Russia's Self-Serving Approach to Syrian Peace Talks
August 18, 2015 • PolicyWatch
According to regional and Russian press reports, Moscow recently supplied six MiG-31 interceptors to the Syrian regime as part of an arms deal originally brokered in 2007. The jets arrived against a backdrop of renewed diplomatic activity on the Syrian conflict, including discussion of a Geneva III peace conference. While the West remains ambivalent, Moscow has hosted a series of meetings on the issue, and it would likely use Geneva III as another forum to address its own interests rather than work toward a genuine breakthrough.
Moral Clarity Is Needed In Countering Anti-Western Propaganda
March 14, 2015 • Forbes
March 16 marks the anniversary of the referendum on Crimea's independence, held under the barrel of a Russian gun. Ahead of this date, the Kremlin is planning to unveil a movie "The Road to Homeland" on state TV channel Rossiya-1 on March 15. The channel had aired excerpts from the movie earlier this month. The film will provide Russian President Vladimir Putin's version of why "Crimea is ours," as one headline in the Russian press described it.
Anti-American and anti-Western propaganda coming out of Russia, but also China, Iran, ISIS, and other anti-Western players continues to proliferate worldwide. The latest Kremlin movie is but a drop in the bucket.
How Russia Views the Iran Nuclear Talks
March 12, 2015 • PolicyWatch
Diplomats from Iran and the P5+1 nations -- the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, and Germany -- are rushing to conclude a nuclear agreement before the self-imposed March 24 deadline. While many details remain unavailable, the technical debate largely centers around the "sunset clause" under which international limitations on Iran's uranium enrichment program would expire after a set time period, with some constraints perhaps lifted earlier to reward good behavior. Critics -- most prominently Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu -- argue that rather than preventing Iran from producing nuclear weapons, such a deal could put it on a path to reaching that capability legally.
Ahead Of Egypt Investment Conference, Cautious Optimism For Economic Reforms
March 10, 2015 • Forbes
On March 13-15, Egypt will hold an economic investment conference at Sharm el-Sheikh, with a major focus on the energy sector. Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government sees the conference as an important component of a strategy to improve the economy through attracting private investment.
Sisi is no democrat. The U.S. State Department and rights organizations such as Freedom House and Human Rights Watch have criticized his government for excessive use of force against political opposition and civil society since the military ouster of Sisi's predecessor Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. The Egyptian military also took an unusually active role in Egyptian politics during the coup.
What to Expect from Syria Peace Talks in Moscow
January 23, 2015 • PolicyWatch
After two rounds of peace talks in Geneva failed to resolve the Syrian crisis, Moscow proposed in December 2014 its own peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition. Earlier this month, Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov confirmed that the talks would take place January 26-29, according to Russian press reports. Bogdanov has described the talks as "consultative" and "preparatory," without any preconditions or set agenda. They could, he said, lead to more concrete discussions. Although the United States is not participating in the Moscow talks, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry expressed hope on January 14 in Geneva that they "could be helpful."
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