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  • Affiliation : President, President, The Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Affiliation : Senior Associate, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center, Johns Hopkins University
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International Security Index iSi decreased to 2792 points. Karaveli, Satanovsky comment events of the week.

14.11.2014

MOSCOW, NOVEMBER 14, 2014. PIR PRESS – “Kobani has had serious, negative consequences. It has exposed that Turkey's Syria policy has a clear, anti-Kurdish thrust (as Turkey has refused to aid or allow aid to the Kurds, and made clear that it is against the survival of an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria), which led to violent unrest among Kurds in Turkey, and it has undermined the prospects of achieving a solution to the Kurdish issue in the country”, – Senior Fellow with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center, Halil Karaveli.

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

During the week of November 3 - 10 2014, the International Security Index iSi decreased to 2792 points. In eastern Ukraine kindergartens and schools were shelled, as result several children were killed. OSCE recorded movement of unidentified military equipment near Donetsk. In Syria, the army regained control over the gas field of Ash Shaer; fighting with Islamists continued in the cities of Hama and Kobáni. In Jerusalem near the Temple Mount took place clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police. In Yemen, a new government of technocrats was sworn in. The terrorist attacks occurred in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Tunisia, Yemen, on the Pakistan-India border. In the USA, at the midterm Congress elections, the Republicans won the majority in both houses. In China, the APEC summit has opened. In Belgium and Italy, took place demonstrations against the austerity policies of the authorities.

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

Halil Karaveli (Turkey-Sweden) – Senior Fellow with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center – by e-mail from Stockholm: Globally, the situation in September – October remains stable. At regional level though, there are some spots where we can notice growing insecurity. The Nordic region, notably, is such a region. There is a growing perception in Sweden that the country exposed to an enhanced security risk, which is leading to stronger calls politically that Sweden revise its defense policies and explore the possibility of eventually joining the NATO.

The siege that the forces of the Islamic State has laid on the Kurdish town of Kobani in Syria has been the focal point of the developments in the Middle East during the fall. Kobani has had serious, negative consequences. It has exposed that Turkey's Syria policy has a clear, anti-Kurdish thrust (as Turkey has refused to aid or allow aid to the Kurds, and made clear that it is against the survival of an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria), which led to violent unrest among Kurds in Turkey, and it has undermined the prospects of achieving a solution to the Kurdish issue in the country. 

The fact that the United States intervened with air strikes against ISIS in Kobani had a major, positive impact. ISIS cannot be defeated from the air, but at least the strikes made sure that it couldn't capture Kobani, which is crucial. Because if Kobane had fallen, a Kurdish uprising would have been triggered in Turkey, throwing that country into chaos. The American intervention has – for the moment – averted that risk.

 In Winter 2014/15, it is not probable that the security situation in the Middle East is going to improve. Everything suggests that we can expect the region to remain in its present, explosive state for the near future.

Evgeny Satanovsky (Russia), President of the Institute of Middle East Studies – by phone from Moscow: Security situation in the world in October - November has continued to deteriorate. The most negative event of the period was the strengthening of the position of the Islamic State in Syrian Kurdistan. Certain hopes on improving situation was associated with the actions taken against militants of the Islamic state by Iran, the government forces in Syria, the Iraqi Army and the Western Air Force.

The decline of the regional security is also associated with the sharp deterioration of the situation in Northern Afghanistan on the border of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The current environment of the Sinai Peninsula is still very tense, despite the fact that the Egyptian authorities imposed martial law on the peninsula, trying to restrain Islamist penetration deep into the region.

In December, the world will witness further deterioration of the situation: Taliban threat will grow in Afghanistan, Boko Haram militants will increase their presence in the Sahel, Al-Shabab will terrorize Somalia and the Islamic state Syria and Iraq.

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

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