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  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Russia recently conducted military strikes on several fronts in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria, especially to the south in the border town of Boukamal. These strikes were conducted to retake ISIS’ last strong- holds in Syria after the liberation of Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital, in mid-October by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led militia. The militia, backed the US-led coalition, controls the east side of the Euphrates river in Deir Ezzor and now is in a frantic race with al-Assad’s forces to recapture Boukamal, where Russia’s use of air and naval re- power aims to settle the battle and consolidate its presence ahead of the coming political milestones in Syria.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Sahel and Sahara region has witnessed, in recent years, the emergence of a number of terrorist groups that adopt extremist ideologies, but with- out engaging with major cross-border terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda despite developing strong ties with them. The situation prompted views that these new groups are undeclared branches of the mother organization due, on the grounds that their ideology is, to a large extent, identical to that embraced by al-Qaeda. Moreover, these new groups show support to al-Qaeda’s terror attacks, which raises questions about the reasons why there are such groups that operate under various names and are, at the same time, keen to set themselves aside from al-Qaeda.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is under pressure from his political rivals, and the conservative fundamentalists in particular. His critics accused him of corruption and mismanagement and now call for his removal from the Expediency Discernment Council that, as per the constitution, sets the state’s higher policies and advises the Supreme Leader in disputes over legislation between the parliament and the Guardian Council of the Constitution. The Expediency Discern- ment Council is also charged with supervising parliament a airs and qualifying candidates for elections. .
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The nuclear deal, reached in mid-July 2015, has contributed towards improving relations between Iran and the world powers, especially after some of them signed new economic deals with Tehran. However, this has not driven Iran to change its policy on pending issues regarding dual citizens and foreigners recently detained over charges of spying or attempting to topple the regime.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iran appears to be trying to repeat its experience of establishing paramilitary militias, which started after the fall of Reza Shah Pahlavi’s regime in 1979. Yet, this time it is in neighboring countries. On Novem- ber 7 in Tehran, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, urged the visiting Pakistani Chief of Army Staff , General Qamar Javed Bajwa to establish a Pakistani version of the Iranian Basij militia to back the regular army. He even said Iran was ready to o er its experience to the neighboring Pakistan, and showed o his country’s experience in Syria and Iraq. He further claimed that their previous experiences succeeded in achieving their goals. However, his assertion is not consistent with the realities on the ground, because Iranian-led militias have exacerbated regional crises and blocked efforts to reach settlements.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Partial or complete disarmament of violent sub- state actors in border areas is a prerequisite for achieving domestic and regional stability. This applies to the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, the Houthi group in Yemen, Shi’ite and Kurdish militias in Syria, the al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forc- es) in Iraq, tens of area-based armed groups in militias in Libya and tribal militias such as the Rapid Support Forces and the Janjaweed militia in Sudan. All these represent roving armies crossing soft borders.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo- gan continues his years-old pressure on the Central Bank to lower interest rates in a bid to encourage lending and consumption, and support the country’s economic growth, damaged by the mid-2016 failed coup attempt. The Turkish economic community considers that the move is highly risky, especially because of the possibility that the apex bank would lose credibility and weaken its ability to achieve monetary and financial stability.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Patrycja Sasnal
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is solidifying his position and changes to the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia. His main objective is the forceful consolidation of the Arab camp against Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Key decisions of Saudi foreign policy—the military intervention in Yemen, imposition of a blockade on Qatar, and pressure on the Lebanese government—have proven counterproductive. The continuation of this ill-advised policy is neither conducive towards the stability of the Middle East, nor to the Saudi posture and ability to form alliances.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Wojciech Lorenz
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: According to the new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan, winter will not stop intensified operations against the Taliban. With the increased U.S. and NATO troop level, Afghan forces will switch from defensive to offensive activities. Only stronger military pressure and other forms of influence taken together might impel the Taliban to negotiate with the government in Kabul. The political effects of the new strategy should be expected only in a longer-term perspective.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With the International Olympic Committee excluding the Russian national team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, the importance for Russia’s authorities of the FIFA World Cup is increasing. World Cup competition will be held from 14 June to 15 July 2018. The tournament will be used in Russia’s internal politics, especially in the presidential campaign, and in relations with other countries to strengthen bilateral contacts and portray Russia as a country with a strong international position.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia