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  • Affiliation : Director, Bylim Karvoni Nongovernental Research and Training Center
  • Affiliation : Director of OSCE Academy
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International Security Index iSi increased to 2845 points. Tolipov, Dunay comment events of the week.

24.09.2014

MOSCOW, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014. PIR PRESS “On the eve of the SCO summit, Tajikistan with special attention expected whether Karimov comes himself or sends a replacement. The meeting of the two leaders, held in a constructive manner, did not raise the fog of uncertainty in bilateral relations, however it arisen hope that the dialogue between countries started. Perhaps this will lead to a decrease in tensions between Tashkent and Dushanbe”, – Director of the private research and educational center Bilim Karvon (Caravan of knowledge) Farhad Tolipov.          

The new weekly International Security Index iSi was published in Kommersant (in Russian).

During the week of September 15 - 22, 2014, the International Security Index iSi increased to 2845 points. The Ukrainian Parliament adopted a law on a special status of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. In Minsk, under the mediation of Russia and the OSCE, regular talks between Kiev authorities and militias were held. The USA has not granted Ukraine the status of major non-NATO ally. In Syria, the Islamists seized 60 Kurdish villages and continued to advance on the city of Coban; militants seized a buffer zone on the Golan after the withdrawal of the peacekeepers. Barack Obama signed a law on the training of the Syrian opposition to fight against militants of the Islamic state. France started an aerial campaign against the Islamists in Iraq. In Libya, the Islamists attacked weapons depots in Tripoli. In Yemen, the government and Shia rebels reached an agreement on a truce. In New York, talks between Iran and the six international mediators on the nuclear program were held. Terrorist attacks were committed in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Iraq. In Scotland, the majority of the population voted against independence from Britain.

Comments on the week's events by members of the International Expert Group of the PIR Center

Farhad Tolipov (Uzbekistan) - Director of the private research and educational center "Bilim Karvon"("Caravan of knowledge") – by e-mail from Tashkent: Talking about the SCO summit in Dushanbe on September 11-12, the following events deserve mentioning. During the SCO summit, President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov met separately with president of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon. On the eve of the summit, Tajikistan with special attention expected whether Karimov comes himself or sends a replacement. The meeting of the two leaders, held in a constructive manner, did not raise the fog of uncertainty in bilateral relations, however it arisen hope that the dialogue between countries started. Perhaps this will lead to a decrease in tensions between Tashkent and Dushanbe.

Shortly before the SCO summit, Islam Karimov visited China. The results of the meeting with the Chairman of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, have also been encouraging.

Preference of Uzbek leader to hold bilateral meetings indicates that the country follows its foreign policy concept, adopted two years ago. It is based on the principle of bilateralism. SCO platform is used mainly as a venue to establish bilateral contacts.

Islam Karimov's statement at the SCO summit on the need to consider Russian interests in the Ukrainian conflict confirms the assumption that the conflict impacts Central Asia region. However, it is also clear that the member states of the SCO went no further than issuing general insignificant statement on Ukraine. This indicates a lack of unity of their positions on this issue.

It is important that the participating States use SCO summit to express their views on all the burning issues of the modern world, thereby serving as a platform for Russia and China to deliver the message to their rivals in the West.

Pál Dunay, (Hungary), Director of OSCE Academy in Bishkek – by e-mail from Bishkek: As far as the continuing application of sanctions and even introducing additional ones, I think the reason is the distrust of the West regarding complying with the ceasefire agreement. The press reports and, I am sure, the intelligence reports speak about the introduction of Russian heavy armor in the (former) area of operations ranging from main battle tanks to armoured personnel carriers. The other, in the concrete case less important, matter is that it is the intention of the USA and other western actors to mount the pressure on Russia. It is clear that the intention is to give a strong signal that the West was not ready to accept the seizing of territory and violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Therefore, the western sanctions represent a process. They are introduced under the assumption that due to asymmetrical economic power relations Russia will face more severe consequences than the West and hence eventually the West will prevail.

However, there is major difference between the position of Europe and the USA. The EU felt definitely less strongly about the changing hands of the Crimea. However, many believed that the process would stop there and no further challenge to the territorial integrity of Ukraine would take place. It is blatantly obvious that without Russian military backing the separatists could not have achieved the military successes in the Lugansk, Donetsk area. I.e. if success continues, Russia is to blame.

The differences between the U.S. and the EU positions are as follows. The U.S. is a unitary actor whereas the EU is not. For the U.S. it is easy to take decisions, for the EU it is not. It is necessary to make compromise among all the EU member-states when deciding on sanctions. The UK and Luxembourg are opposed to more financial sanctions. Nowadays the Czechs, Cyprus, Slovakia and Hungary are generally opposed to further sanctions due to their potential (and overestimated) effects on their economy. Their reasons may differ but the outcome is a cautious EU attitude.

The USA is more of a realist power than the EU, which appears (in spite of a little hick-up in February 2014 when it appeared as a geopolitical rival in Ukraine) as a liberal institution.

The EU is the largest trading block of the world that realizes more than 30 per cent of its GDP in foreign trade. The share of the foreign trade in the U.S. GDP is less than 20 per cent.

The U.S. external trade is far more global than that of the EU, which continues to have strong trade links with its neighborhood, including the former Soviet area and states like Switzerland, Norway, and areas, like North Africa.

It is important that the sanctions also send a message to the domestic population of the EU member-states. So seeing sanctions only through the eyes of their impact on the targeted country is false. The message to the population may well be symbolic informing it: The government is acting and does not let the violator get away with massive violation of basic principles of international law. Last, but not least, the U.S. is operating in global politics whereas the EU still has Europe (and its neighborhood) as a core of its foreign policy activity. The U.S. hence sees more of an adverse environment than the EU does. These six reasons underline the difference between the two actors as far as sanctions.

I think Ukraine would be better off it she would be giving up on the contested territory and create a properly functioning and more cohesive state without the Donbass (and the Crimea). Then her chances of becoming one day a member of the EU would significantly increase. Unfortunately, Ukraine does not live in the post-modern paradigm where the EU does. Consequently, this realization will not come to Kyiv any time soon.

For all the questions concerning the International Security Index please contact Galiya Ibragimova by e-mail ibragimova at pircenter.org

     

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