottoman times were always the favorite millet of the Sultanate, the only nationality that did not ever betray the Porte by revolting. This may have been one of the factors that may have influenced Turkey to be one of the first states to recognize Israel’s Independence in 1948, the only Muslim nation that defied Middle East Arab sentiments and of course Tel-Aviv never forgot this gesture.

Dr. Anat Lapidot-Firilla
(Senior Research Fellow, Academic Director of the Mediterranean Unit, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute)

Copyright: www.cceia.unic.ac.cy - Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs

Note: Dr. Anat Lapidot-Firilla first delivered this paper at the Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs at the University of Nicosia. 

Since the rise of AK Party to power, in November 2002, and the appointment of Ahmet Davutoglu to the post of senior adviser on foreign affairs, the process of devolution of the strategic alliance with Israel began. Moreover, it should be noted that the dismantling is not the result of Turkish discomfort or dissatisfaction with a specific Israeli policy but the result of a specific, new strategic outlook: which is directly linked to Davutoghlu theory of how foreign policy should be handled, adopted by the AKP regime. 

Joseph Fitsanakis
(Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis teaches politics and history at King College, USA. He is Senior Editor of intelNews.org.)

Copyright: www.rieas.gr

The vast majority of Western and Israeli defense and intelligence agencies agree that Iran’s ultimate aim is to fortify its military posture with nuclear weapons. Cross-agency --let along cross-national-- consensus on matters of nuclear intelligence is rare, but there is nothing profound about this particular agreement. Only a cursory look on a world map is sufficient to confirm --even strategically justify, some would say-- Iran’s nuclear intentions.

Thrassy N. Marketos

Copyright: www.rieas.gr

This paper examines Russia’s Central Asian policy in the context of the continued Iranian – American confrontation which affects Central Asian geopolitics and the Eurasian approach dominating Russia’s foreign policy (which presupposes Russia-Iran partnership in Central Asia). It is absolutely clear that the nature, content, and pace of Russia’s involvement in the region, as well as cooperation between the two countries, directly depend on the state and level of Iranian – American relations. Read more

Giannakopoulos Vasileios
(Hellenic Air Force Brigadier General (retired) and Former Analyst of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff )

Copyright: www.geostrategy.gr

On 20 May 2009, the Guardian Council of Iran officially announced a list of approved candidates, while rejecting a number of registered nominees. Only four candidates were approved by the Guardian Council, out of the 476 men and women who had applied to seek the Presidency of Iran in the 2009 election. 
The official results of the June 12, 2009 Iranian Presidential Election provoked the reaction of the Iranian reformists in many major cities. These reactions increased dramatically when the Musavi side accused President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for election fraud. 

Sergey Markedonov (PhD in History)
(Head of the Interethnic Relations Group at the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, Associated Professor of the Russian State University for Humanities)
Copyright: www.rieas.gr

Iran is currently a focus of attention for politicians and experts worldwide. The nuclear programme of Iran, alongside Kosovo, the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and energy security, has risen to the top of the international political agenda. The 2006 Israel–Lebanon war Israeli-HAMAS clashes (December, 2008) demonstrated the increased potential of Iran as an actor in the Middle East “big game”. Iran’s military-political success (the first defeat of Israel since its foundation) brought home to the whole world Teheran’s skills and abilities to strike its main geopolitical opponents by waging a successful “proxy war”. According to Georgiy Mirskiy, a Russian expert on the Middle East Security issues, «Iran is the only state in the world that is able to be completely happy with the situation that has arisen?”
In this connection topics such as Iran's “Caucasus strategy” have remained without the attention they deserve. At the same time Iran, like Turkey, is a long-standing participant in the Caucasian geopolitical competition. In antiquity and during the medieval period various lands that are now in the Caucasus were under the power of the Persian monarchs. In the 16th-18th centuries Turkey and Iran were continually waging war over domination in the Caucasus region. However, Iran's ouster from the South and North Caucasus was due to imperial Russia's policy. As a result of a series of Russo-Persian wars at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries Russia established control over Southern Dagestan, Eastern Armenia, and Northern Azerbaijan. But, even after losing its former influence, Iran remained and continues to be an important participant in Caucasian political processes.  

Charles Rault
(RIEAS Senior Advisor)
Copyright: www.rieas.gr

When Donald Rumsfeld was still US Secretary of Defense, many officials and soldiers criticized his willingness to focus the US military budget and strategic decisions on low intensity conflicts and terrorism by favouring the use of Special Forces, intelligence and high technology. His departure and the arrival of former CIA director Robert Gates was to change all that and make the improvement of the situation in Iraq the top priority. It was mostly about breaking with the Rumsfeld era by providing the armed forces with more conventional means and by sending more troops on the ground for a better control of the territory, especially in Iraq. It was « The Surge » and the arrival of reinforcements, inter alia supported by US Senator John McCain, that led to the significant and current improvement of the security situation in Iraq.

Although there are still murderous attacks, the number of attacks has been decreased. While the internal difficulties related to sectarian, religious and political beliefs are far from being settled, Iraq seems on the path of greater stability. The resumption of dialogue between Iraq and Iran proved essential. The situation got worse in Afghanistan at the same time of a growing destabilization of Pakistan plagued by very serious political difficulties and the worst seems yet to come. The Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies have won several major victories: the official establishment of Sharia in the valley of Swat, greater freedom of movement on both sides of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan and finally the offering hand of President Karzai and his western allies to «win over» the « moderates » among them. Such a scenario would have been unthinkable in 2002 when only the all-out war on terrorism was the valid strategy and that in a few months, Mullah Omar and his friends had been swept from the Afghan scene, in appearance at least.


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