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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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