Topic:

Russia

The Rise of Chinese Eurasianism

| August 19, 2018

Chinese Eurasianism, which – if the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is successful – will give Beijing new foreign policy tools to use against Washington, could prove more threatening to the US in the long run than the USSR was during the Cold War.

The Assad Regime Returns to the Golan

| August 15, 2018

The Assad regime’s recapture of the Syrian Golan Heights is advantageous to Israel, in light of the Israeli-Russian understanding to predicate the situation there on the May 1974 disengagement. Even if the new arrangement does not lead to a forty-year-long de facto peace like the one that prevailed prior to the eruption of the Syrian civil war, Assad will need to focus on rebuilding his regime, reconstituting Syria, and ensuring the continuation of Alawite rule. In these circumstances, not only does military confrontation with Israel not entail any conceivable gains but it would likely wreck the regime’s fragile recovery.

The Aftermath of the Helsinki Summit

| August 12, 2018

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin held a historic summit in Helsinki, Finland on July 15 that was assessed by many as a defeat for US prestige and interests. The summit should not, however, be construed as a Russian victory. US foreign policy moves after the summit indicate that there is little chance for meaningful improvement in bilateral relations. The complexity of issues surrounding Syria, Ukraine, Georgia, and Iran will continue to weigh heavily on US-Russian diplomatic efforts.

The Peculiar Chronology of Persistent Nerve Agents

A peculiar chronology can be spotted when examining the milestones marking the history of the development and use of persistent nerve agents around the world. Coincidentally or otherwise, Iran, North Korea, and Russia have all been mentioned in the context of nerve agents in recent years.

Have Putin and Netanyahu Struck a Grand Bargain?

| July 16, 2018

On July 8, Israel allegedly conducted an airstrike in Syrian territory that struck once again at the T4 base near Homs. Interestingly, Israel did not conduct any airstrikes to stop the concurrent advance of Syrian and Hezbollah forces southward. This might suggest that a grand bargain has been offered by Russia to Israel – one in which Moscow assures Jerusalem of an Iranian withdrawal in return for Israel’s acceptance of the consolidation of the Syrian state. This might explain Israel’s passivity, but it is by no means certain that Moscow will prevail on Tehran to withdraw from Syria.

Why Russia Needs Israel

| July 16, 2018

Why has Russia under Putin acknowledged Israel’s need to prevent the buildup of an Iranian military presence in Syria?  Putin’s vision is to cement an alliance of minorities against the Sunni majority in the Middle East. Israel could be a valuable participant in making that vision a reality – but only if Moscow works to rid Syria of the Iranian presence, joins forces to topple its Islamist regime, and weans the Alawite regime in Damascus away from Tehran.

The China-US Confrontation: A Russian View

| July 4, 2018

China and the US have different geopolitical imperatives, so tensions are bound to increase between the two powers. Russia’s position in the nascent confrontation will be important to watch, as it is simultaneously under pressure from the West and in the shadow of Chinese economic strength. Russia will likely see US-China competition as providing an opportunity to improve its own geopolitical position.

Russia in Syria: Caught Between Iran and Israel

| June 24, 2018

Intermittent Israeli strikes against Iranian positions in Syria have alarmed Russia, which is trying to solidify its military gains there. Active Israeli interference could bring down the highly unstable security architecture the Russians are working on in Syria. Moscow must balance between its war ally, Iran, and Israel, an important regional player – two states with radically different geopolitical imperatives.

DEBATE: Putin in Power until 2024: What Does it Mean?

| June 14, 2018

Vladimir Putin easily won the recent election in Russia and secured another presidential term. The result cements him as one of the most powerful leaders in modern Russian history, but also poses questions for the day after on both the domestic and the international level. While the US administration has not yet clarified its approach vis-à-vis Russia and the EU remains largely divided, Putin is gaining ground – for example in the Syrian arena– and his popularity remains high at home. BESA joins the debate by posing the question: Putin in power until 2024: What does it mean?

Turkey’s Tactical Bear Hug with Russia

| June 3, 2018

In theory, Turkey’s relations with Russia have never been brighter. However, behind the nice façade lie a deep ideological divide, mutual mistrust, and diverging regional interests. Eight decades after Atatürk’s “transactional” Soviet initiative, Turkey’s Islamist leaders are ironically following a similar line. For Erdoğan, Russia is not just a strong trading partner and the top supplier of Turkey’s energy. It is also the eastern ground of his political acrobatics with the Western world.